Selection Committee

Rizing Tide assembled two esteemed panels of professionals to thoroughly review and evaluate scholarship applications. These panels scrutinize each submission for merit across two different rounds of evaluation, focusing especially on future impact potential, academic performance, personal character and conduct, leadership and community-building skills, work ethic, reliability, and entrepreneurial and financial acumen.

Behind the Scenes of Our Selection Process

Round One


The screeners exclusively review applications and attached documents, screening students for eligibility, merit, and outstanding personal character. Then, the screeners each nominate a small number of applicants to move forward as finalists.

Round Two


The Beachcombers attend live or watch the recorded interviews of all finalists, searching for future impact potential, community-building skills, grit, and work ethic—among other attributes. After the conclusion of all interviews, the Beachcombers vote to choose the final scholarship winners.

The Screeners

Heidi Jannenga
Heidi Jannenga, PT, DPT, ATC
Emmanuel Fajardo, PT, DPT
Moyo Tillery1
Moyo B. Tillery PT, DPT, OCS, FAAOMPT
Jaime Z. González, PT, DPT, PhD(c)
Kendell Jno-Finn
Kendell M. Jno-Finn, PT, DPT, CMPT
Mia Gonzales Dean, MBA, MS PT, FACHE
Nikesh Patel, PT, DPT
Sharon Hwang
Tavona Denise
TaVona Denise Boggs, PT
Dr. Jon Lee
Dr. Jonathon Lee, PT, DPT, MBA, OCS, FAAOMPT
Wendy Haro
Wendy Haro
Gene Shirokobrod 1
Dr. Gene Shirokobrod, PT, DPT
Joel Cowley
Joel Cowley, PT, DPT
Keaton Ray Headshot
Dr. Keaton Ray, PT, DPT
merritt mackenzie
Merritt Mackenzie
Jonathan Eng, DPT, CSCS

The Beachcombers

Efosa Guobadia

Efosa L. Guobadia, PT, DPT, is the founder of the integrated wellness company FFITT Health; president and CEO of Move Together, a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to improving access to quality rehab medicine around the corner and around the world; co-founder of the initiative Global PT Day of Service, which has spanned over 80 countries since its inception; and founder of the informational website PT Haven. In 2017, he contributed a chapter on sustainability as well as the closing afterword for the book "Why Global Health Matters,” edited by Dr. Chris E. Stout, and with a foreword by Nobel Laureate Jody Williams.

He has lectured in the Americas, Asia, and Africa. He received his BS in Kinesiology from the University of Massachusetts in 2007 and his Doctorate of Physical Therapy from the University of Scranton in 2010. He is the recipient of the 2017 Distinguished Young Alumni Award given by the University of Massachusetts/Amherst School of Public Health and Health Sciences and is a 2018 American Physical Therapy Association Social Impact Award recipient.

Dr. Efosa Guobadia


Mia Gonzales Dean

Mia Gonzales Dean

Mia is the COO for DriQ Health, Inc., a healthcare digital tech startup with the world’s first Internet of Things (IoT) enterprise incontinence monitoring solution. Mia is a PT who worked in the acute care and inpatient rehabilitation settings for academic health systems in New York City and Philadelphia. Mia’s previous leadership roles were in operations for Penn Medicine—first for PT and OT practices across the care continuum and then for hospital support services at Penn’s flagship hospital.


Mia is a Filipino-American who was born in Manila and raised in Massachusetts. Mia has served as a mentor to many individuals throughout her career (PTs and non-PTs). Many of these individuals are from diverse backgrounds and have expressed feelings of inadequacy or bouts of “imposter syndrome” when seeking new career opportunities. Through prior invitations to participate and speak at The Graham Sessions on this topic, Mia has enjoyed the opportunity to speak with others who are interested in developing both strategy and tactics to catalyze enhanced diversity, equity, and inclusion within our profession and its leadership.

Sharon Hwang

Sharon is a Partner Chief Operating Officer at MSP Sports Capital where she oversees the firm’s operations as well as capital raising and investor relations functions. Before joining MSP, Sharon was Chief Operating Officer at the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. Prior to GPEC, Sharon held various roles at Turner Impact Capital, Watershed Asset Management, ESL Investments/Sears Holdings, and Lehman Brothers.


Sharon received a BA from Yale University and attended the MBA/MA dual degree program with The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania and the School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University. She serves on multiple nonprofit boards and is a founding member of a regional community bank (in organization).


Sharon Hwang

Wendy Haro

Wendy Haro

Wendy Haro

Wendy is a software engineer at WebPT and a passionate advocate for the inclusion of underrepresented and underserved communities in STEM education and careers. At work—in addition to her job duties—Wendy serves as a founding member of the WebPT Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force; leads the multi-ethnic employee resource group (Propel-ME); and hosts engaging social events to foster a fun and inclusive work culture. Outside of work, Wendy has volunteered and served in various capacities at the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE): the nation’s largest association dedicated to fostering Hispanic leadership in the STEM field.


