Pre-PT internship


Erin Mickley

As her internship at NWO Orthopedics concludes, Erin Mickley is packing her bags for a semester in Greece.

transfer student finds mentors at Bluffton

Erin Mickley ’24, an exercise science major from Danville, Ohio, has plenty of experience as a physical therapy patient. A two-sport athlete in high school, she’s already had three major knee surgeries. However, positive experiences with her physical therapists and athletic trainers led her to a major in exercise science and an internship with NWO Orthopedics and Sports Medicine. 

“It’s opened up a completely different perspective to me because I am so used to being the person in pain and going through physical therapy,” said Mickley. “Now, I’m on the other side helping people and seeing their progress.”

Mickley began the internship at the beginning of the fall semester and is completing 200 hours on site. She’s mostly observing because she doesn’t have a license to practice physical therapy, but Mickley says she’s gaining knowledge every day. 

“It’s very interesting,” said Mickley. “I’m learning new exercises people can do and the way you can manipulate one exercise to target completely different muscle groups.” 

At the end of the fall semester, Mickley will have all of her exercise science classes completed. So, during the spring semester, she’ll focus on her psychology minor while studying abroad at the American College of Greece in Athens.

“I’ve always wanted to go to Greece mainly because of the movie ‘Mama Mia,’ but I’m excited to have a new experience,” said Mickley. “One weekend every month they take all of the study abroad students on a trip. They’ll take us to the different islands, and we’ll get to see it all.” 

A transfer student, Mickley met with Amanda Beard, assistant professor of health, fitness and sport science, during her campus tour. She credits Beard, along with Tami Forbes, associate professor of recreation, with becoming her mentors. 

“Tami is just a person who knows how to get everything done,” explained Mickley. “Amanda, if I’m having a bad day I can just go to her office. She just has that homey feeling.” 

Mickley isn’t quite sure of her path following graduation. She initially wanted to become an athletic trainer. However, after a visit to Mercy Health St. Rita’s Medical Center during a class with Amanda Beard, she’s also considered pursuing a career in cardiac rehabilitation. 

Whatever she chooses, Mickley will return from Greece in time to walk across the stage to accept her diploma at Bluffton’s May 2024 Commencement.

Pre-physical therapy

Pre-physical therapy

Bluffton’s pre-physical therapy major, with classes in biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics, social sciences and health fitness and sport science, prepares students well for required post-graduate study.