Full-circle Quinnipiac experience sets alumna up for success

July 03, 2023

Headshot of Quinnipiac alumna Katherine Chinnici earning her degree

Katherine Chinnici '16, MOT '18, OTD '22, is grateful for a full-circle experience of educational support from Quinnipiac which helped land her dream job, eventually bringing her back to earn her occupational therapy doctorate.

“It’s a full-circle story,” said Chinnici. “Right now, I am working at Tampa General Hospital in Florida, which is where I completed one of my clinical rotations in 2017. I was the first student that Quinnipiac sent, and they formed that connection because I requested Tampa General Hospital as a clinical location.”

Fast forward to 2020, when Chinnici, while working as an occupational therapist at Tampa General, sought to enroll in an occupational therapy doctorate program.

“I’m always thinking of what I can do next and I felt like having the doctorate would provide me with everything I needed so that I would be prepared if, down the road, something sparked my interest,” said Chinnici.

While she could have easily selected a program in Florida, Chinnici said Tampa General supported her desire to join Quinnipiac’s online post-professional occupational therapy doctorate program.

“I saw the program at Quinnipiac and what it had to offer, and because Tampa General financially supports furthering education, and my manager was so supportive, I was able to choose Quinnipiac over other programs,” said Chinnici. “I felt I was a good candidate because I already had two degrees from Quinnipiac, so I already had a foundation there, relationships with my professors and a support system. It felt like home to me.”

During the program, Chinnici not only enjoyed the convenience of studying online but was also truly excited to return to Quinnipiac for the post-professional occupational therapy doctorate program’s single, week-long residency requirement.

“I was able to stay in one of the dorms on the York Hill campus, which is where I lived my junior year, and it felt like I was right back at home,” she said. “What’s also pretty cool is that not everyone in my cohort had previously gone to Quinnipiac. I was an orientation leader in my undergraduate years and I kind of channeled that and was able to show everyone that was part of the program what I had loved about Quinnipiac.”

Chinnici is grateful for the support of Quinnipiac faculty and staff during every stage of her educational journey, tracking all the way back to her undergraduate studies and that first connection Quinnipiac created for her with Tampa General in 2017.

“I was working in the neuro-ICU at Tampa General as a student in 2017, and almost four years to the exact day, I started working there full-time as an employee,” said Chinnici. “Without Quinnipiac making that initial connection, I wouldn’t have built those relationships. I truly feel Quinnipiac is the reason I am where I am today and working at one of the best hospitals in the area.”

In addition to being ranked as the number one hospital in the Tampa area, Tampa General is ranked among the top 50 hospitals in the nation. Chinnici currently practices in the hospital-based rehabilitation service department and rotates in order to work with different teams throughout the year.

“This truly is a full-circle story all in all because that connection with Tampa General that Quinnipiac made for me in 2017 set me up for my success, and being at Tampa General is what led me to back to Quinnipiac for my doctorate,” said Chinnici.

In April, Chinnici experienced the best of both her academic and career worlds, when Quinnipiac’s men’s ice hockey team came to Tampa to compete in the Frozen Four and won the NCAA national championship title.

“The week of the game, I was at a work dinner and sat next to the head coach of the Quinnipiac men’s hockey team and the team’s athletic director,” she said. “So now I have a picture of myself, in my scrubs, with the men’s ice hockey head coach! This reminded me that even though I’m in Tampa, Quinnipiac will always hold a special place in my heart.”

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