PTA alum is Lincoln Campus's 2022 Distinguished Alumnus

After dropping out of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln after three semesters, Cady Belli worked as a home health aide. While she accompanied her patient to physical therapy visits at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital, she realized that was her calling.

“The therapists were knowledgeable and passionate about their jobs,” she recalled. “After a few months I applied to SCC's Physical Therapist Assistant program to start in this field. The cost and location of SCC were a huge bonus, as well as the credits I could apply toward pre-requisites from UNL.”

Belli was a member of only the third PTA class at SCC. She said the material was rigorous and the teachers were strict, but supportive. After graduating in 2013, she started working at Eastmont in Lincoln and continues there today.

“I fell in love with working with older adults during one of my clinical rotations at a nursing home in Plattsmouth, so Eastmont had both the clientele and location I was looking for,” Belli said. Plus my boss, Mark Sunderman, helped guide me from a very shy but willing PTA to someone with confidence and passion about my job.”

Sunderman nominated Belli for the 2022 Distinguished Alumni award at Southeast Community College. He said she goes above and beyond her job responsibilities at Eastmont, and is also a good role model for PTA students doing their clinical rotations at the facility.

“She is an excellent employee in terms of dependability, relationships with her co-workers and other departments, and her skill as a clinician is only getting better,” Sunderman said in his nomination letter. “She has been outstanding with guiding our students from the SCC PTA program and other pre-PTA students. She is an excellent clinical instructor.”

As for the future, Belli hopes to finish her bachelor’s degree at Bellevue University. In addition, she counts her blessings every day for her sobriety as she overcame mental health and substance abuse issues.

“My residents have taught me that we never know where our lives will take us or how we'll age, but to just do the best with what we have. I am very fortunate to be where I am right now,” she said.

Belli received a Distinguished Alumnus plaque in a ceremony in December at Eastmont. 

If you know of someone who you think should be nominated, click on this link and fill out the appropriate campus’s nomination form:

Andrea Gallagher
Communications Specialist