Ithaca College Will Make You Ready
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School of Health Sciences and Human Performance | Exercise Science
“My job is pretty cool, especially on those days when I get to fly in an F-18.” For Pat Dougherty, those flights are the culmination of years of study that started at Ithaca College.
The exercise science graduate had always played sports, but his professors turned him on to running studies, which he immediately found himself drawn to. “I was curious about how the body worked and exercise physiology is a lot about running at its core. If I was going to study it, I might as well do a lot of it. So that’s when I started running marathons and since then I’ve switched to triathlons.”
Pat’s passion for exercise science led him to pursue his master’s degree and later his doctorate, but that’s where things took a turn. “I realized an academic career wasn’t for me. I wanted something a little more exciting, so I applied and was eventually commissioned as a lieutenant in the Naval aerospace physiology program in 2009.”
Now Pat spends his days providing training for anyone in the service who might be involved in flying. The physiological threats a member of a flight crew can be exposed to include hypoxia, which is a special disorientation that occurs when there isn’t enough blood flow to the brain. This happens sometimes in flights that reach multiple g-forces, and it can have catastrophic results. One of the tools Pat has at his disposal is the only “high-G” human centrifuge in the U.S. Navy, which spins its subjects under multiple g-forces to mimic the sensations hypoxia may bring.
“It’s like a wicked carnival ride. There’s a big motor in the center, and we spin them around in this room, which exposes them to increased accelerations like they would feel in the air. I’ve gone through it a few times, so I can safely say that it’s pretty intense.”
Come February, Pat will move to Corpus Christi, where he will become an air medical safety officer. It’s another challenge he feels completely ready for. “I haven’t taken the most linear path since I left Ithaca, but everything I learned on South Hill has helped push me to the next level of my career.”
>> More on this story: Watch a video of pilot training in the human centrifuge
Jill Cadby loves to help people. So when this graduate of Ithaca College’s doctoral program in physical therapy was offered the opportunity to work at the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, she jumped at the chance. The institute is world-renowned for its work, which made it a perfect fit for Jill coming out of Ithaca’s highly rated program.
“Kessler is a really great learning environment because it has three floors and you get to rotate every year. Right now I head the program on our floor for those who have had strokes. I get to take them on the treadmill and assist them in walking. I really like it because I get to see the gains the patients make daily.”
At Ithaca College, Jill focused on the neurological aspects of the practice. She spent time doing fieldwork in Rochester and Buffalo, New York, and in Florida. But her most moving experience was in Malawi, Africa, where a group from Ithaca College set up medical clinics, assisted with disease testing, and provided $50,000 worth of medical supplies. Jill also trained local nurses in physical therapy, making sure her work with the people of Malawi would continue to have an impact long after she returned to the states.
“At each fieldwork location I gained a tremendous amount of experience, but Malawi was a true life-changing opportunity,” Jill says. “It made me appreciate my profession and how I can really help change the lives of others for the better.”
Jill credits Ithaca College with making everything possible. “This is right where I want to be right now. My professors made me feel as if I could be a good therapist, and they respected me not only as a student but also as a future colleague. I feel ready to continue my personal and professional growth on a daily basis.”
More on this story: Healthcare and Culture: An International Field Experience
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