Skip to main content

News and Noteworthy

DPT Faculty Provide ReWalk Robotic Assisted Gait Training

November 18, 2020

ReWalk Robotics Training


Thanks to a robotic-assisted physical therapy method underway at a clinic housed in the Health and Human Sciences Building at Western Carolina University, a local man is getting back on his feet - literally. The innovative device is one in a series of products by ReWalk, a medical device company that designs and develops mobility products for individuals with lower limb disabilities. While there are other manufacturers and systems, WCU is one of only two ReWalk training facilities in North Carolina. Read more...

Two DPT Faculty Receive University Awards

August 1, 2020

PT- team based learning


In these unprecedented times, faculty continue to rise up to the challenge meeting both student and community needs. This is evident by Ashley Hyatt, Assistant Professor receiving the Curtis W. Wood Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Mentoring awarded to faculty who stand out in their ability to support and guide graduate students. John Carzoli, Assistant Professor received the 2019-2020 WCU's Excellence in Community Engagement Award. Carzoli is “an exemplar of community-engaged teaching, scholarship and action,” the selection committee said. Read more…


Integrating Virtual Reality into Learning

April 28, 2020

Brain dissection via virtual reality

Brain dissection via virtual reality

...I was absolutely blown away when half-way through the lecture, a virtual reality clip of a simulation of the brain in a lab appeared,” said Bianca Boieru, a first-year doctoral student in the physical therapy program. “With me being more of a visual learner, I highly valued our time in the anatomy lab. With our educational transition moving from face-to-face lecture to the online format, she found a way to give us back a piece of that experience. With something multi-layered and unique like the anatomy of the brain, the virtual reality simulation helped me visualize better than I could from any 2D textbook. I’m grateful for this type of technology that helps give students back the experience of being in the anatomy lab.” Read more...

Sticking Together Even When We Are Apart

April 20, 2020

zoom workout


The ways that students, faculty and staff at Western Carolina University are finding to keep the campus community connected during the COVID-19 pandemic are seemingly endless.
Take yoga, for example. “Since my first-year students had two exams this week, I thought yoga would be a good way to unwind,” said Ashley Hyatt, WCU assistant professor of physical therapy. “I had seen other people post things about doing virtual workouts and thought it would be a good idea for us.”
So she made arrangements, found a volunteer to lead a class and scheduled a session in the increasingly familiar online platform, Zoom.
“It was awesome. I think about 30 people were there, three being faculty,” Hyatt said. “I just think the group virtual workouts are a great way for students and faculty to see one another and feel like we are in this together.”
Hyatt said more yoga is planned, as well as some cardio and weight-strengthening classes for College of Health and Human Sciences folks. Continue reading...

WCU DPT Students, Faculty, and Alumni Reunite at CSM 2020

CSM 2020 poster


February 13-15, 2020

CSM 2020


The Combined Sections Meeting in Denver, Colorado gave the students, faculty, and alumni a perfect opportunity to learn, grow in the profession, and spend quality time together. Alumni and students on clinicals are spread from west coast to east coast so the annual American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) conference was a great chance to catch up. Multiple student groups presented posters covering topics from core stability and fatigue on gait stability to motor learning principles in the stroke population. 


DPT Students Support Full Spectrum Farms Fundraiser



September 8, 2018

Taylor Bryan and Brian Allen (class of 2019), the Tuckaseegee Troubadours, provided entertainment at a fundraiser benefitting Full Spectrum Farms which is a 'non-profit organization located in Western North Carolina that serves children, teens, and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder'. The class of 2021 provided a combined 80 hours of volunteer time to get the farm ready for this event, including painting, building the stage, and preparing the grounds.


Congratulations Class of 2018!


The class of 2018 had a 100% first time pass rate on the National Physical Therapy Board Exam. This marks the 5th consecutive cohort and includes all Doctor of Physical Therapy graduates from our program. 

