I first became aware of the Physical Therapy Department at Marquette University’s fundraising efforts for the Marquette Challenge when I first arrived at the school in 2018, and immediately wanted to learn more.
After researching the Challenge, I learned how integral it is in fundraising for the Foundation for Physical Therapy Research (FPTR). FPTR funds physical therapist researchers via grants, scholarships, and fellowships, and is the only national nonprofit solely dedicated for physical therapy research.
However, I knew this year would be different because of the COVID-19 pandemic. I was unsure whether this internship opportunity would still be open, but I remained hopeful. When I learned the opportunity would now be virtual, I was very excited to participate. Being the first virtual intern for the Challenge was a great learning experience for everyone. FPTR Staff were all extremely welcoming and helpful as we navigated how the summer would progress.
In the beginning, we had to overcome time differences, find new projects, and figure out how to transition past summer intern projects online. While the start of this experience was an adjustment, the staff and I were able to get into a routine that worked for us.
During my first month, I jumped straight into coordinating and organizing the Challenge Award Ceremony that would take place in June. Through this experience, I learned how to organize a virtual event and how to apply this knowledge to future fundraising events at Marquette. I spent the remainder of my time prepping for the coming VCU-Marquette Challenge 2021-2022 and aiding the Scientific Programs Committee.
While I was not able to meet the FPTR staff in person or work on all the projects traditionally saved for the Marquette interns, I do believe I worked on projects that were truly beneficial. This experience opened my eyes up to the depths of the Physical Therapy profession FPTR’s work is essential to the development of the profession and helps not only further research but also shapes how clinicians practice.
Knowing that students can continue to make a difference motivates me even more as I begin working on the Challenge at Marquette. Learning about the Challenge’s background and the moving parts of running a successful fundraiser will serve as valuable information throughout my time as a Marquette Challenge Coordinator.
Although I worked virtually, I am going to miss working with the FPTR staff as they have made this experience so valuable and enjoyable. I have grown as a person and professional throughout these twelve weeks and am so grateful for this opportunity. This internship has made me more eager to enter into the physical therapy profession, especially knowing the work that is being done to progress it.
Overall, this summer has provided me with great experiences and opportunities for growth. I am excited to start my physical therapy courses this fall and am ready to start working on the Challenge with the other Marquette Coordinators.
Brooke McDonald, DPT, is currently pursuing a degree in Exercise Physiology from Marquette University. She is expected to graduate in December 2022. Brooke is also expected to graduate from the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program in May 2024.