Mercy College student Nicole Adeyemi, M.S., D.P.T. ’23 is the proud inaugural recipient of the Tom Hyland Family Endowed Scholarship for students enrolled in the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program. The scholarship, established in 2021 through a generous donation from Mercy College physical therapy faculty members Nannette and Matthew Hyland, supports the education of this third-year doctoral student.
Born in Providence, Rhode Island, Adeyemi’s dreams of becoming a physical therapist started to take shape after she and her family moved to Nigeria, then to England. While in England, she earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and a master’s degree in biomedical sciences from the University of Manchester.
Now, as a doctoral student, Adeyemi has leveraged several opportunities that have helped her achieve her dream and gain hands-on experience in the physical therapy field. A work-study position in the Mercy College Department of Physical Therapy, along with a job as a graduate assistant in the School of Business, broadened and deepened her understanding of the profession. “Getting to know the faculty and students in the DPT program helped reinforce my goals,” she recalled. “I’d watch them and think, that could be me in another couple of years.”
Adeyemi has been increasingly active in the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and its New York chapter, attending the NYPTA Delegate Assembly and serving on its board of directors as a student intern, an opportunity made possible with the support of her professors. She also serves as a student member of the leadership development committee of the American Council of Academic Physical Therapy branch of the APTA.
Her service as an intern for the NYPTA board of directors, and as a volunteer for the NYPTA Delegates Assembly, inspired in her a new goal: to become the first African American president of APTA.
Adeyemi documents her DPT school journey on her Instagram feed (@BecomingDrNicole), sharing study tips, DPT school survival guidance and milestones in her progress. “I want people to be inspired by my story. I keep sharing how it’s all worth it to keep pushing forward, even when facing challenges and setbacks,” she said. Her social media feed also touts the profession she loves. “Physical therapists help people improve their lives by restoring them to the activities they’ve missed out on because of their condition. Just seeing how their spirits are uplifted when they realize, yes, I can do this! Being able to have that kind of impact on someone, that’s what I want to do with my life.”
Adeyemi is grateful to the Hylands for the scholarship and what the award has made possible—not just by relieving her family of financial worry, but also by boosting her confidence. “I’m so grateful to the Hyland family,” she said. “When someone believes in you, you’re no longer alone and you feel more empowered to push through and reach for the skies.”
To read more about the Tom Hyland Family Endowed Scholarship, please click here.