By Abby

A Reflection on the Co-Op Experience

Berika

Berika tells us what she unexpectedly learned through her co-op experience and reflects on her time on island. 

What was the one experience that you think was the highlight of the experience? one in the clinic and one outside the clinic.

One of the highlights of my experience was the company retreat! Because my coop took place while COVID was and is still thriving, there weren't too many opportunities to interact with majority of the staff outside of the clinic until the retreat. Seeing everyone on a day to day basis was always great, but watching everyone team up to play volleyball, get massages, and do yoga was even better. I knew it was something that everyone looked forward to every year, and the hype did not fall short when the day came. It was just as fun as we had all hoped and probably even more so for me. Watching Art and Lauren Lum smack each other with pool noodles was just a cherry on top to this day as well.

Outside of the clinic, sky diving for my birthday was a highlight of my time spent in Hawaii! Seeing the North shore land and ocean while falling from 12,000 feet in the air was such a stunning and thrilling experience. Words and pictures can only capture how beautiful and meaningful the entire experience was. Easily one most exciting things I've done in life, and I highly recommend!

Who had the most impact on you during your time here?

My roommates actually had the most impact on me during my time here. We went from not really knowing each other as classmates to moving to an island together and becoming really well acquainted roommates, coworkers, and friends. Going home each day and being able to share what we learned from our respective clinics was such a unique experience that you don't really get from any other coop site. I can only speak for myself, but you absolutely learn so much from spending 6 months together especially when we came from different backgrounds, parts of the country, and with different personalities too. Yes, it was chaotic at times , but for me, I began PT school and my coop being closed off to forming relationships, and I left this experience with some of the most sincere relationships I've ever had. We will always have this shared experience of living in Hawaii for 6 months together.

What was the most surprising thing that you did not expect to learn?

The most surprising thing I did not expect to learn was that I really enjoy aquatic therapy. Before coming to Fukuji and Lum for coop, I knew they offered aquatic therapy, but because I had no water sports or swimming background I did not expect myself to be working at the pool. But I was scheduled at the pool on one of my first days and I soon learned that the aquatic therapy staff are all amazing people, the patients are one of a kind, and the entire setting was a lot different than I had expected it to be and in all the right ways. I'm proud to say I even learned how to swim on one of my first days!  The aquatic therapy portion of my coop experience was absolutely something I did not know I needed in my life!

 

By Abby

A Reflection on the Co-Op Experience

Olivia

Six months flew by and Olivia tells us how her experience in Hawaii will impact her long-term career in physical therapy. 

Aloha 🙂 I’m back on the blog, but from halfway across the globe. It has been a month and a few days since I left the best place on earth... and I miss it so, so much. Six months flew by incredibly fast, but I will remember my time with so much love and gratitude.

Who had the most impact on you during your time here?
I can’t pick one person. To say that I was impacted by every single person I met here, would be an understatement. First, I’ll start with my Kailua and Aqua crew. The clinicians and staff I worked with had an amazing depth of knowledge they shared with me, and I learned so much not only about physical therapy, but about life, relationships, confidence, spirituality, and connection.

I am so thankful to have learned from people I look up to, and now call them 'ohana. I learned a lot from the patients I worked with here too. They gave me great recommendations on how to have fun in Hawaii and what foods to try (shoutout Redfish poke bar). More importantly, they showed me that however big or small you help someone doesn’t matter, what matters is that you are trying to give to something bigger than you. So, I can make a mosaic from what I’ve learned from everyone that I met here and make a beautiful piece of art with it.

