Monday, December 12, 2016

2016 Junior Scientist of the Year Award

During the 37th annual St. Albert’s Day reception on November 3, 2016, Dr. Lara Dugas, PhD, MPH—Assistant Professor with the LUC Department of Public Health—received the 2016 Junior Scientist of the Year Award.

Who was St. Albert?
Called the “Doctor Universalis” (Universal Doctor), St. Albert was born at the beginning of the 13th century, joined the Order of St. Dominic in 1223 and was canonized in 1931. During his life, St. Albert dedicated his life to learning, exploring science and philosophy and teaching. It is no surprise that LUC had adopted his name for their annual research symposium featuring presentations across any multitude of topic areas.

St. Albert’s Day, hosted by the Health Sciences Division, is a celebration of all the research taking place at the Stritch School of Medicine. Throughout the day, research students make presentations concerning their area of focus. Dr. Dugas noted, “There are not many opportunities to see all the research that is going on. It is really eye opening to see the level of research being conducted as well as the diversity of the material.” 

Many of the students that presented that day are part of LUC’s Student Training in Approaches to Research (STAR) Program. This eight-week, research intensive is an opportunity for first year medical students to gain an in-depth understanding of the scientific approach, interpreting results and presenting findings. Dr. Dugas has mentored over 45 students during her time at Loyola, many of which are part of the STAR Program.  

At the conclusion of the event, Dr. Dugas was honored with the 2016 Junior Scientist of the Year Award. As her biography is studded with research achievements, honors and grant awards, it is no wonder she was nominated by her peers. When asked what she believes most contributed to her success—without hesitation—she answered, “collaboration.”

Explaining that her knowledge is the culmination of her past work, Dr. Dugas’ pursuits have been aided by her self-diversification. However, identifying and working with new collaborators has been just as important as her own development. It is what has kept her passion fueled. Her advice to those in research, “find people who inspire you and that you enjoy working with. Success will happen naturally.”

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