Riccardo Leonetti has always dreamed of making a difference one day by travelling around the world as a medical volunteer. Today, he is one step closer to his childhood goal. Thanks to the Dompé Foundation scholarship, in fact, he’s attending MEDTEC School, a degree course in Medicine and Biomedical Engineering, run by Humanitas University in partnership with Politecnico di Milano. Read our interview to discover how this innovative path will help him tackle the new challenges in Medicine.

How did you react when you learnt you had won a Dompé Foundation scholarship?

I obviously felt honored but also reassured at the thought of being supported by a team of professionals. I’m perfectly aware that many people have high expectations of me, but this doesn’t scare me: I rather feel even more motivated to meet and exceed my own goals.

MEDTEC School is a double degree in Medicine and Biomedical Engineering run by Humanitas University in partnership with Politecnico di Milano. Why did you choose to pursue it?

I chose this degree for three reasons. First, it’s designed to shape a new fascinating type of professional, that is a physician who can master at once not only medicine but also engineering. Secondly, because it’s very practical: we spend many hours in the hospital already from the third year onward! Finally, classes are held in English, and this is a crucial for me as I plan to gain some work experience abroad.

How is your degree innovative?

Generally, physicians don’t have full mastery of the machines they work with. This is because disciplines like maths, physics, automation, or mechatronics aren’t often taught in medical schools. This degree is innovative as it provides us with a comprehensive knowledge of medical devices to enable us to have full control over them in the future.

Describe yourself in one word

I’m hungry for knowledge. I’m not that kind of person that simply enjoys storing new information. What I really love is understanding why things happen: that’s the most exciting part of the learning process.

What is your motto?

«Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called present».

This motto reflects my approach to life. I believe that we can live happily by simply focusing on what we have in the present. In this way, we can feel proud about our achievements and be confident about the future ahead.

What is the greatest challenge you’ve ever faced?

In Spring 2018, I was the reigning under-16 regional champion in the “100-meter butterfly” category and I had to defend the title at the May competition. Unfortunately, I suffered a partial meniscus rupture a few weeks before the sporting event. When my coach told me there was no way I could race, I reacted very badly: I felt frustrated, demoralized. However, I managed to turn that negative feeling into determination, and that's how I won the following competition in October.

What was your biggest dream as a child? How about today?

I’ve always wanted to travel around the world as a medical volunteer. By working in different places abroad, I would have the opportunity to learn about other cultures, but also study different healthcare systems and diversify my professional experience.

Who is your role model?

My mother. She’s a self-made woman. I particularly admire her because she has never feared failure. On the contrary, she has always believed she would have brought change and improved things at work thanks to her smile and courage.

What are you passionate about?

My greatest passion is Formula 1. I’m amazed by the extremely elegant assembly of its components, which is aimed at minimizing turbulence as much as possible. To me, this racing car represents the constant pursuit of perfection. What especially strikes me is the humbleness shown by Formula 1 engineers when they copy the features of a more performing competing car. This teaches me on one hand that we can always improve ourselves, on the other that perfection is not an achievable goal but rather a never-ending journey.