If you had to choose one word about your experience, what word would you choose?
Presence. There’s so much depth in this word for me. First, living on aloha time speaks for itself. Not that life is slower in Hawaii, but everyone is more ~present~, and they are deliberate with how they spend their time. One of my favorite things about Hawaii was that the people won’t avoid eye contact with you when you pass them on the street, they will smile and wave. Just a mere five seconds of human connection made such a difference in my day. Second, the environment brings you down to earth and makes you see life in abundance. From sunrise to sunset and everything in between, there were so
many creations to be grateful to witness. My favorite memories were made with my friends as we chased the sun and made it out to China Walls to spend the last few minutes with the sun that day, and so many people had the same idea. It was like we were in an outdoor movie theatre that played a golden sun set, and everyone felt present in it. So, not only does your presence matter to those around you, but you feel present in what’s happening around you.

From this experience, what intentions will you have going forward with your career?
I intend to take a whole body, and whole person approach going forward with my physical therapy career. I think this makes a huge difference in practice, as it allows you to evaluate a bigger picture and give rise to all the parts of someone that make them, them. This was my favorite foundational belief of F&L, and I will take it with me in my soon to be physical therapy career.

Best six months ever!!

Mahalo nui loa,
Olivia

By Abby

Aloha to Our Spring NEU Co-Op Students!

Welcome, Megumi!

Megumi tells us about her journey to becoming a physical therapist, what it's like being in Hawaii, and who she looks up to. 

What school did you attend in high school and what's your current college?

Aloha! My name is Megumi- I usually go by Meg. I am a fourth-year PT student at Northeastern University in Boston, MA. I grew up in Japan where I attended Japanese school up to high school in Yokohama and after that I attended Hiroshima International School. 

What drew you to physical therapy?

I decided to pursue PT because of my interest in sports and health. When I got injured during track and field and volleyball, I did PT and had a positive experience, but some of my injuries became chronic, and I wanted to learn more for myself about human anatomy and how we recover and heal from injuries. In addition, especially after my last coop, making a positive impact on someone’s life and helping people have a quality-filled life has been very rewarding, even in a coop position, so I am excited to be a PT in a few years.

Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii?

Since my first coop was at Boston Medical Center where I was an inpatient rehab aide, I wanted to be in an outpatient setting to gain more insight to a different PT setting. I was particularly interested in coming to Hawaii after hearing about the experience of the past coops here. I knew  that the clinics here would give me the chance to further my PT education and to also skip the Boston winter to explore all the nature in Hawaii. As a bonus, I am glad that I have been able to use my Japanese and feel closer to my Japanese culture.

 

What has been your experience like so far?

My experience in Hawaii so far has been exciting and refreshing. After a whole year of classes last year in Boston, the nature and warm weather has literally been a breath of fresh air. I hope to continue to make the most out of my time here. 

What's the strangest thing that you've eaten since arriving?

I wouldn’t say this is strange, but I had never had spam before, so trying a spam musubi on my first day here was something different- I would have it again!

 

What is on your to-do list while here?

Every weekend I’ve been going through my long to-do list which has been very fun. The other coops and I are planning on doing a surf lesson this weekend which has always been something I have wanted to do. It would also be great to get to see more sea life, especially turtles. 

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?

As a PT, I hope to be dedicated, understanding/empathetic, good at problem solving as well as being creative. I am enjoying getting to know all the therapists here and seeing how each of them have such unique perspectives and personalities as a PT and a person. 

Who is your greatest influence in your life?

My greatest influence in my life would be my parents. They both have shown and given me qualities for life that I appreciate everyday such as being reliable, open-minded, and selfless. With my dad from Japan and my mom from the US, I am also grateful how they brought me up to fluidly live in both of my backgrounds and to speak both languages.

By Abby

Happy Birthday, APTA!

Our own Art Lum recounts the Centennial Celebration of the American Physical Therapy Association, an event that took place in September to commemorate the community and service of physical therapists across the country.

Oh what a feeling.  Happy APTA 100th birthday.  My 66th birthday. An uplifting spirit. An improved purpose. A better delivery of physical therapy.  A stronger relationship. A healthier world.  Club 66. 

Arrival on Thursday afternoon. Hawaii to Seattle to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport to Georgetown, DC.

