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What Our Students Say

Meet Doctor of Physical Therapy Student Sierra Turner 

Where is your hometown?

My hometown is Branson, Missouri.

What interested you to pursue a career in physical therapy?

I knew that I wanted to go into a career in the medical field and physical therapy was the career path that blended aspects of my life that I am passionate about: physical activity and helping people.  I recognized my passion for helping others in the time I spent working as a tutor during my undergraduate career.  From that experience, I realized that the reason I enjoyed the job was because I loved working one-on-one with students to help them meet their goals.  I looked forward to the challenge of presenting material in different ways to keep the students motivated.  I decided to pursue a career in physical therapy, as it would be a career that combined my passions: utilizing medical science principles to adapt physical activity interventions to help people achieve their goals in a one-on-one environment. 

What are your career objectives?  

I want to work with patients in the neuro population in either inpatient rehab or an outpatient setting. I would love to work with patients who have had an amputation and are learning to use their new prosthetic limb(s), as well as other patients with post-neurological insult such as stroke or spinal cord injury. Eventually, I would also like to become a professor, in addition to being a practicing PT.

How or why did you choose the University of Iowa for your education?  

I originally looked into coming to the University of Iowa because of the excellent reputation of the DPT program.  As I learned more about the program, the more I felt that it was a perfect fit for me.  I liked the small class size, excellent first time pass rate on the licensure exam, and the opportunities to perform research and to be involved in community service.  I remember leaving my interview for acceptance into the program with a big smile on my face and being very excited because I enjoyed all that I had experienced that day.  The faculty made a great impression and it was fun interacting with the current students and seeing them laugh and joke with each other.  I could see that this was a program where I could meet some great people who shared a passion for physical therapy and receive an excellent education as well.

What are some of your outside interests?

In my free time you can usually find me outdoors enjoying activities such as camping, kayaking, hiking, fishing, swimming, waters ports, and hunting or grilling and playing sand volleyball with friends.  I'm also a book worm; I enjoy getting lost in a good book.  Overall though, I really love just being around other people.

Is there a teacher or mentor who helped you decide on this career path?  

My family deserves a lot of credit for helping me decide on a career path.  They encouraged me to explore the possibilities available, motivating me to continually challenge myself to reach my full potential and find a career that would facilitate that.  

What one piece of advice would you give to a prospective student?

When completing observation hours, try out as many different practice settings as you can.  It not only will help you gain insight into the clinical world, but will also help you to decide if you want to choose this career.  PT school is hard work with many long hours spent studying so you want to make sure you are going into it for the right reasons.  Also, look for open houses and other outreach type of events that PT programs host.  These events give you a good view of what PT is about, what the program has to offer, and how it compares to other schools.  Visiting schools is another way to get an idea of what the school has to offer beyond just researching online.  Okay, maybe that was two pieces of advice, but both are good things to do!

Why would you recommend students to apply to the University of Iowa DPT Program?

The program really provides a well-rounded experience of a great academic curriculum and social environment.  The faculty and staff here are excellent; they are great resources and very approachable.  I feel comfortable asking questions and have always felt welcome when going to visit a professor in his or her office.  It is a unique experience here as we are a part of the medical school, so we have a lot of interaction with students in the other medical programs.  There are tons of activities that you can get involved in outside of class, such as intramural sports and working with members of the community who need physical therapy services, just to name a few.  When I came to the University of Iowa, which is 7 hours from my hometown, I moved to a city where I didn't know a single person; but I immediately felt at home and I am very happy with my decision to attend the PT program here.