Medical Facilities of America (MFA) is dedicated to our students’ success and wants to highlight students for their efforts. The MFA Student Standout for the month of October is Michael Casillas.
Name: Michael Casillas
Hometown: Whiting, Indiana
Undergraduate degree and school: Exercise Science and Underwater Resource Management, Indiana University
What the faculty are saying about him?
“Michael’s natural curiosity is a delight to all the faculty! He is always engaged and contributes to class discussions in meaningful ways. He keeps application to patients at the forefront of his mind. The courage he displays when he asks questions is a great example for his peers about healthy risk. However, he also shows a sensitivity to how his interactions and questions affect his classmates and the overall learning in the classroom. He is friendly in the hallways, always bringing a smile and a hello with a ‘how are you today?’ greeting. His positive outlook and engagement both in and outside of the classroom serve as a catalyst for his personal and professional growth. As a student, Michael represents this program well and we are confident he will continue to represent us all well over the years of his career as a physical therapist. We are grateful Michael is a part of this program!”
— Dr. Sue Curfman, Assistant Professor
What sparked your interest in physical therapy?
I have always been an athlete and have stayed active in one form or another. I became obsessed with resistance training during my undergrad, but I did not do it properly and developed some impairments because of it. I learned that the body must be in balance, and not just to focus on the “manly” muscles. Trying to self-rehabilitate my impairments expanded my mind to a whole new side of exercise: exercise as rehabilitation versus exercise for sports performance. This led me to personal training geriatric individuals with the goal of restoring independence in their lives. These experiences ultimately helped me to conceptualize movement in a completely new way. Movement is so much more than muscles pulling on levers to move through space; it is freedom and should never be taken for granted. Thus, I was inspired to pursue a more advanced theoretical and clinical understanding of the human body as well as how to restore its function.
What’s the most exciting part of the DPT program?
The professors are by far the most exciting part of the program. I could not have chosen a better faculty to learn from. They are all extremely knowledgeable, and more importantly they truly care about me. It is such a great feeling. Their enthusiasm and love for the profession is evident in everything they do, and I have complete confidence in their ability to mold my classmates and myself into successful physical therapists.
What do you hope to do with your degree?
I hope to join the Air Force post graduation and begin my career serving my country and those who protect it. Traveling the world as a soldier would be amazing as well. I have also considered continuing my education in the future by striving for a PhD in Exercise Physiology. Ultimately, I would like to be a practicing clinician while also being a professor at an institution helping shape the minds of the future.
What are some of your hobbies?
Anything active such as sports, Muay Thai kickboxing, hiking, swimming, scuba diving, resistance training, and playing with my dog of course. I also love to learn so school is perfect for me.
What is your favorite quote?
“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” Michael Jordan. I try to live my life putting forth passion in everything I do such as school, relationships, and life in general. Like “His Airness,” if I put passion into what I do and fail, I can be okay with the outcome. The one thing I hate living with most is regret from lack of trying due to fear of the undesirable.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Family is the most important thing in my life. I would not be in the position that I am in today had I not had the love and support from my family and friends. I do my best to honor their investment in me, especially my mom and my late brother.