by MICHELLE TREMBLAY | photo by Spark Photography

Music Therapy

Rucha Deshpande may just be a senior in high school, but she is mature beyond her years. Not only is she amazingly ambitious about her future but Rucha is also a passionate volunteer, determined to give back to others in need.

Rucha – who has lived in Scripps Ranch for almost six years and loves the community for its close-knit feel – is attending her last year of high school at Mt. Carmel. “I love the tradition of support and community that has continued throughout my time there,” shared Rucha. “We all truly live by the ‘Sundevil Way,’ demonstrating respect for our peers and an openness to learn more about people with different interests.” Her favorite part about school is the marching band – a group Rucha has been a part of since her freshman year. “Band is a family to me, and I have grown so much through the program, both musically and personally,” said Rucha, who has been playing the flute since fifth grade. “The people I met when I first started encouraged me to challenge myself. Through stepping out of my comfort zone, I began to become more involved in my community and apply for leadership roles to help make a difference in others’ lives.”

volunteer_deshpande_1A role she is especially proud of is her volunteer position at Palomar Health’s Pathmaker Internship program, which aims to provide aspiring medical professionals with hospital experience while also helping to make a difference in patients’ lives. “I am currently volunteering in the Emergency Department at Palomar Medical Center,” explained Rucha. “However, I really wanted to find a way to combine my passions for both science and music to positively impact others.” As a result, Rucha found out about the hospital’s music therapy program and became a music therapy intern at Villa Pomerado. “I was able to help older patients with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other cognitive challenges reconnect with others through music-related memories,” said Rucha. “Playing songs that these patients may have heard during their younger years helped to bring back memories associated with music. The conversations I had with patients brought me great joy to see the positive influence of music in improving their quality of life.”

Apart from her time spent volunteering for Palomar Health, Rucha is the treasurer and materials head for the Mt. Carmel chapter of Catalyst for Success, an organization that aims to promote STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education. “It makes me happy to see the pure excitement in the faces of the younger students we work with,” shared Rucha. “By encouraging them to be curious about their world, we hope to inspire the next generation of scientists to think creatively and innovatively.”

Rucha plans to someday pursue either neuroscience or biochemistry while also studying pre-med. To start preparing for her future, she is currently the president of the Future Doctors of America club at Mt. Carmel. “I’ve learned so much about the beauty of medicine and the impact it can have on someone’s life, and I want to share that with others who may be interested in that field as well,” stated Rucha. “There’s still much to be done to improve the quality of care, but through creativity and teamwork, we can innovate for a brighter future.”

Name: Rucha Deshpande
Community: Scripps Ranch
Volunteer Affiliation: Palomar Health
Occupation: Student
Family: Mother – Deepali Deshpande, father – Manoj Deshpande, sister – Anura Deshpande
Hobbies & Interests: Future Doctors of America, Catalyst for Success, reading, playing the flute, and learning as much as I can about the world around me.

Name of Group:  Palomar Health Pathmaker Internship
Purpose: Pathmaker interns serve alongside healthcare professionals in many facets of the industry, working together to provide patient support under the guidance of staff while gaining hands-on experience in medicine.