“I really want to help people,” says OSU-Cascades senior Britney Galles. “When I think about what I want to do most – that’s it.”
Britney is studying kinesiology (KIN) and plans on heading to physical therapy school after she earns a bachelor’s degree.
She currently works part-time at a physical therapy clinic in Redmond. There, she sets clients on ice, conducts ultrasounds and cold laser therapy and takes clients through exercises under the direction of a physical therapist.
Last term, Britney worked on a research project under way at the FORCE Lab, a biomechanics laboratory in Bend where OSU-Cascades’ Exercise and Sport Science faculty partner with a physical therapy clinic and orthopaedic surgeons. At the FORCE Lab, she collected and analyzed data in a study focused on the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), a portion of the knee. The lab evaluated motion in the leg during running and jumping in those with and without a history of injury to the ACL to evaluate return to activity after an ACL injury. The FORCE Lab offers opportunities for EXSS students, even at the undergraduate level, to work closely with faculty on research projects.
“I loved the whole process,” she says.
Britney came to kinesiology the way many her in field do – through personal experience. When she was in high school, she was in a bus crash that left her neck injured. She had a wonderful physical therapist in Madras, Ore., who inspired her future career goals.
She transferred to OSU-Cascades after a few years of school in Tacoma. She loves the one-on-one mentoring at OSU-Cascades. The access to professors and the hands-on learning have been a great fit, she says.
Britney is not the only one in her family with physical therapy ambitions – her husband Charles is also enrolled in kinesiology at OSU-Cascades.
Together, they are working to start a nonprofit that provides veterans with access to physical therapy services.
“When Charles, a former Army paratrooper, needed to see a physical therapist, it was a two-month wait for a first visit through veterans services and then a three or four week wait between physical therapy appointments,” Britney says. “Normally, a physical therapist will see a client two to three times a week.”
There are many veterans in the area who need access to care and are not getting it, Britney says.
She’s also interested in overall wellness at it relates to physical therapy.
“By the time the injury has occurred, that’s kind of the end of the line,” she says. Instead of 45 minutes with a client focusing on an injury, she’s interested in preventive, holistic therapy to help prevent the injury from happening.