It is Friday; ready, set, go. Metro connection - blue line.   From my home base in Georgetown (Foggy Bottom station) to Metro Center, transfer to the red line to Woodley Park-Zoo/Adams Morgan and a ten minute walk to headquarters at the Omni Sheraton. 

 

The bus shuttle to the NEW APTA headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia.  Our mother ship.  Pausing at Arlington National Cemetery and meandering along the Potomac River.  The seven story spectacular sparkled among the community of office buildings.  Nearby, a soon to be built Amazon mega structure within a birds eye view.   Upon entry, like Volcano National Park on Hawai’i the Big Island, the energy flowed to near eruption.  Crystal clean, spotless and pristine. A jewel!  President Sharon Dunn and past presidents Marilyn Moffat, Paul Rockar Jr, Jan Richarson et al were there along with APTA directors and staff.  They greeted us from the curbside, at the door, on every floor and living space.  The walls were decorated with inspiring messages and timeless masterpieces. A walk down memory lane and into the future. The mighty community wall of donors draped the corridor. My colleagues, doctored up with badges of advanced degrees, specialist designations and House of Delegate tags graced each square foot.   An added treat was the unveiling of the Catherine Worthingham Room presented by the Stanford PT Alumni (I was one of five on the planning committee). Aloha reigned.  A housewarming party in a new domain and era.  I was awestruck.  What a day!

 

Black tie and all, we congregated at the Washington National Cathedral that evening.  A string quartet and open bar welcomed all.  The glitter and night lights lit up the sky.  It was time to congregate together under one roof and offer gratitude, praise and promise for the years past, current and future.  As President Sharon Dunn delivered the welcome message, ‘How appropriate for us to be together at church”. A warmup to what was to come - House of delegates, President’s forum and centennial scholar programming. 

Saturday was a break day for me.  Breakfast n’ coffee with ham, cheese and a sunny side egg over a crepe. Customers sat physically distanced in an outdoor patio.  A trip to the art gallery and bookstore.  Off to Trader Joe’s for bottled water, chocolate covered almonds and fresh crisp apples.  A restful time out to pause and put up your feet. 

Sunday’s tour took me on the metro back to the Omni for a garden reception before the bus shuttle drove to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.   This indeed was special.  Seizing the moment of witnessing live the 52nd Mary McMillan lecture.  All roads leading to INNOVATION.  Stories  across the U.S.A. with award recipient Colleen Kigin, PT, DPT, MS, MPA, FAPTA at helm leading the way.  A preview of what was to come next year with the announcement and intro of the John H.P. Maley Lecture Award to Sue Whitney. PT, DPT, PhD, FAPTA.(We met for lunch at the APTA headquarters on Friday)

 

 

One of Hawai’i’s own, Dr. Marilyn Miller, received the Lucy Blair Service Award(contributions to APTA that are recognized of exceptional quality)  I was honored to nominate Dr. Miller for the prestigious award.  How proud and what pride to view remarkable colleagues and cheer on a parade of talented, gifted and committed ‘premier professionals’.   Inspired to say the least having stood next to the bust of John F. Kennedy just an hour ago.  Breathtaking and amazing.

 

 

 

 

Monday morning turned out to be quick stops for sightseeing.  A quick trip and wave to the Capitol.  Lunch at Filomena’s, a famous Italian restaurant, of fresh medium size clams over pasta.  Teams then huddled back at the Omni in preparation for Advocacy training.  A pep rally for intense training of etiquette, legislation bills and lokahi(unity).  All fifty states were represented.  Making it happen as one team, one spoken word with a unified voice.  The crafting of five bills.  Keeping it concise, manageable and ‘just right’ for the game plan.

Tuesday was all about execution and a wonderful time of meet, greet and talking story with the congressional offices of Senator Mazie Hirono, Senator Brian Schatz and Representative Kaiali’i Kahele.  Mission accomplished. 

