Exercise Science student draws on personal experience to help others

Student intern at YMCA

A paid internship, as a high school senior, in one’s choice area of study might be a wish for many students, but for Bri Schwab, at Butler Tech’s Bioscience Center, in West Chester, it has become a reality.

Bri was recently selected and hired to work as a home-school instructor at the East Butler County Family YMCA, in Hamilton.

“I think it was my grades that were looked at, as well as, seeing that I am a very mature and responsible person,” she said. “I absolutely love my job, between the adults who I work with and the kids it’s preparing me, because I someday want to become a pediatric physical therapist.”

Bri says she is amazed how things have fallen into place, between school, the internship, and something that is very personal to her… a condition she struggles with called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.

“As a physical therapist, I hope to someday start a new program for people who struggle with Ehlers-Danlos, just like I do,” she said.

Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS) is a group of inherited disorders that affect one’s connective tissues, primarily the skin, joints, and blood vessel walls. People who have Ehlers-Danlos syndrome usually have overly flexible joints and stretchy, fragile skin.

“When I was 11-years-old, I noticed stuff hurt,” she said. “My fingers would hurt so badly when I was writing.”

Looking at Bri, you would never know she struggles with EDS. She is fit, athletic, and full of energy.

“I’ve had two surgeries already to tighten my shoulders so they don’t dislocate,” she said.

Studying exercise science is preparing Bri for the next steps in her career goals.

“Butler Tech is the best career choice I’ve made in my school career,” she said. “As a physical therapist I want to start a new program for people with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, like me.”

Bri says after graduation, she will atttend Wright State University as a Sports Science major.

Already ahead of the game, Bri is practicing her area of expertise with the students at the YMCA.

“As a homeschool instructor, my responsibilities include ensuring safety of the kids while in my care, teaching them proper sport techniques and games, and making sure they get the hour of activity they need per day that they do not get during school, because they’re home-schooled,” she said.

Bri understands the students she instructs, because she herself was once a home-school student from first through fourth grade. Before coming to Butler Tech, she attended Colerain High School. There, she played volleyball and soccer.

“I enjoy sports a lot,” she said. “When I’m not doing sports I enjoy spending time with my friends and family.”

Bri instructs two groups of kids. She rotates between a group of ages 5-8 and a group ages 9-13.

“I usually play soccer with the kids which is their favorite, but we also play kickball and tag… whatever wears them out!” she laughed. “I am so grateful for this opportunity that is already helping me achieve what I hope to do… and that is to give back to others.”