Mar 28 2023

Snyder, Courtney

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Professional Goal Statement:

Over the course of my time in the UNC DPT program, I have developed a passion for working with the neurologic population and the meaningful impact that can be made through physical therapy. I am fascinated by the neuromusculoskeletal system and its potential to adapt and recover through neuroplasticity. I truly believe that movement is medicine and I look forward to using my expertise to empower my patients on how to use movement and self-efficacy to improve their quality of life. I am eager to apply my comprehensive knowledge, clinical reasoning skills, and excellent communication to provide personalized and evidence-based care for my patients. It is my goal to take a holistic approach in my practice and promote overall well-being by taking the time to listen to my patients and being a compassionate collaborator. I strive to be a clinician who continuously learns, uplifts others, and serves my community. I have a variety of clinical experiences working with diverse conditions and all ages. I would like to continue working with a broad range of conditions to further grow as a well-rounded physical therapist, with a special interest in the neurologic population. My career goals include obtaining my vestibular certification, becoming certified in LSVT or PWR, and becoming a clinical instructor.

Career Plan:

  • Education
    • Bachelor of Science, Kinesiology, University of Virginia – December 2019
    • Doctor of Physical Therapy, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill – July 2023
  •  Clinical Rotations
    • Clinical I: Carolina Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, New Bern, NC (8 weeks)
      • Outpatient orthopedics
    • Clinical II: UNC Main Hospital, Chapel Hill, NC (8 weeks)
      • Acute care: oncology, neurology, cardiology, general medicine, trauma, and intensive care units
    • Clinical III: Theraplay Junction Inc., New Bern, NC and Jacksonville, NC (8 weeks)
      • Outpatient pediatrics
    • Clinical IV: Bodies in Balance Physical Therapy, Leland, NC (12 weeks)
      • Outpatient neurology/orthopedics
  • Student Involvement
    • Secretary of UNC Student Physical Therapy Association
    • Student Interviewer for UNC DPT Admissions
    • DPT Student Researcher in Cassidy Plasticity Lab
    • APTA Member
  • Future
    • Within one year
      • Pass NPTE in 2023
      • Graduate from UNC DPT program in July 2023
      • Become a licensed physical therapist in NC
      • Work in neurological setting (outpatient or inpatient)
      • Submit abstract for CSM 2024
    • Within 5 years
      • Obtain certification in vestibular rehabilitation
      • Become an APTA-certified clinical instructor
      • Become certified in LSVT-BIG or PWR!
    • 10 years and beyond
      • Consider obtaining Neurologic Specialist Certification
      • Continue to attend continuing education experiences for populations of interest and areas to grow in
      • Involvement in professional organizations and local advocacy groups



  • Professional behavior and attitude
  • Building relationships with patients and multidisciplinary team
  • Providing compassionate and empathetic care
  • Organization skills, attention to detail, and strong work ethic
  • Effective communication skills
  • Broad variety of experience in past clinical settings and research
  • Motivation to become an excellent clinician through life-long learning

Areas for Professional Development

  • Improving my confidence as a new clinician
  • Staying current with evidence-based practice and updated literature
  • Understanding billing, insurance, and reimbursement codes
  • Active participation in local, state, and national professional activities


  • Sit for and pass the NPTE in 2023
  • Graduate from UNC Chapel Hill with my Doctor of Physical Therapy in July 2023
  • Obtain employment in a neurological setting in NC by Fall 2023
  • Advance my clinical and professional expertise through continuing education courses and certifications (vestibular rehabilitation, LSVT-BIG, PWR, NCS, etc.) – ongoing date
  • Become a mentor for future physical therapy students as a clinical instructor by 2026

Specific Strategies:

  • Create and follow a study plan for the NPTE
  • Complete my final clinical rotation in outpatient neuro/ortho
  • Seek a job that provides mentorship and supports continuing education
  • Maintain relationships with clinical instructors, mentors, and faculty
  • Submit research abstract for CSM 2024
  • Engage in continuing education courses and attend conferences
  • Maintain APTA membership and join Neurologic section
  • Obtain APTA clinical instructor certification
  • Become involved in my local community through assisting with camps, fall prevention clinics, fitness promotion, and other service events
  • Electives
    • PHYT 875 (3 credits): Advanced Orthopedics Assessment and Intervention
    • PHYT 754 (3 credits): Research Experience
      • “Neuroimaging in Early Stroke Rehabilitation” with Dr. Jessica Cassidy
    • PHYT 870 (1 credit): Integrated Clinical Experience
      • Outpatient neurologic setting

Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion:

The components of DEI have effectively been woven throughout the UNC DPT curriculum along with additional learning opportunities. There have been many instances within the coursework that have challenged me to view case scenarios while keeping in mind social determinants of health, health literacy, and barriers to care. I have also been exposed to putting these considerations to practice during my clinical rotations. My acute care rotation was particularly eye-opening as patients from all across the state of North Carolina were admitted for care. I have been able to work with patients from many different backgrounds and personal situations, which can affect how I would focus my efforts of treatment sessions and perhaps spend more time building rapport or explaining concepts the patient may be less familiar with. Additionally, we read as a class “Blind Spot: Hidden Biases of Good People” at the beginning of the program. Although uncomfortable to realize, I became more aware of my own implicit biases and reflected on how this awareness can help me become a better physical therapist for all. Implicit biases can negatively affect health outcomes and lead to disparities, but becoming actively conscious of stereotypes and working to treat everyone as a unique individual will help me to provide improved quality of care. I am glad to have read this book at the introduction of my health education to ensure DEI would remain one of my focuses. The impact of COVID-19 on African Americans was also brought to light through attending a lecture by Dr. Damon Tweedy called “Reflections on Race and Medicine in the Year of COVID-19 and Nationwide Protests”. This reinforced the need for solutions to address inequalities for racial minorities in medicine. As a health care provider, it will be my mission to advocate for my patients, especially if they are disadvantaged. This lecture reminded me to continue to evaluate my own implicit biases and work against them. Most importantly, it is my goal to treat all of my patients with compassion and empathy.


Reflective Statement:

These past three years have flown by and I am endlessly grateful for my time at Carolina. I have grown tremendously as a person and a clinician. I have gained great knowledge, skills, and relationships that I will carry with me for the rest of my career. The UNC DPT program has provided me with an excellent foundation for which I will continue to grow. I am also very proud of my ability to overcome and rise above an unexpected health challenge, which I believe will make me an even better and empathetic physical therapist. I owe many thanks to my wonderful family, friends, classmates, clinical instructors, and faculty for supporting me to get to where I am today as a future physical therapist. I am sad that this chapter is ending soon and will fondly treasure my time in this program, but I am excited to see what the future has to hold!

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Snyder, Courtney”

  1.   Lisa Johnstonon 31 May 2023 at 9:03 pm

    Courtney- What a great job! So nice to see all your hard work over the past 3 years. You have much to be proud of. I know your journey has had some twists especially lately, but you have demonstrated strength and resilience. Congrats and good luck! Lisa


  2.   Jessica Cassidyon 12 Jul 2023 at 11:42 am

    Courtney- I’m so grateful for your presence in my lab and your willingness to get out of your comfort zone when it came to learning new research skills. I especially admire your strength and resilience as Lisa mentioned in her above comment. I’m excited to see you pursue neurologic PT, and I wish you only the very best. Please keep in touch. -Jessica


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