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Kiyana is a Marriage & Family Therapy grad student looking to attend med school and specialize in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

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"Don’t let anyone or anything get in the way of your health, especially your mental health. If you need someone to talk to, there are plenty of amazing resources out there that are relatively free!"

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Kiyana Abouzar
Class of 2017


I started a club with a couple of my classmates. Here is an example of one of our flyers:


My career roadmap has been defined since the beginning.

I’ve been wanting to pursue a career in medicine since I was a little girl. I had a variety of health issues growing up and constant doctor’s appointments really kick started my passion for medicine.

I didn’t know what specialty I wanted to pursue but I knew I wanted to work with children and adolescents. I have a younger sister and I am the oldest of our family friends, so I am used to being around children.

Unfortunately, I was diagnosed with my own mental illnesses in high school. After taking Psych 101 at COC, I realized that I wanted to help others like me, who struggled on a daily basis. I started seeing a psychiatrist and that’s when I knew I wanted to specialize in psychiatry.

I struggled a lot with dealing with my diagnoses and constant medicine changes. My health issues came back during 11th grade, which was my lowest point. However, I had tremendous support from friends, family, and AOC staff, which helped me “recover”.

I graduated COC with my AA-T in Psychology and transferred to CSUN where I would begin my undergraduate studies. Since I was pre-med, I took the pre-requisites as well as my degree requirements.

I didn’t know I wanted I go to graduate school before medical school until I graduated. My mental health rapidly declined and I was starting to feel bad about the future because I just didn’t know what I wanted to do with my career. I wasn’t ready for medical school yet.

With the help of treatment, family, and friends, I pushed myself and eventually got into a graduate program where I am now in an MFT program and thriving.

My mental health is so much better and I am very happy. Although I have my good days and bad days, I realize that going into this field, especially in medicine, will help me connect with patients more and be rewarding.



Here are my extracurriculars relevant to this pathway


  • ASL club at AOC

  • Project Linus

  • Volunteer at Henry Mayo Hospital

  • Ballet (I danced for 12 years!)

  • National Honor Society


  • Joined AMSA during my first year at CSUN

  • Volunteered at Cedars-Sinai in the CICU and Cardiology units as well as feeding patients who could not medically or physically feed themselves

  • Volunteered at Kaiser Permanente at the outpatient Radiation/Oncology unit and NICU

  • Volunteered at TLC for the Blind in Northridge with adults who had medical, physical, and/or mental disabilities

  • Currently working on pursuing a license as a behavioral technician to work with children who have mental disabilities during my graduate program.


What I'm currently doing/hope to do

With my master’s degree and LMFT license, I plan to attend medical school and specialize in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. I am about to start training and courses to receive my behavioral technician license to work with children who have mental disabilities. I want to work part time in this field to gain experience working with children. I plan to study abroad in the Summer of 2021 in Livingstone, Zambia to explore the effects of international volunteerism and local volunteer programs as they impact the people of Zambia.


How to maximize my time in high school?

  • Advice #1: Please please PLEASE listen to Ms. Cubbage and really communicate on what classes you want to take because it is really important that you’re taking the classes you need! Advocate for yourself at COC as well! You’re in charge. This makes your life so much easier.

  • Advice #2: Reach out to places where you can volunteer! For example, look into volunteering at Henry Mayo, any senior center, or even elementary schools! This will help build up your resume and college application!

  • Advice #3: If you are able to, try not to take too many difficult classes at once. For example, if you struggle with chemistry, it may be easier to just take chemistry and your major related class (assuming you’re going into the STEM route). You want to focus on understanding the material as well as getting a good grade in the class. It’s okay if it takes time. There’s no required time limit. If that’s what you need, go for it!

  • Advice #4: Don’t let anyone or anything get in the way of your health, especially your mental health. If you need someone to talk to, there are plenty of amazing resources out there that are relatively free! Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to speak to someone and if you’re in a crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Helpline at 1-800-273-8255. Your life matters.

  • Advice #5: I understand balancing COC and AOC courses are hard. It is important you schedule your time wisely and get assignments done on time. Make a list of what needs to be done right away and what can wait. Purchase a whiteboard calendar and write important deadlines. Or, what I do is print out the syllabus for each of my courses and highlight due dates!

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