On Wednesday, I arrived at the Foggy Bottom station for the 5:45am metro run to the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and arrived in Honolulu at 5:15pm..  Safe and pleased that the antigen tests proved negative. Joyful for a remarkable SAFE journey coast to coast.  Time came to a pause as I reflected on my professional career and an unforgettable birthday party.  

One moment in time celebrated over Centennial Celebration Weekend in D.C..

In celebration of APTA's centennial and club 66 birthday. 

A wonder filled memory of people, places, professional journeys and life stories. 

Impacting each of our lives and our patient lives. 

Lucky we live as Physical Therapists, Physical Therapist Assistants and F&L. 

Lucky to shout out  Physical Therapy and Aloha. 

Blessed with F&L and Family.

Lucky we live Hawaii. 

Mahalo piha(heartfelt gratitude),

Art Lum, PT 

By Abby

Warm Welcome to our Fall NEU PT Students

Aloha, Berika!

Berika shares what makes physical therapy her passion and what she looks forward to during her time in Hawaii. 

Hello! My name is Berika and I grew up in San Jose, CA where I went to Del Mar High School. I’ve always wanted to work in healthcare so when I decided on physical therapy as a career, I applied to more than enough PT schools and when Northeastern University said ‘Yes’, so did I.

What drew me to physical therapy was the ability to not just help someone get physically better, but to help someone to be able to help themselves to get better and not just in the short term.

What drew me to do my co-op in Hawaii was the culture on the island and at Fukuji & Lum. At F&L, the entire person is taken into consideration on how to treat them, and not just their prescription for physical therapy. And that sort of holistic approach to healing the body is exactly the kind of therapist I hope to be.

My experience so far has been nothing short of amazing! I enjoy going to work every day during the week to learn first hand how to be a great Physical Therapist, and I am having a blast every weekend exploring different parts of the island and trying new things. What’s on my to-do list while here is to go to a Luau and go skydiving! I’ve never been skydiving before and this seems like the perfect place to do it.

The greatest influence in my life is absolutely my grandmother. A retired teacher, she is full of wisdom, laughter, love, and is always the first person to both support my dreams and figure out how to fulfill them.

By Abby

Warm Welcome to Our Fall NEU PT Students

Aloha, Olivia!

Aloha! How’s it!? I’m Olivia, I’m originally from Guilford, Connecticut and go to Northeastern University  to achieve my Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. I have the pleasure of completing my co-op at Fukuji  and Lum so I will be living it up in Hawaii for six months! I am so grateful to have the opportunity to  prepare for my career in such an enriching and loving environment surrounded by such welcoming  people that I will be able to call my Ohana. My fellow students and I were told a mantra that we cannot say no during our time out here, so I’m stoked to see whatever Hawaii will throw my way. But please, no  more cockroaches! 

What drew you to physical therapy? What kind of therapist do you hope to be?

Back in high school, when I was choosing a major for my undergraduate university, I knew in my heart  that I wanted to go into the medical field and be a physical therapist. The profession upholds such core  values that I wholeheartedly believe in. I have always been fond of the phrase and way of living that  exercise is medicine. Our bodies are miracles, and it’s only right that we treat ourselves with the best  self-love and self-care. My favorite quote is that “our biggest commitment must always be to ourselves.”  I think it is wonderful and so humbling that physical therapy allows me to be an influence for someone  else to help care for and commit to themselves. I hope to be the type of therapist that will inspire my  patients to prioritize their health and view their body as strong, capable, and most importantly, resilient.  I treasure how vulnerable patient care can be, and I hope to be a trustworthy and uplifting guide for all  that will let me. I believe I will be able to cultivate the dream I have, and my experience at Fukuji and  Lum will prepare me to accomplish all my goals. 

Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii? What has been your experience like so far?

