Greater Ozarks Centers for Advanced Professional Studies

Educating the Workforce of Tomorrow: Springfield Clinic Hosts Students

The ARC Physical Therapy+ Springfield clinic recently hosted junior and senior students from the Greater Ozarks Centers for Advanced Professional Studies (GO CAPS) programs. The students that make up these nationally recognized programs are fully immersed in a professional culture with mentorship by real employers, all while receiving both high school and college credit. The programs are structured to expose the students to real world problems through personalized learning experiences.

melissa-shelton-springfield-physical-therapist-214x300Our Springfield clinic Lead Physical Therapist, Melissa Shelton, coordinated with the program and led the shadow days. Melissa hosted multiple shadow days, so the students could get closer to the action and have a more intimate experience than if it was one large group shadowing.

“I grew up in the Springfield area and love being involved in the Springfield community. I first got interested in physical therapy when I was 13. I had an injury and the physical therapist who I saw was amazing and had me back to sport activities within 4 weeks of surgery,” Melissa said.

“It made me think about doing physical therapy when I ‘grew up.’ Now that I’m a physical therapist myself I want to inspire those same kinds of experiences in our youth and show them what a positive difference physical therapists can make in both individual lives and in the community.”

Through Melissa’s mentorship, the students got to see what a physical therapist does in their day-to-day job: from an initial evaluation with a patient, to creating a plan to help them recover, and teaching them ways to build strength and flexibility.

GO CAPS Coordinator of the Springfield Area Chamber, Karen Kunkel, explained that the experiences that students gain through this program are critical.

Karen Kunkel“GO CAPS relies on our community business partners to provide experiences for students as they explore potential careers. We so appreciate Melissa’s willingness to share her knowledge and experiences with our students. This first-hand exposure allows students a true glimpse into specific careers and gives them the chance to visit with professionals to learn about their education paths and what their daily responsibilities look like. This is critical as students seek to find a career in the medical field they are passionate about.”

Interested in learning more about GO CAPS? Visit their website:

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