Childhood meeting with Bush inspired Vanderbilt’s DeSantis to be role model for others

When Larisa DeSantis was 9 years old, she had the opportunity to meet with then-President George H.W. Bush in the Oval Office in her capacity as the national poster child for the Epilepsy Foundation of America. The interaction with the 41st president would have a profound effect on her life.

DeSantis is associate professor of earth and environmental sciences at Vanderbilt.

The meeting “gave me this sense of empowerment that I could do whatever I set out to do,” DeSantis said, “but also made me feel responsibility to achieve and be a role model for others.”

Watch the above video documenting their meeting.

Read DeSantis’ guest column in The Tennessean:

A school excuse and a law that changed my life: A thank you to George H.W. Bush