RUSTON, La. (KTVE/KARD) – A Biomedical Engineering student from Louisiana Tech University overcomes a medical disability and earns a prestigious scholarship to keep pursuing her dreams.

21-year-old Catherine Lacey was born with a flexible flatfoot deformity that didn’t allow her to walk or run. Now, thanks to surgery and science, she says she discovered her passion for Biomedical Engineering and what this could do to improve people’s lives.

“It really can impact somebody’s life and change how they live and make it just a much nicer, less painful, easier life.”

And that is exactly what biomedical engineering did for her; it helped her face those medical challenges in a less painful way. At 4 years old, Lacey went through a surgical procedure and had titanium plugs implanted between her ankle bones.

“The titanium implant is a small little screw that they would screw between those bones and reopen up that space, and that repositioned my feet to be flat.”

Over the years, Lacey was able to walk and run back normal, all thanks to science. But, little did she know her passion for science would take her to earn a CADENCE Women in Technology Diversity scholarship for her academic achievement, leadership, and passion for using biomedical technology.

“I really felt that I could help them with diversity and technology because I know that as a woman in engineering, it’s a very small population, and just seeing other women in engineering. It definitely helped me keep going and overcome challenges and everything.”

Lacey is one of the 38 students across the nation to earn this award. She says this award will help her focus directly on activities outside the classroom that help her build technical and soft skills.

“Which is being part of BMES; which is the Biomedical Engineering Society. I’m currently the vice president of that club and planning to become president. Letting me use my skills in technology in this area to help people to get medical devices. It’s been really an impactful purpose for me.”

Lacey says this scholarship will also help her help design the next generation of medical technology and ensure that others have the same opportunities she had.