A Journey Towards Achieving My Physical Therapy Dreams

Each year, CPE high school seniors have an opportunity to apply for the Henry D. Owen scholarship. This scholarship was named by CPE in honor of Henry D. Owen, a creative, compassionate, talented and diligent public servant who played a pivotal role in creating Capital Partners for Education. Mr. Owen was a distinguished diplomat and leader who served his country. The Henry D. Owen Scholarship was established in 2012 and is designed to assist CPE students who demonstrates a dedication to the program values. First place for the 2021 scholarship was awarded to Makaio. He shares how life experiences of growing up in Southeast, DC influenced him throughout his high school matriculation to want to pursue a career in physical therapy.

Essay Submission: My upbringing in Washington, D.C. was unlike what any person would ever dream of. When most people think about Washington, D.C., they think about the White House, the Capitol, the monuments, or the museums. I was born and raised in Southeast D.C., where most people haven’t visited those historic sites more than a few times in their lives, if ever. Although Southeast D.C. is an impoverished place with crime and murder, I was fortunate enough to have parents that made sure my siblings and I ate each night and had a roof over our head. My character was shaped by my upbringing. I became motivated to attain a better life and knew that higher education was the tool to help me achieve that. I also have come to appreciate the value of health, safety, security, and – most importantly – caring for others.

Through my involvement with the Eastern Academy of Health Sciences (EAHS) – a four-year program designed to help high school students learn the fundamentals of health science and build professional skills – I have learned about the opportunities to improve people’s lives within the healthcare system. However, while healthcare is extremely beneficial, not everyone can afford it. Disparities within the healthcare system particularly affect those who are lower-income and have experienced life altering injuries. African Americans are disproportionately likely to be uninsured, partly due to the high cost barriers to health insurance that still exist for many. After learning this, I knew I wanted to pursue a medical career.

In 2019, my friend was shot and is currently wheelchair-bound. If he were under the care of a physical therapist, he could possibly return back to his regular life. I don’t believe his parents can afford the services of a physical therapist. His situation showed me in a personal way how people are treated unfairly in the healthcare system. Seeing the consequences of these disparities firsthand has motivated me to go college to pursue physical therapy. When I become a physical therapist, I will help create affordable healthcare options for those in need.

As a physical therapist, I will have the ability to improve the lives of my patients, and I know I can help people just like my friend. During my involvement with EAHS I have learned how to perform CPR, do a blood pressure screening, conduct patient assessments, and develop strong research and communication skills. I’m looking forward to building on those skills in undergrad, and translating them to a career in physical therapy.

I am excited to pursue my undergraduate study at Towson University and further my education. Towson’s pre-physical therapy advising program will allow me to receive a diverse and well-rounded education that will prepare me well for the rigors of physical therapy, and provide the foundation that will allow me to attain a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree following undergrad. I could not be more excited to become a part of the Towson community, and look forward to taking the next step in my journey towards achieving my physical therapy dreams. As I step into this next chapter of my life, support from the Henry D. Owen scholarship would be immensely helpful in helping me to achieve my dreams of practicing physical therapy, and would be a continual reminder that those who are given opportunity have a responsibility to pay it forward.