Corey McLeodGrand Blanc, MI
What is your educational background prior to Marist?
Graduated from Michigan State University with a bachelors in Kinesiology with a specialization in Health Promotion. I was an EMT-B during my undergraduate studies. I am currently a Doctoral Student of Physical Therapy and preparing for my upcoming board licensure exam, as well as my CSCS exam (certificated sports and conditioning specialist).
Why did you choose to pursue your graduate degree at Marist? Why did you choose to pursue this degree program?
The Marist College DPT program offers a top-notch facility, excellent educators and smaller cohorts which provide a more intimate setting. Although more expensive than a state program, I have no regrets on the level of attention and resources available that helped me succeed and prepare for my clinicals. I chose to pursue a DPT for many reasons. This field allows me to be challenged and engaged (mentally and physically) each day in a rewarding way. I never have to be limited to one setting, and the field of Physical Therapy is always evolving, therefore I can continue my growth as a medical provider and never be bored.
What are your career goals / academic goals?
I am planning to obtain my Orthopedic Clinical Specialist (OCS) certification and become a credentialed manual therapist. I would like to eventually open my own clinical practice in outpatient orthopedics.
Tell us about a project or course that was particularly meaningful to your professional development / academic development.
What stands out to me is not just a specific course, but how the DPT faculty consistently delivers effort for students’ success as a whole. For instance, our anatomy professor, Dr. Fojas, provided a lecture on study strategies during our first semester. This had been structured from her own research projects related to self-regulated learning and metacognition, amongst other established tactics that helped her and other students succeed through the stressful rigors of academia. Other preeminent examples include more subtle actions. As I reflect on my last year, I believe some of the professors purposely helped me develop and build strengths in areas that I considered weak. I was approached by several faculty members who insisted I would be a good fit to help tutor their students and even participate as an anatomical lab assistant. My initial confidence with taking on such responsibilities (especially during a busy semester) was lack lusting to say the least, and surely there was some doubt in my eyes when I agreed to take it on. Long story short, I trusted their judgement and am glad I did! Being an educator is a key component of the physical therapist’s role, and by assisting other students, I have improved my communication and confidence in my abilities to express my understanding of topics and help educate others, preparing me to be a better professional.
Tell us about a meaningful experience you had at Marist as it pertains to your degree (whether that be with a Professor, Marist service, Scholarship opportunity, etc.).
It’s difficult to choose which experience to share, but the White Coat Ceremony stands out. This event is typically held for students of health care, like us, prior to our first clinical rotation in celebration of academic achievements as we enter the next step towards our career. It was easy to notice the effort and love from the faculty to organize and make the event special. Once Dr. Mende helped don my white coat and seeing everyone together wearing theirs, I felt a sense of gratitude toward the program and to the members of my cohort for their selflessness with helping each other get to that point.
What advice would you give to a student considering pursuing this degree at Marist?
Marist is an excellent program to choose for DPT, if you’re certain on pursuing this field. People don’t choose PT because of its pay; they choose PT because they love learning and can make a difference in someone’s life (and don’t mind a lot of paperwork). If you get into this program, stay confident and open minded. Always ask the why behind what you’re learning. And remember, it’s ALL important! Do not hesitate to ask for help if needed, as the faculty and students at Marist fully supports your success. Lastly, schedule time for yourself to balance the stress (rest, gym, hiking, etc.).
Anything else you want people to know about your personal Marist experience?
I am glad I participated in many extracurricular events related to PT. This includes, but is not limited to, the Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s fundraisers, CSM conference, and APTA district meetings. Furthermore, my doctoral project on establishing a student-run pro bono physical therapy clinic contributed to my academic and professional development. Taking action and being involved with what Marist offered has helped improve my preparedness and create meaningful experiences that I could have passed.