Parents Hire Graduates, Look to Expand Student Internships in Physical Therapy
When Karen Purcell and Donna Chisholm hired Peter Grieco ’04, G’05, in their physical therapy practice, they never anticipated that it would result in their daughters becoming Springfield College students.
“Pete has worked with us for about seven years, and almost every day he mentions Springfield College. His excitement over the College is contagious and credible. He is skilled and has an aura of holistic wellness that carries into his enjoyment of his work,” says Donna.
Karen and Donna are owners of Pro Sports Physical Therapy with offices in Oyster Bay and Huntington, Long Island. They have been friends since girlhood, fellow students of physical therapy at the University of Buffalo, N.Y., and professional partners for more than 20 years. Their husbands were their high school classmates, and their children grew up spending plenty of time at their offices.
"Patient care is in their blood,” says Karen of her daughter Kerry ’17, and Donna’s daughter Dylan ’16. “They grew up with Pete telling them about Springfield College. They saw his easygoing and professional manner with patients and his confidence in his skills. They saw him motivate patients with his positivity and enthusiasm,” she adds.
“Dylan took one look at Springfield College and loved it,” says Donna of her daughter, who is an exercise science major and plays forward on the field hockey team. “She is athletic through and through, so the College is the right blend for her. She appreciates that the teachers really care and that there’s cohesiveness among students—all pulling together. Dylan told Kerry, ‘this is the place to go,’" Donna adds.
“Kerry was sold on Springfield from her first moment on the campus,” Karen says. A physician assistant major, Kerry plays a right side position on the women’s volleyball team. “She will be well prepared for her career. It’s a packed and difficult academic program. She’s getting into shadowing and some of the more practical aspects now, and she’s all positive. Sports, fitness, and wellness are important to her, and that lifestyle will have positive effects on her career,” Karen adds.
So pleased are Karen and Donna with the whole Springfield College experience, professionally and personally, that they are looking into taking on Springfield College physical therapy students for clinical internships.
“It’s very rewarding to watch students grow and form the links between classroom learning and making patients feel better,” says Karen. “Today, physical therapists are under pressure to quickly make an accurate diagnosis and treat patients effectively in a limited amount of time. Knowledge and skills are critical, and attitude is equally important. Practitioners must exude confidence and positivity to motivate patients. Springfield College’s holistic education—spirit, mind, body—is good preparation for careers in health care.
“I want more people to know about Springfield College’s excellence in these fields, and that’s one of the reasons that I’m a donor,” says Karen. “The College has long had a reputation in physical education, coaching, and athletics. Additionally, I want to hear, at the mention of Springfield, ‘that’s the college with the great PA and PT programs,’” she exclaims. Karen also has directed some of her donations to the women’s volleyball program, “because sports have done tremendous things for Kerry. The women’s volleyball team and coaches have been a great support system and a key to her successful transition to college life,” adds the proud mother.
Karen Purcell and Donna Chisholm add a new dimension to the Springfield College family—parents of students, supporters, employers of graduates, mentors of students, and looking to grow ties.