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Casey Cushing

Kinesiology senior Casey Cushing talks campus during COVID

Students are attending college in a unique environment, and that includes students in the College of Applied Health Sciences at the University of Illinois. The AHS communications staff spoke with AHS seniors about online classes, truncated courses and how COVID-19 changed their expectations. Today, we speak with Casey Cushing, who graduated in May with a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology.

Q: Why did you pick KCH?

A: I picked KCH because it was a great program at a university that offered me so many benefits compared to other universities. I knew by being in this program that I would gain the basic knowledge to continue on to occupational therapy graduate programs.

Q: Which professors had the most impact on you?

A: There were multiple professors that I really enjoyed having and that made an impact on experience. Dr. (Steve) Petruzzello created such a fun and engaging learning environment and was always willing to help his students so they could be more successful. I worked as an assistant in Dr. (Kevin) Richards’ research lab for the past three years. He helped me grow as a researcher and student, always had so much confidence in me and provided me with opportunities that I could have never imagined! I’m so grateful for them and all the other professors I had along the way.

Q: What course did you most enjoy?

A: My favorite course was KIN340, which Dr. (Petruzzello) taught. I liked the content of the course, as well as the lab. The information we learned in lab was useful and my TA was amazing. I also really enjoyed this class because I was able to develop friendships with my peers.

Q: Did you enter KCH knowing your career path, or did KCH help you decide?

A: I entered KCH planning to go to occupational therapy school. However, KCH reinforced my interest in the field and provided opportunities to get more involved within the OT community.

Q: What do you hope to do after you graduate?

A: I will be attending (Illinois-Chicago) for a Doctorate in Occupational Therapy.

Q: What was your favorite on-campus experience?

A: My favorite on campus experience was being on the quad on a beautiful spring day when it is busy with students. I loved finding a good spot to hammock and relaxing with friends.

Q: What do you miss most because of the pandemic?

A: Because of the pandemic, I really missed in-person classes. I don’t enjoy online classes as much because it is not as easy to foster the relationships with friends, TAs, and professors that I value so much.

Q: What are the biggest changes on campus, pre and during COVID?

A: I am definitely not socializing on campus as much as I did before COVID. I always loved walking around, seeing familiar faces, engaging in campus events, but because of the pandemic I haven’t been doing this stuff as much.

Q: What would you say to recommend KCH to a prospective student?

A: I would 100 percent recommend KCH to a prospective student. Since KCH is within a small college, you feel like you get a personalized education which is very comforting when college can be such a scary change. The professors and other students are great and it will provide you the opportunities you need to succeed in the future!

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