Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Health sciences alumna receives esteemed scholarship for doctorate program

Shortly before she graduated from Whitworth last spring, health sciences alumna Shannon Eshoff, '11, was named a University of Puget Sound Physical Therapy Fellow, offsetting more than half of her tuition costs for her graduate education. Eshoff was selected as one of two fellows in a program of 37 students. She is enrolled in the doctorate of physical therapy program at the university, where she will graduate in 2014.

Eshoff first heard about the fellowship when she visited the UPS campus as a prospective student. The program director mentioned that once the incoming class was determined, two students in the program would be selected to receive a fellowship based on their applications. Recipients of the fellowship must display leadership and characteristics that are essential in physical therapy, Eshoff says.

"When I first found out that I received the fellowship, I was in disbelief," says Eshoff, who is originally from Sacramento, Calif. "After the initial shock wore off, I felt very honored and humbled to be recognized with such a prestigious and generous award. I feel a continuing responsibility to uphold characteristics of leadership and to strive for excellence."

Eshoff highly recommends physical therapy as a career path to anyone who is interested in human anatomy and has a desire to make a difference in peoples' lives by improving their health. It's a profession that uses natural means and vast knowledge of anatomy for improving the health of those who suffer from skeletal-muscular impairments, she says. Therapists get to know their patients one-on-one and develop personal relationships with them.

Eshoff credits Whitworth for helping develop the mindset and skills she's further refining in graduate school. While at Whitworth, Eshoff took part in the Whitworth Choir, the Women's Choir, the Jazz Ensemble, intramurals, student life, and ASWU leadership.

"Whitworth has blessed me in many ways by expanding my knowledge, developing my character, and therefore preparing me for the future," Eshoff says. "The academic rigor and concurrent support of faculty and staff in the health science department encouraged me to strive for success, which I continue to do today. I cannot express how much I appreciate the investment my professors made in me and my education."

After graduate school, Eshoff would like to go into pediatric physical therapy, either in a children's hospital or in a private practice. Long-term she plans on specializing in a specific area of pediatric therapy. She also plans on becoming involved in the American Physical Therapy Association to help to grow and influence the profession.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of nearly 3,000 students, offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.