Michael Olson is a candidate for vice president on the Student Assembly Board of Directors.
The Student Assembly affords us the unique opportunity to influence and shape the future of our profession. By stepping forward to serve as the Student Assembly vice president, I hope to make a meaningful contribution by putting my wide range of experience and skills to work for all students. I see this as a perfect opportunity for me to commit my time and energy to make a positive impact on the future of our profession and our current student experience.
As part of the Student Assembly, I would focus my efforts on the following areas that I believe will strengthen our voice and lead the Assembly in the right direction:
- Create a First-Year Student Guide: This is an important tangible resource that will help students realize the value of their membership from day one. This is a great way for the Student Assembly to positively influence the future leaders of our profession and get students connected from the beginning.
- Demonstrate Value: Students will only become active members if they see value and view their engagement with the Assembly as a meaningful use of their time.
- Remove barriers to membership: As a student in a region that traditionally has had low membership and engagement, I would like to see further efforts to reduce the barriers to membership. This includes financial barriers, accessibility to information, and generally identifying as a professional member. We need to not only show the value of membership, but remove barriers to engagement.
- Activate membership: As we saw with the Flash Action Strategy, students will step up and be part of something important. As an organization we need to foster this energy and find new and innovative ways of activating our members.
- Organize mentorship: Mentorship is one of the most important aspects of developing as a leader. Core ambassadors and other emerging leaders should have a formalized mentorship experience as part of the organization’s commitment to their growth. This should be part of our organizational culture and we should commit to ensuring these types of experiences.
- Continue interprofessional networking: The current Board of Directors has made efforts to establish strong relationships with our partners in the health care community. It is vital for us to further develop the trust and understanding of our peers and to further develop our profession as an essential part of the interprofessional health care team.
Together, as the future leaders of the profession, we have a responsibility to take action now and serve as active contributors to our physical therapy community. The Student Assembly allows us to have a voice and to help shape our future. With leadership from the Student Assembly, APTA, state chapters, and the individual members of our profession, I am confident that we will continue to strive for excellence and keep the steady progress that we have seen over previous decades as innovators in the field of health care. Please support me in making our voice strong by allowing me to put my passion to work for you.