Sillcox Scholar Pursuing His Dream
April 30, 2019
A sports injury led to Mario Mejia’s ’19 interest in physical therapy, and while that’s a tough way to discover your passion, Mario wouldn’t have it any other way.
Now, after graduation next month, Mario is headed to SUNY Upstate Medical Center to study physical therapy, with the long-term dream of opening his own clinic. He currently holds a job as a physical therapy aide.
“Since high school, I knew I wanted to be part of the medical field,” Mario said. “It wasn’t until I tore my anterior cruciate ligament and had to do physical therapy that I discovered my passion for physical therapy. Although this injury prevented me from being part of many activities, it allowed me to discover what I truly love.”
A Science, Technology and Society major who regularly appears on the Dean’s and President’s lists, Mario is a Sillcox scholar and TRIO student. He started in the Sillcox program as new student at Nassau Community College in 2015, right out of high school. At FSC the Sillcox scholarship program began in 2017, the year Mario transferred to the College. There were six scholarships awarded that year, and Mario credits Mark and Leslie Sillcox for making his dream possible. In high school he doubted whether he could ever afford college, but after a phone conversation with the Mr. and Mrs. Sillcox, he was accepted into the program.
“I have to say, to this day that is by far one of the best phone calls I have ever received. I will always be thankful for their support and generosity.”
Mario has another highlight on his resume. He was one of the students that participated in last fall’s Amazon Challenge, a competition in which teams of FSC students, from many different disciplines, worked with Amazon technology staffers to solve a community-based problem. He was nominated for the Amazon Challenge by Dr. Edmund Douglass, chair of STS.
“I knew this could be a once in a lifetime experience and wanted to enjoy every moment of it. Working with Amazon professionals and other students enabled me to think out of the box and discover new and innovating solutions to everyday problems faced by a particular group in a community.”
Now Mario is posed to make an academic leap he never thought possible while a student at Hempstead High.
“The desire for success is one of the major driving forces in my life. Through God and the help of my family and friends, I am able to suppress all odds stacked against me.”