News Release

The Luck of the Irish

By Emily Gruber on
Friday, July 22, 2016

Senior Kary Sheppard (in photo, right) has always been interested in the medical field.  For the exercise science and wellness major, the concept of being physically and emotionally well is something worth learning.  This summer, Sheppard was able to learn far outside the classroom, 3,710 miles away to be exact.  She spent eight weeks in Dublin, Ireland, interning with a physical therapy outpatient clinic. Kary Sheppard

Sheppard worked with the owner of the clinic, observing his appointments with patients, and witnessing the different elements of therapy, psychology, and techniques she had already learned.  “I also did the odd jobs around the clinic, because what internship would be complete without taking out the trash and getting large Americano coffees for the people in charge,” she jokes.

Sheppard worked with a company called World Endeavors to find her internship.  Her trek to Ireland started in October 2015 when she applied to the program.  She knew she wanted to study abroad back when school started and after talking with her advisor and the study abroad office, she knew that a summer internship was the best option for her.

Sheppard knew what she learned in the classroom was important, but during her internship she absorbed the most through her hands-on involvement with the patients.  “I learned that I still have a lot to learn, but it’s definitely the path I want to take,” she says.

Her favorite part of the internship was the experiences she had when she was interacting with patients.  She was gaining knowledge not only about therapy but about the Irish culture as well.

When Kary wasn’t working, she was exploring.  She managed to travel to eleven different places within Dublin along with traveling to many cities along the coasts of Ireland.  “While I enjoyed the 24/7 buzz that seemed to accompany Dublin, my favorite places in Ireland were the secluded, moss-covered, surrounded-by-sheep ruins of centuries old castles and forts,” Sheppard mentions.

Although her experience in Ireland was nothing short of incredible, Sheppard is excited for her senior year to start this fall.  “It’s true what they say about the days dragging on, but the weeks flying by.”  She is eager to reunite with her friends and the community she has called home the last three years.  She is motivated and she can’t wait to be taking classes she is passionate about.

Kary recommends for students to look into studying abroad.  She’s very happy with her decision to go to Ireland and believes that her encounters in Dublin will help her in the future.  “I’d say take the plunge and go for it, the memories and knowledge I gained were definitely worth any feelings of doubt or worry I had in the beginning.”

Her favorite part about UMC is the number of opportunities she has had in the classroom and abroad.  “I’ve been lucky enough to pursue many of my interests and goals throughout my time on campus,” Kary says.  Her future plans include attending graduate school for physical therapy and earning a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree.  She thinks this is when she’ll begin to save the world, one ACL repair at a time.

The University of Minnesota Crookston now delivers 34 bachelor's degree programs, 22 minors, and 39 areas of emphasis on campus as well as 14 degree programs entirely online.  These degrees are offered in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology.  With an enrollment of 1,800 undergraduates from more than 20 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree.  "Small Campus. Big Degree."  To learn more, visit


Elizabeth Tollefson

University Relations


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