Kelsie Kaiser knew she wanted to be a physical therapist after shadowing a USC physical therapist during high school.

“The experience opened my eyes to the impact that a physical therapist can have,” Kaiser said. “A physical therapist not only improves how someone moves but also improves the patient’s quality of life.”

The Michigan native began her studies in sunny Southern California in 2014. While at USC, she earned an Academic Excellence Scholarship and a Josette Antonelli Division Service Scholarship. She also served as her class’ president and a San Gabriel Valley District Student Liaison for the California Physical Therapy Association. She graduates with USC’s Order of Areté Award, given to outstanding graduate students whose dedication to leadership and community service go beyond that of their peers.

But it’s as a “caring individual who dedicated her time to producing three great years for each person at the USC DPT program” that she hopes to be remembered.

Kaiser will next enter USC’s orthopedic residency program where she hopes to further refine her skills to become an orthopedic clinical specialist. She also hopes to teach in a doctor of physical therapy program where she can help foster continuous growth of the profession and perform research to further expand the profession’s knowledge base.

— John Hobbs