BELL TOWER BUZZ
HERE’S THE BUZZ ON:
VANESSA BUCKLEY ’20
By Jessica Weber | Photos by Stan Lim
Ontario-native Vanessa Buckley, 23, received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from UCR in 2020 and will enroll at the School of Medicine this fall. (UCR/Stan Lim)
A 2020 UCR graduate, Buckley was accepted into the UCR School of Medicine Thomas Haider Early Assurance Program and will begin her studies this fall. As an undergraduate, she became a Health Professions Advising Center ambassador, mentoring students interested in health professions. She also benefitted from the Future Physician Leaders and Health Science Partnership pipeline programs. “It was a great experience being able to learn how to explain things clearly in a way that the community could understand,” she said. She hopes to serve the Inland Empire as a primary care physician or OB-GYN.
Mind and Body
Buckley chose to major in psychology as an undergraduate rather than earn a science degree, graduating magna cum laude. She said the decision has been beneficial, giving her a well-rounded understanding of health, both physically and emotionally. “I learned a lot about being able to interact with people,” she said. “I got to not only understand what was happening in the body, but also why, and the long-term effects of how it can affect a person.”
Buckley is following in the footsteps of many women in her family — her mother, grandmother, aunt, and sister all became nurses. Her mother, a retired public health nurse for Riverside County Public Health, has been her biggest inspiration. “A lot of what I was exposed to as a kid led me to my path today, wanting to be able to provide health education and give back to my community and serve as a physician.”
During the time between graduation and the start of medical school, Buckley has kept busy working as a COVID-19 contact tracer for Riverside County Public Health. Her job entails tracing and notifying those who may have been exposed to the virus, providing resources to help people safely quarantine, and supporting them through their isolation periods. She estimates she’s talked to at least 2,000 people. “It’s highlighted a lot of the disparities here in the community,” she said.
While in a public speaking program offered by the J.W. Vines Medical Foundation, Buckley was awarded “best overall presenter,” an honor for which she’s particularly proud. She has since joined a local Toastmasters club to practice. “One of my goals is to be able to present at big lecture halls,” she said. “When I’m dealing with my own patients, I want to help patients feel heard and also explain the information in a way they understand.”