ASU grad with a passion for connection pursues a future in health care


|

Editor’s note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2024 graduates.

Chiara Fusciello is a biomedical sciences major, minoring in psychology, at The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University. For someone with such a big academic plate, it makes it all the more impressive that she spends her free time educating students about difficult issues. 

Fusciello works as a facilitator with the ASU Sexual and Relationship Violence Program. 

Headshot of Chiara Fusciello in an outdoor setting
Chiara Fusciello

“What that means is I facilitate presentations to different groups on campus,” said Fusciello. “I take our education, things like what a healthy relationship looks like, what an unhealthy relationship looks like, what an abusive relationship looks like, how we can support victims through what they’ve gone through … I go out and present this information to our student body to try and initiate discussions and thoughts about these topics.” 

Fusciello emphasizes the importance of students being open-minded and not shying away from difficult concepts, and details her own journey from uncertainty to where she is today — how she first bridged this difficult gap. 

“Me, personally, when I first started here, I didn’t really know how to best support people going through unhealthy relationships,” Fusciello explained. “I knew I had to be there for them, but how could I really help them going through this?” 

Fusciello’s work in starting the conversation centers on a sense of community and support, focusing specifically on creating an open dialogue and a safe environment where people are not pressured but feel free to share. 

“What I like to encourage is, again, that open dialogue,” said Fusciello. “Asking open-ended questions like, ‘How do you feel about what’s going on?’ ‘How do you feel about your relationship?’ ‘Hey, I know you are with so-and-so, how are you feeling, how’s everything going?’ That gives them the power that they may feel like they can open up. It leaves the ball in their court to take it and handle it the way they feel comfortable.” 

Relationships are not the only field where Fusciello demonstrates these qualities of support and care. As a Sun Devil majoring in biomedical sciences, she has her sights set on helping people in multiple ways. 

“I had always known I wanted to go to medical school,” Fusciello recounted. “I love science, I love to learn about the body and how things work, but really, I had an aha moment my junior year when I decided to add on my psychology minor. I realized not only do I love medicine and science, but I love knowing how the mind works.

“I think it was when I started planning for my thesis topic, and I was trying to think what I wanted to do,” Fusciello continued. “All of the topics related to diseases and how that impacts mental health. So, when I had that moment, it just brought it all together. I always had this feeling inside that I wanted to do something related to people’s health and well-being.” 

Fusciello’s drive is to continuously improve the discussion and environment surrounding physical, mental and socio-emotional health. She credits her ability to connect with others and inspire them to her own support system.

“The main piece of advice I would give is to be aware of the people you surround yourself with,” Fusciello said. “You want to make sure you surround yourself with people who will support you and people that want to see you succeed. Some people see everything as a competition, so they want to be doing better than you and that will create a really toxic environment that will only add to your stress.

“It's really important that you surround yourself with people who want to see you succeed and only want the best for you because then you’ll feed off of their positive energy,” Fusciello continued. “You’ll feel empowered that you can face any obstacles. I’ve found that’s been the most helpful thing throughout my whole college career.” 

As Fusciello wraps up her college career and embarks on her professional journey, her desire to help people and be a beacon for positive progress remains strong.

Moving into the final stretch of her senior year, she is looking toward getting her thesis project published, continuing her work in a research lab, as well as applying for graduate school. 

More Sun Devil community

 

Mountain America Stadium

Hey, Big 12 fans: This is what ASU athletics is all about

To fans from Manhattan, Kansas; Ames, Iowa; Stillwater, Oklahoma, and all the other Big 12 stops, welcome to Tempe, home of the Arizona State Sun Devils.We look forward to seeing you this season, and…

ASU football helmet sits on a pedestal with other Big 12 helmets on a football field

Big 12 Football Media Days open new world for Sun Devil Athletics

LAS VEGAS — The Mountaineer from West Virginia carried his musket in one arm as he walked across the field at Allegiant Stadium. A few yards away, Cosmo the Cougar, the mascot for Brigham Young…

Turtle being measured and photographed.

School of Ocean Futures student to conduct marine research as NSF fellow

Nicole Kaiser grew up spending summers at Lake Michigan and developed a deep appreciation for aquatic ecosystems at a young age. Now, as one of the first doctoral students in the newly launched…