It’s very rewarding to teach undergraduates at UC Berkeley. I love the research and teaching, and I can’t wait to start medical school.
Cassie grew up in Ventura, CA and has lived in Southern California all her life. She graduated top in her class three years ago from UCUC Berkeley with a degree in nutrition. She currently teaches nutrition and biochemistry courses, does research at the university, and is planning to attend medical school. Her mother Janine, also a medical professional, will join her on the cruise.
Although Cassie is compensated for her teaching, all her research and clinical work is voluntary, and that consumes most of her time. She has volunteered for the past three years doing research under distinguished UC Berkeley faculty at the Children's Hospital of Oakland. Her research focuses primarily on diabetes, metabolism, and related areas of endocrinology. She also does cholesterol research. Her work entails, among other things, drawing and running blood tests at the hospital, counseling patients on nutrition, computer analysis and data entry, and preparing the reports that ultimately go into medical journals.
When Cassie needs a break from volunteering in the medical field, she volunteers with "Girls on the Run." This is a program for third and fourth graders where they practice running techniques twice a week and prepare to run a marathon. In this case, marathon means a 3k race, which is a remarkable achievement for kids this age. Says Cassie: "Our goal is not only to teach the kids about good fitness; it's to give them the confidence to succeed. We counsel them on peer pressure, trust, teamwork, and confidence building. It's very satisfying work."
Cassie also volunteers at La Clinica, which serves a largely low income Hispanic population.
She draws blood at the clinic, brings the samples back to the Children's Hospital in Oakland, and personally does most of the testing. She's a one person blood lab. Says Cassie: "I probably put in 30-40 hours a week in my volunteer work. This not only helps the community, it also lets me develop the clinical skills I'll need for my medical career. I love it because everybody wins."