Physical Therapy Alumna Pursues Her Calling at Trauma and Stroke Hospital

By Katherine Tancredi

Published on April 26, 2019

Meredith StewartMeredith Stewart DPT’17, had hoped to attend a physical therapy program in Philadelphia so that she could experience the excitement of living in a city. University of the Sciences gained her attention after speaking with one of the admissions counselors. However, her admissions interview sealed the deal.

“I interviewed with three USciences professors who cared about me as a person and not just as a numbered student,” said Stewart. “Their interview process was captivating as they asked intriguing and off-the-wall questions that got to know me for me, instead of the traditional interview questions.”

Stewart currently works as a physical therapist at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center’s Level II Trauma Center and Comprehensive Stroke Center in Atlantic City, New Jersey. She was introduced to the facility during her second round of clinicals. Stewart had planned to pursue pediatric physical therapy when she began the program, but after her experience working with trauma and stroke patients, she found a new calling.

“This experience challenged me, motivated me and made me feel alive within the profession,” said Stewart. “USciences was the catalyst that pushed me outside of my comfort zone to try something I didn’t even know I was interested in that turned into my dream job.”

In addition to introducing Stewart to her current field of physical therapy, USciences’ hands-on curriculum helped to prepare her to work with patients in the field. One of the most helpful parts for Stewart was the opportunity to work with actual patients throughout the program.

“When professors would bring actual patients in to lab, have us participate in pro bono clinic, send us go out for experiential learning opportunities, and have us go on our four scheduled clinical rotations, it was the reminder of why we chose this career path,” explained Stewart. “To get the opportunity to treat and help people.”

Beginning her first year, Stewart also had the opportunity to participate in research. She worked with former USciences professor Kimberly Wynarczuk PhD, and colleague Rocco Aiello, a national certified adapted physical education instructor (CAPE) on a project that involved the lived experiences of parents, siblings and children with autism spectrum disorders. She received the William B. Inverso, Jr. Award for Excellence in Physical Therapy Research for her work.

Moving forward, Stewart continues to collaborate with her colleagues presenting at local and national conferences and is currently working to publish their research. She also plans to mentor to inspire students of her own.

“I just had my first student as a clinical instructor, so I want to continue to work with students and share the knowledge I acquired in school and within my work experience,” said Stewart.

For prospective students, Stewart has some advice.

“Try things, challenge yourself and let those above you like professors and alumni guide you into new experiences,” said Stewart. “You never know what will become your niche that sparks the most fulfillment and happiness.”

Categories: News, Samson College of Health Sciences, Department of Physical Therapy, Physical Therapy, Alumni, Proven Everywhere, Career