ATLANTA – Two Mercer University Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) students received national awards at the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) Combined Sections Meeting held Feb. 2-5 in San Antonio, Texas. 

Caroline “Carly” Esposito and Jillian Watson, both members of the DPT class of 2022, were awarded by the Academy of Orthopaedic Physical Therapy and the Academy of Pelvic Health, respectively, at ceremonies on Feb. 4.

Esposito received the Outstanding Physical Therapist Student Award from the Academy of Orthopaedic Physical Therapy, citing her academic excellence, initiative, leadership and engagement in professional organizations.

She serves as president of the Student Focused Interest Network for the Georgia chapter of APTA. Additionally, she was selected to be a member of the American Council of Academic Physical Therapy Student Leadership Committee. Her community service focuses on addressing food insecurity. 

Watson received the Volunteer of the Year Award from the Academy of Pelvic Health for her time and energy in serving as the national Student Special Interest Group Director for the Academy.

She has a long history of engagement with APTA, including serving as a Student Assembly Core Ambassador representing student physical therapists and student physical therapist assistants in Georgia to the national student leadership organization and serving as a student usher for the APTA House of Delegates in 2021.

“We are proud that Carly and Jillian were nationally recognized by two Academies within the American Physical Therapy Association for their accomplishments and service as students,” said Dr. Jeannette Anderson, PT, DHS, chair of the Department of Physical Therapy in Mercer’s College of Health Professions. “I am confident that the profession will benefit in the future from the continued engagement of these exceptional student leaders.”

About the College of Health Professions

Mercer University’s College of Health Professions is composed of six disciplines: physical therapy, physician assistant studies, public health, clinical psychology, athletic training, and kinesiology. The College offers a doctoral-level physical therapy program; master’s-level physician assistant program; bachelor’s-, master’s-, and doctoral-level public health programs, doctoral-level program in clinical psychology, master’s-level athletic training program, and bachelor’s-level kinesiology program. The Department of Physical Therapy also offers residencies in orthopaedic, neurologic and cardiovascular/pulmonary physical therapy; a fellowship in orthopaedic manual physical therapy; and an onsite clinic. Each program is housed in a department that provides students with comprehensive didactic courses taught by an extraordinary faculty and extensive clinical experience enhanced by outstanding service-learning opportunities. For more information, visit