Student Granted Foundation Award for Heart Study

A student who helped study a heart condition in a bridesmaid for her upcoming wedding is the recipient of an award from the Rose State College Foundation.

The college recognized honors student Bailee Russell as the Outstanding Honors Graduate for the work on diagnosing “Bicuspid Aortic Valve Disease,” or BAVD. Russell undertook a science project for a life science class at Rose State in which she measured electrocardiogram readings and discovered the signs of the disease in her friend.

“I’m getting married on Saturday. She’s my junior bridesmaid,” Russell said. “I took a normal EKG (electrocardiogram) and compared it to hers. She has biphasic T-waves—electric problems in her heart. Because she’s able to live with it, we’re just making people aware of this particular disease. They don’t like to diagnose young children, but she was showing a lot of symptoms. Most people who have this defect, they don’t catch it until later on in life.”

The Rose State College Foundation presented Russell with a plaque and a $250 check for her work. The Foundation supports Rose State College students with stipends or awards to support the students’ educational endeavors.

“This recognizes the honors graduate who most consistently throughout his or her tenure does extraordinary work and who we feel represents the program well,” said Rose State honors program director Toni Castillo.

Rose State life sciences professor Amy Hurst, who worked with Russell during her time as a student, said the human element in the project attracted the attention of the faculty. She noted Russell’s outspoken desire to work in the medical field.

“This is about a person who will be affected her entire life. I think when you work with people, and there’s a human impact, it elevates the subject,” said Hurst. “This is the kind of thing an honors project should do to prepare you. Bailee is going to be doing this with patients, and determining if a patient has this disorder or another one.”
Russell said she plans to continue her pursuit of a career in life sciences, perhaps in the medical field as a physician’s assistant.

“I love the medical field. I love Rose State. I’m sad to leave. I really love my professors, who brought out my love for science,” Russell said.

Russell also received the Outstanding Honors Graduate Award and a $500 for outstanding work during her entire Rose State College honors career.

The program also honored another student, Cody Taylor, for his work on capacitors while progressing toward an electrical engineering degree.



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