Sydney Neumann DPT ’22 Recognized with Mary McMillan Award

Pacific University's Physical Therapy (PT) Program, faculty, staff, students and alumni, are overjoyed to recognize Sydney Neumann DPT '22 for receiving the Mary McMillan Award. The award is the highest and most distinguished honor granted to a graduate of any physical therapy or physical therapist assistant (PTA) program in the nation by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). This particular award recognizes students within one year of completing all requirements for graduation who exhibit superior scholastic ability and potential for future professional contribution. She was one of only six individuals across the nation recognized with this coveted accolade in 2022. Sydney

Upon receiving this award, Neumann shared: "I am honored to be selected as a recipient of this year's Mary McMillan Award and represent Pacific University. My involvement in the APTA was one of the highlights of my student career and I am excited to see where my passions and interests lead me as I begin my professional career as a physical therapist. I am extremely grateful to my mentors at Pacific who encouraged and supported me throughout my time as a student. I know this is just the beginning of what I hope to be a long and fulfilling career in the PT profession."

She is genuinely deserving of this award, as the entirety of her graduate education at Pacific has been defined by excellence. Her contributions to bolster the PT program and the profession were consistent and genuinely diverse. Her influence as a capable and accomplished leader cannot be overlooked. Most impressively, the bulk of her achievements occurred during the global pandemic at which time she exhibited a remarkable ability to identify and pursue opportunities to strengthen the PT profession in the midst of very unique circumstances.

From 2019 to 2022, Neumann served as a Student Ambassador for the PT program and worked as a graduate research assistant under Professor Tzurei Chen. Their collaborative work, along with other members of Neumann’s graduate student cohort, culminated in two peer-reviewed presentations. First, she disseminated a virtual presentation at the APTA–Oregon annual conference in March 2021, "Effect of Age and Fall Histories on Turn Characteristics during the Turning Phase of the Timed Up and Go Test." More recently, she contributed to a national lecture "Center of Mass Control during Turning in Older Adults With and Without Fall Histories," which was hosted during the Combined Sections Meeting (CSM) in February 2022. 

She was an active participant in professional endeavors at the state level, and held three appointed positions over a three-year period. From 2020 to 2021, she was a devoted member of the inter-institutional Student Leadership Committee with other student leaders from neighboring PT and PTA programs. Starting in November 2021, she began a position as co-chair of the Leadership Development Workshop to generate support specifically for individuals in early career situations. Lastly, she was a scribe for the Government Affairs Committee over a multi-year period, and this created a special opportunity to participate first-hand in PT Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC in September 2021.

Quite impressively, Neumann took further initiative to elevate her involvement, and identified ways to generate an impact at a national level through focused service and scholarship. From 2020 to 2021, she was the vice president of the Student Assembly Board of Directors, functioning to represent the needs and interests of over 30,000 student therapists. 

In December 2020, she was selected as a Centennial Scholar, which was an aspect of a project designed by the APTA to honor the commemoration of the centennial anniversary of the PT profession. As part of this honor, she was issued a grant to fulfill a project that would aid the profession in advancing its mission into the subsequent century. She helped to create an Early Career Bridge Program for therapists in Oregon that also served as a blueprint for other states to emulate. Not surprisingly, this project also culminated in another scholarly product, as she facilitated a peer-review presentation with fellow Mary McMillan Award winner, Tabitha Galindo DPT '19, at the APTA- Oregon annual conference in 2022 titled "Early Career Bridge Program: A structured mentorship model for student and early career members." 

In addition to receiving the renowned Mary McMillan Award, Neumann was recognized with the Outstanding Graduate Award by the PT program during the Graduate & Professional Commencement festivities in May 2022. 

Friday, Nov. 18, 2022