One degree at a time
Kristen Schulte ’17 was working toward her undergraduate degree in English at Xavier University when she suffered a back injury that permanently ended her college running career.
Rather than crushing her, the injury inspired her. After several sessions of ineffective physical therapy, Schulte was motivated to find a way to help patients in similar situations.
“I felt so intensely this drive to help people as a physical therapist that late in my junior year, I made the choice to direct my studies so that I could go to graduate school for physical therapy,” Schulte said.
She earned her Doctor of Physical Therapy from UD in 2017. Although Schulte was originally pulled to UD by the location and size, it was its emphasis on problem-based learning that primarily affected her career.
“From being in small problem-based learning groups, I learned humility as a clinician. There were times when I simply could not find the solution, and I would need to rely on another group member,” she said.
She now owns and operates Physical Therapy 212, a name inspired by the state change that occurs when water temperature goes from 211 degrees to 212.
“One degree can make a huge difference. Similarly, I emphasize one-on-one care and specific attention to each patient’s unique body and life journey. If I can help improve their body by just ‘one degree,’ then they will be able to improve their life significantly,” Schulte said.
Schulte admits that at times, being a young physical therapist already running her own clinic can be overwhelming. When she feels the negativity catching up to her, she reflects back on the lessons she gained from her education at UD.
“I take a deep breath before I see each patient and quietly remind myself that I have prepared well in terms of my doctorate degree or continuing research and that now is the time to trust that God will use my preparation to truly help my patients.”