Hi! I’m Amanda; I am a first-year student at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program. My hometown is Centreville, Virginia (Fairfax County in northern Virginia) and I graduated Summa Cum Laude with Honors from Virginia Tech with a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Design. For several years, I carried out a career in product design and was left unfulfilled. I longed for change – I wanted to make a larger positive impact on humanity and create fewer material items that inevitably end up in the landfills, polluting our planet. My personal injuries and background in athletics pulled me to physical therapy. While applying to graduate school, I worked as a PT technician at Performance Physical Therapy in Chantilly, VA where I saw the positive impact I could make. Upon moving to Richmond, VA to pursue my DPT, I have passionately explored each course and taken on roles beyond my student responsibilities. I serve as the APTA chair for the class of 2024 where I advocate for legislature on the local, state, and national level that progresses PT as an industry and volunteer with a local gym program, Power Over Parkinson’s to help the elderly safely mobilize and exercise.
In hindsight, physical therapy has been a part of my life as early as high school where I experienced stress fractures, torn ligaments, overtraining syndrome and various other sprains from my competitive swimming and running teams. A skiing accident in college tore my ACL and led to my first surgery. Before my injuries, I always loved to move. When I became injured, I lost the autonomy and independence to go to school/work, carry my own food, or even bathe myself. As an athlete, I felt like my world had collapsed. Thankfully, I had a caring team of therapists who pushed and believed in me, and I began to see progress and could see the light at the end of the tunnel. I was determined to come back to my sport stronger than I left it – I went on to compete in Olympic-distanced triathlons, Spartan obstacle races, half marathons and even a full 26.2 marathon in December 2020. I’ve been told I am strong-willed, but I must credit the medical team behind my successes that gave me strength to believe in myself when I lost faith for where I am today. I want to be that beacon, to inspire people to keep going, to empower them to reach levels they thought impossible. That is why I chose to be a physical therapist.