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Twelve years ago, Chukwuemeka Nwigwe, PT, DPT, was just starting his first semester as a physical therapist student at what now is Rutgers University in New Jersey. At the time, he was — like most of his classmates — excited to launch this next chapter in his life that would culminate in graduation and a promising career. "It was sort of this singular mindset," Nwigwe recalls. "Like all I had to do was study hard and get good grades, and I'd become a PT and be helping patients."

That attitude carried Nwigwe, a board-certified clinical specialist in orthopaedic physical therapy, through the first few months of school and certainly would have led him to his DPT, but then he "stumbled upon" APTA's National Student Conclave, and that changed everything, he says. "I saw what it meant to network and get involved. I saw that there was something more important than doing well on my exams to get my degree."

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