Laurel Springs Alumna Alyse Lysgaard Finds Purpose in Kindness and Service to Others
Alyse Lysgaard holds many titles: Laurel Springs School alumna, tennis athlete, occupational therapist, and proud dog mom. When she’s not out adventuring with Hallie the Aussie, Alyse is helping people regain their control and mobility—something the 2010 Laurel Springs graduate says requires a person to have compassion, empathy, and the ability to connect on a personal level with others. Alyse currently works in an outpatient therapy clinic, where she treats upper arm injuries.
The Laurel Springs alumna wasn’t always certain of her career trajectory. Alyse first sought a job in the veterinary field, then equine therapy.
After quickly realizing that as a Las Vegas native, she didn’t know enough about horses, she regrouped and transferred to the College of Saint Mary in Omaha, Nebraska, to obtain her undergraduate degree in rehabilitation sciences and her master’s degree in occupational therapy.
She was seeking a more people-oriented career, Alyse explains, and once she found herself in a job where her purpose was to help others, she began to thrive.
“Everybody’s different,” Alyse says of the people she works with. “You have to put yourself in their shoes and figure out what they want. Sometimes you have to put your goals on the back burner and figure out what they want to do and what motivates them to do it.”
For Alyse Lysgaard, the flexibility of online learning built skills for life
Choosing Laurel Springs gave Alyse the power to pursue her tennis career in ways she couldn’t while at a brick-and-mortar school. She needed the flexibility to travel, practice, and compete.
“I told my mom I wanted to be homeschooled. She told me to go research programs, thinking I wouldn’t do it,” Alyse says, laughing at the memory. “I did, and I found Laurel Springs. I thought it sounded like a great school, and I have proven it was the best opportunity that I could have ever had.”
As Alyse describes it, Laurel Springs enabled her to prioritize her life. The flexible schedule helped her develop skills in time management and self-discipline, which benefited her in college and in the therapy boards.
While Alyse isn’t as involved in tennis as she was in previous years, what the sport taught her has persisted.
“In tennis, there’s always a next point,” she says. “I feel that way in life–like there’s always something that you lost or something that doesn’t go your way. I failed [college] and the boards twice. I had to go before the board, and I think tennis helped with that, with trying to get over it and figure out what’s coming next and not focus on this one little aspect.”
Persistence is key to personal and professional happiness
Despite the hiccups in college and her board exams, Alyse dusted herself off after every knock-down and tried again. Her two failed board exams were maddeningly close, lost by just 13 points the first time and two points the next.
She recently presented on the therapeutic use of self—“what creates a meaningful relationship between the therapist and the patient in order to produce meaningful participation and progress in occupations that matter to the patient,” Alyse explained to listeners at a recent conference in Nevada.
Now, she’s working toward her certification in hand therapy, which requires 5,000 hours of experience and another difficult exam. It’s far from easy, but worth it to be an even better provider for her patients.
“It’s good knowledge to have. Doctors and patients trust you more once you have that level of certification,” Alyse says.
With so many Laurel Springs upper school students walking the path Alyse once walked—trying to choose a career field, stressing over graduation, and figuring out scholarships and commitments — the alumna advises her successors to “take your time, and enjoy the process.”
“It seems to go by so fast, and looking back now, 12 years from school, it was a great time in my life. You want to grow up so fast. Just take your time and enjoy it.”
Stay connected to Alyse and others in the Laurel Springs alumni community as a member of LSS Alumni Connect. Join today!
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