Hi everyone! My name is Mark Coates and I am a fourth-year Health Science major on the Pre-Physical Therapy track. I am from the small town of Groveland, Florida, not far outside the Orlando area. I am currently applying to Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) programs around the state of Florida, but I hope to get accepted here at UF! I have so enjoyed my time here in Gainesville, especially since joining the BHS program!
My ultimate career goal is to earn my doctorate degree and pursue a career in the physical therapy field. Specifically, I would like to work with a professional sports team as their lead trainer and therapist. This would be such a rewarding position for me, fulfilling my desire to continue being involved in sports. I played baseball for around 10 years and if I am not continuing to play, I would love to stay involved in another way. This would also be a great way for me to get to travel the country and see new places, which I am super passionate about. In fact, one of the items on my bucket list is to eventually watch a Major League Baseball game in every single stadium around the country (plus Toronto!).
After practicing in the field, I would eventually like to return and teach as a college professor in a physical therapy program, such as here at UF. I have had so many amazing interactions with faculty in PHHP, which has been so beneficial to my experience here as a college student. I have always had an interest in teaching, but I never really knew how I would be able to fulfill this goal. I feel that being a professor would be a great way for me to share all of the knowledge I will have gained through my schooling and experience in the field!
During my time here at the University of Florida, student organizations have been a crucial part of my development. In my freshman year of college, I got involved in two different clubs, each of which have been such a great experience. Through a personal friend I was informed about UF Golden Key, and international honor society here! I was inducted into this honor society, and immediately assumed the position of Webmaster; my responsibilities included updating and managing multiple chapter websites and assisting with social media management. After serving as Webmaster for three semesters, I was elected as the Vice President of the chapter, in which I served for two semesters. I met so many amazing people through this organization, as well as participated in rewarding service projects in the Gainesville area. It was so encouraging to be surrounded by students focused on their academics and involvement in the community.
My experiences during freshman year also introduced me to the Christian Campus House, a campus ministry here at UF. This organizations is led by Bob Gailey, who has been a tremendous mentor for me throughout my time on campus. I began my interactions with CCH by attending one of their Wednesday night service trips to Dignity Village, a homeless tent camp in Gainesville. We continued to do this project every week on Wednesdays and Thursdays, taking food and water to the homeless population and fellowshipping with them. I would later begin to oversee these outreach events, as well as our Friday night outreach, in which we would hand out free hot dogs and water to people in Midtown on nights before home football games. This year, I am serving as the President of Campus Christian House, which is such an honor and rewarding experience. We are leading men’s and women’s small groups, virtual bible study, and working to coordinate some service opportunities. Sadly, Dignity Village has since been shut down due to lack of funding. This, along with the COVID-19 pandemic, has made it very difficult for us to get out and see our homeless friends.
I am sure we can all agree that the COVID-19 pandemic has been a very difficult time for us all. So much has changed over the past few months, and I have experienced some serious changes in my personal life as well. On February 4th of this year, I lost my father to some serious heart complications. Despite his conditions, this loss was very sudden and a shock to us all. This has been a very difficult time for myself and for my family. My father was one of the hardest working and loving people you could possibly find, and his passing has been very hard on me. Luckily, I am surrounded by some amazing people each and every day. I have some amazing family members and friends constantly supporting me and keeping me on track. Without their unconditional love, I would not be in the position I am in today. I know that he will forever be watching over me, and my life’s goal is to continue to make him proud.
PHHP, and more specifically the BHS program, has provided me with so many amazing opportunities and allowed me to make a multitude of connections and memories in my short time here. I am so thankful and honored to be a part of this program. If any of you have any questions for me personally, or regarding PT school or the BHS program, please feel free to contact me at email@example.com