I think this answer is pretty self-explanatory. I mean, it’s Hawaii! But what really drew me to fulfill my  co-op in Hawaii was the Fukuji and Lum ohana and their values. Through research and communication  from past co-op students, I was told how this experience is life changing. The physical therapists will  challenge me and expect me to step out of my comfort zone to ultimately make me think like a clinician  and speak with conviction. After my interview, I knew in my heart that I was destined to come to Hawaii  and not only grow professionally, but personally. In the past month I have been here, that has been the  ultimate truth. I have been challenged in the best way possible, and truly feel like each day has been fulfilled physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I am so excited to see what else Hawaii and Fukuji and  Lum can teach me in the next five months I am here. 

What is on your to-do list while here? 

While I’m here, I hope to gain more confidence with my clinical skills and learn something from every  person I come into contact with. Furthermore, I hope to experience all of Earth’s wonderful creations while I am in this magical place. From swimming, surfing, cliff jumping, hiking, going to farmer’s markets,  and basking in the sun, I want to leave Hawaii with no regrets. Maybe I’ll even be talked into skydiving. This environment has made me feel so connected to the Earth and feel like I am home. There must be  something in the water 🙂 

Mahalo, be well <3  

Olivia

By Abby

Warm Welcome to Our Fall NEU PT Students

Hello to Alice!

Alice shares what physical therapy means to her and what makes her excited to be in Hawaii this semester!

What school did you attend in high school and what's your current college?

High school: St. Joseph’s Central High School in Pittsfield, MA

Current College: Northeastern University

What drew you to physical therapy?

My mother is a physical therapist who has been practicing for 35 years. My mother, as well as many of her co-workers have worked in the same location for over 10 years. They happily share how being a physical therapist makes them feel fulfilled both personally and professionally. When exploring possible healthcare careers I searched for paths that would allow me the same. I wanted to impact patients both physically and support them psychosocially. As I went through my own injuries and experienced this, I then knew I wanted to be able to give that back to my community no matter where I was located.

Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii?

After graduating from Lasell University with my undergraduate degree in Exercise Science, I applied to both physical therapy programs, as well as tried out for a Team USA synchronized figure skating team in New York City. I was selected for The Team and therefore took 3 gap years before starting the DPT program at Northeastern University. During this time the team and I traveled to many countries in Europe where my love for travel and adventure flourished.  Because of these experiences I knew that when I re-entered school I wanted to have my co-op and clinical experiences all over the country to further push my personal and professional development. I had been to Hawaii one time before and absolutely fell in love!! When I learned that Northeastern offered both co-op and clinical opportunities here it was a no brainer to apply for it.

What has been your experience like so far?

So far by experience has been amazing! Hawaii is beautiful, especially how interconnected the land and sea is. It reminds me a lot of my home area of Berkshire County in Massachusetts with our mountains and lakes. In the short 3 weeks that we have been here we have free dove with sharks without a cage or supplemental oxygen, snorkeled with sea turtles, taken surfing lessons, visited the Dole Pineapple Plantation, and hiked Diamond Head as well as the pillbox in Kailua for sunrise! Lastly, all of the staff at Fukiji and Lum, as well as within the community have been extremely patient, kind, and helpful during our transition here.

What's the strangest thing that you've eaten since arriving?

The strangest thing that I have eaten so far has been eel on our sushi at orientation. But I have also tried cherimoya, lei hing powder on fruit, and ube pancakes. I am an adventurous eater and will try anything once! Send the food recommendations my way!

What is on your to-do list while here?

EVERYTHING! But my biggest to do is to travel to each Hawaiian island to experience each’s unique beauty and to-do’s from locals and visitors.

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?

The kind of therapist that I hope to be is kind, a good listener, someone who will go out of their way for the betterment of their patients and a forever student.

Who is your greatest influence in your life?

It takes a tribe to get through life. There is not one single person who has been the greatest influence in my life. Every person that I come in contact teaches me something new about the world, or myself.

By Abby

Introducing our Spring Semester NEU PT Students!

Aloha David!

We welcome David to the F&L ‘Ohana as he spends his Spring Semester with us. He writes about how he became interested in physical therapy and his first few weeks being a co-op in Hawaii!

