Please Help Me Stay At Vanderbilt
Unfortunately, just 3 weeks before I started my first year of college my Mom took her own life. It was a difficult year for me but I did my best to persevere. Now with my second year approaching, I just learned three days ago that without my Mom having residential custody, I no longer am going to get any financial aid.
Even with my college fund, my summer work savings, a scholarship and a student loan, I am still short $24,000 for this year’s tuition. To make things worse, my father has been unemployed for months now and has no immediate job prospects.
It is extremely difficult for me to request help, but more bearable than the thought of losing a dream I worked and continue to work so hard for. I am majoring in Biomedical Engineering in the hopes of contributing to major medical advancements. I will be eternally grateful if through your contributions I can still make this happen. I’m praying daily for a miracle.
I just wanted to give another life update, seeing as a lot has happened since the last one! The biggest thing being: I did it! WE did it! I completed my undergraduate degree and graduated from the school of my dreams, and I couldn’t have done it without any of y’all and I couldn’t possibly be more thankful to each and every one of you. I just want you to know that the last four years of have been the best of my life. After a busy end of the year with a lot of hard finals and senior design day, the last two weeks before graduation were incredibly bittersweet. I spent every moment that I could with the people who had made my life at Vanderbilt into the experience that it was. I will cherish those memories for the rest of my life, and am so thankful for the community and the friends that I know will be around for the rest of my life. Let’s just say there were plenty of tears the day after graduation when goodbyes were said. When I came home, I immediately studied for my MCAT exam all day every day, until taking it four weeks later. While waiting for the results, I am applying to jobs in my field of Biomedical Engineering with the hopes of making meaningful contributions before hopefully heading off to medical school in two years. I will also be looking for opportunities to shadow doctors in the OR and clinic over the next year.
I couldn’t be happier and more excited about the future. The education and the experience that Vandy gave me is invaluable, and I’m so grateful for it. Thank you again, and finally, for allowing me to make a home at Vanderbilt that was so hard to leave. Anchor down for LIFE!!
I thought I’d share a little bit of what I’ve been up to and what I’m involved in as well, for those of you who are interested. I am now through my fifth semester of majoring in Biomedical Engineering and I am still enjoying what I am learning, even though it is the very opposite of easy a lot of the time. I am also minoring in Engineering Management in the hopes of taking my BME major in more of a corporate direction instead of a research-oriented one. This past semester was the hardest yet, and I expect the next one will be about the same. I am particularly excited for next semester because I will be taking an elective for my major that involves a service trip to Guatemala for Spring Break! We will be learning how to build and fix medical equipment, and will make instructional videos in Spanish for the people in Guatemala to keep after we leave. I can’t wait to see Guatemala and use what I’ve learned to help the people who live there. Otherwise, I am actively involved in a campus ministry group on campus called The Navigators, and I couldn’t be more thankful to have such wonderful fellowship. I am also a member of Engineers Without Borders, Society of Women Engineers, and the Biomedical Engineering Society. I also play on the Vanderbilt Women’s Club Soccer Team, and I love every minute of it. We travel and play soccer competitively against other universities, and in October we traveled to Gainesville for the Regional Tournament where we lost in the semifinals. I work at the Vanderbilt Recreation and Wellness Center where I am a student supervisor. It’s a good campus job to have and I plan on working there next semester and during my senior year as well. All of the money I make there, as well as the money I make over the summer, is saved as much as possible to contribute to keeping me at Vanderbilt. Most of the rest of my free time is spent studying or doing homework, but I still find time to see Nashville with my friends and attend as many Vanderbilt games as possible. If you have watched any football or basketball games, you’ve probably seen me in the front row, Anchoring Down! It’s one of my favorite things to do. Go Dores!! The experiences I have had, and will continue to have, and the relationships I’ve formed because of Vanderbilt, are some of the best of my life and I am incredibly thankful to all of you for making it possible! I hope 2016 treats all of you well!
Congrats Cassie! So proud of you. Best of luck!
Awesome news---thanks for letting us know!
I didn't help in your journey, as I just found your profile. However, as the mom to a child adopted from Guatemala, I applaud your generosity and desire to give back to the world. I will be praying for you!
