Record number of grads accepted to physical and occupational therapy doctoral programs

ExSci predoctoral students

A record number of seniors from Pitt-Bradford will enroll in doctoral programs next year to pursue a doctorate in physical or occupational therapy.

            Dr. Mark Kelley, assistant professor of exercise science and director of the exercise science program, said that the six students represent a quarter of the total graduates in exercise science.

            “This is very unusual but a tremendous achievement,” Kelley said. “The most I have ever had from one graduating class is two. “It's great to see these students accomplish what they have worked very hard for over the past three to four years. It is truly an accomplishment given the competitiveness of these programs.”

            Acceptance to doctoral programs for physical and occupational therapy is highly competitive. According to the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education, the average GPA for students enrolling in a doctor of physical therapy program is 3.6. Additionally, there are, on average, 500 applicants per program with an average of 44 students enrolled.

            Graduating seniors who will pursue a doctorate of physical therapy next year are Tiffany Jandrew of Allentown, N.Y., Clarkson University; Madalyn Merkle of Corry, Chatham University; Amber Naylor of Port Allegany, Gannon University; and Brody Wood of Corry, Slippery Rock University.

            Graduating seniors pursuing a doctorate of occupational therapy are Brooke Butler of Bradford, Gannon University in Ruskin, Fla., and Courtney Holzwarth of Bradford, the University of Pittsburgh.

            Additionally, four students from the program will go on to pursue a related master's degree during the 2018-19 academic year. Garret Timko of Clearfield will pursue a master's degree in exercise science at East Stroudsburg University; Delaney Houtz of Myerstown will work toward a master's degree in clinical exercise physiology, also at East Stroudsburg; Malaysia Moore of Washington, D.C., will begin a master's program in exercise science and health promotion at California University of Pennsylvania; and Kaitlyn Donnelly will pursue a master's degree in occupational therapy at Wesley College in Dover, De.

            Finally, Will Murphy of Port Chester, N.Y., has taken a job as a certified personal trainer at Equinox Fitness Club in New York City.