College:College of Health Professions and Sciences
Degree Program:Physical Therapy DPT
Research Focus:The influence an intergenerational play program would have on children’s physical activities.
After spending ten years working as a graphic designer, Kelly LaMaster opened up the door to a second career. She received her associate's degree in Graphic Design from Brevard Community College where she continued on to work as a designer. Years later, she decided to get her bachelor of Advanced Allied Health from Eastern Florida State College and changed careers to pursue physical therapy.
“I was stuck in a safe but unfulfilling job I was bored in, living paycheck to paycheck. I had a chance for a full reset on life, so I decided to take the chance and go for a career rather than a job,” LaMaster says.
LaMaster chose to pursue her doctoral degree at UCF because of the stellar reputation as being in the top 10 percent of schools nationally for first-time board exam pass rates. She says, “The faculty is truly invested in our success and have an amazing depth of knowledge in their field, providing diverse and expert instruction in physical therapy, including a variety of board specialties.”
She credits the family atmosphere of the physical therapy department as what she likes the best about UCF. “Competition stopped the second we accepted our slot and began classes, we are a team and we are all in this crazy boat together for better or worse,” she says.
LaMaster’s research is focused on the influence an intergenerational play program would have on children’s physical activity levels and attitudes towards aging in both children (6-12) and older adults (65+). Her research poster was given an award recognizing Work in Social Responsibility from the Global Health Special Interest Group of the American Physical Therapy Association when presented at the national conference in Denver.
During her time at UCF, LaMaster had the opportunity to volunteer in Yantalo, Peru in a medical mission trip that is organized every year by UCF College of Medicine. Here, she worked in a clinic for five days treating whoever showed up in need of their services. She was inspired and humbled by the trip saying, “Everyone was truly working in a patient-centered mindset making sure that these folks had what they needed to be healthy while we were there and especially after we left.”
After graduation, she plans on working in pelvic health physical therapy.
- Poster presentation award from the Global Health Special Interest Group
- Peruvian clinic volunteer abroad
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