Students of the Month: Christine & Corey

Meet Christine Penner


Christine Penner is a part-time, 12 month student at the Onondaga School of Therapeutic Massage in Rochester, NY. Christine has always believed in the power of touch and wanted a new career where she could use touch to relieve a person’s stress, anxiety, or pain to help others regain their physical, mental, or emotional health. We saw Christine’s desire to help others daily, and it’s one of the many reasons the staff and faculty of OSTM selected her as our Student of the Month.

Christine can always be found comforting or supporting others, whether it’s staying after a class to work with a peer who is nervous about an upcoming myology exam, sharing parenting advice with classmates, or just her warm smile and contagious laugh to strengthen the bond between her cohort. She received her master’s degree in education but always had a desire for a career that supported her strong belief in the power of touch.

Balancing Life and School

Christine is a mother of four and considers her job as a mom more than a full-time job! Once her children were all school-aged and after a few supportive conversations with her husband, she decided to take the leap and enroll in OSTM’s part-time 12 month program. The 12 month program’s flexible schedule allows her to be there for her children in the morning to see them get on the school bus before her classes begin. Having her classes end at noon gives her time to study and complete the never-ending task of being a mother of four. She can still be as involved with her children’s everyday lives while completing her education and training in Massage Therapy. Christine just completed her first quarter here at OSTM and has completed her 100-level courses in Communications and Business, Law & Ethics, Anatomy & Physiology w/Neurology, Myology, and Pathology with a 3.9 GPA. Christine would like to thank her four children Marin, Michael, Emily, and Mallory and her husband Jon Paul for all the love and support they provide.

Why OSTM?

When we asked Christine why she chose Onondaga over other massage schools, she said the decision was an easy one. She said:

“After touring the Rochester Campus, I knew it was the right school and the right fit for me… It has small intimate class sizes [and] helpful and friendly staff and faculty who are there to help you along the way and make you feel confident and comfortable in your future as a massage therapist.”

Another factor was OSTM’s over 20-year history of graduating quality-trained and educated Licensed Massage Therapists along with a strong alumni network, quality continuing education programs, and a career services department. In just three months, Christine has had the opportunity to meet with several employers at the school’s Meet & Greet sessions with local employers in the Rochester area. When it comes to which specific modality of massage she thinks she will practice after graduation, Christine is keeping her options open. She said:

“When I first chose to go back to school for massage I saw myself working in more of a medical setting, using my skills and training to offer massage as a form of pain management for people with orthopedic issues, arthritis, and other mobility conditions. But, now I am keeping all my options open. One of the most satisfying things about massage is the number of different modalities and flexibility there is in the massage therapy field.”

Choosing a Career After School

The faculty and staff here at OSTM are confident that Christine Penner is sure to be a trailblazer in the field of Massage Therapy no matter where she chooses to take her journey. Whether she is massaging in a chiropractor’s office or a physical therapist’s medical office, performing oncology massage in one of Rochester’s top cancer treatment centers, pairing her education background with massage to assist individuals with autism to regulate their sensory stimulation, or massaging in one of Rochester’s most luxurious spas. She could even help massage combat veterans at the Veterans Outreach Center who are seeking relief dealing with anxiety, depression, or PTSD. No matter where she chooses to go, she is sure to be a benefit to those around her.

Meet Corey Smith


Meet Corey Smith of the 15 month evening program and OSTM Syracuse’s Student of the Month for April 2018! Corey is the definition of a hardworking and persistent individual. Working full-time in retail and being a full-time dad, his ability to make school a priority deserves recognition. He is solution orientated and inspires those around him to think positively and laugh often, especially in the midst of challenges.

Before OSTM

Before OSTM, Corey was working full-time at Kun Fu Tea, a bubble tea shop in the mall, and taking care of his four-year-old daughter.

Why OSTM?

Massage was something that Corey thought about while in his senior year of high school, but wasn’t sure if he should pursue it. After he had his daughter and finally had a reliable form of childcare, he started to seriously think about what he wanted to do as a career. In regards to massage therapy, he said:

“I originally thought of massage as a career choice because I wanted to be in a profession where I truly felt I was helping people, and that I can help them with my hands. I love that there is so much more to massage than what most people first assume. After receiving a tour at OSTM, I thought that such a small campus/community would be the perfect fit. After learning that I could enroll part-time around my work schedule and the ability to spend time with my daughter, I knew that OSTM was the right choice.”

Corey’s Future Goals

At the current moment, Corey is unsure of the exact path of massage therapy he wants to take in the future. He loves the field because there are so many career options to choose from and he can work with a variety of people. He enjoys exploring the different options and discovering more about the career in general. He hopes to keep learning as the program goes on, and he is eager to see what the future may hold!

Want to Become a Massage Therapist?

Want to learn more about the exciting career opportunities in the field of massage therapy? Want to find a career like Christine or Corey? Check out our two convenient locations in Syracuse and Rochester! If you’re interested in learning more or want to schedule a tour, call our Syracuse Admissions Director at 315-424-1159 or our Rochester Admissions Director at 585-241-0070. We can help you get started on your new journey!

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