Student: Maggie Marshall | Beaufort County Now | As an East Carolina University undergraduate student, Maggie Marshall had an opportunity to shadow physical therapists at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

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Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of ECU News Services. The author of this post is Crystal Baity.

Photos: Contributed

    As an East Carolina University undergraduate student, Maggie Marshall had an opportunity to shadow physical therapists at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

    Now a doctoral student in physical therapy, Marshall dreams of working at the military health center one day. But wherever she goes, she plans to work with veterans — in large part because of her time at Walter Reed as well as her clinical experience this semester at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro.

    "Some of my family members and close friends have served in the U.S. military, which has also contributed to my interest in working with veterans," Marshall said. "I recently completed a health promotions project with a fellow classmate in PT school, Megan Warfield, and we discovered there is an increased incidence of chronic pain in veterans compared to civilians. The physical and psychological factors associated with chronic pain can lead to a decreased quality of life. Exercise and physical therapy have been previously shown to decrease chronic pain and improve physical function, so there is a need for physical therapy services in this population."

    Marshall, who will graduate in May, earned a bachelor's degree in exercise physiology in 2018 as an ECU Honors College student and EC Scholar.

    "I chose ECU for both of my degrees due to the accessibility of knowledgeable mentors in my field of study," she said. "I've had the opportunity to participate in numerous research projects in biomechanics labs across campus, which has emphasized the importance of evidence-based practice in the physical therapy field. I also chose ECU because of the multiple study abroad experiences offered and the opportunities for financial aid to participate."

As an ECU undergraduate student, Maggie Marshall studied in Italy through the ECU Tuscany program.
    Marshall studied in Italy with the ECU Tuscany program in spring 2016, followed by a summer in Peru, where she was able to visit friends in the biology graduate program. Last March, before the coronavirus pandemic closed borders, she traveled with other students from the ECU College of Allied Health Sciences on a medical brigade to Taulabé, Honduras.

    "We were able to work with Honduran physicians to provide medical services to rural communities in Honduras," she said. "This experience improved my understanding of global health and enhanced my interprofessional teamwork skills."

    On campus, one of the projects that influenced Marshall was working alongside Dr. Stacey Meardon in the Human Movement Analysis Lab to research tibial bone stress injuries in recreational runners.

    "I have learned how to use 3D motion capture and force plate technology, analyze data and develop manuscripts," she said. "I have also had the opportunity to travel to places such as Denver, Colorado, to present research. This experience has contributed to my professional development and made me a stronger clinician due to my improved understanding of literature related to physical therapy practice."

    While completing her final clinical rotation, Marshall has coped with the pandemic by exercising frequently and keeping in touch with friends through FaceTime. "I am grateful to have recently received both of my COVID vaccine doses through ECU, so I am excited to begin safely hanging out with friends and family who have also been vaccinated," she said.

    Following graduation, Marshall aims to participate in an orthopedic residency through the Veterans Affairs system or begin working for an outpatient physical therapy clinic.

    Role model: My friends Tulsi Patel, Kelly Forbis, Will Zahran and Kayla Daughtry from my time in undergrad at ECU are my role models. They are all accomplishing amazing things in graduate programs and inspire me every day.

    Your words to live by: I learned from a mentor, friend and previous Honors College employee Sue Chapman that I should always remain true to myself. This has served me well so far.

    What advice do you have for other students? Invest time in forming relationships with other students and faculty/staff at ECU because you will likely carry some of these connections with you for the rest of your life.

    What is something cool about ECU that you wish you knew during your first year? The Queen Anne's Revenge Conservation Lab is located at the ECU West Research Campus.
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