News Feature

New Major Prepares Students for Advanced Degrees

Meeting the needs of students interested in AT, PT and OT programs

Looking to make a difference in the lives of others? What better way than to help the injured heal.

This idea is at the heart of athletic training, physical therapy and occupational therapy, three in-demand careers served by a new health science major at Bridgewater State University.

The major offers a general program of studies as well as concentrations in each of the fields. The concentrations prepare students to seek a graduate degree necessary for employment as a PT, OT or athletic trainer.

The major meets needs locally and globally, according to Dr. Suanne Maurer-Starks, a professor and director of the Athletic Training Program.

“We have students who hail from various states and countries and they will be able to take their skills and knowledge to make a difference in their respective communities,” she said.

And, if your passion is athletic training, health science offers a connection to BSU’s graduate athletic training program. To learn more, we talked to several first-year graduate students.

 Serving those who serve

 Athletic trainers are perhaps most known for helping injured athletes. However, Amanda Backstrom, G’21, wants to aid ailing military members.

“This is a good way to help the people that protect us every day,” the Taunton resident said.

Amanda came to BSU for its affordability, yet appreciates the program’s value and the strong foundation it provides.

“Our professors have really been a resource for us,” she said.

From injured to healer

After tearing his ACL in high school, football player Jake Lima, G’21, needed recovery advice.

“I didn’t have that person to help me along and give me tips,” he said. “I viewed this as a way I could help others in a similar position.”

BSU is a convenient school for the Warwick, Rhode Island, resident, who is completing a clinical experience at the University of Rhode Island. He appreciates the diversity of sites available to BSU students such as high schools, Division 1 NCAA athletics programs, and less conventional locations.

“Everyone I’ve met here has been amazing,” Jake said. “You get really close with your classmates. The clinical sites set it apart.”

International flavor

The athletic training program has a strong international presence thanks to students such as Sungwan Kim, G’21, and Minyoung Kwak, G’21, from South Korea.

They praised the program’s organization and opportunities to obtain hands-on, real-world experience. In a recent in-class exercise, for example, Sungwan and Minyoung acted as clinician and patient. The clinician had to diagnose what injury the patient was pretending to have.

“I want to make people healthy who got injured,” Minyoung said. “The athletic trainer is a very important person in health care.”

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