Experiential learning opportunities like internships offer students important lessons outside of the classroom and gave Tyler Robinson a preview of his future career as a physical therapist.
“A unique characteristic of my program is the encouragement I received from my professors to get an internship,” Tyler says. “One of the last courses offered in my program is an internship to help people start experiencing real-life applications in their respective fields.”
Tyler decided to declare an exercise science major after realizing he wanted to pursue a field in which he could help people one-on-one. He spent summers training with his friends in the gym and offering stretches and other activities and movements to help them recover from injuries. When they suggested that he consider a career in a similar field, his decision became clear.
As an intern at Bardonia Physical Therapy and Motion Physical Therapy in New City, Tyler assisted a physical therapy aid and his responsibilities included helping prepare for patient sessions, demonstrating exercises, and ensuring clean and sanitary facilities. One thing that he learned from the experience is how much the physical therapy field is evolving. Tyler says that in addition to helping patients rebuild their bodies and recover from injuries and other conditions, physical therapists also encourage a positive mindset and provide an outlet for patients to share their emotional struggles.
“This support positively affects their recovery, so it’s important to have good communication skills and be a good listener,” he says.
His professors and advisors have likewise supported Tyler by getting to know him one-on-one, providing valuable career guidance, and helping him clarify the path he’d like to pursue. He says that Dr. K. Emma Emanuel, an assistant professor of biology, teaches some of his favorite courses, including anatomy and physiology.
“She made learning the different functions and structures of the human body and how they interact—arguably, one of the most challenging fields to learn—one of the most exciting experiences,” he says.
Other than his dedicated work ethic, Dr. Emanuel says that Tyler’s engaging and energetic personality is the key to his success.
“Tyler is a great student to have in class,” she says. “He brings energy and interest. He is brave enough to suggest an answer even when he is unsure, and this encourages other students to speak out.”
About his college experience at STAC, Tyler explains that he likes the wide variety of courses offered in his major and the “tight-knit” campus community where making friends has been easy. He also enjoys the athletic culture and residential campus life.
Tyler is a member of STAC’s Track and Field team and is the captain of “the throwers,” including the javelin, discus, and shot-put events. He also participates in the N.E.R.D. club, which stands for “Never Ever Regret Dorkiness.” Students who love gaming find like-minded friends in this club that hosts activities like Smash Bros. tournaments, retro gaming console nights, and games like Cards Against Humanity, Mario Kart, Jackbox, and Pokémon.
Staying active is important to Tyler and in his free time, he works out at the gym and takes long walks. He also enjoys painting, writing poetry, and traveling—he’s been to Jamaica more than 10 times to visit his extended family. In the next five years, Tyler hopes to be settled into his new career as a physical therapist.