From left to right: Meghan Mulloy, Areeba Khan and Madeline Lee at their MRT graduation.
During one of the information sessions for the Master of Rehabilitation Technology (MRT) program, the MRT faculty and SHRS enrollment team introduced prospective students to recent MRT graduates to discuss the program’s curriculum, online learning and quality of education. We agree with our graduates that these are the top reasons why MRT at Pitt could be for you and the way to launch your next bold move into the world of rehabilitation technology!
1. Hands-on Research and Development Experiences
We all had design classes. There's one in the first semester and one in the second semester if you decide to do the one-year program. That experience was really cool. You go through the whole design process of figuring out a problem to tackle, and then you tackle it with a small group of three or four other students.
For example, my project was creating a toothpaste dispensing mechanism for people that have low or no vision. It had to have tactile and auditory feedback so the patient would know that there's toothpaste on their toothbrush--super simple idea. Now we have a provisional patent submitted on it. We also submitted it to Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) Student Design Competition and became finalists. Eventually we got third place in the competition! It was just such a fun thing to do.
- Madeline Lee (MS ’22)
2. Classes That Fit Your Schedule
I have a little bit of a different background. I didn't come straight from undergrad. I had a three-to-four-year gap in between, so I was already working full-time. This program appealed to me because I needed to continue to work to support myself. Most of our classes were in the evening, so it was easy for me to continue to work a day shift. The professors, in my experience, were very considerate too. They understood that I had to work and might be five to ten minutes late.
- Courtney Sargent (MS ’22)
3. Fulfill Your Passions
I had really great faculty mentors who made me want to continue in this field. I love creating, building and problem solving. I've also worked at a summer camp for kids with disabilities for a long time. I have a strong passion for working with people with disabilities and helping them. The MRT program was the perfect mash-up of the two things that I love.
Lee and the boy who inspired her to get into mobility assistive technology.
Often, you’ll see a client and they need a wheelchair. Either a new one because they've been in one for a long time, or they’ve had a recent injury or diagnosis. Then you’ll evaluate their goals:
- “What do they want to do with their mobility. What do they have to do?”
- “What are their physical abilities?”
- “How much they can reach?”
- “How much can their body move and what level of pain do they deal with?”
After I assess that with the other physicians and therapists involved, I prescribe a wheelchair and we build a custom wheelchair (or a stander, bath chair or other assistive technology) for the client.
- Madeline Lee (MS ‘22)
4. Small Class Size
My favorite part about the MRT program is that we have a smaller cohort--I think there were 12 or 13 of us--which really makes it a lot more personal. You can get to know your classmates and professors better. It gives you that ability to ask questions and work together with others. I think that for me, personally, it makes for an easier learning environment. It gives you more time to ask questions and dive deeper into different things. You're also meeting with your classmates outside of the class for group projects.
- Courtney Sargent (MS ‘22)
5. Professional Networking and Connections
I think that one thing that was super beneficial was talking to professors for volunteering opportunities. When you start to talk to them about areas that you're interested in with this industry, you realize how connected they are. It's wonderful! You can just mention one small thing you’re interested in and they’ll set you up with a contact and schedule a meeting ASAP. These connections are some of the most important you’ll find because everybody knows these professors in this industry. Talk to them about areas that you're interested in and they'll make sure to get you connected with someone.
- Areeba Khan (MS ’22)
Written in partnership with:
Areeba Khan (MS’22),
Madeline Lee (MS’22),
Courtney Sargent (MS’22)
and the Office of Marketing, Communications, Recruitment and Enrollment. For more information about the MRT program, reach out to email@example.com or check out our next information session!
Published March 2, 2023