Diane Kim graduated in the Class of 2013 with a B.S. in Biology and a minor in Exercise Science. Since then, she has gone on to pursue her Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree at Arcadia University, where she graduated this past January 2016. During those 2.5 years, she spent her time taking classes and implementing what she learned from the classroom in her clinical internships. Through the experience in Arcadia’s program, she developed skills to be a PT in a variety of settings – an orthopedic & neurologic clinic, an acute care hospital, a non-profit pediatric clinic and home settings in rural Jamaica. After interacting with and working alongside patients of varying diagnoses and ages, she found her heart drawn most to the pediatric population. She had such great enjoyment seeing the creativity of the kids she worked with and implementing play into therapy sessions to help them achieve their goals. Starting next month, she will be continuing to expand her knowledge and clinical skills in the area of pediatrics as she begins work for Theraplay, Inc. to treat children in the Philadelphia region.
What kinds of opporunities did you have at GCC that prepared you for your career?
Academically, Grove City helped prepare me for the course load and intensity of graduate work. I felt the pre-requisite courses I took in order to apply to my grad program, both the hard and soft sciences, helped establish a solid foundation for me to build upon. Vocationally, GCC provided the opportunity for me to participate in a missions trip to the Dominican Republic, where I worked alongside a physical therapist (PT) treating patients in Jarabacoa. This experience provided me a more hands on opportunity working in the field and opened my eyes to see the creativity that goes into being a PT in a developing and underserved region. I believe that experience confirmed my desire to pursue physical therapy.
What do you value most about your time at GCC?
Like most individuals who have attended Grove City, I value the friendships that I created in those 4 years the most. There’s a depth of honesty, accountability, and encouragement that I have found to be special and specific to the friends I found during my time at GCC. Most of the closest relationships I maintain today are with my Grove City friends, many of whom were on my freshman hall. Those times spent sharing in each other’s joys, comforting each other in times of grief and encouraging each other through whatever came our way are irreplaceable memories.
Was there a particular professor or administrator who influenced you significantly?
I’m going to cheat a little bit and rather than pointing out a specific person, I have to acknowledge the entire staff at the Career Services Office: Dr. Thrasher, Mandy Sposato, Courtney Vago & Linda Reash. I don’t know if this was more ironic or more appropriate, but as a student who came into school as an undecided major and a vague idea of what I wanted to do with my life, I had the opportunity to work as a student assistant for the CSO. This office was my little oasis and 3 hours that I looked forward to each week, mostly because of these wonderful people that work there. I have very fond memories of having conversations with Linda about life events while working at the front desk, reaping wisdom from Mandy about how to navigate my decisions both in and post college, receiving uplifting words from Courtney especially on my stressful days, and hearing Dr. Thrasher confidently encouraging me and any student that came into the office that there is indeed a “calling” that the Lord has for us. I couldn’t imagine going through Grove City without their constant encouragement and support.
Do you have a favorite memory from your time here as a student?
It’s hard to pinpoint one memory as my favorite, but one of my most enjoyable moments at GCC was interview week for Orientation Board. For a full week, the executive chairs of OB would spend about 5-6 hours a night interviewing various students to be a part of our orientation board committee. Despite being sleep deprived and somewhat worried about the several exams that inevitably fell during that week, I really enjoyed the time not only bonding with the other executive members during our crazy themed evenings, but also getting to know all the different individuals and personalities on our campus. I will say, some of the tasks we asked our interviewers to do were fairly odd, but who doesn’t love an unconventional interview!
What advice do you have for high school students as they work through the college search process?
I would say, don’t see college as just a means to get to your next stage. While it’s important to attend somewhere that will prepare you well for what you want to do, I’ve learned that it’s so valuable to continue learning in a variety of different subjects. Look through the course the schools offer and see what other interesting classes they offer outside of your desired major. I didn’t choose Grove City for the liberal arts aspect, in fact if GCC didn’t have certain mandatory classes to take, I probably would’ve taken classes related to the hard sciences. However, those classes that I didn’t expect myself to enjoy as much, broadened my perspectives and particularly helped me understand the human experience.
Also, when you go on your college visits, see it equally as an opportunity as you interviewing the school. While the college may be evaluating whether you’d be a good fit, you’ll want to make sure they are a good fit for you. Don’t be afraid to ask students that you see on campus questions about their experiences. Everyone is going to have a different perspective to share so you’ll get a fuller picture of what the dynamic of the school is like.