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UCF Go Baby Go! Receives President’s Award from National Down Syndrome Congress

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By Karen Guin

Jennifer Tucker spent much of her time at last week's National Down Syndrome Congress Annual Convention in Orlando showcasing and leading efforts to enhance mobility in children with disabilities.

But the physical therapy lecturer took a break Saturday night to accept a President's Award from the NDSC for her work on UCF Go Baby Go!, a mobility initiative she founded last year in the College of Health and Public Affairs.

Tucker received the award from NDSC President Marilyn Tolbert in recognition of UCF Go Baby Go!'s efforts to improve "the lives of individuals with Down syndrome through research and community outreach."

For more than a year Tucker has partnered with Professor Cole Galloway, the nationally recognized founder of Go Baby Go! at the University of Delaware, to establish a Go Baby Go! program at UCF. She's worked tirelessly with UCF colleagues to hold Go Baby Go! workshops where physical therapy students and staff members join families and community members to retrofit motorized toy cars for children in need of enhanced mobility. Earlier this year she helped launch Knights on the Go Café at UCF as the first site in Florida to demonstrate the Go Baby Go! harness system for adults recovering from a traumatic brain injury.

UCF Go Baby Go! Pres Award - TuckerAt the NDSC convention Tucker and Galloway presented a workshop on the influence of mobility in the development of infants and young children. They also demonstrated a Go Baby Go! motorized toy car and the harness system. The next day Tucker led a team of physical therapy students and an engineering student from UCF as they conducted a workshop for siblings of children with Down syndrome.

"The team managed about 40 siblings who helped retrofit three toy cars that were auctioned off that evening," said Patrick Pabian, director of UCF's Doctor of Physical Therapy Program and a workshop participant. "It was a great way to educate the siblings about the need for mobility."

Both Tucker and Pabian said there was a great deal of interest in Go Baby Go! among convention goers, which numbered in the thousands. They've also seen great interest among local community members.

Tucker said she was honored and humbled to accept the President's Award on behalf of UCF Go Baby Go! from the NDSC, which consists of the "families and children we serve." She's also said she's thankful to the university, college and program's leadership and administration for their continued support and encouragement.

"Together we can continue to create opportunities for fun and mobility for children with mobility impairments," she said.

Among the other 2016 NDSC award recipients is Florida Sen. Andy Gardiner, who received the Exceptional Meritorious Service Award for his efforts to improve "the lives of individuals with disabilities in Florida."

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The health care informatics master's program at UCF really helped me connect with the industry, meet people at conferences and sit for the most-desired certification exams."
— Michael Neimann M.S. in health care informatics ('14)
My internship with the District 9 Medical Examiner’s Office was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I gained an excellent understanding of the medical examiner’s office and the criminal justice field in general."
— Adam Stubley B.S. in criminal justice, criminal profiling certificate ('11)
UCF provides its physical therapy students with an excellent education and prepares them to work in the most challenging of settings."
— Jamie Dyson Rehabilitation Supervisor, Orlando Regional Medical Center
UCF's program provided me the opportunity to expedite my student experience while attaining practical experience working within local health systems."
— Daniel Barr V.P. at National Children's Hospital; M.S. in health sciences, health services administration track ('04)
My master's education helped me see the big picture of the nonprofit industry. UCF showed me how to see the different fundraising tools within the Central Florida area."
— Krysti Griffith Executive Director of Growth from Grief; Master of Nonprofit Management ('12)
The course opened my eyes to grant writing ... I learned a great deal and you [Barbara Howell] are truly an excellent instructor."
— Deborah Reith Master of Public Administration student who secured a $10,000 federal grant through a course project; B.S. in criminal justice ('86)
The skills I learned during my time at UCF are what made my transition to law school so seamless."
— Jacqueline Iaquinta Touro Law Center student; B.S. in legal studies ('10)
As an inaugural graduate of the M.R.A. program at UCF, I can attest to the outstanding curriculum developed for research administrators. "
— April Heyward Post Award Services Coordinator, University of South Carolina; Master of Research Administration ('13)
It was at UCF that I first learned many of the skills that I’ve since honed, including mapping with GIS software - an ability I found invaluable to my search for internships, graduate-level coursework, and employment."
— Richard "Ben" Hagen Research and Communications Associate, New Economy Project, New York City; B.S. in public administration ('10)
I am excited to be able to give back to the program that invested so much in me. It is truly and honor and a privilege."
— Carlos Gual Instructor of Athletic Training; B.S. in athletic training ('09)
The faculty advisor [at my medical school] was amazed that I had the opportunity to truly participate in the full spectrum of research as an undergraduate. "
— Chase Cavayero, medical student at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicince, B.S. in health sciences - pre-clinical ('13) 
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