Please Help Me Stay At Vanderbilt

$50,585 of $25k goal

Raised by 1,136 people in 26 months
Cassie Wessely   GRAYSLAKE, IL
My name is Cassie, I am nineteen and I am a student at Vanderbilt University.   I worked extremely hard in high school and since Vanderbilt only had a 12 percent acceptance rate last year I was humbled and thrilled to be accepted.  

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.
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Update 11
5 days ago
1
1
Hi y’all!! Today was my last, first day of classes as an undergrad here at Vanderbilt and I thought that meant it was due time for an update for all of you wonderful people who helped me get here. Let me just start off again by saying what cannot possibly said enough, and that is: thank you. Thank you for allowing me to stay at this school that I love so much so that I could wake up this morning and begin my senior year. This evening I attended an upperclassmen BBQ for the Navigators, which is a campus ministry group that I belong to, and all of us seniors had a moment to join hands and pray about this upcoming year and our futures. I stood there with my head bowed and my eyes closed and I could feel the strength of the love and fellowship within our group and I was thinking about how thankful I was to have been able to do life with such amazing people for three years now and how excited I was to see what God has in store for our last year and our lives beyond this place. For me, my life this year is going to consist of a lot of studying, work, research, and clubs, while also fitting as much fun in as I can. Last semester, I took a spring break trip to Guatemala as part of a Biomedical Engineering elective, and it was life changing. We worked in four different clinics in Guatemala City and Antigua, helping to fix biomedical equipment that needed parts and resources that we were able to bring with us from Nashville and working with students at a local university called Universidad Del Valle. The place, and especially the people, really touched my heart and I made the decision shortly after returning to Nashville that I wanted to go to medical school so that I could better serve communities like the ones I saw in Guatemala. Since making this decision I have found a well-timed enthusiasm and focus to help me get through the heavy course load that this year will bring, and I could not be more excited about it. I’ll be taking the MCAT next June and taking a gap year between undergrad and medical school, during which I plan to spend some time back in Guatemala doing some more hands on service work and reconnecting with the people I befriended while there. As for the rest of this year, I will be continuing my job at the Rec Center because it is something I truly enjoy doing and has been a big part of my time here. I will also be working in the Biomedical Engineering research lab throughout the year, continuing the work that I was fortunate enough to be able to do this past summer. Yes, I spend my summer living and researching in Nashville and it was wonderful. The lab is focused on developing biomedical devices, systems, and diagnostics that can be used in low-resource settings that can’t afford the same technologies that most of us can, which is something that I have loved being a part of. Of course I will also be spending a lot of time this year on the infamous senior design project that all engineering students must be a part of and I am genuinely curious and interested to put to the test what my three years here have taught me so far. Outside of academics and work, I will continue playing club soccer, being active in The Navigators, and participating in other service organizations such as The Wells Project and the Inter-American Health Alliance. Both organizations are focused on meeting the needs of less-fortunate populations, one through bringing clean drinking water to those who do not have it, and another through offering support to establish sustainable Guatemala-based community health projects for underserved populations. I look forward to seeing what both of these organizations can do this year. And, of course, I look forward to the beginning of the football season, as “Anchoring Down” is something that I am very passionate about and has been a huge part of my experience here. I’m not kidding y’all. Look for me in the front row of every single football and basketball game this year, because I will be there. Outside of that, I want to continue exploring more of Nashville and crossing things off the bucket list with my best friends before the year is over. It’s going to be a busy year, full of many emotional moments, and I am both excited and so sad that it’s finally happening. So again, I say thank you to each and every one of you. For allowing me to experience everything this school and this city offers. It goes beyond the academic and extracurricular experience. It’s about the people that I have been able to meet because of this place. The ones that I am excited to experience this last year with. The ones that I am excited to experience the rest of my life with, because I know that so many of these relationships will never diminish even after we all go on to do wonderful things. Thank you for helping me to meet these people. Thank you for helping me to attend this incredible institution. Thank you for helping me to realize what I am supposed to do with the rest of my life. Thank you for helping me get to the first day of my senior year. Thank you, for showing me how profoundly love and generosity can have an impact on someone’s life. I can’t wait to spread that message for the rest of my life. Hope y’all enjoyed the update and that you have a wonderful rest of your year. As always, Anchor Down!
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Update 10
8 months ago
2
2
Hello and Happy New Year y’all!! It’s been a while since you’ve heard from me, and I just wanted to send out an update and another thank you! The money that was given not only put me through last year, but coupled with the money I made over the summer and the school year, and my dad’s first paycheck from his new job (yes he finally got a job, yay!!!), it helped me get through this last semester as well. Everything worked out perfectly according to God’s timing nd I am so thankful for that because the more time I spend at school, the more I fall in love with Vanderbilt. So again, thank you very much for the incredible generosity you all showed me over a year ago. A lot of the time, when I walk through campus on a beautiful day, or I’m up late studying with some of my best friends, I think about how amazing that day was and how happy I am to be able to continue at the best school in the world, all thanks to you all. I will never forget it and I will always be thankful!
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!
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Update 9
22 months ago
I just thought all of you wonderful people deserved an update, so here I am! This was a week where I didn't have an exam, and believe me when I say those do not come around often, so I had a lot of time to reflect on my semester so far. It has been beyond amazing, to say the least, and I owe every day of it to you all! Classes are extremely interesting and I'm excited to start concentrating on my major rather than general courses. And of course, the community here is as wonderful as ever. I'm enjoying my job at the rec center and the responsibilities it comes with. I still manage to have fun though and am proud to say I made it to quite a few football games (I even saw 2 out of our three wins! WOO!), and can't wait for basketball games, and then of course watching our national champs in the spring. Club involvement has been going well, and I hope to be able to dedicate more time to the children in an after school program organized by Harvest Hands once my schedule allows it next semester. All in all, I'm trying to make the best of my time here! These last three months have been nothing short of a blessing, and I am grateful every day for the generosity I was shown by all of you! Happy almost Thanksgiving (ok it's 20 days away, but us students are counting down the minutes!) and Anchor Down!!
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Update 8
25 months ago
Seeing as today marks one year since my mom has been gone, I thought it would be appropriate to thank you all again from the bottom of my heart. Today was of course very difficult, but I cannot thank you enough for gifting me with the blessing of having another year at Vanderbilt to look forward to! It is such a beautiful gift on this day and I can't help but be thankful. Also, one of the number one questions that I keep receiving is "what are you going to do with the extra money?" There was never any hesitation in knowing that it would all be going towards the next three years at Vandy, instead of solely this year. Again, thank you very much, and it's all of YOU who are inspiring to ME!
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 3.6K total shares
Sue Zambo
4 days ago
1
1