DPT Students Represent WCU in Raleigh

MAY 30, 2018

Whitney and Marisa Present


Whitney Ward and Marisa White represented WCU at Graduate Education Day in Raleigh, NC on May 30, 2018. The students presented their doctoral group's research project, 'Implementation of a core stabilization training program for prevention of lower extremity injury in collegiate dancers',

to North Carolina state legislators to emphasize the importance of graduate research and physical therapy. The project was voted "Best Presentation" by the doctoral research panel at the WCU Graduate Research Symposium. Whitney and Marisa interviewed on behalf of their doctoral group and were among only two presentations selected to present in Raleigh. Whitney and Marisa's other doctoral group members include Brian Allen, Kaitlyn Dale, Helen Kirk, and Elizabeth Webber. Faculty advisors: Dr. Jessica Graning and Dr. Todd Watson.

Health and Human Sciences Dean Announces Plans to Return to Faculty in 2019

Doug Keskula


APRIL 26, 2018

Douglas Keskula, dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences at Western Carolina University, has announced his intention to return to a faculty position within the college's Department of Physical Therapy, effective fall semester 2019.

Keskula shared the news with faculty members from the College of Health and Human Sciences on Wednesday, April 25, calling it "a privilege and honor to have served as the dean" since July 2013.

"I am amazed at our students, faculty and staff and their accomplishments in their respective professions and our community every day. After much reflection, I have decided that after 18 years in administrative roles within higher education, it is time to return to the role that I identify with most – that of a physical therapy educator," he said...continued.

Leanna Purvis Honored with Community Service Award

APRIL 19, 2018

The WCU Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning honored Leanna Purvis (class of 2018) with the 2018 Community Service Award. This award is given to students who demonstrate outstanding participation in volunteer and community service projects. We are proud of Leanna for her commitment to giving back and dedication to the community.

jess and Todd


Faculty Present at National Conference: Core Stability and Dance Performance

FEBRUARY 23, 2018

Todd Watson and Jessica Graning presented their research "Competitive collegiate dance team injuries: A prospective study" at the 2018 APTA CSM in New Orleans. Their research was also featured on PT Pintcast with Jimmy McKay.

MAPPT conference 2018


MAPPT Students Present at Pro bono Conference: A Culture of Continuous Quality Improvement

MARCH 10, 2018

Hannah Pollard and Ana Mari Parker presented at the Eastern Regional Pro Bono Conference in Chester, PA and were hand selected for a scholarship to present at the Western Regional Pro Bono Conference in Phoenix, AZ. Read more...

CSM students present


Students Present at National Conference: Motor Learning in Stroke Rehabilitation

FEBRUARY 24, 2018

Vivian Franco, Hannah Bowen, Travis Linton, Eric Kao, Rebecca Foil and Ashley Hyatt presented a poster presentation on 'Internal vs. External Focus of Attention Strategies' at the 2018 Combined Sections Meeting in New Orleans, LA.

Todd Watson Receives Excellence in Clinical Practice Award

OCTOBER 13, 2017

The North Carolina Physical Therapy Association (NCPTA) selected Todd Watson as the recipient of the 2017 Excellence in Clinical Practice Award.  This award is given to a Physical Therapist or Physical Therapist Assistant who has 'contributed to the development of Physical Therapy'.  This individual 'shows a commitment and dedication to improving the health care and quality of living of citizens in their community'. 

One colleague commented, "His progressive and creative practices to enhance the education of students, his commitment to his own excellence in clinical practice, and his drive for development of new research to improve dance training and clinical practice all demonstrate his dedication to the future of the physical therapy profession."



Students Present at 2017 NCPTA Fall Conference

OCTOBER 13, 2017

Taylor Gentry, Taylor Kent, Chris LeCroy, Leanna Purvis, Emily van Schagen, and Kelly Yerkes presented their poster presentation, 'Effectiveness of Get Some Balance in Your Life on reducing fall risk in community dwelling older adults' at the 2017 NCPTA Fall Conference in Winston-Salem, NC. Faculty Advisor: Dr. Lori Schrodt.  Brittany Pace, Zach Huey, Aleshia Reese, and Erin Rollins also presented their poster presentation, 'Does Core Stability or Leg Strength Influence the Stability of Gait in the Loaded and Unloaded Conditions?' at the conference.  Faculty Advisor: Dr. David Hudson.

