Breanna Mastroianni 

Any good career counselor would advise choosing a career that matches our personal values, drivers, interests, personality and character traits. Breanna Mastoianni has already figured that out and she is on her way.  She’s headed to the University of Ottawa after early admission, intent on a career in health research, investigating the genetic factors responsible for muscular dystrophies.

Breanna was diagnosed at age 12 with Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy, which affected the muscles of her upper body, stopping her from some everyday functions like doing her hair, brushing her teeth and reaching above her head. Advised by her doctors and physiotherapists to strengthen the muscles she could move, Breanna set goals for herself: fully extending her arms to reach objects stored on high shelves, brush her hair while sitting up, and brushing her teeth without supporting her elbow. She has conquered every one of these goals.

Welcoming guests, patients and visiting doctors to Health Sciences North as a volunteer community greeter gave Breanna the chance to talk to people about their many different experiences. She is an avid volunteer at school, too—at open houses and fundraisers like the cystic fibrosis walk and the WE Walk for Water Day organized in partnership with the Me to We Foundation.

These experiences “…taught me to understand and listen to everyone,” she says. “Being inclusive, and a team player, contributes to being a good leader. People feel involved and more willing to participate.”