Natasha Dutka – Valedictorian Fall 2015
Natasha Dutka – Bachelor of Physical and Health Education.
Natasha Dutka began playing soccer when she was three years old and did so competitively until she tore a ligament in her foot during her teens. Her recovery experience, combined with her lifelong love of sport, propelled her into the study of sports medicine at UWinnipeg.
“For the longest time I knew that I always wanted to go to grad school to become a physiotherapist,” said Dutka. “It involved both rehabilitation and dealing with bones, ligaments and joints, all of which interested me from my own injuries and experiences with physical therapy.”
During her second year at UWinnipeg she tragically lost her father to a heart attack. In the face of her loss, she stayed in school, excelled in her studies and now speaks for her graduating class. The experience also gave her an appreciation for the occupational therapists who work with heart and stroke patients, and planted a seed for her to consider pursuing a degree in occupational therapy.
“Seeing my dad pass away from a heart attack gave me a greater appreciation for the individuals who help heart and stroke survivors rehabilitate,” said Dutka. “It made me think that I want to help other patients get back to their daily activities after suffering such an event.”
Despite her demanding academic schedule, Dutka finds time to volunteer in the physiotherapy department at the Misercordia Health Centre. This work has earned her a volunteer scholarship from Misericordia that she plans to use for graduate school.
“Natasha is a committed student, always seeking new information and engaging her professors and colleagues,” said Dr. David Telles-Langdon, Chair, Department of Kinesiology and Applied Health. “This is not something we grade at the University, but is a valuable quality in a graduate student.”
With her strong interest in both disciplines, Dutka plans to apply for graduate studies in physiotherapy and occupational therapy.
The University of Winnipeg community commends Natasha Dutka for her perseverance and commitment to her field.