Tuesday, February 3, started out like any typical mid-week day for Taylor Parker. But it quickly turned into one of the most memorable days of his life.
That was the day that the senior health science major from Hot Springs, Ark., received a highly anticipated email informing him that he had been accepted into the three-year physical therapy doctoral program at Regis University in Denver.
"It was my number one choice for PT schools, so to say I was excited would be a giant understatement," said Parker. "It was an awesome feeling because I was beginning to get stressed out since I hadn’t heard from any of the schools I had applied to. Then to hear from my top choice was a tremendous relief. I’ve been smiling a lot ever since."
Parker is schedule to graduate in May along with his wife of five months, history major Jonna (Magee). He said the couple is looking forward to moving to Colorado.
Taylor Parker, a senior health science major from Hot Springs, Ark., recently found out via an email that he had been accepted into his top choice of graduate programs for physical therapy.
"We both enjoy the outdoors and we’re really excited about Colorado," Parker said. "We’re both life-long Arkansans, so it’s going to be a wonderful adventure."
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, physical therapy will be one of the fastest growing professional careers over the next decade. By 2022, the bureau projects physical therapist employment growth of 36 percent, with the field adding 73,500 more jobs.
Parker credited his health sciences professors at Ozarks --- Dr. Brett Stone, Dr. Pete LeRoy and Jeremy Provence --- for helping him get accepted into the highly competitive program at Regis.
"They helped me all along the way, from helping me select schools to apply to, to writing reference letters on my behalf, to giving me advice on what to expect in the interviews," Parker said. "I feel like my entire Ozarks education helped prepare me to get into graduate school."
One example of that was an Intro to Rhetoric class that Parker took at Ozarks.
"I only signed up for the class because I needed some hours and it was in a time slot I needed," Parker said. "But I learned so much in that class about how to present yourself and how people read you and see you. I took a lot of what I learned in that class with me to the interview at Regis and I felt like it really helped. My interview went extremely well and I think it was one of the things that helped me get selected."
As a three-year starting infielder for the Eagles’ baseball program, Parker has successfully juggled athletics and academics at Ozarks.
"My time management skills have definitely improved," Parker said. "It hasn’t been easy and I’ve had to work pretty hard to get through, but it’s definitely worth it. I’ve had to make the most of every second of my free time and that’s helped me become pretty disciplined. My coaches and professors have also been very understanding. They’ve been extremely helpful in allowing me to do both."
Parker said watching former teammate and 2012 graduate Chris Driedric succeed at the University of Central Arkansas’ physical therapy graduate program served as an inspiration.
"I was a freshman when he was a senior here at Ozarks and to see how he handled his academics and how he took care of business made a strong impression on me," Parker said. "I’ve talked to him some about what to expect in graduate school and he’s been very helpful. He said that it’s definitely difficult, but that the academic foundation he received at Ozarks really helped him. It’s great to hear that from somebody who came through Ozarks and is succeeding in graduate school."
Parker said a career in physical therapy became his goal after he spent time observing physical therapists as part of his academic curriculum at Ozarks.
"I really got to see what they do on an everyday basis and I fell in love with it," he said. "I liked the idea of helping people regain their mobility. It was very rewarding to see someone get back on their feet or be able to use their arm again, and to see the joy that they got from it. As an athlete, I’ve always been able to run and throw and I’ve taken that for granted. Working with people who can’t do those things really opened my eyes. I felt it was something that I could do where I was helping people."
Topics: Health Science