Tag: danny cooley award
It has been a long time since the last BIMS page post back in November. Part of the reason is the busyness of the end of the semester, the Holidays, and other diversions at the end of the year (after all, there ARE 35 bowl games!). But a big part of the reason is the tragic and untimely death of someone very important to the early days of the BIMS program. One of our first three BIMS graduates was Lauren Bump, the first recipient of the Danny Cooley Award for the outstanding BIMS student. After graduation in Fall 2010, Lauren was accepted into Physician Assistant programs and entered Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas to begin that journey. She was home visiting her family in her beloved San Antonio when she lost her life on New Years Eve at the hands of an attacker in a park near her home.
Lauren was gentle and kind and encouraging and joyful. She loved science and medicine and she loved Jesus. The kind of young lady you’d love to have as a daughter or daughter-in-law. No vanity, no arrogance, no conceit, no jealousy. There are too few people like her in this world, and losing one of them affected people who knew her (and many who didn’t) in profound ways. I found out of her death from one of her McMurry classmates on New Year’s Day, and like so many others in Abilene and San Antonio and Arkansas felt an emptiness and sadness that I still carry around. You see, at small Christian colleges like McMurry and Harding, we don’t just teach students but we invest in them. We give generously to them everything we’ve learned for the purpose of growing them as young men and women and future scientists and healthcare providers so that they may one day do far greater things for this world than we have. And when one in whom we’ve lovingly placed so much of ourselves and our experiences and in whom we find so much hope is taken from us, our sense of loss is great. But in the midst of loss, there is victory for Lauren as she sees her Savior face to face.
Her funeral was attended by over 1,200 and 300 gave their lives to that same Savior, having seen in her life lived for Him the very things missing in their own. Even in the midst of her death, The Redeemer brought new life to others. A life of love and service and faith is never wasted, and so it was with Lauren’s. In my church on Sunday we were shown a video that portrayed the truth that our lives touch those of many others we will never know – a sort of “It’s a Wonderful Life” truth beyond our understanding. I was reminded of Lauren and reassured that her life of love and service and faith was not wasted – countless others have (and will be) impacted by the life she lived.
So, how do we move forward? Many initiatives have begun in Lauren’s memory – fundraising for a variety of things near to the hearts of Lauren and her family. At McMurry, Lauren’s club sisters in Gamma Sigma have begun planning for a fitting tribute, one that is not just a memorial with a name but a living memorial that seeks to perpetuate her beautiful spirit so that those who could never know her will learn what it means and what it gains when one seeks to “#livelikelauren”. The Biology Department has begun discussions of how we might honor future students whose commitment to a life of healing, hope, faith, and service carries on the legacy of this beautiful child of God. We give thanks for having known her and shared life together during her time in Abilene. Bye, Lauren, until we meet again.
McMurry’s Biomedical Sciences Program is blessed to have a wonderful working relationship with Abilene’s premiere biotech company, Receptor Logic. This company is rather new to Abilene but has profoundly changed the industrial landscape of the city. Their pioneering work in the development of T-cell receptor mimics for therapeutic purposes places them in rarified air as one of the few places internationally where such technology is being developed and tested. The close friendship between RL’s founder, Dr. Jon Weidanz, and McMurry’s BIMS faculty has enabled the placement of McMurry students at RL facilities in the Abilene Life Sciences Accelerator for capstone projects that provide valuable real-world experience.
This semester, McMurry has three students working with RL’s scientists. Lauren Bump, recipient of the Danny Cooley Award as the outstanding BIMS student, is completing her Honors research in the lab. Her research will culminate in an Honors thesis this written and defended in December. In this, she will demonstrate the knowledge and skills picked up in BIMS and applied in T-cell work done at RL.
Karlie Dieterich is working at RL this fall to gain experience in immunological research as she applies to graduate programs in immunology. She was encouraged to visit with Dr. Weidanz, an immunologist, to discuss strong programs and career directions. The meeting resulted in her joining his lab as an undergraduate to give her some practical experience in the field. As an Academic All-Conference athlete and top science student, she is living proof that the high level of achievement seen in top athletes often spills over to high achievement in all arenas of life.
Malaney Lopez has extensive experience in the molecular lab, having been one of the prime resources as an undergraduate assistant for prepping and delivering molecular-based courses at McMurry last year. She wanted to hone her skills and give back to RL by volunteering this year without any course credit expected. Her love for molecular work is evident and her future in the field is assured.
In each case, the generosity of Receptor Logic and their commitment to contributing to the education of future biotech scientists is demonstrated. We cannot begin to express our thanks to Receptor Logic and Dr. Weidanz for their contributions to the education of our students.