Kassandra earns RN in high school; now pursuing career as MD

photo of Kassandra, who earned her RN in high school

Kassandra Lopez graduated from Fairmont High School in southern Minnesota as a Registered Nurse (RN). She earned her associate’s degree in nursing from Minnesota West Community and Technical College one month before high school graduation. At 19, Lopez was accepted into the University of Minnesota Medical School-Duluth. Now at age 20, Lopez is on her way to becoming a doctor. Here are a few inspiring words that Kassandra wishes to share with fellow young Minnesotans considering their career options.

“My name is Melinda Kassandra Lopez. I am 20-years-old, a first-generation first-year medical student, and a registered nurse. My goal in life has been to serve my community and my state through healthcare. Starting nursing school when I was 16, at Minnesota West Community and Technical College, was the best decision I’ve made. My education expanded my view of the world and life suddenly shifted in front of me. I started to see the world through the colored lens that healthcare radiantly brings to life. My beliefs, thoughts, and understanding were challenged constantly, and I found myself within my passion for helping others. I successfully became a licensed practical nurse during my junior year of high school, and a registered nurse during my senior year. This allowed me to go directly into the healthcare workforce and begin the rest of my career. Serving in the role of a registered nurse, I’ve been able to be everything I’ve wanted - an educator, teacher, nurturer, counselor - because that was what my patients needed from me. Healthcare is hard, but I can’t imagine a life more rewarding. Working through the pandemic humbled me to my core and consistently reminded me of my purpose. Healthcare is a beautiful life of devotion, sacrifice, and commitment. My spirit is the most free when I am caring for others and I feel the most human when I am sharing my life with my patients. I am currently studying at the University of Minnesota Medical School - Duluth, where I am taking my experiences as a nurse and using that to become the physician of my dreams. It takes drive, consistency, and passion to become who you were born to be. I know this where I’m meant to be and it’s worth discovering if it’s where you’re meant to be too.”

Are you interested in exploring a rewarding career in health care? Contact staff at a CareerForce location near you for assistance in determining your training options and learning about health care employment opportunities.