Striving for a Hands-On Approach to Helping Others
| by Kristen Johnson firstname.lastname@example.org
There are many professions that touch the lives of others; careers such as nursing, teaching, and ministry. When Lauren (Roberts) Woodward (‘16) came to MNU, she was looking for her own special way of serving. And she says that is exactly what she found.
Lauren is the youngest of four children, and the daughter of a Nazarene pastor. As a result, she grew up a little bit everywhere. Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, she also lived in Shawnee, Kansas, then Pennsylvania, all before graduating from high school in Topeka, Kansas.
As a Nazarene pastor’s kid, or PK, Lauren was immersed in the Nazarene culture. Her oldest sister, Megan, and her older brother, Tyler, both graduated from MNU. Based on their experiences, when it was Lauren’s turn to choose a college, she knew she wanted to attend a faith-based school.
“I just knew it would be important at that time in my life, to make the faith my own,” she explained.
She wasn’t completely sold on MNU, but since it was a short distance from home, she considered it. And once she visited the campus for herself, she knew MNU was exactly where she was supposed to be. It was the close-knit nature and friendliness of the students on campus that won her over. That closeness was just what she was looking for.
When Lauren arrived at MNU, however, she did not have her entire future mapped out. In fact, it was quite the opposite. Undecided on a major, it wasn’t until the end of her freshmen seminar class that she made a discovery.
“It wasn’t an easy choice for me,” Lauren remembered.
Like all the students, Lauren was faced with an assignment from Professor Mark Hayse that she could not complete. She was to map out all of the courses she would take at MNU to earn her degree. And she honestly did not know what to choose.
After conferring with her advisor, Professor Mike Gough, she narrowed it down to what she didn’t want to do. For example, no desk job! She knew she enjoyed anatomy and physiology classes, and her brother Tyler had majored in kinesiology, so she was curious about that. After taking the introductory kinesiology course, Lauren decided to follow in her brother’s footsteps and has not looked back since.
MNU gave Lauren the chance to learn the subject matter while gaining valuable hands-on experience. This quality education fully prepared her for her next step: graduate school.
After a long acceptance process, waiting two months, and getting married, Lauren learned that she had been accepted into the very competitive Doctorate of Physical Therapy program at Rockhurst University.
“I feel so lucky to be able to become a physical therapist and study at Rockhurst. I remind myself of that often--like when I’m studying. I’m so happy to be here!” she said.
Lauren is her second year of the three-year program. Her education at MNU has even put her one step ahead of her classmates. Often, she knows how to do a test or procedure before the others! After she graduates, she will have a degree that’s regarded as highly as a medical doctor. But besides that, Lauren looks forward to doing what she really wants to: helping others.
She thinks an ideal setting will be in acute care in a hospital setting, rehabilitating patients after strokes or other neurological problems, or maybe working with cancer patients.
“Seeking to work in acute care kind of puts me in the minority,” Lauren explained. “But I feel called to work in that setting.”
Many of her classmates are hoping to work with athletes or in an out-patient setting. She looks forward to connecting with those patients and supporting them in whatever they are going through. Lauren is excited to share her faith with the patients by the way she interacts with them.
And it’s that calling that leads Lauren to believe that a future practicing physical therapy will be a fulfilling one.