If You Can See It, You Can Be It
WHEN I FIRST BECAME INTERESTED IN PHYSICAL THERAPY, I was excited to learn that it was a growing and exciting field. I did my research and found lots of women to look up to. I remember watching Stephania Bell on ESPN or Judy Seto sitting behind Kobe at the Lakers games. However, I never really found black or Latina women in these prominent positions in PT. Not even black or Latino men.
While growing up, without even realizing it, I always sought guidance from family members, older friends and professors who were of color. These were people who I related to. They understood where I was coming from and could tell me that they went through similar hardships as I had. All of these mentors guided me and motivated me to follow my dreams by serving as role models who followed theirs.
Once I got to undergrad, I felt like I needed another role model in PT to let me know that I could do it. Thankfully I was blessed to have met Sean Johnson DPT ’08 — a black PT — while I was at USC. He not only became a faculty supervisor for the club I was co-founding, he also became my personal mentor. Thanks to him I was able to network with other black and Latina women. But still, they are very few. Now, I realize how lucky and blessed I have been by being surrounded by a strong and diverse network because I am not sure if I would have made it this far without their guidance or assurance.
After talking to other PT students across the country I realize that many underrepresented minority students outside of USC do not have this network, and my goal is to change that. Although it is cliché to say, I truly feel like representation matters. If you can see it, you can be it. I was able to see myself in others which helped me be successful, so I hope I can give back that same representation by talking to underrepresented minority pre-PT students across the country.