Tyler FontanMontclair, NJ
What are your career goals / academic goals?
My first and most obvious career goal is to positively impact as many people as possible through Physical Therapy. As a physical therapist, it is my mission to provide patients with the tools they need for an improved quality of life. I aim to accomplish this by maintaining a patient-first business model for the duration of my career. I currently work in outpatient orthopedics focusing on sports medicine and it is my goal to one day open my own cash-based sports performance and rehab clinic. In that practice, I will offer one-on-one services to do my part in breaking the outdated model of physical therapy where patients are not getting the care and attention to detail that they need. One of the many things I love about physical therapy is the education and learning process where I get to teach individuals how to overcome their impairments. I love watching my patients explore their “AH-HA!” moment after successful instruction. To me, I find that to be one of the most rewarding aspects of the industry and I think that one day I could continue that passion for teaching by transitioning towards an educator role within the field.
Why did you choose to pursue your graduate degree at Marist? Why did you choose to pursue this degree program?
I chose to pursue my degree at Marist for many different reasons, but a few really stuck out. Marist’s brand-new physical therapy department really drew me in. I was excited to have all the bells and whistles and new equipment that would be needed to help support my education. I recognized that with a new program there was going to be up-to-date information and research being taught to us. It was also reassuring to know that I wasn’t going to be walking into a program that was stuck in their old ways. I wanted the things to be fresh, not outdated and Marist provided just that. I also knew that if the professors at Marist were willing to take on the challenge of creating new curriculums, classes, lectures, and founding a new program from scratch, then I knew that I would successfully adopt the cognitive endurance that is necessary as a physical therapist as the professors showed to truly lead by example. Outside of the department itself, growing up in Northern New Jersey I knew that Marist held a great reputation. Having intimate classrooms, high quality professors, and a clean, safe campus fell in line with exactly what I was looking for in a graduate program.
Tell us about a project or course that was particularly meaningful to your professional development / academic development.
The classes that were most meaningful to my professional development have to be the ones that directly align within my area of practice. Working in sport’s medicine outpatient orthopedics I have to say that, aside from Anatomy, I use Therapeutic Exercise and Musculoskeletal Management 1 & 2 just about all of every day. Those classes thoroughly explored how the body works and prepared me with the tools to successfully know how to identify and treat patients with orthopedic issues. A specific project that sticks out to me was in Differential Diagnosis where we were required to create a presentation on a specific pathology. The catch of the project was that the presentation could include no words on the slides and had to be performed within a seemingly impossible time crunch. This project highlighted how important it is to have clear and concise language and taught us how to be efficient with what we say. There isn’t always time to ramble or time to correct yourself after saying the wrong thing, and that presentation exposed a lot of us to an environment that required us to be quick with our thoughts.
Tell us about a meaningful experience you had at Marist as it pertains to your degree (whether that be with a Professor, Marist service, Scholarship opportunity, etc.).
Dr. Julie Fineman and Tina Cornell helped me tremendously in making sure I found the clinical rotations that truly aligned with the future of my career in physical therapy. They were efficient, proactive, and in constant communication with each other and myself to make sure I was on the best path to reach my desired destination. I think I was more particular than others when it came to where I wanted to go for my clinical rotations, and they made the process as smooth as I could have imagined. I can’t thank them enough.
What advice would you give to a student considering pursuing this degree at Marist?
I’ve recommended Marist in the past and I will continue to do so in the future. In my eyes, a quality education lies within the opportunity to ask questions. Marist’s intimate cohort selection creates an environment that allows classmates to ask questions and get the answers they need to improve their knowledge. Marist does a stand-up job at ensuring everyone is not just welcomed, but heard and understood. If you are looking for a program with professors that will stand by your side from start to finish and truly cheer for you along the way, then Marist is the place for you.