Trung Bui is a 2021 graduate of the B.S. in Exercise Science program and is a first-year Doctor of Physical Therapy student at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. In this Q&A, he discusses his internship with the Jewish Community Center and how Pitt prepared him for physical therapy school. His quotes have been edited for clarity and length.
What led you to the Pitt exercise science program?
Bui: After changing majors, I decided that I wanted to pursue physical therapy as a career. After much research, I found that most physical therapy students majored in kinesiology or exercise science. I talked to Dr. Elizabeth Nagle about my career aspirations and knew that Pitt Exercise Science was where I needed to be.
Did you have a favorite experience as a student in Pitt’s Exercise Science program?
Bui: In human physiology, we were assigned a group project where we had to teach our class about aerobic and anaerobic metabolism. My group and I made an “educational” music video where we dressed up in 80s workout outfits, doing different exercises corresponding with the two types of metabolism to “Let’s Get Physical” by Olivia Newton. The music video turned out hilarious and we were all so proud of it.
Who was your favorite professor when you were a student in Pitt’s Ex Sci program and why?
Bui: My favorite professor was Dr. Barone-Gibbs. She taught one of our very first classes, Research in Sports Science. She was extremely knowledgeable and made the class incredibly exciting. She was also very dedicated to her students. When I decided to do an internship for a research project conducted by her doctoral advisee, Dr. Gibbs made sure to always check in and offer assistance. It was evident she truly cared about her students.
Tell us about your experience as the fitness intern with the Jewish Community Center?
Bui: The Jewish Community Center (JCC) is a multifaceted community center that offers preK-12 programs, physical therapy, personal training, fitness facility, and community wellness classes. As an intern, I was able to teach kids of all ages about health and wellness and develop workout plans for the employees. My favorite memory had to be teaching gym classes with the kids. They were so well-behaved and it was amazing how much they wanted to learn!
How did Pitt’s program prepare you for physical therapy (PT) school and your future career goals?
Bui: Pitt helped me develop both personally and professionally. I have become more confident in myself, which I have noticed significantly in PT school. Pitt Exercise Science also taught me to voice my opinion and advocate for public health and wellness by addressing societal inequality among working classes, race, genders, etc. This program gave me the passion and drive to expand my services to those who couldn’t afford or assess it. Undeniably, Pitt Ex Sci also gave me a camaraderie that I could confide whenever. PT school is challenging, and I feel so lucky that I could still connect to old friends regardless of where they are.
Trung with his Physical Therapy cohort at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas.
What’s one fun fact about yourself?
Bui: I eat ketchup on pizza.