May 01 2018

Andrea Stewart

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Professional Goal 

My goal is to practice evidence-based physical therapy and continually develop expertise in treating the geriatric population and people with multiple sclerosis (MS) and other neurological conditions. Through my involvement in the MS STEP UP fellowship program at UNC, unique clinical rotations, and exceptional mentoring, I’ve been able to work towards my goal of working with patients of various neurological conditions, including MS, Parkinson disease, and stroke. Within a few years of graduating, I aim to become certified as a Neurologic Clinical Specialist (NCS). I also intend to continue my studies in MS and become certified as an MS Certified Specialist (MSCS). To further supplement my training in these areas, I am considering applying for a residency in either neurology or geriatrics.

Career Plan

  • Complete modules for completion of MS STEP UP fellowship program: July 2018
  • Obtain Doctorate of Physical Therapy degree from University of NC, Chapel Hill: August 2018
  • Take the NCBPTE licensure exam: October 2018
  • Secure a job where I will have the opportunity to work with geriatric and patients with neurological impairments: December 2018
  • Take LSVT BIG course and become certified to treat Parkinson disease patients with this intervention: August 2019
  • Apply to neurology or geriatric residency programs: 2019
  • Complete residency and find a job in a more specialized setting of geriatrics/neurology: 2020
  • Become credentialed as a Clinical Instructor to supervise and mentor PT students: 2021
  • Study for and take The MS Certified Specialist examination: 2021
  • Study for and take Geriatric specialty exam or Neurology specialty exam: 2022
  • Teach part of course for DPT curriculum at Duke or UNC: 2023



  • PhD research background (in biology and neuroscience)
  • Participation in the MS STEP UP scholarship program at UNC, which has increased my knowledge and skill set in working with individuals with MS
  • Excellent communication skills with both patients and colleagues
  • Motivation for continued learning experiences and professional education and development

Areas for Professional Development

  • Time management skills when conducting evaluations
  • Expanding my intervention tool box for complex neurology patients
  • More detailed knowledge of Medicare/Medicaid policies and billing rules
  • Become more active in APTA and local NC chapter


  • Graduate with my DPT from UNC, Chapel Hill in August 2018
  • Sufficiently prepare for and pass the national board examination in October 2018
  • Obtain my license to practice physical therapy in the state of NC
  • Secure my first job with an organized mentorship program to help further my professional development and interests in neurology and geriatrics
  • Become credentialed as a certified specialist of multiple sclerosis and neurology

Specific Strategies

  • Utilize my professional network and references to help obtain employment in a clinical setting in the triangle area of NC
  • Maintain my relationships with my advisor/mentor(s) to continue to develop my clinical and professional skills and values
  • Engage in a variety of continuing education opportunities, such as LSVT BIG training, to increase my skill set and marketability
  • Regularly attend professional conferences, such as the NCPTA annual conference and CMSC to stay up to date on current practices and further my professional development

Product Examples

Samples of my work that illustrate progress towards my professional goals include the following:

  • A Powerpoint presentation on MS and a patient case, co-presented with Jess Anderson for Grand Rounds at UNC
  • A Critically Appraised Topic compared and analyzed exercise-based therapy alone and that which incorporates functional electric stimulation (FES) on patient-perceived walking improvements in people with MS who experience foot-drop
  • My capstone project investigated clinician perspectives of walking treatments and decision making for patients with MS.

Gathering of MS STEP UP scholars and alumni at CMSC 2018

Reflective statement

The past three years of working towards my DPT in the UNC Physical Therapy program has been more challenging and rewarding than I ever could have anticipated. As a wife and mother of 2 young boys, I had to learn to give the best of myself to school and my family, and through this experience I have learned how to manage family time and obligations with work commitments and constant deadlines. I’m far from achieving the perfect work-family life balance, but by remaining committed to both aspects of my life over these past three years, I am more deeply connected with my passion for physical therapy and desire to facilitate the optimal health of both my patients and my family.

While at UNC, I have been surrounded by incredible faculty, peers, and mentors, including the MS STEP UP volunteer leadership team. I am particularly grateful for the opportunities provided by MS STEP UP; I have had numerous opportunities to engage with and treat people with MS and network and train with MS health professionals. I have enjoyed attending the Consortium of MS Centers (CMSC) national conference where I was able to co-present a poster in 2017. I have become more knowledgeable about MS and have been able to co-lead the Free From Falls program and co-present in Grand Rounds. Another experience that has shaped my professional interests was participating in a service trip to Guatemala where I was able to collaborate with their PTs to treat older adults at a local hospital and help run community health fairs.

I look forward to beginning my career as a physical therapist and continuing to develop my interests and build collaborative relationships by staying involved with MS STEP UP, the MS Society, NCPTA, and APTA.


One response so far

One Response to “Andrea Stewart”

  1.   Lisa Johnstonon 18 Jun 2018 at 10:26 am

    Andrea: Thanks for your portfolio work. You have done a great job representing your work and goals. I know you will do great things! Good luck to you. Lisa


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