Making the Most Of An Opportunity – Recent Alumni Spotlight on Phillip Loudermilk and Jazmin Konnick

Nationwide, thousands of students seek to enter each year into physical therapy programs. In fact, more students apply for admission to Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) programs than to admission to medical school in the United States. This makes competition for admission extremely competitive. Most schools accept ten percent or less of qualified applicants.

It is becoming increasingly more difficult for students completing their undergraduate program to be accepted to PT school. Many students go instead to graduate school or work in a clinic for several years and are then accepted.

This, however, was not the case for recent Emmanuel College graduates Jazmin Konnick and Phillip Loudermilk. Ms. Konnick recently learned she will be attending physical therapy school at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga starting in the fall and Loudermilk has already started classes at South College in Knoxville, TN.

“When I found out I was accepted, I was shocked,” Ms. Konnick said. “Honestly, most students do not get accepted right out of their undergrad. So, after receiving several rejection letters and then being accepted to a school was an incredible feeling! All the hard work paid off, and the Lord closed certain doors and opened the one He wanted me at.”

Loudermilk had the same reaction and was ready to try again next year, until his acceptance letter arrived.

“When I found out that I got in I was honestly in shock at first,” Loudermilk said. “I had already been denied to several schools and had almost accepted the fact that I was going to have to try again the next year. But once everything set in, it was the greatest feeling of relief and excitement.”

Both students believe their time at Emmanuel College and the faculty and staff members they worked with helped prepare them for success.

“One of the greatest things that Emmanuel has is the caliber of the professors,” Mr. Loudermilk said.  “They may not say it, but many of them could be teaching at large universities but instead they have chosen to be obedient to the call that God has placed on their lives. The students are the ones that benefit the most from this because we are able to get the best education possible.”

For Ms. Konnick, her time at Emmanuel prepared her for success because her professors continued to challenge her to pursue her dreams.

“Emmanuel prepared me for success by teaching me how to build relationships with others by working in groups,” she said.  “I also think that it prepared me by having professors challenge me and continually remind me to pursue excellence. At times when I wanted to slack off, they made sure that I didn’t.”

One of their former kinesiology professors, Dr. Scott Bryan, said he could not be prouder of them.

“In my 30 years of teaching higher education, I have had two students become MD’s as a second choice to becoming PT’s,” Dr. Bryan said. “In one student’s case, she now teaches medical school. Years ago, after her second rejection to physical therapy school; she applied and was accepted to medical school on the first attempt. This is how competitive therapy admissions can be!”

Both students agreed that the EC Faculty and Staff members played a vital role in helping them prepare for their future.

“The professors that impacted me the most were the kinesiology professors, the science professors and Coach (Ben) Hall. They were always willing to help me understand material or prepare for life after EC,” Ms. Konnick said. “Especially my last year at EC, they wrote recommendation letters, revised essays, helped with mock interviews, and most importantly they prayed for my future.”

“I would have to say Dr. Scott Bryan. He had an impact on me, not necessarily for all that he taught me, but for the encouragement that he gives,” Mr. Loudermilk added. “If you don’t do so great on an assignment, he will definitely let you know, but he is quick to give you praise when you do things well. He also continually encouraged my walk with Christ and was simply there whenever I needed to talk.”

What advice would they give current or perspective EC students?

“You can achieve more than you probably think you can,” Mr. Loudermilk said. “If someone had told me four years ago that I would be in a doctorate of physical therapy program by the end of undergrad I would have thought they were crazy. For me it was that I changed my mindset and I started to truly believe in my abilities that has allowed me to go farther than I could have imagined.”

“Make the most of the opportunity that Emmanuel gives you- the friendships, the professors, and everything else,” Ms. Konnick said. “It is a place that will hold a special place in your heart if you let it. When your professors offer the extra help, take it! When there’s a sporting event, go! When there’s opportunities to grow in your faith, grow! You’re only at Emmanuel for four years and they go by in the blink of an eye.”