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By 

JANET L. ESSMAN FRANZ

April 27, 2021

For a student who loves science, art, engineering and helping people, exercise science provides an excellent career path. It’s the perfect itinerary for senior Emily Dow, who is en route to her dream job in prosthetics and orthotics. Ultimately, Dow intends to design and fit artificial limbs and devices for war veterans and children with absent limbs or disabling conditions.

“Orthotics and prosthetics is the perfect way for me to help others because it combines a very science-heavy curriculum of anatomy, kinesiology, and engineering with creative expression that involves manipulating plaster and other materials to create the physical product of a prosthetic or orthotic device,” Dow said.

This summer, Dow will begin graduate school to pursue a master’s degree in prosthetics and orthotics, something she has planned for since high school when she job-shadowed an orthotist/prosthetist. Currently, Dow volunteers at a prosthetics and orthotics clinic one day a week greeting patients and completing screening tests.

“I perform several mobility tests with the patient that are used by the practitioners as a marker of progress,” Dow said. “I really enjoy that I am able to interact with the patients while also gaining knowledge about prosthetics and orthotics. I often see the same patients from week to week and it is great to get to know them.”

Dow has been an active member of the UVM Exercise Science club. During her junior and senior years, she completed a 12-credit certificate in Integrative Health and Wellness Coaching to compliment her B.S. in Exercise Science. 

“Health coaching is a great skill to have in prosthetics and orthotics because it helps create an environment where patients feel safe and heard,” Dow said. “Many graduate school programs noticed my background with health coaching at UVM and showed tremendous curiosity. Everyone was impressed that undergraduate students at UVM have the opportunity to receive education in that background.”

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