Anthony Colón

Anthony Colón ’21 entered college after being injured in Afghanistan. He underwent a dozen surgeries over an 18-month period, and is now a student in the health sciences program at La Roche University. Upon graduation he will work in the Department of Radiology at the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System.

What inspired you to pursue a career in health sciences?

When I was told that the army no longer needed my services, because I couldn’t pass the PT test, I became a civilian. As I went through the VA system for healthcare, I tried to figure out what I wanted to do to transition to civilian life. I took an aptitude test and interviewed with the Radiology Department at the VA because with all the surgeries came X-rays and MRIs, and the radiologic technologists made the process look easy.

How has La Roche helped your career?

La Roche helped me heal. I was a ball of energy with no proper direction. La Roche, whether unconsciously or consciously, created an atmosphere that said, “Hey, you can relax and learn and be successful.” 

The professors are memorable, and they teach in a way that you’re not going to forget the information. The material La Roche faculty taught me is still with me, and I know I don’t have to go back to a book. That’s how La Roche set me up for success.

What was it like returning to school as a nontraditional student?

There were classes that scared me, but weren’t necessarily tough. Some classes were definitely outside of my comfort zone. Each new course brought anxiety, which doesn’t do well for a veteran that comes with prebuilt anxiety issues.

The professors, Lynne Archer, Rishi Bahl, Stanley Maliszewski, Ryan O’Grady and Christine Duncan, alleviated the anxiety. If I didn’t know how to do something, the professors didn’t forget about me. Professors made sure I got from point A to point B to accomplish whatever I wanted to accomplish.

Why would you recommend La Roche to another veteran?

If veterans don’t feel welcome, safe or supported, then they’re apt to quit in the first semester at school. La Roche has none of these obstacles. Even if I have a bad day, faculty and staff make me feel comfortable and set me up for success.  

As a former platoon sergeant, it’s important to me to know that veterans are cared for. One thing I miss most about the military is looking out for others. La Roche faculty and staff, with no military exposure, do that, which makes the difference. Everybody always has a smile and always has a minute.