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Burkesville student named Outstanding Physical Therapist Assistant for 2011

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 Sections Outstanding Student Physical Therapist Assistant Award for 2011. Chris Garland of Burkesville will receive the award at the APTA Combined Sections Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana in February. This is the fourth year in a row that a SCC student has won the award. Past winners from SCC include: Valarie Cooper of Jamestown, 2010; Barry Buchignani of Lexington, 2009; and Isaac Mills of Corbin, 2008. Garland will also be representing the APTA Student Assembly as the Student PTA Delegate at the conference.

In 2009, Garland applied to and was accepted into the highly competitive SCC PTA Program, where she ranks among the top of her class, both academically and technically. She has acted as a mentor and volunteer in other physical therapy related activities, including participation in the 2009 and 2010 Kentucky Special Olympics Fun Fitness Screenings, T.J. Samson Hospitals Discovery Academy, a summer camp for children with mental and physical challenges. She served the past two years as a demonstrator at Somerset Community College for the Rogers Scholars, the Governors Minority Student College Preparation Program and Girls Exploring Math amp; Science programs.

Garland co-authored a brochure educating the aging population on home safety and fall prevention titled 10 Steps to a Safer Home: Tips for Fall Prevention, and was published multiple times in the APTA Student Assemblys editions of the Pulse in articles encouraging active student membership in the APTA. She has also been published in the Kentucky Physical Therapy Associations Newsletter.

In 2010, she was named the recipient of the James H. Anderson Award, a peer-selected award based upon the expectation that the recipient will make a significant and lasting impact upon the physical therapy profession. She was selected as Kentuckys student representative to the APTA Federal Advocacy Forum in Washington D.C, by winning a scholarship from the Kentucky Chapter of the APTA. In October, Garland was elected by PT and PTA students to serve nationally on the APTA Student Assembly Board of Directors as the Student PTA Delegate to the House of Delegates. She was elected to serve as President of her class and is an active member of the SCC Physical Therapy Student Organization, coordinating many charitable activities in these roles.

Garland served as coordinator for the programs fundraising efforts in the 2010 Miami-Marquette Challenge, a national fundraiser for the Foundation for Physical Therapy, in which SCCs Program was named the Outstanding PTA Program nationally. She accepted the above award on behalf of the SCC PTA program in Boston and for an honorable mention, in which the program outperformed many larger colleges in the fundraising challenge. She is a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honorary, was selected as a Student Ambassador for the College, and serves on the SCC PTA Programs Advisory Board.

Garland was nominated for the award by Dr. Sam Brown, PT, who states that Ms. Garland serves an excellent role model and has the potential to become a highly respected and valuable member of our profession. The nomination was supported by program faculty, Dr. Ron Meade, PT and Dr. Steve Hammons, PT and by classmates Derek Brown and Erica Kennedy.

Ms. Garland will graduate from the SCC PTA Program in May, 2011.

For more information about the Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Somerset Community College, contact Ron Meade, Program Director, at 606-451-6823 or