Mount Made: Surgery, Science, and the Sisters—Seriously
Many Mount grads reflect fondly on their time at the College, but that daily connection to Mount Saint Vincent often fades as alums launch their careers and even move across the country. But for alumnus Nicholas Malizia ’17, the Mount has always been and continues to be the Right Place on the River—seriously.
An orthopedic surgery physician assistant at CareMount Medical Group, Nick has been busy putting the skills he learned in the classroom at the Mount into action as he helps his patients get back to enjoying their activities of daily living—and completing those activities pain-free.
Nick completed his physician assistant studies in 2020 when he obtained a Master of Science degree from the Pace University – Lenox Hill Hospital Physician Assistant (PA) Program in New York City. The 26-month graduate program at Pace is modeled after both didactic and clinical phases—where students are trained to take a comprehensive approach to patient care through a knowledge of basic science, clinical medicine, behavioral medicine, and pharmacology, and later use that knowledge as they rotate through nine five-week clerkships in clinical placements throughout the New York metropolitan area. Graduates of the program are then eligible to take the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) and begin to practice upon obtaining licensure.
That’s a lot to complete in just about two years, but Nick wouldn’t have it any other way. He knew he wanted to pursue a career in medicine from a young age.
“From the very beginning of my life, medicine saved me,” recalled Nick. “I feel it is my life’s mission to pass on the good fortune that modern medicine afforded me to those around me. Becoming a physician assistant is more that just a job to me—it’s a way of life.”
As a PA, Nick is part of an amazingly talented multidisciplinary team of doctors, surgeons, nurses, and medical assistants who strive to provide the greatest outcome for their patients.
“It’s an honor to take care of people and be a part of their path to recovery.”
During a typical week at work for Nick, his time is divided between the operating room and seeing patients in the office. When performing surgery, Nick is a first-assistant in the OR—working directly alongside orthopedic surgeons. Primarily, he operates in two specialties: sports medicine with an emphasis on shoulder injuries and joint replacements of the hip and knee. When not in surgery, Nick meets with patients in the office setting, conducting medical history and physical exams, administering steroid joint injections, reviewing diagnostic images, and—most importantly—aiding his supervising physicians with their daily tasks to optimize team efficiency and patient care.
Nick’s growing interest in medicine and his passion for helping people in need certainly drove him to keep his head up, complete the program, and land his dream career—and he attributes much of his success to the guidance he received from the greater Mount community.
Even after walking across the commencement stage in 2017, Nick has always made it a point to stay connected to his alma mater. Whether it’s an email exchange with a past professor, a visit with an old classmate, or a call from a Sister of Charity living in the Convent—Nick continues to receive daily motivation from his mentors and peers.
“Mount Saint Vincent is a wonderful community of caring, kind, and welcoming individuals,” Nick reflected. “I felt at home as soon as I stepped foot on campus for the first time. I can confidently say that the Mount made me the person I am today and I’m thankful for all those who helped guide me along my undergraduate path and life thereafter.”
Nick certainly did not want to leave the Mount community behind has he began his graduate studies and professional career. So, when Dr. Pamela Kerrigan, Director of the Division of Natural Sciences and Professor of Chemistry, approached him and asked if he wanted to join the adjunct faculty at the College—Nick’s answer was an immediate “yes!”
The Division of Natural Sciences was looking for an adjunct professor to take on a course load of anatomy and physiology lab classes for the Fall 2020 semester. Having recently completed his physician assistant studies that Spring, pursuing a part-time role in higher education would afford Nick the opportunity to return to the Right Place on the River and share the knowledge he acquired from his undergraduate and graduate studies with students at the Mount—and he felt more than prepared to jump into the classroom.
“My strong background in the basic sciences, along with the breadth of the core curriculum at the Mount, helped make me a well-rounded individual with expertise in many areas and a deep scope of knowledge,” explained Nick.
Watching students just starting their advanced studies in the sciences develop their own passion for medicine and the human body is, without a doubt, Nick’s favorite part of teaching. Plus, it’s rewarding to be able to work alongside colleagues he once called his professors, so there’s definitely no short supply of guidance and inspiration within the walls of the Science Building.
And Nick’s connection with Mount Saint Vincent doesn’t stop there. He’s also formed many close relationships with the Sisters of Charity of New York—the College’s fearless foundresses. Just last month, he made his commitment as an Associate of the Sisters of Charity, which helped enlighten his pathway to the College as a student and his studies beyond.
Associates of the Sisters of Charity of New York are men and women from all backgrounds—regardless of marital status or religious affiliation—who feel called to share in the mission, charism, and spirituality of the Sisters without actually joining the Congregation.
“I decided I wanted to further my passion and help live out the mission of both the College and the Congregation to help those on the margins,” said Nick. “I feel so connected to the roots of the Sisters and becoming an Associate gives me the opportunity to continue to be a member of their community for years to come.”
When he’s not performing life-changing surgery…or teaching in the lab…or visiting the Sisters of Charity, Nick likes to stay active and maintain a healthy lifestyle. He enjoys hiking and spending as much time as he can outside. And on top of that—in his oodles of free time—he’s a volunteer EMT in Eastchester, NY and hosts weekend CPR/first aid classes.
Talk about advocating and protecting his community—and Nick does it all without skipping a (heart)beat.
So, who knows—maybe Nick will further his relationship with the Mount post-graduation by joining the faculty in the PA program!
Nick’s story comes to us on the tailwind of some more good news: the College is set to launch its highly anticipated Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies—a three-year program that will be the first of its kind to be registered in the Bronx—in less than a year. With the program undergoing the final stages of the accreditation process as of the publication of this story, faculty members are eager to move into the (nearly completed) simulation labs in Aquino Hall and admit the inaugural cohort of students.
But no matter where Nick finds himself over the next few years—in Riverdale or Romania, New York or Nepal—we know he’ll be putting his passion for medicine into action, bringing the best standards of care to each and every patient who knocks on his office door.
Are you Mount Made? Do you know other alums living out the mission of the College? Let us know—we’d love to show how the Mount helped launch your career. Contact us to be featured!
About the College of Mount Saint Vincent
Founded in 1847 by the Sisters of Charity, the College of Mount Saint Vincent offers nationally recognized liberal arts education and a select array of professional fields of study on a landmark campus overlooking the Hudson River. Committed to the education of the whole person, and enriched by the unparalleled cultural, educational, and career opportunities of New York City, the College equips students with the knowledge, skills, and experiences necessary for lives of professional accomplishment, service, and leadership in the 21st century.