Our Story/Timothy Boyle

An aspiring physician assistant, junior Timothy Boyle keeps busy as a Biobehavioral Health major and Schreyer Scholar, with minors in neuroscience and film.

Outside of the classroom, Boyle has another interest: triathlons. At Penn State, he is able to pursue this passion as well, through a University club.

More than 4,500 Penn State students are enrolled in the College of Health and Human Development (HHD) studying a wide-array of fields, each committed to the concept of improving the quality of life for others. Boyle, who found a home in the Department of Biobehavioral Health, is one of those HHD students, and this is his story.

When Boyle joined the Penn State Triathlon Club his freshman year, “I really had no idea what I was getting myself into," he said. "I bought into the training because I wanted to try something new and to make it through a race with despite the little knowledge I had about open water swimming and road bikes.”

Initially, Boyle’s objective for his first race was just to survive, he said, and have fun with it. Now, he is much better since freshman year and is constantly setting higher goals for himself.

“There's still decent room for improvement, but I always persevere and feel like I have the potential to get better every race,” he said.

Boyle recently competed for the first time in the USA Triathlon Collegiate National Championship in Clemson, South Carolina. There, he completed a standard Olympic distance race: a 1.5 kilometer swim, 40 kilometer bike, and 10 kilometer run.

While competing in Clemson, Boyle said the town was full of enthusiasm around the sport, and it was a memorable experience.

“There was a lot of excitement for our small Penn State team,” he said.

To gain medical experience for his future career as a physician assistant, Boyle is interning at Centre Volunteers in Medicine (CVIM), where he organizes medical records, gathers data for financial reports, plans fundraising events, and completes other miscellaneous tasks that change each day. He credits BBH for not only helping him get this position, but for preparing him for the work.

“I think BBH has given me an adequate understanding of how an all-encompassing health plan should work,” Boyle said. “Professionals in the medical field establish a rapport with their patients that typically goes further than giving said patients diagnoses and prescriptions before sending them on their way. BBH and the theories it teaches stresses having a broad understanding of a person's genetics, behaviors, and environmental conditions before making a judgment about how to treat them.”

In addition to CVIM, Boyle gained clinical experience in 2015 with Candace Good, a child psychiatrist at SunPointe Health in State College, where he oversaw the daily operations of a psychiatric health facility and a summer program for children with mental health related disabilities.

Boyle is a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon Fraternity, where he currently serves as historian, and the Health and Human Development Honor Society. In 2014, he was a member of the Schreyer’s Honors College Career Development Program. Through the program, he was paired with a mentor and fellow honors student to develop and implement plans for approaching future career goals.

As a member of the Triathlon Club, Boyle served as merchandise chair and events chair, which enabled him to design club merchandise and acquire sponsors with companies to make products more affordable to club members; lead the organization of both internal social functions and travel itineraries, including an annual race and training trip during spring break; and work closely with the treasurer to balance funds between events throughout the season.

Looking towards the future, Boyle is preparing to apply to physician assistant graduate school programs, and is interested in psychiatric medicine.

In addition to BBH, there are a variety of areas for students to study within HHD through the Departments of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Health Policy and Administration, Human Development and Family Studies, Kinesiology, Nutritional Sciences, Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management, and the School of Hospitality Management.