Carly Bernadotte

2015 Creating Change


Complacency isn’t a word in Carly Bernadotte’s vocabulary.

“I believe in always pushing forward and striving to be better,” she said.

A health policy studies major, Carly is passionate about physical therapy. After looking for organizations relevant to her future career goals and being unable to find any, she created her own. Co-founder of UM-Dearborn's Pre-Physical Therapy Association, Carly served as president, writing the group's original constitution and recruiting their first members.

Carly seeks out opportunities for service and volunteers for the annual Polar Plunge, diving into the frozen Detroit River to raise money for Special Olympics Michigan.

“Throughout her collegiate experience, I have witnessed her display great strength in leadership, always commanding respect from her peers,” said Kristin McDonough, Greek Life adviser. “She is never afraid to do what is right, even if it is unpopular. She is a skilled communicator and takes the time to truly understand situations and requests before reacting.”

Carly also has served as president of the Rho Beta Chapter of Phi Mu fraternity at UM-Dearborn. At their national convention, Phi Mu was recognized in six categories and ranked in the top-tier of national chapters.

Carly gains inspiration through motivating others to put forward their best efforts and she has found the most inspiration in her membership in Phi Mu.

“Phi Mu gave the opportunities and tools I needed to become a better leader,” she said. “I have met so many people, made many meaningful relationships, had so many leadership opportunities, been able to give back to the community and met my best friends while doing all of this. It has also helped show me how to be the best version of myself.”

A Distinguished Student of Health Policy Studies awardee, Carly plans to attend graduate school, pursuing a doctorate of physical therapy.