Haley Chizuk is a current student in the Rehabilitation Science PhD program at the University at Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions.
I chose rehabilitation because of my background. I was an athlete for many years and, through my sport, I became interested in human physiology and performance. This curiosity soon became a passion for me as I finished my undergraduate degree and went on to get a master’s in athletic training. Understanding the path an athlete or patient takes from injury to recovery is what piqued my interest the most.
I am originally from Buffalo. However, when looking for schools to attend, I was taken aback by the academic prowess of the faculty on campus. Not only did I feel as if the Rehabilitation Science Department had much to teach me, but they were also friendly and welcoming. I have no doubts that coming to UB was the best choice for me.
As an athletic trainer I was learning and working mostly in a hands-on way. However, as a clinician I generated more questions about physiology and recovery than I was able to answer. Now, as a PhD student, I have the ability to research the burning questions I had and, hopefully, one day be able to share what I am learning with other clinicians like myself.
UB has an incredibly unique dynamic in that the labs and faculty are extremely collaborative. Being able to ask the opinions of multiple experts in multiple labs and departments has been extremely helpful on more than one occasion.
It is easy to become overwhelmed when you first step into the life of an academic. Academia is not an easy lifestyle, but it is extremely rewarding. Let your passion and curiosity drive you, and the work you will complete might not even feel like work at all.
After my PhD program is complete, I would like to complete a post-doctoral degree; however, that is currently a long way off. In the future I hope to continue researching in concussion and traumatic brain injuries, and I also hope to teach future scientists, especially other budding athletic trainers.