Kohle Merry

Development of a Home-Based Physical Therapy Intervention for Individuals with Achilles Tendinopathy
Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

Graduate school is an amazing opportunity to explore complex problems which may or may not have a singular answer. Chasing exploration to such depths is fascinating to me, and working towards creating a harmonious relationship between academia and clinical practice is fundamental to offer better treatments for musculoskeletal conditions. With technological development pertaining to healthcare outpacing the rigour of the scientific process, there is a growing need for clinician-scientists to ensure health technologies are deployed in an evidence-based way.

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

British Columbia has always been home to my family. In a fortunate series of events, UBC is also a world-class institution with global reach that houses experts in a variety of fields. Rehabilitation Sciences and the Department of Physical Therapy offered a fantastic option for pursuing training as a clinician-scientist. My supervisor, Dr. Alex Scott, is a world-renowned expert in tendon mechanobiology and innovator in the field of musculoskeletal physical therapy. In conjunction with my supervisory committee, Dr. Scott’s mentorship offers me fantastic scientific, clinical, and professional development as I pursue training as a clinician-scientist.

What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?

The Masters in Physical Therapy and PhD dual-degree program is a relatively new program offered selectively at Canadian institutions. The ability to integrate my research and clinical training allows me the opportunity to reduce the research-practice gap while also broadening my personal skill set. I am fortunate enough to work in the Department of Physical Therapy which offers an outstanding support network and has a demonstrated track record, with clinical and research trainees going on to achieve greatness in all facets of rehabilitation.

What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?

Having grown up around Vancouver and having done my undergraduate at UBC, I am still impressed with the multidisciplinary nature of UBC. There is always someone new to encounter who will teach you something about life, about a topic new to you, or if you’re lucky enough, both. The people are what make UBC.

UBC is a world-class institution with global reach that houses experts in a variety of fields.
What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?
  1. Having diverse training and excellent mentors. Even within my engineering degrees I was fortunately able to pursue diverse training environments and multidisciplinary projects.
  2. Getting involved beyond academics. Clubs, teams, and student associations have provided me with so many experiences over the years that have helped me to grow academically, professionally, and as a person.
  3. Being open to experience. As a very linear thinker, I always needed to have a plan; however, being driven yet flexible has gotten me to where I am today.
What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?

In my personal time, I enjoy working out, baking bread, and am constantly trying to read more for leisure.

What advice do you have for new graduate students?

Be comfortable with being uncomfortable. Whether referencing new experiences, new people, or new ideas, graduate school necessitates being uncomfortable so that you can grow. Learn to embrace this. Also, if you haven’t already, find your own way to de-stress. Graduate school asks a lot out of you and balancing your work with other activities will make your working time focused and purposeful. Lastly, don’t forget to enjoy it. It’s easy to get caught in the weeds writing papers or studying for exams, but graduate school is one of the best times of your life. Enjoy the ride.


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