Striding for Success
Ashley Miller is a doctoral student in Physical Therapy. She is also a member of Georgia State University’s Women’s Track and Field team. The challenge of balancing coursework, training and competing? She is taking it in stride.
“I’m competitive by nature,” she says. “I like pushing myself to be the best I can be.”
Ashley says that her ability to be both in the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program and on the team gives her confidence and a strong will. Her eligibility for the team took more than excelling as a runner; it took determination to prove her eligibility in compliance with the NCAA rules for Division I varsity athletes.
Georgia State Women’s Track and Field coach Christopher England says that athletes have a five-year window during which they can compete four of the years. Ashley was on the track team during her undergraduate career at the University of South Carolina; however, she was injured often during that time and was granted a rare sixth year to compete.Ashley practices by herself because her class schedule doesn’t fit with the team’s morning training schedule.
“Ashley’s passion, drive and desire to excel in athletics are evident in the fact that she runs every afternoon after being in class all day,” says Coach England.
The team competes August through May, with meets out of town most weekends. Ashley’s team members always make her feel welcome and the attitude is one of mutual help and support.
Professors also play an important role in her drive and success at Georgia State. Ashley’s professors have helped her to think about how to use what she learns in class in relation to how it might be applied to a patient in a clinical setting.
“My professors push me to think critically and go above and beyond the standard,” she says.
Ashley’s experience as an athlete as well as her coursework have solidified her goal to have a career in sports therapy.
Currently, she is doing research with Dr. Liang Ching Tsai on his study of post-operative anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) patients with four different types of grafts (allograft, quadriceps-tendon, patella-tendon and hamstring-tendon autografts). The type of graft patients have may prove to affect the outcome of movement, strength and muscle activation.
Ashley is originally from North Myrtle Beach, SC, but was excited to come to Georgia State and Atlanta for many reasons. Cultural diversity was at the forefront.
“I love the unique perspective the people here bring and the ability to become immersed in a city so rich in culture,” she says.