Alumna cites volunteer work as major step in therapy career

Garcia is a St. Edward's graduate with a B.A. in kinesiology with a specification in pre-physical therapy. 

Garcia is a St. Edward's graduate with a B.A. in kinesiology with a specification in pre-physical therapy. 

Staff Writer

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St. Edward’s alumna Mallorie Garcia, who graduated in May 2013 with a B.A. in kinesiology with a specification in pre-physical therapy, is now a graduate student at the University of St. Augustine studying to become an occupational therapist.

What was your decision-making process for selecting the University of St. Augustine for graduate school?

I honestly did not plan on applying when I did, but when I did not get a job that I had applied for as a PE teacher and was currently unhappy with my job as a chiropractor tech, I decided to apply. I had missed other schools’ application deadlines, so I decided to give this one a shot. I did a lot of research about their other campuses (Florida and California) and they had a lot of high praise and really good reviews and standings and although this was a new program I knew it would be good based off their other campuses. I knew it would be a good choice if I got in. I also wanted to stay in Austin due to my family.

How did you become interested in occupational therapy?

I knew I wanted to be in the medical field and help people. I wanted to do physical therapy since I was a kid, but things changed my senior year at St. Ed’s. I was taking my internship class with Dr. Knorr, and I was doing my internship in South Austin and on my first day they wanted me to observe an occupational therapist for my first observation because the physical therapist was not there yet. So I did and fell in love with it and right then I knew that’s what I wanted to do when I grew up.

Do you have advice to offer people who are aspiring to be an occupational therapist?

Go out and volunteer. Make sure that is what you really want to do. And just don’t do one type of setting. Do all kinds of settings like pediatrics, home health, hand therapy, acute care, etc. Talk the therapists there and ask questions. They are there to help you and tell you all the pros and cons about the career. Once you’ve figured that out, look at the schools you may want to apply to because each school may require a different pre-requisite. Take anatomy at a university versus a junior college. Trust me, it will help you once you’re in an OT program.

How did you end up choosing St. Edward’s for your undergraduate school?

I knew I wanted to be in Austin, and UT was too big for me so I looked into St. Ed’s. I had some family friends that went there, and they told me to go on a tour of the campus. So I took a tour with my two best friends and just felt happy walking around campus. My two friends looked at me and told me, “Mal, this is where you belong.” I knew from that point that St. Ed’s would become my next home.

What did you do during your time at St. Edward’s?

I was on the Women’s Club Soccer Team, and that is pretty much all I did as far as clubs go. We were like a family so we did a lot of outside activities together as well. 

If you weren’t attending graduate school, what would you be doing instead, or what would your life be like?

I would be working and saving up so I could travel. I probably would not be as happy as I am now, because I know I am bettering my future, and before I just seemed lost.  Don’t get me wrong, I am way more stressed and have no life because of school, but I am way more happy in the direction I am going.

What do you like to do for fun?

I still continue to play soccer, and I coach at a recreation center on the east side. I really enjoy coaching and teaching kids different sports.

Name three things about yourself that most people don’t know.

I am a very awkward person in most situations. The majority of things remind me of childhood movies, and I randomly start quoting them. I would rather be in the country looking up at the stars versus being in a big city where you can see zero stars.