TERRE HAUTE, Ind. — College graduation on May 25 was doubly special for Napoleon native Kayla Gerken, who was presented the Heminway Gold Medal along with a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, the nation’s top-ranked undergraduate engineering college.
The Heminway Gold Medal honors graduates for having the highest academic achievement in the graduating class. Gerken was among a record nine students completing their undergraduate studies with perfect 4.0 grade point averages this academic year.
At Rose-Hulman, Gerken was a four-year varsity letter winner on Rose-Hulman women’s basketball teams that had a 91-19 record over the past four seasons. That record features three Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference regular-season championships, two HCAC tournament titles and the first two NCAA Division III tournament appearances in program history. She earned second-team Google Cloud Academic All-District honors in 2018. For her career, Gerken appeared in 70 games, with 41 starts, including all 27 games for a 2018-19 Fightin’ Engineers team that had a 20-7 record.
In the classroom, Gerken joined three other biomedical engineering students in designing a Secure the Bag system that improved and modified a current patient drainage system that addresses ascites, the abnormal accumulation of fluid in the abdominal (peritoneal) cavity. This is a common symptom of people suffering from liver disease.
Gerken also graduated from Napleon High School with a perfect 4.0 grade point average.