Hannah Pollard is graduating from the College of Health and Human Sciences with her doctorate in physical therapy. During her time at WCU, Hannah has served as the quality improvement officer for the student-run Mountain Area Pro Bono Health Services Clinic, providing effective, free physical therapy and social work services to the underserved and underinsured population of Western North Carolina. Hannah’s efforts have helped to improve the quality of life, health, and function of members of the community. She is also responsible for tracking all clinic statistics and using this information to improve clinic or student board procedures.
Hannah has the unique knack for never seeing a problem, only a potential solution, which has enhanced the performance of each committee on the Student Board, and she has been an indispensable graduate assistant within the Physical Therapy Department. She has seized on every opportunity to expand her neurological content knowledge including co-leading an exercise class for individuals with Parkinson’s disease as part of her "Health Promotion and Wellness" course.
Hannah has been accepted to present for the third year in a row at the Eastern Regional Pro Bono Network Conference in Pennsylvania, and for her doctoral project, she chose to be part of a group that looked at whether internal focus (on body movement) or external focus (on the effect on the environment) led to more effective motor learning in individuals post-stroke.
Last fall, Hannah worked as a volunteer at a Retreat and Refresh Stroke Camp, where she worked with individuals who had a stroke and their caregivers. "When you are truly invested in an experience like this, you are giving a part of yourself away and accepting a piece from someone else."