By Foundation Director Lynda Myers
Mendocino College graduate, Zachary M. “Zach” Visinoni’s wildest dream is coming true! The first person in his family to attend college, he has been accepted at three medical schools - so far!
Visinoni grew up in Paradise, California, where he played youth baseball. After graduating from high school, he attended American River College for a semester before transferring to Mendocino College, along with friends, to play baseball. A spinal injury put him out of the game, and left him wondering if he would ever be able to lead a “normal” life. To his surprise, a spine specialist at UCSF told him that his injury would heal, and he would be able to play baseball again. Visinoni recalled thinking, “She (the specialist) changed my life in 10 minutes! If I became a doctor, just imagine the impact I could have on people’s lives!” At that moment, he decided to pursue a career in medicine.
“Although my parents were always supportive, no one in my family was involved in medicine, so it was a challenge to find the resources to carry out my dream,” he admitted.
Visinoni was awarded the MC Foundation Carl J. Ehmann Scholarship in recognition of his excellence in both academics and baseball for the 2014–2015 academic year. He received an AA GEN-Natural Science degree in July 2014, and was on the President's List, having maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA.
“I love Mendocino College!,” he enthused. “Without great professors like Leslie Banta and others who took an interest in me, there is no way I’d be going to med school! MC is the perfect size: small enough that your professors know you and your aspirations, but large enough that I could get all the classes I needed to transfer to Colorado State University without having to make up any units.
“At MC, I could get academic help whenever I needed it, and thanks to the MC Foundation Carl J. Ehmann Scholarship, I also received financial help, which was huge for me at that time.”
Besides his academic preparation, Visinoni was privileged to be able to “shadow” doctors in Paradise and Chico during school breaks, which solidified his desire to enter the medical profession.
Asked whether he might consider the proposed Family Practice Residency Program in Ukiah when the time comes, Visinoni said that he had not previously heard about that program, but he would definitely consider it.
In an email to Professor Leslie Banta, Visinoni said: “I truly cannot thank you enough for your help over the years. Attending MC was one of the best choices I ever made, and I'm certain that I wouldn't have been accepted without all the great professors I had while I was there. Going to a community college gave me a lot to talk about in my interviews, and I think it helped me to stand out in the applicant pool.” “Thank you! I couldn’t have done it without you!” he concluded.
For more information about the Mendocino College Foundation or to donate towards any of their programs, call Katie Fairbairn at 707-468-3164.