Valerie Civelli

Valerie Civelli

Age: 35

Peripheral vascular disease program coordinator for Centric Health, doctor in training and researcher at Bakersfield Heart Hospital research assistant at Kern Medical

When she was younger, Valerie Civelli created a timeline indicating accomplishments she wished to achieve and where she wanted to be by a certain age.

Looking back on it years later, she would say she failed.

She felt she worked so hard to be done with school by her early 20s, but it didn’t work out that way.

But that’s life and she realized that the timeline was trash. So she shredded it.

Valerie’s first career was in radiology, a rarity at 21 years old considering that most who specialize in those higher modalities do so later in life. She was in love with medicine but was too young to stop progressing. So she stayed in school, got her bachelor’s in radiology and did pre-med while working full time and volunteering.

In 2015, Valerie moved to Bakersfield, where she was welcomed and embraced by those who wanted her to love the community as much as they did.

“I’ve lived in Miami, Chicago, small little towns in Iowa, Houston, two different islands in the Caribbean,” Valerie said. “I’ve never seen any community try so hard to make you love their area.”

That love blossomed as she continued to invest herself into her new home.

She was nominated for Woman of the Year for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, got involved with CSUB’s Runner Alumni Mentorship Program and CSUB Athletic Scholarship Fund, and joined two boards for the American Heart Association – all in addition to becoming the first doctor in her family.

But questions about whether she’d attained the success she sought in her youth still loomed.

“I struggle every single day with telling myself that I’m successful and that I have achieved and that everything I’ve done has mattered,” Valerie said. “When do you know you’ve made it? I don’t feel like I’ve made it and I don’t know when I’ll ever be able to answer that question.”

But the fact that she’s accomplished all that she’s accomplished and gives back in the capacity that she does indicates that she indeed achieved the success she was striving for.

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