Kinesiology 2022: Garrett Deiro

Student Garrett Deiro stands in front of a Cypress College building while wearing graduation regalia.

From the beginning, life was challenging for Garrett Deiro. He says, however, that it also motivated him and informed him on his future career.

Garrett underwent two open-heart surgeries as an infant for a congenital heart defect; he had two more by the time he was 14 years old. Many hours were logged in doctors’ offices, and other surgeries occurred during his childhood. Despite the extreme difficulties this brought him, Garrett said he came to trust and value the care he experienced so much that it led to his interest in medicine as a career, to become like the physicians who helped him and to help children like him in kind.

Studying at Cypress College has introduced him to health science educators who have similarly instilled in him a confidence and appreciation for their work. He also came to value faculty in other fields who instructed him in a broader education, one that helped him meet friends and enjoy life — a life he truly values and lives to the fullest, thanks to the people in the medical field who saved him so long ago.

Please tell us about yourself. Where did you grow up? What are your interests? What is your story?

I grew up in Orange, California, about 15-20 minutes away from Cypress. I was born at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Orange as well, which is really where my story begins as my parents and I would come to find out I would be spending a lot more time in the hospital than expected.

I was born with a congenital heart defect called Tetralogy of Fallot, which would require many open-heart surgeries down the road. Initially, as an infant, I had two open-heart surgeries that would take care of the issues present at the time. I spent a lot of time at the doctor’s as a child, whether it be for routine physicals or advanced cardiology testing such as MRI’s, stress tests, or echocardiograms. Additionally, I would have two more open-heart surgeries at age 14 in 2015. One was a pulmonary valve replacement, and one an emergency surgery due to internal bleeding after the first procedure.

It was honestly a miracle that I made it out of that hospital alive considering my condition, but I have never had better care or been more confident than when I am in the hands of the providers and nurses at CHOC. Long story short, this lead to my interests in life; I have spent a lot of time around physicians and in the medical field in general. My story and experiences have led me to pursue a career in medicine, chasing the dream of becoming a physician, just like the ones who helped save my life, and so many other people/children like me. Besides the medical field, my interests/hobbies include the beach, spending time with friends and family, and cars.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

I am most passionate about helping others in every aspect that I can. Regarding my future career and what I do for work currently, my life in the workspace has been tailored around helping others, as well as my life outside of the workspace. I enjoy setting others up for success as best as I possibly can just how others have done for me in the past, especially at Cypress College. I have seen how big of an impact others make on me when they walk me through processes that I am new to and then I need help with, and I aspire to do the same for others and put them in the same position for success like I have been.

Why did you choose Cypress College?

I chose Cypress College for a few reasons. First, it was recommended to me by my favorite teacher in high school, my honors physiology teacher who told me that Cypress had an excellent science program, and would likely prepare me the most and interest me the most. Also, when compared to the other community colleges near me, Cypress was one that not a lot of people I went to high school with or grew up with went to, purely for the fact that there are SCC and Santa Ana College closer to where I live, but I wanted to meet new people and have experiences beyond my high school peers, which Cypress was definitely able to provide for me.

What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded?

At Cypress, most of my involvement has come through my classes and the people whom I’ve met along the way. Being in the Kinesiology major, I have had the opportunity to take classes that are very different from traditional majors, and in the very best way. I have been able to take classes such as First Aid/emergencies and CPR, an internship course, bowling, surfing, anatomy, and physiology.

First Aid/emergencies and CPR was one of the best classes I have ever taken in the setting that it pertains to what I want to do with my career, and it also gave me CPR certification through Red Cross. This class taught a ton of information about responding to emergencies and First Aid, a lot of which I feel should be taught to the general person as it is such useful and potentially life-saving information. My internship class has been another class that has been vital for setting me up for success in my future, for which I am so incredibly thankful. This internship course has given me the opportunity to log hours in a field that will give me experience for my future career, it has helped me set up a professional LinkedIn page that allows me to connect with so many people and to so many new opportunities, and it has taught me how to write a professional resume, and these are just some of the things it has done to help me.

My bowling and surfing classes were also very engaging, as it allowed me to meet so many new people and partake in a couple of skills that I have wanted to better myself at forever, especially surfing. I have been able to meet for these classes at the bowling alley by Cypress, and at the beach, and had the opportunity to strictly just have fun and experience something not a lot of other majors get to. And finally, some of my favorite classes to have ever taken were anatomy and physiology, both of which directly correlate to my future career path, and both of which I have to say were taught so well, even in the setting of a pandemic.

Share a memorable event or experience while you’ve been a Cypress College student.

One of the most memorable moments that I’ve had at Cypress would be being able to go to class in person during the pandemic to be able to practice and learn how to properly give CPR to both adults and infants and be able to also learn the skills necessary to identify an act in emergency situation. I have never had the opportunity to pursue a class like this that gives me the ability to learn hands in Direct correlation with what I would like to do in the future.

Who are the faculty and staff (in your major, an academic or other support program, etc.) who have helped you get where you are today?

