Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month - Student Highlight
Emma SiuMay 2, 2022
Get to Know: Emma Siu
Q&A by Tori Serna
What made you want to pursue a career in Physical Therapy?
I worked at Camp Barnabas in Missouri which was a camp for kids and older adults with special needs. This camp showed me the joy in the community and what it means to survive to thrive. My dad is also disabled and has always wanted to be a part of sports, especially when he was growing up. A long-term goal of mine is to create a recreational summer camp for special needs that meets both their therapeutic and socioemotional needs that they don’t get in society. If you haven’t watched it yet, I highly recommend watching Crip Camp on Netflix.
How has CU Anschutz Physical Therapy program allowed you to pursue your goals?
CU Anschutz has encouraged exposure to different communities, particularly with the mandatory clinical education participation in a rural setting. Our cohort also has discussions that stimulate different forms of thoughts about how race and socioeconomic status has predispositions to care which have implications in our practice as future healthcare providers. CU Anschutz also has designated spaces like the LGBTQ+ hub and CU Anschutz One Book One Campus, which is centered around reading books that promote similar discussion.
What is your “why”?
My why is around relationships and empowerment. I’m convinced everyone seeks to be seen, heard, and above all else, known. There is so much value in the connection of relationships, especially in those that have been robbed of them due to marginalization, racism, lack of accessibility and opportunity. I wanted to go into Physical Therapy to emphasize that how we think about ourselves in society is going to have implications on how we care for ourselves and our patients.
May is a month to honor the Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage, which has both enriched and contributed to the success of this country. What does this mean for you? In what ways do you feel you have been able to or plan to enrich the Physical Therapy program?
The first thought that comes to mind are the recent AAPI hate crimes, which exposes the historical pain of feeling unseen and alienated whether at the local or national level. It makes me think about how education has been our greatest tool in assimilating: learning English, succeeding in school, STEM schools at that, and restoring prosperity in our families. We need to acknowledge where we are at and it’s unfortunate it takes hate crimes to spark that discussion. Good exposure on the other hand is long overdue. Our class is already good at pushing into hard conversations for the sake of wanting to educate our peers on awareness of these topics to better support our future patients, however, my hope is that the Physical Therapy program continues to push for diversity and provide rich and diverse conversations in class dialogue.
What words of encouragement do you have to share with future students of color pursuing careers in healthcare?
I’d encourage students of color to pursue connection and know that you are not alone. Find institutions that have opportunities for you to feel seen and heard, whether that’s through a mentor program or being a mentor. Also knowing that CU Anschutz provides places like the LGBTQ+ hub and One Book One Campus with events to create that space and dialogue. I also encourage getting connected with other groups of marginalized individuals to learn from and grow together.
You can learn more about AAPI Heritage Month using this link. You can also check out the CU Anschutz Heritage, History and Awareness page.