Class of 2017, Doctor of Physical Therapy
San Antonio, Texas
Jessica Ostrower never imagined she would become a physical therapist when she was an undergraduate student at Barnard College, Columbia University studying Middle Eastern History and Art History. However, here she is, wrapping up her final year in the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program at Radford University.
While working on a Ph.D. in Visual Studies in California, Ostrower realized she was enjoying the teaching aspects of the program, but not the research.
“At that time, I was also teaching yoga and feeling more and more like my passions lay somewhere at the intersection of teaching, health care, movement and anatomy,” Ostrower says. “I found out about physical therapy through an acquaintance whose son has Cerebral Palsy and everything clicked into place.”
With a new reason to pursue her passions in her life, Ostrower enrolled in science courses to ensure she had the prerequisites to enroll in a prestigious DPT program. She then began the task of researching DPT programs throughout the U.S.
Ostrower was quickly attracted to Radford University because of the success of its first-year DPT class, which had a 100% licensure examination pass rate and a 100% employment rate post-graduation. She was also drawn to the small class size which would allow her to form close relationships with faculty and classmates.
“The smaller group makes it much easier to connect with faculty, receive one-on-one attention, and develop a sense of community,” Ostrower said.
Although the majority of Ostrower’s background was in the liberal arts, she quickly connected with the program and her classmates.
“What I've learned is that, though I may not have an extensive repertoire of interventions or a lengthy history with the profession, I have a huge amount of passion and empathy for my patients,” said Ostrower.
The faculty and students within the DPT program have been a compassionate and understanding addition to Ostrower’s busy life. Over winter break, the Ostrower’s welcomed a daughter and all the faculty and students within the program were extremely supportive, allowing Ostrower to excel both as a student and as a mother.
Not only does the DPT program provide extensive academic education and clinical experience, but research is also an essential aspect of the program. For Ostrower’s capstone project, where students pursue independent research on a physical therapy question or problem of their choice, Ostrower and her team researched devices to improve mobility for stroke survivors. The team used innovative and emerging physical therapy technology with Carilion Roanoke Community Hospital patients throughout their groundbreaking research.
The soon-to-be doctor hopes to work in either an inpatient hospital setting or within pediatrics after graduation. As she looks ahead to the future, Ostrower knows that the DPT program has provided her with the skills and experience she needs to become an accomplished physical therapist.
"I feel so fortunate to have been able to attend a DPT program that not only values academic and clinical excellence, but also service, community and family,” said Ostrower.