Summer PT Institute Offers Inventive Onramp into Profession

By | August 23, 2022

Daemen has long been a destination for studying physical therapy.

As Daemen was one of the first four-year institutions in the country to offer a degree in the field starting in the 1970’s, it’s only fitting that the university launched a unique new program this summer  – a PT institute for high school students.

All 26 slots for the week-long program were filled by students coming as far away as Vermont, Rochester and Pennsylvania. 

Students who completed the program earned two hours of university credit and a $1500 scholarship to use at Daemen. The curriculum offered an overview of major areas of physical therapy, including cardiopulmonary, neurology, orthopedics, pediatrics and others.

“Not only did students learn about the profession in a hands-on way, they also got a head start if they choose to pursue this path as a career,” said Michael Ross, associate professor of physical therapy at Daemen and co-director of the institute. “They were also introduced to one of Daemen’s signature programs while getting a feel for our campus and faculty.” 

The institute will become an annual offering and new outlet for teaching physical therapy for a department that awards the only doctoral-level degrees at the university. 

“An academic camp is a unique way of putting a growing profession on the radar of 16- and 17-year olds,” said Ross, who added that enrollment was capped to ensure a quality experience was provided for those who enrolled.

“We want to make sure we provide the individual attention necessary for students to have the best possible experience,” he said. “We’re extremely pleased with the response.”

In addition to featuring instruction from PT professors, the introductory course was also taught by Gary Styn, an assistant professor in the physician assistant program and director of graduate anatomical sciences. 

“Feedback from our first-ever class has been encouraging,” said Ryan Boggs, assistant professor of PT and co-director of the institute. “Many students have expressed a desire to enter the field.”