As one of the most biodiverse regions in the world, Western North Carolina attracts people who want to get out and enjoy nature. Our students and staff often spend their free time hiking or mountain biking through national forests, and plenty of nearby camping destinations provide a fun way to unwind on weekends.
Hiking: The Health and Human Sciences building (HHS) is nestled half a mile from main campus at the foot of WCU's trail system.
The trailhead to challenging hikes and beautiful views is right in our parking lot, so you don't have to stray too far to get a good, scenic hike in!
Paradise Falls, Black Balsam Knob, Waterrock Knob and Cullowhee Falls are other popular spots that aren't too far away.
Food: There are several restaurants, coffee shops, and microbreweries in the surrounding area. If you're looking for something quick, Java City is located in HHS and provides daily hot lunch options and delicious coffee! Main campus also offers options including Panda Express, Moe's Southwest Grill, Chick-fil-A, Chili's, Starbucks, and Einstein's Coffee and Bagels.
When you're in the area, our students recommend checking out Sazon's, El Patron, Guadalupe, Haywood Smokehouse for BBQ, City Lights Cafe for coffee and brunch, and Innovation Brewing or Bogart's for a taste of the local scene.
DPT Gives Back: As DPT students, we give back to our community by serving weekly in our student run Mountain Area Pro bono Physical Therapy (MAPPT) Clinic. This gives us an opportunity to get hands-on clinical experience while giving back to the community.
We host fun events to support MAPPT and to increase awareness of the clinic. One of our favorite fundraisers is the annual Zombie 5k Run during which the participants are chased by zombies (our students!) around campus for a scary good time!(Halloween time, of course).
Department Fun: Yes, we are here to work hard, but we have a lot of fun doing it! During breaks from class, you almost always find our students playing hackey sack, four square, or spike ball outside in our spacious courtyard with a beautiful view. Sometimes, our professors will even join in for the fun!
Intramurals: WCU DPT students love intramurals, and there are plenty of sports throughout the
Flag football, outdoor and indoor soccer, basketball, softball, ultimate Frisbee, and volleyball...you name it.
Interested in seeing what sports are available or how to create a team? Look no further! Visit the Intramural Sports Page.
WCU Sports: The DPT crew likes to enjoy Catamount football and tailgating on beautiful fall Saturdays (tickets are FREE if you reserve them online).
Enjoy basketball games at Ramsey center, and find your inner catamount at countless other sporting events throughout the year! Check for updates on Catamount Sports.
Hometown: Mills River, NC
Undergraduate (Degree, Major, University): Bachelor of Science, Exercise Science, Morehead State University
Hobbies outside of PT: Running, reading, woodwork
What is something people would be surprised to know about you? I would love to own a toy poodle one day.
What is a cause you are passionate about? Equal access to health care for ALL.
Describe your journey to choosing physical therapy as your profession: I've always been involved in sports and had my fair share of injuries and subsequently physical therapy, and have seen many close family members and friends benefit from therapy in multiple settings. The positive, multifaceted impact that physical therapy had on myself and loved ones resonated very strongly with me, and planted the initial seed that it may be the career path for me. Serving others and building positive relationships is a dynamic of the profession that I truly love.
Talk about a time when you felt proud to have chosen physical therapy as a profession, or had a moment when you were energized by being a part of the profession: I feel pretty energized every time I step into an authentic patient environment, whether it be in the MAPPT clinic or an ICU floor during a clinical rotation. Each day in the clinical setting brings about new challenges and opportunities to stimulate resourceful clinical reasoning and problem solving. These challenges, coupled with the successes that patients experience along the way creates a tremendously energizing dynamic for me.
Discuss why you chose the DPT program at WCU and/or what you have appreciated about your experience at WCU: I have very strong ties to WCU as many of my family and friends attended here. There is something that these WNC mountains offer that cannot be found at other schools, in addition to the pristine facilities and learning environment we have the privilege of using. This program was especially appealing due to the smaller cohort sizes and increased opportunity for student/professor interaction, as well as the diverse clinical experience opportunities throughout the program.
