News-line recently interviewed Heidi Fries ’06, ’09DPT, PT coordinator at Theraplay, Inc. Fries, who earned both a bachelor's degree in Biology and a Doctorate of Physical Therapy degree from Arcadia University, discusses how her professors helped her find the right field to integrate her lifelong interest in pediatrics and medicine.
Q: Who motivated you to become a physical therapist?
A: Originally, I was interested in medical school. I grew up in South Africa, the daughter of a missionary. In my life I was able to see poverty, need, hurt and hunger. I knew from a young age that I wanted to help people, make them smile and make a difference.
At 18 years old I came to America with the hopes of becoming a doctor; however, I didn’t know at the time what kind of doctor I would end up being. During my first two years of undergraduate studies, my anatomy and physiology professor guided me toward physical therapy. He told me he saw my passion for human anatomy and that I seemed to really understand how the body was put together. He had a lot of contact with the professors at Arcadia University’s PT program and thought physical therapy was a field I should explore. My mom had always encouraged me to look into this field as well. She knew I would eventually want to be a mother and be able to work but also have the time to spend with my family. As a physician, this would be difficult. Schedules of physical therapists were much more forgiving. Another positive aspect to physical therapy was how much time physical therapists were able to spend with their patients, not only treating them physically but also affecting their lives as a whole.