Ambassador Spotlight: Brandon Pendegraft of University of Alabama-Birmingham

...our profession is full of truly some of the most empathetic and selfless individuals I know.

Why are you passionate about service?

I, like many students and clinicians, chose to become a Physical Therapist because our profession provides the opportunity to build meaningful relationships with patients on a daily basis.  It also allows us to deliver an individualized, skilled service to someone in need.  I am proud of the time, focus, and compassionate care I can give to each patient, and we all have testimonies reinforcing this theme.  We thrive on this, and our profession is full of truly some of the most empathetic and selfless individuals I know. 

It was my parents and my faith that instilled in me a passion for service though, and when I chose to become a Physical Therapist I saw it as my way to give back and serve daily as a clinician.  It has become increasingly clear though as I grow and progress as a student of the profession that my obligation to serve does not end when I leave my clinic or workplace.  Our role extends into our community, and only then can we transform society and change lives.  Transforming society is a bold vision statement, and it is one that requires us to use our vast knowledge of the Movement System and the leadership skills we possess to actively serve in the clinic, home, and in our community.


Tell us your favorite service memory...

Last fall I was able to volunteer with 15 of my UAB classmates at a fully accessible camp in Georgia.  We were blessed with the opportunity to be counselors and become friends with young adults with developmental or physical disabilities, as well as celebrate Halloween with them by having a costume party on the last night.  Over the weekend we spent at camp we were able to facilitate each camper’s participation in the camp programming that included a high ropes course, rock climbing wall, archery range, fishing, and many other inclusive activities.  We all had an incredible experience and I learned so much that weekend as well as built some friendships.  My favorite memory from the weekend came on the last day, just a few hours before the Halloween party.  A camper approached my friend and I about joining him on stage that night to sing an Elvis Presley song, much to my despair.  Nonetheless, we scrambled to get the lyrics and memorize them before the performance.  When it was our turn we all took the stage and sang away.  It was a small thing that we did for him, but special because you could see there was not a thing we could have done that weekend that would have meant more to him. 


How has servant leadership impacted your professional career thus far as a student?

It has challenged me to stay active and continue to pursue something I am passionate about.  It’s very easy as a student to settle into a routine of attending class and then go home to study and never leave that comfort zone, something I am often guilty of.  Service has taught me how to better communicate, problem solve, and apply skills we have learned.  It’s allowed me to give back and connect with my community, and most importantly it’s created a sense of personal responsibility in me.  I think it has helped me begin to connect with other people to discover ways that they are serving and how to better myself, as well as look to people who can give me advice and help me grow.


What are your service plans/ideas for PTDOS?

A few UAB classmates and myself have worked to coordinate 8 opportunities in Birmingham where we felt we could effectively serve on PTDOS.  We currently have reached out to other PT and PTA programs in Alabama and have had a total of 55 students sign up so far!  Our next step is to reach out to the AL Chapter, our clinicians, and faculty to continue to increase involvement.  We are very excited about this day of service and the opportunities that we came up with.  As far as my plans, I will be participating in a Wheelchair Ramp build on this day for a family in need.  I cannot wait to see the great things done around the nation and around the world on October 17th!


To find out more about the events Brandon put together, click here