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Exercise Science Spotlight

Susan Hodgson: Beyond Her Comfort Zone

“My experiences while studying abroad helped me develop occupational skills that will be vital in my career. By observing the people and culture in Africa and interacting with individuals with very different human needs, I expanded my ability to empathize with future patients.”

While working in orphanages, HIV/AIDS clinics, and maternal health clinics during a summer study abroad program in Tanzania, Susan Hodgson ’14 discovered her “fascination for people, their capabilities, and their motivation to function.” That confirmed her interest in a career in occupational therapy.

Susan Hodgson

But her experience in Africa also rattled some of her firmest convictions—while simultaneously opening her to new possibilities.

“All my life I have been restricted by boundaries: limits that I have created to define myself as an individual, restrictions that I was willing to accept as long as they promised a sense of protection,” explained Hodgson. “I now realize these restrictions have not been directing me toward a comfortable future, but have prohibited me from pursuing opportunities that could change the direction of my life.” 

Susan HodgsonNewly liberated, Hodgson can now chase her unlimited potential.

“Such an eye-opening experience challenged my views, opinions, and capabilities but pushed me beyond anything I could learn in the classroom.”

Hodgson, however, doesn’t mean to devalue the classroom experience. She attributes much of her success to her professors and the guidance they have provided.

“The professors at Transylvania care so much for their students and put so much time and effort into their success. I have several teachers I have become close with who I know will help me with the big life decisions.”

In addition to ensuring that Hodgson took the classes needed to succeed in an occupational therapy graduate program, the exercise science faculty also encouraged her to consider classes in other areas and get involved on campus. “I have held several different leadership positions in clubs and organizations on campus. These positions have taught me responsibility, teamwork, communication skills, and much more.

“My unforgettable experiences in Africa and at Transylvania have no doubt shaped the person I am today and have given me a vision for my future.”


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