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Estefany Carrillo
September 8, 2021

Aspiring physical therapist chosen for Summer Health Professions Education Program

Estefany Carrillo ’23 chose Berry for its rigorous science curriculum that would help her prepare for physical therapy (PT) school. 

“I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in physical therapy the moment I had to watch my grandfather be diagnosed with ALS,” she says. “As his muscle function continued to deteriorate, I immediately noticed that his time in physical therapy was the only time he ever felt relief. Because of this, I crave the satisfaction of providing the same care to patients that are in need.” 

Guided by Meredith Johnson, assistant dean of students and Lettie Pate Whitehead director, Estefany learned about the Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP) where she was able to gain valuable experiences and professional connections. “I am extremely lucky to have Meredith as a mentor because she is a beacon of positivity,” she says. 

The program introduced Estefany to issues like the prominence of health disparities as well as mock interviews and PT clinic observation hours. The experience also affirmed that she was choosing the right career. “SHPEP truly enriched my academic knowledge, and it also strengthened my academic confidence, which is something that I lacked,” she notes. 

As a recipient of the Lettie Pate Whitehead scholarship, Estefany is required to serve in the community and hold an on-campus job. She sees both as opportunities to grow transferable skills. 

“Being a student worker at Berry College Elementary & Middle School has given me the opportunity to work on my communication skills with a wide range of generations; communication is a highly important aspect as a physical therapist, and I feel fully prepared to have one-on-ones with patients,” Estefany explains. “As an anatomy lab teaching assistant, I have become far more confident in my knowledge of the human body, and I have also helped students understand the material. This will help me as a physical therapist because patient education is half of the work, and it is extremely important to get the patient to fully understand the prescribed exercises and how it impacts them.” 

Written by senior Mary Banks Shelander

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