When Reinaldo Romero decided to attend NYIT, he didn’t know what to expect. Being an older student, the idea of returning to school to pursue a new career at this stage of life filled him with anxiety. But even before he applied, his meeting with an NYIT admissions advisor put his mind at ease. “She was very understanding of my goal as a returning veteran, and took the opportunity to explain the process without ever sounding condescending. I really appreciated that, and It wasn’t what I had expected at all.”
As a veteran of the U.S. Army Infantry, one of the main things that drew Romero to the school was NYIT’s participation in the Yellow Ribbon GI Education Enhancement Program, a provision of the Post 9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008. The program is designed to provide veterans with additional financial assistance for tuition and fees that exceed benefits available under the Post 9/11 GI Bill®, and a 2016 U.S. News & World Report listed NYIT as the #10 Best College for returning Veterans seeking to begin or finish their undergraduate degree. Romero served on active duty for 10 years and continues to serve in the Army Reserve as a military career counselor. During his active service, Romero was deployed as part of Operation Enduring Freedom to Afghanistan three times, and has also been deployed to Adana, Turkey and Chad, Africa in an effort to help train security forces in both countries.
“Living a healthy lifestyle, and preparing myself and soldiers for physically demanding work has been part of my job description for the past 10 years, so a degree in health science made sense to me,” says Romero, who worked as a personal trainer for several years before joining the military. As a recipient of physical therapy for past injuries, Romero knows the value of such treatment. “Injury after injury, the Army medical staff and physical therapists always helped me get back into fighting form, and I’m excited about pursuing the opportunity to help people return to activities that an injury may prevent them from doing temporarily.”
Reinaldo was also attracted to NYIT because of the opportunity to complete both his undergraduate and professional degree at one school, close to home. “The location added the convenience of an excellent quality education, while still being close enough to work and home,” says the dedicated husband and father. “Now that I’m back home, I absolutely love being able to relive my childhood over again through the eyes of my two sons Jayden (13) and Julian (10), they continue to remind me the journey of life is more important than the destination.”
While he might not be a kid anymore, Reinaldo doesn’t let any preconceived notions about age stop him from pursuing his goals. When asked about his career change, he quotes C.S. Lewis: “You are never too old to set a new goal, or to dream a new dream.”