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Francesca Santacroce



A first-generation college graduate reflects on the impact of her
CCF Scholarship and Internship Program


Francesca Santacroce Scholarship Recipient


My interest in changing peoples’ lives has heavily influenced my goals, ambitions, and plans to pursue a medical degree after completing a Bachelor of Science degree in Biomolecular Science with a concentration in Biomedical Engineering, at New York University Tandon School of Engineering. My experiences as a woman in a STEM field and a first-generation college student have greatly impacted my personal and professional goals. While at NYU, I was fortunate enough to participate in numerous educational projects that taught me professionalism and gave me a solid foundation in applied sciences, granted through my strong Italian work ethic, NYU faculty, and the Columbus Citizens Foundation.

As a teaching assistant at NYU, I have educated and mentored students from all walks of life with diverse interests. I managed a sector of biomolecular science courses, leading a staff of ten graduate students to efficiently carry out laboratory experiments and fairly grade student reports. I was recommended to be lead researcher after completing my freshman year for a project called “The Staff of Gandalf,” where ultrasound and infrared sensors are incorporated into a basic white cane to safely and efficiently help the blind community. As an avid yoga practitioner and instructor, I designed and co-founded a yoga and physiology course and scientific research conference at NYU to educate the community about the data that supports biological, psychological, and physiological benefits of yoga.

From the start of my college career, the Columbus Citizens Foundation has played a significant role in the professional opportunities I have obtained in my undergraduate and graduate career. I was fortunate enough to become a CCF College Scholarship recipient and when CCF began their internship program, I was offered an opportunity at Weill Cornell Medical College in their ophthalmology department. Then I started an internship with Dr. Joseph Lombardi. There, I learned the importance of patient care, compassionate bedside manner, and clinical procedures. I am now an Assistant Supervisor for Edison Spine Center with Dr. Lombardi at Edison Metuchen Orthopedic Group. I am applying to medical school for the 2021 school year and I aspire to open my own practice in the future.

My strongest influences in life have been the women in my family. My grandmothers, both immigrants from Italy, and my mother are the reasons that I am not only the first woman, but the first person to graduate from university in my family. My mother also suffers from Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease, a rare genetic disorder that results in end-stage renal failure. Her strength and determination to wait on the long and frustrating organ donation list inspires me to be patient and unwavering throughout medical school and in my career as a physician. Outside of work and academics, I volunteer as a crisis intervention counselor for RAINN, the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, helping survivors and loved ones of those who have been affected by sexual violence.

I am so honored to be a member of the Columbus Citizens Foundation, not only as a scholarship and internship recipient, but also as a Young Adults Auxiliary member. It is the young people who truly make changes and a difference in the world, and we must support them to obtain educations and solid foundations. Thank you to the Columbus Citizens Foundation, from the bottom of my heart, for the morals by which they stand, and for what they do for young professionals such as myself.

January 10, 2020