5 UD BIOMS students awarded doctoral scholarships

1:38 p.m., Aug. 1, 2008--Five students who are physical therapists pursuing doctorates in UD's multidisciplinary graduate program in Biomechanics and Movement Science (BIOMS) recently were awarded Promotion of Doctoral Studies scholarships by the Foundation for Physical Therapy (FPT), a national, nonprofit organization located in Merrifield, Va.

UD recipients of the 2008 Promotion of Doctoral Studies I scholarships under the foundation's Doctoral Opportunities for Clinicians and Scholarships program are Stephanie Di Stasi and Richard Willy, who each were awarded $7,500; and UD recipients of the 2008 Promotion of Doctoral Studies II scholarships are Erin H. Hartigan, Brian W. Noehren and Ann Tokay, who each were awarded $15,000.

The Promotion of Doctoral Studies I scholarships are awarded by FPT each year to physical therapists or physical therapist assistants who have completed at least two full semesters or three full quarters of their coursework toward a doctorate. The Promotion of Doctoral Studies II scholarships are awarded by FPT each year to physical therapists or physical therapist assistants who have been formally admitted to doctoral candidacy.

“The foundation scholarships are extremely competitive and applicants are from all over the country,” said Stuart Binder-Macleod, chairperson of UD's Department of Physical Therapy and Edward L. Ratledge Professor of Physical Therapy. “I think the fact that we had five students selected for these prestigious honors shows the high regard in which our program at UD is held.”

Binder-Macleod added that the substantial scholarships, besides benefiting the individual recipients, also benefit the overall physical therapy program at UD, because they free University funds for other uses.

"These highly qualified students represent the latest in a long line of Promotion of Doctoral Studies scholarship recipients from the BIOMS program," said Lynn Snyder-Mackler, Alumni Distinguished Professor of Physical Therapy and BIOMS director. "We have had a least one student awarded a scholarship every year since the inception of the Promotion of Doctoral Studies program."

The students' advisers--Snyder-Mackler; Irene Davis, professor of physical therapy; and Sam Lee, assistant professor of physical therapy--also received doctoral funding from FPT in their student years, as well as seed money that jumpstarted their research programs early in their careers.

UD's Biomechanics and Movement Science program, a 14-year-old multidisciplinary doctoral program, is ranked 10th in kinesiology and exercise science doctoral programs and has 43 doctoral students studying with 41 faculty in three colleges--arts and sciences (physical therapy and biological sciences), engineering (mechanical engineering, electrical and computer engineering) and health sciences (health, nutrition and exercise sciences)--and the Center for Biomedical Engineering Research.

This year, the board of FPT trustees awarded a total of $292,500 in scholarships to 25 doctoral-level physical therapy students for the purpose of encouraging their pursuit of advanced degrees in physical therapy.

The foundation, which was established in 1979, is dedicated to improving the field of physical therapy through sound clinical and scientific research.

“The level of excellence of the applications submitted for consideration increases each year,” said Richard Shields, FPT president, “and the foundation is pleased to continue fulfilling its mission by providing support for such promising young researchers as they begin their careers.”

Article by Becca Hutchinson