In this edition of “Faculty Focus,” we sat down with Dr. Tricia Catalino from the Touro University Nevada School of Physical Therapy.
Where did you grow up, and what was it like?
I grew up in South Bend, Indiana. I had a Midwest childhood with lots of things to do, especially outdoors. Everybody is a Notre Dame fan in South Bend, regardless if you have an affiliation with the university or not.
Lake Michigan is only 45 minutes away, so we spent a lot of summers there. Most of my family still lives there.
When did you discover your love for physical therapy?
During my senior year of high school, I went to physical therapy because I tore my ACL. I had originally gone to college for pre-med, but once I started, I discovered that it wasn’t what I wanted to do anymore.
I started researching physical therapy, and that’s really how it started. At Northwestern, I also completed work study as a student athletic trainer where I got to work and travel with the football team. I got a lot of great experience early on and it helped solidify my love for PT.
During PT school, I thought I’d definitely go into something sports related, but then I did a clinical rotation in pediatrics and fell in love with it. Being able to impact the lives of children and connect with their parents is what I’m really passionate about.
How did you arrive at Touro University Nevada?
I’ve been at Touro since 2011, not too long after the PT program started.
Before I came here, I worked in Chicago for almost 20 years as a pediatric physical therapist. During that time, I went back to school to complete my Doctor of Science. I was interested in doing something beyond my role as a clinician, in more of a teaching role, and it just so happened that Touro was starting a new program around the same time.
What do you enjoy the most about teaching here?
It’s so tight knit. I feel like I’m coming home every day when I go to work because everyone is so supportive of each other. Also, I have a great love for our students. I love seeing when things click for them and watching them gain an understanding of the material.
In your position, how would you say you help students the most?
Intentionality is a big deal, and I think students appreciate it when we walk the walk. If I’m going to have an expectation for my students, I need to make sure I meet the expectations they have for me. You have to hold yourself accountable to really reach them, and our students understand that.
If you could give your students a single piece of advice, what would it be?
Do good and be good. It can apply to everyone and everything. It’s one thing, and at the same time, it’s everything.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I’m a fitness junkie in every way, shape, and form. If I have any free time, I’m out somewhere being active.