Successful Alumni and Students

Veronica Zapata

Physical Therapist Assistant
Senior, Interdisciplinary Studies major
Expected graduation date: December 2013

Melissa Yost

After witnessing an individual’s determination and resilience to overcome an obstacle, Veronica became inspired to pursue a career in physical therapy. “I always had a great interest in physical activity and exercise. While working for a gym, I saw my manager work with and train a client who was dealing with the effects of a stroke. Because this client had no health insurance, she sought personal training services to regain the physical activity she needed to function in her everyday life. Although the proper therapeutic interventions provided by physical therapy would have been ideal for her, she was still very grateful and had a strong determination to get back to her ‘old self.’ Watching this woman’s strong will and desire to achieve things that most humans take for granted, it became evident to me that there was more to my life than solely helping people get ‘fit.’ Her resilience compelled me to look further into the field of physical therapy and I found that it was my personal calling.”

While Veronica’s educational road has been a fairly long one, she is now reaping the rewards. She first obtained her associate of applied science degree in the physical therapist assistant program at Owens Community College. Shortly thereafter, she obtained her Physical Therapist Assistant license and began working in the field. The therapist’s next step was more homework- to determine the best way to gain acceptance into a doctorate program that would complement her work schedule. The best fit was Lourdes’ Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies (BA-IS) program.

“My Lourdes education has helped me tremendously. I have been especially fortunate to be able to pursue the BA-IS degree, and tailor it to fit my needs and interests. I was able to satisfy all of the science prerequisites required for the University of Findlay’s Doctorate of Physical Therapy Program and able to minor in psychology. Most degrees are bound by constraints of prerequisites but the BA-IS degree allows you to have free reign so-to-speak. Of course, you have your general curriculum to abide by but the electives are individualized. It truly is a great degree!”

Veronica is particularly thankful for the support she has received from her advisor Mary Douglas and psychology professor Dr. Larry Godfrey. She also credits the transfer partnership program between Owens Community College and Lourdes University. “Through this program, I was able to map out the classes I needed to take at Lourdes prior to stepping foot on the campus. I would advise any Owens student to take advantage of the Owens/Lourdes partnership program.”

In December 2013, Veronica will graduate from Lourdes and in January 2014 will begin the next phase in the University of Findlay’s Physical Therapist Assistant to Doctorate of Physical Therapy Weekend College Program. This bridge program specifically allows physical therapy assistants to continue working while pursuing their doctorate. When she graduates, Veronica’s goal is to be employed in a sports care physical therapy setting.

A self-described lifelong learner and runner, Veronica believes she would not have reached her educational goals without the support of her loved ones. “My parents, husband and son have been a great support system throughout my academic ventures.”

Having maintained a spot on the honor roll throughout her Lourdes education and being a Diamante Scholarship Award winner, the future doctor advises students pursuing this field to take all of their prerequisites seriously. “It is easy to think that the grades you receive in these courses do not matter because they are not directly related to physical therapy but they really do! When applying for graduate school, your overall GPA and science and math GPA will be the determining factors of whether or not you get accepted. Maintaining sight of the ultimate goal is important and will keep you motivated.”

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