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Janesville, Iowa

Graduate assistant in the PT department
Volunteers in the Quad Cities
Competes in adult league volleyball

Jillian found that a small, private school suits her best

"I thought I liked the big public school atmosphere, but I'm learning that I like the close connections now that I'm here."

The Classroom As a Community

When Jillian Stensland enrolled in the St. Ambrose Doctor of Physical Therapy degree program, she envisioned a "paper chase," an atmosphere in which students would vie to outshine one another.

That's not what she found.

"My biggest misconception was that it was going to be very competitive, I would have no fun, and it would be hard work the whole time," she says. "However, once I got here, I changed my mind almost instantly."

What she found was a cohort of 35 friendly and supportive fellow students, all interested in helping one another become the best physical therapists they can be.

"Everyone is supportive and everyone wants you to succeed," she says.

Jillian says she also has found an ever-expanding network of friends beyond the classroom. "We hang out outside of class all of the time and they bring their friends," she says. "Before you know it, you know all these people and, you're not sure how, but they are your friends."

In her own words


What does St. Ambrose offer that is essential to your field of study?

There is a lot of clinical experience, and the professors are also still practicing, so they're bringing clinical knowledge in the whole time as well. You're not just reading PowerPoints and doing research. You're also getting a lot of field experience.

What is your favorite class?

Issues in Patient Care is a class with a lot of discussion about how to individualize your treatment to that patient. Everyone has other things that are going on, other things at home. It really taught me to look past the biases you may have with your patient, get down to them as a person, and find what they need and how you can help, not only physically, but also mentally.

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