Faculty & Staff Spotlights

Tara Bienkowski

Lecturer/Director of Clinical Education, Physical Therapist Assistant Program

Tara Bienkowski

Lecturer/Director of Clinical Education
Physical Therapist Assistant Program
Physical Therapist Assistant Student Club Advisor

A.A.S. Herkimer County Community College
Numerous continuing education courses in physical therapy

Professional Affiliations: American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) member

Committees: Perkins Grant Advisory Committee, Physical Therapist Assistant Advisory Committee

Board Memberships: Member of the Perkins Grant Advisory Committee, advisor for the Physical Therapist Assistant Advisory Committee, advisor for the Physical Therapist Assistant student club

What inspired you to become an educator?
I absolutely love the field of physical therapy. I was a clinical instructor for 19 years and just loved to teach the physical therapist assistant students during that time. I usually had a student three times a year for approximately five weeks at a time. It just was not fulfilling enough for me. I wanted to educate more students in the physical therapy field, so I decided to become a full-time educator and practice as a physical therapist assistant per diem on the side. I want to help create more, well-trained clinicians using the knowledge I have gained through the years to make them succeed as therapists.

What interests you most about the subject area in which you teach?
What interests me the most about physical therapy is the gratification and reward of helping others heal. On a daily basis you are helping people improve their lives in a positive manner. Each patient is different based on their individual diagnosis, so it is never boring. There is always something new and exciting occurring each day. I want my students to learn as much as they possibly can from their experience at Herkimer so they can incorporate it into their own practices when they become physical therapist assistants.

What attracted you to Herkimer College?
I was attracted most to Herkimer because I am an alum. I had a fantastic experience when I attended Herkimer and wanted to pay it forward to my students. I am a local and love the small community that we live in. At Herkimer College, each student is looked at individually to help them succeed.

What are your hobbies or interests outside of work?
I love to spend time with my family, do wooden craft projects and exercise, including free weights, running, hiking, snowshoe, kayaking, snowmobiling, gardening, camping. I am very active and don’t like to sit still!

What is something that most people wouldn’t know about you?
I grew up on a dairy farm. My entire childhood consisted of daily barn chores after sports practice and putting in hay all summer. I did everything from milk cows, to drive the tractor all day, to shovel manure every Sunday all afternoon in our heifer barn. My family and I still help my father out on the family farm on a regular basis now where we have beef cows. I am no stranger to hard work and have raised my children the same way. I would not want life any different than what we have in the country on our farm.

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