DPT Students Receive White Coats, Take Oath

DPT white coat ceremony 2021

The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program Class of 2022

Galloway, N.J. _ The COVID-19 pandemic provided unexpected obstacles for the Doctor of Physical Therapy’s Class of 2022.

But, Dean of Health Sciences Margaret “Peg” Slusser told the 31 students in the Class of 2022 during their Commitment to the Profession Ceremony April 7 that there were also lessons to be learned from the pandemic.

“Your journey has been full of surprises,” Slusser said. “COVID changed things, but your goal did not change. You were flexible, but you had to be. If you were inflexible, you would not be sitting here.”

DPT white coat ceremony lineupThe traditional ceremony, during which students receive their white coats, marks the transition from the academic program to clinical experiences where students will spend their final year before graduation.

“The white coat is a symbol,” Slusser said. “Wear it with confidence.”

She advised the students not to lose their flexibility, but to use it to continue learning from others and their patients.

“Always be patient with your patients,” Slusser said. “You will reach the goals you set together.”

Megan Gardner, president-elect of the New Jersey American Physical Therapy Association, spoke to the students via Zoom, noting that they are now moving from becoming educated to educators.

“You’re going to have to change your focus,” Gardner said. “You will be the decision makers.”

She advised the students to keep listening and learning, to network with others, learn new skills, and be active in their association. She told them to look for mentors and be open to mentoring others.

DPT white coat ceremony oathAssociate Professor of Physical Therapy Tom Nolan, Jr. served as master of ceremonies and read the names as students came to the podium and were assisted by faculty in donning their white coats. Class representative Corinne Russo led the class in reciting the Oath of Commitment to the Profession of Physical Therapy.

Nolan noted that they almost could not have a ceremony because of indoor gathering restrictions, but the Physical Therapy Club came through to assist in getting a tent so the event could be held outside by the John F. Scarpa Health Sciences Center.

The 31 students in the class are: Theresa Abapo of Toms River, Christopher Bajada of Manahawkin, Emily Brand of Pittstown, Ariel Camaligan of Somerset, Caroline Castro of Keansburg, Matthew Cohen of Robbinsville, Alexandra Desmond of Columbia, Md., Jared DeVita of Atco, Alexander Gong of Galloway, Olivia Hoant of Toms River, Randi Lyn Hornyak of Ogdensburg, Melanie Iatarola of Sewell, Shera Jang of Hainesport, Austin Jennis of Flemington.

Also, Reed Kanakis of Fair Lawn, Grace Kim of Budd Lake, Max Kozlovsky of Paramus, Christine Mac of Cherry Hill, Holly McBrearty of Marmora, Alexis Medina of Howell, Clara Morgan of East Brunswick, Brooke Nolan of Mullica Hill, Brittany Nycz of Toms River, Jasper Orcino of Kendall Park, Nicole Pallante of Brick, Jude Pino of Bergenfield, Corinne Russo of Ringwood, Raleigh Sadang of Bergenfield, Gina Santoro of Middlesex, Amelia Steelman of Sea Isle City and Brandon Young of Staten Island, N.Y.

More information on Stockton's Doctor of Physical Therapy program is on the Stockton Graduate Studies website

Click here to view a gallery of photos from the event.

- Reported by Diane D'Amico