That Taylor Woods, D.P.T.’20, experienced “many bumps and bruises” playing soccer at Grand View University in Des Moines is, in retrospect, a good thing. Although she was interested in accounting as a freshman there, the physical therapists who treated her and a guest presentation by Jason Cook, D.P.T., PCS, assistant professor of physical therapy at DMU, sealed her interest in physical therapy.
As a junior, she was accepted in DMU’s Mentored Student Research Program. That connected her with Kristin Lowry, Ph.D., associate professor of physical therapy, whose research areas include gait rehabilitation interventions for older adults and persons with Parkinson’s disease. Upon acceptance to DMU, Woods was awarded the physical therapy department’s research scholarship.
All of that led to her building an impressive body of research, including being a co-author on numerous peer-reviewed abstracts, manuscripts and poster and platform presentations, including at the World Congress of the International Society of Posture and Gait Research. She completed more than 1,000 mentored research hours, in addition to serving as class president, excelling academically and earning a DMU service award for completing more than 50 hours of community service in one year.
Woods’ and Lowry’s research endeavors were honored by the Academy of Geriatric Physical Therapy (AGPT) with its student award for research and its excellence in research award, respectively. They received the awards in February at the Combined Sections Meeting of the American Physical Therapy Association, where Woods gave a platform presentation on her and Lowry’s research on curved-path walking among older adults. It may be the first time a student and faculty member from the same institution received those awards in the same year.“
For the last several years, Taylor has been a mainstay of the research activity in the Motor Control Laboratory at Des Moines University,” Lowry stated in her nomination of Woods for her award. “Not only has Taylor been central to the labs’ productivity, she has been central to the energetic, enthusiastic ambiance in the lab…Most importantly, her enjoyment when working with older adults and persons with Parkinson’s disease is always evident.”
Woods’ prolific research endeavors have influenced her significantly.”
As I move toward my future in physical therapy, I no longer see myself treating athletes,” she said in her statement to AGPT. “Instead I hope to better the lives of individuals in the geriatric and neurological community…My continued involvement with research will not only keep me current with evidence-based practice, but it will also help toward my goal of becoming a geriatric certified specialist.”