Honors Student Wants to Help People Through Physical Therapy

A woman smiling with the James River in the backgroundName: Linsey Martin
Hometown: Winchester, Va.
Rank: Senior, Fall 2021 Graduation
Major: Health, Physical Education and Exercise Science
Extracurricular: President of Pre-Physical Therapy Club at VCU

Linsey Martin has always wanted to help people. And it was not until she was rehabbing a sports injury when she was younger that she realized that physical therapy had all the elements she was seeking in a career. Through the Honors College Guaranteed Admission Program, Linsey will now go directly into VCU’s Doctorate of Physical Therapy Program. Below, she answered our questions about choosing to pursue physical therapy, taking part in the Honors College Guaranteed Admission Program, what Honors has given her on a personal and professional level and what’s next for her.

On why she chose her major:

“My end goal is becoming a physical therapist. Like 99 percent of people who pursue physical therapy as a profession, I injured myself when I was younger. I swam and was a pitcher on a softball team and that’s how I injured my shoulder. After that injury, I ended up going to physical therapy. Prior to that, I didn’t really know the field at all. I met the people and really enjoyed the environment and I liked the idea of not being at a desk all day. I’ve always wanted to help people, so this is kind of the perfect mix of working with people in a hands-on setting and helping them improve their physical capabilities so they can do things that they want to do.”

On the Guaranteed Admission Program:

“The Honors College Guaranteed Admission program has saved me so many months of stress, especially when it came to applying to PT schools. The program was on my radar and huge for me because it was in state and I think that knowing early on—what it was that I wanted to do—helped me get prepared and successfully apply for the program.

I also knew that I was able to get shadowing hours under a physical therapist while I was still in high school, which I also think really helped my application for the program. It’s really helped me so much. The connections I’ve made through the program have been amazing. I’ve been able, with the help of my Honors advisor, Carrie Connolly, and my major advisor, to get a research opportunity in my department, which led to another research opportunity with the American Physiological Society. The program has opened so many doors for me. Outside of knowing that I have a guaranteed spot in a Top 20 PT school, there have been a lot of other added benefits to being in the program.”

The program has opened so many doors for me. Outside of knowing that I have a guaranteed spot in a Top 20 Physical Therapy school, there have been a lot of other added benefits to being in the program.

On what being an Honors student has given her:

“One big thing is the friends that I’ve made through Honors. I’ve been able to become friends with a lot of other Honors students and other Guaranteed Admission students through living in the Honors dorm my freshman year. And when I came to campus alone (as a freshman), having that network of peers was huge for me.

The professors and advisors in the Honors College, as well as the Honors sections of courses, are something else that was really big for me. An Honors section professor and my Honors advisor helped me navigate a really difficult semester when I was a sophomore. The only way I was able to get through that semester and pass a really difficult class was because they were there as a support system for me.”

On what’s next:

“I’m graduating in December. I just submitted my PT application, so that’s not now behind me. Next semester, before my coursework starts in June at PT school, I’m hoping to work as a PT tech to get a little bit of money and a little more experience and wrap also to wrap up my observation hours.

As for when I’m through with PT school, I’m not quite sure where I would like to end up. I’m really interested in pediatric physical therapy and looking at neuromuscular disabilities. During some of my shadowing hours, I shadowed a practice that helped children with disabilities and I saw how tough those kids are and how they can give you a whole new perspective on life.”