The Illinois Physical Therapy Foundation (IPTF) granted Elgin Community College physical therapist assistant program student Natalia Martinez the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Scholarship. The IPTF, along with the Illinois Physical Therapist Association (IPTA), provides the DEI scholarship to recognize the importance of promoting greater diversity within the physical therapy profession to better serve the residents of Illinois and its members.
“As a first-generation Latina student, graduating from high school is not common, and going to college for a health care degree is for the most ambitious, to say the least,” said Martinez. “Getting this scholarship has not only helped me financially but gives me a platform to inspire others like me. El primer pasó no te lleva a donde quieres ir, pero te saca de donde estas (The first step doesn't take you where you want to go, but takes you out of where you are).”
The DEI Scholarship is offered to physical therapy and physical therapist assistant students in the last year of their program and current Illinois Physical Therapy Association (IPTA) members. Students that received the scholarship were awarded a one-time stipend of $1,500 and one-time funding for APTA/IPTA membership renewal.
“Natalia has been active in the Illinois Physical Therapy Association’s Student Special Interest Group, serving as a leader and giving voice to student physical therapist assistants,” said Kim Tarver, PT, MPH, professor of physical therapist assistant. “She is passionate about expanding diversity and inclusion in this profession, taking it to the next level by running for IPTA District Representative, a position she is running for after she graduates and passes her licensure exam. ECC’s PTA program has earned a solid reputation because of our graduates' success, and Natalia’s recognition is a perfect example.”
For more information on the ECC’s PTA program, visit elgin.edu/pta.