Student Spotlight: Mackenzie Gusman
Hello, hello! Mackenzie Gusman here. I am a third-year student on the General Health Science track specializing in pre-Physical Therapy. When I first came to the University of Florida as a freshman, I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to pursue for the rest of my life. Thinking about my future occupation was a scary thought, especially because my mind was all over the place. Initially, I wanted to become a child psychologist and then I thought I could succeed as a schoolteacher and then I wholeheartedly believed that social work would be the most fitting occupation for me. I eventually did some research and explored the world of physical therapy. I knew I wanted a job that gave me the opportunity to communicate with people every single day and one in which I could make a difference in the lives of individuals who are in need of physical healing. My decision to become a PT was set in stone in March of 2015, when I decided to dance for 26.2 hours in the Dance Marathon event. Upon hearing all of those miracle children’s stories and seeing the tears, smiles, and broken hearts of the kids’ family members, I knew right then and there that I wanted to work towards becoming an integral part of the healing process for kids.
As a 2016 Family Relations captain, I serve as a liaison between Dance Marathon and the two families that I have been assigned to. The miracle child, pictured on the left, has become a small blessing in my life that I never knew I needed. She has taught me a whole lot about patience, tenderness, as well as the importance of wearing a smile at all times. I demonstrate these values in every other role I serve on campus. Every Tuesday and Thursday of the semester, I volunteer right outside of the Ben Hill Griffin stadium as a sports committee member with a program called Inclusive Fitness and Unified Sports. I exercise with college-aged students who have physical/intellectual disabilities with the goal of improving their psychosocial well being as well as their overall quality of life. It’s so much fun! Outside of volunteer work, I spend most of my time serving my university as a Florida Cicerone. On campus, you will find me in a white polo shouting out random facts about our university as I give tours to high school students and their family members. Lastly, I am a mentor and the Executive Junior Director for the L.E.A.P program. If you are reading this and you are a mentee in the program, please do not hesitate to stop me in the halls if you need absolutely anything. My responsibility as a mentor is to offer support and guidance to younger pre-health students about campus resources, professionalism, leadership, and to advise them about the application, which represents the key to the Bachelor of Health Science program. In case you couldn’t tell already, I absolutely love people more than anything in this entire world. I cannot wait to continue my undergraduate career at the most prestigious university in the state of Florida (Woo! Go Gators!), and then move on to helping others for the rest of my life.