Austin Estridge, a member of the ALC Class of 2018 from Jackson County, Kentucky, made his decision to attend college his freshman year of high school and relentlessly pursued his goal. As the 2018 Salutatorian Award recipient, Austin dedicated his time at ALC to not only bettering himself through his education but also helping fellow students through his student work position in the ALC Tutoring Center. Additionally, Austin is a 2018 Caney Scholar recipient and will be continuing his pursuit of becoming a physical therapist at the University of Kentucky starting in the fall of 2018. The ALC Marketing Team recently had the opportunity to sit down with Austin Estridge. The following are the questions that he was asked and his responses.
ALC: What led you to ALC?
Austin: I learned about ALC from a friend at the beginning of my senior year in high school. I was interested in the small campus and the family atmosphere that was described to me. I always thought that I would attend a different college or university, but what really helped my decision was the percentage of students that graduate debt-free. Another deciding factor for me was the Caney Cottage Scholarship. The program is one of a kind and ultimately helped me make the decision to attend ALC.
ALC: What do you have to major in to be a physical therapist?
Austin: My major is Kinesiology. I chose this major because it covers many topics that I will need for my professional studies/career. I specifically looked for this major when I was narrowing my options for a college or university to attend. ALC offers this major as a “Pre-PT” track meaning that the classes you need to complete the major are also classes that are pre-requisites for the Physical Therapy program at the University of Kentucky. This degree helped me to be accepted into the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at the University of Kentucky where I hope to graduate and become a practicing physical therapist.
ALC: After taking all the classes for your undergraduate degree do you think that ALC has prepared you for graduate school?
Austin: I believe the professors at ALC have helped me prepare for professional school, especially the science professors. The professors make the courses challenging, and they expect a lot out of the students at ALC. The courses are not easy but professional/graduate school will not be easy either, and the sooner you are exposed to challenging material the easier it will become as you continue to learn throughout graduate school. Although the courses are challenging, the professors want to see you succeed in their classes. If you are struggling with a specific topic you can ask any of the professors for help, and they will be glad to help you understand the material often offering study sessions through the tutoring center or by personally helping.
ALC: After you have obtained your degree do you plan on coming back to the region?
Austin: I do plan on returning to the area after I have obtained my degree. I think the Appalachian region needs my profession and also any healthcare profession. As I was growing up in Jackson County, I don’t remember ever seeing a physical therapy clinic. I am sure that many other counties in the Appalachian region have experienced this as well. I want to specialize in geriatric care because the older population needs help recovering from surgeries or general deterioration of joints. I plan to use my degree to help those in rural areas that must travel to get rehabilitation.
ALC: What is the one thing that ALC has taught you outside of your field of study?
Austin: The most important thing that ALC has given me is leadership opportunities and how to use those opportunities. Before coming to ALC, I led a few clubs during high school, but ALC really taught me how to become a leader in my job and school. The workstudy program gave me the help I needed to become a successful leader in my job. I was asked to make decisions, I was asked to schedule things and stick to those schedules. I was put in situations that I had never been in before, but it helped shape me into a leader on the job. Along with the work-study program, the clubs and organizations at ALC helped me become a leader. I became the president of the Student Rural Health Association and held the vice president position of the Allied Health Club during my junior year. These clubs required a lot of volunteer work for the leaders including scheduling and brainstorming ideas for fund-raising.
ALC: Alice Lloyd College requires all full-time students to have a work study, so can you tell us a little about the work-study jobs that you had?
Austin: I held three work-study jobs while attending ALC. During my freshman year, I was a member of the Grounds crew. Sophomore through senior year I had two jobs, one as a teacher assistant (TA) in Chemistry for Dr. Patrick Greene and the other as a tutor in science for Dr. Sigrid Greene and Dr. Devorah Kennedy. I believe the work-study program prepared me for the workforce. I worked hard during my time at ALC and my supervisors expected a lot out of me, but those expectations helped me grow into a great worker. My favorite part of my work-study was also my biggest challenge, helping others who are struggling with concepts in their respective classes. I loved helping people learn and tutoring was the best job for me in that regard. I had to broaden my knowledge base to find different ways to help people retain information such as repetition with worksheets or pictures of diagrams, tables, and charts for the visual learners. It was challenging but also very rewarding.
ALC: What is your favorite part about ALC?
Austin: My favorite part about ALC is the friends that I made and the helpful nature of the students and professors. I have honestly met the most genuine people while attending ALC, and I know I will carry these friendships forever. I think about how helpful they have been to me and how supportive they are of my career and life choices. The friends and people I have met have helped shape me into the person I am today and because of them, I am a better person. The professors have helped mold me into a professional, and I feel confident going into professional school and eventually my career because they have instilled hard work and dedication in me.