God Bless you, Cassie. So happy for you!

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Dave Sund
22 months ago

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.

+ Read More
Andy Carrigan
25 months ago

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!

+ Read More
Jeff Locher
25 months ago

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.

+ Read More
Doit Right
25 months ago

I would love to donate more but sadly I need support too but congrats on reaching your goal!

+ Read More
GinnyandDavid Spell
25 months ago

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

+ Read More
Brandi Sisk
25 months ago

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!

+ Read More
GILES LIPPARD
25 months ago

From one Vanderbilt alum to a future Vanderbilt alum :-)

+ Read More
Bill Lamond
25 months ago

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!!

+ Read More
Andrea Thompson
25 months ago

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!

+ Read More
Ciara Miller
25 months ago

Great Job Cassie!! Continue to do a great job in school!

+ Read More
Leonid Glazman
25 months ago

Stay strong Cassie

+ Read More
Virginia Hagman
25 months ago

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.

+ Read More
Heidi Cardenas
26 months ago

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

+ Read More
Cheryl Wessely
26 months ago

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.

+ Read More
Deb Edwards
26 months ago

My sister graduated from Vandy with a double major in electrical and biomedical engineering. Best of luck to you!

+ Read More
Garret James
26 months ago

Cassie.....sending you HUGE BLESSINGS!

+ Read More
Cathy Hancock
26 months ago

Stay strong! Good luck, Cassie!

+ Read More
Patricia Waldrop
26 months ago

Someone in Texas is rooting for you, Cassie, and wishing you the very best success in your future. You've got this! Make us proud!

+ Read More
Rebecca Graff
26 months ago

So very proud of you. Always follow your dreams.

+ Read More

$50,585 of $25k goal

Raised by 1,136 people in 26 months
Created July 5, 2014
$100
Anonymous
3 months ago
DS
$20
Dan Smith
7 months ago
LM
$120
Laura McCaffrey
8 months ago
1
1

Thankful to hear how the Lord has abundantly blessed you. May you know "how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ Jesus which passes knowledge that you may be filled with all the fullness of God". Ephesians 3:18-19

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AU
$10
Alex Upmann
8 months ago
1
1

Very proud of you for making the best use of the donations given to you. Love that you are already giving back. Keep it up and wishing you continued success at Vanderbilt.

+ Read More
$25
Anonymous
8 months ago
HB
$25
Henry Bartle
8 months ago

Keep going and good luck.

+ Read More
$25
Anonymous
8 months ago
$10
Anonymous
9 months ago
MS
$10
Mark Strickler
22 months ago

Keep living the dream Cassie, you probably deserve that degree more than I did!

+ Read More
$20
Anonymous
22 months ago
Sue Zambo
4 days ago
1
1

God Bless you, Cassie. So happy for you!

+ Read More
Dave Sund
22 months ago

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.

+ Read More
Andy Carrigan
25 months ago

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!

+ Read More
Jeff Locher
25 months ago

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.

+ Read More
Doit Right
25 months ago

I would love to donate more but sadly I need support too but congrats on reaching your goal!

+ Read More
GinnyandDavid Spell
25 months ago

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

+ Read More
Brandi Sisk
25 months ago

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!

+ Read More
GILES LIPPARD
25 months ago

From one Vanderbilt alum to a future Vanderbilt alum :-)

+ Read More
Bill Lamond
25 months ago

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!!

+ Read More
Andrea Thompson
25 months ago

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!

+ Read More
Ciara Miller
25 months ago

Great Job Cassie!! Continue to do a great job in school!

+ Read More
Leonid Glazman
25 months ago

Stay strong Cassie

+ Read More
Virginia Hagman
25 months ago

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.

+ Read More
Heidi Cardenas
26 months ago

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

+ Read More
Cheryl Wessely
26 months ago

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.

+ Read More
Deb Edwards
26 months ago

My sister graduated from Vandy with a double major in electrical and biomedical engineering. Best of luck to you!

+ Read More
Garret James
26 months ago

Cassie.....sending you HUGE BLESSINGS!

+ Read More
Cathy Hancock
26 months ago

Stay strong! Good luck, Cassie!

+ Read More
Patricia Waldrop
26 months ago

Someone in Texas is rooting for you, Cassie, and wishing you the very best success in your future. You've got this! Make us proud!

+ Read More
Rebecca Graff
26 months ago

So very proud of you. Always follow your dreams.

+ Read More
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