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Haughton native hopes combining two loves leads to a successful career

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NATCHITOCHES – A last minute decision proved to be the right one for Paige Anderson.

The graduating senior in the Louisiana Scholars’ College at Northwestern State University decided to apply for admission to the College late in her senior year in high school. Since then, Anderson has had a successful undergraduate career. She will graduate in May, then enroll in the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Paige Anderson, Haughton native and graduating senior in the Louisiana Scholars’ College at Northwestern State University.
Paige Anderson, Haughton native and graduating senior in the Louisiana Scholars’ College at Northwestern State University.

“I planned to attend Northwestern, but I didn’t know about the Scholars’ College until I heard a talk by (faculty member) Dr. Holly Stave about a month before I graduated,” said Anderson, a liberal arts major with a concentration in scientific inquiry from Haughton.  “When I heard about Scholars’, I knew that’s where I needed to be. I filled out an application right away not knowing if it was too late. But it’s turned out to be the best last minute decision I ever made.”

The Scholars’ College was established in 1987 as the state’s only designated honors college. The Scholars’ College offers students the opportunity to pursue their academic and personal goals in a supportive atmosphere. The core curriculum combines great books-based courses with courses in mathematics and sciences to provide students with a strong foundation for more focused study in a concentration or traditional major.

“The curriculum gives you an understanding of so many areas,” said Anderson. “You learn to focus on one thing which is so helpful in science. The liberal arts education teaches you how to communicate with others and understand other cultures.”

Anderson has been involved in the NSU Student Government Association, the Scholars’ College Forum Council and Blue Key. Anderson has also been a volunteer and board member of Natchitoches Hope for Paws, a non-profit dog rescue organization.

“When I first came to college, I volunteered at the shelter as a way of combatting homesickness,” she said. “I would go on the weekend and play with the puppies and it gradually led to more involvement. I have a love for animals. I have always had a pet and from the time I was a child, I wanted to care for animals. When I found out the kind of training needed to be a veterinarian at first I thought I couldn’t do it. But once I got into college, I looked at again and realized it was something I could do.”

Anderson said being a veterinarian lets her combine a love for animals with her love for science.

“I can put the two together and make a career that allows me to help others,” she said.

Anderson is working to complete her thesis project, “Molecular Modeling,” under the direction of Dr. Massimo Bezoari, the Richard E. Lounsbery Endowed Professor of Chemistry.

“The thesis project is something that is useful in any field of research,” said Anderson. “You learn how to read, interpret about journal articles. It teaches you how to prove something based on research. I think the project helped me stand out in my interview for veterinary school.”

For more information on the Louisiana Scholars’ College, go to nsula.edu/scholars.