A letter to the student physical therapist and student physical therapist assistant:  

The Profession Today

As a student physical therapist or student physical therapist assistant, you have made a significant emotional, time and financial commitment to the profession of physical therapy.  You did so because you have researched and observed this exciting, dynamic profession and decided that is was a good fit for you.  You also probably think of health professions as being well-defined, established, and entitled to continue as they currently are.  However, the truth is quite different.  There are many factors that influence the course of a profession such as changes in reimbursement policy by federal and private payers and changes in state regulations that govern health professional practice. 

However, the only unified voice that the profession has to confront challenges to physical therapy is the American Physical Therapy Association and its components, including the APTA Michigan.   It is important that you realize that the Association is run and funded by its members:  You and I.  It does not just exist as some separate, independent entity that is funded by somebody else.  It is our organization and it has been absolutely critical in shaping the profession that it is today.  

Michael J. Shoemaker, PT, DPT, PhD, GCS, APTA Michigan President

The article Opportunity Out of Adversity: Physical Therapy's Unique Legacy by Ellen Woods provides a summary of how the APTA acted on behalf of its members through times of opportunity and adversity.  In particular, I would highlight the role that APTA played in getting physical therapists as recognized providers under the newly-formed Medicare program in 1967.  Being recognized by such a large federal agency as the primary provider of rehabilitation services has been monumental in establishing the legitimacy of our profession as providers of choice for movement dysfunction.  Had it not been for the role that APTA played in that event or countless others, our profession would not be remotely close to what is today, nor will we fulfill our vision of transforming society by optimizing movement to improve the human experience.  So, the question that you should ask yourself: "What is my role and responsibility as a member of this profession to support the professional organization?"

I wish you the best in your professional education and your exciting career in this great profession!

Get Connected!

Throughout your student career and beyond stay connected with the news and events related to physical therapy through social media.  Facebook is great way to keep track of events near your home and throughout the nation. Want to join the #PTconversation, join Twitter!  Be sure to connect to each link below to stay in the know!


APTA Michigan Student Special Interest Group (SSIG) Facebook

APTA Student Assembly (SA) Facebook

APTA Michigan

APTA Michigan Eastern District
APTA Michigan Western District
APTA Michigan Upper Peninsula District
APTA Michigan Northern District

APTA Facebook




@MPTA_SRC Twitter

@APTASA Twitter

@MIPhysTherAssoc Twitter

@APTAtweets Twitter


Student Events

Student Special Interest Group Meet and Greet

The APTA Michigan Student Special Interest Group holds an event each year known as the Student Special Interest Group Meet and Greet.  All PT and PTA students in Michigan are invited!  If you are still feeling unsure about the APTA and the APTA Michigan, then this is a must-attend event.  Learn about the Association that supports your profession.  Meet and network with the SRC leadership, PT and PTA clinicians, APTA Michigan Board of Directors,  and PT/PTA students across the state! The day is packed with fun games and prizes.  Make sure to keep an eye out for registration on the Facebook page


APTA Michigan Student Special Interest Group Student Conclave

A professional physical therapy conference coordinated by students especially for students! Programming at this event is hand-picked to bring you the hottest topics you, as a student, want to hear about and to ensure there is not an overlap from your programs.  This is one of the best professional development opportunities you will have in your student career.  Network with the APTA Michigan Board of Directors, students across the state, vendors who could be potential employers, opportunities for resume critiques and mock interview coaching, access to hot trending educational sessions, and above all it's fun (and affordable)! Not all students in every state have an opportunity like this, so take advantage and mark it in in your calendar for this spring!


APTA Michigan Legislative Day

An event for student and clinicians to advocate for the physical therapy profession and its patients.  Join us in Lansing to meet face to face with your legislators.  This event happens annually in the spring - look for the Save the Date on APTA Michigan's Facebook.

AND do not miss out on national events including National Student Conclave (NSC), Federal Advocacy Forum , APTA Combined Sections Meeting (CSM) and APTA NEXT Conference .


Student Special Interest Group (SSIG)

The purpose of the APTA Michigan Student Special Interest Group is to promote student physical therapist/physical therapist assistant involvement in the APTA/APTA Michigan organizations. The SIG will serve as a mechanism for students to explore and transition into the professional organization by student-driven committee activities. In addition, the committee may extend its efforts to include community activities and education to raise public awareness about physical therapy. A coordinated effort with Districts and other APTA Michigan committees will be utilized to promote student membership and participation.


  1. Provide opportunities for networking, education, resources, leadership and advocacy for APTA Michigan student members.
  2. Promote student membership and encourage life-long engagement in the state and national professional associations.
  3. Provide student focused physical therapy education through Michigan Student Conclave, National Advocacy Dinners, and additional formats as developed by the Student SIG.
  4. Provide Student SIG members the tools and skills to continue to engage in the professional association as they transition to professional members.
  5. Increase awareness of opportunities available for students to participate in governance, advocacy, and volunteering through social media, email, and additional modes of communication.
  6. Provide financial support as able to assist students in participating in association events at the state and national levels.
  7. Coordinate with Student SIGs at the national level.