Throughout her 20-year involvement with SHPE, Wendy has chaired regional pre-college conferences and served on the SHPE scholarship review committee among holding other roles at the local, regional, and national level. As a first generation American and daughter to immigrant parents from Mexico and El Salvador, Wendy personally knows the challenges of rising through adversity. Wendy is devoted to promoting resources for BIPOC students to maximize their potential and help them achieve their dreams.

Moyo Tillery

Mo received her DPT from Duke and has over 10 years of experience in outpatient orthopedics, specifically in occupational health. She is a Board-Certified Clinical Specialist in Orthopedic Physical Therapy and has completed both residency and fellowship training in orthopedic manual physical therapy. She is also a fellow of the American Academy of Manual Physical Therapists. Mo was a member of the Diversity Task Force during her three years at Duke, and she was President of the task force as a third-year student. During that time, she organized events celebrating the different cultures represented within Duke DPT and attended career fairs at several Historically Black Colleges and Universities in an effort to promote awareness about the physical therapy career to underrepresented minority groups.


Since graduation, Mo has presented at several career fairs at middle, high, and early college programs in Durham, NC, and she recently joined the co-founder of the National Association of Black Physical Therapists to give a talk on "Leadership through a Diverse Lens," hosted by DukeDPT. Mo recently served on the Duke DPT Task Force on Racial Inequality, discussing issues related to DEI within Duke University, Duke DPT, and the greater community. She also serves as an Alumni Mentor for Duke DPT’s Award-Winning Summer Discovery Program, and continues to mentor prospective and current BIPOC DPT students. She is an active and engaged member of the Occupational Health Special Interest Group of the APTA Academy of Orthopaedics, as well as the APTA Academy of Education, APTA North Carolina, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists, and the National Association of Black Physical Therapists.

Moyo Tillery1

Dr. Moyo Tillery

Gene Shirokobrod 1

Dr. Gene Shirokobrod

Gene Shirokobrod

Gene is a physical therapist who's guided by entrepreneurial passion. He co-founded UpDoc Media, a company focused on producing high-quality custom content and digital marketing for healthcare companies. UpDoc media focuses on providing "content you need to know, delivered with clinical precision."


Gene is also the CEO and co-founder of Recharge—a company that offers its membership base a unique combination of physical therapy, group fitness, and health data analytics. Reacharge is all about bringing three important elements of health care under one roof, while focusing on bringing fun to the customer experience. Recharge wants to redefine healthcare for the better.

Manny Fajardo

Manny Fajardo, PT, DPT, is the Regional Director, Rehabilitation Services for Kaiser Permanente, Northern California.  In this role, he is responsible for the overall vision and strategy for physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech language pathology. He works with regional and local executives to improve and innovative the care experience for Kaiser’s 4.4 million members in Northern California. He has overseen the creation of online digital tools that are used by more than 50,000 members each month, and he helped create Kaiser Permanente’s digital-first solution for musculoskeletal problems via direct access to physical therapists and the primary provider. He oversees many programs over the three rehab therapy disciplines and supports the mission of delivering high-quality, evidence-based, affordable health care services and to improving the health of members and the communities we serve.


Manny is an immigrant from the Philippines and was raised in California. He appreciates all the mentors who helped guide him, push him, and support him in his career and life. Manny has mentored many individuals in their pursuit of a career in physical therapy and supports improving the profession's diversity and providing more opportunities for BIPOC PT students.


Dr. Manny Fajardo

heidi 1

Dr. Heidi Jannenga

Heidi Jannenga

Dr. Heidi Jannenga, PT, DPT, ATC, is the founder and president of the Rizing Tide Foundation, a nonprofit that seeks to inspire more diversity and inclusiveness in the physical therapy industry. 


Additionally, Heidi is a physical therapist and the co-founder and Chief Clinical Officer of WebPT, a nine-time Inc. 5000 honoree and the leading software solution for physical, occupational, and speech therapists. As a member of the board and senior management team, Heidi advises on and guides WebPT’s product vision, company culture, branding efforts, and internal operations, all while advocating for rehab therapists, women leaders, and entrepreneurs on a national and international scale. Since the company's launch in 2008, Heidi has guided WebPT through exponential growth. Today, it’s the fastest-growing physical therapy software in the country, employing over 600 people and serving more than 90,000 therapy professionals—equating to an industry-leading 40% market share. 


In 2017, Heidi was honored by Health Data Management as one of the most powerful women in IT, and she was a finalist for EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year. In 2018, she was named the Ed Denison Business Leader of the Year at the Governor’s Celebration of Innovation. In addition to serving on numerous non-profit leadership boards, Heidi is a proud member of the Scottsdale chapter of the Young Presidents' Organization and Charter 100—and she's an investor with Golden Seeds which focuses on supporting organizations that are founded or led by women. 


Heidi is also a mother to her 10-year-old daughter Ava and enjoys traveling, hiking, mountain biking, and practicing yoga in her spare time.