Give Marquette

Marquette University Alumni Association

College of Health Sciences Recipients

A Person for Others Award

Pamela Brilowksi


Wauwatosa, Wis.

To hear a patient say, “I can do it!” To hear a staff member say, “I helped to make this possible.”  The sky is the limit. The possibilities are endless. In the profession of physical therapy, Susan sees the blending of art to science, the effective to the affective, as the ultimate career for her to use creative problem-solving and inventive ideas to make a positive impact in the lives of others. 
Susan is a physical therapist who in 1982 established New Berlin Therapies SC — a medically based rehabilitation clinic offering physical, occupational, speech and massage therapy services to individuals of all ages with physical impairments and other functional challenges. NBT was founded on a mission of respect for the individual: patients served, their families, employees, colleagues and the community as a whole.  
“I just get up each day and go to NBT,” she says. “Simply, my work feels more like a vocation than a job.”
In 1991, Susan worked with some of the families from NBT to establish Team Up! With Families, an organization whose mission is to enrich, nurture and strengthen families of children with special needs through activities, services and programs. She initially started Team Up! to provide a typical day camp experience for the children she was treating and their siblings. Later, the organization created Katie’s Kloset, a free therapy equipment lending library, and began offering other activities and services.
Susan filled another need in 1998 by establishing Stepping Stones Child Development Center, which provides high-quality inclusive child care to the families of New Berlin Therapies and the community. She is also a founding board member of Positive Pediatrics, a consortium of therapists dedicated to best practices in pediatric rehabilitation.
Susan was and is influenced by several people in her life, saying: “My father taught me to achieve. My mother modeled loving kindness and service. My husband loved and accepted me the way I am. My six brothers and sisters made me competitive from birth and then encouraged my successes. My children and grandchildren give me access to the deepest reaches of my heart.” 

Fun facts about Susan:
Hometown: New Berlin, Wis. 
Favorite book or quote: The writings of Thomas Merton
Someone alive or dead she’d like to have dinner with: Previous ancestors to shed light on self-understanding and to know myself and my family better. 
The Marquette faculty member who had an impact on Susan: Dr. Daniel Maguire 
Favorite Marquette memory: During her Marquette days, she often sought a moment of peace at noon Mass in St. Joan of Arc Chapel. The sermons were short and sweet in keeping with a student’s need to get back to class or homework. One day, the gospel was about the Prodigal Son. In the brief ensuing homily, the priest pointed out a simple detail of the story that continues to offer her comfort. As the story goes, the father did not even wait for his son to reach him, but, upon hearing the news of his son’s impending arrival, he immediately set out to go to his son first and initiate the welcome back. She finds that very comforting. The story makes it easier for her to take a risk.
In grade school, Susan wanted to be a world-traveling news reporter. 
Most influential people in her life: A whole village inspired her.