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The Grad Post Spring 2019, Program Spotlight, Doctor of Physical Therapy

The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at Georgia Southern University is a full-time, nine-semester program that is comprised of academic coursework and three full-time clinical affiliations (with a minimum of 31 weeks of full-time clinical practice), in addition to other smaller clinical experiences. Upon completion of the program, all students are awarded a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. All program graduates are eligible to take the National Physical Therapy Examination and apply for state licensure in all jurisdictions.  Admission is limited to 36 students per class. The Doctor of Physical Therapy program is offered at the Armstrong Campus in Savannah.

The professional curriculum consists of two phases: “systems” and “life span”. Courses introduced during the first year use a systems approach with cases in musculoskeletal, cardiopulmonary, neuromuscular and integumentary physical therapy. As closely as possible, courses are coordinated so that students are instructed in the anatomy, pathology and diagnosis related to specific joints or systems of the body at the same time. During the third semester, students are given the opportunity to practice and integrate their professional skills in a simulated clinic course, Case Management. (Use of this experiential learning technique has been presented at international meetings.) Following the completion of the first year, students have an 8-week full-time clinical experience, allowing them to further solidify and integrate the classroom material in a clinical setting.

During the second year and early third year of study, students explore practice topics in greater depth within the context of a life span approach, covering content from diseases of children to impairments associated with aging. These advanced courses are followed by two final full-time 11-week clinical experiences, with a return to campus for final coursework at the end of the program.

The curriculum is further integrated by team teaching, a feature of several of the courses. Besides providing linkages between courses, this enables the faculty to serve as role models for the advantages associated with working together as a team.


The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at Georgia Southern University is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314; telephone: 703.706.3245; email:; website: If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please call 912-344-2580 or email


Currently the program consists of 10 full-time faculty and several adjunct faculty members. All are licensed to practice within the state of Georgia.

Our Graduates

Of the students admitted to the Classes of 2016, 2017, and 2018, 96.9% graduated and 100% were employed within three (3) months of licensure. Over the same time period, 98.7% of graduates passed the licensure examination (NPTE), 95.9% on the first attempt.

Prospective Students

Thank you for your interest in Georgia Southern University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy Program. Please review information pertaining to our admission criteriaapplication process and tuition and fees. You are also encouraged to attend one of our information sessions (which includes a tour of our facilities).

The Grad Post Spring 2019, Student Spotlight, Corina Newsome

Corina Newsome

Graduate program: Master of Science, Biology
Undergraduate degree: Zoo and Wildlife Biology
Undergraduate University: Malone University
Length of program: 30 credit hours

Q: What drew you to Georgia Southern for your graduate studies?

A: Well, that’s an interesting story! Since my junior year of college, I have been obsessed with birds. After working with them professionally for several years, I decided I wanted to continue my education. Two years ago, a film crew came to my job at the time (Nashville Zoo) to do filming with me for a documentary on Christian faith and environmental stewardship. I got to chatting with one of the videographers about my love for birds. He ended up telling me that he had done filming for BBC documentaries with people like David Attenborough (my hero), and had some cool bird-people connections. One of his good friends in Statesboro, Georgia, Steve Hein, was a falconer. I was ecstatic. He connected us right away, and within a couple of months I was driving down to Statesboro to go falconing. When I arrived, I immediately realized that I had seen this school mentioned on a database for graduate advisors in ornithology, so with 15 minutes to spare on the evening I arrived, I ran to Dr. Chandler’s office. He listened to my 3 minute elevator pitch, and was gracious enough to submit my information to the department to be considered for admission. The rest is history!

Q: What are your Georgia Southern “points of pride?” What is one thing you are most proud of during your time here at Georgia Southern?

A: I am proud of the diverse perspectives that are represented in the Biology department at this institution. Much of the science community in the U.S. has been fairly homogenous, demographically speaking, for a long time. I know from experience that the science community thrives when more diverse perspectives are represented in its ranks, especially when it comes to interfacing with our diverse general public. I have seen more women, students of color, and students from other countries represented in the student body here at Georgia Southern than I have ever experienced, and for that I am grateful.

