A white coat in the world of doctors means everything

By Aaron Sundermann


On Feb. 16, The University of Findlay hosted a white coat ceremony for the students in the Department of Physical Therapy.

This is an occasion that marks the finals steps in a graduate students’ education for receiving a doctorate in a certain profession, in this case Physical Therapy. In this year’s traditional cohort there were 36 members expected to graduate with still some finals needed to be taken.

Ryker Penner was in that cohort and participated in the ceremony.

“This achievement means quite a bit to me,” Penner said. “Despite not being done with clinicals, this event was the first opportunity to begin celebrating our doctorate.”

During this event students presented their capstone projects that they had been working on throughout their time in grad school. At the University of Findlay, you have the option has an incoming freshman to participate in the 3+3 program, three years of undergraduate school and then three years of graduate school. Here they presented their findings in front of current Doctors of Physical Therapy as well as professors, family, and friends.

The ceremony concluded with the students receiving their white coats, marking a monumental moment in their lives as future doctors.

Colin Robertson was also in the cohort.

“It means a lot. Growing up, I never thought I would become a doctor,” Robertson said. “My career goal was to be a professional athlete and that goal changed as I got older and older.”

This event does not mark the end for some when it comes to schooling in the art of Physical Therapy.

“I am planning on entering a sports residency within the next year so that I can hopefully work with professional sports teams at some point,” Penner stated.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says employment of physical therapists is expected to increase 17% 2021 to 2031.

“I plan on going into travel Physical Therapy and working at an outpatient orthopedic clinic,” Robertson said.

“Both of my last clinicals are back home in Washington, and it is very likely that I will be working there also,” Penner said. “My ideal goal is to enter a sports residency in Washington in the next year.”

Obtaining this level of education can be a grueling task. DPT students can spend more than eight hours a day in a classroom or studying with the rest of the cohort for an upcoming exam or assignment.

Penner and Robertson have suggestions for future students in the Physical Therapy program to make their time at UF go smoothly.

“Make sure to make friends along the way that you can study with,” Penner said. “Much of your time in a graduate program is studying and completing assignments, and if you can do that with friends that you enjoy spending time with than it is significantly easier”.

“The time goes fast, and it’ll be over before you know it,” Robertson said. “Findlay has more options than you think and building relationships will help you along the way. Enjoy the process, work hard, and go be great!”