20:04 PM

Michelle Riffitts Named 2022 Wesley C. Pickard Fellow

Michelle Riffitts

Michelle Riffitts, PT, DPT, was named the 2022 Wesley C. Pickard Fellow by the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Bioengineering. Recipients of this award are selected by the department chair and chosen based on academic merit. 

Riffitts graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in Bioengineering. She completed her Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) through the University of Pittsburgh’s Dual DPT-PhD in Bioengineering program. She now works as a physical therapist in the outpatient orthopedic setting.

Riffitts conducts her research at the Human Movement and Balance Laboratory (HMBL) under Assistant Professor Kevin Bell. Her work focuses on developing and evaluating technology and devices that can be used in physical therapy treatment. Her primary project is focused on developing a system to aid adolescent patients in completing the ACL reconstruction rehabilitation. 

“I am excited about my work because it allows me to combine several of my research interests including biomechanics, medical device development, and clinical research,” Riffitts said. “My goal is to develop a system capable of improving how physical therapy is delivered.” 

About Wesley C. Pickard: 

Mr. Pickard is an alumnus of the Swanson School of Engineering and earned his bachelor's degree in mining engineering at Pitt in 1961. He retired from Synergy Inc, a DC-based consulting firm, as the CFO. Over a period of 33 years, Pickard helped the company grow from five staff members to more than 200 with revenues of approximately $25 million when it was sold in 2005. He is a dedicated supporter of the University and was inducted into the Cathedral of Learning Society at Pitt—a giving society that honors some of our most generous alumni. 

In 2010 Mr. Pickard was named the University of Pittsburgh Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering Distinguished Alumnus. He also received the Pitt Volunteer of Excellence Award in 2012 and was named a “Significant Sig” in 2017 by Sigma Chi Fraternity. In 2018 he was selected as the overall honoree representing the entire Swanson School at the 54th annual Distinguished Alumni Banquet.