May 29 2014

Scronce, Gabrielle

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  • Professional Goal Statement
    My ultimate professional goal is to work at a university as a physical therapy professor and researcher to enhance knowledge and practice of injury prevention and rehabilitation for older adults and people with neurological conditions.
  • Career Plan
  1. UNC Chapel Hill DPT Program for generalist clinical education in physical therapy
  2. UNC Chapel Hill PhD in Human Movement Science for educational, research, clinical, and teaching experiences
  3. Postdoctoral position in a research university to enhance specific research, publication, clinical, and lecturing skills
  4. Assistant Professorship in an accredited physical therapy program within a research university to continue research in selected specialties along with opportunities to teach DPT and PhD students
  5. Associate Professorship in an accredited physical therapy program within a research university to continue research and teaching
  6. Professorship in accredited physical therapy program to continue research and teaching with part-time clinical appointments
  • Self Assessment


  1. Clinical experience working with older adults and people with neurological conditions through DPT clinical rotations and extracurricular volunteer activities
  2. Research exposure working with older adults and people with neurological conditions by observing, assisting, and collaborating in research projects at UNC Chapel Hill
  3. Extracurricular coursework in interdisciplinary issues related to health care for older adults
  4. Academic, clinical, and research support from PhD advisor Dr. Vicki Mercer

Areas for Growth

  1. Advance knowledge of human movement science including motor control and motor planning, scientific basis of human movement, exercise physiology, and biomechanics
  2. Achieve proficiency with statistical methods and software
  3. Increase experience with clinical research development, publications, and grant writing
  4. Establish a foundational knowledge in teaching methods and practice through coursework and experience
  5. Improve clinical skills to develop a more informed understanding of clinical relevance of research
  • Objectives for Progression toward Professional Goal
  1. Publish academic articles to add to scientific knowledge base of injury prevention and rehabilitation for older adults and people with neurological disorders
  2. Take courses in education and instruction to improve presentation and lecturing abilities
  3. Improve clinical skills with patients with neurological disorders through direct practice and mentorship from more experienced providers
  4. Achieve PhD in Human Movement Science from UNC Chapel Hill to address all areas for growth and initiate progress toward overall professional goal
  • Specific Strategies 
  1. Attend extracurricular courses to enhance knowledge in interdisciplinary care for older adults
  2. Attend extracurricular and elective courses for foundational knowledge in research statistics
  3. Complete 2 clinical rotations in settings with older adult populations
  4. Observe and participate in research projects for older adults and adults with stroke developed by UNC Chapel Hill professors Mike Lewek, PT, PhD, Carol Giuliani, PT, PhD, and Vicki Mercer, PT, PhD
  5. Work as research assistant in study with principle investigator Vicki Mercer, PT, PhD to investigate device for hamstrings stretching in older adults and individuals with neurological disorders
  6. Collaborate as co-principal investigator in research project with 2 PhD students from UNC Chapel Hill
  7. Select capstone project to combine my of working with older adults and a personal value to provide needed services to vulnerable populations
  8. Select a topic relevant to older adults for literature search and review in Evidence Based Practice II course: Physical Activity Programs in Long Term Care Facilities
  9. Volunteer with special programs and organizations to increase exposure to patients of all ages and diagnoses to improve interpersonal interactions and empathy so that my academic and research career will remain person-centered
  10. Elective course in advanced orthopedics for increased understanding of musculoskeletal tissues, orthopedic physical therapy, and PT treatment of special populations: Performance-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders of String Musicians
  11. Attend conferences and meetings to promote the profession of physical therapy including physical therapy research and patient advocacy
  • Reflective Statement Although I have loved the introduction to all aspects of physical therapy that UNC Chapel Hill offers to students, two PT specialties that I have found particularly exciting and that are closely related are neurologic and geriatric PT. Because of these interests, I have taken interdisciplinary courses outside the DPT curriculum to achieve greater insight into the psychological, practical, and political issues faced by older adults, particularly those with disabilities. A common theme that emerged in my DPT and interdisciplinary classes was the need for further investigation and understanding of the evidence behind clinical treatments and theories for older adults and people with neurological disorders.Over time, as I became more familiar with current research evidence, I discovered the enormous need for more research to support or re-analyze treatments for many injuries and medical conditions. In particular, I was encouraged by the work of several UNC Chapel Hill physical therapy faculty members who contribute to the physical therapy base of knowledge for geriatric and neurologic physical therapy.This intersection of my interests, so well fostered by my DPT program, has culminated in my decision to pursue a PhD in Human Movement Science at UNC Chapel Hill beginning in August 2014. As a future PT, researcher, and educator, I hope to contribute to the advancement of rehabilitation services available to older adults and to people with neurological conditions.



Injury Prevention Inspiration

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Scronce, Gabrielle”

  1.   Vicki Merceron 02 Jul 2014 at 4:32 pm

    Hi Gabrielle,
    I can’t emphasize enough how happy I am that you have chosen this career path! You clearly have the drive and abilities necessary to make really important contributions to the PT profession. As Casey Kasem always said, “Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.”

    Take care of yourself, keep up the good work, and have fun doing what you do!



  2.   Lisa Johnstonon 24 Jul 2014 at 3:02 am


    Thanks for sharing your accomplishments and your goals. I am very excited for you to be joining us back in the fall for your next phase of learning. You have much to contribute and it will be great to see you continue to develop. Good luck!



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