My time at the Foundation has flown by. When I left Wisconsin at the beginning of the summer, it was going to be my first time living away from my home state. I was nervous, but eager to start a new journey in Washington D.C. and at the Foundation for Physical Therapy.
I began my time at the Foundation by helping the staff prepare for the American Physical Therapy Association’s NEXT Conference & Exposition in Nashville, TN. I dove into projects for the Marquette Challenge and the Foundation Gala including creating awards, slide show presentations, writing escort cards for gala seating and more. At NEXT, I assisted with setting up and organizing both the Challenge Luncheon and the Gala. There, I was in charge of the slide show presentations that accompanied the speakers. I met numerous inspirational professionals and was part of celebrating the success of this year’s Marquette Challenge and those of the Foundation.
During my time here, not only have I learned about the Marquette Challenge and its history, but more importantly I learned how it impacts the field of physical therapy. I was able to see the influence funds raised through the Challenge and other donations have while I was updating the Foundation’s literature repository. The amount of research on various topics including rehabilitation and treatment that has been accomplished with support of the Foundation is impressive. I had the opportunity to meet some of these funded researchers during a field trip to the University of Delaware. That trip truly opened my eyes to the world of research and the asset it continues to have to patient care.
I had never been to Washington D.C. before this summer. I was constantly amazed by the history that was in my backyard. I was lucky to meet wonderful people who soon became my friends. We trekked up and down the National Mall visiting every monument and memorial and on the weekends, even drove up to Philadelphia and New York City. I was always stumbling upon something new to do or discovering unique things about the city, but no matter how many times I watched the sunset at the Washington Monument, it was still astounding. Due to my experiences at the Foundation and in the nation’s capital, to say I will miss this city dearly is an understatement.
I am feeling extremely grateful as I pack up and say goodbye. I would like to thank the University of Delaware’s Physical Therapy Department for opening their doors and allowing us to visit and see firsthand the fascinating research conducted in the field. Thank you to the Foundation staff who were incredibly welcoming and for teaching me so much. You have made my time there invaluable. But most of all, I want to thank Marquette University’s Department of Physical Therapy and the Foundation for Physical Therapy for giving me this opportunity.
What a great experience it has been! I leave DC and the Foundation having gained a wealth of knowledge and increased excitement to pursue physical therapy as a career.
McKayla Figueroa is a student at Marquette University from Waukesha, WI. She will graduate in May 2017 with her Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training and in May 2019 with her Doctorate of Physical Therapy.