DPT student set to graduate exactly 20 years after mother blazes trail at USC.
BY MICHELLE McCARTHY
YOU COULD SAY RAVIN RHODES DPT ’26 WAS DESTINED to become a physical therapist. At the tender age of 4, she would tag along with her mother, Kimberly Bozart-Dow ’99, DPT ’06, and serve as a patient for her pediatric physical therapy class at USC. “Around 90 physical therapy students would analyze her gait and the way she moved,” Bozart-Dow recalls. “They adopted her as our ‘class kid.’ She had a great time.”
Years later, Bozart-Dow worked as an athletic trainer for a women’s professional football team. “I’d be on the sidelines with my mom, getting tape and all the medical supplies she needed for her players,” Rhodes says. “I always thought it was interesting, so I stuck to the physical therapy path.”
When Rhodes shared her intentions of following in her mother’s PT footsteps, Bozart-Dow wasn’t surprised in the least. “I would take home my bone box and find her looking through it and asking, ‘What bone is this’ and ‘Where does this go, Mom?’ She’d flip through the pages of my anatomy book with great interest.”
Rhodes is set to complete the doctor of physical therapy (DPT) program in the USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy’s residential pathway in 2026 — exactly 20 years after her mother did so.
Bozart-Dow competed in BMX races as a teen, traveling nationally and internationally to meets. She suffered her fair share of injuries — concussions, strains, sprains, broken bones and a ruptured Achilles tendon — and was a regular at the physical therapy office, where she quickly became interested in pursuing the profession.
She grew up in Compton, Calif., and her parents insisted Bozart-Dow attend a local college. “I applied to every university outside of California so I could get away,” she says, with a laugh. In fact, her mother and father only took their daughter to one college tour — at USC — and were eager to sign on the dotted line. “It was the best decision my parents ever made for me. When I finished the program, there was no doubt in my mind that I was ready and prepared as a physical therapist.”
The best advice Bozart-Dow has shared with her daughter is to trust her gut, be prepared for limited free time and rely on the faculty and staff for support. “Several of my classmates from the program are now professors at USC, so I told her to ask them any questions she may have.”
Fun fact: Rhodes has a good chance of learning from some of the same teachers as her mother, including James Gordon, Cheryl Resnik, Rob Landel, Susan Sigward, Didi Matthews, George Salem and Jesus Dominguez.
Now the owner of her own concierge physical therapy practice in Las Vegas in which she treats patients in their hotel rooms and professional athletes in town for tournaments, Bozart-Dow says what has changed the most about physical therapy education since she was at USC is, without a doubt, technology. “That’s a great thing. It’s going to be very different for Ravin. When I was there, we were still using paper and pens and had actual physical books,” she says. “Now it’s mandatory that you have a laptop and an iPad when you enter the program.”
What drew Rhodes to PT, aside from watching her mother, is the ability to help patients get better over time. “Whether they start from ground zero or somewhere in the middle, seeing them evolve and progress is so rewarding,” she says.
As a senior in college at the University of Central Arkansas, Rhodes tore her ACL playing volleyball, and the rehabilitation process cemented that PT was the career for her.
Rhodes’ mother and father are both USC alumni, and she grew up going to football games and spending time in classrooms on campus. As a result, she proudly refers to herself as a “Trojan for life.”
“I was so grateful and excited when I got the acceptance letter. Being in your hometown and in the heart of L.A. is something you can’t get anywhere else. That’s why USC was the place for me.”
After graduation, she plans on working for a professional sports team, preferably volleyball or football.
With Rhodes’ White Coat Ceremony fast approaching, Bozart-Dow says she has been feeling quite nostalgic. “My class in 2003 was the first to do the White Coat Ceremony at USC,” she says. “It’s going to be 20 years to a T that my daughter is now receiving her white coat — it’s surreal.”
Rhodes says she’s been swept up in the sentiment as well. “I’ve been looking at pictures from when my mom was going through all of this stuff and when she graduated,” she explains. “It’s going to be a full circle moment of how we’ve switched roles. I can’t wait to recreate all those moments with her.”