Challenge School Takes Most Creative Award with Poster Fundraiser

Each year, hundreds of physical therapist (PT) and physical therapist assistant (PTA) students, with the support of their program directors and community, hold fundraising events across the country for the Marquette Challenge. Although there is a friendly competition between schools, participation at any level is what matters. In fact, schools can earn prizes and recognition for fundraising totals as well as special awards for creativity and novel participation.

Timothy Otsby

The University of South Dakota (USD) received the Most Creative Award for their poster fundraiser in the 2021-2022 VCU-Marquette Challenge. Their efforts included a competition in which participants created a poster and presented a research report, special interest report, case study report, or theory report. Attendees voted to determine the winner of the poster competition.

Students from USD were eager to share their steps to encourage other schools to hold similar successful fundraisers.

9 Steps to Hold a Successful Poster Competition

  1. Invite participants: The USD Marquette Challenge coordinators worked with their student committee and faculty mentor to determine the invitation list. In addition, they reached out to the South Dakota Chapter and other PT professionals for support.
  1. Determine the incentive: The USD team determined the winner would receive CEU’s and a trophy for receiving the most votes. Please note: If you choose to have CEU’s, you must discuss with the appropriate organization within your state to determine how many CEU’s is appropriate for the providers to receive upon completion.
  1. Choose the mode: There’s benefit to holding this type of fundraiser both in-person and virtually. This year, USD opted to do an online version where participants recorded themselves presenting their findings. This eliminated the cost of a printed poster and travel.
  1. Develop guidelines: The USD team developed guidelines for the abstract, poster, and presentation to ensure there was consistency across all presentations and submission expectations. In addition, a form was created for the team to check off that the guidelines were met.
  1. Create a landing page: Information was centralized on the USD PT Research website for presenters to access links that described how to participate, how to donate, and where participants could ask questions.
  1. Promote the event: The USD team created a flyer that was shared on social media pages and sent to all students, faculty/staff, and the South Dakota Chapter members to encourage participation.
  2. Collecting donations: Participants were asked to send their abstract submission with a $25 Marquette Challenge donation receipt. A link was provided for participants and supporters to donate additional funds if they wanted.
  1. Gathering video submissions: Once the submission deadline passed, participants were notified of their acceptance and instructed to create a digital presentation via Mp4 file. The USD team gathered these files and uploaded them to the website for voting.
  1. Voting process: USD students and PTs were encouraged to watch the presentations and given a rubric to vote on their favorites. The votes were then put into a Qualtrics survey for easy data extraction and identification a winner.

Congratulations, Dr. Timothy Otsby, PT, DPT, CSCS [pictured] and Matt Dewald, PT, DPT, OCS, SCS for their presentation, “A Comprehensive Rehabilitation Program of a Youth Female Athlete Following an Iliac Crest Avulsion Fracture: A Resident’s Case Report.” To review all the submissions in USD’s poster competition, please visit

The students who give forward to the profession through the annual student-led Challenge are the future leaders in physical therapy. Congratulations to USD on their successful event and the Most Creative Award!


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