This year the Physical Therapy Program was able to gift over $120,000 in scholarship to students. These scholarships make physical therapy education more feasible and are made possible by the generous support of alumni and friends of the PT Program.
As part of this year’s 70th anniversary celebration, three current students and a recent alumna spoke about the impact of the scholarships they received. Michelle Vien (class of 2017), Aundrea Lucero (class of 2016), Robert Will (class of 2017) and Kevin Morris (class of 2018) joined a lunchtime panel to share their perspectives with alumni, students, faculty and staff.
After finishing her bachelor degree, Vien was not sure if she would be able to continue with her education. “After I got my bachelors I sat with my dad to discuss whether or not continuing my education would be worth it,” said Vien. “The scholarship I received has been tremendously helpful . . . Now, I’m really excited about becoming the first person in my family to have a doctorate level degree and really excited about making my parents proud. They worked so hard to come to this country. They both grew up in poverty and in developing countries. They left and came here and established a life. It was a very difficult journey for them, so I feel like me being able to graduate and become a doctor of physical therapy is going to make it all worth it for them.”
Lucero is also excited to be the first person in her family to receive a doctorate degree and she spoke about an additional benefit of her scholarship. “I’m the recipient of the Joanne Posner-Mayer scholarship. In addition to the generous financial support, I gained a mentor who had a very similar background as me and they were able to relate to where I come from,” said Lucero. “I had somebody to confide in who has a successful career. That gave me the motivation to continue to pursue my career and pursue my dreams and eventually one day be in a position where I can pay it back and set the tone for future generations that this is possible, even though there are things in your life that make it seem like it is not.”
For each of the students, the scholarships they received also provided them with recognition of their hard work. Will spoke about this aspect of scholarship. “I felt incredibly humbled and honored that I was receiving the scholarship. It really showed that my hard work in my undergraduate career paid off and that I was being recognized.” Morris added that this recognition impacted his choice to attend CU. “This added level of recognition made me feel as though I’m not just some number. Today, I’m in a wonderful program where there’s supportive faculty and where everyone is very forward thinking. There’s a level of innovation here.”
We are confident that Vien, Lucero, Will and Morris will carry this spirit of innovation with them throughout their own careers. Along with others from the CU School of Medicine PT Program family, they will continue moving the profession forward—into the next 70 years and beyond.