Scholarship Spotlight: Gabriella Scala

Staten Island native and CCF YAA member, Gabriella Scala, graduated from the University of Connecticut with her bachelor’s degree and is currently working on her doctorate with thoughtful goals in mind. From a young age, Gabriella spent her free time giving back to her community and caring for others. In 2009, she made her local news for organizing a lemonade stand to raise money for a service dog for her autistic neighbor. In high school, Gabriella volunteered at a local nursing home and spent quality time talking to and accompanying people who didn’t have family. After school, he also volunteered at an elementary school helping non-native English speakers learn English for the first time and said the immense reward of her students’ progress on reading and writing reminded her of what her family must have gone through when they immigrated to the United States.

Gabriella’s father immigrated from Italy with his parents and seven siblings at a very young age without knowing a bit of English. He has worked his entire life, made an emphasis on having a strong work ethic, and taught Gabriella that she can achieve whatever she puts her mind to. Her Nonno (Gabriella’s Father’s Father) passed away a short amount of time after settling in America. Gabriella’s Nonna was left to raise her eight children in a new country without knowing any of the native language. Determined to make a better life for her children, she persevered and is Gabriella’s inspiration daily. She lovingly referred to Gabriella as, “my doctor,” and inspired Gabriella to learn Italian and to apply for dual citizenship and hopes one day to explore Nocera Inferiore, the roots of her family.
 
Before she was born, Gabriella’s family tragically lost her brother at a young age due to a rare form of cancer. Along with her passion for helping others, this tragedy inspired her desired career path. From a young age, Gabriella would ask her parents about her brother, his care, his cancer, and his treatment and was inspired by his story to help others.
 
Gabriella will graduate May 2022 from University of Connecticut as a Doctor of Pharmacy with plans to become a clinical oncology pharmacist. During her program rotations, Gabriella completed two rounds of oncology rotations, loved how rewarding it was, and hopes to get a residency program doing it. As a clinical oncology pharmacist, Gabriella will help families like her own treat rare forms of cancer and hopefully overcome it. Between classes and studying, Gabriella is currently enjoying her time working as a pharmacy intern at CVS. With her internship opportunity, Gabriella has been able to administer vaccinations throughout the pandemic making a huge impact on the world as we know it lately.
 
Some people fear overcoming obstacles but Gabriella is pushed by them. Her favorite pastime is hiking. Her very first hike was in New Hampshire two years ago. Since then, Gabriella has completed one of the most dangerous hikes in the country: Angel’s Landing. Although scary and dangerous, it actually has pushed her to go on more hikes. Just as her father and Nonna taught her, the treacherous hikes she goes on reminds her to never give up. Just like in life, Gabriella feels that reaching the summit of a hike is worth every challenge she faced on the way up.