While our students come from diverse backgrounds and are pursuing degrees in different fields, the one thing that they all have in common is that they end up here at Salus. We wanted to feature a few of our student ambassadors about their experience transitioning into graduate school because everyone’s got a unique Salus story.

This is the final chapter of a four-part series, featuring:


Renee ThiringerRenee Thiringer
  • Second-year Occupational Therapy student
  • From New Jersey
  • Undergrad at Stockton University in Galloway, NJ 

Umar MahmoodUmar Mahmood
  • Second-year Optometry student
  • From Maryland
  • Undergrad at Syracuse 

Jennifer BenoitJenn Benoit
  • Second-year Optometry student
  • From Connecticut
  • Undergrad in Florida at the University of West Florida in Pensacola


Q: Why did you guys decide to be ambassadors?

Renee: I was really interested in being a representative of this school out in the community. Especially being an OT student, there’s not a ton of them in the program. We are one of the smaller programs here. It’s really important to get OTs and students in general out in the community and talking about what it is that we do as healthcare professionals and students at the school. I really wanted to get to know people in other programs who I wouldn’t have go to know otherwise, because everything is pretty separated in terms of I spend all of my days with the same 49 other students so it’s nice to have a different outlet where I get to deal with other people and work on cool projects and get out into the community.

Umar: For me, it was a lot of the…my whole thing is empathy. If you ask me anything about me or what I want or what I want to be a part of or what I look for, it would be empathy, and I felt a lot of that when I was talking to Monae, when I saw what ambassadors was all about, whether its interdisciplinary, whether it’s for our classmates or to help administration or the community, whoever it is that we can help. At some point they definitely helped you, whether it was directly to you or not. You’re given the opportunity to not only represent the University, but give back to it as well. I feel like I am doing the best that I can and it does justice to what I got when I needed it and that’s why I chose to be an ambassador.

Jenn: I have a million reasons why, but I will just pick one. I think what I went through with years of indecision and career research and shadowing and talking to people and not knowing what I wanted to do, it was a long uncomfortable process and the ambassadors, one of the things they do is give tours. We talk to prospective students and current students as well, but I really love talking to the prospective students, which you get a lot of on the tours, because you get to pick their brains and see where they’re at. Usually I can pinpoint where they’re at based on where I was at and I can give a lot of good information, even if it’s not about confirming a choice to do a health profession, sometimes, I find that they’re only there because their parents were and that’s not going to be fulfilling in the long run and just to see where they’re at and lead them in a direction that will be best for them and help them think of the hard questions that nobody else is going to ask. I love having that. A couple of times I have seen people I’ve given tours to, they’re here and they’re excited and it’s so gratifying.