Biochemistry Major Pooja Agarwal Wins Abraham Lincoln Civic Engagement Award

Fourth-year biochemistry student Pooja Agarwal has won the Abraham Lincoln Civic Engagement Award for Illinois Tech. Each year, one senior in each four-year college or university in Illinois is selected to receive the award for his or her leadership and service to better humanity, academic achievement, and participation in extracurricular activities.

Agarwal is the president of the university’s MEDLIFE (Medicine, Education, and Development for Low Income Families Everywhere) chapter. She was instrumental in getting the organization up and running and helping to prepare for service trips, said Kathryn Spink, senior lecturer of biology, chief health professions advisor, and chair of the university premedical advisory committee.

Agarwal also volunteers in clinics and in other healthcare settings, Spink added, and has served as vice president of the American Medical Student Association (AMSA), which she helped establish in an effort to expand Illinois Tech’s Honors Medical Society.

Agarwal received a College of Science Undergraduate Summer Research Stipend in 2014 to work with Ben Stark, professor of biology, in exploring how various contaminants are released to the environment, posing health risks. She is currently doing research with Arlen Moller, associate professor of psychology, in behavioral health and wellness.

“She is committed to becoming a physician and to healthcare in general,” Spink said. “She is a very mature young woman who I think will be a compassionate physician dedicated to the health of her patients and community.”

Agrawal will attend a ceremony held in the House of Representatives of the Illinois State Capital in Springfield, Illinois. She will receive a medallion, certificate of achievement, and $1,000.