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State Tech student receives Missouriís Breaking Traditions Award

A student enrolled in State Technical College of Missouri’s Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) program has received top honors in Missouri’s annual Breaking Traditions Awards program.
Larry Parks, Holts Summit, was awarded the state male winner for postsecondary.   
For seventeen years, Breaking Traditions has honored outstanding students who have 
chosen specific career and technical programs based on their interests and abilities and who have not let their gender influence their career decisions.

After retiring from the military, Larry Parks decided to attend State Tech for an associate of applied science degree in PTA.   

“I was a Master Fitness Trainer in the military and I had experienced my fair share of physical therapy over the years,” said Parks.  “I asked lots of questions when I was in therapy and from there my interest in physical therapy grew.”

Although the majority of STC programs are predominately male, the PTA program has historically been a predominately female program at the college. 
“I never really saw it as a female occupation,” commented Parks. “Although I should have, since the majority of the physical therapists I went to were mostly female.”
Parks went on to say it never really dawned on him that he was breaking a tradition.
Parks contributes his success in the program to his highly motivated, exceedingly prepared instructors. “It’s exac
tly what we need from our instructors,” commented Parks.  “Their motivation and their preparedness have ensured our success in the program and in our careers.”
Marlene Medin, Larry’s instructor and Chair of the Physical Therapist Assistant program commends Larry for being engaged in learning every day.  “Larry works in partnership with his instructors, much like a physical therapist and physical therapist assistant team works in the clinical setting,” commented Medin.  
“Larry is a role model to his classmates,” said Medin.  “He manages to balance a full schedule with a smile on his face at all times.”
After Parks graduates in May and passes the state board exam for physical therapist assistants, he would like to further his education by learning Spanish.  
“I travel to South America about every other year to help with building projects,” said Parks.  “I would love to speak the language fluently so I can communicate more effectively while I am there.”
Parks hopes that one day he can use the Spanish and the physical therapist skills to help the Hispanic non-English speaking population in the central Missouri area.
All state winners were honored April 23 during a ceremony at the G2 Gallery in Jefferson City.  
The Breaking Traditions program is sponsored by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), the Missouri Center for Career Education (MCCE) and is overseen by a regional Career Education Coordinator (CEC).  For more information, check out the Breaking Traditions website at

With more than 25 programs, State Technical College of Missouri is Missouri’s only public two-year technical college with a statewide mission.   STC has campuses in Linn, Mexico and Jefferson City.  STC prepares students for profitable employment and a life of learning.     

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