University of Southern Indiana

Student trustee Lauren Raikes to graduate May 8

Student trustee Lauren Raikes to graduate May 8

4/29/2011 | University Communications
Lauren K. Raikes, the University of Southern Indiana student trustee for the last two years, graduates summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology this May.

Raikes holds the James J. and Sally H. Giancola Endowed Presidential Scholarship at USI. She is a member of the Honors Program and serves as a student ambassador and a member of the Pott College of Science and Engineering Advisory Board. She also is a member of the Pre-Professional Health Club and was a participant in the USI Honors Symposium.

She is active in church youth groups with which she has traveled El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua on service trips. For the last year, she has worked in the lab of Dr. Mari Hopper, assistant professor of physiology, researching insulin resistance.

Raikes will attend graduate school at the University of Colorado-Denver, where she will pursue a Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) degree with a specialty in pediatrics, and plans to be a child health associate/physician assistant.

"I will be on a specialized track using the research I've done on insulin resistance to help the Hispanic population, particularly children in urban and underserved environments, in Colorado," she said. "That population has a higher than average level of diabetes, but it can be treated with preventative healthcare."

Her USI advisor encouraged Raikes to job shadow different sorts of physicians. "I shadowed physicians and physician assistants and realized I wanted the physician assistant job instead," she said. "I didn't know it existed before. I was attracted to the amount of patient contact the physician assistant is allowed, and I will be certified regularly in all areas so I can work in many departments throughout my career."

Serving on the USI Board of Trustees gave Raikes a new perspective on USI. "Before meeting the board members and learning about how much they care, and interacting personally with administrators and realizing how much work they put into USI for the students, I thought USI was made up of physical buildings and classes we take. Now I see USI as a big web of relationships. It is the interactions you have with the people in the University, whether they are your peers, professors, or administrators, that make USI what it is."

Raikes is the daughter of Gary and Lori Raikes of Speedway, Indiana. Her sister Lindsay Raikes, is a former member of the USI softball team and graduated in December with a bachelor's degree in elementary education and special education.

But Raikes said she didn't come to USI to join her sister. "To me, USI is kind of a "Goldilocks" school. It's big enough because we are a state university with state funding, but it's small enough that I know my professors and they know me."

She is engaged to be married to Louis Gilliam '09, who she met her freshman year at USI. They plan a December wedding.

Raikes plans to stay involved with the University after she graduates. "USI is the relationships, and I plan on maintaining those relationships. It's hard to see myself not being a part of USI after I leave."
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