AT Spotlight: Whitney Rowley

August 26, 2015 by Beth Sitzler

In May, University of Pittsburgh athletic training student Whitney Rowley spent two weeks in Peru, where she worked with special needs children in the psychomotor room of the Clinica San Juan de Dios and volunteered with Peru for Life, a nonprofit that assists teen mothers. Her trip to the South American country has been detailed in the August/September NATA News. Learn more about this future athletic trainer below.  
Who has been a major influence in your life?
My older brother, Michael, has been a huge influence in my life. Growing up, we both developed an interest in science; specifically kinesiology. He ended up on the research side – currently a PhD student studying biokinesiology at the University of Southern California – while I ended up on the clinical side studying athletic training. Almost all of our conversations involve something related to kinesiology or health science. We once spent a good 30 minutes of a hike talking about all the different aspects of gait. He is constantly teaching me new things and helping me think outside the box by giving me an opportunity to brainstorm and discuss movement with someone further along the educational track. He is always encouraging me to do more and take advantage of every opportunity to enhance my clinical knowledge. For example, we will both be attending the four-day annual International Association for Dance Medicine and Science conference this October where I will participate in discussions regarding all the various clinical aspects of dance medicine while he presents research.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
I know it is commonly said, but I would absolutely tell myself not to stress over the future. I worried a lot my sophomore year when I was applying to a few different programs in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. I had no clue what I would do if I was not accepted into either of the two programs. The only thing worrying did was make for a very tiring few weeks of classes. Everything worked out in the end and the worrying was pretty useless. 
Tell us about your most memorable experience in Peru.
My most memorable experience was definitely when I taught Flor, one of my patients in the clinic, how to use plastic close pins. She has a lot of trouble with her fine and even gross motor skills. She first started working with me my second day in the clinic. I remember getting these small close pins out with a plastic bin for her to clip them on the side. As I showed her how to do it, I immediately thought it was too hard. She really struggled opening the close pins, even when I would place her hand the right way. I tried to switch tasks and she refused. It took her the entire 30-minute session to get about 10 close pins on the side of the bin, but it was so worth it. Every time she got one, she was ecstatic and then suddenly focused on the next one. She placed every close pin. Seeing how proud she was at what would be such a small task for most of us but a half-hour project for her was one of the greatest things I've ever seen. It really helped to remind me not to take anything in my own life for granted and to always show appreciation.
What do you like to do in your free time?
In my free time, I try to get outdoors as much as possible. I love skiing and will make an effort to go at least once every season no matter how busy I get. I'll even just walk down to the park to get my dose of nature if I don't have time to plan an entire hiking or kayaking trip. 
What is your favorite:
TV show: “Friends”
Movie: “The Sixth Sense” or anything that makes me think
Book: “Catcher in the Rye”
Color: Purple
Posted by Beth Sitzler, NATA News Managing Editor (