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Taylor Graduate Attends Nation’s Top Physical Therapy School

  • By: Ansley Kary
  • Published:
Taylor Barry standing in front of a large sign

Taylor University seeks to train up servant leaders that are equipped to respond to a world in need. As a response to this calling, the Kinesiology Department prepares students to make an impact by providing a comprehensive understanding of the human body mechanics through course material, hands-on experiences, and research in high-tech facilities. Students gain professional-level exposure during their undergraduate education. 

For Taylor Barry ‘20, Taylor University was the perfect stepping stone to aid in her wildest dreams of getting accepted into Washington University in Saint Louis, MO, the number one graduate Physical Therapy program in the nation. When choosing to enter the world of Exercise Science, Barry knew that she would one day need to select a graduate programming order to claim a doctorate, all in order to pursue Physical Therapy as a full time career. 

Prepared for Physical Therapy Grad School

Even within her first semester in the graduate program at WU, Barry has taken notice of how Taylor provided an advantage over her peers. 

“Taylor has definitely prepared me way more than I could ever imagine,” Barry said. “I'm noticing differences between me and the other students in my program and looking back I'm really thankful for the ways in which Taylor prepared me.”

When it came down to pursuing a doctorate in Physical Therapy, Barry had little idea of what school she wanted to attend. In the end it was Dr. Matthew Renfrow, Department Co-Chair and Professor of Kinesiology, that encouraged Taylor to apply to Washington University. 

“It's the number one PT school in the nation,” Barry said. “It definitely was not on my radar to go there, but he (Renfrow) believed in me, as well as all the other Exercise Science professors. I owe it to them for believing in me to get here.”

At Washington University, Barry joined two other Taylor graduates who are finishing up the doctorate in program as well. 

The Road to Acceptance 

As an ambitious student, Barry quickly jumped head first into her major, as well as her involvement on campus. She was a preceptorial leader for two years (part of the freshman orientation program), student organization cabinet leader, and an integral part of the Live Well Program

These extracurricular activities helped set Barry apart when applying for graduate school. She also says that building personal relationships with her professors inside and outside of her major served her well in the long run.

Barry specifically credits Dr. Vance Maloney, Professor of Psychology, and Renfrow as a huge part of her success. She worked alongside Maloney on planning exercise programming from a psychological perspective and continued to be a source of support over the years. 

Last year, Washington University revamped their PT program, and instead of individual classes they are now more concerned with course content and passing checkpoint evaluations rather than grades.  

“Taylor did a really good job making connections between all the different classes,” Barry said. “It helped me make a smooth transition into this style of learning.”

Live Well Program 

Taylor’s Exercise Science Major offers diverse research experiences, coupled with program development. During her time at Taylor, Barry was heavily involved in the Live Well Program. This clinical program is provided in partnership with Marion Pediatrics that deals with pediatric weight management. Through faculty supervision, students are able to gain hands-on real world experiences through coaching young children, teenagers, and their families in order to aid children in improving their weight and overall health. Students develop a comprehensive plan based around building healthy habits with exercise, nutrition and sleep. 

Barry attributes this experience with building her confidence around conversing with clients. She enjoyed talking to kids in the community about healthy habits, as a way to personally instill motivation in them. 

“The experience in the clinic has really prepared me for grad school,” Barry said. “I really liked getting out into the community at Taylor and learning how to talk to people in a clinical environment, and I believe this has served me well in PT school thus far.”

Faith Continued in Graduate School 

Barry attributes her time at Taylor as an essential piece in developing confidence in her own personal faith. She said she feels that Taylor gave her a solid foundation for entering into a secular university and encouraged her to share her faith with her fellow peers. 

Upon arriving at grad school, Barry started to look for a church home. She found four other women who are also Physical Therapy students who were also looking for a church. Through their connection at church, they decided to start a weekly Bible Study. After a few weeks, the women opened the group up to their entire Physical Therapy class. Today, they have 17 people in their Bible Study.

“It definitely was a surprise, because I wasn't expecting to really have anyone to go to church with, let alone have like a group of people and have a Bible study,” Barry said.

Visit Taylor University 

Learn more about the outstanding Exercise Science, Public Health, Health Promotion and Wellness, Human Physiology and Preventive Medicine and other kinesiology-related majors at Taylor University. Schedule your campus visit today to see it all for yourself.