Hey everyone,

My name is David, and I’m a Northeastern University physical therapy student from Cupertino, CA currently on co-op here at Fukuji and Lum. I went to Cupertino High School, where I played baseball and sang in choir. I enjoy anything and everything from working out, playing sports, hiking, and going to the beach to singing songs from musicals, watching movies, and cooking. 

I chose to study physical therapy because it is a discipline that requires a combination of expertise in the human body and how it functions along with constant patient interaction. A healthy human body should function like a well-oiled machine, and when a patient presents with a dysfunction, I find myself excited to solve the puzzle and figure out what tools, anything ranging from manual therapy to exercise prescription, I can use to help that patient ultimately achieve their goals. I feel extremely lucky to be on co-op here and spend the next few months in paradise! I get to escape the frigid Boston winter, learn from exceptionally knowledgeable clinicians, and acquire hundreds of hours of hands-on experience. What more could I ask for?

My first 6 weeks working at Fukuji and Lum have been amazing to say the least. I’ve already been able to apply knowledge and skills from previous coursework at Northeastern in my patient care and build upon that with new information and tips from PTs and PTAs I’ve worked with. When I’m not at work (and not sleeping in), I do my best to get outdoors and appreciate all the breathtaking views the beautiful island of O’ahu has to offer. My fellow co-ops and I have been perfecting our tans at several beaches, enjoying the addicting local cuisine, and working off those calories by going on different hikes. Although I feel like I’ve done so much in the past 6 weeks, there’s so much more I still need to do. I’d love to leave Hawai’i in July knowing how to surf, having kayaked to the Mokes, and having conquered the Kokohead Stairs in under 30 minutes, just to name a few of the items on my to-do list. 

In the future, I hope to be a therapist that embodies the values instilled in me when I was growing up. My parents taught me everything I know and believe about respect, humility, and kindness. The way I practice, no matter what setting I am in or what patient population I am working with, will incorporate all of those values and translate into the highest quality of care for my patients. I hope that one day I will be able to pass on the wisdom I gained through my career as a PT and serve as a role model and mentor for younger students and those just entering any healthcare profession. 

Here’s to an amazing co-op experience!

David

By Deb Matsuura

Northeastern PT Student Coop Reflection 2020

Claire Reflects on Her Growth as a Coop

We asked Claire a few questions about her time with Fukuji & Lum and to reflect on her experience in the clinic and living in Hawaii.

What was the one experience that you think was the highlight, both inside and outside of the clinic?

A little bit of context: I had the opportunity to work at almost all the clinics throughout my six months at F&L. I started, and worked primarily, at the Kailua clinic, with a weekly trip into town to the Honolulu clinic. Towards the middle of my co-op, I spent most of my time at the Kokokahi YWCA aquatics site. For my final two months, I worked mostly at the Laniakea YWCA pool, with a day or two per week at the Kokokahi pool. My final day of co-op, though, was spent working at the Kailua office. On that last day, I felt confident in my ability to take patients through their exercises and write their notes, which was a huge change from the start of my co-op. It was rewarding and fulfilling to hear the Kailua team tell me how much I had grown and how excited they were for me. The cool thing is that I didn’t realize how much I had grown until they told me, and I thought, “Wow, they’re right!” It was a perfect end to co-op that brought my experience full circle.

Outside of the clinic, I was fortunate to have heaps of adventures that made every outing feel like an event. It still blows my mind that activities like going to the beach and hiking are everyday activities in Hawaii, so everything felt like a highlight to me. However, swimming with sharks definitely stands out in my mind. It was a humbling, calming, and exciting experience that I will always remember. We even saw early morning surfers and Hawaiian spinner dolphins on the boat ride back to shore!

Who had the most impact on you during your time here?

