Summer Marquette Challenge Intern Connects with Research

Each year, the Foundation for Physical Therapy Research (FPTR) hosts a Marquette Challenge intern in the summer. Elisa Magalang joined the FPTR staff in 2022 in support of our mission and the student-led VCU-Marquette Challenge.

Ever since I was little, I knew that I wanted a career that allowed me to help people. Until high school, I wasn’t sure where that would take me. I shadowed a physical therapist the summer leading into my junior year. This life-changing experience allowed me to witness a patient walking for the first time after their incident. I went home that day and told my parents I wanted to be a physical therapist.

My dad taught me the importance of research and instilled my interest in evidence. As a student in the Marquette University physical therapy program, I heard about the student-led Marquette Challenge and knew I wanted to be  part of the initiative. Unfortunately, due to COVID, I was not able to be as involved as I wanted during my first couple of years at Marquette. When I heard about the internship at the Foundation for Physical Therapy Research (FPTR), I knew it was my chance. I was eating breakfast with my family over Thanksgiving break when I looked down at my phone and saw the acceptance email from Dr. Schindler-Ivens. I was ecstatic to say the least.

Marquette summer intern Elisa Magalang holds Marquette Challenge cup, a trophy that travels to the Challenge cohost school each year.

On my first day at FPTR, I was extremely nervous but also excited. As soon as I walked in everyone was welcoming and my nerves washed away leaving me excited to start working. FPTR and the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) continued to offer a welcoming environment throughout my internship. From conversations by the coffee machine to a “good morning” as I entered the building, I never felt like I was an outsider.

My time at FPTR has been one of the best experiences I have had during my college career. I have been able to see the behind the scenes work of the Marquette Challenge and what goes into funding research. During my first few weeks of the internship, I was focused on the June VCU-Marquette Challenge Award Ceremony. I helped create graphics, promoted the event on social media, and prepared and sent awards. I was also able to help during the ceremony by playing the prerecorded videos at their intended time in the broadcast. It was extremely gratifying to see all of our hard work come together during the ceremony and celebrating all of the hard work the students had done that year.

As I got deeper into the internship my responsibilities included creating social media content, drafting blog posts, prepping and sending out letters, logging donations, and updating documents or spreadsheets when needed. If I ever had any questions or problems with these tasks the entire FPTR team was extremely helpful.

The 12 weeks flew by. I am so grateful to everyone at FPTR for making it such a great experience and furthering my passion for research. I am in awe of the fact that FPTR has awarded over $20 million in grants, fellowships, and scholarships. I am a firm believer that research is needed to better the physical therapy profession and the quality of care for patients. I will always be thankful for the opportunity to give forward to my future profession. Although my time at FPTR is over, my involvement with the Foundation and the Marquette Challenge is not. I cannot wait to take everything I have learned here and apply it as a Marquette Challenge Coordinator and in my future career.

The Marquette Challenge is a grassroots, student-led fundraising effort that supports the mission of the Foundation for Physical Therapy Research (FPTR). 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 United States. These fundraisers make FPTR grants, scholarships, and fellowships possible.


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