This interview is part of FitPTs interview series. A big "Thank You!" to Michelle Wynne, SPT for taking the time to participate in the interview. Michelle is a student in the DPT program at California State University - Long Beach, she was recently elected APTASA Board of Directors Secretary, she is the California (CA) sSIG Treasurer, and serves as the CA sSIG Newsletter Committee Chair.
FitPT: Why did you choose CSULB PT school and what advice do you have for others on choosing a school?
Michelle: I chose CSULB for PT school mainly because of the cost of attendance. I had a friend graduate from the MPT program at CSULB and she only had great things to say about her time in the program.
Another reason I chose CSULB was the amount of clinical opportunities available for students. In addition to our clinical affiliations, we see patients in our Neuro Pro Bono clinic as well as faculty practice, PT@ the Beach, during our 2nd and 3rd year of the program.
FitPT: What other professions/careers were you deciding between when you finally decided to pursue PT and what ultimately influenced you to choose PT?
Michelle: I was enrolled in an entry-level MSOT program right after high school but decided that it was not a good fit. I, then, became a pre-med students but didn't enjoy the competitive environment or the idea of spending only a few minutes with each of my patients. During my senior year at UC Davis, I found myself going back to the drawing board. I knew two things: I wanted to be able to spend time with my patients and I wanted to help them get back on their feet. PT was exactly the right choice and I've never looked back.
FitPT: You serve multiple roles; APTASA Board of Directors Secretary, CA sSIG Treasurer, and CA sSIG Newsletter Committee Chair just to name a few. When you graduate, if you had to recommend one role to a SPT that wanted to get involved, what would it be and why?
Michelle: In all honesty, I don't think I would recommend a specific to role to any student. I would instead recommend that they either become or remain engaged APTA members. I think once you become active in the APTA you eventually find "your people" and your professional home. Whether or not you choose a leadership role depends on your interests but the most value you will find in your membership is definitely the connections you make with other members.
FitPT: You were one of many important individuals who helped launch the CA sSIG, please share with us the experience and any recommendations for students looking to start a sSIG in their state.
Michelle: Launching the CA Student SIG has been an incredible experience. I've had the opportunity to collaborate with many talented students and professional leaders to create an organization for DPT and PTA students in our state.
For those looking to start their own sSIG, I would recommend 4 things:
- Contact the sSIG and LCN Project Committee Chair or any member of the Student Assembly Board of Directors (SABoD) for a starter kit
- Find a Board member from your state association to be your liaison
- Start creating a team of individuals to help you create your vision and by-laws
- Start creating a student liaison network of all DPT and PTA programs in your state. This will ensure everyone is represented once your sSIG is official!
FitPT: When you start your job search, what type of position will you be looking for and why?
Michelle: First and foremost, I will be looking for a job that offers mentoring. I think it's essential to have some guidance from an experienced PT as I begin to navigate the waters of clinical practice in order to prevent any bad habits from forming. I would also look for a job that offered to subsidize continuing education and accepted students for clinical affiliations. It is very important for me to work in a clinic that values evidence-based practice and promotes clinical education.
FitPT: I’ve lived most of my life in Northern California but also lived for eight years in Southern California so I’ll ask you the question I get all the time…Which one do you prefer and why?
Michelle: Great question! I would definitely have to say Northern California. Traffic is much more predictable and the public transportation is far more accessible and easy to navigate. I also love the weather, the wineries, and the great hiking that Northern California has to offer 🙂