"As a graduate assistant I am responsible for assisting Dr. Pinkstaff with her research. I am responsible for working ten hours per week in which I input data, edit manuscripts,collect data, and carry out exercise testing.  Dr. Pinkstaff's focus is on human physiology related to physical therapy. In the past I have worked with the Exercise Science and Nutrition departments on a study involving exercise capacity and metabolism. Most recently I have been involved with a study that Dr. Pinkstaff is collaborating on with Mayo Clinic regarding heart failure. 

 My favorite part about being a graduate assistant is being involved with research. This opportunity has allowed me to apply what I've learned in class to real life situations. Research makes you think in different ways and use reasoning skills to put pieces together and draw significant conclusions. It has also given me a great appreciation for the amount of work that goes into one research study. 

 I originally was interested in becoming a graduate assistant because I am an out of state student and was in need of the financial assistance that the job offers. Additionally, I wanted to be involved in research. My senior year of my undergraduate program I became involved in research regarding the effects of exercise on the quality of life of cancer survivors, which sparked my interest in research."

UNF prides itself its faculty and research. Below is information from current Graduate Assistants and their responsibilities. If you have any questions on how to become a Graduate Assistant or want to know more about it feel free to visit the UNF Graduate Assistant website! 

"I mainly help Dr. DWR organize paperwork, create forms, grade classwork, laundry, and any miscellaneous tasks she requires. My favorite thing about being a Graduate Assistant is getting to know the faculty better. Seeing it from the other side and how hard they work for us behind closed doors is an eye opener. 


I wanted to be a GA for financial reasons and to help any faculty that needed assistance. I did not know who I was going to be paired with so I originally thought I'd be helping with research since majority of professors with GAs receive a GA for their research. Working with DWR shows me how much work she puts into getting us the best and most clinical sites as possible. She also is in charge of two courses, so she has a lot on her plate and she handles everything very well. 

If you do become a GA make sure you have good time management skills to balance your coursework and GA work. Apply early and be proactive/vocal if you would like a GA position because there are limited spots."

Graduate Assistant Information

Erin Barker

Dr. Mettler and Amanda Lovins Graduate Assistant

Class of 2016


Jenna Danish

Dr. Pinkstaff Graduate Assistant 

Class of 2017



"I haven’t been involved in research (that I can remember at least, haha). My favorite parts about being a GA are feeling like I’m helping our program and interacting with our wonderful faculty and staff as well as healthcare professionals in the community. I wanted to be a GA because I wanted to be involved in the “behind the scenes” work that helped make our program successful. The best advice I can provide is to become more efficient with your time. If you know you have a lot of exams and presentations coming up, work ahead on your GA work and/or schoolwork. Being a GA last year while I was the SPTA president forced me budget my time the most efficiently that I have so far in my three years!"


Abby Sculati

Dr. DWR Graduate Assistant 

Class of 2017


UNF Student Physical Therapy Association