AnaCarolina Araujo ’18 has never broken a bone, but she loves to study them. As a kinesiology major, she uses her knowledge of movement to help people regain control of their bodies. She jokes that her interest in physical therapy began after watching the romantic comedy Just Wright, in which Queen Latifah stars as a physical therapist.
After this discovery, she visited Gordon and shadowed an anatomy class with her dad for a lecture on the reproductive system, which AnaCarolina adds, “is always an interesting thing to sit in on with your parents.” Before this, she didn’t imagine that you could learn about God and science in the same place. She was awestruck by how the instructor “talked about the miracle of life and how these tiny cells make up who you are.”
This exploration—of what makes us who we are—is something AnaCarolina has delved into during her interactions with senior patients at the Center for Balance, Mobility and Wellness (CBMW). Gordon’s on-campus physical therapy clinic serves patients with medical conditions that make walking and balancing difficult.
For 15 years, the CBMW has afforded kinesiology students the opportunity to apply what they’re learning through a “live-lab” experience. As volunteers, interns or students in the Disorders of Voluntary Movement course, they can work in the Center’s physical therapy clinic or assist in exercise and wellness programs for individuals living with Parkinson’s disease or traumatic brain injuries. Because the CBMW provides a unique service to the surrounding community, Gordon students also get to practice neighborliness.
The “people part” of physical therapy is AnaCarolina’s passion. For her, the value is in the moments of mutual exchange—what she calls an “interplay of knowledge sharing”—when you realize you have something to teach someone and they have something to teach you.
AnaCarolina explains, “It really has been humbling to work with people who have lived life and have more experience than you do, and here you are trying to help them.”