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Catarina Orr

PTA 2017

Given the opportunity to offer advice to the Rhodes State community, alumna, Catarina Orr, would say these three things:

“Believe in yourself. Ask questions. Cut out negativity in your life.”

Catarina is a 2017 Rhodes State College, Physical Therapy Assistant graduate who has gone on to achieve success in various physical therapy settings, personal training with clients, and as a competitive athlete in bodybuilding competitions, triathlons, and doubles sand volleyball tournaments.

Catarina has recently been featured in a fitness spread in a national magazine, named to the 2010s All-Decade Women’s Track and Field Team at Heidelberg University (where she set hurdling records and achieved her B.S. in Health Science), as well as stepping on the stage at the Arnold Classic™ this year.

But, when asked about her life, she doesn’t talk about her trophies, wins and medal ceremonies. She talks about helping people transform their lives.

“I get to live out my passion every day impacting the lives of young kids, active adults, post-injury individuals, and very sick patients in their homes. And, I get to educate those around me on how to truly change their lives.”

For Catarina, these aren’t just words. Recently, she began an outreach for behaviorally challenged kids to motivate them and help them handle their behaviors in order to return to and fully-function in their schools and/or in their community by making them aware of healthy habits and helping them to understand their importance in life.

Catarina is currently building her own business in personal training for clients who want to understand their bodies and the “importance of movement, sleep, nutrition, among many other concepts for longevity.”

“Now I get to be the bridge in the healthcare system from being discharged from physical therapy to working out on your own or with a trainer,” she says.

Starting her own LLC has, as she says, been a “HUGE risk.” She has had ups and downs through the journey. She recalls a “mind to muscle” event she coordinated where there was only one in attendance…her mother. But, that doesn’t bother her.

“Failures are all a part of the journey to success,” she asserts. “I tell my clients and patients this all the time...as serious as some failures may be, you have to change your perspective to ‘What is this teaching me?’ and go from there.” She continues, “You learn from mistakes and use that as fuel to go forward or in a different direction.”

There is no lack of motivation to move in any direction for Catarina. Her trophies are stacking up, her list of accomplishments is getting longer, and her impact on people is spreading.

“You can look at being successful as being at the top of your career, or you can look at it as having successful outcomes from what you provide in your career,” she says. “I am not at the top of my career. I believe I am just getting started. But, I am successful with my approach to treating patients and helping clients.”

Catarina’s mindset is pivotal in her journey toward success. She clearly designates risk taking, passion, and a very intentional barrier to negative people and thinking as a catalyst for her opportunities.

“Being honest, personable, and confident has impacted my business and reach for the better, she says. “You have to turn away from people or things that push you away from your path or make you question your path.”

The true benchmarks of her success have been measured not by what people say or think about her, but by her impact.

She relates, “In working with one patient for over 6 months, we have made progress from them being bed-bound and receiving cancer treatments bi-weekly, to going up and down steps in the house and being cancer free!”

She says that as a personal trainer and coach, it is most rewarding when clients begin to get better sleep, have better moods, have less pain, and become motivated to continue their health journey by working on their own—without her.

“You won't have patients or clients forever,” she says. “In fact, you don’t want that, because then you haven't done your job right. My goal is to make people better, educate them, and if I'm doing my job right, they won't need me anymore.”

“That's success. That's rewarding,” she continues. “I have changed their lives to care about their health, and now, they are impacting those around them, educating others (friends, co-workers, and children), and have learned enough to be able to implement what I have taught them on their own.”

Catarina’s journey has truly just begun. Alongside her on the journey is her family, her love of the outdoors, adventure-seeking, and an “annoying” cat named Keiko. She currently lives and works in Columbus, OH. She hosts her own book club and, of course, loves to workout.

“If you asked me what I would do on my last day on Earth… I’d eat a big morning breakfast, get a workout in with my best friend, and go travel across the world somewhere with a pit stop at a local coffee shop.”

We are proud that Catarina made a stop at Rhodes State on her journey. We will continue to cheer her on as she engages her drive to change lives and give back to people and the world around her.

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