Apr 27 2020

Collins, Amy

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Professional Goal Statement:

After graduating as a Doctor of Physical Therapy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I hope to establish myself as a compassionate and dedicated therapist working with the neurologic population. My secondary areas of interest include athletics, prosthetics, and pediatrics. While my scope of interest is broad, I intend to optimize my skillset and augment my ability to treat patients by seeking additional specialized certifications, assisting with research studies, and investing the time to improve my Spanish-speaking skills. The unique combination of vestibular disorders, complex orthopedic injuries, spinal cord injuries, and amputations within the military population has inspired me to begin my job search within the Veterans Affairs system. My wide range of interests also reminds me that I would like to work in a variety of settings during my first several years as a therapist to diversify the injuries and conditions with which I can evaluate and treat prior to finding and settling into my “dream job,” whatever that may be. It is still too early to tell!

Career Plan:


  •  Bachelor of Science in Health and Exercise Science, Minor in Neuroscience; Wake Forest University: May 2017
  • Begin DPT program at UNC: August 2017
  • Begin role as research assistant and research coordinator for STEP for MS research study under Dr. Prue Plummer: April 2018
  • Begin role as an MS STEP UP scholar: June 2018
  • Outpatient Orthopedic Clinical Affiliation – Southeastern Orthopedic Specialists in Greensboro, NC: June-August 2018
  • Outpatient Neuro Clinical Affiliation – The International Multiple Sclerosis Management Practice in New York, NY: March-April 2019
  • Acute Care Clinical Affiliation – UNC Hospital: May-June 2019
  • Attend Annual CMSC Conference in Seattle, WA: May 2019
  • Present at Grand Rounds as an MS STEP UP scholar: January 2020
  • Complete Capstone project aimed at improving and updating MS STEP UP: April 2020

(To be completed)

  • Outpatient Neuro Clinical Affiliation – Duke Lenox Baker in Durham, NC: June-July 2020
  • Sit for and pass the National Physical Therapy Examination: July 29, 2020
  • Earn my Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from UNC-Chapel Hill: August 1, 2020
  • Begin working in an outpatient clinic: neuro, orthopedics, or pediatrics (or within the VA): Fall 2020
  • Publish a review paper with Amelia Cain under the guidance and leadership of Dr. Jessica Cassidy: Summer/Fall 2020
  • Become certified in LSVT-BIG: Fall 2020
  • Present at one or more conferences: Fall-Spring 2020-2021
  • Continue to participate in MS STEP UP
  • Earn Multiple Sclerosis Certified Specialist (MSCS) certification: Spring-Summer 2021
  • Obtain Vestibular Rehabilitation Certification: Summer-Fall 2021
  • Become an APTA-certified clinical instructor: Fall-Spring 2022
  • Sit for Neurologic Certified Specialist (NCS) exam: Fall 2024
  • Attend continuing education seminars pertinent to the populations I treat including CMSC



  • Time management skills
  • Adaptability in unpredictable or ambiguous situations
  • Creative problem-solving
  • Organization and scheduling
  • Communication
  • Professionalism
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Compassionate
  • Strong background in evaluating and treating individuals with MS and other neurological conditions
  • Motivated to pursue learning opportunities throughout my career
  • Strong clinical reasoning
  • Experience presenting to students, faculty, and clinicians
  • Strong background in clinical research with human subjects

Areas for Professional Development

  • Clinical experience
  • Lack of experience writing letters of medical necessity
  • Minimal knowledge of medical terminology in Spanish
  • Poster presentations
  • Lack of knowledge of and experience advocating for the physical therapy profession
  • Writing research articles
  • Confidence as a leader and young clinician
  • Creating time to consistently perform research to improve my treatment and evaluative skills
  • Billing, coding, and reimbursement policies


Special Areas of Interest: Outpatient Neurologic Rehabilitation (neuro, athletics, prosthetics, and pediatrics)

