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Bouvé College of Health Sciences at Northeastern University

Physical Therapy

Polly Cerasoli Scholarship Fund

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Thank you for your interest in the scholarship fund to honor Pauline (Polly) Cerasoli.

Polly Cerasoli, clinician, teacher, mentor, scholar, leader, skier and friend, passed away on September 11, 2010 at the age of 71 while residing at the Rose Meadow Farm in New Boston, N.H. Polly's career was cut short in 1996 when she sustained a traumatic brain injury from an unknown assailant while attending the APTA combined sections meeting in Atlanta.

Life in Rural Vermont
Polly grew up in Vermont where she accompanied her father, a country doctor, on his rounds to patient/client homes, braving the snow and ice of the Green Mountains to reach those in need in rural Vermont. Those special times with her dad fostered a love for medicine and a commitment to help others. When she learned about the profession of physical therapy, she knew it would become her life-long passion.

Career Development
Polly received her BS in Physical Therapy from the University of Connecticut. She then moved to Boston where she worked as a clinician while attending Boston University to earn a Master's in Education. She became a member of the PT faculty at Northeastern University in the early 1970s. As a teacher, she taught a variety of courses, but her specialty was therapeutic exercise. She also served as academic coordinator of clinical education and acting chairperson of the physical therapy department. Polly earned her Doctor of Education degree in Rehabilitation Administration from Northeastern. Her dissertation addressed the relationship between leadership style and job satisfaction among physical therapist clinicians. Polly loved teaching and was devoted to nurturing the best in those around her. She always had time to mentor and inspire students and colleagues.

Polly served the profession in other ways through her activities with the American Physical Therapy Association. She was an active member of the House of Delegates and the Education and Legislation/Regulations Sections. She also served on evaluation teams for the Commission on Accreditation for Physical Therapy Education as well as participating in various task forces.

Polly left Northeastern to become Director of Rehabilitation at Massachusetts General Hospital and to teach at the MGH Institute. From there she moved to Denver, Colorado to live and ski in the Rocky Mountains. She became the Assistant Dean of Allied Health and Director of the Physical Therapy Program at the University of Colorado, where she continued working to advance the profession of physical therapy. In spite of her career moves, Polly always maintained her ties to Northeastern.

Polly inspired students and colleagues to excel both personally and professionally. You can help cultivate Polly's ideals and qualities in the next generation of physical therapist by contributing to the Polly Cerasoli Scholarship Fund.  Proceeds from the fund will be used to award an annual scholarship to a physical therapy graduate student who exemplifies the characteristics that reflect those Polly displayed throughout her life and career.

Making a Contribution
If you would like to make a contribution to the Polly Cerasoli Scholarship Fund, please contact Steven Tanne at 617 373 2637 or you can send a check to 215 Behrakis Health Sciences Center, 360 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115.

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