Growing up in a poor section of Sacramento, California, where drugs and crime were rampant, Connor Riordan understands how fortunate he is to have family who loved him. They also sacrificed so they could move to a place with better schools and more opportunities—despite the financial hardships the higher cost of living caused his mother.
“Where I came from, I would be an anomaly,” Riordan says. “Thankfully, I had family members who helped support me. A lot of people donʼt have someone.”
VALUES AND MORALS
Riordan went to the University of Nevada, Reno, graduating with distinction with a bachelorʼs degree in biology and a minor in biochemistry. During his senior year, he volunteered at a private physical therapy clinic, and began to see his future path.
“They valued personal care, customized treatments and focused on patients getting better—not the money,” Riordan said. “I felt valued. Our morals were on the same page, and they had great outcomes.”
The clinic offered Riordan a job after graduation where he worked as a tech for a year before heading across the country in 2016 to Drexelʼs College of Nursing and Health Professions in search of “personal growth” and a degree in physical therapy.
Riordan, who has now completed his academic work at Drexel and is on track to graduate in March 2019, returned to California for his clinicals in September 2018. He hopes to one day have his own physical therapy practice and plans to be active in the community.
Because there was someone there for him when times were hard, Riordan wants to be that person for others. “I feel like a lot of peopleʼs dreams go unfulfilled,” he says. “People donʼt listen to them. I want to be the person they need who is rarely out there in the world.”