Interested in the faculty members behind our programs? Get to know them through our monthly faculty spotlight.

Dr. Stacy Stolzman is an assocaite professor of physical therapy & pediatric physical therapist. In and outside her classroom she continually pushes herself and her students to remain curious, build strong research skills, and always seek the best outcomes for patients.

The Pediatric Physical Therapy journal recently published Dr. Stolzman’s article “Does Weight Status Impact Metabolic Health in Adolescents When Controlling for Physical Fitness?”. It featured her in a video discussing her research findings. Learn more about her background, her passion for physical therapy, and her love for Concordia in April’s faculty spotlight.  

What do you do at Concordia?

I teach in the physical therapy program as an associate professor. 

How long have you been at Concordia? Why did you choose Concordia?

I started here in August 2016 after completing my PhD and post-doctoral fellowship at Marquette University. I chose CUW because of the positive Christian environment, small teacher-student ratio, and the ability to foster research skills in undergraduate and graduate students.

What does an average day in your life look like?

On a typical day, I teach undergraduate courses during the day and master’s courses in the early morning or evening along with office hours mixed in between teaching. I mentor undergraduate students in research projects and advise several master’s students in their thesis projects throughout the various stages of planning, IRB, data collection/analysis, and writing.

Recently, I have been expanding my own research line at CUW by collaborating with Dr. Kathy Lemley in a study investigating how exercise can relieve pain by walking backward on a treadmill. We will be presenting our research at a national conference this month.

What do you love most about Concordia?

I truly enjoy interacting with my students in the classroom and during my office hours. I know my students beyond the classroom and enjoy advising them for internships, research, and graduate school.

What’s your education and career background? Where did you study? What did you do before Concordia?

I studied at Marquette University where I obtained a Bachelor of Science in psychology (1997), a master’s degree in physical therapy (1999), a PhD in clinical & translational rehabilitation science (2015), and a postdoctoral fellowship (2015-2016).

After graduating from PT school in 1999, I worked as a pediatric physical therapist in a variety of settings including Birth to Three Programs, aquatic therapy, outpatient clinics, and Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin (CHW). While at CHW, I developed the exercise component of the NEW (Nutrition, Exercise, and Weight Management) Program, a multi-disciplinary weight management program for children 2-18 years of age along with their families. This experience developed the start of my passion for research.

What are you most passionate about in your work here at Concordia?

I am passionate about developing students’ abilities to critically assess how exercise can impact the human body, especially in the realm of individuals with chronic diseases such as obesity, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes.  

What’s the one key lesson from your courses/work here at Concordia that you hope students take away from interacting with you and learning from you?

I have two. Don’t just memorize the knowledge. Learn it and be able to apply it to actual patients and clients. People are not going to present you as a textbook example. People have more than one impairment or disease process. Be willing to look at each person as an individual and develop an individualized exercise plan for improving health.

Secondly, the best way to develop your skills is to put them into practice. Complete an internship focused on your career goals. Network with professionals in the field and make connections for the future.

What’s the most exciting thing about your field of study that the general public might not know?

As a pediatric physical therapist, I have worked with infants, toddlers, children, and adolescents for over 20 years. Children are not just “little adults.” We assess their physical fitness, weight status, and health in different ways and need to develop exercise programs for them that are developmentally appropriate. This changes from day to day as children grow. Pediatrics keeps clinicians on their toes. Every day is different and challenging but very enjoyable and fun.

Related: Interested in physical therapy? Get all your questions answered in our FAQs.

Lastly, why should students consider Concordia?

CUW is an amazing Lutheran higher education community committed to helping students develop in mind, body, and spirit for service to Christ in the Church and the world. The small class setting fosters more active learning and helps prepare you for real-world situations.

I love coming to work each day because I feel like my colleagues and students are part of my family. CUW students are really amazing!

If you’re interested in pursuing a degree in physical therapy with Dr. Stolzman, explore the program page to learn more, or start your application today.

Editors Note: This post was published on April 4, 2019 and has been updated to reflect current content.

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