Doctor of Physical Therapy Class of 2021 students don white coats

In a few short weeks, 49 physical therapy students, members of the University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences (SMHS) Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Class of 2021, will start the clinical studies portion of their journey to become doctors of physical therapy. The students received their white coats at the Entrance Into Professional Service Ceremony on Thursday, July 11, 2019, at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks.

The students, 38 women and 11 men, range in age from 20 to 30 years, with the average age of 22.6. Many are from North Dakota, and most completed their pre-PT coursework at UND.

The ceremony’s keynote speaker was Beverly Johnson, P.T., D.Sc., GCS, CEEAA. Dr. Johnson is associate professor emeritus of the SMHS Department of Physical Therapy where she was on faculty for over 30 years and was director of clinical education for 26 of those years. She earned her Bachelor of Physical Therapy and Master of Science in Sport and Exercise Science degrees from UND. She obtained her Doctor of Science in Physical Therapy from Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions and is a board certified clinical specialist in geriatrics. Most recently, Dr. Johnson completed an appointment as chair of the Physical Therapy Panel for the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).

“The ceremony emphasized to the students the professionalism required in the clinic and within the physical therapy profession,” said David Relling, P.T., Ph.D., professor and chair of the SMHS Department of Physical Therapy.

After completing their first year of the professional component of the physical therapy curriculum, the students have to pass an intense, comprehensive examination of their knowledge before they begin their clinical studies. The first three years of the curriculum are considered pre-physical therapy (pre-professional). The professional component of the DPT degree requires three academic years and two summer sessions following completion of the 90-credit pre-physical therapy entrance requirement.

Clinical experiences are a crucial component of the UND physical therapy curriculum and take place at more than 300 clinical sites across the nation, the majority of which lie outside the Grand Forks area. These experiences meld academic information with hands-on clinical experience. Students participate in direct delivery of physical therapy services in a variety of settings under the direction and supervision of one or more clinical instructors.

“Students are making the transition from being a student to being a health care professional,” Relling added. “With that transition comes a great deal of responsibility and accountability to these new professionals and to their clients. For many students, this will be the first life experience they will have had that requires such a high level of professionalism and responsibility. We have trained them well, they have worked hard, and we anticipate they will do a great job working within a comprehensive, interprofessional health care team.”

The students and their hometowns are the following:

  • Kaiann Arellano, Jamestown, N.D.
  • McKinley Bender, Minot, N.D.
  • Ashley Bergerson, Esko, Minn.
  • Morgan Bicker, Roseau, Minn.
  • Hannah Brennan, Sartell, Minn.
  • Morgan Burrer, Wahpeton, N.D.
  • Zachary Burtsfield, West Fargo, N.D.
  • Erin Bussman, Mandan, N.D.
  • Alissa Dahle-Koch, Maple Grove, Minn.
  • Hannah DeKrey, Fargo, N.D.
  • Mackenzie Dumm, Grand Rapids, Minn.
  • Brianna Erickson, Fargo, N.D.
  • Delaney Faiman, West Fargo, N.D.
  • Jacob Fixell, Cambridge, Minn.
  • Mark Geerdes, Northome, Minn.
  • Mary Gray, Grand Forks, N.D.
  • Hannah Gregg, Bemidji, Minn.
  • Ellie Hagen, Fargo, N.D.
  • Brianne Halstead, Riverdale, N.D.
  • Mary Haman, Crary, N.D.
  • Brian Illing, Fargo, N.D.
  • Lydia Jacobson, Fargo, N.D.
  • Lucas Keller, Bismarck, N.D.
  • Brita Kihle, Salol, Minn.
  • Kelsey Knutson, Dunn Center, N.D.
  • Martina Mack, Lead, S.D.
  • Kaitlyn McClaflin, Glyndon, Minn.
  • Lauren McIntosh, Clearbrook, Minn.
  • Samantha Miller, Bottineau, N.D.
  • Winter Monette, Belcourt, N.D.
  • Paige Mriden, Sioux Falls, S.D.
  • Anna Murphy, Fergus Falls, Minn.
  • Taylor Nord, Bemidji, Minn.
  • Brooke Rehm, Henning, Minn.
  • Stacy Remer, Grand Forks, N.D.
  • Colin Renfandt, Minot, N.D.
  • Hannah Riveland, Moorhead, Minn.
  • Riley Ryan, Sheridan, Wyo.
  • Megan Siebert, Waconia, Minn.
  • Cassidy Stienessen, St. Cloud, Minn.
  • Kaley Stotz, West Fargo, N.D.
  • Abigail Stroup, Fargo, N.D.
  • Austin Stueve, Dumont, Minn.
  • Amy Svir, Thief River Falls, Minn.
  • Erin Syverson, Bismarck, N.D.
  • Alyssa Theede, Fairmount, N.D.
  • Jacob Todd, Grand Forks, N.D.
  • Kayana Trottier, Belcourt, N.D.
  • Jayce Turner, Grand Forks, N.D.