Academy Teachers Inspire Discovery and Curiosity in Academy Graduate

Academy Graduate

Dillan Villavisanis ’14 shares his story and path to Medical School during Lunch n’ Learn with students

Dillan Villavisanis ’14 credits Academy at the Lakes for his desire to push himself to be outside his comfort zone. Villavisanis is in his third year at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City and is pursuing a career in plastic and reconstructive surgery. He ultimately wants to specialize in craniofacial surgery which helps correct facial abnormalities such as cleft palate in children.

“It’s a broad practice, but I’m really drawn to kids. I’d like to be able to make a lasting impact in a child’s life,” said Villavisanis.

After graduating from Academy, Villavisanis attended Johns Hopkins University and earned a degree in Anthropology and Medicine, Science and the Humanities in 2018. He also did two study abroad programs: at the University of Oxford in England and at the University of Sydney in Australia.

“When I was at Academy, I enjoyed the positive attitude the teachers and faculty had that pushes you to take advantage of opportunities and go for things that interest you,” he said.

Villavisanis also participated in Academy’s Intro to Medicine program, which helped shape his interest in medicine. “I didn’t realize how rare of an opportunity it was to have an Intro to Medicine program in a high school.”

His impressive higher education path began when he earned a full ride scholarship to Johns Hopkins University and then a merit scholarship to cover his tuition and research grants to Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

Villavisanis’ activities do not end with his schooling. He also volunteers for Smile Chain, an “international children’s charity with a sustainable approach to a single, solvable problem: cleft lip and palate.” The nonprofit provides sustainable surgical solutions and training to other countries.

Academy staff asked Villavisanis to host their first Alumni Brown Bag Lunch event in February of 2021. The event brings alumni and current students together in an informal environment focusing on a particular area including college life, career planning, and diversity. “I wanted to put myself into the shoes of a high schooler to offer a perspective for those interested in premed and medicine and stress the importance of pursuing opportunities outside of the classroom. My goal was to answer their questions and help them on the next step of their journey,” said Villavisanis.

The Alumni Brown Bag Lunch series is an exciting way to build on Academy’s approach to educational opportunity. Providing Academy students with limitless opportunities does not stop after graduation. Thanks to active alumni, Academy students have access to some of the best and brightest in business, medicine, science, humanities, and the arts. As the world shifts to one with a more digital focus, students can now access these professionals from anywhere in events like this or through the alumni network.