Is there anything else you would like to share about WCU, the DPT program, or your future aspirations in the physical therapy profession? I am extremely grateful for the time and energy put forth by all my professors and classmates to afford me the opportunity to serve others by way of physical therapy. The DPT program at WCU is truly one big family and looking back over my time here I realize how fortunate I was to be a part of something so special.
Hometown: Chadbourn, NC (near Wilmington)
Undergraduate (Degree, Major, University): Bachelor of Science, Exercise Science, University of North Carolina at Wilmington
Hobbies outside of PT: tickling the ivories, hiking with friends (and my little dog), reading, watching movies, really anything that doesn't involve studying...
What is something people would be surprised to know about you? I once jumped out of a plane on purpose, and survived! I also changed PT programs the day before orientation at WCU. While everyone else was getting to know each other the weekend before school started I was moving...
What is a cause you are passionate about? Ambassador camp. Growing up there and eventually working there taught me everything I know about life outside of school, built the foundation of my faith outside of church, and gave me the best friends and mentors in the world.
Describe your journey to choosing physical therapy as your profession: I was in a pretty horrific car accident when I was little that left more wounds on the inside than the outside, though the outside was still pretty significant (an 8 year old with a broken femur is a pitiful sight). I went through a lot of physical therapy as a result and adored my PT. She pushed me when most people were taking it easy on me and it left a long-lasting impression. When high school came around and I started thinking about what to do with my life, PT was a natural fit.
Talk about a time when you felt proud to have chosen physical therapy as a profession, or had a moment when you were energized by being a part of the profession: Anytime a patient is able to do something they didn't think they could do or thought they would never do again is a time when I'm excited and adore what I do. Seeing the look on patient's faces and their "I'm so happy I can do this again!" expressions makes every bit of this hard journey worth it. This field is truly special in that every day we get to help people accomplish their goals and dreams; for me, that is something to always be proud of.
Discuss why you chose the DPT program at WCU and/or what you have appreciated about your experience at WCU: I chose (and switched to) WCU for several reasons. One was its reputation and the fact that it was an established program (100% pass rate for the past 5 years speaks for itself). Another was the pro bono clinic and how we serve migrant farm workers in the area. Growing up in rural farm country, I always appreciate services to those who don't always have access to resources. Since being here I have really appreciated the teachers. They are all brilliant in their different ways, but they have the common goal of wanting us to be the best practitioners we can be when we leave. They were also very kind and considerate towards me my first few weeks here while I was still in shell shock, which leaves a great impression.
Hometown: Stillwater, MN
Undergraduate: Bachelor of Science, Dietetics, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Hobbies outside of PT: Cooking, hiking, swimming, and reading nutrition labels at grocery stores (seriously)
What is something people would be surprised to know about you? I interned at a cheese plant in Green Bay, WI the summer after my freshman year in college and later became lactose intolerant.
What is a cause you are passionate about? Providing health services and education to underserved populations
Describe your journey to choosing physical therapy as your profession: My passions became clear as I changed my focus in college from food science to dietetics, then finally to physical therapy. This career has everything I had not found in the previous two areas – relationship building, movement, and goal setting combined with science. The cherry on top is knowing that I will help empower and enable people to continue doing what they love.
Discuss why you chose the DPT program at WCU and/or what you have appreciated about your experience at WCU: While searching for the ideal program, I was immediately drawn in by the beautiful setting and facilities of the WCU DPT program. Visiting the school for my interview sealed the deal as I met the incredible, well-rounded faculty and driven, kind-hearted students. I also appreciate the opportunity to serve the community through our pro bono clinic - MAPPT.
Is there anything else you would like to share about WCU, the DPT program, or your future aspirations in the physical therapy profession? The DPT program at WCU is truly a family. I am so grateful for the close relationships I have developed with my classmates and professors as we all work together to become better professionals. Also, I was surprised by how involved the 2nd and 3rd-year students were in mentoring us and giving us educational support during our first year of classes, but I really appreciate it!