India Chapman

Family tragedy inspires India’s career aspiration

During India’s sophomore year in high school, her mother was hospitalized after eating Chinese food that was cross-contaminated with peanuts. While in the hospital, India’s mother received an IV overdose of epinephrine. The overdose caused a heart attack and multiple mini strokes, which lead to a brain injury. Currently her mother is doing better, experiencing head pain and memory difficulties, but at the time, India didn’t know what to think.

“I didn’t understand how serious it was,” India said. “Doctors didn’t know what to do — this [type of mistake] doesn’t happen often. It took a while to understand the seriousness of it.”

A year after her mother’s injury, she and India began volunteering with On With Life — a brain injury rehabilitation center. During her time here, India found her career path.

“I had the pleasure of witnessing all of the miracles that physical therapists are able to be a part of, and I knew that I wanted to do that,” India said.

India began her physical therapy studies at Minnesota State University and participated on its cheerleading squad. Missing her family and no longer wishing to cheer, India looked to move closer to home. After hearing about Iowa State’s well-respected physical therapy program, she decided to transfer her sophomore year.

“I didn’t realize how good the program was until I got here,” she said. “The professors are very passionate about what they are teaching us, and they only want us to be as passionate about something as well.”

Looking to fulfill her program’s required volunteer hours, India volunteered for the Music and Movement outreach program, which uses music and ballroom dance therapy to help people alleviate Parkinson’s disease symptoms.  Once her required hours were fulfilled, India decided to continue volunteering and currently serves as the program’s leader.

“The [participants] are very grateful that we’re there,” she said. “I’ve learned a lot about the side effects of Parkinson’s and how certain components of the brain work. I feel a greater understanding on how to help people in the future.”