Commencement 2014: URI senior is both scholar and athlete

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KINGSTON, R.I. – April 25, 2014 – The science of human movement – kinesiology – and the track and field team attracted Juliana Galante of Glen Cove, N.Y. to the University of Rhode Island.

Galante has positioned herself well for a career in physical therapy; she completed a 400-hour internship at an outpatient facility, working as a physical therapy aide during her final semesters at URI. Her efforts will culminate in a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology in May.

After her internship at Excel Physical Therapy in Cranston in fall 2013, she was asked to continue working at the physical therapy clinic for the summer.

“I’ve learned so much being there, about patients and other conditions I would have never learned in textbooks,” Galante said.

Success in her profession is not the only thing that Galante has accomplished. Galante runs NCAA Division I track and field, spending many hours training on the blue lanes at Mackal Field House.

She is a member of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, which serves as the voice of student athletes to the NCAA. The group also performs community service projects, including its annual free track and field clinic for children, run by the women’s track and field team.

“I love kids. I’ve done it all four years I’ve been here. And the whole team does it together, so it’s good,” Galante said.

A highlight of her athletic career came during her junior year when she was a member of the team that finished second in the indoor 3,200-meter relay at the 2013 Atlantic 10 Championship. The team’s time was 8.59.27.

That’s quite a difference from Galante’s first year on the team, when she doubted the coach’s decision to place her in the anchor position as the final runner in the relay against a faster competitor. She recalled that the coach motivated her by saying, “Listen, you’ve been working so hard. You can do this.”

“I look back at how nervous and inexperienced I was in my first year,” Galante said. “I can’t believe the confidence I’ve gained this year.” She said her teammates and coaches gave her the support she needed.

“From freshman year to now, they’ve always believed in me; they’ve always seen me working hard,” said Galante, who dropped a noteworthy five seconds off her time in the relay from her junior to her senior year.

Galante will take that confidence gained on the track and field with her into her career. This summer, she will volunteer as a physical therapy aide in Jamaica for one week and plans to continue a long-term commitment during the year.

“I’m excited. I really want to help people in need. It will be a new experience in my profession and I will see a new country,” she said.

Galante dedicated her final season to her maternal grandmother, whom she lost in October.

“Every race I wear a ring she wore. I see it and think, ‘Remember what you’re doing this for.’ ”

Galante is the daughter of Gina and Gary Galante, O.D. She is a 2010 graduate of Kellenberg Memorial High School in Uniondale, N.Y.

She plans to enter graduate studies in physical therapy in fall 2015. And to someday run a New York City Marathon.

jpeg caption: Juliana Galante, URI Class of 2014. URI Communications and Marketing Photo by Michael Salerno Photography.