Kaitlynn Baptista

Kaitlynn Baptista is all set to pursue her doctorate in Physical Therapy at the University of Pacific in the fall, a path she discovered after emerging from Dominican’s partnership with the Kaiser Permanente’s Scholars and Mentors Program with a greater understanding of what she wanted to do and what course she wanted to take to do it.

A Biology major with a Chemistry minor, Kaitlynn shadowed a physical therapist at an outpatient facility at Kaiser in San Rafael and found her calling. She wanted to have an impact on people – as she felt she did coaching Special Olympians while at Galt High School – and developed a passion for PT.

 “The whole feeling of being able to help somebody and seeing a smile that stretches from ear to ear means the world to me,” Baptista says. “(Physical therapy) combines sports and a way to lend a helping hand. And it incorporates a profession for the future, which was what I was trying to find. And through physical therapy, I found it.”

A desire to combine athletics and academics first drew Kaitlynn to Dominican. At Dominican she realized she could compete in soccer at the NCAA Division II level and undertake a workload that included doing research in a laboratory as freshman.

“I needed a school that met both of my expectations,” she says.

As a sophomore, she scored her first two goals for the Penguins’ women’s soccer team. The next year, she was named Dominican Athletics Junior Female Student-Athlete of the Year and inducted into the National College Athlete Honor Society, Chi Alpha Sigma. As a senior in May, Kaitlynn was named Dominican’s Senior Female Scholar Athlete of the Year.

Along the way Kaitlynn became president of Tri-Beta Honor Society, worked as a Resident Advisor, volunteered for numerous community projects, tutored fellow Dominican students and developed excellent working relationships with teacher/mentors such as Dr. Graciela Carranza, Dr. Maggie Louie, Dr. Kenneth Frost and Dr. Henry Shreibman plus women’s soccer coach Tara Koleski.

What will Kaitlynn most remember about Dominican?

 “Definitely the people. I’ll remember all my professors, friends, coaches and the relationships that I built with them,” she says. “I think it’s really neat that you can go somewhere and do what you need to do education-wise, but, at the same time, establish relationships that go beyond the classroom. These professors have helped me. These coaches have impacted me.  These are amazing people that I’m going to forever know.  You’re taking more away from here than just an education.”