Fitzgerald Cano ’20 served for 12 years in the Marine Corps all over the world until 2017, when he was honorably discharged.
After the military, Cano said he hit rock bottom and felt aimless and hopeless. At the time, he did not know he was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A friend suggested he apply to Mount Saint Mary’s Weekend/Evening & Online College where she was a student. “I wasn’t confident about going back to school,” he says. “But what did I have to lose?”
He enrolled as a business major, but after a chance meeting with a fellow former Marine, he changed his major to applied psychology. “He said it could help me with whatever PTSD I was going through,” said Cano. “I had classic symptoms from being in combat scenarios and feeling lost after leaving the structure of the military.”
With the help of his mentor, psychology instructor Evelyn Kolwaski, and veteran outreach association advisor Madeline Bruning, EdD, Cano overcame his challenges and excelled. In August, he graduated cum laude with his bachelor’s degree after making the Dean’s List for seven consecutive semesters. He was also inducted into the national Alpha Sigma Lambda Honor Society.
Cano credits the Mount’s support system for his success. “The Mount is a lot like the military – in all the positive ways,” he says. “My professors are like platoon sergeants, and my mentors are like officers. They are ready to support you through your journey.”
Cano just began the Mount’s Doctor of Clinical Psychology program. “I want to help people in the military break the stigma that therapy is bad,” he says. “It is mentally challenging to be in combat and even harder to transition out of the service. But I can bring hope.”