This is the first of a series highlighting confirmed corps members for the 2014-2015 year through learning about their paths to City Year and their career goals.
Name: Michael Collaguazo
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
College/Major: Cornell University /Biology & Society with a minor in nutrition, technology studies
1) How did you hear about City Year?
I attended the career fair the first semester of my senior year and I met a Cornell alumnus who decided to serve for City Year for 2013-2014. We talked about the structure and purpose of City Year while preparing for the medical track. I was looking for an opportunity to be a mentor to students in an underrepresented environment, while emphasizing the importance of education and careers in STEM ( Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). He told me to go check out the profile and to apply whenever I’m ready. Once I learned about the program, I was very interested in serving with City Year in New York.
2) How do you think this year will connect with your long-term goals or career path?
My goal is to attend medical school with a focus in public health and get an MD/MPH. Since the medical profession looks for people who go beyond working hours to take care of patients and improve the quality of life, City Year ensures that corps members go above and beyond to serve in areas that need our help and support. In addition, since I’m planning to pursue a Public Health degree, I think it’s crucial to educate kids about the importance of staying in school and avoid health issues that might stem from dropping out of school or not graduating at all. These factors led me to choosing to take a City Year, and keep students on the right track in schools that need service and mentors.
3) What are you most excited about for your corps year?
I’m really excited to become friends with the corps members that I’ll be serving with. It’ll be great to work with peers like myself who want to make a difference and impact the lives of kids that need that extra push to succeed and perform well. Because corps members come from a variety of different backgrounds, I think it’s great to learn about where we come from and how to be valuable assets as a team. To that extent, I’m also excited to find common goals of improving the school environment and academic performance.
4) What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten that you’re going to keep with you for next year?
I was working with a physician this past summer for an internship program that focused on dealing with health disparities in underrepresented areas. After leaving the program, he told me some great advice about medicine and self-improvement. The one piece of advice that stood out to me the most is to “go beyond the extra mile.” In other words, he told me to never settle and to always do my best in whatever I pursue, no matter how difficult or strenuous the journey. That advice has helped me become a better student, a better son, and hopefully a corps member that can make a change into the lives of students that I look forward to serving.
5) Complete this prompt: I can #makebetterhappen by….
I can #makebetterhappen by opening doors to opportunity.