USC DPT Student a Winner in Dr Pepper Tuition Contest

Zuleima Hidalgo-web1November 5, 2012

Zuleima B. Hidalgo, USC Doctor of Physical Therapy student (Class of 2015), has received a $7,500 scholarship from the national Dr. Pepper $100,000 Tuition Giveaway contest.

A photo of the smiling student appears on cans, the two-liter bottle and 12-pack boxes of Dr. Pepper Diet Cherry soda, accompanied by a brief statement: “Doing medical volunteer work in South America motivated Zuleima to earn her degree in physical therapy to help people in need.”

Supermarkets and Wal-Mart stores are displaying a freestanding poster in Spanish and English showing Hidalgo and her mother with a mockup of the scholarship check. Posters of the 2011 scholarship winners are also at Target stores and gas stations, and Hidalgo and the other scholarship winners are featured in a Dr. Pepper commercial running on ESPN through November 15.

"It is truly a blessing," she said. "Winning this Dr. Pepper scholarship has provided me with a network of professionals who always look out for me."

In the 60-second video Hidalgo made last year for the contest, she says, “I made a pledge to my mother that I would return to Colombia, her home country, and help my family members, who are in desperate need of physical therapy."

Hidalgo's video includes a humorous scenario (about a physical therapy “patient” who takes a sip of the soft drink and immediately regains full use of her limbs) as well as personal moments from her life: her proud mother on graduation day, her USC acceptance envelope and one of the relatives in Colombia whom she hopes to be able to help when she receives her DPT degree.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program at USC prepares students to be authoritative practitioners in the diagnosis and treatment of movement dysfunction.