Internship in New York immerses Zion Segears in career in physical therapy – VCU News

Zion Segears’ summer internship at Columbia University gave him the opportunity to explore both a career in physical therapy and New York City.

Segears, an aspiring sophomore at Virginia Commonwealth University, received the internship through the Summer Health Professions Education Program, a national program focused on improving access to information and resources for college students interested in health professions interested.

While at Columbia University, Segears, who is interested in attending graduate school in physical therapy, has mentored various physical therapists throughout New York.

“It gave me a better perspective of what it would be like to work as a PT in a hospital. Since physical therapy schools generally require a certain number of hours to sit in, it was good to be able to start early,” he said.

Segears, who majors in health, physical education and exercise at the College of Humanities and Sciences, also met faculty members who served in Columbia’s doctoral program in physical therapy.

“We got insights into processes like approvals, clinical trials, labs and how to be successful throughout the PT school,” Segears said.

Segears enjoyed the opportunity to get to know New York during his internship. Highlights included visiting different districts of the city, seeing Broadway shows and attending an African festival. Segears also appreciated the wealth of Latin American culture in the city.

“It gave me an opportunity to really practice my Spanish speaking, reading and comprehension skills,” Segears said. “I also visited the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem. Since the founder, Arturo Schomburg, was also a black and Puerto Rican male, I felt represented. I had a great time there.”

Born in Fairfax County, Segears chose VCU because “it had a good business school, good pre-health programs, and a lot of diversity,” he said. Carlton Goode, an academic advisor in VCU’s University Academic Advising Unit, has been one of Segears’ key mentors, he said.

A man is holding a lizard and smiling at it while standing in front of tents.
Zion Segears enjoyed the opportunity to explore New York while in town for his internship. (Contributed photo)

“He was a huge factor in my success at VCU and has had a positive impact on my life overall. He taught me life skills, networking and helped me embrace leadership roles,” said Segears.

Segears is the community service chair of the VCU student organization, Developing Men of Color.

“As Chair of Community Service, I promote and organize our charitable projects alongside other like-minded people who want to give back,” he said. “It has been a very rewarding experience to be in this role and I look forward to continuing it this fall.”

Segears’ interest in physical therapy dates back to his high school years in Fairfax County.

“During high school, my main interest was basketball. After several injuries I ended up in physical therapy. I’ve spent a total of almost three years in physical therapy and being immersed in the environment piqued my interest,” he said.

Segears wants to help others who need physical therapy rehabilitation.

“I never realized how much of an impact these physical therapists would have on my life. I was struggling with chronic pain and physical limitations that at times felt almost impossible, but my physical therapists helped me overcome it and understand my body better. I felt so hopeless that I would ever recover and finally felt healthy again. I would like to be able to do that for others as well.”