Motivated to help patients regain strength to live their best possible lives, Haley LaFreniere ‘18 was influenced by her mom, Virginia LaFreniere, who graduated from the Doctor of Physical Therapy program (DPT) in 1981.
“Growing up, my mom gave me an insider’s look into the world of physical therapy, which inspired me early on to pursue a health-related field,” says LaFreniere, who earned a bachelor’s degree in exercise science in 2018 and is now in her first year of the DPT program. “I think she brought me to the UML open house to revisit her own college memories, but I could not be more grateful that she did. Once I started in the exercise physiology (now exercise science) program, I have never doubted that this university is the right path for me.”
In her senior year of the exercise science program, LaFreniere interned at Supportive Living, a care facility in Woburn that helps survivors of brain injuries.
“I was given the opportunity to work one-on-one with many different brain injury clients,” she says. “I learned what motivates them, what scares them and how I can navigate those factors to give them the care they need. Discovering their stories and learning what they had overcome was inspiring. I learned more from this hands-on experience than I could have hoped for.”
Once she graduates, she hopes to work with patients with disabilities, neurological disorders and brain injuries, but she has time to make up her mind.
“I’ll continue to explore my career options in my next three clinical internships in the DPT program,” she says.
From academics to extracurriculars, LaFreniere found the right programs and experiences she needed at UML to realize her passion.
“There are so many opportunities at UML. You can get involved with anything you want,” she says. “Whether it be clubs, athletics, academic groups and leadership or co-op experiences, it’s happening here on campus. Anything I have wanted from college, UML has provided to me, and I know that I would never have had this experience anywhere else.”