  1. Take and pass the NPTE: July 29, 2020
  2. Graduate from the DPT program at UNC-Chapel Hill: August 1, 2020
  3. Obtain my first job as an outpatient therapist: Summer-Fall 2020
  4. Advance my clinical and professional expertise through several continuing education courses and specialized certifications (e.g., LSVT-BIG, MSCS, NCS, Vestibular Rehabilitation Specialist)
  5. Publish a co-authored review paper with Amelia Cain: Fall 2020
  6. Obtain my first job as a research assistant or research coordinator for a study within my scope of interest

Specific Strategies for Addressing My Development Needs and Interests:

  • Create a strict and organized study schedule to optimize NPTE preparation
  • Develop NPTE Study Group with Classmates
  • Maintain relationships with current and previous clinical instructors for assistance with advice and guidance on professional development
  • Attend continuing education courses, lectures, and conferences to network with other professionals and update my knowledge on the latest evidence-based research
  • Complete my final clinical rotation in outpatient neuro
  • Use connections and personal references to assist with my job search and the application process
  • Seek a mentorship with an experienced physical therapist at my first job to ensure ease with the transition, to continue my growth as an entry-level clinician, and to hone in my confidence and skillset
  • Complete and study pre-requisites to sit for and obtain my MSCS
  • Seek out a research position within the field of neuro physical therapy

Coursework and Capstone:

Fall 2019 Electives

  • PHYT 875 (3 credits): Advanced Orthopedics Assessment and Intervention
  • PHYT 870 (1 credit): Integrated Clinical Experience

Spring 2020 Electives

  • PHYT 754 (2 credits): Research Experience

Product Examples

  • Capstone Project – Advanced Patient Case Modules in Multiple Sclerosis for MS STEP UP


  • Advanced Orthopedics Assessment (PHYT 875) – Final Paper: “Ankle and Knee Joint Contractures in Neurologically-Involved Populations”


  • CAT Research Assignment: “Is vestibular rehabilitation or standard balance training more effective in reducing the frequency of falls and improving balance and fatigue in ambulatory adults with relapse-remitting or progressive multiple sclerosis?”



It is not a simple thing to earn a doctoral degree in physical therapy. There are countless twists and turns to the journey, some expected, some not, (e.g., waitressing part-time, a father’s open-heart surgery, a global pandemic) that complicate the already-demanding coursework, high standards, and all-consuming nature of graduate school. However, it is the perseverance through difficult times and trying situations alongside classmates who became friends and are soon to be my colleagues that I am most proud of. It has been an honor to have learned from and alongside the students, clinicians, and professors at UNC.

The MS STEP UP track provided me with opportunities, experiences, and connections that changed and advanced my road to becoming a physical therapist in all the best ways. It was through MS STEP UP and the countless experiences that came from it that I was able to co-complete a comprehensive Capstone project that continues to give back to the program I credit most of my knowledge and confidence in neuro PT. This program in combination with four incredible clinical affiliations has left me excited and determined to pave an evidence-based, compassionate, holistic, and dedicated path as a Doctor of Physical Therapy come August 1st.

I am forever grateful for my advisors, faculty, clinical instructors, classmates, and family who have stood by and supported me throughout these past three years. I hope to one day give back to this school and to future physical therapy students as a highly experienced clinician, clinical instructor, and researcher.


3 responses so far

3 Responses to “Collins, Amy”

  1.   Lisa Johnstonon 11 May 2020 at 8:34 pm

    Amy: I am so excited to see your portfolio. It is great to see some of your hard work collected in this one place. It has been a pleasure to get to know you over these 3 years. You have much to offer the profession, I am looking forward to seeing what is in your future. good luck to you! Lisa


  2.   Vicki Merceron 01 Jul 2020 at 1:03 am

    Amy – Great job on your portfolio! Your passion for and commitment to the PT profession really shine through. I’ve enjoyed working with you during your time in the program and I look forward to seeing your future accomplishments. I know you’ll do great things!



  3.   Jessica Cassidyon 01 Jul 2020 at 11:29 am


    Beautiful reflection and impressive portfolio. It has been a true pleasure working with both you and Amelia these past several months. I’ve admired your work ethic and ability to adapt when our intended independent study plans changed. Please keep in touch and let me know how I can help you maintain some “research fun” in your busy life. Congratulations.

    Take care,



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