APTA Selects Recipient of 2010 Outstanding Student Physical Therapist Award

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ALEXANDRIA, VA, April 7, 2010 — Physical therapist assistant (PTA) student and member of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), Valarie Ann Cooper, of Somerset Community College (SCC), in Somerset, Kentucky, has been awarded APTA's 2010 Outstanding Student Physical Therapist Assistant Award. The award is bestowed upon an APTA member PTA student with exceptional overall accomplishments and contributions to APTA, its Student Assembly, and the physical therapy profession.

An active member of SCC's Physical Therapy Student Organization, Cooper serves as its current president. She is also the vice president of SCC's PTA class of 2010. Through these leadership positions she has had the opportunity to participate in many physical therapy-related activities, including a coordinated effort to provide physical therapy textbooks to local libraries in her area. She was also instrumental in arranging for a resolution to be entered into the Kentucky House of Representatives of the General Assembly honoring the SCC PTA Program and recognizing October as National Physical Therapy Month.

Throughout her studies she has maintained a 3.935 grade point average, ranking her in the top 1% of all students enrolled in the program. In 2009, she received the college's highest honor, the James H. Anderson Award for Outstanding First-Year PTA Students. She was also appointed to SCC's PTA Program Advisory Board by the school's president and is an active member in the college's Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society.

Believing strongly about being active in her profession, Cooper is a member of the Kentucky Physical Therapy Association and APTA's Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy sections. She serves as an APTA student liaison and coordinates fundraisers to raise money for SCC students to become members of APTA. For the past 2 years, she has participated in APTA's Geriatric Section's Educational Brochure Design Competition. This year, in addition to being selected as APTA's Outstanding PTA Student of the Year, she received the Orthopeadic Section's Outstanding Physical Therapist Student of the year and the Mary McMillan Scholarship Award.

Cooper gives back to her community by serving as a volunteer youth mentor at her church and as a volunteer swim coach for her local high school team. She has devoted a lot of her time and energy into participating in community events, including Shriners Hospital for Children No Limits Sports Clinic, Kentucky Special Olympics Fun Fitness Screenings, and free sports clinics for rural Kentucky athletes.

Founded in 1921, the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) represents more than 74,000 physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and students of physical therapy nationwide. Its purpose is to improve the health and quality of life of individuals through the advancement of physical therapist practice, education, and research. For more information about APTA visit www.apta.org. Join us on Twitter (@APTAtweets) and Facebook.