January 5, 2016
The new year looks bright for Emily Cline, one of more than 280 December Drury graduates.
A Springfield native who majored in biology and Spanish while also playing on the women’s soccer team, Cline is headed for a career in physical therapy. She’ll begin work on her doctorate this fall. A 4.0 student, she’s already been accepted to Washington University in St. Louis and has interviews at several other top-flight schools such as the University of Colorado and Northern Arizona.
Dr. Kevin Jansen, professor of biology and one of Cline’s faculty advisors, says he won’t be surprised if Cline is among the top in her class no matter where she chooses to pursue her advanced degree.
“She’s excellent at critically evaluating what’s in front of her, whether it’s a defense on the soccer field, a question on an exam or a patient’s needs,” Jansen says.
Evaluating her career at Drury, Cline says it’s been a time of growth and self-discovery. She chose Drury because it was a place where she could pursue both athletics and academics in “a place where I wouldn’t be just a number.” She finished knowing more about her path in life.
Studying Spanish opened her eyes to other cultures, especially after a semester abroad in Spain. Beyond getting to know the people and the language better, the time spent in an unfamiliar setting taught her something important about herself.
“I’ve never felt great about making mistakes,” she admits. “My time abroad put me in situations where I felt a little unsure at times, but I started to feel OK with that. I learned to navigate places I’ve never been before and that gave me confidence to do other things. I became more independent.”
Cline currently lives in Drury’s Foreign Languages House, an on-campus residence that is also a gathering place for foreign language club events and international student dinners. Living on campus has also taught her a lot, she says, beginning with having freshman year roommates she’d never previously met.
“That was the start of opening up to more people and being more receptive to different ways of life,” she says.
But it was her time in Drury’s rigorous science curriculum and multiple physical therapy internships that revealed a career path to Cline. She wants to specialize in neurologic physical therapy, where she will be able to form very close one-on-one relationships with patients who need direct care to fight diseases like Parkinson’s or multiple sclerosis.
“When I came to Drury it was because I wanted to be able to get to know my professors, and later in life I want to have that kind of relationship with my patients, too,” she says.
Jansen says Cline’s combination of intellect and people skills will serve her well in the field. Like many Drury students, Cline is exceptionally accomplished but knows she still has so much to learn, he says.
“That combination of intelligence and gratitude for the opportunities to reach higher goals is what makes our students special,” Jansen says.