So many incredible people shaped me into who I am in so many ways that I don’t think I can pick one person! I love all the clinicians, and each one had an impact on my time. The patients, however, probably taught me the most about myself and the practice of PT. They helped me discover my PT-related interests, how to interact with them in a way that was both professional and fun, how to problem solve, and more. I enjoyed having fun conversations with the patients and enjoyed their company in general! I remember looking at the schedule and being excited about who was coming in each day. They frequently gave me awesome recommendations on things to do and foods to try.

What was the most surprising thing that you did not expect to learn?

I hoped that I would get to learn about and get a good feel for Hawaiian culture, but I had no idea that it would embrace me, too. From the atmosphere on Aloha Fridays, to learning Pidgin and other local phrases, to the widespread Aloha Spirit, I felt like I was part of the community, not just an outsider looking in. Also, I did not expect to acquire an affinity for reggae music. I’ve concluded that you can’t listen to reggae music and not be in a good mood afterward 🙂

If you had to choose one word about your experience, what word would you choose?

Growth.

Towards the end of my co-op, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work more closely with Art, and whenever we saw a particular patient, we each chose a “word of the day.” A few of our words included: gratitude, peace, humanity, faith, celebrate, malama, Aloha mai kākou, etc. Reflecting on those conversations, I realize that everything comes back to growth. I have grown in my understanding of myself and others, embracing my environment, being a professional, countless ways to be a good PT, and so much more. The most important part, though, is that I left knowing that you can always keep growing in every aspect of life.

From this experience, what intentions will you have going forward with your career?

In short, I plan to keep growing! I was surprised to learn that I am interested in neurology and have specific interests within orthopedics. With that in mind, I will be open to whatever opportunities arise in the future, even if it is something that I think I am not interested in. However my career progresses, I will treat patients with the same compassion and kindness that I witnessed throughout F&L.

By Deb Matsuura

Introducing our NEU Fall Semester PT Students!

Welcome Emily to the F&L 'Ohana!

Hi there! 🙂

I’m originally from Long Island, NY and graduated from Schreiber High School in Port Washington. I’m currently a 3rd year PT student at Northeastern University in Boston, MA.

I had always known I wanted to go into the healthcare field when I was growing up, but it wasn’t until a couple of years ago when I discovered that physical therapy was the career for me. In my junior year of high school, I became interested in yoga; I loved to analyze how body movement and mechanics could influence how a person feels. The parallels between physical therapy and yoga in the physical aspect of exercise combined with the mindfulness of alignment is what ultimately led me to the decision to become a PT.

When we were first beginning to look at co-ops, Fukuji & Lum was the first to catch my eye-as a native New Yorker I was excited at the prospect of traveling somewhere warm. Once I began to research more about the company, I realized that there was so much more to this opportunity than just the location. I learned that this clinic would provide me with so much more than just a job in Hawaii, I would have the change to create lifelong friendships. The staff here at Fukuji & Lum are really one big happy family, and I’m so grateful to be able to learn and grow surrounded by such supportive and compassionate people.

It’s these same fantastic people who are introducing me to all of the amazing food here on the island! Between (socially distanced) potluck staff meetings and going away lunches, I’ve tried everything from musubi to malasadas and can’t wait to keep trying more.

I only got to sneak in a few hikes and beach days before the shut down, but I can’t wait to keep exploring and learning about Hawaii’s land and culture. I hope to be able to continue my adventures once it’s safe, but if not, I guess I’ll just have to come back and visit!

As I’ve begun to gain experience in the field of physical therapy, I’ve found myself becoming increasingly interested in specializing in Geriatric PT. I think there’s something so special about being able to restore or maintain strength and flexibility so that someone can continue to be healthy and active as they age. The Aquatic Therapy clinic has been especially helpful in teaching me strategies for helping a patient to improve balance and stability.

My passion for learning and teaching techniques for improving balance, posture, and alignment wouldn’t have begun if not for my mom. As a yoga instructor herself, she is the one who introduced me to the practice as well as most of the techniques I use stay mindful of my own movements.

I hope to be able to share these values with my patients and am so excited to begin my journey in the world of physical therapy!