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Laura Baker Lins with Jennifer Plos, WIU Athletic Training Education Program and assistant professor in kinesiology. (Photo courtesy of The Lincoln Academy of Illinois.)
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Laura Baker Lins is WIU's Lincoln Academy of Illinois Student Laureate

December 1, 2011

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MACOMB, IL -- Laura A. Baker Lins (Racine, WI) is Western Illinois University's recipient of the Lincoln Academy of Illinois Student Laureate Award for 2011-2012. The prestigious award, which is presented annually to an outstanding senior of each of Illinois' four-year degree-granting institutions, honors a student's overall academic excellence and extracurricular activities.

"These students have exhibited a personal commitment to excel as seen by their remarkable academic accomplishments," said Thomas S. Johnson, Chancellor of the Lincoln Academy. "They serve as role models to other Illinois students."

A University Honors Scholar and a student-athlete, Lins is on schedule to graduate in Spring 2012 with a Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training. She has minors in chemistry and microbiology.

The Lincoln Academy Student Laureate is a member of five academic national honorary societies: Phi Kappa Phi, Golden Key International Honour Society, Phi Eta Sigma through Western's Centennial Honors College, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and the kinesiology honors society Phi Epsilon Sigma. She earned six WIU Foundation Scholarship awards.

Since her preteen years, Lins knew she wanted to become an orthopedic surgeon, and, "my life, athletic, educational, and work experiences, coupled by my desire to serve people, have led me to pursue a career in medicine."

"As a lifelong athlete, I have seen how orthopedic surgeons make a difference in people's lives," Lins added. "I have witnessed traumatic season-ending injuries and observed how surgery and rehabilitation can allow these athletes to return to the soccer field. I majored in athletic training because I wanted to play a part in the recovery process. I believe that this background will provide me with a good foundation for sports medicine."

Lins is a four-year member of women's soccer and team captain, and she serves as the vice president of the Western Illinois Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). She was named the past three years to the Summit League Fall Academic All-League team (and will be for a fourth year), and she was recently named to the Capital One Academic All-District Second Team as voted on by members of CoSIDA (College Sports Information Directors of America). Lins also was a member of the 2010-2011 Summit League Commissioner's List of Academic Excellence.

Volunteering locally and internationally demonstrates Lins' "passion for helping people." Since she was 13 years old, she has participated in a number of mission trips in the U.S. and abroad, including places such as Paraguay, Belize, New Orleans and Chicago.

"I have done medical missions and service projects in soup kitchens and orphanages. I have also painted houses, picked up trash and participated in youth camps for children living in communities devastated by Hurricane Katrina," Lins said.

In Summer 2011, she completed her athletic training internship at Vail-Summit Orthopedics and at Avalanche Physical Therapy in Colorado. Previously, she participated in a shadowing program with a certified athletic trainer and other health professionals, which including rotations in general medicine, orthopedics, physical therapy and sports medicine. She will attend medical school to become an orthopedic surgeon, and she plans to participate in a global health program to help people in underserved communities.

From January-June, 2012, Lins will participate in the Sustainable Entrepreneurship Study Abroad program in Brazil, where she plans to learn the language and culture. She also hopes to work at a research center that studies tropical and infectious diseases.

Lins, the valedictorian of William Horlick High School (2007), is the daughter of Claudio and Katherine Lins, of Racine, WI.

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