Apr 06 2022

Knoll, Mary Grace

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Professional Goal Statements

  • My ultimate goal is to provide the best possible, patient centered care for each individual patient I come across in my career. More specifically, upon graduation from UNC Chapel Hill, I intend to obtain a full-time position as a physical therapist in an outpatient orthopedics setting, working with a diverse population of all ages, abilities, and various orthopedic diagnoses I hope to continue my education to further learn and gain experience and expertise in my clinical area, seeking mentors along the way to help achieve this goal.


Career Plan

  • Past accomplishments
    • Education
      • University of Saint Thomas, Bachelor of Science, Exercise Science 2019
      • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Doctor of Physical Therapy 2022
    • Clinical Rotations
      • UNC Chapel Hill Main Hospital (Fall/Winter 2020)
        • Acute care predominantly Hematology and Oncology
      • Cincinnati Sports Medicine/Mercy Health (Spring 2021)
        • Outpatient Orthopedics with heavy complex post-operative population
      • TheraPlay Junction (Spring 2021)
        • Outpatient pediatrics
      • Athletico Physical Therapy (Summer 2022)
        • Outpatient orthopedics, diverse patient population and large direct access
      • Publications
        • Lead author of publication accepted 2019 in International Journal of Exercise Science
      • Grants
        • Rheumatology Research Foundation Medical Student Preceptor Recipient 2021-2022
      • Future
        • Within the year
          • Graduate from UNC DPT program July 2022
          • Pass NPTE in July 2022
          • Become licensed therapist
          • Work in an outpatient orthopedics and/or sports setting
        • Within 5 years
          • Become a certified orthopedic clinical specialist
          • Become a clinical instructor
        • 10 years and beyond
          • Become involved with a university DPT program, helping teach while remaining predominately clinical



  • Strengths
    • Communication
    • Organization
    • Effective team member
    • Problem solver
  • Areas for professional developments
    • Legal and political advocacy for the profession
    • Learning to be more adaptable, changing and adjusting on the fly
    • Working towards and maintaining work/school life balance



  • Graduation from UNC DPT Program July 2022
  • Pass NPTE board exam July 2022
  • Obtain a full-time position as an outpatient physical therapist Summer/Fall 2022
  • Become an orthopedic certified clinical specialist
  • Become a clinical instructor
  • Become a faculty clinician affiliated with a University DPT program


Specific Strategies

  • Follow specific study plan to pass NPTE board exam
  • Reach out to employers, submit applications, and interview to obtain a job
  • Find clinical mentorship to build clinical practice and orthopedic knowledge
  • Study and continuing educational courses to help obtain OCS




Capstone Project

  • Physical Activity Promotion Following Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction (ACLR)
  • April 2022
  • Primary advisor:
    • Louise Thoma, DPT, PhD
  • Secondary Advisors:
    • Caroline Lisee, PhD, ATC
    • Marie Clark, PT, DPT


Third Year Electives

  • Fall 2021
    • Advanced Orthopedics
      • Deeper dive into orthopedics specifics
      • Joints, tissue healing, and treatment
    • Research Experience
      • Worked with Dr. Louise Thoma, DPT, PhD on ambulation following ACLR in relation PTOA
  • Spring 2022
    • Teaching Assistant Musculoskeletal 1
      • Formulated and led lecture presentation on rotator cuff tear and subacromial impingement
      • Hands on instruction in lab based components of MSK
    • Sports Elective
      • Enhanced education on working with athletic population, returning to sport and optional examination and treatment of this population


Research Experience

  • Rheumatology Research Foundation Medical Preceptorship Recipient
  • Research assistant to Dr. Louise Thoma, DPT, PhD conducting research for physical activity following ACLR in relation to post-traumatic osteoarthritis


Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

  • Now, more than ever, as a person and a health care provider, being an active advocate of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion throughout all aspects of our life and care are of the utmost important and priority. Being in the position of a provider, advocating for patients and change to ensure these aspects are being upheld not only in our places of work, but outside the clinic is a necessity. These disparities and lack of initiative have only been magnified with the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Race and Medicine in a Covid Year, Dr. Tweedy
    • This was an eye-opening presentation from an accomplished and interesting individual, Dr. Tweedy. One thing he said that was particularly interesting and something that resonated with me was his idea that once he got into medical school and part of the reason that he wanted to go is because he thought that it was “objective”. This was something that I did not realize was a thought that I believe I had until he said it, which was ignorant. I just thought once you’re in medicine, you care about science, and you care about people. Those are two things in my head that did not equate to racism so I believed that that environment wouldn’t be as conducive to racism as the rest of the country and world would be due to those factors being the most important to health care individuals. I am very analytical, fact based so to me this would only make sense. It was very interesting to hear him say the same thing. But in thinking this way, it’s part of the problem because you would become passive. It is clear there is systemic racism is very present within the healthcare system today.
    • Along with the idea that because we share these mutual beliefs in helping people so we would assume the racism isn’t as big of an issue, it also can cause people to have “blinders” on. As health care providers we can also think of race and ethnicity and just another piece to the patient that we are factoring into the rest of their subjective and information. It’s more matter of fact in just adding to their signs and symptoms just adding up to a diagnosis and/or treatment. Dr. Tweedy gave an example of a black child that went a while without being diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis due to it predominately being prevalent in white people. This is just an example of not addressing individuals as a whole person, and not just as a matter of fact. Along with this, there’s just not enough education in health care professional’s schooling about how things may look or present differently in people of color. All integumentary system issues, or cyanosis, or burns, etc., these things look different with different pigmentations. I can say that in my textbooks, I have not seen photos of these things in people of color. Things like the pulse ox inherently don’t work on people of colors hands. To me, that is just crazy to think that we haven’t fixed that. It truly just becomes evident that these small things that we don’t address in schooling, then transition with us as we become practicing clinicians and then it’s a difficult thing to change.
    • Another interesting thing to me was when an individual that was present at the talk asked a question about how to handle taking stances on a lot of potentially controversial and “triggering” things to patients and other providers around you as health care providers are supposed to be “neutral” and just help all who need it. His response to this was exactly what I think it should be. These things such as black lives matter and expanding Medicare to allow healthcare for all aren’t political. In many cases, he says, they’re a matter of life and death. This is something that I did find very powerful. We do need to stand up for these issues and take a solid stance on them because when it comes down to it, they are life and death situations to many individuals.


Reflective Statement

  • Throughout my past 3 years at UNC, I have grown a tremendous amount professionally and personally. Moving to North Carolina without knowing anyone in the state was a leap of faith, but one I am so glad I have made. I have made amazing connections, expanded my knowledge of physical therapy immensely, and made a lot of personal growth along the way. Navigating all these aspects while completing schooling during the Covid-19 pandemic has created amongst the most challenging yet rewarding experience of my life. I would not have made it through this experience without the support of my wonderful classmates and our faculty. This program has given me so much, but the most important being a wonderful education in the world of physical therapy for me to make a difference in the everyday lives of patient, as well as a passion in me to continue to be the progression as a whole and myself as a clinician every day. I am so grateful to have been a part of this program and have incredibly established and future clinicians to collaborate with for the entirety of my career moving forward.

One response so far

One Response to “Knoll, Mary Grace”

  1.   Lisa Johnstonon 06 Jun 2022 at 10:17 am

    Mary Grace
    I am excited to see all your hard work. You have definitely adjusted to many changes throughout the program. You have been so open to trying new things even when it isn’t really clear how it will go. This ability will serve you well throughout your career. Good luck to you I know you will do great! Lisa


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