Ana Dieguez Awarded Hogstrom Superior Graduate Student Scholarship

Ana Dieguez
Ana Dieguez

LSU’s medical physics and health physics program has announced Ana Dieguez as the second recipient of the prestigious Kenneth R. Hogstrom Superior Graduate Student Scholarship.

Established in honor of Professor Emeritus Kenneth R. Hogstrom’s outstanding research, scholarship, and mentorship of graduate students, the scholarship supports medical physics graduate students participating in clinical research on radiation oncology at Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center.

“Ana caught my attention with her first communication with me as a prospective student; Ana presented herself as professional, competent, and clearly interested in medical physics,” said Kenneth “Kip” Matthews, associate professor and deputy program director. “When Ana asked me to supervise her thesis, I was impressed with how she’d pulled together multiple topics to envision an interesting research project. I also was extremely pleased when Ana was awarded the Kenneth R. Hogstrom Superior Graduate Student Scholarship, which honors a colleague who has significantly impacted my own career.”

Dieguez, a 2017 University del Valle de Guatemala alumna, describes the importance of this award as she advances her career.

"From the moment I joined LSU’s Medical Physics Program, I felt encouraged by the faculty to find a research interest that would represent an innovative approach into a dilemma in our field. In Fall 2019, I reached out to Dr. Kip Matthews to discuss possible research topics for my master’s thesis. Dr. Matthews had taught the Radiation Shielding class, MEDP7530, the prior  semester and he  presented areas where insufficient knowledge could potentially be limiting the quality of Shielding Calculations."

"When I talked to Dr. Matthews, we decided that VMAT Shielding Considerations was an area, with direct relevance to  clinics  similar to the Mary  Bird  Perkins  Cancer  Center. This  project  is  an  assessment  of  whether  the  VMAT delivery technique is adequately addressed by the NCRP Report 151 guidelines for design of a LINAC vault’s structural shielding. Report 151 was published before VMAT became a common treatment technique. As VMAT becomes the  primary treatment approach for many types of cancer, we must be certain that existing and new treatment vaults provide suitable shielding."

"The main question of my thesis is whether the calculation methods and supporting data of Report 151 are sufficient to provide a satisfactory design for a vault dedicated to VMAT. This project will either confirm that existing Report 151 methods and data result in adequate designs or produce supplemental information by which we can be confident that new shielding designs are both safe and cost-effective."

"This topic is important to facilities such as Mary Bird  Perkins Cancer Center, where appropriate radiation protection of staff and the public is crucial; importantly to me, this line of research represents what first inspired me to join the medical physics field: how to make effective and safe use of therapeutic radiation, allowing us to save lives without compromising quality. This project was envisioned by me, representing a new research direction for us, so obtaining funding was crucial. The Kenneth R. Hogstrom Superior Graduate Student Scholarship is the essential component that allows me to pursue this project as my Master’s thesis; I am grateful to Dr. Hogstrom and all those who supported the creation of this Scholarship."


Mimi LaValle
LSU Department of Physics & Astronomy