Ashlee Graas, DPT24
The Tufts DPT accelerated, hybrid format allows students the flexibility to obtain their DPT degree without having to relocate. Ashlee Graas, DPT24, shared with us her experience in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Phoenix program and why she chose Tufts.
Why did you choose to pursue this degree?
"After graduating from undergrad with a business degree, I worked in the corporate world for numerous years. While my job was interesting, I found myself constantly questioning the career path I was on. I had always imagined a career where I could make a difference in some way and have a job where I could impact others’ lives. I’ve always been an active person, participating in sports my entire life…and experiencing some injuries along the way, so the physical therapy field seemed like it would be a good fit. After moving from a large city to a small town where my corporate career was not viable, I opted to take a leap of faith and go to PTA school in hopes of finding something that I was passionate about and that I truly enjoyed. Through my PTA education and once I began working, I felt I found the career field that I was meant to be in. I found myself wanting to learn more, seeking out ways to further enhance my own skills for myself, but for my patients as well. I wanted to be able to make an impact on a person’s journey from beginning to end, without feeling as though I had to fill in the blanks sometime as a PTA, so pursuing a DPT degree seemed like the next step in my career progression."
Why did you choose Tufts?
"Choosing Tufts was an easy decision for me. I already knew about the great reputation Tufts University had, particularly when it came to the medical and research fields. So, when I saw that Tufts was starting a hybrid-accelerated program based in Phoenix, it was a perfect situation for me as I currently reside on the West coast. Being a mom is my main priority, so having to be away from my family for extended periods of time to attend school was not an option for me. Through the DPT-Phoenix program, I can work towards my goal of becoming a DPT, without losing time with my family or having to miss any important milestones with my daughter. Additionally, as the DPT-Phoenix program is also an accelerated one, I can complete the program within two years and start the career that I have always wanted sooner rather than later."
What has your experience it the DPT-Phoenix program been like so far?
"My experience with the DPT-Phoenix program has been challenging, in the best way possible. Being a part of the inaugural class for the DPT-Phoenix program is a unique opportunity, we are the cohort that is setting the bar for those that follow, so while it comes with uncertainties and a few bumps along the way, it also makes it exciting to see your input and feedback implemented throughout the program. Also having the opportunity to learn from faculty that are at the top of their game, alongside classmates that are supportive throughout, has made this experience well worth it already."
What is your favorite aspect about the DPT-Phoenix program?
"There are many amazing aspects to the DPT-Phoenix program. The instructors, my classmates, the beautiful campus in downtown Phoenix, but if I had to pick a favorite, I would say the hybrid format. I love that I can be home with my family while completing my degree, but still able to get that on-campus, hands-on opportunity with the onsite lab immersions. I also really enjoy those lab immersions. While they are intense, they allow the entire cohort to come together and not only learn from the instructors, but from each other."
What do you wish to accomplish upon graduation?
"Upon graduation, I’m hoping to work in pediatrics, whether it is within an outpatient setting or acute care setting, and possibly pursue a residency. At some point, way down the line, I’d like to teach…maybe even return to Tufts as part of the faculty."
What do you want a prospective student to know about Tufts?
"The journey towards becoming a physical therapist is challenging, but worth it! Tackling a hybrid, accelerated program alongside your everyday life can seem like a lot, but the faculty and classmates are there every step of the way, providing support throughout the journey, celebrating in the successes, and encouraging during the hardships. It’s an experience like no other, and as long as you’re willing to put in the work, it’s one of the most rewarding ones."