Doctor of Physical Therapy Class of 2017 begins clinical studies

Document Type

News Article

Publication Date


Campus Unit

School of Medicine & Health Sciences


GRAND FORKS, N.D.—Forty-eight physical therapy students, members of the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Class of 2017, will start the clinical studies portion of their journey to become doctors of physical therapy next week at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences. The students will receive white coats at the Entrance Into Professional Service Ceremony at 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 16, at the Alerus Center.

The students, 29 women and 19 men, range in age from 21 to 36 years, with the average age of 23. Many are from North Dakota, and most completed their pre-PT coursework at UND.

Keynote speaker will be Judy Siegle; she is a speaker, author, two-time Paralympian, and disability advocate. Siegle is a highly decorated healthcare professional with over 20 years of experience. As a young adult, her life was dramatically changed after a car crash resulting in a spinal cord injury. She turned personal tragedy into a platform for a life of success and deep significance.

“The ceremony emphasizes to the students the professionalism required in the clinic and within the physical therapy profession,” said David Relling, PT, PhD, associate professor and chair of the Department of Physical Therapy.

After completing their first year of the professional component of the physical therapy curriculum, the students have to pass an intense, comprehensive examination of their knowledge before they begin their clinical studies. The first three years of the curriculum are considered to be pre-physical therapy (pre-professional). The professional component of the DPT requires three academic years and two summer sessions following completion of the 90-credit pre-physical therapy entrance requirement.

Clinical experiences are a crucial component of the UND physical therapy curriculum and take place at more than 300 clinical sites across the nation, the majority of which lie outside the Greater Grand Forks area. These experiences meld academic information with hands-on clinical experience. Students participate in direct delivery of physical therapy services in a variety of settings under the direction and supervision of one or more clinical instructors. A physical therapist is on-site during the delivery of any service by a student physical therapist.

“Students are making the transition from being a student to being a healthcare professional,” Relling said. “With that transition comes a great deal of professionalism, responsibility and accountability to themselves and to their patients. For many students, this will be the first life experience they will have had that carries the level of responsibility that is expected of them. We have trained them well, they have worked hard, and we anticipate they will do a great job working as part of a healthcare team.”

The students and their hometowns are the following:

  • Marissa A. Adolphson , Argyle, Minn.
  • Brianna Erin Albrecht , Grand Forks, N.D.
  • Wesley James Anderson , Moorhead, Minn.
  • Aaron J. Bakker , Dexter, Minn.
  • Alicia Bass , Grand Forks, N.D.
  • Isaac Bitter , Baudette, Minn.
  • Brittany M. Bleichner , Battle Lake, Minn.
  • Abby R. Brenner , Fargo, N.D.
  • Shelby Carlson , Tioga, N.D.
  • Brock A. Clements , Fargo, N.D.
  • Evan Condry , Grand Forks, N.D.
  • Kelsey DeCamp , Chokio, Minn.
  • Jamie L. Drevlow , Gwinner, N.D.
  • Stephanie K. Erlandson , Breckenridge, Minn.
  • Ashley Ann Fedie , Chanhassen, Minn.
  • Melanie R. Fuller , Sioux Falls, S.D.
  • Jenna L. Goecke , Bismarck, N.D.
  • Lauren A. Graham , Crookston, Minn.
  • Nicholas H. Hastert , Green River, Wyo.
  • Mason R. Hegna , Granite Falls, Minn.
  • Ashley B. Hickox , Laramie, Wyo.
  • Daniel Himmerick , Minot, N.D.
  • Benjamin C. Holter , Bemidji, Minn.
  • William Bradley Hunt , Tacoma, Wash.
  • Joshua Michael Johnson , Grand Forks, N.D.
  • Allen L. Kennedy , Evanston, Wyo.
  • Chase F. Kerber , Fargo, N.D.
  • Kelsey Kratzke , Dent, Minn.
  • Kelsey R. Lafond , Dickinson, N.D.
  • Corey Langerud , Grand Forks, N.D.
  • Benjamin A. Lofgren , Grand Forks, N.D.
  • Jedrick B. Mazion , Gilbert, Ariz.
  • Courtney N. McDonald , Bismarck, N.D.
  • Roy G. Nelson , Grand Forks, N.D.
  • Kelly K. Olson , Devils Lake, N.D.
  • Lindsay M. Palmquist , Willcox, Ariz.
  • Joseph R. Perry , Merrill, Wis.
  • Jordan D. Peterson , Darwin, Minn.
  • Marcé J. Schultz , Fargo, N.D.
  • Megan A. Shanahan , Norwood Young America, Minn.
  • Megan Sween , Grand Forks, N.D.
  • Brittany Tronnes , Nielsville, Minn.
  • Shelby D. Trosdahl , Battle Lake, Minn.
  • Lauren P. Trudel , Granite Falls, Minn.
  • Tiffany R. VanHaaften , Chaska, Minn.
  • Brianna R. Warren , Farwell, Minn.
  • Jenna Wyffels , Alexandria, Minn.
  • Erin E. Yankovec , Centerville, Minn.