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2014 Outstanding Graduating Student — Kayla Jones

Jones named Outstanding Graduating Student in College of Education and Human Development

Kayla JonesKayla Jones of Freedom, Maine, is the Outstanding Graduating Student in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Maine.

The kinesiology and physical education major received the Gene and Judith K. Carter, the Walter F. Tibbetts and the Wesley D. Jordan scholarships.

This semester, Jones interned at Down East Hand and Physical Therapy in Bangor, Maine. She also was a teaching assistant for the UMaine adapted physical education class, led by Stephen Butterfield, professor of education and special education. It was as a student and a TA in this inspirational class that Jones says she learned lessons that will last a lifetime. She will attend graduate school in the fall to pursue a doctorate in physical therapy.

Tell us about the research, internships or scholarly pursuits you were involved in as a student
I have almost completed my internship (150 hours) at Down East Hand and Physical Therapy in Bangor, Maine. Here, I observe and assist two Doctors of Physical Therapy, Kristen Harvey and Rob Gordon, who have taught me more than I could have ever imagined.

Beyond academics, what extracurricular activities occupied your time? (clubs, sports, etc.)
I am a teacher’s assistant for Dr. Butterfield’s adapted physical education lab (KPE 367). During this lab, the students work one on one with a person who has a disability and help them with motor development, aquatic development and independency. I also have performed many observation hours that consist of inpatient and outpatient physical therapy settings and emergency department care.

What are your plans after graduation?
I will be attending Husson University’s Doctorate of Physical Therapy program in the fall, which is a three-year-long program.

What difference has UMaine made in your life and in helping you reach your goals?
UMaine has helped prepare me for my future as a physical therapist by exposing me to many real-world situations and by having a hands-on learning environment. The education that I have received here has helped me grow as a student, a person and a professional.

Have you had an experience at UMaine that has changed or shaped the way you see the world?
Definitely. Dr. Butterfield’s Adapted Physical Education class (KPE 367). When I took this course, I worked with a special needs woman who taught me more about myself and more about the real world than I could have ever imagined. The lessons I took from that course, amongst others, will remain with me for the rest of my life and I feel blessed to have been a part of that experience.

Why UMaine?
Attending the University of Maine was a no-brainer for me. I knew that if I wanted to remain in the state of Maine but still receive an excellent education, that the University of Maine would be the college where I would accomplish that. I have been challenged like never before with my classes and have taken away very useful advice from several faculty members that will undoubtedly prove useful in my future.

How would you describe UMaine’s academic atmosphere?
The academic atmosphere of UMaine is extremely friendly. I have always felt comfortable talking to professors after class or during office hours and I have never had a professor who wasn’t helpful during those times. I have learned that if you put yourself out there and really try, professors will go out of their way, in return, to help you.

Have you worked closely with a professor or mentor who made your UMaine experience better?
During my four years here, I have become really close to all KPE professors and they all have helped me through many hardships. However, my adviser, Christopher Nightingale, has made my UMaine experience better by always being available to help me with schoolwork and school-related problems. Nightingale also has made my experience here at UMaine better because he has helped me receive many scholarships/awards by putting my name out there as a dedicated and hard-working student.

What advice do you have for incoming students?
My advice for incoming students would be to do your work and do your work on time. One of the best feelings, for me, is when you get a good grade on something that you put a lot of time in and worked incredibly hard at. Plus, when professors see that you are dedicated and hard working, they will be more likely to help you when you need it. Making a positive connection with the professors will help in many ways. For example, it might help you receive scholarships/awards, having them as references and having them help you receive a job after graduation.