Some faculty members and staff who have helped me get to where I am today are Sergio Cutrona, Britney Imaku, Mark Canner, the transfer center, and my counselors.

Professor Sergio Cutrona was my first kinesiology class professor, and he laid the fundamentals out for the major that I am pursuing. He also offered a class that I am currently in, an internship class, where I get clinical internship experience and also get college credit at the same time. He has most definitely prepared me and his other students for success and given us many opportunities to further our pathways in our desired carriers. He would take the extra time to meet with the students and help them with whatever they needed, even if others needed help finding internships, he would walk you through where to go and how to do it for guaranteed success.

Brittany Imaku was my CPR and first aid professor. She was responsible for teaching me the basics of what I need to know to be certified for CPR and emergency first aid situations. This was probably one of my favorite classes, and she was also very understanding to her students during the pandemic while we took this class in regards to making sure that we were safe and making sure that we still got to learn and do hands-on work which was hard to come by for the two years we were off of campus.

Mark Canner is my surf class professor, which honestly is the most fun that I have ever had in school before. I never knew that colleges offered such courses that give you the opportunity to take a step away from all of the studying and get to enjoy something like surfing. This class is one that I look forward to every week, as I have been able to meet a lot of very fun people as I have not had an opportunity before in the past with the pandemic, and it also gave me something different to look forward to at the end of each week. This class was very well put together and taught me and all my classmates the fundamentals of surfing, which I have been trying to learn for many years as I spend all my free time at the beach, so I am very thankful and happy that I took this class. In regards to the transfer center and my counselors, I definitely could have never been in the position that I am and if it wasn’t for them.

My counselors were able to set me up with a degree plan tailored directly to me and my future plans that will ultimately put me onto the next step in the process. In regards to the transfer center, I never realized how hard transferring from community college to a university can be, and I’m very thankful for the step-by-step process that the transfer center offers to Cypress’s students. The transfer center set me up so well in the process that I was able to help my other friends with their transfer process and ultimately it was much easier than the process could have been had I tried to figure it out by myself.

How has Cypress College supported you throughout your time at the college?

Cypress College has supported me constantly since the first day that I stepped on campus. It was very easy for me to meet with counselors and have meetings regarding classes and plans for my future, which is the most important thing for a student like myself trying to continue education at a university. Cypress College in their faculty and staff make sure that you are set up for success and do everything in their power not to see you fail. The school has never let me down or disappointed me, but has only put me in a position to be the most successful I can possibly be, and I am so thankful for that.

What are your immediate plans after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.)?

After graduating from Cypress College, I will be attending California State University, Fullerton, to obtain my bachelor’s degree. I plan to then finish my bachelor’s degree, and work toward my dream of becoming a physician and going to medical school. There are many years of school left ahead of me, but Cypress College has set me up to be in the best position I could possibly be.

What are your long-term goals? What do you aspire to?

My long-term goals are to one day be a physician. In regard to specialty of work, with my history of cardiac issues and surgeries, my ultimate goal would be to become a cardiothoracic surgeon. There are other specialties that I do enjoy as of right now such as emergency medicine or interventional radiology, but as I have heard from every physician that I work with and every med student, my interests are bound to change so I am just along for the ride.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of being able to say I still graduated relatively on time with noted honors even through two years of online school. I myself am more of a visual and in-person learner versus staring at a screen for multiple hours at a time. I am very proud of myself that I can say I was able to get good grades while online, and also work hard to have learned in every single one of my classes to the best of my ability. I am proud that I proved myself wrong in the setting of being able to highly succeed even amongst challenges like online school and the roadblocks that came along with that.

What bit of advice would you give to current and future Cypress College students?

Some advice that I would give to current and future Cypress College students is to not rush yourself and take your time. I feel like I came into college with the mindset that a lot of other students do where you believe community college should take two years and you should have your bachelors within four years, but that really does not need to be the case. I have learned through my experience at Cypress College that there is no need to stress myself out over trying to finish a degree in an expected amount of time. It is important to pursue education in a field that you find interesting and that you enjoy spending the time learning about.

At first I was a biology major with a focus on getting in and out of school as fast as possible to pursue my career in medicine. However, I realized that college is where I get up not only learn but meet people and have new and different experiences which shouldn’t be missed as I try and race through my degree and studies. College is meant to be a balance of education and experiences outside of the classroom, and also meeting new people. Do not stress yourself out and take more units than you’re able to handle, instead take classes that you find interesting that are pertinent to your degree pathway and work at your own pace, it is not a race.

Is there anyone in particular you’d like to thank?

I would like to thank my family and friends as well as all the staff members I discussed earlier. I definitely would have been in a much more difficult position without the support of my family and my friends through the past few years of school. Having my friends by my side and seeing them go through the same issues and processes like myself during the pandemic related to school and work ultimately motivated me to work hard and remind myself why I’m doing it. Without my family constantly trying to push me and make me a better student and person, I would not have continued to work for my end goal as hard as I have.