July 19, 2021

A 2019 Shawnee State University alumna, Destiny Chester found her career path at a young age – as an outpatient at Nationwide Children’s Hospital rehabbing an injury she received her senior year of high school. Interacting with a Physical Therapist, she learned of the career and the opportunities it could provide.

portrait of Destiny Chester

“I grew to love physical therapy through my experience as a patient,” she said. “I wanted to help someone else rehabilitate to their full capability.”

Originally intending to apply to the Physical Therapy Assistant program at SSU, Chester was offered scholarship to be part of the Women’s Soccer and the Women’s Track & Field teams. As a two-sport student-athlete, she decided to enter the Exercise Science program knowing it could still equip her with the tools she needed to pursue her career in Physical Therapy while remaining flexible enough to balance her responsibilities in school.

“The Exercise Therapy program helped me know and appreciate the basics and foundation of anatomy and the human body,” she said. “My degree helped me get to where I am today and where I want to go next.”

After graduating from SSU, Chester started as a Physical Therapy Aide at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio where she’s enjoying gaining a hands-on experience as she takes the next steps to continue pursuing her career.

“I help with anything the physical therapists need,” she said. “Our unit takes care of all types of patients – burn patients, ICU patients, car accident patients, gun-shot wounds – you name it. Showing up to the job, at first I wasn’t sure what to expect. But seeing those kids really put it all into perspective of why I want to do this job and why I find it inspiring.”

Being back in the place that she was in when she first discovered Physical Therapy, Chester feels she was meant to be back there. Looking forward, she plans to continue developing and gaining experience within the unit before applying to Physical Therapy school in the next year.

“I loved Shawnee,” she said. “Everything – the small class sizes, the feeling that your professors really care about you, and the ease of communication I had, event being a student-athlete – it made me feel at home.”

This spotlight is part of an ongoing series by the SSU Alumni Association in celebration of the university’s 35 Years milestone. To learn more about alumni making a difference in their careers, visit for more features.