"I have the opportunity to get to know each student from the beginning of their educational journey in the PTA program to seeing them become licensed professionals and colleagues."
- Physical Therapist Assistant
She’s a working physical therapist assistant and instructor at Penn College. From the clinic to the classroom, Sheryl brings hands-on experience, promotes a patient-centered approach, and delivers results for her students and patients alike.
Q&A with Sheryl
WHEN DID YOU KNOW THAT PHYSICAL THERAPY WAS THE FIELD FOR YOU?
While I was in my high school anatomy and physiology class, I decided that I wanted to go into the healthcare field to help others I enjoyed learning about the muscular and skeletal systems. This class quickly piqued my interest to learn more about the body and how it moves and works. Growing up with a sister who has special needs, I had a deep compassion to help others. My older brother had become a physical therapist assistant. After hearing more about his profession, it became clear to me that the field of physical therapy was the direction I wanted to pursue. Finding a field that would fulfill both my desires to work in healthcare and help others was the perfect match.
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR WORK OUTSIDE OF TEACHING?
I work for UPMC as an outpatient per diem physical therapist assistant. This allows me to continue to help patients while keeping my hands-on skills sharp and to staying current in the physical therapy field.
HOW DOES YOUR REAL-WORLD EXPERIENCE BENEFIT STUDENTS?
I believe my experience has immensely helped make being a physical therapist assistant instructor at Penn College second nature. The years I have had with hands-on healthcare have built up a tremendous passion for the field and vastly provided me with knowledge and confidence in providing care to patients. This has made teaching exceptionally rewarding to me, but has also given me the challenge to ensure our students envision the amazingly rewarding career they have in front of them.
WHAT MAKES PENN COLLEGE'S PTA PROGRAM DIFFERENT?
I truly believe the passion each faculty member has for our students, our program, our campus and our profession makes us exceptional. We are able to provide our students with one-on-one conversations and to adapt to their individual needs as they arise. As an instructor, being able to teach skills that I have practiced and implemented over many years becomes very easy and even fun. I continually remind myself of when I was a student, just like my students are now, and show them understating that I, too, was once in their same exact place.
WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER ONE OF YOUR BIGGEST ACCOMPLISHMENTS?
One of my biggest accomplishments up to this point has been earning my bachelor's in Applied Health Studies from Penn College while also working as a full-time PTA with two small children at home.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT TEACHING AT PENN COLLEGE?
I like the fact that I have the opportunity to get to know each student from the beginning of their educational journey in the PTA program, to seeing them become licensed professionals and colleagues. I like sharing hands-on techniques of the physical therapy profession and my personal experiences of being a PTA.
Physical Therapist Assistant
Enjoy a hands-on career that allows you to promote an active recovery process and help patients lead pain-free lifestyles.
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