Physical therapist sees value in a Quinnipiac education

April 24, 2018

Steigbigel gestures with his hands during the treatment process.

Keith Steigbigel knows the high value of the Quinnipiac physical therapy department better than most people. After all, he’s not only taught in the program for about as long as the current students are old — but he has also hired several alumni and students to work at his practice — as clinicians and interns.

“I find that Quinnipiac graduates have strong backgrounds,” he said. “I believe it is a direct response in how well the program was developed and continues to evolve.”

Steigbigel, who founded and owns Prolete Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine in Milford, Connecticut, is an adjunct professor in our School of Health Sciences and Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine.

“I’m at Quinnipiac because I love it,” he said. “I love being around the environment of learning — while continuing to learn myself. It keeps me fresh and in the weeds for the current concepts that are being taught and helps me integrate my 20 years of experience working in a clinical setting to the didactic side.”

DPT in physical therapy

Steigbigel saw so much talent at Quinnipiac he hired two of his former students as full-time employees — and has a student doing a clinical rotation as well.

One of the reasons Quinnipiac graduates are so successful — and more than 97% of our School of Health Sciences graduates are either employed or enrolled in graduate school within 6 months of graduating — is because of the close relationships with our faculty.

Sarah Van Buiten DPT ’18 was drawn to the university’s small class sizes.

“Quinnipiac was the only school that had a first-time 100% pass rate for the board exam, which really caught my eye. No other schools that I looked at had these statistics,” said Van Buiten, who is completing a clinical rotation with Steigbigel. “I knew that I would get a really great education at Quinnipiac and learn everything I needed to be a successful physical therapist.”

Eric Beausoleil, DPT ’16, worked in Florida after earning a doctor of physical therapy from Quinnipiac — and really saw the program’s value.

“I saw some of my peers who completed other programs who seemed like they are behind on the techniques I learned as a student,” he said. “Even as a new professional, I was training and teaching physical therapists who were a lot more seasoned than I was the techniques I learned at Quinnipiac.”
His supervisors were so impressed that they sent him to other offices to share his techniques.

“The program, the courses and the professors do a great job in helping us think more clinically — instead of just learning what was inside of the textbook,” Beausoleil said.

He attributed much of his success to the clinical partnerships that Quinnipiac has established.

“I was able to set up my clinicals to put me in a position of success,” he said.

One such clinical was with Steigbigel.

“The clinical experience brought me a lot of insight and perspective,” he said.

They enjoyed working together so much that Steigbigel hired Beausoleil.

“It’s a real mentorship,” Beausoleil said. “Keith really helps me fine-tune my skills and help me get to the next level.”

However, he said Steigbigel was not the only professor to inspire him.

“Every single one of our or professors have their hands in the clinical side of things to this day,” Beausoleil said. “It’s not just preparing us for the clinical side of things, but also for the board exams that you have to pass in order to work. Many of the teachers have written questions for the exam and so they take that experience and apply it to real life.”

Ryan VanNieuwenhuyze ’15, DPT ’16, also works at Prolete Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine — and was paid the dividends of a Quinnipiac education.

“Quinnipiac prepared me very well,” he said. “We see a large amount of athletes and some complicated orthopedic patients, and my strong orthopedic background from Quinnipiac gave me all of the tools that I need to be successful in this environment.”

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