Greely High School senior Audrey Cohen, pictured here last year, has explored her interest in physical therapy through an internship this fall. Ben McCanna / Portland Press Herald

Greely High School senior Audrey Cohen has been a swimmer for most of her life. She loves the sport, and it loves her – she’s never been injured during competition. But some teammates have suffered torn rotator cuffs or neck injuries, and she’s seen other student athletes get injured, too.

She has paid close attention as the school’s physical therapist attends to the injuries and then later has watched as the students follow recovery plans.

“Your life revolves around the sport, and when you get injured, you feel hopeless,” Cohen said.

She developed a passion for physical therapy, and throughout the fall semester, she has been interning with physical therapists in the area. She interacts with injured patients on a day-to day-basis.

“It’s been so great. I absolutely love it,” she said. “Helping people regain the skills of going up the stairs or being able to reach into cabinets, it’s so life-changing.”

Cohen’s internship is part of Greely High School’s SILO program, which allows students to independently study subjects of their choosing and prepare a presentation for the end of the year.


“It is a unique situation where a student has a very clear idea of the experiences they’d like to have before committing to a career,” SILO Coordinator Andrew Fersch told The Forecaster. “Audrey is an exemplary example of someone who not only has a vision for what those experiences are, but is concurrently open-minded to learning about the entire field she’s interested in.”

After graduation, Cohen will be swimming and taking pre-med classes at Penn State, where she hopes to further explore her passion for physical therapy, among other possibilities.

Whatever career she chooses, Cohen said her experience interning this year will help guide her time in college.

It’s already guided her in her job teaching children how to swim, she said. The skills she’s learned from the physical therapists have helped her better understand how to teach the kids that might be nervous or need a little bit more help, she said, and she’s learned how to help them work through any fears.

“The connections I’ve been able to make and the people I’ve been able to learn from is better than what I could’ve learned online,” she said. “Shadowing and having people share their passion with you is insane. I’m really grateful that I’ve been able to do it.”

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