Spotlight - Samantha Mackey
Describe your career path from graduation to your current position.
At the height of a global pandemic and graduating during it in May 2020, I was lucky enough to transition to my dream setting of outpatient pediatrics and Early Intervention here in Evansville. My one year here at CPT is coming up and I'm loving it.
What are you passionate about in your work?
When creating our mission and vision statements at the end of 3rd year, I landed on “Mobilize the vulnerable, mobilize the world”. Low socioeconomic status, medically underserved, cultural diversity, and post-trauma were all a key part of my clinical experiences. But there is perhaps no demographic more vulnerable than a child. I go to work every day knowing I’m mobilizing one of the most vulnerable yet world-changing population I know: kids. I have special interest areas in post-traumatic recovery in pediatric TBIs and adolescent low back pain.
How did the UE PT experience help shape your success?
UEDPT is of the highest caliber in education, and not just in teaching necessary material to you, but also instilling a lifetime hunger for educating yourself and others as a future clinician. I had the opportunity to lecture in one of my own professor’s PhD dissertation courses, and even make small changes in 1st year curriculum with my cohort. As much as I like to stay, I’m done studying/being a student, that hunger just doesn’t go away.
Learning systematic screening was huge as well. In peds and physical therapy in general, you’re constantly asking “Am I missing anything here?” and that inquisitive nature is cultivated through UEDPT’s love for evaluating the whole patient, which you could argue is what has made the profession the doctoral level it is today.
Advice for current DPT students?
Be open. The summer before my 3rd year, I swore off ever doing peds because I didn’t think I was good enough for a specialty area, nor was I head over heels for the setting. But it only took 8 weeks of clinical and a little coursework in my final didactic semester for me to recognize it was my perfect fit. It only takes one patient to complete 180 your career plan, and make you finally realize why those long hard years are worth it.
Anything else you would like to share about the profession or your UE experience?
Physical therapy is one of the most rewarding medical professions out there. It’s a long road to get a couple letters after your name, but it’s rewarded with moments where you get to be a part of changing people’s lives. I appreciate how UEDPT has both strategically prepared me for those moments and joyfully celebrated them when they happened.