Student Story

Molly Blackwell '20, '22DPT Makes Positive Impact Through Alternative Spring Break

Tell us about why you decided to pursue your major.

I chose to join the 3+3 Exercise Science/DPT program because growing up in a family of health professionals, I was able to learn the importance of helping others. I realized how empowering physical therapy can be for patients and wanted to be in a field where I could have that kind of impact. I chose PT because it will allow me to meet many new people and allow patients to be leaders in their own recovery.

Why did you choose to attend Simmons?

I was initially interested in Simmons because of the 3+3 program and its location in the Fenway area. When I learned more about Simmons as a women's centered college, I realized this type of environment would help me grow and gain confidence. I also chose to attend Simmons because of its small size. I went to a small high school and knew that I would have a better connection to my community and have the ability to engage in my education at a smaller school.

How did you become involved in Alternative Spring Break (ASB)?

Molly Blackwell with ASB team members.

I participated in a Habitat for Humanity trip in high school and learned so much from it. I loved spending my time to make a positive impact on a different community and wanted to continue this into college. I thought it was more valuable to spend my spring break making a difference rather than just sitting bored at home.

In my sophomore year, one of my friends was a trip leader and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to apply. I really enjoyed this experience and realized on the trip that I wanted to become more involved in ASB, so I applied to be a trip leader.

What did you do for ASB this year?

This year, we went to Beaumont, Texas (an hour outside of Houston). We worked with Habitat for Humanity on a home that was almost finished. We installed flooring and learned how to use power tools such as saws and nail guns — which seemed scary at first but we all became confident using them!

One of the most valuable parts of the trip this year was hearing the personal experiences of people whose lives were affected by the many hurricanes that have hit Beaumont in the past several years.

What did you learn from your experience?

One of the most valuable lessons I learned from ASB was the similarities and differences between the Boston community and all the different communities I worked in with ASB. Through ASB, I have traveled to South Carolina, Colorado, and Texas and met people who have spent their whole lives there. I loved learning more about the people I met, what it's like in their community and the issues they face. I've learned a lot about housing insecurity in particular — the regional and nationwide causes of this issue and how Habitat for Humanity works to make it better.

What's your favorite memory from ASB?

One of my favorite ASB memories is from when we traveled to Clemson, South Carolina, my sophomore year. All 15 of us were working on painting the walls of a house and singing along and dancing to music. It was a warm day and the sun was out, which we all needed after enduring another Boston winter.

Despite the weekly meetings that the team has leading up to the trip to get to know each other, the true bonding happens on the trip. This was a moment that allowed us to forget about the exhaustion of our hard work and where we all bonded as a team.

Do you have a favorite Simmons memory?

One of my favorite Simmons memories is the time I spent as a member of the Simmons University Dance Company (SUDC). I have been dancing since I was 3 years old and wanted to continue dancing in college. SUDC allowed me to keep doing something I love without being too stressed. The three or four hours a week I spent dancing with SUDC were always something I looked forward to and that I knew would relieve my daily stress. I will never forget how much fun I had in rehearsals and performing every semester as well as the lifelong friends I have made through SUDC.

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