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IUPUI student receives 2013 Mary McMillan Scholarship Award


INDIANAPOLIS – Lydia George, a student in the doctor of physical therapy program in the IU School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, is one of only three physical therapy professional education students in the United States to receive a prestigious 2013 Mary McMillan Scholarship Award from the American Physical Therapy Association.

George will be recognized for her achievement at the association’s annual meeting in June.

The $5,000 McMillan Scholarship is awarded to students who exhibit superior scholastic ability and potential for future professional contribution. Each of the more than 200 physical therapy professional education programs in the country is allowed to nominate one student.

When George, an academic star in the IU School of Health and Rehabilitation, graduates in May, she will be the first IU physical therapy doctoral student to do so with a 4.0 grade-point average.

Because a high grade-point average is common among scholarship nominees, the association also looks for nominees’ involvement in service, research and teaching to determine scholarship recipients, said Peter Altenburger, co-chair of the Department of Physical Therapy at IUPUI.

George’s work in those areas made her stand out, even among the top students from other physical therapy programs, Altenburger said.

George was a driving force in initiating physical therapy services at the IU Student Outreach Clinic on the near east side of Indianapolis, developing policies and procedures, establishing a mission and securing funds and donated equipment for the clinic. The clinic is an interdisciplinary student-run free clinic for an underserved area of Indianapolis.

In terms of research and teaching, George has served as a research assistant for the past two years in the IU Center for Translational Musculoskeletal Research. She is co-author of a paper that has already been published and co-author of other papers that will be published soon. George has also has been teaching physical therapy techniques to underclassmen.

In answering a question about her goals as part of the nominating process, George showed a passion and commitment to her profession: “I want to be a physical therapist that represents professionalism, practices evidence-based medicine, commits to continued learning, advocates for my patients, mentors physical therapy students and promotes health and wellness in my community.”

“Lydia’s scholarship is testament to her individual capabilities and future promise, but also reflects the high standing of the IU doctor of physical therapy program, with Lydia being the fourth IU physical therapy doctoral student to receive the Mary McMillan Scholarship from the American Physical Therapy Association since 2005,” Altenburger said.