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Ratte Winner to Pursue Pediatric Medicine

September 08, 2010

Whether she is conducting computational chemistry research or volunteering with pediatric kidney disease patients, Marie Lafortune B.A. ’10 never loses track of the importance of her work.

“Marie’s motivation clearly stems from idealism, compassion, and the desire to be of service to others,” says Professor of Chemistry Jim Duncan, Lafortune’s academic and research advisor.

Lafortune is this year’s winner of the Rena J. Ratte Award, the undergraduate college’s highest academic honor. A chemistry major from Tigard, she plans to pursue a clinical career in pediatric medicine, integrating her academic experiences in the classroom and laboratory with her extensive service to community organizations, including the Children’s Cancer Association and the Northwest Kidney Kids Camp.

“My undergraduate research experiences have taught me that I really enjoy the intellectual challenges of scientific research,” she says. “Moreover, several individuals who have been very close to me have suffered from cancer, and these experiences have made me acutely aware of the limitations of clinical medicine and the importance of continued research for the improvement of patient care.”

A Goldwater Scholar, Lafortune transferred to Lewis & Clark from a large research institution at the beginning of her sophomore year. She credits her success in the sciences to the college’s small class sizes, approachable faculty, and access to upper-level research experiences.

“The close interactions I was privileged to enjoy with faculty in lectures, labs, office hours, and summer research really defined my experience at Lewis & Clark and guided the trajectory of my undergraduate career,” she says.

This fall, Lafortune will begin medical school at Northwestern University in Chicago.

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