Kanika Bansal, MPT, received the 2020-2021 Frederick Family Scholarship Award, which is a $2,000 award presented to a Rehabilitation Science student who treats others with positive regard, dignity and respect; shows dedication and service to the profession; displays evidence of exceptional dependability, and is self-reliant and dedicated to the pursuit of the doctoral degree.
Since the start of the program, Kanika has shown that she truly embodies the meaning of this award.
During her first two years as a PhD student, Kanika served as a Teaching Assistant for Neurorehabilitation I and fulfilled the role with exceptional dependability, said Dorian Rose, PhD, PT, Research Associate Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy and Kanika’s mentor.
“She demonstrated genuine concern for each UF DPT student, providing concise and helpful feedback, and appropriately notified the primary instructor when she saw a skill or behavior needing extra attention,” Dr. Rose said in her nomination letter. “Kanika could be depended on to take the initiative to prepare the classroom, give students direction, and clearly communicate with her assigned instructor. During her tenure as a TA, Kanika anticipated instructor and classroom needs before they were requested and often did not simply ‘complete the task’ but went above and beyond to make the outcome even more helpful to the instructor and more meaningful to the DPT students.”
In 2019, Kanika was awarded a Brooks Rehabilitation Clinician-Graduate Assistantship, receiving this award the first year a formal competitive application process was instituted. In addition to her assistantship, she continued to assist teaching in the DPT program as a TA and mentoring new teaching assistants.
When the UF DPT program felt the impact of COVID-19, Kanika gladly volunteered to help transition courses to be taught online and assisted teaching in both Therapeutic Exercise II and Neurorehabilitation I in the Summer and Fall semesters.
Kanika demonstrated further dedication and service to the profession by preparing and sitting for the National Physical Therapy Examination. This was not required, but she realized she could better assist UF DPT students if she had a complete grasp of the information required of them to be licensed in the United States. Immediately upon receiving her license, Kanika regularly volunteered at the UF Physical Therapy Equal Access Clinic, serving as a mentor to DPT students.
In addition to going above and beyond as a mentor, Kanika consistently displayed self-motivation and dedication to her pursuit of a doctoral degree. She is first author on a manuscript published in Physical Therapy and has received numerous national recognitions, including the Academy of Neurologic Physical Therapy PT Post Professional Student Research Award in 2019, Best Platform Award for the Stroke Special Interest Group at the Combined Sections Meeting in 2021, and for two consecutive years, Kanika was awarded the University of Florida International Center’s Outstanding Achievement Award.
“Kanika has also demonstrated her ability to become an independent researcher as she now leads data collections and appropriately directs others in assisting her with both data collection and management,” Dr. Rose explained. “She has successfully done this with two separate research teams –both at the VA Brain Rehabilitation Research Center and the Brooks Clinical Research Center.
“In addition to my observations of Kanika treating DPT students, UF faculty, VA investigators, Brooks Rehabilitation team members all with dignity and respect, she has treated and communicated with all of her post-stroke research participants across the spectrum of age, ethnicity, and disability-level exemplifying these same characteristics,” Dr. Rose said. “Kanika is personable and compassionate, readily able to connect with our post-stroke research participants as well as our patient volunteers in the DPT curriculum.”
Kanika is truly deserving of this award. Congratulations on this achievement!