The students of the physical therapist assistant program have established a memorial scholarship in honor of Matthew David Hamilton, who died Dec. 16 in an automobile accident.
Hamilton was a second year PTA student of OCCC.
“He already had finished all of his academic courses and just needed to do his internships,” Physical Therapy Professor Jennifer Ball said.
Hamilton was only eight credit hours away from meeting the requirements for the PTA degree.
To help raise money for the scholarship, PTA students ran in the OKC Memorial Marathon. They made T-shirts for the run that people could buy for $30.
“All money from the shirts went straight to the scholarship fund. The students’ goal was to sell 60 shirts and they sold 116,” Ball said. They raised $1,770 for the scholarship.
The PTA students have raised more money by getting direct donations to the fund.
“The scholarship will provide financial help to a Physical Therapist Assistant student while he or she is going through the PTA program,” Ball said.
The physical therapist assistant program is a two-year program offered to students coming out of high school or going back to college.
Physical therapist assistants work with patients who have some type of physical disability. They perform different exercises with the patients to better their mobility.
A physical therapist assistant would help someone who injured a leg after a car crash to walk again or learn to use crutches.
“You have to be passionate about it to stay with it,” PTA student Brittany Cramton said.
Ball said it’s a good field for those who love it.
“I think it’s a very rewarding career,” Ball said. “Helping people is always rewarding.
“There are no prerequisites required besides Anatomy and Physiology I,” Ball said. “This class can be taken the summer before the student starts the PTA program.
“There are six PTA programs in Oklahoma and we are the only one that offers predominantly night classes,” Ball said. “We are also the only program in the state that offers the cadaver anatomy class.”
Students that attend the cadaver anatomy class examine three dissected human bodies, she said.
This is the first year that PTA students have been allowed to take their licensure tests while they were still in school.
“We had two students take the licensure exam before they graduated from the PTA program and they both passed,” Ball said.
“We have a 100 percent pass rate for the licensure exam and a 100 percent rate in career placement,” Ball said. The program accepts about 20 students each year.
To donate to the scholarship, visit www.occc.edu/foundation/donation-form.