Meet the BrightLife Scholarship Recipient!

For the fifth year in a row, BrightLife Direct is giving back to the physical therapy community by providing a scholarship to help an aspiring physical therapist continue their education.

The 2020 BrightLife Physical Therapist Scholarship was open to all students studying to be an occupational therapist, physical therapist or assistant. We received so many wonderful applications from students who are incredibly passionate about helping their community and returning their patients to a state of independence.

With so many amazing occupational and physical therapy students all working to improve the lives of others in their own way, it was challenging to choose a winner. The recipient of this year’s scholarship is one that is very deserving. It is our pleasure to congratulate Anne Havenga as this year’s Physical Therapist scholarship recipient.

Anne is a student at Bradley University in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program. Anne was inspired to take a career path to help the geriatric population after working as a part-time dog walker for an elderly woman as well as volunteering at a local VA hospital and an older adult daycare center and most recently as a caretaker for a gentleman with dementia. 

"Each of these experiences have continued to fuel my passion for older adults and addressing their unique health needs since older adults tend to have more physical issues that impair their mobility. This can contribute to other physical problems, decreased function, depression and social isolation. I want to address these issues by being a provider who consistently focuses on the patient in front of me as a whole, not just as a person with a knee issue. This includes not only making my care personalized to the patient’s goals and needs, but also knowing when to refer to or work with other providers so the patient receives the best possible, team-based care. Going forward, I want to be a provider who communicates effectively, constantly seeks to learn, and treats everyone with respect and dignity. I want to foster a positive environment for my coworkers, caregivers and patients alike to give my patients the best care possible. ."  Anne Havenga (excerpt from essay)

She has also helped at a stroke camp put on by the United Stroke Alliance. Here, Anne assisted a stroke survivor and was reminded of how much joy can be found helping someone else be able to do more while practicing important PT skills. 

Additionally, Anne volunteers in a pro-bono physical therapy clinic and serves on the clinic board. The allowed her to develop her abilities as a PT while providing treatment to patients with neurological conditions who have exhausted their insurance. 

We cannot wait to see where Anne's career takes her.  


Read about the recipient of last year's scholarship, Kallie N.:


Kallie is a student at Saint Louis University pursuing a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy degree. Kallie was inspired to take a career path to help individuals with disabilities when her cousin was born with cerebral palsy. She also started working with the Saint Louis University Museum of Art to display an art exhibit accessible for people with visual impairments for her Master's project.

"People with visual impairments are the most excluded from the world of art, which is why I have chosen this population. This project aligns with my academic interests in Universal Design – designing objects and environments to be accessed by anyone. Universal design is used to ensure that everyone, regardless of ability, has the opportunity to access every part of the community where they live. Helping others obtain access to opportunities as others is what I am truly passionate about, which will grow with my experiences in occupational therapy." – Kallie Neumer (excerpt from essay)

She has also interned with the Down Syndrome Association of Greater St. Louis to assist with events and work with adults with Down Syndrome. Most recently, Kallie has also worked as a camp counselor at Camp Little Giant where she assisted with activities for various children with intellectual and physical disabilities.

Kallie is very passionate and motivated to help individuals live their fullest life by promoting design, educating others and promoting accessibility for everyone. We are very impressed with Kallie's big heart and determination. We cannot wait to see where her career takes her.

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