Physical Therapy Program Graduates Record Another 100 Percent Pass Rate on National Exam

OCTOBER 26, 2017

The most recent graduates from Western Carolina University's doctoral program in physical therapy have recorded a "four-peat" of sorts by being the fourth straight physical therapy class from WCU to have a 100 percent pass rate on their national licensing exam.

WCU's physical therapy faculty found out recently that all 29 program graduates who received their diplomas after last spring semester passed the National Physical Therapy Exam, a requirement to become licensed physical therapists. They follow in the footsteps of the combined total of 90 graduates from the 2014, 2015 and 2016 classes who accomplished the same thing.

"Only a handful of physical therapy programs among several hundred across the nation record 100 percent pass rates each year, so to have that happen for four years running is a remarkable feat," said David Hudson...continue.

Dave Hudson appointed Head of the Department of Physical Therapy and Distinguished Professor

Dave Hudson Lab


Dr. Hudson came to Western Carolina University in 2007 from the University of Delaware where he earned an MS and a Ph.D. and later worked as a faculty member. He teaches and researches in the area of biomechanics and muscle physiology. Dr. Hudson works clinically with patients across a broad spectrum of diagnoses. He feels that developing a strong understanding of the basic sciences of our discipline enables a therapist to have expertise that is applicable to a wide variety of patient populations.  He was appointed Department head and Distinguished Professor in September 2017.

Floyd Graber

  • Graduate Tuition Award; 2017-2018 - Western Carolina University
  • Founders Access Scholarship; 2017-2018 - Western Carolina University
  • Turner/Tennant Foundation Private Scholarship; 2017-2018 - Ann L. Turner & Geoffrey Tennant Foundation

Maria Hammon

  • Out-of-State Tuition Remission Award; 2017-2018 - Western Carolina University

Ana Mari Parker 

  • Travel scholarship for the Eastern Pro Bono Regional Conference; 2018 - WCU Graduate Student Association
  • Western Pro Bono Regional Conference scholarship, 2018 - Pro Bono Network

Santiago Patino

  • In-State Tuition Remission Scholarship, 2017-2018 - Western Carolina University

Hannah Pollard

  • WCU Graduate Student Association travel scholarship for the Eastern Pro Bono Regional Conference; 2018
  • Pro Bono Network scholarship for Western Pro Bono Regional Conference; 2018
  • WCU JoVon Coli Scholarship; 2016-2017

Shelby Johnson

  • JoVon Coli Scholarship; 2017/18 - Western Carolina University
  • Church of the Good Shepherd Scholarship (Cashiers, NC); 2016/17, 2017/18
  • Town of Highlands Scholarship (Highlands, NC); 2016/17, 2017/18
  • WCU grant; 2016/17, 2017/18 - Western Carolina University
  • Grad-school tuition waiver; 2016/17 - Western Carolina University
  • Graduate tuition award; 2016/17 - Western Carolina University

Cameron Overstreet

  • ACC Post-Graduate Scholarship; 2015 - the Atlantic Coast Conference

Kelsey Sivley

  • North Carolina Physical Therapy Association Scholarship; 2017

Taylor Kent

  • Graduate Tuition Award; 2016-2017 & 2017-2018 - WCU - Graduate School
  • Adah and Horatio Helder Scholarship; 2017-2018 - WCU - University Scholarship Committee
  • Mission Health System Scholarship Award; 2016-2017 - Mission Health System
  • Out-of-State Tuition Remission Award; 2015-2016 - Western Carolina University

Zach Huey

  • ELS grant; 2015-2018 - State of North Carolina Administered by the State Education Assistance Authority (NCSEAA)

Zia Assad

  • Mission health center scholarship; 2015 & 2016 - Mission Health System

Brittany pace

  • Katherine Arbaugh Scholarship; Fall 2017/Spring 2018
Office of Web Services