Dex Alvarez, Margaux Allen and Guy Reshamwala were pioneers entering the very first chiropractic class at National University’s new Florida campus in fall of 2009. Today, ten trimesters later, they are ordering caps and gowns and preparing to walk down the commencement aisle and to be called “Doctor” for the first time.
Others in their initial class of twelve students will graduate next year, having chosen flex tracks or time off between trimesters. That leaves Dex, Margaux and Guy as the program’s three historic first graduates.
One person who accompanied them on their journey is Dr. Joseph Stiefel, dean of the college of professional studies for the Florida campus. He says, “I’m very proud that they so graciously prepared the road for others. They ‘adapted and conquered’ in the way that I would expect a NUHS grad to do. They are going to be great doctors!”
As they progressed through each trimester with new facilities and new faculty, the three classmates maintained a sense of adventure and dedication. With many memories and stories to tell, National University’s first Florida graduates share their reflections on the past three years:
“Adapt and conquer!” Dr. Stiefel said to us on the first day of classes. I can’t count how many times I heard and recited those words. Our class knew the program was going to be evolving around us from trimester to trimester, and sometimes even day to day.
One of the biggest benefits of the Florida campus is the small class size. You have every opportunity to interact with the professors, and no opportunity to fall asleep or hide from questions. We were forced to be on our toes and ready at all times. Yet I always looked forward to coming to class or clinic each day. I’ve never been able to say that about other schools I’ve attended.
I’ll never forget the first day of anatomy lab: Opening the bodies for the first time, and looking around at each other to see how everyone reacted. Our annual Turkey Bowl football games are always a hit, especially the first one where Dr. Rebecca Walters walked away with the MVP award and I broke Dr. Stiefel’s toe!
I feel the program prepared me for success. I recently signed on to be an associate with a DC in the Tampa area. I’ll be his sixth office. We signed a lease on a building I found in the heart of south Tampa. I can’t wait to start my practice. My door will always be open to National students for shadowing, community service, or just advice.
Our mark is here forever as part of the inaugural graduating class. I’m sure our picture will collect dust in a hallway somewhere and future students will make fun of our haircuts or clothes, but whatever – we were the first!
I was very excited when I found out National University was opening a new campus in Florida only 20 minutes from my home.
The opening of the Annex and the new clinic are probably the most significant developments to the campus since I’ve been here. It is very convenient to have all the Phase II classes in one building and for most of our instructors’ offices to be in that building with us. Also, opening the new clinic will draw more attention to our program here in Florida.
Hands down, the greatest benefit to the Florida campus is the student to teacher ratio. Also, the anatomy lab is extremely impressive.
After graduation, I am going to join a practice as an associate here in the Tampa Bay area. I feel that NUHS has definitely prepared me for the challenges I will likely face, especially how to start and run a new practice or how to join a current practice without being taken advantage of.
I am interested in seeing how the Florida campus grows and evolves over the next several years. National has helped me and prepared me so much, in return I would like to support and help the college for as long as I possibly can.
I was really excited to be part of the first class. The class size down here in Florida was the greatest benefit. We all had a lot one-on-one time with each professor. I really think this helped me understand the material better.
The annex building was a great addition. Also, it is very exciting to be in a new clinic, trying to get new patients in the door. It is very realistic to what we all will be doing after we graduate.
Honestly, there are so many great memories: especially making great friends for life and networking with people who are willing to help us after graduation.
Again, it is an honor to be part of the first graduating class. NUHS Florida will always have a place in my heart. I will definitely try to remain a part of National University in some way, shape, and form. I just want to say thank you to the faculty, both in Florida and Lombard, for a great 3 and a 1/3 years.