Student Leadership Academy

What is the APTA WV Student Leadership Academy?

Are you interested in creating change and learning from leaders in our profession? Are you thinking about becoming a leader but are not sure how? APTA WV offers the Student Leadership Academy yearly.

You will learn what it takes to be a leader, how to get started, and opportunities for
professional engagement within the state chapter and national APTA organization.

You will hear from leaders within the APTA WV , the WVBOPT, student leaders, recent graduates, and a keynote speaker in the field of leadership.

Participation prizes will be presented throughout the morning of the interaction.

Learn about opportunities for engagement that deepen the meaning of your role as a


Student Leadership Academy 2024

The Student Leadership Academy 2024 will be held on April 6 – 7, 2024 at Wheeling University.

2024 Student Leadership Academy

Doctor of Physical Therapy students and faculty from Marshall University, West Virginia University, and Wheeling University participated in the APTA-WV Student Leadership Academy. They participated in a Service Learning event providing landscaping help to the St. Joseph Retreat Center at the Congregation of St. Joseph in Wheeling, WV. 


Keynote Speaker: Jessica Rine is the Associate Vice President of Foundation and Community Relations for WV Medicine Wheeling Hospital and Reynolds Memorial Hospital.


Marcas Cordova Marshall University
Carrie Griffin Wheeling University
Raighan Kelly Marshall University
Chibuike Obinnakwelu Marshall University
Azim Qadri Wheeling University
Paige Ritter

Wheeling University

Blaise Robson

West Virginia University

Matthew Strange

West Virginia University

John Thomas

West Virginia University

Haleigh Weese

Marshall University


Employers are looking for leaders. Those who seek opportunities for professional development have a competitive edge. Leadership training also has applications beyond Physical Therapy.

The SLA will add value to the DPT or PTA degree and demonstrate to employers that the graduates of the academy have unique knowledge and skills. Leadership training will fast-track individuals and provide an opportunity for networking with leaders in the physical therapy profession.


Selected students will attend a FREE day and a half leadership academy that will help to prepare them for a leadership role in the APTA. Attendees of the SLA will receive three meals (Breakfast x 2, and lunch x 1). All students who complete the academy will receive a certificate of completion.


ANY student who is enrolled in a DPT or PTA program in West Virginia and who is a member of the APTA WV is eligible to apply for the Student Leadership Academy (SLA). The Academy is limited to 18 students per year based on a competitive application process.

Preference will be given to students based on program seniority (e.g., DPT student 3rd year vs. a 1st year or PTA 2nd year student vs. 1st); however, more junior students are encouraged to apply.  All applications will be reviewed by a committee of three (3) APTA WV members who have an affiliation at different institutions to ensure a fair review process. All students must have a cumulative GPA of 3.2 or higher in the DPT or PTA program.

All students must provide a resume or CV, and a short letter of reference from a DPT or PTA faculty member indicating that the student is in good standing in the program and meets the 3.2 GPA requirement. The applicant must provide a 150-word maximum statement of interest.

Previous Events


Keynote Speaker: Dr. Lisa DeFrank-Cole “Leadership: What it is, how it works, and who’s involved.”


Marrina Brown Marshall University
Marcas Cordova Marshall University
Kaylan Johnson Marshall University
Chibuike Obinnakwelu Marshall University
Casey Schlachter Marshall University
Jacob Lehman

West Virginia University

Blaise Robson

West Virginia University

John Thomas

West Virginia University


Keynote Speaker: Charise Lindsey, Program Coordinator for Leadership Development and Wellness at the Marshall University School of Medicine and CEO and Founder of Lifeseeds Development Group


Derik Brace Mountwest CTC
Seth Johnson Mountwest CTC
Kayla Brooks New River CTC
Alicia Gallaher New River CTC
Danielle Matheny New River CTC
Marcus Cordova Marshall University
Hallie Barnhart Marshall University
Kaylan Johnson Marshall University
Kaylee Sowers Marshall University
Jordan Suarez Marshall University
Kelsey Thompson Marshall University
Amanda Ferrell West Virginia University


Keynote Speaker: Dr. Lisa DeFrank-Cole, Professor and Director of WVU’s Leadership Studies program


Alexandra Arnoldy Marshall University
Jamie “Jay” Billiter West Virginia University
William Lucas West Virginia University
Serenity Lynch-Bolen West Virginia University
Steven Murray West Virginia University
Jessica Welch West Virginia University
Jarrod Plank Marshall University
Kaitlin Stiltner Mountwest


Keynote Speaker: Dr. Bobbi Nicholson, Professor of Leadership Studies at Marshall University


Whitley Adkins Marshall University
Isabella Anile West Virginia University
Lauren Cline West Virginia University
Ian Dobek Marshall University
Kelsie Gillespie West Virginia University
Emma Grose West Virginia University
Summer Hill Marshall University
Amanda King Wheeling University
Andrew Lively Marshall University
Rachael Mears West Virginia University
Winston O’Neal Wheeling University
Chloe Parsemain Marshall University
Cole Salmons West Virginia University
Aaron Saunders West Virginia University
Donald Smith Marshall University
Jared Tucker Marshall University
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