August 2013: Sarah Neal

Medical Facilities of America is dedicated to our students' success and wants to highlight students for their efforts! MFA has selected Sarah Neal as the Student of the Month for August.

Learn how our DPT students are going above and beyond!

Sarah NealName: Sarah Scruggs Neal

Hometown: Grit, Virginia

Undergraduate degree and school: Longwood University, biology and athletic training major

What her professors are saying about her:

“Sarah is an absolute joy to teach. In her short time in the program, she has distinguished herself not only through her high marks in the classroom, but more importantly through her enthusiasm for learning. Sarah comes to class every day with a smile on her face, excited to learn. She has a wonderful sense of humor, and her characteristic laugh can be heard throughout the halls of our building. Sarah genuinely cares about the well-being and performance of her classmates, and she has offered her help in tutoring any classmates who were struggling.

Sarah has also participated in the service of the free clinic. This is significant in that the rigor of the first semester of the program is academically demanding. Her commitment to service makes a statement about her ability to manage academic demands and still give of herself for the good of others. In the clinic, Sarah has interacted in a confident and professional manner with the patient. She also took appropriate risks when interacting with Dr. Curfman over academic material while with the patient. Sarah appeared comfortable testing the boundary of her knowledge level and freely acknowledged errors without being undone by this. We will continue to look forward to teaching Sarah and watching her grow as a student, clinician, and person.”

- Price Blair, PhD, Assistant Professor

What sparked your interest in physical therapy?

Physical therapy was not at the top of my list when I began college at Longwood University. I had an idea of physical therapy in my mind, but I probably knew more about African Elephants than I did about the career. After speaking with the Assistant Director of Athletic Training for an hour, I determined my new major would be biology along with intro classes to athletic training, and a shadowing opportunity at a local clinic was feasible. I volunteered at the clinic for 2 years for about 10 hours a week during school. I picked up a minor called Pre-Professional Clinical Studies after taking classes in the AT department. I was intrigued by the muscles and bones when I took anatomy for my Biology degree. I knew I was on the right track.

What's the most exciting part of the DPT program?

Cadaver lab, by far, is the highlight of the DPT program. (Keep in mind I’ve only taken two classes.) Learning the anatomy from our textbooks and teachers wouldn’t be the same without it! By the way, the Brachial Plexus is way more complicated than the little drawings we made in class.

What do you hope to do with your degree?

All of my experience has been in different outpatient clinics predominately, but I certainly want to explore different aspects of the field of Physical Therapy. It amazes me how Physical Therapists in acute care can “walk” post-surgery patients with multiple tubes dangling all around them!

What are some of your hobbies?

When I’m on breaks from school, I love floating the river, fishing, hunting, throwing horseshoes, walking the dogs, and hanging out with good friends and family. It’s the simple things that keep me smiling.

What is your favorite quote?

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming 'Wow! What a Ride!'"  - Hunter S. Thompson