USF Physical Therapy Student Participates in LeadAmerica

Melissa Matson, Class of 2010, USF School of Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Sciences

Melissa Matson, USF Doctor of Physical Therapy student.

This summer Melissa Matson, a member of the USF School of Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Sciences DPT 2010 class, had a valuable opportunity to share the rewarding aspects of becoming a physical therapist. High school students from around the country gathered for a 10-day conference to learn about careers in the medical and healthcare fields. Matson had the privilege of being on staff for the conferences organized by LeadAmerica and held at DePaul University in Chicago and San Francisco State University. Many students arrived at the conference convinced that they were destined to be anesthesiologists or pediatric neurosurgeons, however, others expressed a desire to investigate the entire healthcare spectrum. After several of the “future physicians” discovered the extensive educational commitment for their career choice, they began exploring other options as well.

Throughout each of the conferences, Matson had a group of 18-20 students that she was responsible to lead and mentor in small group discussions and prepare the students for a history-taking opportunity with standardized patients. While other small group leaders were pursuing professions such as nursing, psychology, and pharmacy, Matson’s group has the opportunity to get an inside perspective on what it is like to be a physical therapy student. They learned about the high demand for physical therapists, the benefits of a shorter educational commitment than an MD, and the wide scope of practice available to a physical therapist.

“It was an honor to be the sole representative of the physical therapy profession,” said Matson. ” I was thoroughly excited about recruiting future physical therapists, and I am thankful for the USF School of Physical Therapy for preparing me for this opportunity.”

She also had the opportunity to give a hands-on lecture to more than 240 students on how to conduct the basic head-to-toe physical assessment. The 1st year classes she took with her fellow MD students at the USF College of Medicine gave her the knowledge and confidence to conduct this with ease.

“Melissa’s involvement with Lead America reflects the type of young professional leaders we hope to educate here in the School of Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation sciences, COM and USF Health,” said William S. Quillen, PT, PhD, Associate Dean, College of Medicine and Director, USF School of Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Sciences.

The USF student also represented physical therapy in a panel discussion. Fielding questions, she and fellow panelists were able to open the eyes of the students to careers they had not previously considered.

Throughout the week following the panel discussion, Matson was encouraged by the number of students who pursued her with additional questions regarding physical therapy. Many were excited about PT as a career option. Several participants expressed a desire to remain in contact with this USF physical therapy student in the future as they are in the process of making their college and career plans. It has been an intense, yet very rewarding summer for Matson. Hopefully, we will now have a few more up and coming additions to the physical therapy profession.

“I answered questions from enthusiastic students wondering how they could work with athletes through physical therapy. It was a joy to share my passion with students eager to listen,” said this proud USF Doctor of Physical therapy student, Class of 2010. Go Bulls!!

Other links:

LeadAmerica Medicine & Healthcare program

USF School of Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Sciences