Nina Aghakhani, a native of La Cañada-Flintridge, knew from a young age that she wanted a career in health care. After graduating from college, Nina became a volunteer at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital during her gap year before medical school.

Nina discovered her love for health sciences through her sports medicine and kinesiology classes at La Cañada High School. She then attended the University of California, Irvine and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology. After graduation, she started applying to medical schools across the country. Nina decided this was the perfect opportunity — her gap year before medical school — to give back to her community and volunteer at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital.

As a volunteer, Nina exemplifies the characteristics that allow our volunteer program to thrive. She is one of the dedicated young members of our community who chooses to make a positive impact on the world around them and become part of something bigger than themselves.

“Volunteering at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital has been nothing short of enlightening,” said Nina. “Working with friendly staff and spending time with patients, I’ve grown comfortable in a fast-paced environment. Learning about humility and standards of care alongside my peers has been my biggest takeaway from my volunteer experience.”

In addition to helping with patients, Nina takes time to share her experience with college-aged volunteers. “My chief advice to them is to prioritize strong grades and test scores throughout college,” said Nina. “And it is crucial to gain clinical experience, such as volunteering.”

Nina is excited to begin medical school upon acceptance. We wish her all the best as she embarks upon the next step of her career in health care. And we value her as a member of the USC Verdugo Hills Hospital team of volunteers.

By John Nelson-Laudun

Established in 1972, the volunteer services department at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital attracts, retains and recognizes qualified in-service volunteers. Nina is one of more than 80 dedicated volunteers, ranging in ages from 16 to 86, who provide their time and talent as volunteers in many areas in the hospital.