Alumni Highlights

Daemen University Physical Therapy Research Symposium

Saturday, December 9, 2023

PT Informer

Spring/Summer 2023 Edition

Dr. Jessica Jenney

Daemen DPT Class of 2009

Dr. Jessica JennyDr. Jess Jenney, a proud alumna of Daemen University's Physical Therapy program (Class of 2009), returns to her alma mater every year with a mission to inspire future PTs to design a career around a lifestyle of freedom and travel, and to prevent burnout in the conventional 9-5 model. Through her blog, WanderlustPTs.com, Jess provides career and business coaching for PTs and has helped thousands of new grads confidently become travel PTs, find their dream jobs, start online cash-based PT businesses, and create and launch their own online courses.

“I help PTs overcome imposter syndrome and realize their potential – what is possible in their career and life.”

Jess' passion for travel therapy and PT entrepreneurship began after she graduated and started her career as a traveling physical therapist. As she navigated the challenges of being a new travel PT and learned from her experiences, she quickly realized the need for mentorship in this niche and wanted to share her wealth of knowledge with others who wanted to pursue this lifestyle. So, in 2016, she created the WanderlustPTs blog to fill this gap and help aspiring traveling physical therapists make the transition smoothly, avoid common mistakes and pitfalls, and build a successful career.

Jess standing on a road in a canyon in black scrubsDaemen played a crucial role in laying the foundation for Jess' clinical skills and success as a travel PT. She credits the university's rigorous “comp exam” as a key factor in preparing her for the board exam and notes that other schools lack this important preparation. Additionally, she emphasizes the importance of continuing to learn and invest in yourself after PT school. She notes that it was the informal courses, books, and business coaching she invested in after graduation that helped her to break through the ceiling of a conventional therapist's salary, learn how to start a successful online business, and master “time-freedom.”

Jess has become a leading expert in the field of travel therapy, telehealth, and PT entrepreneurship. She has been a featured speaker at various national events, such as the APTA's National Student Conclave and PT in Motion Magazine, PT BizCon, and has spoken at dozens of colleges and universities nationwide. In recognition of her contributions to the profession and growth in her business, she won PT BizCon’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2021.

“By helping more PTs love what they do and step into their potential, I am able to help even more patients than I would ever be able to help just by myself,” Jess said.

Through her visits to universities nationwide and WanderlustPTs, Jess is dedicated to sharing her wealth of knowledge and experience with new grads and inspiring them to pursue a career path that supports the life they want to live. Whether it's traveling the world, starting a business, or finding a unique niche in the field, Jess is committed to helping PTs break out of the conventional mold and create a career that is fulfilling and meaningful.

“Growth only happens outside of your comfort zone, and I help people step outside of theirs,” added Jess.

For questions, free resources, speaking inquiries, or just to connect with Dr. Jess, reach out to her at WanderlustPTs.com, info@WanderlustPTs.com, or on social media @WanderlustPTs.

Dr. Viet Nguyen Daemen DPT Class of 2019
In Their Own Words

Dr. Viet Nguyen

Daemen DPT Class of 2019

I started my career at Glover Physical Therapy and Pain Rehabilitation after receiving my DPT degree from Daemen College* in 2019. I furthered my education in a number of specialties including Applied Functional Science and The McKenzie Method of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy. In the last 3 years, I have been extremely focused on mastering my craft as a therapist and have dedicated a significant amount of effort towards my career.

Best of 716I’ve been using my college education, unique clinical experiences, and endless self education to provide the best possible care for people in my community. It has been a humbling journey witnessing the power of physical therapy in healing and promoting health for people.

I am extremely grateful knowing my work has left a great impact on many people and was voted best physical therapist for "Buffalo News Best of 716”. It was an honor to receive this award and I hope to continue using my passion to contribute more to the community and the health field.

