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Supportive Environment Keeps Student’s Dream on Track

March 31, 2020

“I’ve been on other college campuses where you’re a little fish in a big ocean. At Blackhawk, I feel like a fish in a smaller, much friendlier pond,” said Jaina Spielman, a second-year student in the Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) program.

“I’ve always had a passion for learning about the anatomy and physiology of the body,” said Jaina.

Early on, Jaina knew that she wanted to pursue a degree in physical therapy. However, she didn’t know where to go. She researched several colleges in the area and discovered Blackhawk Technical College. “I chose Blackhawk because it was centrally located to where I lived and the commute was manageable,” said Jaina, “I liked that the PTA program had a great reputation and a longer running history than other schools I looked at.”

Through the enrollment process, Jaina credited the Blackhawk staff and faculty for being extremely helpful. “It’s refreshing to work with staff members who take the time to make sure all their students can achieve their goals,” said Jaina, “they have all been extremely helpful and have made the college experience really quite simple.”

“The most challenging and anxiety-inducing part of my journey was getting accepted into the PTA program,” said Jaina. To enter the PTA program, students must work through a competitive petition process. This process requires students to apply to the college, meet all program-specific eligibility requirements, attend a program-specific petition meeting, and submit a petition packet for consideration. Each packet is awarded points based on different criteria including college coursework, previous work experience, and program admission testing.

After her first petition attempt, Jaina earned an alternate spot. “I was disappointed initially, but I was lucky that my alternate spot led to a spot in the program,” said Jaina, “petitioning taught me that you can get where you want to go if you put in enough hard work.”

Now, Jaina is nearing the end of the PTA program. “One of the things I love about the PTA program at Blackhawk is how the curriculum is structured,” said Jaina. The first part of the program focuses on teaching the fundamental knowledge and skills. Then, students enter clinical experiences to apply their training in real-world settings. Jaina explained, “between the challenging lessons in class and the real-life experiences gained at clinicals, I feel like Blackhawk has helped me become as prepared as possible to work as a PTA after graduation.”

“I am really thankful that I chose to attend Blackhawk for the quality of education I’m receiving and for the amazing people I’ve met during my time here,” said Jaina. After graduation, Jaina plans to obtain her PTA license and work in either outpatient or sub-acute care at a physical therapy clinic.

“Blackhawk has been a good school for its financial value. Even as an out-of-state student, I feel like I have gotten a great value for my dollar,” said Jaina, “Blackhawk has a financial aid department that is incredibly easy to work with and they have ample Foundation Scholarships available to students.”

“The thing I have most liked about Blackhawk is how supportive the staff and faculty are here,” said Jaina, “they really care about our success and work hard to make sure we have the tools we need beyond graduation.”

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