Thank you for keeping us updated. It sounds like you are having a great Vandy experience, I'm so glad we were all able to help it continue. God bless and keep working hard.
Cassie, I am sorry to hear about your mother. I can relate, having lost both of my parents, my father recently. I'd appreciate if you read my story and possibly shared it. Congratulations on surpassing your goal!
Good luck to you my friend. I can somewhat relate to your story(actually, I can relate). Although I can't donate myself(I'm looking for help to stay in school as well), I did want to say that I admire your tenacity and your positivity. Hang in there, you'll come out ok.
I would love to donate more but sadly I need support too but congrats on reaching your goal!
I wish i could donate to you but i myself am trying to raise money to pay for medical bills but no luck for me. Im glad you had success here and are an inspiration for me to keep my head up. You will be in my families prayers
Cassie, I am sorry I don't have anything to give.. I am sorry to hear about your Mother. You a strong young lady and God is watching over you. No doubt that you will have a bright future. Keep pushing forward! Prayers for you and your family!
From one Vanderbilt alum to a future Vanderbilt alum :-)
Cassie, there is no doubt that you will do well. The same kind of spirit drive that you showed to launch this campaign is exactly what is necessary to do well anywhere. The campaign has clearly engendered in you an elevation of your gratitude and appreciation and has already change you for the better. I am also funding a young man and I intend to follow both of your adventures through school This is the gift you give us: to be part of your life and your future and to enjoy the adventure with you that you are going on. Thank you!!
Cassie-Although I only have a very small amount, I want to let you know that you are truely an inspiration. A couple of years ago I was offered admission to my top choice U of Notre Dame Law School and could not accept the offer because of insufficient Financial Aid. I launched a campaign on Go Fund a few weeks ago. As I started to get some discouraging feedback about the idea of asking strangers, I considered quitting and feared that I would have to defer for the 4th time. While watching the news and pondering this, I saw your story! It is possible! Miracles do happen and people do care! I am giving to you despite your already having reached your goal because you said that you want to help other students. I know that you will pay it forward and be a blessing to someone else! I know how disheartening it can be to face obstacles while in pursuit of advancement opportunities. You are a strong and determined young lady! I am happy that you are able to continue pursuing your dream! Make us all proud!
Great Job Cassie!! Continue to do a great job in school!
Stay strong Cassie
Cassie-I can't give anything right now, but I want you to know that my thoughts and prayers are with you. I lost my mother to suicide when I was your age. I am proud of you for carrying on, I know how hard it can be. Best of luck to you.
Hey Cassie, Congratulations on your resourcefulness and fortitude at finding a way to stay in school instead of giving up or despairing. And thanks so much for showing everyone else out here struggling with trying to figure out how to navigate the financial minefields that college funding poses for students and their families. You have provided a very valuable benefit with your example of thinking outside the box and given hope to students in the same situation, blindsided by the stupid rules and regulations that trip people up instead of supporting their hard work and dedication to getting educated and prepared for a career versus a job. You awe and inspire and I can see only good things in your future. Thanks for being a shining example! Best of luck to you though I'm sure you won't need it because you have a good head and giving heart. Best Regards, Heidi Cardenas, mom of new student at UIUC fall 2014 and another one school tba fall 2015
Many are asking why Cassie's campaign is so extraordinarily successful. I think I can answer that. A HUGE base of her contributors come from 3 sources: Those that actual know her. Almost everyone who has ever met her knows the amazing, caring, giving and deserving young lady she is. This includes family, teachers, friends, sport team members, church members and colleagues from her various employment. Her reach has been phenomenal. The Vanderbilt community: This community has sealed the deal for Cassie. Their outpouring of support has left her knowing that undeniably she is where she is supposed to be. Then finally, and sadly - the contributors who have experienced a loss of a love one and especially those who lost someone through suicide. They understand that it is more than grief she is experiencingand it took a certain kind of determination to move forward. The number of people that connected with her for this reason both saddens me and makes me happy that Cassie gave them an opportunity to share their story and to pay it forward. So Cassie' s success is basically a result of who she is, where she is and where she came from. Love you Cassie.
My sister graduated from Vandy with a double major in electrical and biomedical engineering. Best of luck to you!
Cassie.....sending you HUGE BLESSINGS!