Mary Fisher

How would you explain Rehabilitation Sciences to a prospective student?

The Rehabilitation Sciences doctorate program at UK is a multidisciplinary program that promotes interprofessional awareness and collaboration.  By involving many of the rehabilitation disciplines in the courses and research, students grow into rehabilitation scientists, gaining important skills in teaching, scholarship, and even service, in order to become experts in their field.

What would you say is your number one career advantage you received by completing your Rehabilitation Sciences education at the College of Health Sciences?

The emphasis on interdisciplinary and interprofessional collaboration provided me with a perspective on and expertise in rehabilitation that has served me well moving into the academy.  I am able to look broadly at the educational goals of our program and I am valued for this viewpoint.  My research focuses on clinical questions that influence multiple disciplines, and my UK experience has opened doors for successful collaboration outside my discipline, increasing the impact of my work.

What advice would you give to current CHS Rehab Sciences students that would help them position themselves in competitive career roles? 

Take advantage of all of the opportunities the mentors provide to learn more, collaborate with the experts, and disseminate your research while a student. This provides students with evidence of abilities needed in post-graduate positions and the necessary skills to hit the ground running when beginning their first position.

What would you say has given you a competitive edge when it comes to your education from CHS?  

My biggest competitive edge was the training to perform research independently.  I entered my position able to execute a focused research strategy that continues to be fruitful.  I was promoted in less time than is typical because of this.  I continue to exercise these competitive skills and have won several awards grants for my work.

What is your line of work? What types of collaborations do you have in your current line of work?  

I teach in a doctoral of physical therapy program at the University of Dayton and perform clinical research for individuals treated for cancer.  My collaborations include teaching and research with an occupational therapy faculty member, and researching with other physical therapists and exercise physiologists in oncology rehabilitation across the United States.

If you could re-do your time in the Rehabilitation Sciences PhD program; what would you do differently? What would you pay more attention to?

I was a part-time distance-learner student traveling weekly from Dayton.  I spent as much time as I could on campus given my circumstances.  Being an on-campus full-time student would be ideal so that students can learn from other students and interact with faculty more.  The other aspect I would do differently a second time around is publish more.  Any opportunity to disseminate scholarship should be taken.