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Meet Hector Cascante

Biology
Elizabeth, Jersey

Are you a member of any clubs or student groups?

I am a member of Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society since November 1, 2013.

Favorite Class at Union:

My favorite class has to be Western Civilization with Professor Margiotta. Even though I've never had much interest in any history class, Professor Margiotta has the ability of sparking his students’ interest, by showing his passion in the subject and lecturing as if he is telling a story rather than just reading from the book. Professor Margiotta encourages his students to participate in class discussions as well as allowing us the opportunity to talk about other topics to help broaden our knowledge. It is great to know that there are professors that invest their time in their students and show concern not only on the educational needs but also the extracurricular needs of his students.

Why did you choose Union?

Having graduated from Elizabeth High School in 2001, I was definitely not prepared to go to a four-year university 12 years later. Union County College allowed me the opportunity to experience my first year ever of college. Starting off my education here seemed most appropriate financially since I could not take advantage of any financial assistance. Being able to take my prerequisites at Union County College, as well as many required courses in my major without any added stress of student loans, will help prepare me for my transfer to the four -year university of my choosing.

What is your fondest memory so far at Union:

My fondest memory so far would have to be the full experience of college. Being my first time in class in so long can be very overwhelming. With the professors and fellow students I have met, this experience has been very life changing. From the tutoring and advice from Professor Paez-Figueroa, to the Phi Theta Kappa induction and the College events I have attended, I have been able to get to know many amazing people that are making this experience one of the greatest in my life. 

What has sparked your interest in wanting to pursue this degree?

Since I was a child, I have always had an interest in the medical field. My original plans were to take a year off after graduating high school and then begin my college experience. However, I started working and began making money, slowly forgetting about my dreams. Unfortunately, three years ago I was diagnosed with cancer and my life was completely changed. Finding out about having cancer and then knowing that it had spread took a toll in my life. I spent two years in and out of Sloan Kettering Cancer Center dealing with chemotherapy and surgeries. I have now been in remission for a little over a year and decided to make a change in my life. In having this life altering experience, I decided to not take life for granted, and remember my lifelong dream of becoming a doctor.

What kind of job do you see yourself doing?

Once completing my studies, I can see myself becoming a Doctor in Anesthesiology specializing in pain management. The ability to be an integral part of someone's road to recovery by making them as comfortable as possible through their pain is something that I want to be able to do; having personally experienced discomfort through chemotherapy and surgeries is a major driving force in wanting to help put others at ease while dealing with something similar. 

Interesting fact about yourself:

An interesting fact about myself that not too many people know is that I have a passion for cooking. I spend a lot of time reading and practicing different cook books as well as watching cooking shows to advance my knowledge in the kitchen. 

What is the biggest adjustment you had to make coming to college:

Taking a major pay cut by taking a demotion at my job to focus primarily on school. Being able to manage my finances as well as paying for school with what I'm now making is a challenge in itself but something I am willing to do to achieve my goal of practicing medicine.

Career or further education Goals:

I plan on transferring to a four year institution to continue my studies in biology then attending medical school 

What else we ought to know about you?

I am planning to become more involved with Phi Theta Kappa while also getting involved with other organizations at Union County College. 

How has Union County College changed you as a person/ what did you take the most from being a student at Union County College? 

Union County College has not changed me but has showed me the amount of amazing people there are out there that are willing to help and support anyone in achieving their goals. Coming to Union County College later in life definitely has allowed me to focus more in my studies while still having fun doing it.
Photo OfHector Cascante
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