Anderson overcomes challenges on road to physical therapy program

Life is not always a straight path from point A to point B. For senior exercise science major Alyse Anderson, that path was anything other than direct.

Anderson transferred to Hastings College from Central Community College (CCC) as an agricultural science major. However, she knew her real calling was working with people in healthcare, in part because she faced several major challenges on her way to becoming a standout student.

After overcoming challenges, Alyse Anderson found success at Hastings College. She’ll graduate from Hastings this spring with a degree in exercise science and was accepted into a physical therapy program.

After graduating from CCC in 2019, her father was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Anderson spent two years helping keep the family farm running, working a part-time job and keeping her dad company during chemotherapy. It was at these appointments where she observed how impactful healthcare providers can be in people’s lives.

She decided to combine her love for sports with her desire to impact lives and chose exercise science and physical therapy as her future careers and enrolled at Hastings College in 2021.

She did not waste any time when she chose Hastings College. Anderson received the Bobby Gottsch Difference Maker Scholarship and a Phi Theta Kappa Scholarship, as well as making the Dean’s List four times. She’s also been a volunteer Special Olympics coach in powerlifting since the spring of 2023.

In addition, Anderson works at Children’s Rehab Center and Balance and Mobility in Hastings as a rehabilitation tech. Through her volunteering, work opportunities and her stellar performance as a student, Anderson was accepted at College of Saint Mary in Omaha to begin her doctoral studies in physical therapy this summer.

When Anderson is not being a standout student, helping others or helping on the family farm in Minden, Nebraska, she is an avid pickleball player and runner. Her most memorable moments at Hastings College have been creating new friendships and spending time learning in the classroom with her classmates.

She came to Hastings College “because of the opportunities available and the smaller class sizes. The professors at Hastings College care about you as a student in their classrooms and as an individual outside of the classroom,” she said.

Anderson is a testament to what is possible when you dedicate yourself and work tirelessly towards a goal.

When asked about coming to Hastings College, Anderson said, “I am very happy with the decision I made for myself; I have never looked back and I have acquired a great deal of confidence in myself.”

Her professors said they delight in having her in the classroom and agree that Anderson will do great things in her career.

“It has been inspiring to witness Alyse’s remarkable journey of personal growth,” said Casey Molifua, a senior lecturer of Physical Education & Human Performance at Hastings College. “She has demonstrated resilience in the face of adversity, and I am confident that this resilient mindset will serve as a catalyst for her ongoing growth in all facets of life.”

By Dr. Matthew Beeler, assistant professor of exercise science

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