Biology major Anthony Paggiotta of Wappingers Falls, N.Y. is about to finish his undergraduate studies at Mount Saint Mary College, but there’s no time to rest: About a week after graduation, he’ll be starting at the New York Medical College of Physical Therapy.
“I’m a little nervous but extremely excited,” he said of the three-year program.
The Mount’s excellent Biology courses, Paggiotta noted, have him heading into his next academic journey with great confidence.
“The Biology program was great because there were small class sizes and a large group of faculty that really created a nice family atmosphere,” he said. “The program also had a wide range of classes, so the material was always fresh and new. But major concepts would carry over from class to class.”
While Paggiotta is looking forward to moving on to the next chapter of his life, he’ll miss being a student-athlete at the Mount. His college lacrosse experience was about more than just athleticism, he said. It also helped to make him a better student.
“Joining the lacrosse team gave me a great group of teammates that I grew with throughout my time here,” Paggiotta explained. “Lacrosse kept me in a positive competitive atmosphere that made me a better person all around.”
One of those improvements came in the form of time management.
“Certain days I would have a three-hour lab then I would have to rush to practice,” Paggiotta said. “Sometimes after practice I would be exhausted, so I changed the structure of my schedule to complete the majority of my assignments during the day, then save time for studying at night. Each semester my schedule would slightly change and I would have to fine tune these skills.”
There were many people, from coaches to professors, who helped Paggiotta along the way. One was Suparna Bhalla, associate professor of Biology.
“When you first meet [Bhalla], she puts your head on straight and conveys what you will do to be successful,” he explained. “By the time you’re in Biochemistry, she challenges those skills you developed throughout the time in a harder class.”
Paggiotta also praised Biology professors James Moran and Thomas Sarro for their dedication to their students.
“During an individual meeting with Dr. Moran, he taught me a different, more efficient way to study,” he explained. “Instead of going through the PowerPoints, he said to start in one place, write down every piece of information that you know on a topic, then see if any of those pieces relate to other topics then proceed further.”
He added that Sarro “kept me on track and made everything clear of what I needed to do to graduate on time and get accepted into PT programs.”
As he begins the next chapter of his life, Paggiotta has some advice for students who are just starting their college career.
“Keep your mind open and do not be so set on one profession,” he said. “You will likely change what you want to do during your career and that’s OK. Be present, make friends and connections. These relationships will last your entire college career and life.”