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Health and Physical Education

Erin Comiskey

Year of Graduation: 2017

Degree Program: B.S., Health Studies

Current Academic Program: Student at College of Staten Island’s Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) Program

About Our Alum

While at Monmouth, Erin took advantage of numerous opportunities afforded to her through the Health Studies department. She was the Peer Learning Assistant for Dr. Chris Hirschler’s First Year Seminar, and traveled to Central America as part of the course “Guatemala Public Health.”  In Guatemala, she taught a lesson on diabetes prevention and took blood pressure and blood glucose levels to help give patients a better understanding of their overall health.  While in Guatemala, Erin had the opportunity to observe surgery and participate in the construction of a new health clinic.  In her own words she says, “Participating in service learning in Guatemala afforded me the opportunity to see first-hand the great need in rural Guatemala, especially in regards to the population’s health.  Too often our discussion of health is ethnocentric, revolving around western values and cultures.  Travelling to Guatemala allowed me to not only learn about how Guatemalans in rural communities access healthcare, but to also participate in educating these communities about public health.”

Hiking Pacaya Volcano

Erin studied abroad at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia.  There, Erin took classes while exploring Sydney, Melbourne, the Gold Coast, and other regions of Australia.  In regards to her experience she says, “Prior to studying in Australia, I never paid much attention to politics, as my interests were solely in math and science.  However, among the Australian youth, it is commonplace to discuss politics, and what is happening around the world.  Soon, I learned how politics not only involved myself as an American, but also as an aspiring healthcare professional.”

Erin was a Health Studies Major for all four years at Monmouth, and she says it prepared her fully for graduate school.  “The Health Studies curriculum has built-in classes that are critical to succeeding in any aspect of the healthcare field, and also has room for free electives that allowed me to fulfill the prerequisites for physical therapy school.  I chose to major in Health Studies as other majors were to restrictive, and studying abroad and fulfilling prerequisites would have been difficult.  More importantly, the professors in the Health Studies Department are outstanding, student-orientated, and incredibly helpful. Dr. Chris Hirschler has been an essential part of my academic and professional growth, as he guided me throughout my undergraduate career with academic planning and professional advice.”

During her sophomore year, Erin was recommended by several Monmouth faculty members to be hired as the Peer Learning Assistant (PLA) for Dr. Chris Hirschler’s First Year Seminar.  Presenting on topics helpful for first-year students on their transition from high school to college, Erin says, “This experience sparked an interest in teaching for me.  The connections I made with students and knowing that I was helping students prepare for their college experience were incredibly rewarding.  As a Physical Therapist, I plan on teaching at an undergraduate or graduate level.”

Providing hypertension screening

During her junior and senior years, Erin gained hands-on experience in physical therapy working part-time as a physical therapy aide.  At SportsCare Physical Therapy, Erin instructed patients on how to correctly perform therapeutic exercises and stretches, managing up to 5 patients at a time.  Additionally, she volunteered at Monmouth Medical Center on the Orthopedic Floor, learning more about inpatient physical therapy.

Erin is now a second-year student in the College of Staten Island’s Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) Program. As part of her studies, she works on a research group studying the modulation of arm and leg H-reflex excitability following thoracolumbar and cervicothoracic transspinal stimulation in humans.  She will start her first clinical affiliation at Staten Island Hospital’s outpatient clinic this November.  Although open to other opportunities, Erin plans on treating the geriatric population in an outpatient setting upon graduation.  After a few years of experience, Erin aspires to become a teacher in a DPT program and a clinical instructor for DPT students.

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