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.
Name: Linnea Hardin
Hometown: Omaha, NE
Undergrad: University of Missouri; Bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences with a minor in Spanish
Hobbies outside of PT: running, hiking, reading, writing, traveling, trying new things, spending time with friends!
What is something people would be surprised to know about you? People always say you can never forget how to ride a bike; I must be an anomaly because embarrassingly, my experience proves otherwise.
What is a cause you are passionate about? People! I am passionate about empowering, encouraging, and challenging others to optimize their lives and discover their value and worth. I know this sounds cheesy, but I am continually reminded of how amazing it is to be alive and to have the privilege of contributing something to this world. I believe everyone has something important to offer, and I love being able to help people discover that for themselves. As a future PT, I love that I can help improve the quality of people’s lives in a way that allows them to better use their gifts and strengths for the betterment of others.
Describe your journey to choosing physical therapy as your profession. Though I initially began college as a journalism major, some soul searching towards the end of my freshman year revealed to me that my deepest passions did not lie in the field of journalism, but instead were better suited for serving others through physical therapy. PT combines study of the amazingly detailed design of the human body with the joy of interacting meaningfully with clients. I love the beautiful blend of science and relationship that physical therapy offers, and it is an absolute privilege to serve others in such a personal and multifaceted way.
Share a moment when you were energized by being a part of the profession. I love getting to work with any client population, but I find myself especially energized when working with children and infants. I love the unique honor and challenge of treating children during such formative stages of life, as they experience development, discovery, celebration, and hardship. Some of my favorite moments during my clinical experience so far have been in finding ways to connect physical therapy needs with what makes each unique child light up with joy. Sometimes this includes pretending to be a pirate while having dodgeballs thrown at me to work on a child’s hand-eye coordination, balance, visual tracking, and motor planning, and sometimes it involves quietly engaging with a sweet baby to encourage rolling or sitting up. I have loved getting to see children develop confidence and a sense of empowerment as they reach their goals and discover their incredible capabilities, and I am equally grateful for the opportunity to encourage children through times of frustration and disappointment that come along with their physical therapy journeys.
Discuss why you chose the DPT program at WCU and/or what you have appreciated about your experience at WCU. Community service has always been very important to me, so going to a PT school that had a student-run pro bono clinic was a huge factor in my decision-making process. WCU’s emphasis on incorporating classroom learning into community service opportunities has continuously illuminated for me the greater purpose behind the immense amount of studying we do; we are all working hard in the classroom so that we can positively impact the lives of others through excellence and compassionate care. WCU instills these qualities strongly in us, and I am so thankful for the opportunities I have had to serve on the student board of our pro bono clinic, help develop an online database to improve awareness of and access to community resources, and conduct musculoskeletal screens and create an educational video series for migrant and seasonal agricultural workers. The professors at WCU truly care about their students on a personal level, which I value tremendously and is a huge part of what has made my time at WCU so incredible. Also, being in such a breathtakingly beautiful corner of the world doesn’t hurt; there’s no better way to relieve stress than to get out in the mountains!
What are your future aspirations in the physical therapy profession? In the future, I would love to work overseas providing physical therapy care and education in an underserved, developing country. I would love to work specifically with children with neurodevelopmental conditions and help optimize their quality of life, while also empowering local healthcare providers in whatever way I can. I am so grateful for the education I have received at WCU and am eager to use that for the good of others, especially in areas where access to quality healthcare is limited. I also have interests in aquatic therapy, hippotherapy, and Rock Steady boxing, so who knows how all of that will come together in the future! Overall, I am just so thankful to have had the opportunity through WCU to learn and grow in a field that I am so excited about alongside some of the greatest people I know, and I cannot wait to see what’s next for my classmates and I!
Name: Marisa White
Hometown: Lexington, NC
Undergrad: Bachelor Degree in Exercise Science from Catawba College
Hobbies outside of PT: Cooking, horseback riding, hiking, exploring new areas.
What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
I love driving go carts or anything fast!
What is a cause you are passionate about? I truly enjoy working with underserved populations. Pediatrics is huge for me! I am very passionate about providing advocacy for care and growth of research/interventions in this population! Children rely on adults to provide them with care they can’t do on their own, and childhood is a wonderful time of life. I want to help children live their best childhood possible
Describe your journey to choosing physical therapy as your profession. I have always been an active person and enjoy being challenged mentally. Physical therapy as a profession is limitless; there is always room to grow and learn. PT is all about movement, play, and being active. The versatility that comes with this profession and way we impact lives are why I choose this profession.
Describe a moment when you were energized by being a part of the profession. Each and every time a patient looks at you with a huge smile on their face and says “thank you” for helping them be able to play with friends, getting them back to gardening, out of the hospital, gaining independence, etc! You just can’t beat that feeling.
Discuss why you chose the DPT program at WCU and/or what you have appreciated about your experience at WCU. Western Carolina University is so student-centered. Each and every professor truly wants to you excel; they modified and adapt to each class and how they learn. WCU gives you every opportunity to succeed in this field. The view and comradery are pretty fantastic too.
Is there anything else you would like to share about WCU, the DPT program, or your future aspirations in the physical therapy profession? WCU has opened my eyes to the huge world of Physical Therapy. After graduation, I hope to continue to expand on my skills and apply for a residency in Pediatrics.
Name: Lindsey Greene
Hometown: Athens, GA
Undergrad: BS, Exercise Physiology, West Virginia University
Hobbies outside of PT: snowboarding, concerts, traveling
What is something people would surprised to know about you? I minored in Aquatic Therapy in which I obtained my Aquatic Exercise Association Instructor Certification and became a Certified Pool Operator and worked as both before I came to Physical Therapy school!
Describe your journey to choosing physical therapy as your profession. I have always been interested in the profession, but knew it was for me when I witnessed PT’s impact it had on my family. After being a professional golfer his entire life, my Uncle, had a severe car accident which left him with major right shoulder complications, a below the knee amputation, and various other debilitating injuries. After months and years of physical therapy, he is now golfing again and beating everyone who has the nerve to play him on the course! Physical Therapy helped bring his passion back into his life by giving him the ability to relearn the sport while living with his injuries, which me and my family are so grateful for!
Discuss why you chose the DPT program at WCU and/or what you have appreciated about your experience at WCU. I chose the WCU DPT program because of its location and all it had to offer! The mountains are where I feel like home and I loved the idea of the MAPPT clinic and structure of the program! Since being here I have grown to love it more than I could have ever imagined, and it has done nothing but reinforced my decision in attending school here. I tribute that to both my fellow students and professors. Everyone is so encouraging and intelligent and I’m so grateful to be surrounded by such supportive people in this journey!