Grace Walton (STM ’15) is working toward her bachelor’s degree in nuclear medicine technology at Northwestern University. She has made the most out of her time in college, participating in intramural sports, academic clubs, and community service, while remaining dedicated to her goal of becoming a nuclear medicine technologist.
Using advanced scientific principles, nuclear medicine technologists play a pivotal role in imaging and treating debilitating diseases such as cancer, Parkinson’s, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s. In her clinical work at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Walton works with a team that prepares and administers radioactive drugs for nuclear image testing. These drugs allow doctors to see abnormal areas of a patient’s body in a variety of medical scans.
Walton got her first glance at the medical field as a student in STM’s biomedical sciences program. “I enjoyed the hands-on approach to learning the information,” Walton said. “Instead of PowerPoints and lectures, learning by performing experiments and solving problems made the information stick long-term and made biology courses in college easier.”
“Mrs. [Darlene] Langhoff was my favorite teacher,” Walton continued. “She was a tough teacher but that helped all the more. She was the first person to make me think about a career in the medical field because I thought her classes were so interesting.”
As a competitive athlete in numerous sports, including basketball, softball, cross country, and swim, and a member of various clubs, including Relay for Life, while in high school, Walton learned time management skills that has proven to be very valuable in college. “Once in college, your life is less structured, and it is up to you to make yourself a schedule that works best.”
Although her time in high school was busy, Walton looks back on her years at STM with fondness. She played on STM’s 2015 girls’ varsity basketball team that won the regional championship, a memory that remains strong for Walton. “It was a lot of fun celebrating with my team and being able to play in a high intensity game.”
As far as the future goes, additional education is not out of the question for Walton. “I would like to go back to school to get my graduate degree in Nuclear Chemistry or Radiation Physics,” she said. “This would allow me to become a Radiation Safety Officer. I would also enjoy running a Nuclear Medicine Technology Program at a university someday.”
St. Thomas More wishes Grace the best of luck as she continues to strive toward her academic, professional, and personal goals!