SCC Physical Therapist Assistant Student Named APTA National Orthopedic Student of the Year

Bethany Smahaj 
Above: Bethany Smahaj of Winchester is the APTA Orthopaedic Section’s Outstanding Student Award recipient for 2013.

 

A student currently enrolled in second-year studies in the Somerset Community College Physical Therapist Assistant Program has been named the recipient of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) Orthopaedic Section’s Outstanding PTA Student Award for 2013.  Bethany Smahaj of Winchester received the award at the APTA Combined Sections Meeting in San Diego, California in January. This is the sixth year that a SCC student has won the award.  Past recipients include: Glenn Trail, Lexington; Chris Garland, Burkesville; Valarie Cooper, Jamestown; Barry Buchignani, Lexington; and Isaac Mill, Corbin. 

Prior to enrolling in studies at SCC, Smahaj previously obtained a degree in environmental sciences from Georgetown University.  She has worked as a physical therapy technician for the Drayer Physical Therapy Institute in Winchester, where she serves as a Quality Assurance Designate.  Since enrolling at SCC, Smahaj has maintained a 4.0 grade point average and serves as a peer mentor and tutor to other program students. 

Smahaj is active in a number of charitable and community service activities including assisting with free health screenings at the Kentucky Special Olympics, coaching a youth soccer team and delivering meals and gifts through Operation Happiness.  She is an active member of the SCC Martial Arts Club and Physical Therapy Student Organization and is active in many church-related activities.  

Smahaj was nominated for the award by Dr. Ron Meade, who states, “Bethany is really the ideal student.  She is consistently at the top of the class and understands difficult concepts easily.  We are proud that she is a part of our program and our program’s history.”

The nomination was supported by program faculty members Dr. Steve Hammons, PT and Claudette Prather, PTA and by program students Mckenzie Grey and Jessica Lowe, for whom Smahaj serves as a mentor. 

Smahaj is the daughter of John and Linda Smahaj of Winchester.  She is the third student in her class to be recognized nationally.  Justin Kinder of Lexington was elected to the APTA Student Assembly Board of Directors last October; Debora Lasure of Stanford was named the APTA Section on Geriatrics’ Outstanding PTA Student Award for 2013. 

For more information about the SCC PTA Program, contact the program’s director at ron.meade@kctcs.edu.