South Orangetown Central School District

When #ProudTZGrad Diana Rizzo (‘18) was exploring colleges, her sights were already set on a career. “I knew that I wanted to continue on to a physician assistant program and searched for a school that would not leave me with undergraduate debt,” she explained.

Diana was awarded a scholarship by the University of South Carolina, where she is now a sophomore majoring in Public Health and inducted member of Alpha Epsilon Delta, the national health pre-professional honor society. “I’m interested in global health and plan to go into a clinical field. Being a Public Health major allows me to pursue both and will help me stand out when applying to graduate school,” she noted. “The University of South Carolina has one of the best public health schools in the nation, and when I toured, I loved the campus and the school as a whole.”
For the Spring 2020 semester, Diana will be studying at CIEE Global Institute in Berlin. “There is no better way to explore global health than from a different country. I will be taking coursework to further my understanding of global health and my major in general,” she reports. “When I return to the University of South Carolina in Fall 2020, I’ll begin working in the Communication Sciences and Disorders undergraduate research lab.”

As a Tappan Zee High School senior, Diana attended the highly-competitive Rockland BOCES New Visions Health Careers Exploration Program, through which she shadowed and engaged with medical professionals in different fields through rotations in a variety of healthcare settings. She attended TZHS each morning before traveling to BOCES, a clinical site or Dominican College for the second half of her school day. “New Visions solidified my love for the healthcare field and that I wanted to become a Physician Assistant. By seeing what nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and doctors all do in order to provide care for their patients, I felt that the role of the PA fit my personality and what I wanted to do as a professional,” Diana said. “Figuring this out before graduation greatly prepared me not only for college, but for beyond as well. The rigorous coursework of the New Visions curriculum prepared me for the academic part of college and then clinical side allowed me to decide which career path I wanted to pursue.”

Despite being out of the building part-time, Diana was a founder of TZ United, a club committed to contributing to a positive, inclusive culture at the high school. “We created the club to bridge the gap within our student body and form a greater sense of community throughout the building,” she notes. “We could not have gotten it up and running without the hard work of Mr. [Scott] Silver. He has been one of my biggest inspirations and has shown me that hard work and dedication will pay off in the end.”

Diana encourages students interested in healthcare to look into New Visions, to shadow health professionals and/or volunteer in a hospital to gain experience that will help them determine if this is a field they want to pursue. “Honestly, it was the best thing I ever did to further my academic career,” she adds.

Our #ProudTZGrad campaign highlights recent Tappan Zee High School alumni who are excelling in an area that is directly connected to their academic and/or school-based extracurricular pursuits at TZHS.

Female holding certificate on a sunny day in front of brick building