Nick Macaluso is no ordinary young man – he is a visionary who hopes to make the world a better place. He is a student of the world whose passion for people drives his philanthropic desire to provide medical relief to those in dangerous environments. A graduate from Tufts University, Nick is currently applying to medical school in hopes of becoming one of the young doctors and other visionaries who want to make the planet a more safe and unified place.
How did you know you wanted to work in the medicine?
I feel like so many things, both big and small, have led me to medicine — and that makes sense, because there are so many things necessary to become a successful doctor. As a doctor, you have to strike a balance between having a technical science side and a warm humanitarian side, and I have had meaningful experiences in both realms. My time with GlobeMed , a student organization that runs fundraising and advocacy events centered on global health and international development, really cemented my interest in this field of medicine. It is also how I became involved with PHASE Nepal, but there has been so much more than that. Working as a teacher, participating as a youth mentor, volunteering within my community — all of these things have made it clear to me that I want a career in which I will never stop working with others and collaborating with them!
What made you want to intern in Nepal?
During my first year in GlobeMed, I fell in love with the group and became involved in many different facets of its activities. As a result, I was selected to join the GROW (Grassroots On-site Work) team to work with our partner organization, PHASE Nepal, in the summer of 2014. With four other GlobeMed students, I spent 6 weeks in Nepal teaching English and health education. I had such an amazing time and met so many wonderful people that I knew I wanted to return in 2016.
What 3 adjectives best describe you?
Ambitious, supportive, and dedicated
Who has most inspired you to do philanthropy?
I am most inspired by medical professionals working in dangerous areas. In recent years, we have heard of many instances of doctors, nurses, and other health workers rushing to conditions and locations that most people would never consider approaching – ranging from the sites of the Ebola outbreak to the destruction and devastation of the earthquakes in Nepal. I have so much respect for these individuals that leave behind their own comfortable lifestyles for the sake of the less fortunate.
Best advice for those who want to be young doctors or help in other ways?
The best advice I have is to stop caring about what you “should” do, and to instead focus on what you want to do. I spent too much time in the past worrying about the path I “should” follow, applying to positions I didn’t really want and taking classes that I wasn’t really interested in. It’s so liberating to instead work on something that really motivates and drives you!
What single event made you a stronger person?
I would have to say the April 25, 2015 earthquake that struck Nepal during my senior spring semester of college. I had an internship with PHASE Nepal all lined up for the summer, and in seconds, it was cancelled and my friends and colleagues were in danger. Putting aside my own problems (including my upcoming final exams and new lack of a post-grad job) and focusing on fundraising for this catastrophe really put things into perspective for me. Having such strong ties to Nepal really made this national disaster hit hard for me, and gave me a better view on what I want to do in life. It helped me grow into a more focused person.
What most drives you and your visionary mission?
People! No matter what I do – from working with a nonprofit overseas to teaching SAT classes at my old high school – I am most driven by my relationships with other people.
If you could change 1 thing about the world, what would it be?
I wish more people had a global perspective and open-mindedness to different cultures.
What makes you feel empowered to make a difference in this world through your philanthropy?
I feel empowered by the knowledge that I will never give up on my dreams or myself. I am quite aware that the path I’d like to embark on as a doctor working in global health will be difficult and sometimes frustrating, but because I have the conviction that it is what I want to do, I know that I’ll never be discouraged from it.
As a visionary, how do you see the future of the world in the next 10-20 years and what part will you have played?
I would like to see greater strides made toward the concept of “One Health” that integrates human, animal, and environmental health. Many people currently see the three as distinct entities, but I think we are beginning to understand how they are intertwined, and it will be interesting to learn more about their connections and relationships.
What is 1 piece of advice or encouragement you would give to future visionaries?
Never stop pushing the envelope! As young people, we often worry that we lack the expertise to pursue opportunities that interest us, but I think we need more forward-thinking and passionate individuals in the workplace. If you think you’d be a good fit for something, don’t be afraid to explain why. Just make sure you have the justification to back it up!
What type of support system is needed to reach your level of success at philanthropy at such a young age?
It is important to make friends that are always there for you… and not just when things are going well and everyone’s having fun. You need to know you have someone to turn to for advice or to vent to when you’re feeling disappointed or lost. Also, cultivate relationships with adults and professionals who have the success you aspire to have. Most people will be thrilled to help you along your way!