I am also extremely proud of the Wildlife Center that we have on grounds. When I visited Steve Hein for the hunting trip I mentioned above, I had the opportunity to tour the center. I cried with amazement multiple times. When I walked in and saw several African American students on the animal care and education team, I was blown away. As a former zoo keeper, I have witnessed the lack of ethnic diversity in the field of animal care, so seeing a different narrative here was so encouraging. Then, when I toured the facilities and experienced how immediately immersed you become in our natural landscapes and ecosystems, I was speechless. It offers a phenomenal educational opportunity for anyone who comes. I wish more students would check it out!

Q: Are you a part of any research projects? If so, what are you doing?

A: Yes, I am currently completing my Master’s thesis. My research focuses on a marsh-dwelling bird called the Seaside Sparrow, which inhabits the coastal marshes of Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina. I’ll be focusing on the Georgia populations. I’m assessing the occurrence of nest-predators of Seaside Sparrows (such as raccoons, mink, and rice rats) along several habitat gradients, and determining whether the density of predators in an area corresponds to the frequency of nest predation.

This will require me to set up several kinds of monitoring equipment in the marsh, such as camera traps and video recorders. The marshes in which I’ll carry out this project are tidal. The water can increase in height by ~5-7 feet twice a day, so all of that equipment has to be waterproof, or able to float!

Q: How is Georgia Southern preparing you for your future career?

A: Georgia Southern has already significantly strengthened my skills in data analysis and research design. I was also paired with a phenomenal advisor, Dr. Elizabeth Hunter, who is not only a joy to be around, but is an incredibly skilled leader and mentor. So, in addition to learning practical skills that will be necessary for my future profession, I am learning how to lead.

 Additional Information:

I am excited to have received my first research grant, which was provided by the Georgia Ornithological Society. These funds will provide the necessary equipment for carrying out my research project over the next two summers.

The Grad Post Spring 2019, Student Spotlight, John Banter and John Egan

John Banter

Graduate program: Ed.D. Educational Leadership
Undergraduate degree: History
Undergraduate University: Asbury University
Length of program: 69 credit hours

Q: What drew you to Georgia Southern for your graduate studies?

A: Several years ago I was having a conversation with a colleague, Dr. Georj Lewis, about my future career aspirations and he recommended the Educational Leadership doctoral program at Georgia Southern from his own experience in the program.  Dr. Lewis was serving at the time as the Dean of Students at Georgia Southern and now serves as our Vice President of Student Affairs.

Q: What are your Georgia Southern “points of pride?” What is one thing you are most proud of during your time here at Georgia Southern?

A: Both John Egan and I work with the Southern Leaders Program, which is housed within Georgia Southern University’s Office of Leadership and Community Engagement.  The Southern Leaders Program is an undergraduate student leadership development program that involves extensive leadership development opportunities that include leadership courses, team-based community service, and a capstone leadership project students complete in order to receive a leadership seal and medallion.  Through our doctoral program’s focus on research methods and collection practices within educational environments, we implemented more assessment practices to collect quality data to show leadership development, student success, and retention enhancements within our student population.  Having this data led to the Southern Leaders Program being recognized by the Association of Leadership Educators as the 2018 Outstanding Program of the Year during their national conference.  This showcased not only the efforts John and I have done to further enhance the program, but showcases the scholarly professional practices we have gained through the educational leadership doctoral program.

Q: Are you a part of any research projects? If so, what are you doing?

A: My doctoral research focuses on leadership behavior development of first-year students’ within a leadership development program.  This research showcases the leadership interventions utilized within leadership development programs that may indicate enhanced leadership behavior development through student participation in a formal leadership program.

