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meet Kristen, DPT Student, Miami

Why did you decide to enter the field of physical therapy?

Throughout high school and college, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in health care. However, it wasn’t until after I graduated college that I decided on pursuing physical therapy when I realized I could combine my interest in the human body with my passion for movement and helping others achieve their fitness and performance goals. While working at Fit 2 Run, a local running store in St. Petersburg FL, I assisted customers in finding the optimal pair of running shoes, nutrition, and gear to prevent injuries and meet their training goals. I also assisted in leading the weekly run club and ran as a pacer at several races, helping other runners meet their goal time. Nothing was more rewarding than when a previous customer or fellow runner thanked me after a race for helping them cross the finish line, whether it was due to helping them find the right shoes or giving them the encouragement needed to set a new personal record. Pursuing a career in physical therapy has allowed me to gain an even deeper understanding of the human movement system and has equipped me with the necessary skills to prevent and rehabilitate injuries, optimize performance, and empower others to maintain an active lifestyle. Like leading my fellow runners across the finish line, I hope to provide the encouragement, support, and education to help my patients meet their performance and fitness goals.  

What is your background?

I am a second year Doctor of Physical Therapy student at the University of Miami. I grew up in South Florida participating in various water sports including swimming, diving, and sailing. I began swimming competitively in first grade and continued throughout high school where I competed at the Varsity level for both swimming and diving. I also learned how to sail during high school and decided to attend the University of South Florida for undergrad, where I was a starting member of the Women’s Varsity Sailing Team and was recognized as an Academic All American. During high school and college, I enjoyed teaching swim lessons and coaching youth sailing. After graduating college, I began participating in endurance sports and competing in triathlons while working at a local running store. Outside of competitive sports, I enjoy spending time outdoors by kayaking, scuba diving, yoga, hiking, and rock climbing. 

What is your specialty/ niche when it comes to being a future PT?

As a second-year student, I am still narrowing down exactly where I would like to focus my career, however I am really interested in working with an active population from weekend warriors to higher level athletes. Due to my experience sailing and competing in triathlons, I am especially interested in working with endurance athletes. I also have an interest in working with younger athletes to ensure they have the foundations necessary to maintain a physically active lifestyle.

What are you most looking forward to joining the rehab 2 perform team?

Rehab 2 Perform embodies how physical therapy should look with their focus on patient centered care and education. I am really looking forward to the opportunity to learn from the Rehab 2 Perform team and to grow as a future clinician. As this is my first clinical experience, I am excited to apply all the concepts learned in class and sharpen my hands-on examination and treatment skills under the guidance of a knowledgeable mentor.

What are you plans on trying to engage and connect with the community?

Rehab 2 Perform’s engagement with the local community exhibits their commitment to furthering education in the field of physical therapy. I hope to take part in any opportunity available to connect with the community through social media, career days at local high schools, or setting up an information table at a local running race.