Larry Wells, Jr. – Class of 2010
College: Avila University
Area of Study: BS in Kinesiology, May 2015
Current Occupation: Physical Therapy Aide (Children’s Mercy Sports Medicine Center – Village West); PRN Supervisor/Family & Youth Specialist II (University of Kansas Health Systems)
Who or what at UA had the greatest impact on where you are today? Why?
Considering the greatest impacts I encountered at UA, I would highly consider my success to both individuals, Coach Damon Paul and Mr. Burdette. During his tenure, Coach Paul not only inspired the entire football team, but instilled the term “Gryphon Pride” into every individual that walked through University Academy. Through his coaching, he was able to demonstrate his teachings while demanding high levels of excellence from his players and our peers. In doing so, he assisted in changing the culture that you now see at UA. Coach Paul assisted me during some of the hardest times of my life and left an imprint on my life that will never be forgotten.
In my opinion, Mr. Burdette is one of the greatest teachers University Academy has had the pleasure of having in their building. I am not sure if he actually remembers this specific moment; however, setting aside time to spend with his family, he graciously put in after-hours to tutor his students allowing us to master our mathematical skills. After a few tutoring sessions, we were able to build a positive rapport with each other and he learned quickly of my love for the game of football. In doing so, he introduced me to Coach Paul and the rest of the coaching staff, which resulted in me not only taking more of his courses, but excelling in his classes, and having a great high school football career. My performance as a student-athlete assisted in gathering multiple collegiate football offers, allowing me to receive my Bachelors degree at Avila University. Even in college, Mr. Burdette was one of my main points of contact regarding assistance with mathematical courses, such as Physics I and II.
How have you utilized the education you received (or the skills you learned) at UA?
The education and skills I received and learned at UA are unmatched. The level of understanding from the education I received at UA helped shape my belief and inspiration into maximizing my potential and further follow my dreams of becoming a future Doctor of Physical Therapy. While at University Academy, a major highlight I can recount was specifically being chosen as one of several participants for 20/20 Leadership to represent our school, while learning networking skills, attending career workshops, building stronger communities, and the ability to showcase our lifelong leadership skills. Experiences such as 20/20 Leadership are not only once in a lifetime memories, but they help students prepare themselves beyond the classroom and well after graduation.
How is your experience at UA impacting you now?
My experiences at UA stand as a true blessing to my life. From the advanced coursework to the University Academy Foundation, I feel immensely indebted to fully use the gifts and tools I learned while at UA. In the Summer of 2013, considering University Academy Foundation’s partnership, I was given the opportunity to earn a competitive position as one of four Health Sciences Interns at Children’s Mercy Hospital. During this system-based observational rotation throughout the hospital system, I was able to network with various health professionals. In doing so, I was able to build a strong rapport with many Physical and Occupational Therapists at Children’s Mercy, landing my first full-time healthcare position as a Physical Therapy Aide the following year. With consistent action and hard work, I was able to later return and transfer over to Children’s Mercy Sports Medicine Center working alongside our team of orthopedic surgeons, physical therapists, and other medical professionals in the 13,000-square-foot gymnasium consisting of state-of-the-art equipment to meet the needs of our athletes that need sports rehabilitation. Due to the gym also being used by Sporting Kansas City and U.S. Soccer, I am also able to network, engage, and learn manual therapeutic techniques from Sporting Kansas City’s medical team as well. I deeply feel that this entire process would have been much more difficult if I did not have the help I received from the University Academy Foundation.
What if you chose to attend a school other than UA? Do you think you would be in the same place?
If I chose to attend any school other than UA, I feel that I would not be in the same position that I am in right now. I believe the reputation that UA holds amongst the community is a sense of pride and admiration towards the school’s strength of coursework, the importance of instilling successful habits into their students, and the lifelong impression that the UA Foundation program devotes towards assisting their alumni in achieving their goals.
How has the UA Foundation impacted you and/or where you are today?
The UA Foundation has impacted my life in several ways. The UA Foundation holds the reputation to stand out as a helping hand and assist their alumni in any way possible. Several of the amazing events that the UA Foundation offers include Monday Mixers, Resume Building Workshops, Alumni Career Workshops, Internship Opportunities, Monthly Newsletter Alumni Spotlights, hosting Mock Interviews, serving as a representative for the UA Gala, and etc. I was able to attend all of these listed events and appreciate the sense of care and personalism that our Alumni program has displayed over the years.
What are your goals for the future and who/what has shaped them?
My goal for the future is becoming a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), working with professional athletes to regain independent function and return back to their respective sport, and eventually owning my own Private Practice Physical Therapy/Sports Performance Training facility targeted towards athletes of all ages.
What are you doing to stay connected to UA and your fellow alums?
To stay connected to UA and my fellow alums, I have been staying in contact via social media, email, and/or text. When available, I make sure to stay in contact and see two of my closest friends/alums, Mikael Pruitt and LaRon Robinson.
Anything else you’d like to share?
My girlfriend, Brittani, and I will be expanding our family of 3 (including her daughter, Mariah, who is a current 4th grade student at UA) and are expecting our first child together in March 2021. In the meantime, I am currently applying to Physical Therapy schools.
I am currently in a Digital 10-week program in which I learn the fundamentals and master the skills of Facebook Advertising, Google Advertising, Website Design, Email Marketing, Video Editing, and much more! By the end of this course, I will have fully acquired the skills and abilities to help a business get more attention on their business, market their business, and help them acquire more customers.
Thank you for reading this far and please follow me on Instagram @ljwells_prept