Nicholas Lionetti of Rockaway Township was first introduced to the field of physical therapy when he injured his knees playing sports. Then he switched to the other side of that experience by working for a sports care clinic in Parsippany.
“I watched and aided people, fetched weights and ice packs, and set up machines for weight lifting and running,” he says. From that point on, the County College of Morris (CCM) Exercise Science major knew what profession he wanted to pursue – physical therapy.
Originally, he attended a large state university, but felt lost there. “The class size was 300 students,” he recalls. “It was very discouraging. You expect teachers to care about students and in a large university setting they don’t. CCM offered a smaller, more caring environment. At CCM, there’s a lot of interaction with the teachers. Everyone is very friendly and that’s a help.”
His move to the community college setting had another positive effect. “I made a lot of great friends and developed great study habits,” says Lionetti. “My study habits are so much better from coming here. It’s just a better learning environment.”
He recently assumed a leadership role as the vice president of the newly formed Exercise Science Club. The club was started to create awareness, on campus and in the community, that exercise science goes beyond the stereotypic career of gym teacher. The club also intends to sponsor a number of community projects including exercise screenings, endurance testing and other health assessments.
Following graduation, Lionetti plans to attend a four-year school to get an advanced degree in physical therapy. He has applied to several colleges and expects to be accepted by all of them.
“As my education goes along, I definitely am going to look back and be thankful I came here,” he says, “It gave me a strong foundation.”
His ultimate career goal is to help people. “I love sports and I want to put what I have learned in college into action as a physical therapist. I want to see people get well and make their lives better.”