Discovering His Passion To Help
Cory Letendre, RWU Class of 2018
At RWU, Cory Letendre realized his true passion: Providing direct medical care to underserved and uninsured adults. Letendre came to this realization by taking the knowledge and skills he learned as a biology and public health major at Roger Williams University and applying it directly in the field.
Since 2017, Letendre has been volunteering at the Rhode Island Free Clinic in Providence, where he started as a medical assistant volunteer before becoming a health services intern. Most recently, he become a Hassenfield Student Leadership Fellow. It led him to invest more hours at the clinic, bringing him to over 400 hours served.
“Taking the skills in my public health courses and applying them to what I’m doing in the field and seeing public health in action, is one of the many ways that my coursework here has helped in preparing me for the real world.”
The Hassenfeld Student Leadership Fellowship Program enables students to build real-world skills by working with community partners, while creating a meaningful impact on the communities within which they learn, work and live. For Letendre, that has meant performing blood pressure and diabetes checks at the R.I. Free Clinic, and screening patients for potential mental health issues using a protocol that he developed himself.
Letendre says it was the combination of his courses in biology, anatomy, and genetics and his public health classes around nutrition and mental health that gave him the foundational knowledge he needed to excel at the clinic.
“The education at RWU and transferable skills we learn in our courses is extremely helpful because employers love when people can not only do things, but also have the knowledge behind doing them,” Letendre says.
It’s one of the many things that has made his experience at Roger Williams noteworthy and worth while.
Along with being a Hassenfield Fellow, Letendre is also STEM Intercultural Leadership Ambassador, which recognizes and rewards full-tuition scholarships to students from diverse backgrounds who demonstrate great academic and leadership potential in STEM fields.
As graduation approaches in May, Letendre – a Pawtucket native – says he knows that his involvement in the community will not end. He plans to continue volunteering at the clinic and hopes that his work will inspire others to do the same.
It’s a passion that will continue to drive him forward, he says.