Apr 27 2020

McClure, Conor

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Professional Goal Statement

“We’re here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise, why else even be here?”

It has always been my goal – both personally and professionally – to serve as an agent of positive change. As a future healthcare provider, I am blessed to be in a position to maximize human well-being and minimize human suffering. Now more than ever, our medical system is primed to welcome young, passionate clinicians and researchers to help solve our modern healthcare crises. I am excited to soon be able to call myself one of those #HealthcareHeroes.

As a physical therapist, I hope to lead by example. I will serve as a champion of rigorous evidence-based practice; I will serve as an educator, not only to my patients and peers, but also through work as a clinical instructor and academician; and I use every tool at my disposal to advocate for positive and progressive change, both politically and societally, to allow for our healthcare system to offer the best possible outcomes and experience.

My ultimate goal is to follow these passions into future lines of research, completing a PhD and establishing myself as a leading researcher and research faculty member. I hope to explore social and psychological determinants of health-related and pain-related behaviors and beliefs across the lifespan and how to affect change at the community, societal, and global levels.


Career Plan

  • Academics:
    • Bachelor of Science in Music Industry Studies at Appalachian State University, 2014
      • Specializations: Music Management and Marketing, Piano
      • Minor: General Business
    • Doctor of Physical Therapy at University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, 2020
  • Clinical Rotations:
    • #1: Mills River Physical Therapy, Mills River, NC
      • Outpatient Orthopedics
      • General population
    • #2: UNC Hospital, Chapel Hill, NC
      • Acute Care
      • Emphases: Oncology, Cardiopulmonary, Neurology
    • #3: Brunswick Physical Therapy, Wilmington, NC
      • Outpatient Pediatrics
      • Day care and school system
      • Home health
      • Educational In-service: Idiopathic Toe Walking
    • #4: Raleigh Orthopaedic Performance Center, Raleigh, NC
      • Outpatient Orthopedics
      • Athletics and Sports Performance
  • Future Clinical Practice:
    • Practice as full-time physical therapist clinician in the state of North Carolina for at least 2 years immediately post-graduation
      • Outpatient sports performance and orthopedics
      • Outpatient pediatrics
    • Become clinical instructor for DPT students
  • Long Term Professional Goals:
    • Identify line of research, advisor, and university to pursue PhD
      • Health Behavior, social determinants of health
      • Cognitive neuroscience, psychology and behavioral science
    • Join academia and obtain faculty position at a research university



Personal and Professional Strengths

  • Strong verbal and non-verbal communication; rapport-building and establishing working and personal relationships with peers and patients
  • Public speaking, presenting, and teaching
  • Efficient writing and vocabulary; technologically-literate
  • Strong attention to detail and thorough, analytical thought processes; absorption and synthesis of facts and details, understanding and integrating concepts at the micro- and macro-level
  • Diverse and well-rounded skills and interests
  • Tolerance for ambiguity and gray areas; adaptable

Areas for Personal and Professional Development

  • Tendency for burnout; establishing a healthy work/life balance
  • Time management and organization
  • Concise and adaptable delivery of scientific and medical information to various populations and literacy levels
  • Frequently seeking unique stimuli and easily bored
  • Self-confidence, voicing opinions, engaging in difficult conversations, and standing up for oneself
  • “Stretching myself too thin;” prioritization and delegation



  • Pass the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) and become a licensed physical therapist (July, 2020)
  • Graduate the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (August, 2020)
  • Practice clinically in the state of North Carolina for at least two years (2020 – 2022)
  • Complete and submit Capstone manuscript for publication in a peer-reviewed journal (2020)
  • Become clinical instructor for DPT students if still practicing in clinic (~2023)
  • Apply for PhD program (~2022-2023)
  • Complete PhD (~2027-2028)
  • Other:
    • OCS, SCS, and/or CSCS certifications
    • Adjunct / guest lecturer, grand rounds presenter for local DPT program
    • Present at CSM or similar national / state PT conference(s)


Specific strategies

  • Establish and follow study plan for NPTE in July
  • Continue to engage in frequent and deliberate communication and networking strategies with various professional connections, faculty, clinicians, and peers
  • Become more active with APTA and section membership
  • Continue to brainstorm and mindfully investigate and consolidate research interests for future PhD pursuits
  • Take advantage of final rotation to address areas of professional growth (e.g., time management and organization, self-confidence)


Capstone, Products, and Elective / Extracurriculars


The Influence of Background and External Exposures on Non-Cognitive Traits in Doctor of Physical Therapy Applicants

