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Carissa Spangler


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My name is Carissa Spangler and I am an early junior graduate from Mesa, Arizona. I plan to pursue a degree in biopsychology/neuroscience on the pre-med track and further my education in medical school with dreams of becoming a psychiatrist. I am passionate about removing the stigma that continues to float around the topic of mental health and providing access to mental health care to those in rural areas, residing in under developed populations, and/or coming from a low-income households. Thank you for taking the time to read a little bit about me!


Red Mountain High School

High School
2021 - 2024


  • Desired degree level:

    Doctoral degree program (PhD, MD, JD, etc.)

  • Majors of interest:

    • Biopsychology
    • Clinical, Counseling and Applied Psychology
    • Research and Experimental Psychology
    • Neurobiology and Neurosciences
  • Planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Medical Practice

    • Dream career goals:

      Marian Haley Memorial Scholarship
      Families often operate as a unit. When one goes down, the rest of the members feel the harsh ripple effect. For as long as I can remember, my beautiful mother struggled with heavy substance abuse. As a child, it’s difficult to interpret the psychological and personality changes a parent goes through when dealing with addiction. You start to develop fears that you feel like other children don’t have to face. The fear of letting your parent go to the store alone because when they come back, they won’t be the same person. Or the fear of not knowing what is happening inside their body to make them act differently. Just like any other disease, alcoholism progresses when left untreated. My mother lost her job due to her addiction which is detrimental in a single-parent household. The disease progressed further and because of the economic hardship, we had to move halfway across the state into a mobile home owned by my grandmother. Due to all these familial and economic changes, I had missed a large amount of academics due to the move. Even through all these changes, the one thing that stayed the same was my love for learning. When I did get enrolled in school, I did everything I could to catch up to my grade level. My sixth-grade teacher saw my potential and introduced me to the AVID program. I was introduced to outlets to help me advance my education and was allowed to be outside of my comfort zone academically. From there, the AVID program taught me how to collaborate with other classmates more effectively and engage in student-led tutoring sessions to develop the problem-solving skills I would need to be successful in higher education. I continued to take rigorous courses through my school and further advanced my education by taking extra classes that I was interested in over the summer. Through all this dedication, I overcame the odds that allowed me to be where I am now: Taking full honors/AP courses at my high school, getting involved with volunteer work, participating in the biomedical sciences program, and graduating high school a year early. It is because of these struggles that I truly found my passion for treating diseases of the mind, like addiction. As I learned more about the field of psychology, particularly in medicine, I learned how misjudged it is. Access to mental health services remains out of reach for many families, especially those in lower-populated areas or those identifying with marginalized groups. I want to use my education to serve those underrepresented communities and help remove the stigma that continues to float around mental health. Therefore, I am passionate about providing mental health services for those who may not understand the life-changing effects it can bring. Though alcoholism is shaded in the darkest part of my life, it has helped me understand the root of my passion for medicine and is the light for my future in healthcare. It has helped me learn that no matter your demographics or economic status, you set your pathway, and anything can be achieved with effort and the driving force of passion. I truly believe that motivation is the human superpower that allowed me to never give up.