University of Nebraska Medical Center

Alyx Jorgensen, DPT, named recipient of APTA’s Mary McMillan Scholarship Award

portrait of Alyx Jorgensen

by Pat Hageman, PhD, and Liz Wellsandt, PhD

Alyx Jorgensen, PT, DPT, (CAHP PT Class of 2023) was recently named recipient of the national Mary McMillan Scholarship award, considered the most prestigious award given to a student by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and placing her as one of only a few students awarded it from among ~273 physical therapy programs in the USA. Dr. Jorgensen was nominated for this distinguished scholarship award while in her third and final year as a student in the UNMC Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Program.

This award was named for Mary McMillan, considered the “founding mother” and pioneer of PT who led the creation of what is now the professional association for physical therapy (APTA). In addition to Dr. Jorgensen’s superior scholastic performance, criteria consideration for this award was based on productivity and evidence of potential contributions to the profession of physical therapy.

As a DPT student, Alyx concurrently was enrolled part-time in the Patient-Oriented Research track of the Medical Sciences Interdepartmental Area PhD Program under the mentorship of Elizabeth Wellsandt, PhD, Associate Professor in UNMC’s Physical Therapy Program.

Dr. Jorgensen’s primary research interest is biomechanical outcomes after anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction, particularly their influence on return-to-sport outcomes and the development of knee osteoarthritis. Her goal is to be a leading clinician-scientist in the field. As a DPT student, she submitted three manuscripts (one as primary author), and co-authored four peer-reviewed poster presentations (three as first author, one receiving best poster award) and eight peer-reviewed oral presentations (three as first author), all at regional/national scientific meetings.

As noted by Dr. Betsy Becker, Physical Therapy Program Director and Chair of UNMC’s Department of Health and Rehabilitation, Alyx’s “determination to contribute to the physical therapy profession shows in her active service in student and professional associations.”

Select examples of Dr. Jorgensen’s service while a DPT student include, yet are not limited to, being elected as UNMC Class Representative (2020) and later President (2021-22) of APTA-Nebraska Student Special Interest Group (NSSIG), in which she represented student members from three DPT and four PTA programs in Nebraska. In this role, she planned the PT Day of Service events for PT and PTA students across Nebraska and hosted the first annual Student and Early Professional Conclave in Nebraska.

She was selected and sponsored by the UNMC Physical Therapy Program to participate in the inaugural 2020 APTA Centennial Scholars Program, a national program designed to build future leaders in the profession. In this capacity, with the guidance of Dr. Becker, Alyx led a team of four UNMC DPT students to obtain competitive internal funding supporting the creation of an e-learning module for adapting delivery of healthcare services for patients who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Additionally, she applied for and was selected to participate in the Nebraska Area Health Education Center (Nebraska AHEC) Program (2020-2022), which provides additional interprofessional education focused on serving medically underserved populations in Nebraska. Dr. Jorgensen will be presented her award by APTA’s Board of Directors at the 2024 APTA national event.

The PT faculty, staff and students are extremely proud that one of its students won this prestigious national award and has been recognized as a future leader for the profession and the APTA.

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