Anyone that grows up in an agriculture state knows about walking beans and putting up hay in 100+ degree heat and humidity. Jackie Kincart-Wells freely admits that choosing between working summers at Kincart Physical Therapy Services or laboring in the heat on the family farm seems obvious. That doesn’t mean that she took the easy road. Jackie spent most of her time leading geriatric restorative exercises to the residents in the Davis County Hospital Long Term Care Unit. “Although the long-term care is no longer at the Davis County Hospital, I built lasting memories with some of the residents. I often fondly think of the summer that I won Fair Queen at the county fair, and a resident who referred to me as “Queenie” was also crowned that year’s Valentine’s King.
Being the daughter of a Physical Therapist did not automatically determine Jackie’s career path. She was, however, committed to a health care related field, so she took advantage of every experiential opportunity that came her way. During her undergraduate program at Iowa State University, Jackie worked in the motor control lab assisting with Parkinson’s disease and developmental delay research under Dr. Ann Smiley-Oyen. She also tutored others in organic chemistry, served as a teaching assistant for introductory biology under Dr. Clark Coffman, and lead small group peer mentoring to freshman biology students.
The next turn in Jackie’s educational journey came during her junior year of undergraduate studies. Jackie became interested in DNA processing but did not find any summer job postings in that particular area of interest. This did not deter Jackie from seeking out opportunities; she emailed the director of the Murray Genetics Laboratory in the University of Iowa Hospitals. He responded by providing an introduction to Dr. Frey Law who also happened to be part of the physical therapy and rehabilitation science faculty. One interview later and she was hired to work with Dr. Frey Law for the next two summers.
Which career path do I take? This was the question Jackie began asking herself during her junior year of undergraduate study. Her outstanding commitment to her studies earned her interviews to both the Physician Assistant and Physical Therapy programs at the University of Iowa. Jackie was accepted into the PA program and was asked to accept or decline the offer before she would know the outcome of her interview with the PT program. When faced with a life altering decision a child normally looks to a parent for advice but Jackie’s mother was battling breast cancer and she did not want to further burden her mother with her dilemma. Naturally, Jackie sought the advice of her three mentoring health care professionals, Drs. Coffman, Smiley-Oyen and Frey Law. “Thanks to the aforementioned mentors, I took the biggest leap of faith in my life and declined the PA offer.”
“I want to encourage every scholarship recipient to have an enterprising mindset.”
January marked Jackie’s one year anniversary practicing as a DPT at Kincart Physical Therapy Services in her hometown of Bloomfield, Iowa. She knew home was where she wanted to be before she knew what she wanted to be. Why would anyone want to work in Southeast Iowa? Jackie has several answers for this question, first, college and the LCL Scholarship program opened her eyes to the increasing need for healthcare services in rural America and she is helping fill that gap. But, more importantly, her reason is for returning to Southeast Iowa is family and community. “Not only am I proud to be practicing in an underserved area, but I wanted to raise a family close to my family. I grew up with my grandma just 15 miles down the road, and I want the same for my children.” Coincidentally, Jackie has two more familial connections that pulled her back to Bloomfield, her husband, Milo Wells, and Sister-in-law, Katelyn Appler Kincart. Milo will graduate in May, 2018, from the University of Iowa with a Doctor in Pharmacy degree and has a job secured with Lee Pharmacy in neighboring Keosauqua. Katie, another 4-year LCL Scholarship recipient, will graduate in December, 2018, with a DPT and will join the Kincart Physical Therapy Services, a family-owned business for 34 years.
The last question, and maybe the hardest (for me anyway) was Hawkeyes or Cyclones? “…in the spirit of family: I am the third generation to attend Iowa State University. Because I am an alumnus of both Iowa State University and University of Iowa I am one of few who genuinely know which school is the best….GO CYCLONES!”