Thursday, March 8, 2012

Meet Sarah Schlomer

Meet Sarah Schlomer, TA for Saint Louis University’s Program in Physical Therapy, APTA member, secretary of the SLU DCHS Alumni Board, fan of La Jolla, California, and ballroom dancer. Read the following interview to learn a little bit about where Sarah is from, what projects she has accomplished, what plans she has for the future, and what she gains from her patients.    

Where are you from?
I was born & raised in Cincinnati, OH.  For those from Cincy, I attended Mother of Mercy High School.  Go Bobcats! (Yes, it is not just a St. Louis thing!) My grandmother, Dorothy, my mother, Helen, & my younger sister & future brother-in-law, Megan & Nick, still reside in Cincinnati along with my furry nephew, Brutus.

Sarah’s furry nephew, Brutus

How did you become interested in physical therapy?  In high school I experienced multiple musculoskeletal injuries due to school sports. During that time I was treated by a number of wonderful PTs at a local clinic.  The first PT I had, Melissa Kontis, PT, ATC, inspired me to look deeper into PT as a possible career.  During my time as a patient & my 235 volunteer hours there she took extra time to explain the field to me, answer questions, & demonstrated first-hand how our profession can make a positive impact in the lives of others.

Where did you graduate from? I graduated in May 2003 with a BS in Exercise Science & minors in Psychology & Theology, January 2005 with my MPT, & August 2006 with my DPT – all from SLU.
Are you a member of the APTA? I have been an APTA member since I was a student at SLU, and I am a currently an acute care, orthopaedics, & geriatrics section member.  I am also an APTA credentialed clinical instructor (CI).  As a student at SLU I was also inducted in Alpha Sigma Nu & Psi Chi.

What projects have you accomplished? What will you be working on in the future? I published my first journal article in Physical Therapy in 2006 with Randy Richter, Bill Siler, & Mary Krieger on academic productivity in PT programs.  This project was started while I was a student at SLU, and I learned a great deal about the process from all three of them.  Currently, I am learning the process of publishing a textbook while working with Ginge Kettenbach on the next edition of the SOAP Notebook.   
If time and resources would ever permit it, I would love to do research in the future with looking at ankle and hip injuries in dancers and/or figure skaters.

In what settings have you worked in previously?  Since graduation I have worked full-time in a variety of settings:  outpatient neuro and ortho, acute rehab, & acute care—primarily ortho/trauma/surgery.  I am presently splitting my clinical practice with 6 months in outpatient & 6 months in acute care at Saint Louis University Hospital.  I also serve as a clinical instructor for students of all levels in their PT education from several PT schools.
I started assisting with labs & courses at SLU in 2006, including:  DPT412 Kinesiology II, DPT514 Physical Agents II, DPT519 Biomechanical Interventions, IPE460 Evidence-Based Practice, and the former tDPT690 Topics in Research.
While DPT514 and DPT412 are the ones I have participated with the longest, I would have to say that DPT519 is my favorite because the lab is very hands-on & the information & skills learned in the lab will have a profound effect on the lives of the patients that the students will work with in the future.

What service are you involved in? I am in the third year of a 3-year term as the secretary of the SLU DCHS Alumni Board.  Besides assisting with organizing trivia night and other fundraisers for student scholarships, the Alumni Board has afforded me multiple opportunities to serve the SLU and Greater St. Louis community at places such as Campus Kitchen, Ronald McDonald House, Send-Me St. Louis, and the United Way, among others.
In my clinical practice I am the department representative for the hospital-wide wound/tissue integrity committee.
When I was a student at SLU I served as a Eucharistic minister through Campus Ministry, a volunteer judge for the Greater St. Louis Speech & Debate League, class representative and secretary of the SLU PT StuCo.

Can you tell us a favorite quote or phrase?  My favorite phrase to live by is  Sine timore.  It is Latin for “without fear”.

Favorite quote:   “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”  ~Winston Churchill

If you were not a physical therapist, what would you be?  If I was not a physical therapist I would be a film/television or theatre writer & actor. I love the freedom that “the stage” provides you:  the ability to express what you feel, speak to & touch the audience on a deep level, and, in some instances, take on another personality & express a side of yourself that others never see.
My back-up to that:  working for the CIA.  I have always felt strongly about serving & protecting the country.

Where is your favorite place to travel?The most recent place I have traveled to for PT was San Diego, CA. If I magically win the lottery, I would retire to La Jolla, CA.  It is beautiful!

   What are your favorite movies?      
Past & present:  Good Will Hunting, Silence of the Lambs, The Descendants
   Can you tell us something about yourself that might surprise your students to know about you?  I am a classically trained pointé ballet dancer, but had to give it up after tearing my gastroc. In college I was a member of the founding SLU Crew team.
   Any strange or interesting hobbies, activities, etc.? In my free time I love ballroom dancing, figure skating, running, playing basketball & volleyball, taking in a good stage show, & watching my favorite TV show, Castle.
   Who is someone that inspires you? My grandmother, Dorothy, has been a driving force in my life & career.  She has supported me in every way imaginable, including hand-written letters every week while I was in college, and continues to be one of my biggest supporters today.  She has been a role model through the incredible work ethic she demonstrated for me while growing up & her tireless determination to live a full and selfless lifestyle despite the physical challenges she faces.  

Sarah and her grandmother, Dorothy

In the community?
In the community, the patients I have been privileged to work with have acted as mentors to me. They remind me daily of a quote from Maria Shriver:  “God puts mentors in your path.  They may not look like you, sound like you, or be what you expect.  But they always know more than you, and that’s the whole point.”  I continue to learn that if you keep your eyes open & listen to the wisdom that patients dispense, especially the geriatric population, you can learn valuable lessons about every facet of life and how to really live from those that have lived and learned from it.  While I hope that my skills help to empower them and improve their lives, I am blessed by the wisdom that they dispense.

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