WCU Alumni Spotlight: Thomas Swift, CSCS, DPT ’17

What brought you to West Coast University as a student?

Physical Therapy school is highly competitive. I applied to multiple schools and West Coast University was the first to offer me enrollment, so I gladly accepted. However, it wasn’t without reservations as I was part of the inaugural cohort for our DPT program (no accreditation at the time of acceptance). Looking back now, I can confidently say I received a solid education and was given so many great opportunities along the way. In the end, I earned the important three letters after my name and passed the PT Board Exam on my first attempt.

What was your most memorable experience at WCU and what did you take away from your time at WCU?

It’s difficult to choose just one memorable experience, the entire program was one big memorable experience. If I had to narrow it down, I would say I really enjoyed, and miss, the volunteer and community outreach opportunities I took part in. As for what I took away from my time at WCU, I would have to say the life-long friends and comradery with my classmates.

How do you think earning your doctorate at WCU has helped you grow professionally?

In the field of Physical Therapy, the majority of clinics, hospitals, and other various settings see a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree as the new normal. It also comes with more responsibilities. I had only six months of experience as a licensed PT before being offered a director position at my urgent care facility. I believe going through the challenges of earning an advanced degree and realizing my potential made it clear to me that I could step up to almost any challenge and thrive.

If you could give one word of advice to our WCU students, what would it be?

There’s no doubt you will have “good” and “bad” experiences along your academic and professional careers. However, there is always something to learn from each type of experience to help you grow as a person and professionally. How you cope and manage these challenges is what matters most and what people remember.

How are you involved with WCU currently?

I am currently serving as a clinical instructor at my facility and I am open to hosting WCU DPT students. I also try to partake in surveys, meet with faculty/staff/students at conferences and attend alumni events in my region.

What does #WCUproud mean to you?

I had the opportunity to interview WCU DPT applicants as a second-year student and realized that these incoming students would be representing the school and essentially me. Take pride in yourself and your work, because in the end, you represent a lot more than just yourself.

Why do you think it’s important for our alumni to stay involved with their alma mater, whether is it by attending an alumni event, volunteering their time, or giving to the alumni scholarship fund?

Alumni have gone through it and seen a lot. Each of us also go on to different careers and settings. Alumni are in a special position to make things better for future Alumni whether it be by offering advice, improving/maintaining programs or just simply lending a hand/giving back once in a position to do so.

Would you like to share a positive message with current DPT students?

During these unpredictable and unprecedented times, it goes to show that we are essential, which means we make a huge impact in our communities

WCU provides career guidance and assistance but cannot guarantee employment. The views and opinions expressed are those of the individuals and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs or position of the school or of any instructor or student.