Amanda Koechel '15 '17HSD: Simmons is the Best of All Worlds

June 17, 2015

Amanda Koechel

We caught up with Amanda about her internship and why she loves Simmons!

What are you studying?

I graduated with a degree in exercise science and a minor in psychology in May, 2015. I'll be graduating from the Doctor of Physical Therapy program in May 2017.

What drew you to your major?

My whole life I have always been interested in the health sciences. My junior year of high school, I took an Anatomy & Physiology class and absolutely loved it! After that, I started to shadow some physical therapists in the clinic and knew it was the career for me. Physical therapists constantly apply their knowledge of anatomy to help their patients and have the continuing education that makes the job exciting for a lifetime. Helping patients and seeing their progression is such a rewarding experience.

What’s your favorite part of your program?

My professors and the time spent in the lab. My professors are always available for questions and extra help. They are always giving me feedback to help me become a better professional. They genuinely care about me as a student and as a person outside of the classroom and show interest in my life. My professors are with me when I get the opportunity to practice hands-on skills that I learn about in lecture. This part of the program is essential to succeed in this career. You also get to find out the good, bad, and the ugly about your own health!

What’s your favorite class you’ve taken so far?

My favorite class is Exercise Assessment and Prescription. This was the first class where I truly felt like I was a physical therapist! We spent ample time in lab practicing doctor-patient interactions and our final exam lab practical consisted of a patient case where we had to perform a whole treatment session. We also did a project outside of the classroom where we assessed someone’s health and wrote out an exercise prescription for them to follow to improve their strength, flexibility and endurance based on their individual goals.

Where was your internship? What did you do there?

I had an Integrated Clinical Experience once a week where I went to Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. I had a clinical instructor that I followed around for the day and we treated a wide variety of patients with neurological disorders. That was such an inspiring experience because many of the patients we worked with were immobile. To witness someone walk for the first time after experiencing a severe stroke was truly incredible. It was rewarding to know that we were helping them reach their goals.

What’s your dream job?

To work at Boston Children’s Hospital. I used to teach dance to young children so I love working with kids. I have a fun and silly personality that makes working with children more enjoyable and I definitely have that motherly quality where my heart really goes out to infants and children who are hurting.

What's your Simmons moment?

Simmons is so active in the community. My first-year, Simmons organized a group to walk in the Breast Cancer Walk along the Charles River. As we journeyed along the walk with our matching t-shirts, people recognized us as “Simmons women.” Since then, I have come to learn that Simmons women are viewed as strong, kind, independent and intelligent women --and that we are!

Everything Simmons has encouraged me to do over the past 4 years exemplifies this empowering attitude. I am easily recognized and identified as a Simmons woman in the community.

What made you choose to come to school at Simmons?

I had a lot of choices when deciding where to come to school, but Simmons is really the best of all worlds. Simmons has that small college feel with the traditional college quad where students will sit outside and do homework or throw a frisbee around. At the same time, you’re right in the middle of Boston. Growing up in a small town, I felt like I needed a change and Simmons helped me to transition to living on my own and getting out of my comfort zone by living in a big city. I also just love how accepting everyone is. We have a very diverse campus, but everyone is so friendly and encouraging to each other. The world would be a better place if it was just made up of Simmons students!

What will you miss most about Simmons after you graduate?

Simmons is my home. On the fifth floor of the management building, there is a beautiful rooftop garden where you can see downtown Boston. Going up there is my escape from the craziness of academics, jobs and life in general. I will miss having this little escape and the beautiful view!

I will definitely miss my professors, my classmates, the campus, everything. You really get so comfortable being here and it has become such a tight-knit community that I will definitely be homesick when I graduate. It’s good to know that Simmons will always have my back even when I venture out into the real world!