Chaliyah Penick, a graduate from the class of 2010, shares insights on her career in acupuncture and how her Rowan experience helped propel her into her field.
Dr. Chaliyah Penick graduated from Rowan in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology. From that foundation, she built her career path in a different direction. She entered a program at an acupuncture school to gauge her interest in the science of acupuncture and its potential benefits. After finishing the program she was mentored to perform acupuncture. For anyone unfamiliar, acupuncture, in Chaliyah’s words, is “the process of pricking the skin at certain sight points with a tiny filament needle. Acupuncture essentially uses the body’s innate healing system to rid the body of different pains.”
She also says that while she didn’t have acupuncture in mind when she first graduated from Rowan, it was something she stumbled upon and it was like love at first sight: “Upon graduating from Rowan, I was still in my exploratory phase. I was trying to figure out ‘okay, what do I want to do?’ I knew I wanted to be in a field of natural medicine, but I didn’t have any mentors or guides as to where to begin or where to even look. So once I came across naturopathic medicine through reading one of the local natural health magazines, I was like, ‘oh, this is something that I would really like to do.’”
Chaliyah credits her skills with social interaction and emotional connection to her success in the field: “I really believe that’s what sets acupuncture and the practice of East Asian medicine apart. I really spend time with my patients. A session is usually 45 minutes long. I’m not getting them into the room and rushing them onto the table and hurrying up, I’m finding out what’s going on with them. This not only is a physical medicine, and the body experiences physical and physiological change, but it’s also a very spiritual medicine, and we tap into the person, which is why I think acupuncture and the practice of it has such great results because you connect with the person and not just the pain that they’re in.”
Chaliyah says her connection to Rowan and the Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) program made her choice clear: “I chose Rowan because it was local to home. I came through as a part of the EOF program, and in high school I went through what was called the CHAMP Program. I had really huge connections to Rowan through that program, like I would spend summers at Rowan doing summer camp. So I was just very familiar with the campus and that familiarity just seemed right for me.”
As far as her advice for incoming Profs goes, Chaliyah had this to say: “Get to exploring, try to really hone in on what your interests are, see what Rowan has to offer in terms of majors, and then do your research as to what professions you can get into with that major.”
She also echoes a sentiment of living your life the way you want to live it and making decisions for yourself: “Stay true to yourself. Don’t try to go into something that your family wants you to do or that you feel pressured to go into, just stay true to yourself because that will never steer you in the wrong direction.”
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Story by Connor Bicknell, senior communication studies major