Pipeline Program: Summer Academic Enrichment Program (2012)
Year in school: Second year physical therapy student in the VCU Doctorate of Physical Therapy Program
High school/hometown: Atlee High School, Mechanicsville, VA
Interview Date: Summer 2014
Jessica Hart’s dream job is to be a physical therapist for a professional or collegiate level sports team. Hart also loves outpatient orthopedics and could see herself owning her own practice in the future.
Driven by her love for athletics, health and fitness, Hart graduated from JMU as a kinesiology/exercise science major in pursuit of a career in healthcare. During her undergraduate senior year, Hart’s advisor told her about the Summer Academic Enrichment Program three days before the application deadline. Even with such short notice, Hart still applied because she wanted to see what the next three years of school could potentially look like.
“I wanted to make sure I was mentally prepared to enter such a rigorous professional program,” Hart remembered. “I also wanted to see what VCU had to offer as far as their campus and professional staff.”
Once Hart arrived for the six-week program, she found multiple aspects of SAEP to support her decision to make the VCU School of Allied Health Professions her choice for physical therapy school.
“The most interesting piece was the interdisciplinary nature of every aspect of the program. It is very unique to interact with such a diverse group of individuals with interests in medicine, dentistry and pharmacy before entering professional school,” said Hart. “It really gives you an accurate perspective on what to expect in the coming years.”
Hart’s success in the program, amidst the rigorous courses and material, reassured her that she was prepared to enter professional school. The program encouraged her to maximize her potential and allowed her to accomplish things she never thought were possible. Upon reflection, Hart said that she would tell other students that participating in SAEP was a once in a lifetime opportunity that acted as a stepping stone to where she wanted to be in life.
“The program is designed for the student’s benefit, so don’t take this amazing opportunity for granted. Meet everyone you can, learn everything you can, take away everything you can, and don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. This experience will be what you make of it. Just do it! You can do anything for six weeks!”