When Angela Delfino ‘23OT
looks to get away from her studies at Salus University and find physical exercise and mental stimulation, she goes all out. Whether it’s rock-climbing, yarn crafting or aerial circus, Delfino is all in.
Aerial circus? Yes, from a flying trapeze, to a lyra (a round hoop that hangs from the ceiling) to aerial straps, the activity includes performances where the artist is suspended above the stage or an audience.
Even before she started at the University this fall, Delfino had been taking aerial circus classes from the Philadelphia Circus School of Arts.
“A friend took me to an aerial yoga class and I learned that I don’t like yoga but I do like aerials (In the circus community, everyone knows what you mean when you say aerials),” said Delfino. “So, I pursued the aerial acrobatics side of it and left out the yoga part. It’s a ton of fun and it’s a great challenge too. I use it for physical exercise and mental stimulation. And, it kind of scratches the same itch that rock climbing does.”
Ah, rock climbing. Once Delfino realized how fun aerial circus was, she also decided to take up rock climbing.
“I think I’m a little more graceful off the ground than I am on it, a little more coordinated,” she said. “It’s really good cross-training. You work on a lot of the same muscles. But climbing is really more like puzzle-solving with your whole body. You’re training everything from head to toe.”
When she’s had her fill of physical activities, Delfino turns to something mentally stimulating, which includes yarn crafting. Her specialty is making socks.
“Knitting and crocheting is yarn craft, and I do both, but I mainly knit. It’s just repetitive enough, but you get enough chains over the course of one session that is very satisfying,” she said. “I really like making socks. You can get yarn that is self-striping so you don’t need to change colors. The last couple pairs of socks I’ve made have had a little pattern in them.”
She hopes to be able to continue all of these outside activities now that she’s started at Salus. Originally from Hammonton, New Jersey, Delfino graduated with a degree in theater production in 2011 from Montclair State University, which helps explain her attraction to aerial circus. For a few years, she worked at a production company that did things like supply gear and labor for live events. But she decided to switch gears and pursue a career in Occupational Therapy (OT).
“I really like working with people and there wasn’t a whole lot of opportunity in theater to do what I wanted with other people,” she said. “I like the technical work, but you have to sacrifice a lot of work-life balance for that kind of lifestyle. It turned out not to be for me.” She had spoken with a friend who was working with a current Salus OT student doing fieldwork, checked out the University, found out what a great reputation it had, and decided to investigate further.
Delfino had the opportunity to shadow some OTs at a preschool and an outpatient facility and really liked those experiences. That sealed the deal for her.
“I really liked the preschool as well as the adult outpatient shadowing,” she said. “I’m hoping I can get additional different work in my fieldwork here because there a lot of things you can do with OT. Assistive Technology is also a big interest to me.”
Delfino isn’t sure she’s going to be able to pursue her outside interests now that she’s in grad school, but she’s going to try.
“I’m hoping I can do some work at the climbing gym and get some climbing days in that way,” she said.