Erica Harris (Photo/The Portrait Place)

Erica Lynn Harris began her undergraduate studies in biochemistry — until her sophomore year when she developed a profound appreciation for physical sciences and caring for others.

As a former athlete, Harris was instantly hooked to the relationship physical therapy had with sports.

“The profession involves my own physical labor, which helps satisfy my athletic desires because I have to practice and master my physical skills to make my patients successful,” Harris said.

Harris plans to extend her education to a specialty that involves athletics. Following graduation, she will move to Fort Worth, Texas for her sports physical therapy residency at Texas Health Ben Hogan Sports Medicine.

“I wanted to be in an environment where I can always learn and challenge myself mentally and physically while working alongside others with a common goal,” said Harris, a USC Order of Areté Award winner.

Harris also hopes to contribute to the profession by helping people become more autonomous through education and awareness.

“I would like to be a bridge to the community by providing education and resources to empower parents and young athletes to prevent injuries so that they have longer and healthier careers,” Harris said.

— Yasmine Pezeshkpour