Abby Cole ’26 had her sights set on pursuing a Pre-Physical Therapy track—until she discovered she could expand her skillset within Mount St. Joseph University’s cITe program, too.

abby cole

For many high school students, senior year comes with letters of recommendations from influential teachers, college essays, and soaking up the most of their student experience before parting ways to enter a new phase of their lives.

While the path is subject to change, decisions made senior year of high school can influence the rest of students’ lives to become the leaders of tomorrow.

For Abby, she applied to many different schools to keep her options open to pursue a Physical Therapy degree—and to play a college sport.

“I knew I wanted to be a physical therapist after college, so finding a school that would fit this path was my intention. I also wanted to continue playing soccer at the collegiate level. I had started going on tours of schools that I got accepted to, with MSJ being one of them.”

Halfway through her senior year of high school, Abby was offered a spot on the MSJ soccer roster, so she decided to take a tour of the University. It didn’t take long for her to realize that the Mount had all of the components she needed to be a great fit for her financial, athletic, and academic success.

“On my tour, I saw how good of a Physical Therapy program they had—it was close to home, [I was] able to play soccer, and I got a lot of scholarships here. That's when I decided to come to MSJ. It had meant a lot for me to be able to find all of these aspects in a college, and that's what I had found here.”

The Power of an Open Mind: Unlocking Opportunity

Abby originally intended to pursue the Mount’s Pre-Physical Therapy track to later apply for the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program after graduation, but she kept an open mind to explore her options to broaden her skillset.

Early on, Abby had her eye on an opportunity in the Mount’s cITe program—where she could double-major in Social Computing along with another major of her choice. Creative Project & Research Coordinator, Brook Batch from Technology Design Development and User Experience reached out to Abby over the summer before her freshman year.

Immediately, Abby was inspired to do the MSJ cITe program along with her Health & Exercise Science degree to give her a competitive edge.

“She told me all about the program during my Zoom call with the team,” says Abby. “I saw a lot of opportunity and growth in the program, and it was too hard to pass up. While doing this, I am on a path for the pre-physical therapy track as I want to continue to go to graduate school at MSJ for physical therapy.”

Abby was even awarded the Choose Ohio First (COF) cITe Scholarship, awarded to incoming students that are double majoring in Social Computing and another major of their choice.

“I think the Mount’s cITe program has given me a competitive edge in addition to my health and exercise science degree, because I feel like this shows that I can handle more on my plate,” she says. “Also, this gives me an upper hand on the technology side of Health & Exercise Science, to make myself look more professional.”

Passion + Purpose = Personal Growth

Abby’s steadfast involvement did not stop at athletics. She is an orientation leader, campus ambassador, ISS Student worker, and a player on the women's soccer and lacrosse team. All of these, she says, have developed her leadership skills and problem-solving skills that she can apply in everyday life after graduation. She can even apply them to meet her vision within a physical therapist role one day.

“The curriculum has opened my eyes to how many ways I could take this Health & Exercise degree, and also grew my interest in continuing to do physical therapy, says Abby. “It gave me an outline of how much work is ahead of me, but prepared me for it at the same time.”

During her transition from high school to college, Abby has noticed a significant difference in the way the Mount’s expert faculty helps students succeed. Demonstrating care and flexibility, the MSJ faculty are on a mission to help students thrive in their programs.

“Some of my professors give the students their phone numbers and are available to communicate assignments and flexibility at any time,” she says. “This has been a big thing for me with being a student-athlete. Flexibility is something I needed and being able to reach out at any time was something that has helped me a lot.”

During Abby’s second semester, the MSJ Women's Lacrosse Coach had reached out to Abby about joining the lacrosse team. She was unsure about it because she had never played before, and did not know any of the rules. But, she decided to join the team and certainly did not regret it.

“The girls welcomed me to the team and encouraged me the whole season. I ended up scoring multiple goals and growing to like the sport more than I ever thought I would,” she enthusiastically affirms.

Keep Your Dreams Alive

Abby plans to apply for the Mount’s DPT program, and from here, desires to work in a setting where she can rehabilitate injured athletes.

While there are always challenges, she has learned to lean on her loved ones for guidance along the way.

“My biggest motivator during challenging times would be my boyfriend (Dan) and my parents. They have supported me through all the ups and downs in my career so far, and have always given me the best advice. I would not be where I am today without all of them.”

Abby shares words of encouragement for new students who are new on their physical therapy journey at the Mount. “Stay on top of assignments, and to always get involved to develop necessary life-skills,” she asserts.

By getting involved during their Climb Higher journey, students can develop a better tomorrow.

Interesting in Double-Majoring in Social Computing and a Major of Your Choosing?

Our cITe Scholars Program may be a strong fit for you.

Students in cITe double major in their content area of interest combined with a major in Social Computing. This interdisciplinary curriculum works to connect students’ interests to technology innovation. Students are also eligible to to apply to the cITe Scholarship up to $8,000 per year: the Choose Ohio First cITe Scholarship.

To learn about Abby’s program, visit our cITe Scholars page for program highlights.