Eduardo Urrutia, BS Integrative Studies '10, graduated from New Century College after working full-time during his undergraduate years, when he studied to become a physical therapist assistant. Five years later, he reports that his NCC coursework has enhanced his career and outlook on life—in surprising ways.
Urrutia transferred to New Century College from Northern Virginia Community College with an associate degree and work experience as a physical therapist assistant. As an integrative studies major, he devoted his energy to coursework in the pre-physical therapy concentration. Urrutia notes, however, that many of the additional classes he took through NCC helped him advance his career, in surprising ways.
“My integrative studies coursework exposed me to many topics that have helped me as a manager,” Urrutia said.
In his current position as director of rehabilitation for Genesis Rehabilitation Services near Scottsdale, AZ, Urrutia coordinates a team of ten therapists who provide therapy for Medicare patients in a skilled nursing facility. Urrutia spends half of his days working directly with patients and the other half on his administrative duties.
Urrutia noted that his NCC classes in mediation and public speaking have helped him tremendously in his current role, especially when consulting with patients’ families or presenting his agency’s services at outreach events. In NCLC 202, Public Speaking and Critical Thinking, Urrutia delivered presentations on the complex topics of universal healthcare and the fair trade movement.
Urrutia said, “My public speaking courses helped me to become more self-reflective and learn how to organize my thoughts for presentation, marketing and consulting with patients and their families.”
Urrutia has also made lasting connections between lessons learned from NCLC 375 Plants, People and Culture and his own life and work. In this course NCC professor Mike Gilmore presented information about food production and consumption patterns and accompanied students on site visits to Polyface Farm and Old Dominion Brewing Company, companies that specialize in sustainable food systems and locally-produced food products.
Urrutia took Gilmore’s class in 2008 and he said, “I was glad to be studying this movement of responsible food production when it was just becoming more mainstream. I learned a lot about our food systems and I apply many of those lessons to how my wife and I live.”
Urrutia added, “My wife and I have found Arizona do be very conducive to healthy living. We’ve recently gotten into hiking, because there is an abundance of trails to choose from. . . . There are always farmers markets available, and many of the local restaurants feature responsibly grown and locally produced items.”
Urrutia noted that his workplace similarly supports a holistic approach to care, encouraging patients to consider diet and exercise as two key components of long-term health. He finds his current position satisfying for a variety of reasons, including the personal connections he creates with his patients. While many of Urrutia’s peers chose to work in sports medicine clinics or similar practices, Urrutia works with elderly patients who hope to improve their mobility enough to move back to their homes.
He said, “Sometimes my patients are surprised that someone in his thirties would want to work with the elderly. But I find it very satisfying to help someone regain their independence and move back into their home. It’s great to be part of that healing process.”