Student Special Interest Group Leadership (SSIG)



Current: Tori Cushard, SPT (CMU)

Duties: Create agendas and lead meetings. Coordinate development of and completion of Student SIG goals. Update Student SIG membership annually at Student Conclave

Current: Calley Lonier, SPT (CMU)

Duties: Chair committees as needed. Assist president in leading meetings, creating agendas, and coordinating efforts of the Student SIG Board

Current: Jessica Ling, SPT (Wayne State)

Duties: Document meeting minutes and organize Student SIG board communication. Write update for Shorelines newsletter quarterly. Submit website updates to APTA Michigan executive director

Current: Haley Dennis, SPTA (MCC)

Duties: Provide input and organize events to engage PTA schools. Assist in communication with PTA programs. Provide PTA perspective for Student SIG board decisions.

Current: Megan Premo, SPT (CMU)

Duties: Contact and coordinate conclave speakers. Communicate with APTA Michigan executive director on speaker and programming needs for Conclave.

Current: Ryann Laier, SPT (WMU)

Duties: Contact previous and potential sponsors for Student Conclave. Communicate with APTA Michigan executive director to facilitate sponsors. Assist sponsors at the Student Conclave event.

Current: Becca Sova, SPTA (Mid Michigan)

Duties: Assists in organization of community service opportunities. Organizes events to improve student engagement. Promotes opportunities available to students in the state.

Current: Jessica Chapie, SPT (Wayne State)

Duties: Create and share news/events on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Create promotional material as needed for the Student SIG board. Creates regular posts on social media to engage students and provide resources.

Current: (vacant)

Appointed by APTA Student Assembly. Click here for more information.

Duties: Appointed by the APTA Michigan BOD to serve as resources for the Student SIG BOD and membership. Facilitates continuity in transitions of Student SIG boards.

Katelyn Beam, PT, DPT
Kristen Robertson, PT, DPT


Student Opportunities


Involvement Opportunities

Welcome to the profession of physical therapy! One of the best ways to spark your passion for your new career and join the physical therapy community is to get involved.  There are many ways you can get involved as a PT or PTA student with varying levels of leadership opportunities and time commitments. There is a role for everyone, contact the SSIG at contact@aptami.org to find the role that most aligns with your interests and brings out your strengths!


  • APTA Michigan Student Liaison to the MI Delegation
    • Serve a one-year appointed term and attend the APTA House of Delegates with the Michigan delegation
    • Click Here for a video about this position.
    • For more information about applying click here
  • Apply to become a House Usher to the APTA House of Delegates
  • Student SIG Board Member
    • Email SSIG at contact@aptami.org if interested
    • Nominations accepted in January/February
    • Elections occur at the annual Student Conclave
  • Volunteer for Student SIG Committee
  • School Student Representative
    • Every PT and PTA school requires 2 student representatives for each cohort.
    • If interested contact SSIG at contact@aptami.org or the Michigan Core Ambassador at aptasa.coremi@gmail.com to see if there is need for a student representative. You can also ask your APTA Michigan faculty representative if the position is already filled for your cohort.

Get involved on the national level:

Want to get involved but not sure what role will be best for you?  We can help! Email us at contact@aptami.org

Check out our Michigan Student Involvement Guide.

Student Membership Benefits

We hope that you know we value you! We want to help you explore your membership by regularly sharing some perks (that you may or may not be aware of). Look out for monthly emails sharing additional membership benefits!

Check out these resources that will be helpful for you as a student and professional clinician.

Find Clinical Summaries here: https://www.apta.org/patient-care/evidence-based-practice-resources/clinical-summaries

Search for Articles here: https://www.apta.org/patient-care/evidence-based-practice-resources/article-search

If you can't find what you're looking for the APTA has a librarian, you can email at articlesearch@apta.org for help with any searching needs!

Find Clinical Practice Guidelines here: https://www.apta.org/patient-care/evidence-based-practice-resources/cpgs

Find tests and measures for patient examination here: https://www.apta.org/patient-care/evidence-based-practice-resources/test-measures

Check out the Rehabilitation Reference Center here (https://www.apta.org/patient-care/evidence-based-practice-resources/rehabilitation-reference-center) for information on various diagnoses and medications, patient education resources, and more! It has great resources to look up information for clinicals or for class assignments!

You can find information and resources on specific interventions here: https://www.apta.org/patient-care/interventions

The Guide to Physical Therapy Practice if FREE to members and can be found here: http://guidetoptpractice.apta.org/


As a Member you have access to the journal Physical Therapy. Many of the sections and academies also additional access to journal if you join. Check out PTJ here https://academic.oup.com/ptj

Many students find membership to APTA sections to be one of the best benefits. Valuable information specific to your interests and access to a community of clinicians who share your passion in Sports PT, Neurology, Women's Health, Acute Care, Orthopaedic, Cardiopulmonary, Home Health, Pediatrics, Federal, Geriatrics and more! Check out the different sections here (https://aptaapps.apta.org//componentconnection/chaptersandsections.aspx?UniqueKey=) and explore their membership benefits as a student at a reduced price.

Resources for debt management and repayment can be found here: https://www.apta.org/your-career/financial-management

Get Involved!

Being involved as a APTA Michigan Student gets you noticed, makes great connections with future employers, and demonstrates you are serious about your Profession. Contact the APTA Michigan Office to learn about ways to volunteer.

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