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Alumna, physical therapist encourages STEM exploration

Credits tuition aid grant program with giving her the stepping stone for her education

“Rewarding” does not begin to describe the feeling Caldwell University alumna Monique Pineros  has every day when she heads out the door to work as a physical therapist. “Bringing back a human body to its normal functions with one’s hands is truly an art,” she says.

Pineros remembers her days at Caldwell and how her exposure to the liberal arts and to the diversity of campus life helped prepare her for the dream of entering the medical field. After receiving her doctorate in physical therapy from Quinnipiac University in 2016, she began to practice physical therapy and teach as an adjunct in Caldwell’s Natural and Physical Sciences Department.

“It all would never have been possible without that first stepping-stone, which was Caldwell University, along with the help of TAG,” she says. TAG is a New Jersey  need based grant program that  helps lower income students achieve their dream of receiving a college education.

“When I stand behind the podium in the classroom or evaluate and treat my patients in the clinic, I am constantly reminded that everyone has the potential to become their very best. The trick lies in becoming the individual’s first pusher in order to tap into it.”

Having been “fortunate enough and blessed to be on that receiving side,” Pineros wants to give back. “I too want to be on the other side to help that individual, whether student or patient.

“Coming from a family with financial hardships, I realized I required all the help necessary in order to make my dreams of a college education a reality. TAG was able to provide me with the financial bridge I needed to fulfill my academic studies at Caldwell University.”

Caldwell exposed her to a liberal arts foundation and to a diverse student body. “As a practicing physical therapist, I am able to clearly see the connections from the classroom theory I was given at Caldwell as well as the wealth of knowledge I gained from the interactions with my former peers to that of my current patient population. Not only was I given the academic foundation to pursue graduate studies but also the foundation to interact with patients in the clinic from all ages and walks of life.”

Having the opportunity to interact one on one with her professors at Caldwell and to create trusting relationships made her comfortable with the exchange of ideas at the professional and personal levels. “This was and is quintessential to my everyday life, in and outside of clinical practice.”

Pineros wants to help others who have talents in the STEM fields to be forward-thinking and passionate. “Marrying my love of physical therapy and clinical practice to that of teaching is what I aspire towards because not only do I want to inspire the generations after me in the classroom, I want to ignite a fire and thirst for never-ending exploration for the sciences, health and our future innovations.”