A Conversation With Cara Negri, BSME, CP, FAAOP

In this issue, O&P News poses five questions to Cara Negri, BSME, CP, FAAOP.

Negri has worked in the prosthetics profession for 18 years and holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering with a concentration in bioengineering from Kettering University. She is a graduate of The Northwestern University Prosthetics Program. She is the chair of the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists (AAOP) Gait Society and a member of the Lower Limb Prosthetics Society, Lower Limb Orthotics Society and Women in O&P.

Negri is director of PnO Data Solutions, a division of The Tarn Group that specializes in video gait analysis and online learning tools specialized for the O&P profession. She is an instructor of gait and biomechanics at California State University, Dominguez Hills. She is pursuing a master’s degree in instructional design specialized in online learning.

Cara Negri, BSME, CP, FAAOP

O&P News: What are your hobbies outside of work?

Negri: I love being outdoors, camping, hiking, biking or climbing. The outdoors and exercise are natural stress relievers.

O&P News: What was the defining moment that led you to your field?

Negri: It was a day on the job specifically that solidified my career in O&P. But when I was in fourth grade I read a book, Michelle, about a girl who had sustained an amputation due to cancer when she was young. The book was her story of recovery and perseverance to stay active in sports. I read it so many times the librarian gave the book to me. I still have the book. I do not think I knew at that moment that I wanted to work in the field of O&P, but it obviously pointed me in the right direction.

O&P News: What advice would you offer to O&P students today?

Negri: I am an instructor at California State University, Dominquez Hills for gait and biomechanics. I remember being a student, and thinking, “I got this.” Then I went out into residency and I had a rude awakening. I did not have it, and I still had so much to learn. My advice is to embrace the early years of growth. You are not expected to know everything. In fact, if it is not hard and you do not find yourself crying in the bathroom a couple of times, you might be doing something wrong. It will be hard, and you will get frustrated, and you will question if you made the right choice. Just know that the times when it is uncomfortable are when you are learning and growing the most, so bear down and try to enjoy it.

O&P News: What is up next for you?

Negri: I am pursuing a master’s degree in instructional design in online learning. I have been designing instructional courses for a good part of my career, and online learning specifically interests me. We have all sat through a never-ending narrated PowerPoint presentation or prerecorded webinar and checked our email at the same time. My goal is to help reshape the way online learning is used by O&P professionals by incorporating engaging instructional techniques that allow for a better understanding of the learner’s comprehension. I believe O&P practitioners, by nature, are problem-solvers who need activities and interaction to make the learning content apply to their real-world situations and I hope to build online learning that is specific to their needs.

O&P News: What do you enjoy doing to relax?

Negri: I love the beach and the water. My recent favorite toy is a stand-up paddle board. It is great exercise and stress relief. The cure for anything is salt-water, tears, sweat or the sea.

Disclosure: Negri reports no relevant financial disclosures.

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