Meghan Simonetti is a candidate for director on the Student Assembly Board of Directors.
Passion: What does that mean to you? To me, passion is a calling—that unexplainable desire to do more than what you are doing right now. The SABoD and APTA have inspired me, lit a fire in me, to get involved and be more than I am today. I want to be more than just another DPT student; I want to be a leader and serve on the SABoD. That is my passion.
Even in 2011, my first year, I took on leadership opportunities, including a position on my class's Executive Board. In that first year I learned more about APTA and the Illinois Chapter and simply had to get involved. The passion sparks started to fly. I helped establish the Illinois Student Special-Interest Group in 2011, which is now one of the strongest SSIGs in the nation. I held an executive position on the Illinois SSIG in 2012 and 2013. My success did not go unnoticed: I was the sole recipient of the 2013 Student Leader Award within my college. The knowledge I have gained through these leadership experiences is invaluable. More important than the positions/awards are the Illinois Chapter SSIG accomplishments: establishment of bylaws, procedural guidelines, and goals; monthly informational newsletters; student presentations; 3 state student conclave events; 2 student socials; increased student attendance at Spring Assembly and district meetings; an established relationship with the Illinois New Professionals; a statewide Marquette Challenge Banquet raising $7,000; an award to Illinois for "Most Creative Fundraiser" from the Foundation of Physical Therapy; and, most important, an Illinois student APTA membership increase of 20%. I have loved every moment of leading PT/PTA students in Illinois, and now I am ready for the next challenge.
The contagious enthusiasm from 2012's NSC empowered me to think outside Illinois' borderlines. The sparks ignited into flames. I was asked to join the national SSIG Project Committee to help other states set their SSIG foundation. I now currently serve as temporary Committee chair and I have created a Starter Manual to guide other states through their SSIG creation process. Through this experience I have come to understand and appreciate the different needs of students across the nation. The flames are blaring, my passion is consuming—I need to take the next step: the SABoD.
Physical therapy students are shaping the future of our profession. We all need to recognize that we are more than just medical professionals: PTs are educators, legislators, researchers, enthusiasts, and leaders. I want to help all of us become the best PT/PTAs we can by utilizing each other through the SABoD. Promoting The Pulse, the Loop, and our state core ambassadors to better reach out to students is essential for networking. Creating new avenues via social media for students to discuss interprofessionalism can guide us to a new way of treating patients. We need a leader to help establish and define new routes of communication allowing us to learn from each other and grow. That is my passion. I want to lead with passion and help others see the spark. Together we can make change; it all starts with passion.
"Nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without passion."
- Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel