Tuesday, January 17, 2017

In memory of Dana Riggins - from Dr. Stephanie Kliethermes (former LUC Public Health faculty member)

In the two short years that I was lucky enough to have known and worked with Dana, she had a tremendous impact on not only me individually but also the faculty, students and department as a whole.  Dana grew into a professional right before our eyes.  Having been blessed with the opportunity to work with her both in and out of the classroom, Dana's inquisitive nature and drive to truly understand the how's and the why's of what she learned contributed immensely to her success and growth at Loyola.  For her capstone, Dana independently learned how to apply an advanced statistical technique to her data and was most concerned with understanding the merits of the procedure as opposed to simply interpreting the results at face value.  It was during these conversations that I knew Dana was a special student capable of paving a promising career path for herself.  She was so proud and excited when she learned of her acceptance into the CDC program.

But more importantly than any academic and professional success, Dana was a genuinely good and kind person.  She was a teacher to us all. Dana was constantly helping her classmates in our statistics class because she genuinely wanted to see them succeed.  She lived by the philosophy that if you win, we all win.  We need more of that in this world.  Dana always lit up a room with her wit, humor and intelligence.  She had an uncanny ability to add subtle lightness and ease to frustrating situations which reminded all of us to not take life too seriously.  We lost a bright light in this world last week, but we are all forever better for having Dana as a student and most recently, a colleague.  Her impacts on the MPH program at Loyola will have a lasting effect -- she raised the bar for those around her.  For that, and for so much more, I am forever grateful and honored to have been able to work with Dana.  Teachers are often said to inspire students, but Dana truly inspired me.   

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