Dr. Michael Donegan

Daemen PT Class of 1999
DPT Class of 2004 

Dr. Michael Donegan“Daemen!” The word brings an immediate flood of memories and emotions to the thousands that have been fortunate to attend the institution, as do words like, “Duns Scotus, Canavan Hall, Campus Drive...” Attached to each word are images and thoughts of friends, academic rigor, events, buildings, professors, and let’s be honest – parties. The Daemen environment is forever etched in the minds of alumni.

Dr. Michael Donegan, PT (’99), DPT (’04), MHA, recalls fondly his days at Daemen College.* “I was blessed to attend the institution during a unique time, learning under the first PT program director, Dr. Richard Schweichler, the current director, Dr. Greg Ford, and all directors between Drs. Keith Taylor, Michael Brogan, and Sharon Held. All were fiercely dedicated to their craft of training the next generation of professionals to both effectively care for those in need and drive the profession forward. Each were unique, providing valuable lessons for students that would span their careers. While the training focused on creating therapists, much more was available to those interested in learning.”

“I recall taking a quick trip to Schenck Hall on my last day on campus, having completed the undergraduate program, to thank Mike Brogan for his mentorship, said Dr. Donegan, “His last words to me were, ‘You’ll be back.’ I relayed some niceties and thought, ‘Not a chance! It’s time to stop spending money and time to start making it.’”

Dr. Donegan returned a few years later to complete Daemen’s transitional DPT program, alongside his twin brother, Chris, and his wife, Danae, both Daemen PT alumni.

Since Daemen, Dr. Donegan practiced in both private and non-profit outpatient settings. He dove headfirst into practice and professional development, quickly realizing he enjoyed the administrative aspects of healthcare.

“I appreciated the ability to assist a person to improve health, but sometimes felt restricted by the systems in place which guard-railed my efforts.,” Dr. Donegan said. “Instead of continuing to help one person at a time, I decided to turn my focus toward changing systems, reducing the barriers faced by PT’s, allowing them to be more effective.”

Dr. Donegan decided a program of study in business would best provide the formal framework he needed to enhance his ability to help others, so he attended Roberts Wesleyan College to earn a Master’s Degree in Healthcare Administration.

“The degree positioned me for growth in the healthcare administrative realm, having recognized that those with both business and clinical degrees are well-positioned to bridge the gap between practice and administration, having experienced the daily life of clinical practice,” added Dr. Donegan.

As the Vice President of Operations for UR Medicine | Noyes Health, Dr. Donegan explains the importance of a supportive employer, relative to professional development.

“15 years ago, I transitioned to my current employer. I’ve received excellent support and mentorship, helping me grow as a leader,” Dr. Donegan said. “I’m surrounded by incredible, hardworking individuals. They are kind, selfless, and propel me daily to be a better leader. Together, we rejoice in our victories and support each other through our struggles. Many of the people I recall from Daemen were of the same ilk, both students and professors. They were passionate in their efforts and compassionate with each other.”

In addition to his administrative role, Dr. Donegan endeavors to mentor the next generation of leaders.

“It was not my initial intention to work in executive leadership, but I found a passion for it,” he added. Given his positive academic experiences at both Daemen and Roberts, and his desire to support new leaders, he began teaching finance in Robert’s Wesleyan College’s School of Business’s graduate programs in 2015.

“Teaching is a great way to give back, transferring your experiences, values, and knowledge to the continually upcoming generation of leaders,” Dr. Donegan said, “And, the opportunity continues to sharpen my own skills, learning from each class of unique individuals.”

Mike’s advice for career satisfaction: “Find a role that challenges you and drives you to continue to learn and improve, and seek an employer of quality individuals that supports your professional ambitions.”

It’s not all work. He enjoys time with Danae and their two children, Reagan, and Lincoln. They keep busy with sports, making music, hiking, and biking, and they are self-professed ski fanatics, traveling far and wide to hit the slopes!


* Daemen College become Daemen University in March 2022 after a successful petition to the New York State Education Department Board of Regents