Rising star shines in science

Junior earns the Rising Star Award for her dedication to medical science and obesity prevention research

Maya Ravi, Club Member

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Junior Sruthi Ilangovan, president of the Health Through Science initiative (HTS), was recognized for her dedication to her obesity prevention research with the Rising Star award during Texas Obesity Awareness Week (TOAW). She said her research about one of the lesser known causes of obesity, Lactate Dehydrogenase Deficiency, has spurred her interest in medical science, prompting her to become even more involved in HTS and medical science.

“It’s absolutely amazing to know that I, as a volunteer of HTS, positively impact our community,” Ilangovan. “Others should join HTS because it’s truly an incredible experience to work with these elementary schoolers and to positively impact them. HTS has so many different branches from our late start school visits to our after school CATCH events to our scientific lectures from various professionals. There’s a place for everyone with a variety of interests in HTS.”

HTS is an initiative that volunteers at science events at Title 1 schools to promote health. Ilangovan said that her experience watching a group of girls grow to love science through HTS inspired her to become more engaged in her research and TOAW.

“Earning the Rising Star award was such an honor,” Ilangovan said. “The Texas Health Champion Award Ceremony was an amazing event, and I had a truly memorable time, as I met so many inspiring health professionals who have accomplished so much. They have motivated me to expand my outreach through HTS and have shown me that it’s possible for an individual to make a difference in the community.”

At the Texas Health Champion Award Ceremony, Ilangovan met community service leaders like Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez, the director of Salud America!, a national program that promotes health and support for Latino families. She said the ceremony inspired her to continue pursuing her research on obesity prevention.
“The rising star award has also motivated me to invest further in my medical research,” Ilangovan said. “I have now started interning in a medical laboratory, where I am learning new things about medicine every day.”

Ilangovan’s speech at the Texas Health Champion Award Ceremony wasn’t solely about her research and path in the medical field, but also covered how her journey in HTS helped her to change her mindset about life.

“I’m also one that stresses over the small things like that one bad test grade, but upon further reflection, I’ve really learned that those things are insignificant,” Ilangovan said. “In the long term, it only matters that you love what you do, so I would also tell them to try new things, especially things out of their comfort zone.”