Friday, October 12, 2012

October Student Spotlight Dharti Shah

The Program in Physical Therapy’s October Student Spotlight is Dharti Shah, Class of 2017. Read on to discover more about Dharti!


Where were you born/raised?

Born, raised, and have lived in Rockford, IL all my life!

How many siblings do you have?

I have two amazing older sisters! I am the first to go to SLU though.

Do you have one or two particular memories from childhood that you feel define how you were or how your family was?

I visited India as a child with my family a few times and just remembered seeing how much they were in need of help. It was then that I knew I wanted to help and give back to people in whatever capacity I could.

What after school activities did you do as a child?

I ran cross country for a few years and was a Girl Scout! I loved working with our community musical theatre program—my favorite hobbies are singing, dancing, and acting! In my spare time, I learned how to cook from my parents and really enjoyed writing!

Who was your favorite superhero?

I don’t know if I can narrow it down to one, but I will favor Marvel over DC for sure.

Did you have a pet as a kid?

Never. I was actually bit by a wild dog in India when I was two and have been afraid of animals ever since.


Where did you go to high school?

My freshman year I attended Auburn High School in the gifted program. I then was accepted to the Illinois Math and Science Academy (IMSA) for sophomore-senior year. I lived residentially on campus in Aurora, IL, and it was a fantastic experience!

What was the mascot at your high school?

We were the IMSA Titans, but our colors were blue and white—just like SLU!

What class did you enjoy the most in high school and why?

I really enjoyed my Microbes and Disease class at IMSA because it was interesting and heavily lab based. My favorite electives were creative writing and choir.

Who was your favorite professor in high school and why?

My favorite teachers were Mrs. Tracy Townsend (English) and Dr. Rob Kiely (History)—they were instrumental in my growth and development and really encouraged me to pursue my passions as I explored academics.

Have you worked in a physical therapy clinic, hospital, home health etc.?

At IMSA, I interned with our school’s athletic trainer and was able to learn a lot from that opportunity. I have shadowed home health PT’s in Rockford over the summer.

Area of Current Physical Therapy Interest

What area of physical therapy are you currently interested in?
At the moment I am not interested in any one area. I am waiting until my clinical experiences to decide on a specialty if any. I have had the most experience with sports medicine and orthopedics thus far, but I am open to seeing and learning new things!

How did you become interested in physical therapy in general?

I first learned of PT when I was a patient myself for lower back problems. I really loved working with my PT and have been interested ever since.


What types of service activities have you organized or participated in with regards to Saint Louis University?

I have done Make A Difference Day, Showers of Service, Habitat For Humanity, and several other smaller service projects at SLU.

What types of service activities have you organized or participated in with regards to a local or national level?

I have been active with Habitat for Humanity since my sophomore year of high school and continue to work with them now.

Can you talk about a service experience that made a large impression on you?

I went on my first Habitat trip in high school and have been passionate about the organization and its mission ever since. I was able to build great friendships through that experience and I was opened up to a whole new world of compassion and care through those builds.


If you have an inspirational quote that describes you please list.

“To know that one life has breathed easier because you have lived, that is to have succeeded.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

“She believed she could so she did.” - Unknown

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” - E.E. Cummings

“Some people care too much...I think its called love - Winnie the Pooh

In Another Life

If you were not a physical therapy student what would you be?

I would be a singer, a chef, or a writer!

Fun Facts

What is your favorite Saint Louis restaurant?

I have not been to many yet, but I must say that Ted Drewes hits the spot every time.

Where is your favorite place to travel?

I like to travel a lot, but I’m a firm follower in the phrase that ‘home is where the heart is’.

Who is your favorite band/singer?

Gavin Degraw and Jason Mraz.

What is your favorite movie?

I would have to say Harry Potter, but I like the books more!

Who is your favorite sports team?

Chicago Bulls or Boston Celtics—I have no loyalty to any other sport aside from basketball.

Favorite type of animal?

White Tiger.

If you could travel anywhere, where would it be?

I would really like visit Australia, Greece, and Thailand at some point—but I want to see a lot of countries in Europe!

Favorite place to study?

In my bed under blankets or the library.

What is something you would like to do in the next ten years?

I really want to publish a book sometime within the next ten years. I love writing and it’s one of my best forms of expression and I just want to be able to reach and touch people with my thoughts.

If you haven’t already, can you share who your biggest mentors in life have been so far?  How do they encourage you now?

I would say that my sisters are constantly pushing me to be better and do better—I love them and they always help me follow my dreams.

What achievements are you really proud of?

I am really proud of getting into the PT program. I have loved every minute of it and don’t want to take the opportunity for granted. I am also proud that I have the courage to wear my heart on my sleeve.

What is something that you really struggled with in the first 6 months of the PT Program? How did you overcome it? What is something that you have been struggling with lately and how are you working with it?

I had a hard time making friends because I was so focused on school and trying to get good grades, but I am slowly meeting more people and trying to be more outgoing. Lately, I have had a lot on my plate as an RA, but I love my residents and it’s been a great experience so far! I just have to keep working at my time management skills.

What would your advice be to incoming freshmen?

Be open to new people and experiences in college! You have to make sure that you are balancing the stress by having fun and relaxing!

Why did you chose SLU?

Because this is the best PT program ever and the campus is beautiful.

Who is your best friend? Have you had the same one since childhood? How do they support/challenge you?

My best friends are my sisters and my roommates from IMSA and SLU—they can handle me at my worst but know what I’m capable of at my best. They support me, encourage me, and always eat my experimental cooking!

Something most people wouldn’t know about you?

I would spend all of my time volunteering or cooking if I could.

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