Evangel Profile

Marina Leber (’11): Doctor of Physical Therapy Student

August 7, 2013

Marina Leber stepped onto Evangel’s campus in 2008 with her eyes set on becoming a physical therapist. Five years later, her hard work and dedication have brought her within a year of earning her beginning doctorate in Physical Therapy from Southwest Baptist University.

But when Leber’s mother had first suggested Evangel University as a college option, she was not quite convinced. Evangel was many miles from her hometown of Pittsburg, California, and Leber was not sure she wanted to travel so far.

After a visit to campus, however, she realized it was worth it.

“When I actually went to visit the school with my dad and talked to Dr. Keith Hardy about the program and all the possibilities and career paths I could take with the Exercise Science degree, I knew it was the place for me,” Leber says.

Leber came to Evangel as a transfer student in her sophomore year. During her time at Evangel, she made it a point to immerse herself in her studies and to purposefully form strong working relationships with her professors. She says she would periodically drop by their offices just to chat to make sure they got to know her.

In fact, Leber says the one-on-one attention available to all students through the professors is one of the aspects of Evangel that sets it apart from other universities.

“A lot of the professors I had the pleasure of learning from would go out of their way to make sure I was succeeding in their classes,” Leber says. “I can remember staying up late and having late-night study sessions with a group of friends for Organic Chemistry, and every once in a while our professor would be there working late and would come out to help us.”

Leber says she was highly impacted by having professors who were not only distinguished in their fields but also specifically called to teach at Evangel.

“The strongest asset the Kinesiology Department has is Dr. Keith Hardy and the faculty,” she says. “They are not there because they have to be, or because it is a paycheck. They pour everything they have into the students to make the students’ experience at EU they best it could possibly be.”

While at Evangel, Leber also formed several strong friendships with her peers, and she says she enjoyed participating in a variety of fun events with them.

With her eye on physical therapy school, Leber began the application process the summer before her senior year at Evangel. She worked to gain the prerequisite observation hours through the Cox Meyer Center during the summer and fall of that year. She then progressed through the necessary paperwork and secured the required recommendation letters. By October, her application was complete.

Then, on the last day of November, she learned that she had been accepted. She graduated from Evangel in 2011 with a major in Exercise Science and a minor in Physical Science, and entered the Physical Therapy program at Southwest Baptist University the following semester.

Today, with her next graduation on the horizon, Leber has set some new goals. She hopes to do urban missionary work as a physical therapist, and to eventually earn her Ph.D.

Her advice to current students: Don’t be afraid to ask questions and to get to know your professors.

“Having those strong connections with the professors can only help out later in life,” she says. “They could be the ones writing a recommendation letter to a job, or could be influential in helping you to apply to a graduate program.”

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