Rehab Associates of Central Virginia has awarded its annual Doctor of Physical Therapy scholarship to Melissa Bauerle ’19 DPT.
The $5,000 scholarship recognizes DPT students with a passion for orthopedics, patient-centered care, and personal development. RACV, a physical therapy clinic with several offices in the Lynchburg area, sponsors the no-strings-attached scholarship to encourage students to excel as they pursue the profession.
“It is very important to facilitate student growth, whether they work with Rehab Associates or not, to foster great orthopedic physical therapy,” Dr. Josh Bailey, CEO of RACV said in a ceremony on Tuesday.
Originally from Hampton, New Jersey, Bauerle was a competitive runner in high school and college. “I had my share of injuries,” she said. “Spending my time in the office with the physical therapists, just seeing what they get to do on a daily basis, helped me say, ‘This is something I could see myself doing.’”
She studied athletic training at Virginia Tech, where she learned about the University of Lynchburg’s DPT program. She said her goal as a physical therapist will be to help patients reach their personal goals for wellness and physical activity.
Studying at Lynchburg has helped her develop a passion for orthopedic care, and she plans to pursue an orthopedic residency. “We all have a story, and we all have something that we want to work toward,” Bauerle said. “The faculty here does a great job of helping you figure out what that area is and work toward that the best you can.”
Rehab Associates also awarded a second-place scholarship of $2,500 to Joshua Hartless ’19 DPT. Tyler Martin ’19 was also a finalist.
Dr. Bailey said selecting the scholarship recipient has become more difficult each year. Dr. Andy Tatom, a co-founder of RACV and member of the University of Lynchburg Board of Trustees, said that is because of the DPT faculty members’ focus on developing students.
“The faculty instills the passion in the students and allows them to grow and learn,” Dr. Tatom said. “The more they learn, the more they grow, the more their passion expands, which is the same thing we experience through physical therapy practice.”
DPT professor Dr. Stephen Elam said RACV’s suppport has been important to the Lynchburg program. The scholarship provides additional motivation for students to shine, and it also enables the students to consider further training that could help them help patients.
“It’s valuable because the students who are looking to win this scholarship, they’re always striving to do things that show that they’re very interested in and they’re passionate about orthopedics,” Dr. Elam said. “They’re always working to improve their experience so they can stand out in this scholarship.”