Becoming a Physical Therapist – Hannah Gerding

Hannah Gerding, ’17, knew when she arrived at Meredith College that she wanted to be a physical therapist after watching her mother and grandmother go through rehabilitation for hip replacement and her uncle for knee replacement.

The senior from Kinston, N.C., will earn a bachelor’s degree in exercise and sports science with a concentration in health and wellness this spring. Upon graduation, Hannah will attend the College of Allied Health Sciences at East Carolina University where she will work toward a doctoral degree in physical therapy.

Attending physical therapy school in the fall is an exciting step for Hannah and she feels that Meredith has given her the knowledge and skills for this opportunity. Through her coursework, she has learned about the muscles, the way the body operates while exercising, how to conduct oneself professionally, and how to read and conduct data.

Once she earns her doctorate in physical therapy, Hannah hopes to work in a geriatric home with the veteran population.

“The prerequisites and challenges that Meredith has given me have prepared me for internships, jobs, and graduate school,” said Hannah.

Some challenges Hannah faced while at Meredith were learning more about her independence, building more confidence, and developing leadership traits. Hannah was involved in Cornhuskin’ every year and served as the co-chair last year. She sits on the honors committee for the Honors Program and was assistant chief of Student Advisors her junior year, and the chief her senior year.

As a senior, she was part of White Iris Circle, and serves as president of the Sports Science Association. Through all of these experiences, she learned about time management and how to balance being a student and an active participant in organizations.

“I was not necessarily shy, but I learned how to break out of my shell,” Hannah said. “I know how to better communicate my point clearly to people.”

Hannah was able to expand upon the skills that she learned during her time at Meredith through several job shadowing opportunities which she completed all at the same time. During the summer between her sophomore and junior year, she shadowed at physical therapy clinics at Lenoir Memorial Hospital, Young Physical and Sports Therapy, Caswell Developmental Center, and North Carolina Veterans Home.

As Hannah prepares for graduation, she looks back on Freshman Move-In Day, her fondest memory. “I remember waking up at 5 a.m to prepare myself to move in,” said Hannah. “I had my big sister, best friend, advisors, and family come help me move. I have loved being a student advisor because I help other students move in, so I get to relive similar experiences.”

By Yessy Anorve-Basoria, ‘19

Learn more about studying exercise and sports science at Meredith.

Explore Meredith’s Honors Program.