Student and Alumni Experiences

Ryan Hill
Class of 2014

"The UNE program feels like a big family to me.  I love all of our involvement and our passion to see everyone not only do well but excel in the program.  Our professors also encourage this goal from us, and they are like the parents we do not want to let down.  I am currently the president of the UNE 2014 class, the treasurer for GAPSA, and the Maine Core Ambassador for the APTA.  My professors and classmates have challenged me here at UNE and shaped me into the person I am today.

"Our first clinical begins in September of 2012 where I will be placed at an in-patient rotation. I look forward to developing more skills beyond what I already know. I feel confident that my professors have prepared me for this opportunity, and I will make the most out of every minute.  What has shaped me into the professional I have become today is the professors that we have had.  A plethora of physical therapists from the community in adjunct with our astounding faculty gives us an opportunity to learn from two different perspectives.  This is probably the pinnacle of our program; the extensive knowledge that we gain from practical experience from the faculty and communities' physical therapists."

Amy Muntifering
Class of 2014

"I love how close our 2014 class is! Even though they took more students this past year and we are all from different places of the country, we are all very good friends and spend a lot of time together outside of class. Since the graduate campus is so small, I really feel comfortable that I am part of the UNE community. Faces become familiar and it is very welcoming from the start. The faculty of the DPT program have a very positive attitude and it seems to rub off on everyone. They really show how much they enjoy their work, and it is very encouraging. I have nothing but positive things to say about this program and about the community at UNE.

"I am just getting ready for my first clinical since I have just completed my first year of the program. It was very important to get through this year of curriculum to develop a strong base of knowledge to build upon. I look forward to growing more as a physical therapist on this clinical, and I'm excited to apply all the knowledge we learned this year. The courses and lab practicals this past year were very important to get me prepared and feeling confident for clinical."

Jessie Arnold
Class of 2013

"The Portland Campus of UNE is located really close to some great restaurants, shops and great places to check out. The Finley Rec Center offers some awesome classes that are free to students. My favorite so far is zumba. We even got some guys to participate - and come back! There are lots of places to study but also lots of places to just hang out like the new Wing lounge area. If you ever need someone to proof read a paper or a place to go and study in a group, the Proctor Center is perfect. They offer tutors for many of the PT courses and can help you find ways to study efficiently and effectively.

"I love the DPT program because of the professors. They really are so involved and are really approachable people. They are always willing to help you out with struggles you may face during a course, provide information about programs to get involved in the area, or just to have a chat with. Plus, they tend to know ins and outs of the area. Each one can provide you with their past experience and current knowledge, and the adjunct faculty really help to provide their experience working in a clinical setting now and how your coursework relates. They have all made an impact on my education so far and I hope that I can repay them by being an effective therapist when I graduate in May 2013.

"There are also so many community experiences and volunteer opportunities within the program that really provide understanding of the role of the physical therapist and how diverse it is. The support that is offered by the UNE PT department, and offered to the community, makes it well worth the experience of being a UNE graduate student.

"All of my clinical experiences have been great thus far. I attended one in New Hampshire at Granite State Physical therapy and my second clinical in Alaska - a place I highly recommend! I have also been involved in community outreach experiences such as working with the men's shelter to get people without homes new shoes and checked for any foot problems. This experience was life altering as many of the people I met I would not have otherwise known were without a home, many trying to support their families. They were so thankful and it was an amazing feeling to do something small that had such a huge impact on other people. 

"My pediatrics and adult neuro courses have also had a huge impact. Pediatrics allowed me to work with children with disabilities, and it has really helped me appreciate the leaps and bounds that families and children can make with the right support from PT and other disciplines. Adult neuro was a fascinating course which really helped me to better understand the treatment and patient's world after experiencing central nervous system injury. All of these opportunities have really helped enrich my understanding and appreciation of the diversity and practice of PT."

Jay Mizuta
Class of 2013

"I have full confidence that many DPT programs throughout the country have the ability to offer their students the tools they need to pass the boards and without a doubt UNE is amongst them. However, UNE has learned to incorporate more than just the book knowledge needed to succeed as a doctor of physical therapy.

"This program has developed unique faculties that facilitate an ongoing character building process.  UNE encourages their students to not only excel within their profession, but as genuine individuals who care about what they do and the impact they make on those around them.  Patients are always viewed as individuals with a condition, never the other way around.  As students, we are constantly reminded to remain open and receptive to how the patient is responding and how we can best serve their needs. 

"Being involved in inter-professional committees, I have been able to further my understanding in how other health professions affect me, and how I can better myself to ease the stress and educate those who I hope to one day work alongside to make the best decision for our patients.  

"My first affiliation with Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington, Vermont was not only a test of my knowledge and education, but a jolt to the reality to how skilled and caring physical therapists permeate into a patient's recovery.  My relationship with Fletcher Allen exposed the impact Physical therapists have not only on the patient, but how you can steer the entire treatment team towards a patient’s return to function.  

"Recently I have been conducting research alongside two of my classmates, under the guidance of Dr. Cavanaugh. We are evaluating the real world applicability/application of a Parkinson’s specific exercise program located at a local clinic. These programs are relatively new, sprouting up in various locations around the country. This has proven a challenge and a true blessing.  Working alongside such passionate and knowledgeable individuals has provided me with something to strive toward.  I want to absorb as much information as possible in order to eventually publish informatively. "

Alysson Hamlin
Class of 2013

"I like UNE’s DPT program for many reasons. One is the staff are amazing. The professors have been very accommodating and are available to students for extra help. They are also very personable and knowledgeable. I think a great education is not just what is taught, but how it is taught, and the professors have a way of making the material easier to understand and interesting. It is evident they are all passionate about physical therapy.

