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Imagine walking in from the rain and the cold, through a set of double doors and seeing a wave of people coming in and going out; individuals whizzing by you as they make their way to their designated location and having crowds of really smart and cool people all around you. Well, that was my experience on my first day heading into the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. for the 2019 Combined Sections Meeting, the nation’s largest physical therapy conference that is held every year. To say that attending this conference and then in some way having a small role in it, was overwhelming, is an understatement.
I had the honor of attending the National Student Conclave as the recipient of the NSC student scholarship sponsored by the Section on Women’s Health. I am a proud member of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and Section on Women's Health (SoWH) as there are many benefits to being involved with professional associations such as access to networking and educational opportunities which are very valuable when starting out in your physical therapy (PT) career.
As I was reflecting on my drive home from this past weekend at National Student Conclave, I was grinning ear to ear. This experience was so incredible, and it “fired me up” for my career and future in physical therapy. National Student Conclave is so different than Combined Section Meetings or NEXT (other APTA conferences), and I think it is because it is designed by students for students.
I am a third-year physical therapy student at Utica College. I just recently took pelvic health physical therapy coursework and it just confirmed my excitement for my future as a pelvic health Physical Therapist. My last full time clinical is at Specialty Physical Therapy that focuses on assessment and treatment of women's and men's health issues, pelvic pain, incontinence, musculoskeletal pain, and pregnancy-related pain and dysfunction. The clinic is owned by Dr. Wendy Featherstone, and she will be my clinical instructor.
As an introverted, first year student from University of Maryland Baltimore, with a broken phone, I made the trip to Portland to attend my first APTA conference, the National Student Conclave (NSC), in search of other passionate students.