Pam Breckenridge. Physical theray doctoral degree candidate. major; exercise science
Pam Breckenridge's exercise science major prepared her for graduate stuides in physical therapy Pam Breckenridge and Chris Woods

Pam applies ice to a patient’s shoulder, securing the ice with an ace bandage.

You were recently accepted into graduate school for the spring of 2010. Where will you be going and what program will you be in?

"I will be attending the University of St. Augustine in Florida for the Doctor of Physical Therapy program. The semester starts in January."

When did you decide on physical therapy as a profession?

"I have always known I wanted to work in the medical field but didn’t decide on the field of study until my sophomore year of college. One of my professors mentioned physical therapy as an option. I had

Pam with TSM physical therapist Rebecca Jankowiak

TSM physical therapist Rebecca Jankowiak, DPT teaches Pam about the spinal column.

been to physical therapy for my ankle in high school, and had a general idea of what it involved. I found myself thinking, “I could do that!” More important, though, I felt that physical therapy was something I would enjoy doing. I have since done lots of research about the profession and have gained work experience at Towson Sports Medicine. All of this makes me sure that I’m going into the right profession."

Why did you choose to major in exercise science?

"My adviser in the Department of Kinesiology, Matthew Rothbard, suggested that exercise science was the best major to help me reach my goal of becoming a physical therapist. The program has a well-rounded curriculum with courses in sports physiology, nutrition, biomechanics, care and prevention of athletics injuries, and the sciences - biology and chemistry."

Did you do an internship as part of your major?

"I chose Towson Sports Medicine as the setting for my senior-year internship. About a month into my internship, I was hired by TSM as a part-time Physical Therapy (PT) tech, and then I was hired as a full-time PT tech after graduation."

What do you do as a PT tech at Towson Sports Medicine?

"I help guide patients through prescribed exercises, apply and remove patients from various modalities, and oversee clients in the aquatic exercise pool program. I have also had opportunities to watch two surgeries. One was an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) repair and the other was a total knee replacement at St. Joseph Medical Center. It was a great experience, and it has helped me to relate better to patients."

Pam with TSM PT tech Chris Woods

The treadmill is used to work on a patient's gait or as a general warm-up.


How is physical therapy different from other types of medicine?

"Physical therapy is very hands-on and involves the therapist “walking beside you” during the

rehabilitation process. The interaction between the patient and therapist is usually constant, since most patients come in for treatment two or three times a week. In other medical fields, there is a longer time between visits. Physical therapists try to fix what is causing the problem, and a lot of emphasis is put on educating the patient so that the patient can learn how to “self manage” his or her condition. It is very goal-oriented."

How has your time at TU prepared you for the rigors of graduate school?

"My undergraduate experience has given me a strong base and preparation for PT school. My classes in anatomy & physiology I and II were especially relevant. My overall college experience has given me more than just book smarts. It has made me a more responsible, efficient and outgoing person, all of which will help me to succeed in graduate school and as a physical therapist."

Why do you want to work in this field?

"There are too many reasons to list why I want to be a part of this profession! A few good reasons are: that you get to help people, you’re not at a desk all day and you interact with all types of people. Physical therapy is such a rewarding profession because you help people regain their independence. When physical therapists help people who could not brush their hair, bend their knees or walk without help before perform those tasks, it has a tremendous impact on their lives."


Related links

College of Health Professions

Department of Kinesiology

Exercise Science Major

Physical Therapy Advising

Towson Sports Medicine

American Physical Therapy Association

Read Pam's Senior Internship Report (PDF)



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