"The way the program is set up is also appealing to me. I like that it begins with a foundation. There is a full year of classes and then we are able to practice skills on three 12-week-long clinical rotations every-other semester (alternating with classes). By 6 weeks of my first rotation I felt I was finally comfortable with the facility, and by 12 weeks I felt I had a grasp on everything I had learned and could move on. It is the perfect balance. 

"My first clinical rotation was in a sub-acute inpatient setting at Central Maine Medical Center. It had a large impact on my interests as a physical therapy student. I originally was not attracted to working in a hospital; however, I found working with people who have had a stroke, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injuries, and amputation to be very rewarding. I like to be challenged and these are all diagnoses that are physically, mentally, and emotionally stimulating. I had a chance to see dramatic changes occur, such as a person who had a stroke progressing from being unable to sit up to climbing stairs in less than two months."

Taryn Wright
Class of 2013

"The faculty and staff of the DPT program are by far the best part. Each and every one of them wants to see the students succeed and that fosters the exact environment we have here at UNE. Smaller class sizes make it easy to get to know everyone and really make connections with them. The Portland campus is made up mostly of graduate students. This unique factor really lets students get involved with other students who are serious about their upcoming careers. It’s great being around so many students that are completely focused on their future.

"At this point I have just finished my second of three clinical rotations. UNE gave me a unique opportunity travel all over the country. I have gained tons of experience and have gotten to work with so many wonderful clinicians. I strongly feel these clinical experiences will set me up for great success in my future career. 

"The project I am looking most forward to is the research I will be conducting with a classmate in conjunction with the Ghana Health Service.  For 10 days in late July and early August I had the opportunity to travel to Ghana with a group of students and clinicians from UNE. This program has been in existence for 14 years and runs like a well oiled machine.

"The variety in patients that I saw was phenomenal. A patient with a spinal cord injury was one of the first we were able to treat.  Wheelchair transfers and pressure relief techniques were two vital interventions we were able to provide for him. Social workers were able to get involved with his care, along with the physician assistants, nurses, and even an engineer. This patient became the picture of interprofessional health care; it was a fantastic experience to see all the professions practicing in a collaborative effort.

"Several different cultural experiences are provided to the attending participants. We were able to visit the local market, have traditional clothes handmade for us, take part in a drumming and dancing lesson, walk amongst the tree tops in the rain forest, and experience the local cuisine.  It is a true immersion in another culture that will forever shape my clinical practice in physical therapy. I strongly encourage everyone to who is interested inquire about getting involved. It is a rare opportunity that deserves to be taken advantage of."

Rob Morrison
Class of 2012

"I joined the physical therapy program to deepen my understanding of human movement and learn to translate that into a way to help people improve their lives by helping them learn to improve the way that they move. UNE's program is built on the foundations of PT, anatomy, kinesiology, and problem solving.

"For me, that is a perfect fit. I was also consistently impressed by the faculty's ability to both challenge and support students. Finally, UNE's focus on, and excellence in, facilitating the transition from student to professional is something I don't think many prospective students consider (I didn't) but they certainly should.

"Working with peers and faculty on original research gave me an inside look and better understanding of how the knowledge that informs the practice of physical therapy is created. I think this is critical to being able to effectively use that knowledge to help people. Having 12-week clinical rotations, (instead of the more common 8 weeks) in itself was key to my professional development. At all three of my sites, I had the time to learn from clinicians and patients as well as develop comfort and Independence in each setting.

"After graduating, I accepted a position as the physical therapist for the Spaulding National Running Center. The center is run by Dr. Irene Davis and comprised of a research lab affiliated with Harvard Medical School and a running injury clinic affiliated with Spaulding Hospital. We specialize in the use of a research-based gait retraining program to treat and prevent overuse injuries in runners. I am also currently pursuing certification as an orthopedic clinical specialist and volunteering at a youth outreach Olympic lifting gym."

Cortney Krechkin
Class of 2012

"Between my undergraduate and graduate degrees I have spent 7 years as a UNE student. My favorite aspect of UNE has been the great relationships I’ve had with my professors throughout all the years. It has always been an open door policy, and I have always felt comfortable talking with all of my professors. The physical therapy program has a tight knit feel, almost a family-like atmosphere which is conducive for education and research.

"All three of my clinical rotations were extremely important because each one required a new level of skill and understanding. The time in the field is crucial because every day is a learning opportunity and a new challenge. 

"I was also able to conduct research with a group of my classmates which has been a challenging and laborious process, but an amazing opportunity. Our research project looked at balance and function in children and adults with disabilities participating in a therapeutic horseback riding program. We have presented our research at UNE’s Annual Research and Scholarship Symposium and at the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International Region 1 conference in Brattleboro, Vermont. 
What are your plans for the future?

"I recently found out I have passed the National Physical Therapy Licensure Exam, and have taken a full-time physical therapy position at Gray Birch Nursing Facility in Augusta, Maine. Currently my research group is seeking publication in a peer reviewed physical therapy journal for fall 2012. "