  • A literature review (.pdf) examining the available research on topics including the relationship between non-cognitive traits and academic and professional performance in healthcare fields, the relative contributions of genetics and environment to the personality development, associations between various individual characteristics (e.g., age, socioeconomic status) and non-cognitive traits, and more.
  • A PowerPoint presentation (.pdf) which summarizes our research project’s methods, results, and additional topics of discussion.
  • An abstract, manuscript draft, and poster presentation to be completed later in 2020 for eventual submission for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

Evidence-Based Practice II

  • Final Product: Critically Appraised Topic (CAT)
  • Clinical Question: In a 25-year-old athlete with a history of ACL injury, do deep squats or shallow squats impose less tensile and shear stress on the tibiofemoral joint and ACL?
  • CAT document (.pdf)

Topics in Health and Wellness Promotion

Advanced Orthopedic Assessment and Treatment (Fall 2019 Elective)

DPT Teacher/Scholar (Elective)

  • Teaching assistant for first year DPT course: Musculoskeletal I: PT Intervention
  • Provided didactic and laboratory education to first year DPT students, assisting in hands-on and practical coursework during twice-weekly class sessions
  • Formatted and presented lecture material on selected topic (low back pain and lumbar pathology)

North Carolina Service Learning Trip (Spring 2020 Elective)

  • Joined students and faculty from the Schools of Nursing and Physical Therapy on an interdisciplinary service trip to Tyrrell County in eastern North Carolina during Spring Break of 2020.
  • Explored social determinants of health, performed service activities in collaboration with community partners, and assisted with planning, implementation, and evaluation of health promotion activities.
  • Assumed leadership roles in organizing and managing fundraising and donation collection efforts and a health and falls screening at a senior center. Assisted with activities at local elementary and high schools, an arts and crafts center, a food bank, and more.

Independent Research Study (Fall 2019 Elective)

  • Completed as adjunct to Capstone project under Dr. Deborah Givens, PT, DPT, PhD

Additional Roles, Honors, and Extracurriculars

  • Ran for second year Student Physical Therapy Association (SPTA) Vice President role
  • Elected Student Physical Therapy Association (SPTA) Third Year Representative
  • Inaugural Student Speaker for class of 2022 Professionalism Ceremony
  • Interviewed candidates for UNC DPT class of 2021 and class of 2022
  • Attended Combined Sections Meeting (CSM) 2019



They say roller coasters are a great metaphor for life, and for good reason. There are ups and downs, twists and turns, screams, laughs, tears, smiles, and occasionally a deadly malfunction. It seems to last forever but is over before you know it. And when it’s all said and done, you wish you could do it again.

By all accounts, these past three years of physical therapy school have been a roller coaster of Formula Rossa caliber. I often reflect on just how much of a miracle it is that I’ve made it this far. During my time here at the University of North Carolina, I experienced the lowest of lows and highest of highs. I’ve survived the most humbling of failures and most gratifying successes. I’ve made friendships that will last a lifetime, witnessed relationships blossom and crumble, and connected with colleagues, professors, and peers on a level I never thought possible. I even made it through a pandemic! Truly, I wouldn’t trade these years for anything.

This program has afforded me opportunities to explore all of my passions. I fell in love with, then fell out of love with, then came to terms with my decade-long interest in biomechanics and orthopedics. I fulfilled my mother’s longstanding wish that I would follow in her footsteps and work in pediatrics. And perhaps most notably, I became smitten with the scientific method, academia, and teaching. I blossomed in leadership roles and watched as my once-fragile self-esteem gave way to a confident and competent leader and role model. As I sit here writing this mere months from graduation, I realize that my experience in this program has shaped me into the man I’ve always wanted to be.

I am thankful to all of the faculty, clinicians, instructors, and mentors who have helped me along the way. I am thankful to my family who eventually came around to me abruptly switching careers from music to medicine. Most of all, I am thankful for my classmates in the UNC DPT Class of 2020. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of rascals to accompany me on this wild ride.

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “McClure, Conor”

  1.   Debbyon 30 Jun 2020 at 7:37 pm

    Conor, you have summed up your reflections quite nicely, as usual. I enjoyed collaborating with you on your capstone and we will need to pursue getting the finalized product together for publication. I look forward to your return to get your PhD in public health!


  2.   Lisa Johnstonon 01 Jul 2020 at 3:43 pm

    Conor: I am so happy to get to see your plans and work. You have done much while you are here! I also greatly appreciate your reflection. Much has happened in 3 years for sure! Good luck to you, very glad you are a Tar Heel! Lisa


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