Her quest to alleviate pain has enabled a UC Denver sophomore to be chosen for the Exceptional Summer Student Award from the National Institute of Health. Danielle Locust, a biology and premed student at the Denver Campus, was honored by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke's Summer Program in the Neurological Sciences, a student research training program in brain and nervous system research.
“I felt I was representing my tribe, the Oglala Sioux, and the University of Colorado Denver, and I felt very honored,” Locust said of the award. “I was very excited and very grateful to win the award out of so many people that could’ve received it also.”
Locust had been conducting research in the neuroimmunology branch working with the ‘Vitamin D Effect in Multiple Sclerosis,’ she explains. She plans to pursue a career in anesthesiology.
“I chose to be an anesthesiologist because I know I can be a trustworthy person for people before surgery and because I want to work with different types of medicine for people before and during the surgery,” she said. “I love to numb other people’s pain.”
A native of Pine Ridge, S.D., an American Indian reservation for Oglala Lakota Sioux, Locust chose to attend UC Denver in part because of its close proximity to family. Although her parents still live in South Dakota with her grandparents, they are originally from Denver. “I have a lot of family here in Denver aunties, uncles, cousins . . . and my whole family is from here.”
Locust plans on going to medical school in Colorado or in Florida or “wherever I can get in works for me!” she explains.
She will be attending the SACNAS (Advancing Hispanic/Chicanos and Native Americans in Science) National Conference Sept. 30 in California to present her scientific poster for the National Institutes of Health.