For Jennifer Gould Andrew, entering the world of pedorthics was a path that came from curiosity
after a personal need. “I had gone in to see a doctor about some knee pain and he told me I needed orthotics. I was devastated – I thought I had something old people got!” she says with a laugh.
But, as it turns out, the prescribed orthotics were (forgive the pun) just what the doctor ordered. “They were a miracle cure that fixed me immediately,” she says.
The Pedorthist who worked on Jenn’s orthotics was Kim Rau. A year after the initial consult, Jenn began volunteering with Kim, with an interest in learning more about orthotics and working in the pedorthic services lab.
Already Jenn was pursuing a degree in Kinesiology at the University of Waterloo, having left her home near Thunder Bay, Ontario. While she can’t put her finger on an exact reason for wanting to work in Kin, she remarks that she always had a desire to work with people and that her strength was in the sciences.
So, despite contrary advice from her high school guidance counselor, Jenn pursued her Kinesiology degree and graduated in 1997. While she was completing her degree, she spent summers working in the Pedorthic Services Lab and in clinic with Kim Rau. When she graduated, she immediately started working with all the Pedorthists in Pedorthic Services, soon moving to London to take over a practice there. She stayed in London up until two years ago, when she and her husband decided they were ready for a lifestyle change.
Meanwhile, Jonathan Robinson, owner of ABLE Orthotics in Fredericton, NB, and Jenn were sitting on the PAC board together. For the three years that we were on that board together, he kept telling me that he needed someone to come out to help him,” she recalls. When my husband and I were ready for a lifestyle change, we decided to move out east and I began to work with Jonathan at ABLE.
To some, such a move may be intimidating, but not for Jennifer who attributes her upbringing to being able to easily settle into her new surroundings. “I grew up in a rural part of Ontario – very small town with a very outdoor lifestyle – so in some sense it was like moving back home, even though I went in the other direction,” she says.
It is that accessibility that has been especially favourable for Jenn, who describes downtime these days as family activity with two young ones. “We have a three year-old and a five year-old, so most of our time is spent running around with children,” she says candidly. “We’re loving family life.”
“Out here, the outdoors is so accessible. You just walk outside and there are walking paths everywhere,” she adds. “My husband and I love to hike. We haven’t gone on any big adventures just the two of us yet, but we do little family trips to a lake nearby and the ocean is just an hour away.”
Jennifer’s other time outside the office is dedicated to the larger scope of the pedorthic world. She is actively involved in PAC and teaches a course at UWO during the fall as part of the diploma program, and while she admits to having been hesitant at first to take on this role, she has embraced it fully and loves having the position as part of professional life in the world of pedorthics.