College sweethearts help underserved communities gain access to high-quality physical therapy

April 13, 2022

Shot of Jordan Weiss and Andrew Wolak in Arizona

The opportunities were endless for Jordan Weiss ’18, DPT ’21 and Andrew Wolak ‘18, DPT ’21 when they decided to pursue a Doctorate in Physical Therapy (DPT) at Quinnipiac.

“When researching and touring different schools with established programs, Quinnipiac stood out as having ample opportunity for all areas of my life,” said Wolak.

For Weiss and Wolak, coming to Quinnipiac not only allowed them to secure a competitive education but to meet each other – now, they are getting married in June.

“Quinnipiac offers unique experiences that allow people to connect no matter their age, program of study, gender or race. I am so thankful to have met lifelong friends, mentors in the healthcare profession and my now fiancé,” said Weiss.

Quinnipiac’s DPT program is ranked as one of the best graduate physical therapy programs in the country in 2021 by the U.S. News & World Report. Along her journey, Weiss earned an athletic training bachelor's degree and Wolak earned a bachelor's in health sciences studies.

“The campus and atmosphere are simply conducive to collaboration,” said Wolak. “Now my professors are my mentors and colleagues and have been excellent resources for my growth as a clinician.”

Before graduating, Weiss and Wolak decided that they were interested in pursuing travel physical therapy, combining some of their favorite things: travel, encountering unique healthcare settings and learning from a plethora of individuals. With travel physical therapy, contracts are a minimum of 13 weeks anywhere in the country with the ability to change location each time, if desired.

Weiss and Wolak knew that they wanted to pursue something out of the ordinary. With ambition in mind, they took a leap and landed their first jobs out of school at outpatient clinics in Arizona.

“Jordan was born in Arizona and her grandparents live there in the winter, so we figured it would be a good place to go, not to mention the beautiful weather,” said Wolak. “We’ve traveled somewhere new every weekend, trying to get as much hiking, sun and national parks in as possible.”

Despite only being in the field for five months, Weiss and Wolak have not let that slow down their goals. The two have spent weekends in California, Nevada, New Mexico, Washington and Colorado.

“We are hoping to go to Delaware for our next contract to be near Andrew’s family. If time and life allow, some other states on the top of our list are North and South Carolina, California and Colorado. We’ll see what the future holds,” said Weiss.

Since both were interested in serving the underserved, travel physical therapy has aligned perfectly with Weiss and Wolak’s pursuits while at Quinnipiac.

“We work all day with patients in various ways, evaluating their mobility and function, providing skilled treatment sessions to help facilitate progress toward their movement goals and bridging the gap to independence,” said Wolak. “A large role that we play is assessing how and when an individual is safe to be discharged home or to another facility that may better meet their needs.”

Weiss and Wolak expressed that their clinical and hands-on experiences at Quinnipiac were vital in their current successes.

"Our capstone advisor, Professor Linda Bedard, provided us with invaluable guidance regarding the underserved,” said Wolak. “Our professors also educated us well on the plethora of opportunities in the physical therapy world and encouraged us to be hungry to learn and be comfortable being uncomfortable to facilitate as much growth as possible. Our variety of clinical experiences throughout graduate school prepared us well for working with patients from all walks of life.”

Weiss and Wolak feel that service is imperative to their careers and personalities. The rewarding feeling of each experience is incomparable to anything else, they explained.

“Service and compassion are foundational to our faith. We feel lucky to have the resources and opportunities that we do and want to use those as much as possible to give back to others. We believe that everyone deserves to feel cared for, and a little empathy goes a long way,” said Wolak.

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