By Hillary Lau

Meet Victoria, our Health Science Northeastern University Co-Op!

F&L was fortunate enough to obtain seven Northeastern University Coops this semester, one of whom is Victoria, a Health Science student. Although she is not a physical therapy student, Victoria is able to use her health science background and knowledge to assist the therapists in many ways as well as experience all the aspects of being in an out-patient care clinic.

Let's meet Victoria and read about her experiences working at F&L and living in Hawaii.

What school did you attend in high school and what's your current college?
I went to Dartmouth High School in Dartmouth, Massachusetts. I currently attend Northeastern University as a 2nd year Health Science student.

Why were you drawn to health science?
I was drawn to health science after interning at my local board of health in my hometown during high school. It was the first time that I discovered the many different paths there are into the health care field and I wanted to learn more about this in college. Health science has given me the flexibility to explore all aspects of health care from public policy to health care ethics and even physical therapy!

Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii?
I wanted to co-op in Hawaii because I wanted a change of pace to the lifestyle that I grew up with and Hawaii’s culture and weather were certainly different from what I am used to. The immediate sense of “ohana”, the never-ending feeling of adventure, and the warmth of the sun almost every day of the year were all things that drew me to Hawaii, but most of all it was the opportunity to meet new people and explore new cultures.

What has been your experience like so far?
My experience so far has been amazing!  I will be the first to admit that many things scare me - bugs, heights, sharks, tropical diseases, more bugs, etc... -  but thanks to my incredible friends and fellow-co-ops I have been able to go out of my comfort zone and explore this beautiful island following their lead and sense of adventure. I’ve been able to have a lot of firsts here in Hawaii - my first hike, first kayak on the ocean, first paddle boarding, first cliff jump, first time driving a standard car -  and I can’t wait for the many more firsts yet to come.

What's the strangest thing that you've eaten since arriving?
Natto, a fermented soybean, is probably the strangest thing I have eaten here. It’s not the worst thing I’ve ever eaten, but it’s not great either - it’s definitely an acquired taste. I am glad though that it made my co-workers happy watching me try to eat it.

What is on your to do list while here?
It feels like I’ve already done so much, but I would still love to visit Kauai, perhaps go camping there, continue to learn about the community and people on the island and about physical therapy, and, of course, eat all the local food!

What are your plans for the future?
After graduating with my degree I plan to go to medical school and hopefully work in family medicine or pediatrics with a focus in public health. I’d like to work with the U.S. Public Health Service or other public service to provide aid and medical support to underserved communities at home and abroad. Anywhere I go though, I hope to be a compassionate, knowledgeable, and team-oriented provider like the PTs I’ve been able to work with here.

Who is your greatest influence in your life?
The greatest influence in my life is my Dad. He loved unconditionally, questioned everything, and rolled with the punches. He showed me how to work hard and keep dreaming and I am forever grateful for this life he showed me how to live.

By Deb Matsuura

NU Health Science Co-op Joins F&L

Let’s meet Stevie, F&L’s fifth and final NU Co-op for the fall semester. Her co-op with us is a very special one, because it is the first time we have taken a Health Science student. Stevie works as a front office receptionist at our WORC site and pool.

What school did you attend in high school and what’s your current college?
I went to Eastport South Manor Jr./Sr. High School in Manorville, NY. I currently attend college at Northeastern University in Boston, MA.

What drew your interest to the Health Science field?
I was interested in Health Science after I heard about how well the major balances hard science and social policy courses. Since I was a kid I wanted to be a doctor so I became a health science major on the pre-med track after my freshman year of college. Health Science allows me to take all of my pre-med courses but everything I learn inside and outside my major ties in to what I’m interested in as a future health care professional. Health Science is the perfect niche for me.

Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii?
I wanted my co-op to be in Hawaii because I wanted to live somewhere in a culture completely different than my own. I am used to a faster-paced lifestyle working in New York and I wanted to learn in a slowed down environment like in Hawaii. Also, I’ve never been to Hawaii so being so far away from home has made me more independent.

What has been your experience like so far?
My experience so far has been wonderful. I swear the nicest people ever are the ones that work at Fukuji and Lum Physical Therapy. Every day I am happy to come to work even with a 10 mile commute round-trip on my bike. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What’s the strangest thing that you’ve eaten since arriving?
I wouldn’t consider it strange but I had manapua. I’ve never had a dessert with meat in it before.

What is on your to do list while here?

I want to learn all of our patients names. I think it’s important to connect to every single person I can during my experience in Hawaii.

After majoring in Health Sciences, what kind of career would you like to pursue?
After I graduate with my B.S. in Health Science I want to go to medical school to get my MD. I don’t know what kind of doctor I want to be but I am mostly interested in obstetrics and gynecology.

Who is your greatest influence in your life?

My dad is by far my best friend and greatest influence in my life. I am where I am now because of him. I am going to be the best person I can be for him.

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