FELLOWSHIP: Waks Shares His Experience as a PT Aid

Photo by Nina Kenny
Photo by Nina Kenny

NORTON, Mass. - Eighteen Wheaton College student-athletes have earned fellowships this summer through the Filene Center for Academic Advising and Career Services that will enrich their academic experiences. 

The Davis International and Porter Cleveland fellowships are just a few examples of the Wheaton Edge – a promise that every single student will receive financial support for an internship, research position or other experiential learning opportunity by the time they graduate.

Throughout the summer, the athletics department will feature the student-athletes taking part in these fellowships, including a midfielder from the men's soccer team Adam Waks '19

a biology major from Acton, Mass., Waks will job shadow physical therapists at NovaCare Rehabilitation in Concord, Mass.

Wheaton Athletics: Tell us about your fellowship. 

Adam Waks: This summer, the Select Medical Therapy group, formerly Novacare Rehabilitation, graciously accepted me as a shadowing physical therapy aid and intern at their clinics in Chelmsford and Concord, MA. While at work, I have been learning the different hands-on treatments and business aspects of running a P.T. clinic for a larger medical company. They have a full range of patient populations and concerns (e.g., teenage athletes with ACL tears, middle-aged total joint replacements in knees and hips, to neurological diseases.)

Physically, I have always been undersized in general, but especially for that of a college student-athlete. It is the experiences that I've had growing up as an oft-broken athlete that helped shape my interest in helping people and treating the injured human body. Being slight of build and aggressive on the pitch has its advantages for speed, but comes with some obvious disadvantages. From fractured vertebrae to concussions, and torn hamstrings to facial reconstruction, I have been rehabilitating my own body on and off since my early athletic career. My instincts and empathy are strong; whenever a Wheaton Men's soccer teammate goes down with an injury I am eager to assist and diagnose and that is why I believe the fellowship opportunity creates better leadership experience.

My higher competitive athletic career will come to an end in a few years, but my assistance and desire to help does not have to as it is something I wish to expand on in being a physical therapist. Collecting a large amount of observation hours is not just beneficial in terms of hands-on experience, but a requirement for later application to PT programs. Financial benefit aside and as constructive as it is to be working in a field that you are interested in, the assignment of a given amount of hours from Wheaton for the fellowship is a great opportunity to get ahead in anyone's given career path. As my dad said, "Picking a career out of a course catalog or following an interest is one thing, but actually getting up at 7 a.m. and spending full days, five days a week on your feet listening to and helping people with their problems is another." I found out I really enjoy this work, the people, and have learned so much.


Adam Waks Fellowship