Guest post by Katherine De Lara
The summer has flown by during my time as an intern at the Foundation for Physical Therapy. Having lived in the Midwest all my life, I can still remember how nervous I was to move to Washington, D.C., all on my own for the whole summer. However, the welcoming and friendly staff at the Foundation made my transition no problem at all. They helped me to transition to working in Alexandria, VA, and really made me feel like an important member of the staff. My feelings of nervousness soon disappeared, and I was left with the excitement of being able to spend the summer at the Foundation. Applying for the internship, I was drawn to the opportunity to be able to work at a non-profit organization that raises money for physical therapy research. As a physical therapy student, I got the chance to play a role in the mission to move the physical therapy profession forward.
During my time at the Foundation, I worked on several projects. As I began the internship, I was most looking forward to attending the annual NEXT Conference beginning June 28, 2018 in Orlando, FL. We put a lot of work into planning and preparing for the Foundation’s events at NEXT, including the 2018 Awards Luncheon in the afternoon and the Orlando PT Party. Leading up to the events, I helped prepare slideshows, scripts, escort cards, and anything else that was needed. Upon landing in Orlando, we were greeted by a beautiful pink and purple Florida sunset and beautiful weather. It made the awesome feeling of seeing all our hard work pay off that much better. Attending NEXT was an amazing professional experience where I was surrounded by others excited about furthering the physical therapy profession. I was honored to be a part of the wonderful team of Foundation staff that helped to put together two great events to celebrate another successful year of fundraising for physical therapy research.
After NEXT, I moved into the second half of my internship. Members of the Foundation Staff and I visited The George Washington University (GW) School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) Physical Therapy Program and Department of Clinical Research and Leadership to get to know their physical therapy program and some of the important research the GW faculty are working on. As a physical therapy student myself, it was fascinating to see what was going on at a different program. I was excited to be able to discuss some fundraising ideas for the Marquette Challenge with some of the GW physical therapy students as well. As a Marquette Challenge coordinator, it was great to see students from other schools eager to learn about raising money for physical therapy research. I’m excited to use this feedback and everything I’ve learned from this internship to further encourage my fellow classmates at Marquette to raise money for the Challenge and in turn advance the mission of the Foundation.
I also spent time on updating the research repository. It was very cool to see what research is being done across the country to further the profession of physical therapy and how the field of physical therapy is progressing. I found that the Challenge really taps into the passion students have for the profession and introduces them to the role that research plays in client and patient care in a meaningful way.
The Foundation also had another intern this summer, Kerry. It was really fun to have another intern around the office. The biggest project we worked on together was preparing our annual report and supporting the Foundation’s development efforts. Stuffing and labeling thousands of envelopes would not have been the same without Kerry. Though we spent many hours in the conference room, we made the most of our last few weeks of time at the Foundation. Unfortunately for the Foundation, they may be hard-pressed to find a dynamic duo in the future that will be able to finish this project as quickly as Kerry and I!
This summer at the Foundation will be one for the books. I can’t thank the Foundation and every single one of its amazing staff members enough for such an incredible opportunity. I got to learn and experience so much. This has helped me develop a deeper understanding about how research is the driving force of the physical therapy profession. This internship has fueled my passion for physical therapy, and I can’t wait to share this excitement with my classmates back in Milwaukee, WI as we raise funds of our own for the Marquette Challenge.
Katherine De Lara is from Niles, IL and a current student at Marquette University. She will receive her Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training in May 2019 and her Doctorate of Physical Therapy in May 2021.