On top of our doctoral research, John and I are involved in research focused on the use of games as a method to teach and assess leadership competencies.  This past year we developed a model for other educators to use when creating escape games to teach and assess leadership competencies and presented the model at a national conference.  From that presentation, we were invited to publish our work on the use of escape games as a learning assessment in a manual for leadership educators, which is currently in press.  We are also working with Dr. Carl “Kip” Sorgen, assistant professor in the Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development, to extend our research on the use of escape games as a pedagogical approach for leadership competencies.

Q: How is Georgia Southern preparing you for your future career?

A: Georgia Southern’s Educational Leadership doctoral program has developed me into a more of scholarly practitioner.  The program provided the tools and techniques necessary for us to put into place quality assessment of learning and student engagement to be able to showcase our programs and to identify where further development was needed.  These types of scholarly practice are necessary in today’s educational environment.  On top of being a requirement in higher education, putting into place these scholarly practices allowed us to tell our story on a national stage as we to highlight our program’s efforts in student engagement, leadership development, and student success because of the education we received in the doctoral program.

John Egan

Graduate program: Ed.D. Educational Leadership
Undergraduate degree: Sport Management & Policy and Telecommunications
Undergraduate University: The University of Georgia
Length of program: 69 credit hours

Q: What drew you to Georgia Southern for your graduate studies?

A: I am employed full-time by Georgia Southern University and believed having local access to faculty would be important to my success.  Also, the Tuition Assistance Program through the University System of Georgia covers my tuition due to my employment at Georgia Southern.

Q: What are your Georgia Southern “points of pride?” What is one thing you are most proud of during your time here at Georgia Southern?

A: Professionally, I’m proud of my work as a leadership educator in the Office of Leadership and Community Engagement.  We have a fantastic team, and have built a leadership program, Southern Leaders, that was recently awarded the 2018 Association of Leadership Educators (ALE) Outstanding Program Award.  Ultimately, I’m confident our offices’ programs are making a significant impact by empowering students to lead positive change.

Academically, I’m proud that I’ve made it through the defense of my Prospectus, and I’m on my way to a final defense.  Balancing work and family life with kiddos has made this by far one of my most challenging pursuits.  Thankfully I have a precious wife that has been supporting and living through this doctorate as well.

Q: Are you a part of any research projects? If so, what are you doing?

A: The purpose of my current research is to explore alumni’ valuation of an undergraduate leadership program by gaining an understanding of what leadership learning and leadership behaviors have transferred into their work environment.  This will allow leadership educators to better understand the influence of their programs beyond graduation, and evaluate program attributes through an alumni lens.

Q: How is Georgia Southern preparing you for your future career?

A: The Ed.D. program has been immediately applicable in my current work in the Office of Leadership and Community Engagement.  It has allowed me to explore the way I lead others, and enhanced my capacity to bring relevant theory as well as best practices into action.


The Grad Post Spring 2019, Student Spotlight, Ahmauri Williams-Alford

Ahmauri Williams-Alford

Graduate program: Master of Art in Social Science, Anthropology
Undergraduate degree: Anthropology
Undergraduate University: Georgia Southern University
Length of program: 36 credit hours

Q: What drew you to Georgia Southern for your graduate studies?

A: I attended Southern for my undergraduate degree and fell in love with the campus. It wasn’t big, but it still had everything and more to offer. I knew right away it was the perfect fit. I decided to continue my graduate studies here because I was presented with opportunities that I knew I couldn’t pass up. I’m in an amazing program with the best faculty on campus. I have no doubts in my decision to becoming a Double Eagle. I have gained a wide range of experiences and knowledge, and I have a hard time believing I would have gained them anywhere else.

Q: What are your Georgia Southern “points of pride?” What is one thing you are most proud of during your time here at Georgia Southern?

A: To choose “points of pride” is difficult, so many amazing things have happened in the almost 6 years that I’ve been here. We’ve excelled, and continue to excel, in so many things whether it’s athletics, academics, or program excellence. If I had to choose within my program, it would be the opening of the R M Bogan Archaeological Repository in May of 2017. Being one of the biggest archaeological and curation facilities in the Southeast is impressive for the size of program that we have, and it makes me happy to see and know the kind of support we have for something like this to happen. If I had to choose within the school in general, it would be our relentless acts of service (e.g., Treasure Savannah, etc.), and our diversity.

