Student Spotlight: Joana Qole (’22) Helps the Community Interning at Bay State Physical Therapy

Senior Joana Qole started an internship as a Rehab Aide at Bay State Physical Therapy. Joana is majoring in Rehabilitation Sciences with a minor in Psychology. She previously interned at Spaulding and worked retail.

Can you tell us a little bit about why you chose to work there? What makes this company a great place to work?

I chose to work at Bay State because I’m always interested in physical therapy. It gives me the opportunity to learn about the environment, and know what the hands-on experience is like. Bay State offers a broader perspective of the field due to its small size and sees patients of all age ranges.

How did you find this position, and can you tell us a little bit about what you do there? And is there any advice you’d give to other students looking to break into this company?

I found the company on Indeed. I’m responsible for maintaining a clean environment, checking patients in and out, helping with exercises, observing their progress, and getting them ice and heat. It’s good to start when you’re an undergrad to get experience in your field, and working in an outpatient clinic gives opportunities to learn more about the profession. 

Can you talk us through the process of finding and applying for your internship? 

I wanted to find a job as a rehab aide during undergrad to gain experience. When I found Bay State, I was offered an internship at the same time as employment. I actually had already been working there as an Aide, and was offered a paid internship for the experience of an internship.

How did you prepare for the interview? What was it like, and do you have any tips on interview techniques or questions?

I had my resume, and had set goals for my internship and in personal life, which is something I learned from an internship class. I had an in person interview. I was more excited than nervous, I made sure I had a good night’s sleep, a good breakfast and a good mindset. 

In general, how did Merrimack contribute to your career development? What resources did you use? Did you use resources like Quinncia or maybe an in-person Mock Interview?

I had to have an internship class for Health Sciences, and it’s mainly for juniors and seniors. I also needed an internship for graduation requirements, and I wanted to gain experience in my field before graduation. The internship class also gave me the chance to do mock interviews.

What surprised you about your internship experience? Were there any situations that came up that you were unprepared for?

I’ve seen emotional situations with very young people coming for physical therapy, and I realized babies need physical therapy for muscle development. I see so many different personalities that need to be treated, not everyone is the same and I need to adjust to every patient. 

What skills have you developed working for this company and what do you wish you had known prior to starting the internship there?

If I could do anything over, I would have started my internship search freshman year. I could have gained more experience in different settings before graduation. I’ve grown to be more confident with Bay State, and it’s helped me enjoy the field and learned a lot about what goes on behind the scenes. 

Any campus shout-outs to folks who have helped you along the way in getting you to this point? Did you meet with any of the O’Brien Center Career Advisors?

My advisor, April Bowling, and one of my professors, Sujatha Thiruvengadathan 

Five Things You Don’t Know About Joana!

  • Favorite Merrimack memory so far? Macktoberfest 2021
  • Best dining location on campus? And your favorite Merrimack food? The Food Truck
  • What is one thing we would never guess about you? I can speak 4 languages, Albanian, English, Portuguese and Spanish
  • Best career advice you ever heard? Never back down. 
  • What stands out as Merrimack’s greatest feature? The environment and the faculty.
By Casey Stevenson
Casey Stevenson Communication & Copywriting Intern