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Dhivya is looking to attend medical school & intern for the WHO to examine global health crises.

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"Don’t feel stressed if you don’t know exactly what you want to do. Take the time to explore your interests and learn more about yourself and the things you like. Don’t feel pressured to make decisions based off of what your friends or family feel you should do."

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Dhivya Vadapalli
Class of 2019



My career roadmap has been all over the place.

Ever since I was little, I would travel with my family and close friends. Being able to explore the world and learn from these experiences was something I became really passionate about.

Throughout elementary and middle school, I was always super interested in a bunch of different things, but never really had a concrete idea in my head of what my future would be like.

When I was in 6th grade, I went on a trip with my family to Vietnam and hung out with my parents while they did medical work in hospitals and clinics. Even though I could not really do much, the experience showed me that I definitely wanted to pursue some sort of career in healthcare and helping people.

My time at AOC was spent taking a random variety of classes with no general direction in mind. Even though I was interested in health, I had developed a passion for learning different languages and took Spanish, German and ASL at COC.

I had always been interested in attending college out of the country, and in the college application process I applied to a variety of different schools with different majors to keep my options open.

I ended up committing to USC as a spring admit majoring in global health as part of the school of medicine. During the fall semester, I started to learn French and spent a lot of time researching global health and possible trajectories.

Even though I was unsure that I had made the right decision by choosing USC, during my first few days at school I met a lot of other global health students and I quickly became confident that I had made the right choice.



Here are my extracurriculars relevant to this pathway


  • Over the summers, I traveled to India and Ethiopia volunteering with different organizations and hospitals that focused on providing healthcare to people who were living in rural areas with little to no access to medical treatment.

  • I was in ASB for three years, which really helped me develop my leadership skills and gain self confidence. Even though it is not directly related to my career path, being a member of ASB was incredibly beneficial for my own personal development and taught me a lot of valuable lessons.


  • My first semester at USC was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but during my short time I was able to build relationships with students and professors which will be beneficial in the future.


What I'm currently doing/hope to do

My goal is to graduate from USC with a BS in Global Health and a minor in Natural Sciences. Currently I am working on balancing pre-med courses with the courses required for my major. Additionally, in spring 2021, I will (hopefully) start doing research on different global health crises and will continue to do so until my graduation in 2023. I also plan on volunteering at California Hospital Medical Center and potentially intern or volunteer with the LAC Department of Public Health. After my graduation, I will most likely take a gap year off before starting medical school, and during this time I hope to intern for the World Health Organization or in some kind of health field.


How to maximize my time in high school?

  • Advice #1: AOC can sometimes feel super overwhelming, but do your best to stay on top of all your schoolwork and try not to procrastinate. Even though I am definitely guilty of this, if you can develop strong time management skills as a freshmen it will stick with you through high school and even college.

  • Advice #2: Don’t feel stressed if you don’t know exactly what you want to do. Take the time to explore your interests and learn more about yourself and the things you like. Don’t feel pressured to make decisions based off of what your friends or family feel you should do.

  • Advice #3: Volunteering is essential to any pre-health major or student interested in pursuing a career in medicine. Even if you decide on a pre-health track “late” into your high school (or college) career, try to find as many volunteering opportunities as you can. It helps to build those connections and also gives you an opportunity to learn more about the field you are interested in.

  • Advice #4: Do things outside of school that you are passionate about! Play a sport or learn a new language. Oftentimes academics can feel like they are the most important thing in your life,  but do your best to expand your horizons and participate in different things. As cliche as it sounds, try to remember that there is more to life than just getting good grades!

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