Connect
To Top

Hidden Gems: Meet Dr. Maria-Kassandra Endaya Coronel of Coronel-Endaya Foundation

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dr. Maria-Kassandra Endaya Coronel.

Hi Dr. Coronel, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
Hi! Thanks for having me! I am a big fan of your platform. My full name is Maria-Kassandra Endaya Coronel, but most people know me has “Kassey” or “Kas”.

I am the proud daughter of two immigrants – two immigrants who came from two poverty-stricken, remote villages of the Philippines where access to higher education was limited and scarcity was plenty. My father, Tomas Eleazar Coronel, was brought up selling homemade food to help his widowed mother put his siblings through school. My mother, Marisa Endaya Coronel, spent every morning during her youth helping her indigent family cultivate their farm just to put food on the table. They both struggled and overcame incredible adversity to come to the United States in hopes of a better life. Accordingly, my sister and I grew up with an upbringing rich with faith, work ethic, strong roots of volunteerism, and above all, gratitude. My mother and father have unyieldingly strived to support me and my sister, always wanting more for our family and others than they themselves had growing up. It is because of their sacrifice that I have been able to become who I am today.

Pursuing medicine has been a longstanding personal dream and having the opportunity to do so with the support of my family has been both an incredibly humbling and empowering journey. I completed my Bachelor of Science degree in Psychobiology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and my degree of Doctor of Medicine at the University of Santo Tomas, Faculty of Medicine and Surgery (UST-FMS) as an International Medical Graduate. I completed my post-graduate internship at Makati Medical Center in the Philippines, and am currently pursuing further post-graduate education at Harvard Medical School as a Global Clinical Research Scholar. 

During my personal time, I love to stay active by boxing and running. I started boxing initially in college, after about a twelve years of practicing Taekwondo. I took my first classes at UCLA and was pretty much hooked. I sought out more training at Wildcard Boxing Club and continued even throughout and after medical school at Manny Pacquiao’s Pound-for-Pound gyms in the Philippines. I have also competed and medaled in the Philippines’ Palarong Medisina, the largest intercollegiate medical school sports tournament, for Track & Field. I am currently registered for the Virtual Boston Marathon later this year. 

In terms of volunteer work, I love giving time to medical missions in low-income, uninsured, underserved areas. I have also volunteered my time and services to USA Boxing as a Ringside Physician, the UCLA Pilipino Alumni Association, and the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers. 

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
[*Smiles*] 

As a first-generation college student in the States, from a hardworking immigrant family always on the grind, I grew up dreaming about the opportunities I would have by achieving the education my parents hoped for me. My parents taught me that achieving your dreams meant discipline and persevering through hardships. It was this lesson that got me through countless all-nighters as I balanced multiple jobs from high school to college, through the literal floods I had to wade through just to physically get to my classes during medical school, the 24- 36 and even 48 hour shifts I’ve had in the hospital during my medical training, and just the many years it has taken to be where I am. 

But while my life has not been “smooth” per se, I will say that my life has been so incredibly blessed. 

I have been privileged to have been able to receive education and training at UCLA in Los Angeles, California, UST-FMS in the Philippines, Harvard Medical School in Massachusetts, Montefiore Medical Center in New York, and the Galleria Medical Clinic in National City, San Diego, California. I have also been fortunate to be a part of research teams whose work has been presented across the world, including but limited to the Philippines, Thailand, Taiwan, Nepal, Canada, the United States, Korea, and Austria. And to think! I am still only in my 20s! Life has been one heck of a ride so far and I am looking forward to working harder and seeing what else is in store.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
Absolutely! My family is composed of all health professionals (my parents and sister are nurses, and I of course am a doctor) and we often work with low-income, uninsured and underserved individuals – either through our jobs or through our free medical mission work. Our desire to help others is deeply rooted in our daily lives, and we believe in giving back and paying forward as well as doing good where and when we can. So when the global pandemic of COVID-19 changed the lives of countless around the world, we, as a family, wanted to come together and do our part in helping change the lives of others for the better. We established the Coronel-Endaya Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to funding and delivering charitable services, to help make a difference.  We incorporated on July 28, 2020, and were officially approved for our 501(c)(3) non-profit status in October 2020 during National Filipino-American History Month. The foundation seeks to assist in the furthering of education, and lend a helping hand in promoting and providing financial support for indigent, under-served individuals. 

The Coronel-Endaya Foundation has been so blessed with such generous donors and supporters from around the world, including San Diego, the Inland Empire, the East Coast, Europe and Asia. To date, the Coronel-Endaya Foundation has bestowed scholarships to young students (elementary, high school and college) in indigenous villages via academic awards, uniforms, notebooks, folders, pens, pencils, pencil sharpeners, pencil pouches, colored pencils/crayons, erasers, rain ponchos, face masks, backpacks, and internet access. The Foundation has provided printers and papers to schools, extended aid to indigenous people, helped feed more than 500 children, and have donated more than 2,000lbs of clothes, shoes, blankets, toys, and school supplies to those in need. Additionally, we have provided community sponsorship to the Filipino-American Lawyers of San Diego (FALSD) and mentorship to the Council of Young Filipinx Americans in Medicine (CYFAM).

The Foundation’s efforts have been recognized during National Volunteers week with the prestigious President’s Volunteer Service Award by United States President Joseph R. Biden Jr. for its commitment to strengthen communities. It has also been recognized during Asian American and Pacific Islander National Heritage Month by the City of Temecula, and during its anniversary month by California Senators and Assembly persons. 

We invite everyone reading this to visit our website (coronelendayafoundation.org) or Facebook page, and to join us in helping make a difference in the furthering of education and lending a helping hand for under-served individuals. More than half of our volunteers and donations (both monetary and in-kind) have come from Southern California, and we are hoping to mobilize more people in our cause in the near future.

For anyone who is in need of clothing, school items, and scholarships, they may reach out to us via email or apply on our website.

For those seeking to donate, all gently-used clothing, shoes, toys, and school supplies are welcome. We would also be grateful to have more monetary donations as it goes towards providing scholarships for the children and students, as well shipping of in-kind donations (link for Paypal, Venmo and Zelle donations can be found on our website).

Every donation will receive a mask as a personal thank you. Each mask has been handwoven by the Sabutan weavers of Sitio Dimanasag of Aurora, Philippines, one of the villages we have helped support during the pandemic.

Are there any apps, books, podcasts, blogs or other resources you think our readers should check out?
I use the Pomodoro Technique for my daily time management, the Up-to-Date app to keep on top of the latest medical advancements and guidelines, and Strava and AllTrails for my workouts. I am also looking forward to reading my dear friend Holly Ransom’s latest book “The Leading Edge.”

Contact Info:


Image Credits
Coronel-Endaya Foundation
Dr. Maria-Kassandra Endaya Coronel
Dr. Reyeva Cruz

Suggest a Story: SDVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in Uncategorized

  • SDVoyager FAQs

    We’ve prepared this FAQ about SDVoyager in an effort to ensure that anyone who is interested can have a full understanding...

    Local StoriesSeptember 23, 2018