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Graduation 2013

College Celebrates Ninth Graduating Class of the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program
Subtitle: Twenty-Seven Earn DPT Degrees During October Ceremony
Date: 10/05/2013

Student Spotlight
DPT 2013 Commencement

Mount St. Mary’s College (MSMC), Los Angeles, proudly announces the ninth graduating class of the Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree Program. In a ceremony Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013 twenty-seven students celebrated completing the program at the Rose Hills Auditorium followed by the reception at the South Lawn of the College’s Doheny Campus near downtown Los Angeles.

The graduates are: Michelle Andersen, Adam Babitts, Wayne Bonkowski, Katherine Bunker, Christine Follett, Christine Greco, Erin Hannink, Ryan Harper, Jessica Hejde, Colleen Keenan, Tracey Knox, Joseph Ku, Nicole Lopes, Meghan Messmer, Ari Pouya, Rebecca Raines, Shahrzad Sadrpour, Marisa Schmitt, Megan Steele, Francisca Stern, James Robert Szalay, Tony Tran, Anat Weingarten, Emily Winkler, Christopher Wong, Nicholas Wong, Michael Wright

"My classmates will be happy to know that I have a timer sitting here so I only get to entertain you for under 10 minutes. If I talk to long just start some loud elevator music and I’ll get the point. So…. You know you’re a DPT STUDENT when you feel like you’re reliving a scene from the Beautiful Mind where Russell Crowe is frantically writing math theorems on his windows. You know you’re a DPT GRADUATE when you’re on a treadmill, practically falling over, because you’re too busy analyzing the runner in front of you. And you know you’re a Doctor of Physical Therapy when you approach that runner with your business card and ask them if they have right knee pain. Getting to this point has been a life changing process. Most of us experienced some time of nervous breakdown, dreamt of Dr. Chang’s grill sessions, and regularly drank the maximum daily allowance of energy drinks. I think a couple students won prizes for the amount of Monsters they consumed.  Luckily we had our friends and family, as well as the MSMC Physical Therapy family to help us get out alive and smarter than we even thought was possible," said Anat Weingarten, as she addressed her 27 fellow graduates and their families. "

Thank You Friends and Family! As for our family, we are well aware of the classmates that got spoiled with gourmet lunches and dinners (Dr. Chang will never let me live down my filet mignon meal during midterms!) If it wasn’t for our social support, our experience would have been a mess. We also know that life doesn’t stop just because you’re in PT school. Some of us have experienced the loss of a loved one, personal health challenges, and special obligations which truly tested our ability to stay focused and persist in the program. I think I speak for all of us when I say: we couldn’t have made it without our loved ones! They were the glue that held us together when we questioned how we even got into this program and the times we were certain we had every medical condition in the book. Supposedly there are at least 5 of us with a slipped disc, one with damage from multiple concussions (not sure how he’s so smart), and many of us with weak abdominals! Thank You MSMC! We have to thank the MSMC faculty and staff for the brilliance that emerged from this chaos:  They put in extra hours to guide us and prevent us from failing! They believed that we will make a change in people’s lives And they demonstrated patience during our unprofessional moments (we know there were a few….)And as a whole, the DPT program at MSMC is unique in its focus on teaching empathy and providing us with skills for supporting patients through a range of situations. They taught us to consider the individual as a whole and place the patient’s needs at the forefront of our practice. These are invaluable lessons," Weingarten continues.

"Our Future! So now that we’ve made it this far... what’s next? We always hear about the importance of life-long learning and overall self-development. But what does that really mean? In truth we have a choice whether we consider physical therapy a job or a responsibility. Let’s make a choice to see it as a responsibility. We have a responsibility to do something positive with our newfound knowledge and continue to learn so that we can make the most out of every patient interaction.  Some of you may have heard about the butterfly effect. It’s the theory that everything matters. Even the flutter of a butterfly’s wings can cause a hurricane on the other side of the world. If you change even the smallest of life's details, you completely change its outcome. It may sound presumptuous but I like the think that if we can help someone, even a little, we might be triggering a series of wonderful moments in that person’s life and beyond. On that note, I’d like to end with this little thought….. By choosing the physical therapy profession, we’ve chosen to live responsibly, planning for a long and prosperous life… but at the same time…we’ve chosen to live like we’re dying because we’ve chosen a profession that can give us fulfillment in each moment of the day," Weingarten concluded. 

In 1981, the College established its Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy program, which was converted to a Masters of Physical Therapy program in 1991. In 2001, the College developed the Doctor of Physical Therapy program in response to a need for more extensive preparation in physical therapy. The College currently totals 89 students in the DPT program.