A desire to help others and make a difference has led a Columbus East High School senior to pursue a career in medicine.

Lizzy Frazier, 18, said her involvement with First Presbyterian Church mission trips across the United States was one reason she wants to become a doctor.

During four years at East, she has become used to balancing academics, community activities and sports, and earned the title of this year’s senior class valedictorian.

Frazier, who plans to study biomedical engineering but hasn’t decided on a four-year college yet, said the medical field has been something she has had her eyes on.

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“I knew I’ve wanted to be a doctor for a long time,” she said.

Frazier recently came back from a spring break church mission trip to New Orleans, where she and others helped repair a house. Her travels have also led her to the Dominican Republic, where she assisted with a medical clinic.

The young woman said she hopes to travel internationally and practice medicine while working to make medical technology more accessible to low-income populations. Frazier said her decision to major in biomedical engineering was influenced in part by her father, Tim Frazier, executive director of advanced engineering at Cummins Inc.

Frazier, who has five sisters, credited her dad and mom, Monta, for their help along the way.

“They’ve not pushed me, but encouraged me to do well,” Frazier said. “They’ve done a lot of hard work for me and my sisters to do well in school.”

Other than her academics, Frazier has been on the swim and track teams for four years, has been on the cross country team for three years and is a member of the National Honor Society, the National French Honor Society, Key Club and other groups.

She has a service mindset, working on the annual Dance Marathon benefiting Turning Point Domestic Violence Services as an executive committee member. She has also served her church as a youth deacon and Sunday school teacher.

Being busy doesn’t bother her, and she didn’t set out to become her school valedictorian.

“It just kind of happened,” she said. “I like to do assignments well.”

Many of the teachers at East have prepared her academically for college, Frazier said, specifically mentioning math instructor Chris Cooper and science teacher Derek Chastain. East teachers in general are passionate about their roles as educators, she said.

“East really gets you excited about learning,” Frazier said. “They engage you to learn for yourself.”

Chastain, who has had Frazier in his genetics and Advanced Placement biology classes, described the high school senior as an individual who is always willing to go the extra mile. She also likes to make connections to what she’s learned in the classroom, he said.

“She’s a remarkable young lady. She has a spark for science,” Chastain said. “She’s genuinely enthusiastic for learning new things. We see a lot of students, but Lizzy is what you call a star pupil.”

Chastain said he has no doubt that Frazier will be successful after high school.

Kristin Schuetz, director of the Columbus East counseling department, concurred.

“She’s a fantastic, bright young lady with great potential,” Schuetz said.

Frazier said she is excited about her future, including the ability to focus on academic areas of interest. Her personal quest for knowledge will continue in college.

“It’ll be fun to go somewhere new,” she said. “I just like figuring out things you didn’t know before.”

Lizzy Frazier

Age: 18

Parents:  Monta and Tim Frazier

Siblings: Maggie, Abby, Annie, Katie and Ellie

GPA: 4.292

Hobbies: Indoor cycling, reading, camping and rock climbing

Elementary and middle school: Southside, Central

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Matt Kent is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at 812-379-5712 or mkent@therepublic.com