Deno’s passion for medicine and fascination with mental health inspired him in high school to volunteer at The Rice Children’s Center, an orphanage and family center dedicated to providing therapeutic treatment for children with mental, emotional, social and educational problems. His passion for working with youth and adolescents further motivated him to found “Soccer Buddies”, a program aimed at giving blind, deaf, and autistic children the opportunity to interact with their peers and play soccer through the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO). Through Soccer Buddies, Deno paired these children with players from his own high school soccer team to act as their guides on the soccer field. This program expanded and was implemented on a national level. His senior year, he was elected as the class president of New Trier High School and led the fundraising of $150,000 in the building of a house through Habitat forHumanity.
Deno spent the summer after his senior year participating in several service mission trips. He volunteered at the Raphael House, a family homeless shelter in the Tenderloin of San Francisco, whose mission is to restore and strengthen family bonds. Deno then travelled to Tijuana, Mexico where he worked at St. Innocent Orphanage and participated in the building of seven houses throughout the impoverished city.
During his first year at Vanderbilt University, Deno participated in Alternative Spring Break (ASB) and volunteered in Xela, Guatemala where he helped in the renovation of rural schools and volunteered at Primeros Pasos, a rural medical clinic. He continued his involvement in ASB during his sophomore year as a site leader in St. Paul, Minnesota where he worked with Tibetan Refugees in preparation for theTibetan National Uprising Day. He is currently the Site and Service Development Co-chair on the ASB Executive Board and is working to establish and strengthen the 35 ASB sites throughout the United States and Central America.
While at Vanderbilt, Deno has also collaborated with two other Ingram Scholars in founding Grassroots, an umbrella organization that has partnered with the Dismas House, Salvation Army, and Campus for Human Development with the ultimate purpose of serving the underprivileged populations of Nashville. Deno has focused most of his efforts at the Dismas House, a half-way house for ex-offenders on 16th avenue, where he prepares weekly meals, guides the residents in their job searches, and coordinate community service for Vanderbilt students. Deno feels sincerely privileged and blessed to be part of the Ingram Scholarship program. He is confident that it will provide him with the professional and intellectual development to become an effective and globally aware medical doctor. Deno feels sincerely privileged and blessed to be part of the Ingram Scholarship program. He is confident that it will provide him with the professional and intellectual development to become an effective and globally aware medical doctor.