Meet a Shocker: Rachel Wiebe, exercise science major


Rachel Wiebe will graduate with a bachelor of arts in exercise science. She plans to continue her education at WSU to pursue a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. 

"I believe my most helpful learning experience resulted from holding the president position on the Pre-Physical Therapy Organization executive board," Rachel said.

Rachel Wiebe is one of more than 2,400 students eligible for spring/summer 2020 graduation. Learn more about her time at Wichita State and what is next for the grad.

What is your degree in?

I will be graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in exercise science.

What led you to WSU?

As a Wichita native, I chose to attend WSU to obtain my undergraduate degree because I could see myself growing within this community and pursuing my passions while also staying close to family.

How are you feeling leading up to graduation?

As I wrap up the final assignments and exams of the semester, I can’t help but feel bittersweet as my time as an undergraduate student comes to a close. While it is difficult thinking about all the lasts that came and went without me realizing, I am truly grateful for each opportunity of growth WSU has provided me. The past four years have both challenged and strengthened my faith, but I could not feel more excited to continue my education in graduate school this summer.

What are your career plans?

I plan to continue my education at WSU this summer to pursue a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. Luckily, this gives me another opportunity in three years to walk across WSU stage at graduation — this time with credentials after my name! I then hope to serve my community as an outpatient physical therapist.

How has the COVID-19 crisis altered those plans, if at all?

Due to recent local stay-at-home orders and social distancing recommendations, all of our previously scheduled new student receptions and orientation have been moved to a virtual format. All summer classes will also be conducted virtually. Upon hearing this news, I felt pretty discouraged as the excitement of beginning this new journey with our cohort and professors would look much different now. While we hope to still meet over Zoom or in small groups later this summer, I am looking forward to when we will all be able to gather together in-person again.

What advice do you have for other students on how to cope with the uncertainty of these times?

One thing that has helped me remain positive during this time is staying connected with those who support me. In these uncertain times, it can be easy to become unmotivated and feel alone, so I believe it is important now more than ever to actively invest into others and maintain some type of community. I find freedom in knowing God is in control. There is purpose in hardships and I trust He is working a greater plan for each of us. This will be a time to document in history, and while this has been a challenging time for us all, we will get through this together!

What has been your most helpful learning experience while a student at WSU? 

I believe my most helpful learning experience resulted from holding the President position on the Pre-Physical Therapy Organization executive board. Not only was I able to greatly strengthen my leadership and communication skills, but I was also motivated to learn more about my desired career path. Through researching opportunities and connecting with guest speakers, several doors opened that lead me to build deeper relationships with the WSU DPT staff and advisors. I believe my involvement in student organizations gave me the tools necessary to be successful no matter where my life is directed following graduation.

What has been your biggest challenge as a student, and how did you overcome it?

My biggest challenge as a student was stepping outside my comfort zone and being confident in who I am. Growing up in a small town, it was easy to get comfortable inside my own bubble — I quickly found that little growth happens there. One organization that greatly contributed to my growth is my sorority, Alpha Phi. Through various leadership positions and philanthropic events, I was able to form valuable connections and further develop skills that I hope to build off of as I continue to pursue my professional career goals. 

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