Q: Are you a part of any research projects? If so, what are you doing?

A: Right now, I’m essentially working on 3 master projects. The first project is with Dr. Jennifer Sweeney Tookes and involves Georgia commercial fishermen along the coast. The project aims to capture the life histories and experiences of Georgia’s commercial fishermen through oral history interviews. I’ve been acting as project manager of this research project since the beginning of my graduate program and have helped organize and contribute to the day-to-day operations (e.g., logistical planning, support with undergraduate student training in oral history strategies, transcriptions, etc.). I am currently pulling together a traveling exhibit covering the project that will be presented throughout Georgia, especially along the coast, and will be permanently housed on display at the Marine Extension Facility in Brunswick, GA.

The second project I am doing is with Dr. Heidi Altman and involves a curatorial project on the Willow Hill Heritage and Renaissance Center in Portal, GA. This project is still in the early works, but I am acting as lead supervisor in the curation and restoration process of the heritage center. I am currently working on creating an archival database that will store the center’s records, as well as helping organize and create a catalog system for the artifacts located at the center.

Q: Are you a part of an internship or co-op experience? What are you doing? What are you learning?

A: The third project I am working on is more along the lines of an internship. I am working with Dr. Matthew Compton and acting as graduate collection manager of the Laboratory of Archaeology. Essentially, I am doing all the archaeological collection management responsibilities (e.g., inventory, collection care, loans, help plan/coordinate public outreach events, etc.). I also hold archaeology lab hours throughout the week where undergraduate students within the program come and volunteer in the lab. I help supervise and monitor them as we handle collections and perform lab related responsibilities.

Q: How is Georgia Southern preparing you for your future career?

A: Georgia Southern has provided me with more opportunities and knowledge, where as I stated before, I believe I wouldn’t have been able to get anywhere else. My program especially has given me the tools I need to go out into the field ready. I feel more confident and capable in my skill-sets that I’ve gained while here as the days go by, and I know that everything I’ve done and learned will help me tremendously for my future. Doing all these projects and opportunities related to my desired career path, and loving every moment of it, also helps reassure myself that I made the right decision in my career goals. Just like I made the right decision in becoming a Double Eagle.

The Grad Post Spring 2019, Peer Mentor Spotlight, Nehemiah McClendon

Nehemiah McClendon

Graduate Student, Peer Mentor
Graduate program: Master of  Education, Counseling Education, Mental Health Counseling

Peer Mentors serve the Jack N. Averitt College of Graduate Studies as a resource to first year graduate students. Starting graduate school is a new and exciting journey which often presents new challenges.  A student does not need to begin this journey alone. Peer mentors provide support for areas related to a new student’s academic, professional, and personal life.

Q: What interested you in becoming a Peer Mentor?

A: I was really interested in giving guidance to first year graduate students. The undergraduate verses graduate experience is vastly different. Whether you attended the school for undergraduate degree as well or are making a transition to a new school you are exposed to a new lifestyle. New students need to know where resources are on campus, who to talk to in order to access specific information and just how to have fun in your new stage of life. These are questions I want to be able to advocate for these new students.

Q: What benefits do you feel the Peer Mentor program has for new Graduate Students?

A: Community! Building that community inside and outside of your program is one of the most important factors to me. Guiding students to connect with other like-minded individuals from different backgrounds and cultures is a great motivation.  Getting students to be engaged at Georgia Southern University is also a benefit for the students, there is a vast amount of resources that are accessible to students on campus.

Q: What do you feel you are personally gaining from participating in the Peer Mentor program?

A: I feel like I am personally gaining understanding for people. I love to learn and connect with different people; learning about where they grew up, struggles they faced in the past, and plans they have for the future. Not only pouring into others but having others pour information into me.