2019 Dr. Riz A. Oades Scholarship Winner

Posted on August 4, 2019

2019 Dr. Riz A. Oades Scholarship Recipient – Rolando Ganasi


Rolando Ganasi is a third-year undergraduate student studying Biochemistry/Cell Biology at the University of California, San Diego. Born and raised in El Cajon, he is proud to be supported by his two sisters, Heritage and Treasure, along with his parents Rolando and Arlyn. In the future, Rolando aspires to become a physician so that he can provide compassionate service and health education to his community.

Rolando’s dedication to community service began through his involvement in his church. In middle school, he was given the opportunity to serve his community through music, where he played the piano to assist in leading the congregation in worship. In addition, he volunteered to serve in leadership roles throughout the summers. He continued to serve as a staff member for his church’s junior-high summer camps, where he directed groups of students through recreational games and worship music. Outside of his church, Rolando began to engage with his high school community by joining LINK crew, a program dedicated to building community and leadership in students. Through these opportunities, Rolando learned to recognize the importance of community, as well as the personal fulfillment in service and volunteerism.

Upon starting his undergraduate education at UC San Diego, Rolando looked to continue his passion for community service in the field of healthcare. He began to volunteer in the UCSD Health Program, which gave him a fresh perspective of healthcare through assisting patients in the ICU and the Emergency Department. In addition, one of Rolando’s most favorite activities at UC San Diego is volunteering as a research assistant the Bloodgood Laboratory, a neuroscience laboratory devoted to understanding the mechanisms behind learning and memory. This opportunity to work with Ph.D. students and neuroscientists has influenced Rolando to learn more about scientific research and discovery. As a result, he has decided to continue to pursue research in the summer at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester Minnesota, where he is helping researchers explore issues of drug therapies in glioblastoma.

Rolando is grateful to have been supported by his friends, family, and mentors throughout his life; their positivity and support have encouraged him to continue following his passions. He is extremely thankful to Dr. Ofelia Dirige and members of Kalusugan & Kalakasan Center for Health and Wellness for supporting his pursuit of higher education. Rolando is thankful for his community in San Diego, and hopes to give back in the future through a career in medicine.