Chin family awards scholarship to each third-year physical therapy student
When online classes resumed for Texas State University physical therapy doctoral (DPT) students, a Zoom meeting wasn’t the only surprise ahead for them.
With all 42 DPT students and faculty as part of this online “town hall” meeting, Dr. Barb Sanders, chair of the Department of Physical Therapy, started off by saying she had some good news. Then she called out the names of a few students, before calling out even more. As the suspense built, Sanders finally told all the students that they had each received a $1,000 scholarship.
In February, Edith and You-Kin Chin established a $250,000 endowment that would provide direct payment for every third-year DPT student in good standing. The program will continue for five years with additional funds directed to a permanent endowment.
Sanders says the reaction of students went from “absolute amazement to tears.” Almost all of the students have worked in the PT Clinic at the Round Rock Campus and have interacted with the Chins. “It wasn’t like some anonymous donor giving them money,” she said.
Edith Chin has been a client of the PT Clinic for several years following a stroke. “After eight months of therapy at St. David’s, her physical therapist suggested taking a hiatus from their clinic because she didn’t do much homework. The break might change her attitude. She suggested getting a student from the PT department at Texas State,” You-Kin Chin said.
By 2016, she was a weekly client at the clinic on the San Marcos Campus.
“I remember when she first came here,” said Dr. Shannon Williams, co-director of the PT Clinic. “She was supposed to do exercises at home, and it wasn’t very successful. The students tapped into what motivates her.”
A year ago, Mrs. Chin broke her hip and it landed her in a rehab nursing facility. “She came back to us and she flourished,” Williams says.
Mr. and Mrs. Chin are natives of Hong Kong. You-Kin Chin emigrated to Louisiana at the age of 3, and Edith Chin arrived in 1969 to attend the University of New Orleans. They both spent their careers working for Texaco (now Chevron) before retiring in 1999. Edith Chin previously taught English in Hong Kong and served as a librarian with the Houston Public Library. Both graduated from the University of New Orleans. He earned a B.S. in accounting and she earned a B.A. in psychology. In addition, Edith Chin has a master’s in library science from Texas Woman’s University.
Dr. Angela Rich, clinical associate professor, calls the Chins “absolutely amazing people.” “When they come into the clinic, she comes alive,” Rich said. “The thing that makes the PT program so unique – we are a big family. Faculty, students and clients.”
“Everything about this scholarship is kudos to the students. This is driven by the students who created this situation. Somebody wanting to give back because of what they got. It is not just about her improvement,” Rich said.
The scholarship is unique in that students will immediately benefit. The professors all agreed that the students – who will graduate in May 2021 – could benefit from the money while they work full-time in their clinical rotations.
“For some time, I’ve been thinking of how to thank the students who’ve given her therapy these past few years. I’d ordered boxes of pizzas for them once but that was just a token,” You-Kin Chin said. “I considered a scholarship where the students themselves would choose two students they most admired as being an ‘ideal’ therapist. But then I thought this would be unfair to the students.
“Finally, I came up with this simple format. Money goes to every senior in good standing. No test, no essay, no extracurricular activity to prove one’s worthiness.”
The Texas State PT Clinic began more than 30 years ago on the San Marcos Campus. In 2018, it opened in Willow Hall when some programs in the College of Health Professions moved to the Round Rock Campus. Doctoral students treat clients of all ages under the supervision of faculty members, licensed in the state of Texas. Both a low-cost and pro-bono clinic are in operation.
A Doctor of Physical Therapy is a qualifying degree. In the U.S., it is an entry-level professional degree. There are 14 of these programs in the state. Texas State admits 40 students a year for this nine-semester, three-year, full-time graduate program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education.
You-Kin Chin said he hoped the scholarship would ease the pressure for the DPT students. “Sometimes the student doesn’t get scholarship funds because they are not the best and brightest. To have been able to finish two years is a major accomplishment. This scholarship is meant to ‘reward’ them for their hard work.”