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PT honor student inductee Gabriela Saavedra-Valencia

Below is an ACAPT interview with one of the National Physical Therapy Student Honor Society inductees.   Congratulations Gabriela!

How did you become interested in pursuing a doctor of physical therapy (DPT) degree?  

I became interested in PT after observing in an outpatient clinic. I was pre-med as an undergraduate but was not feeling passionate about the medical field, so I researched careers in health care and came across a physical therapy clinic.  I loved being at the clinic and seeing how physical therapists interacted and helped patients.

What’s been your experience as a student so far & what do you enjoy the most?

As a student, my experience has been very rewarding. What I have enjoyed the most is making new lifelong friends and colleagues. It has been difficult especially with online learning, but my professors and classmates are always there for each other to keep us going. Now that I am out for clinicals, I am excited to apply all that I have learned as a student and help real-life patients the best way I can.

How do you plan to give back in your career, community, etc.?

I hope to become employed in underserved communities to be able to reach many patients in need of physical therapy services. There are many areas that lack health care professionals, so I hope to increase access and opportunities for people to have an easier time visiting a physical therapist.

In the future, I am interested in becoming a clinical instructor (CI) to give back to students the way my CIs and professors do so now.

Why did you become a member of the National PT Student Honor Society? 

I became a member of the National PT Student Honor Society because of the recognition of students who excel in academics, leadership, service, research, and the core values of the PT profession. I felt that it would be a nice way to be recognized for my hard work throughout DPT school. 

Gabriela Saavedra-Valencia, SPT

Doctor of Physical Therapy, Class of 2021
Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences University of the Pacific

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