Angela Di Francesco '16, DPT '18

While nearly every student torn between schools will admit that receiving scholarship money will play a role in their decision-making process, it’s rare to find one swayed by the mere existence of scholarships that they’d be years away from earning.   

But that was the case for Angela Di Francesco ’16, DPT ’18. “I definitely looked closely at schools that offered scholarships I could earn down the line,” she said. “It’s an incentive to go there because it tells you a lot about the standard the students are held to. You know these scholarships aren’t just handed out—they’re given to people who will earn them through hard work.”  

After finishing her undergraduate degree at IC, Di Francesco was nominated by faculty members to receive the Physical Therapy Leadership Scholarship. Now in her second year of graduate school, it’s not hard to see why. In addition to working on multiple research projects, she’s currently the chair of the Civic Engagement Committee of the IC Physical Therapy Student Association Board, which works to connect the department with the Ithaca community and raises funds for charitable causes such as the Cancer Resource Center.  

“It’s really great to be recognized by faculty for the hard work I’ve done, and it confirmed my decision to attend Ithaca,” Di Francesco said. “I feel very fortunate to have earned that recognition.” 

Even with the scholarship, Di Francesco works as a teaching assistant and yoga instructor to earn extra money. “It’s challenging at times to work and be a graduate student. But every last dollar helps,” she said. “And my scholarship is a key part of the work ethic that drives me because scholarships aren’t faceless donations. They create an ongoing appreciation, which not only makes me want to work hard to justify the faith people placed in me but also makes me want to give back when I have the chance.”