For Hannah Couture ’20, it’s all about putting the pieces together. “I really enjoy learning new things in different areas and I like to see how everything works together at the end of the day,” says Couture, a Team and Project Management major concentrating in Biology. “That's one of the reasons why I value Bryant’s interdisciplinary degree in both business and the liberal arts and sciences – because I can see how both those parts come together.”
Her diverse education was an important asset in earning a spot in Belmont University’s doctor of physical therapy program. “I think that my management education is one of the things that differentiated me as a candidate,” says Couture. “In addition to what I learned in my Biology courses, I also developed people and organizational skills. Those are skills that people who focus entirely on one area of science don’t always have.”
A different type of school
When Couture was deciding on a college, she initially thought she would solely pursue studies in biology, reasoning that was the best way to prepare for a career in physical therapy. “I wanted a career where I was going to get to help people and work with individuals one-on-one. I didn't really ever consider going to a school primarily known for business,” she says.
That changed when she visited Bryant University. “When I toured Bryant and saw the opportunities that they offered, I knew that it was a school that was really going to push me in terms of how I was learning and the skills that I was going to be gaining,” says Couture. “I didn't see those same kinds of opportunities at any other school.”
“One of the things that I'm most proud of about my time at Bryant was being able to dip my foot in multiple pools."
In her first year, Couture attended Bryant’s MyPATH (Make Your Passion and Talent Happen) Showcase, which helps students explore all the different academic and career paths they can pursue. In a session on Management led by Professor Lori Coakley she found an intriguing new direction for her education. “I felt that it fit really well with my strengths, my skill set, and what I wanted to do,” she says.
Couture chose to pair Biology with Team and Project Management, two courses of study that she found complemented each other perfectly. Courses in subjects such as anatomy, physiology and kinesiology gave her a better understanding of how the body’s systems work and function together. Her Management courses taught her how to make plans, develop strategies, and work with people.
“With physical therapy, you need to be able to understand people and their motivations and build the best plan for their therapy with them.” she explains. “My management courses are helping me with all off those things.”
Taking the lead
The classes Couture took were augmented by other opportunities to learn and grow as both a student and a leader. “One of the things that I'm most proud of about my time at Bryant was being able to dip my foot in multiple pools,” she notes.
“Before coming to Bryant, I wouldn’t have necessarily categorized myself as a creative person. But with IDEA, you realize you do have that creativity in you and the process you learn helps you bring that out.”
As a science peer tutor, she helped students with their classes and reinforced her own lessons. As a MyPATH mentor, she aided students in finding their path in the same way she did. “There's a technical side to leadership – making sure things are planned in advance and everything's organized, and that people know what’s going on,” Couture reflects. “But a lot of it is just being there for other people, getting to know them, and helping them in their roles.”
With her Honors thesis, Couture took the lead in her own studies. Working with Professor of Science and Technology Brian Blais, Ph.D., she created a computational model of knee ligaments to assess the joint's stability. “I really wanted to combine physics and anatomy because I’m really interested in how people move from a mechanical standpoint,” she says. “The thesis gave me the chance to spend more than a year on a project of my choosing that was important to me and my future.”
In her senior year, Couture served as a member of the leadership team for Bryant’s IDEA (Innovation and Design Experience for All) program, which teaches Bryant’s first-year students the skills of industry leading innovators and the design thinking problem solving process. Couture was eager to assist with the program because she knows design thinking works – and is an important tool for students of any major. “I like that design thinking can be woven into any course or career. It's a problem solving skill and it gives you opportunities to think in a creative way.”
“Bryant offers you such a unique opportunity to be part of a community of people who are studying so many different things but are all connected."
“Before coming to Bryant, I wouldn’t have necessarily categorized myself as a creative person,” admits Couture. “But with IDEA, you realize you do have that creativity in you and the process you learn helps you bring that out.”
She’s proud that she was able to help plan and deliver such a key program. “IDEA is such a unique and important part of our curriculum,” says Couture. “Being able to have an impact on such a Bryant hallmark was an amazing opportunity.”
The big picture
College, Couture says, is about preparing for the world ahead, wherever it may take you. “It’s about learning as much as you can,” she notes. “You can never be too diverse as a student, an employee, or as a person. The more sets of tools you have, the better off you are.”
As she looks back at her time at Bryant University, at everything from MyPATH to her thesis to IDEA, she sees a common theme. “Bryant offers you such a unique opportunity to be part of a community of people who are studying so many different things but are all connected,” she says. “They all work together.”