First DPT class to graduate

Wednesday May 8 2013


Forty-one students in the College’s first Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) class graduated May 18 and were honored at a hooding ceremony May 17 in the Dell. Another three are expected to graduate by the end of summer.

The DPT program was granted candidacy status by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) in 2010 and was fully accredited April 24, 2013.

“We are excited to receive this prestigious full accreditation. That speaks to the quality of the College, our faculty, and our students,” said Dr. Rusty Smith, director of the DPT program. “We now have three cohorts of DPT students studying hard to become physical therapists so they can provide high quality health care.”

The DPT program is a three-year graduate program that prepares students to enter the physical therapy profession. Established in partnership with the regional health care community, the DPT program is designed to meet the growing demand for physical therapists.

The 120-semester hour program includes 40 weeks of supervised clinical experiences at health care facilities in all 50 states.

The class boasts a number of impressive students, Dr. Smith, said, including five who had children during their three-year program.

Maddy BosekMadeline “Maddy” Bosek (pictured at left) started her DPT program with three-month-old son Russell, and ended it with a second child, daughter Quinn, just weeks before graduation.

Despite the overwhelming demands of small children, Maddy still managed to exceed expectations as a student. “She is probably one of the top all-around students I’ve known in 25 years,” Dr. Smith said.

Maddy attributes her juggling abilities to being extremely well organized. She also thought it would be easier to have an infant and a toddler during DPT school than to have older children who need help with homework and to be shuttled to music lessons or soccer practice. “If I was going to do it, it had to be now,” she said.

Maddy said she has had great support from her husband Rory, her in-laws, and her DPT family.  “They are very family-oriented,” she said of her faculty. “They know life happens.”

The native of California describes LC’s DPT program as “vigorous and time-consuming,” but she has been thrilled to learn new marvels on a daily basis.

“I love the way the body works; I think it’s fascinating,” she said.

Maddy, who received her bachelor’s at San Diego State University and her master’s at James Madison University, was an athletic trainer at Liberty University for four years, but she knew she wanted a less hectic schedule to have a family, and physical therapy was a natural progression. Her mother is a physical therapist so she had firsthand exposure to its demands.

Maddy has completed four of five required clinicals, with one to go. (Having a child during DPT school did mean that Maddy missed one clinical so she will not graduate until August.) Her experience has been well-rounded: she worked with the handicapped population at Central Virginia Training Center in Madison Heights; pediatrics at Blue Ridge Therapy in Lynchburg; and outpatient orthopedic clinics in California and Lynchburg. She will have one more clinic in Crozet, Va.,  this summer. She plans to take her boards in October and hopes to get fulltime work in an outpatient orthopedic clinic.

Maddy was not the only DPT student with added parental responsibilities. One other female and three males also had newborns (four of them had pregnancies at the same time). In fact, Dr. Smith said if any other students became expectant parents, they would have to name the child after him. So far, there are no “Rustys” or “Rustinas.”