Dyer resident Lauren Rigg was recently chosen as this year's Outstanding Senior for the School of Health Sciences in the College of Health and Human Science at Purdue University, West Lafayette.
Rigg, 22, was one of nine seniors throughout the College of Health and Human Sciences to receive the award, surpassing 150 students in her academic school.
She will graduate in May and attend Indiana University School of Medicine to pursue a medical degree.
“I truly cannot see myself doing anything else besides medicine. I have had my own experiences with various sports injuries and also watching my younger sister dealing with her asthma and severe food allergies,” Rigg said of her career choice.
The daughter of Bob and Kara Rigg, Lauren experienced medical research firsthand, working for two years as a research assistant at Purdue in the department of Basic Medical Sciences.
“One of the projects I worked on was focused on identifying possible stem cell markers in breast cancer cells,” she said.
“The overall goal was to discover a marker that could be identified at the earliest stages of breast cancer development. This discovery would allow much earlier diagnosis and could potentially lead to the development of different preventions.”
In addition, Rigg traveled to Otavalo, Ecuador in 2012 with other PU students to volunteer in regional hospitals.
“The hospitals and clinics provided great shadowing experiences. I spent one day in the Emergency Department and another day in surgery viewing various abdominal procedures,” she said.
“We also visited various orphanages and homes for the less-fortunate, including one for physically and mentally handicapped children, and another for adults.”
“Improving my Spanish-speaking skills is crucial not only to such a trip, but also in my future practice of medicine. Communicating with my patients will be key to helping them and they may not all speak English,” she added.