2024 Tillman Scholar

Rico Pesce

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

“There is no greater purpose than improving and extending the human experience through innovative, compassionate, and empathetic medicine.”

Rico Ray Pesce, from Cloverdale, California, is an MD candidate at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and a dedicated student veteran with over seven years of military experience as a special operations combat medic in the 75th Ranger Regiment. His service, including five combat tours to Afghanistan, instilled in him a deep commitment to healthcare and a passion for improving lives through medicine. 

Rico holds a Master’s in Translational Medicine from the University of California Berkeley and UCSF, a BA in Computer Science from Columbia University, and is completing a Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences thesis from New York Medical College concurrently with medical school. His academic journey reflects his drive to integrate clinical knowledge with technological advancements to address complex medical challenges. 

Rico aims to develop innovative healthcare solutions that enhance patient care and accessibility. He is particularly interested in climate-related disaster medicine, aspiring to create resilient systems and technologies to manage medical crises resulting from climate change. His unique blend of military experience, academic excellence, and dedication to service positions him to make a significant impact on the healthcare challenges of the future. 

Beyond his professional aspirations, Rico enjoys outdoor pursuits like downhill skiing, disc golf, camping, hiking, and exploring parks, reflecting his love for adventure and the natural world. He is inspired by his fiancé, Zach Thomas, who will soon be applying to orthopedic surgery residencies. Their shared journey in medicine motivates Rico as they work towards their goals together.