Welcoming our Fall NEU PT Students!

Welcome Melissa!

Let's give a warm welcome to Melissa, one of four NEU PT students, who will be working with us this fall semester. We appreciate her being a guest blogger for our website as she shares her story of what drew her to Hawaii and why she wants to become a physical therapist.

What school did you attend in high school and what's your current college?
I grew up in Upstate New York in the Albany area and attended Shenendehowa High School. I then continued and received my Bachelor’s degree in Health and Human Physiological Sciences (a fancy name for exercise science) from Skidmore College. And now I am currently in Northeastern University’s DPT program.

What drew you to physical therapy?
Long story short, sports have always been a big part of my life. I started playing soccer when I was 5 and was fortunate enough to play in college. I also ran track and field throughout middle and high school. Through these years I experienced PT as the patient and spent a lot of time in the athletic training room. I didn’t officially know that I wanted to do PT until I worked/shadowed in a PT clinic during my Junior year of college. This clinic was a very welcoming environment to both their faculty and their patients. I was able to see patients from their first evaluation to their discharge. What I have grown to love about physical therapy is the ability of the therapist to build a relationship with their patients while also educating them and allowing them to be active participants in their own health.


Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii?
I wanted to do my co-op in Hawaii because I have stayed in the northeast my entire life and I think it was time for me to experience something else. I was planning on going abroad my junior year but covid unfortunately didn’t allow me to, so I thought Hawaii was far enough from home to count! Northeastern also had a panel of previous co-op students that came to talk about their experience and the previous students that went to F&L had nothing but great things to say. They talked a lot about how they were treated as family when they came and how it was a very welcoming environment, which is exactly what I wanted in my co-op experience.

What has been your experience like so far?
Everything that I expected and more! I have been keeping my word and doing as many hikes as I can, trying new foods, snorkeling, and going to the beach whenever I have free time. My favorite thing that I have done so far is that I did the Moanalua/Kamananui Valley trail hike and it was the best and most challenging hike I have ever done! The clinic is also so amazing! I feel like I am going to grow so much as a student and take away so many valuable lessons over the next 6 months.

What's the strangest thing that you've eaten since arriving?
I honestly haven’t tried anything that strange since getting here. The first week that I got here I went to a luau with my Dad and brother and I tried poi for the first time. It was definitely an interesting taste and I honestly don’t know if I would try it again. But I would say I am adventurous and will try almost anything at least once!

What is on your to-do list while here?
There’s a never ending list to do here in the 6 months of me living here. But I definitely want to go horseback riding, visit the other islands, and go to the observatory on the Big Island to see the stars above the clouds.

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?
I don’t exactly know what setting I want to work in when I graduate. But I hope that I am able to treat my patients as an individual and not just some injury that I am trying to fix. In the last year, we have learned that there are a lot of elements that come together to make someone “healthy”. I hope that I can be there for my patients as a guide to help improve their health, whether it is physical or mental.

Who is your greatest influence in your life?
It is so hard to pick a single person that has been the greatest influence in my life. I think there are a lot of people in my life that have taught me valuable lessons on how to be the best version of myself. But if I had to narrow it down, I would have to say that my parents have been an enormous influence on my life. They have supported me and taught me to treat others with kindness and that you never know what someone is going through.