BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Jennifer Cagnolatti knew she wanted to lead a life helping others. Her love first started with animals, but one life-changing moment shifted her plans.

“My father got into an accident when I was in middle school and it changed him to where he wouldn’t be able to work again,” said Cagnolatti.

Through helping to care for her dad, she’s been able to maintain a 4.5 GPA through the early college option program where she’ll earn a high school diploma and associate’s degree. She found her love for science through his recovery.

“My dad was very defeated and didn’t think there was a cure because he didn’t want to do traditional back surgery. He was super thankful that he could find this device. He’s excited that I could make a device that he could possibly use” said Cagnolatti.

Jennifer will be attending LSU in the fall to study biological sciences with hopes of becoming a medical scientist.

“He got a pain stimulator to help with his back pain. Once I saw that technology it made me want to become a scientist to find research to find help for other people in other fields for cancer, the back or any other part of the body” said Cagnolatti.

With more of a head start compared to other incoming freshmen, Jennifer wants to inspire others to go after whatever they want and that nothing should stop you no matter what life might throw your way.

“You just have to keep at it. Even if you have a wreck like my father did, he showed me that even though he was going through a hard time, you can’t take that and fall with that. You have to dust yourself off and keep going” said Cagnolatti.