Originally from Weatherford, Oklahoma, Talea Powell is making her educational dreams a reality as part of the first cohort of students to enroll in the Southern Nazarene University (SNU) Physical Therapist Assistant program. Talea initially started her higher education at SWOSU, where she even held the esteemed role of president of a local sorority. However, life's twists and turns led her to a new chapter, prompting Talea to relocate to the vibrant OKC area and pursue her studies at SNU.
In the quest for the right PTA program last fall, Talea found herself navigating changes in her previous school's program. Sharing her concerns with a co-worker proved serendipitous, as this colleague happened to have worked with Dr. Loren McElroy, SNU’s PTA Program Director. With a recommendation from someone who knew the program firsthand, Talea seized the opportunity, applied, interviewed, and soon found herself on a journey she describes as "truly a blessing."
From the get-go, SNU stood out for Talea. She emphasizes, “I love that I have such a good connection with my peers and my professors. This is what has set SNU apart.” The program's strong support system, including advising, enrollment assistance, and a network of local clinicians as faculty members and guest lecturers, further enriched Talea's educational experience.
Talea's passion for physical therapy was furthered by a personal injury and the need for rehabilitation. In March, she tore her ACL while playing basketball, undergoing extensive physical therapy for recovery. Spending ample time in the PT office, Talea witnessed firsthand the transformative power of the profession. This experience led her to take on a tech job at PT offices, solidifying her commitment to the field.
Then, in October, Talea and her classmates were able to participate in one of many service learning opportunities embedded within the program. PTA students were invited to assist a local running club with stretching and myofascial interventions. During this experience, Talea was able to work with the runners, under supervision, and learn to differentiate the techniques that worked well for them. The runners were grateful for a good stretch after running so many miles, and Talea greatly enjoyed her time working with them.
Dr. Loren McElroy, PTA Program Director, commented, "Talea’s energy and attitude light up any room. She exemplifies the spirit of our program through her desire to learn and her passion to serve patients and the community."
As Talea eagerly anticipates her graduation in 2024, her recent participation in the SNU Service Learning Project adds another layer to her dedication to making a positive impact beyond the classroom. This involvement aligns seamlessly with the program's mission of producing competent, ethical, and self-directed healthcare practitioners who embody professional core values within a Christ-centered community.
Reflecting on her time at SNU, Talea shared, “I have loved my time here and would recommend it to anyone looking for a career path in PTA.” Her journey at SNU extends beyond academic pursuits; it's a story of self-discovery, building connections, and embracing new opportunities. As Talea strides towards graduation, she leaves behind an inspiring trail for those considering a similar path.