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ATSU-ASHS alumna offers, awards new physical therapy scholarship

Earlier this year, A.T. Still University’s Arizona School of Health Sciences (ATSU-ASHS) alumna Trisha Perry, DPT, PT, ’07, established Perry’s Passion for Service Scholarship. This, alongside the Mason Vig Scholarship established in 2012, is one of two scholarships offered by ATSU-ASHS’ physical therapy program.

Dr. Perry is a graduate of ATSU-ASHS’ online program and a long-time supporter of ATSU. She has mentored several students and encourages aspiring physical therapists to apply to the program. She has volunteered with the University in many capacities, serving as a member on the ATSU-ASHS Alumni Chapter Board from 2009-2014 and as chair from 2012-2013. She also served as a board member of the ATSU Alumni Association from 2013-2014.

“Dr. Perry is an energetic dynamo who has demonstrated commitment to both ATSU and the profession of physical therapy,” says Ann Lee Burch, ED, MPH, PT, vice dean of ATSU-ASHS. “I always love seeing her at our alumni events, as she shares stories and ideas with students, faculty, and alumni. She is a true friend of ATSU.”

In 1994, Dr. Perry was the first female student to receive the Wendy’s High School Heisman, a scholarship awarded to the nation’s most esteemed high school student-athletes who give back to the community, treat others with respect, and excel academically. Now the senior vice president of physical therapy at Nova Medical Centers in Houston, Dr. Perry has established a scholarship that will reward similar virtues in ATSU-ASHS’ physical therapy students.

Dr. Perry created this scholarship not only as a way to give back to the physical therapy program, but also to financially support an outstanding third-year residential student who has made a difference in the community and advanced ATSU’s mission to serve the underserved. Recipients will demonstrate a commitment to whole person healthcare, scholarship, community health, interprofessional education, and diversity. The $1,000 scholarship will be awarded annually.

This spring, the first award was granted to Jason Karstens, DPT, ’17. As an ATSU-ASHS student, Karstens was involved in many student organizations. He served as activities co-chair of the Student Physical Therapy Association. He also participated in various volunteer opportunities, including Ability 360, Special Olympics, FUNfitness, MEDFest, and HEAR Day. Thanks to his skills and knowledge of physical therapy, Karstens was able to provide many services to people in need during these events.

“I feel it is important to be a positive influence in the community using whatever skills you have,” says Karstens.

Through his experiences, Karstens has learned a lot about how to provide different populations with the care they need.

“These experiences are great for the volunteers, as well as the people we serve,” he says. “This scholarship will allow me to continue serving the community.”

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