Department of Physical Therapy Assistant Professor Valerie Shuman getting “pied” while Assistant Professor Andrew Sprague looks on
Many people like to celebrate Pi Day musing about their favorite number and eating lots of pie, but the Pitt Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) residential students have started a new tradition: holding a fundraiser by throwing pies at their favorite faculty.
First-year DPT student, Dynasty LaPrade, came up with the idea after having a bake sale earlier in the year. She and the residential students are raising money to offset travel costs to Boston for the 2024 Combined Sections Meeting of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). LaPrade says that the conference draws between 15,000-20,000 students and clinicians each year and that it is an invaluable venue for students to learn about the most current physical therapy (PT) research from world renown leaders as well as to build their professional network.
For the second fundraiser, LaPrade wanted to go bigger with an event that would rally the Pitt PT community together with some friendly competition. Since nothing brings people together like pie--especially throwing pies--LaPrade’s idea was for members of the department to “vote” by donating money to the faculty member they thought should be “pied” by students. The two faculty with the most money raised would have pie thrown in their face at the event on Pi Day, March 14.
Assistant Professors Andrew Sprague and Valerie Shuman were the top contenders, bringing in just over $300 for the event. On a particularly wintery Pittsburgh evening they found themselves inside the Bridgeside Point student lounge draped in protective plastic ponchos over a floor covered in blue tarp.
After LaPrade asked the crowd of gathered students which professor should get pied first, Cami Marshall (DPT ’24) did the honors smothering Sprague’s face with a pie pan of whipped cream. Only after clearing his eyes of the melting goo did Sprague get to see Adrian Largent (DPT ’23) deftly guide the second pie pan into Shuman’s face.
Both faculty members were great sports in the event. Sprague even hid an extra pie under his chair to attack fellow faculty member Rick Joreitz who was hiding in the crowd and showed just how quickly his feet could move. Just as LaPrade had hoped, the event brought the community together to raise money and add some much-needed levity leading up to exam week. The students are planning to have a second Pie Extravaganza event in the late spring or early fall.
Anyone interested in donating to the students’ fundraiser to attend the APTA conference may do so at the PittGiving Physical Therapy Graduate Student Association donation page.
All in good fun: LaPrade, Shuman and Sprague ready for the pie throwing festivities
LaPrade and Marshall with their well-tended whipped cream pies
LaPrade preparing the faculty and crowd for pie
Sprague taking the pie
Sprague able to see clearly again once wiping his eyes of the whipped cream
Shuman getting pied while Sprague looks on
Largent admiring his pie throwing technique
Shuman all smiles helping to fundraise for a good cause
Published March 28, 2023