Louisiana Tech University student Catherine Lacey of Fort Collins, Colorado, earned a CADENCE Women in Technology Diversity Scholarship for her academic success, leadership, and passion for using biomedical technology to improve the world.
Lacey’s passion for biomedical technology began when she was young and unable to play many of the games her friends played due to a flexible flatfoot deformity that made it difficult for her to walk and run – that is – until she had titanium plugs implanted between her ankle bones. Thanks to the surgery that allowed her to join games and sports, she developed a fondness for the possibilities that biomedical engineering creates in people’s lives.
By the time she arrived at Louisiana Tech, Lacey had already solidified her educational goal: she would earn a Biomedical Engineering degree and the skills to help design the next generation of medical technology and ensure that others have the same opportunities that she had.
After getting hands-on experience across engineering fields through the College of Engineering and Science’s Living with the Lab first- and second-year engineering curriculum, she had a new goal: to minor in Electrical Engineering and enhance her technical abilities.
“Biomedical engineering combines my desire to problem-solve with my desire to impact the lives of others, just as my life had been impacted by medical technology. In essence, I believe that engineering can provide the medical world with life-changing solutions to transform people’s lives. My own life would have looked very different if I didn’t get titanium implants in my ankles.
“As I explored the areas of biomedical engineering, medical devices caught my eye. The quality of human life has already been drastically changed by medical innovations. The cardiac defibrillator was invented 75 years ago and could restart a heartbeat. 50 years ago, CT and MRI machines were invented, which allowed for more accurate injury diagnoses. Medical devices, such as pacemakers or surgical robots, require a lot of electrical engineering, and I want to be part of innovating new technology and improving and making existing life-saving technology cheaper.”
As one of only 38 students around the United States to earn the award, Lacey says she is grateful for the funding, which allows her to spend more time focused directly on activities outside the classroom that help her build technical and soft skills.
“This scholarship provides me the freedom to focus on my coursework and extracurricular activities. I can focus on volunteering in a research lab, an online medical device design program, and leading a student club. All these activities are beneficial experiences but do not include pay, so this scholarship compensates for that. Additionally, receiving this scholarship allows me to spread my experiences and support future women in technology. I can use the influence I gain by becoming a diversity in technology scholarship recipient to help future and current students in underrepresented groups.”
In her pursuit to gain leadership and advanced experience in biomedical technologies, the honors student has taken on a variety of roles and is currently the vice president of Louisiana Tech’s student chapter of the Biomedical Engineering Society, a member of Louisiana Tech’s Society of Women Engineers, and a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
She’s also a research assistant in the Multifunctional Conformable bioMatierials Lab, where she works with Dr. Mary Caldorera-Moore (Program Chair and Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering) to improve targeted drug delivery and wound tissue regeneration applications using advanced micro and nano biosystems.
“I can not think of a more deserving recipient for the CADENCE Diversity Scholarship,” Caldorera-Moore said. “In her time here at Tech, Catherine has ‘exemplified leadership and demonstrated passion in technology’ in all she does. Catherine is such a joy to have in class and in the lab because she is so eager and hardworking. She faces every challenge with a smile on her face and a willingness to work hard for results while also helping others in the process.”