Hurston WWade Hurston has never been one for auto-pilot. Not in education, career or life. He has always set, and navigated the path carefully.

So it is not a random wandering from the assigned course that Hurston, who has a baccalaureate AND a master degree in aerospace engineering, is a doctoral student in the Department of Physical Therapy. He was looking for a career where he could soar.

“I talked to many people who were in or had gone to medical school, nursing school and occupational therapy school and when I articulated what it was I wanted to do they recommended physical therapy,” said Hurston, who co-authored the paper Solid Rocket Motor Design Using Hybrid Optimization that was published in the International Journal of Aerospace Engineering, Volume 2012. “And after completing the observation hours that are part of the application process, my decision was solidified and I knew I’d chosen the right profession.”

Hurston, a Memphis native who lives in Montgomery with his wife and two kids ages 2 years and 10 months, is not looking to jet through the program. He plans to take advantage of every opportunity available with the hopes of being cleared for takeoff, make that graduation, in December 2015.

“Right now I’d like to work in an outpatient clinic, but I haven’t gotten much exposure to the many possible areas of physical therapy,” said Hurston. “Of course, I reserve the right to change my mind once I do get some more experience. But I am looking forward to learning more about the possibilities out there from all the classwork and clinical rotations.”

As he starts to circumnavigate his education and his career, Hurston has advice for his fellow classmates: do not flutter around the sky aimlessly; locate your target, zero in on it and then pilot your way to it swiftly and thoroughly. How you fly through your goal and how you land after reaching your goal will be determined by your initial approach.

“The interview for acceptance to the PT program was the most important and nerve-wracking part of the process so my advice is just be honest and be yourself,” said Hurston. “And be prepared. It is easy enough to guess some of the questions that will be coming so take the time to prepare some thoughtful responses in advance and try to avoid the canned responses that you think the interviewers want to hear.”