Meet Our Students – Lisa Rodriguez – Dedicated to a Lifetime of Service
Major: Bachelor of Science in Rehabilitation Sciences
Are you a first-generation college student? If so, please share with us why you were inspired to go to college and why you picked UTEP.
I am not a first-generation college student. My father achieved an associate degree of science and my mother has some college credits. While I may not be the first, my parents were the only ones to pursue any college in my family. My grandmother has a 6 th grade education, if that puts it into perspective. I come from a long line of proud, blue collar, trade-trained workers. My inspiration in attending college came after a ten-year career in the Army, where I determined exactly what I wanted to pursue.
What sparked your interest in the BS-RHSC Program?
My interest in the BS-RHSC program came naturally from my experiences in the military and my desire to remain in patient service. Rehabilitation is such a tough reality for those who have been injured in the line of duty. I found that the BS-RHSC program had everything I was looking for. The program is centered on the patient and focuses on the whole picture of rehabilitation with research-based treatment approaches.
What have been your greatest academic challenges so far, and what have you done to overcome them?
I am a full-time student, mother, and wife to an active-duty service member. I am involved in the community with Compadres Therapy, Inc. and research with the Clinical Applied Physiology Lab, headed by Dr. Alvaro Gurovich. I am president of The Student Association of Rehabilitation Sciences and The Clinically Applied Physiology Research Association. I find that my greatest academic challenge is to keep everything in balance. Goal setting and creating a schedule is integral in keeping myself on track. It is important to schedule family and me time, as well. I know it sounds strange, but it is important to do this and to stick to a schedule. Also, I work on pacing myself. It is easier to manage a large workload when consistently working on it, rather than trying to cram it all in over one or two nights.
How did you become involved in research?
Being involved in research was a natural step for me. I want to enter the rehabilitation field, specifically physical therapy, which is research-based in the execution of evaluation and treatment. I “cold e-mailed” professors that conducted research in fields that I was interested in. I received an e-mail back from Dr. Gurovich and interviewed for the research assistant position in his lab.
What are the two most memorable experiences you have had in the CAPh Laboratory?
The most memorable experiences in the lab stem from the sense of connectedness I feel in working with my lab mates. We are all working towards a goal together, and sometimes, evaluating and analyzing data can be very challenging. I am lucky to work with such a thorough, dedicated team. My second most memorable experience is getting to go to a research conference. I attended the Texas Association of Physical Therapy’s conference. Seeing the amount of research presented was astounding! I loved getting to see the different approaches that other researchers are taking. Being in a room with that many researchers and posters really is breathtaking.
How do you feel this has prepared you for your future career?
Knowing how to dissect scientific articles and where to search for information has been a huge game changer. The BS-RHSC program certainly teaches this well. In addition, being able to practice and use it in real life with the research lab has made me more proficient. I was able to publish a first author manuscript this past October. I have wonderful mentorship, which has helped to build my confidence and knowledge base for the next steps in my education and career.
What advice would you give to a student thinking about studying rehabilitation sciences?
Get engaged early! Get involved with student organizations, as they can provide their own form of peer mentorship. Look into research programs; they can help solidify what you are learning in your classes. See what needs you should address by getting to know your community. Community ties build trust and connections.
For more information about the Bachelor of Science in Rehabilitation Sciences Program, please visit: https://www.utep.edu/chs/bsrhsc/