ATSU Doctor of Physical Therapy program student strives for career in pediatric carePosted: June 14, 2023
When Anna Kautzman, DPT, ’25, is asked why she chose A.T. Still University-Arizona School of Health Sciences’ (ATSU-ASHS) Doctor of Physical Therapy program, she typically begins by recounting a car accident she had last winter on an icy road in Wisconsin.
While there are certainly climate benefits for the Champlin, Minnesota native, her decision to pursue this advanced degree in Mesa, Arizona goes beyond better winter weather.
“Although climate was an obvious positive factor, I chose ATSU for so much more. My initial interview felt like a casual conversation between friends, and I really felt like the staff wanted to understand who I was as a person rather than looking at me as just another number,” Kautzman said. “Upon visiting campus, I knew this was a place where I would be successful. I love how compact the campus is, and how every student in the building is going through a similar experience.
“In making my decision, I knew regardless of where I went to school, the coursework was going to be hard. I chose ATSU-ASHS because in these hard moments, I knew I would still love the city, the school, and the sense of community here.”
Kautzman has a bachelor’s degree with a major in rehabilitation science and minor in psychology, and a certificate in equity, diversity, and inclusion. She is co-chair for the Move for Mason Committee and a student ambassador.
“I chose to be a student ambassador in order to help future students navigate the path to grad school. It wasn’t long ago that I was in their shoes and had a million questions constantly running through my mind. I like to help alleviate this stress in prospective students and try to make the process a little more enjoyable. My role as ambassador typically involves leading tours, hosting informational sessions, and communicating at events with future students,” she said.
“I am also a co-chair for the Move for Mason Committee for the upcoming school year. This is a fundraising group set up in honor of a DPT student who passed away while attending ATSU in 2012. A scholarship foundation has been set up in his memory and as co-chairs we are responsible for coming up with fundraising opportunities and events to host.”
Kautzman is enjoying her time at ATSU, particularly with her classmates, saying she would not be where she’d be without the friendships made.
“I’d be lying if I said student life doesn’t have extreme ups and downs. Adjusting to the rigor school requires was tough for me at first, but after finding my groove and leaning on my people, I have grown to love the learning process here. The library is my second home, and my classmates are my second family,” she said.
Outside of school, Kautzman unwinds by playing soccer, roller blading, and seeking out new coffee shops and breweries.
In the future, Kautzman plans to be a physical therapist who advocates for her patients.
“I want to work in pediatrics, and have a passion for serving kids with disabilities. This is one of the most underserved groups when it comes to healthcare and opportunities for physical activity. Since day 1, ATSU has been instilling the purpose of whole person healthcare in me. A child is so much more than their disabilities, their diagnosis, and the stigmas that surround them. I want to make it my personal job to make sure each of my patients and their families feel heard, understood, and have a hope that PT can help their family,” Kautzman said.