Write an essay where you tell us about what drives you in your pursuit of your graduate degree.

My name is Dorothy Tarnawski and I was accepted to Adler University, School of Professional Psychology, Masters of Arts in Mental Health Counseling with Specialization in Sport and Health for Fall 2019. My decision to study Counseling, Sport & Health (CSH) program is rooted in a personal journey of athletic evolution paired with a simple desire to make a difference in the lives of others.
I was a competitive gymnast for 11 years and a rower for 2 so I am no stranger to the challenges of being an athlete. In my early career as a gymnast, I trained in an environment that lacked positive reinforcement and any resources to combat mental blocks. It wasn’t until I switched to a different gym that I witnessed the impact a Sports Psychologist (SP) could have on an overall performance. Our group utilized SP guidance to improve team cohesion, overcome physical injuries, and cope with the pressures of competition- something that greatly affected my athletic goals. Observing the positive difference that this SP had on my growth, and knowing that I could make the same impact, motivated me to pursue a career in the CSH field.
A significant experience that has shaped me has been the 3.5 years I’ve spent working as a physical therapy aide (PTA) in a pediatric inpatient rehab setting and adult acute hospital setting. In my time as a PTA I worked with many athletes who had experienced a traumatic brain injury, but still had passion for continuing their sport. This passion gave them the strength and motivation to take part in various therapies that would help them return to their athletic space. It quickly became clear to me how the medical team along with a Psychologist can combine forces to adapt the athletes approach to meet their current abilities. It’s been humbling, yet rewarding to be involved in such impactful work, and it’s something I see myself continuing with the Sport & Health program at Adler University.

Dorothy from Washington
Adler University