Caylee Orsinger ’11 may live and work in Oklahoma, but her heart is still in the Islands. To prove that, you need look no further than the name she gave her medical distributorship company—Aloha Medical—or the slogan she puts on her business cards: “Where aloha meets medicine.”
It’s that passion for Hawai‘i and its people that drove her to think about ways to give back.
And after reaching out to a mentor at Chaminade, Biology Assistant Professor Dr. Jolene Cogbill, she made up her mind: she decided to establish a scholarship at Chaminade to help STEM-focused students achieve their dreams. The Caylee Orsinger Scholarship will help support 10 STEM students in Fall 2021 and Spring 2022. The funding is available to rising juniors or to incoming transfer students.
It’s not every day someone celebrating the 10-year reunion of her college graduation sets up a scholarship fund. But Orsinger said her upbringing in Hawai‘i and her time at Chaminade solidified her resolve to pay it forward. “It’s a full circle. We get out what we put in,” she said.
“I always wanted to donate to science technology and invest in other people.”
Just like people invested in her.
Orsinger said the scholarships she was awarded at Chaminade made a significant difference, and sometimes all the difference, in helping her accomplish her goals. “I worked my way through college and tried to make my way through school,” she said. “Scholarships were huge. They helped me a lot.”
Orsinger grew up on Maui and graduated from King Kekaulike High School in Pukalani.
She knew she wanted to pursue the sciences, but didn’t see herself flourishing in lecture halls with hundreds of students. That’s when she learned about Chaminade and jumped at the chance to pursue a degree in Biology at a campus with smaller class sizes and a strong public service mission.
And once enrolled, she learned about the University’s leading Forensic Sciences program.
She ended up double majoring, with an eye toward eventually becoming a doctor.
After graduation, she moved to Oklahoma to begin preparing to apply for medical school. But while there, her life took another path. She was bartending when she ran into someone who owned a medical distributorship company. She ended up getting a job there to gain valuable experience.
“I fell in love with it,” she said.
Orsinger’s work takes her into operating rooms, where she ensures surgeons and other healthcare professionals have the tools and equipment they need for complicated procedures. She is also proud to serve the community of Tahlequah, Oklahoma, the capital of two Cherokee tribes.
And she’s excited about continuing to grow her company.
She said she’s hopeful her trajectory since graduation—from her small Maui upbringing to a rising entrepreneur—offers inspiration to Chaminade students just beginning on their path to a profession.
She has some advice for them, too: remember all the support and encouragement you got as you sought to accomplish your goals so you can do the same for someone else one day. Facing a group of young people seeking degrees in STEM, she would tell them to “never get discouraged.” She would also leave them with some food for thought: “how are you going to give back later?”