“Try everything” attitude propels Albion alumna

December 26, 2023

Angela (Panzica) Sasaki Cole ’19, at the top of Misen Mountian on Miyajima Island near Hiroshima, Japan.

As an undergraduate, Angela (Panzica) Sasaki Cole ’19 couldn’t decide what to study — or more accurately, she couldn’t decide what not to study. “I went to the Academic Fair and wanted to sign up for everything,” she recalled with a laugh.

A member of the Prentice M. Brown Honors Program, Sasaki Cole earned a major in biochemistry and international studies with a minor in cell and molecular biology, and was actively involved with the Wilson Institute for Medicine.

When it came to her post-graduation plans, Sasaki Cole had the same dilemma — spend a year teaching English in Japan? Or, focus on applying to medical school (now commonly a year-long endeavor)?

Deciding again that she could choose both, Sasaki Cole set off for Japan in August 2019, not knowing that she wouldn’t move home for three years, or even see her family in person until the end of 2021. Happily, those three years didn’t impact her ability to get into — or be successful in – medical school. She is currently in her first year of medical school at Central Michigan University College of Medicine. They did, however, impact how she sees her future self.

“In Japan, I taught in a nursing school and a science-focused high school, so I not only got to teach English, I got to teach about health disparities and issues in medicine,” she explained. “I will be a doctor, but now I know that teaching is also a core part of who I am.”

Sasaki Cole reflected that much of her appreciation for teaching — and for good teachers — ties back to the “try everything” attitude she felt at Albion.

“Being involved in so many different departments and clubs helped lead me to be a teacher and allows me to see how I can be a physician and teach,” she mused. “I studied chemistry and international studies, I spent a year off campus, I wrote an Honors thesis about education. At Albion, if you have an interest in something, you’ll find the support to learn or get involved.”