Cassandra McDiarmid, 2012 Pedrozzi Scholar, is a medical school student at Touro University Nevada College of Osteopathic Medicine. Cassi reflects on her time at Granada as the beginning of her academic journey to med school, and the impact of her Pedrozzi scholarship:
“I attended Granada High School, focusing my courses towards biological sciences since I knew I wanted to go into medicine. I was also a member of the Varsity Swim team throughout my four years, a passion that I continue to pursue to this day. I graduated in 2012 and started at UCLA in the fall. While at UCLA, I had so many opportunities that I was able to pursue, in part thanks to my scholarship from the Pedrozzi Foundation that allowed me to focus on my studies and not worry about student loans. I joined the Alpha Delta Pi sorority, was an assistant coach for the Bruin Swim Club, and worked as a medical assistant at a psychiatric office in Santa Monica. I graduated in March 2016 with my BS in Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology and a double minor in Philosophy and Evolutionary Medicine. I then attended USC Keck School of Medicine, where I received my MS in Global Medicine in 2017. I had the amazing opportunity to travel on a medical mission to Panama, as well as learn so much about cultural competency in medicine and prepare for my future career as a physician. I am currently a second year medical student at Touro University Nevada College of Osteopathic Medicine. While Nevada is a bit far from home, several of my classmates are from Livermore and the surrounding area, and it’s really nice to have a little reminder of home. At Touro, I am the VP of Student Affairs, and am responsible for the student organizations on campus and all non-academic student activities. At Granada, my classmates and teachers began shaping me to become a leader, and I am now a part of the national medical student government, taking the skills that I learned throughout high school and college to allow me to take part in the national conversations that affect medical students across the country. My teachers in Granada also cultivated my love of science, and I have been afforded the opportunity to conduct research in health education, working to improve women’s health literacy in many populations. Thank to the Pedrozzi Foundation, I was able to graduate from UCLA with no student debt, which enabled me to pursue my master’s degree on the way to medical school.My biggest advice to any current and future students is to follow your passions! Swimming was something I fell in love with in middle school, and I was fortunate enough to be able to continue training and coaching throughout college and beyond. While school is very important, it is just as important to take care of your mental and emotional health and well-being. This is actually the advice that I give to our incoming medical students~focus on your studies, but make sure that you take time for yourself, because if you don’t you’ll burn out and it’ll be that much more difficult to do well in school. Something that really helps with this is time management! Learn the best way that you learn, because it won’t be the same as it was in high school and it won’t be the same as what everyone else is doing. It may take some time to figure it out, but you will. Also, never give up on your dreams. If you want something, continue working towards that goal and you will achieve your goal one day.”
In addition to the advice above, Cassi has generously offered to mentor any pre-medical students (in high school or college). Interested students can contact the Pedrozzi Foundation who will connect you with Cassi.
The Pedrozzi Foundation is glad to have played a role in Cassi’s academic journey. Pedrozzi Scholars, such as Cassi, are continuing to give back to others and make a difference.