Over the last year to the present time, a number of area residents were recognized and/or participated in a number of special programs.
Here is a round-up of those accomplishments.
• Close to 300 University of Alabama students are receiving a hands-on educational experience at more than 60 companies and organizations through UA's Cooperative Education Program during fall 2017. This included Matthew Ahearn of Plainfield a Riley Van Wyk of Plainfield.
• Nearly 80 University of Dallas juniors served as committee volunteers during the university's Charity Week, including Susana Lara Flores of Plainfield.
• Seth Severson of Dwight, a senior information technology major at Bob Jones University, serves as an intern for BJU's IT Department in Greenville, South Carolina. Severson helps with the development and administration of Microsoft SharePoint sites.
• Several students at Bob Jones University served as study group leaders in the Academic Resource Center (ARC) at Bob Jones University for a variety of courses for the 2017 spring semester. The students were Seth Severson of Dwight and Noah Vancina of Manhattan.
• Josh Krischel, of Dwight, and the Iowa State University Crops team won second place at the American Royal crops competition in Kansas City on Nov. 14 and again at the CME Contest in Chicago on Nov. 16.
• Kayla Pfeiffer of Lockport is a member of Ashland University's APICS. Pfeiffer is majoring in supply chain management.
• The Alma College service experiences are provided through the Alternative Break Program, which allows students to apply classroom learning to real-life situations and gain a greater appreciation of the value of serving others. James Budrick-Diaz of Joliet volunteered at Urban Poverty - Center for the Homeless, South Bend, Indiana.
• The Iowa State University College of Business announced James Finn of Mokena as a Business Ambassador for the 2017-18 academic year. As a business ambassador, Finn represented the Iowa State University College of Business and assisted in the recruitment of prospective high school and community college students.
• University of Dayton undergraduate Hartwig Gianna of Plainfield joined hundreds of student leaders committed to social justice, activism and advocacy for the national Impact Conference. It was held at the University of Dayton March 1 to March 4.
• In mid-December 2017, Lynn Hnetkovsky of Manhattan concluded her master's course of study with a Master of Arts (MA) in Bbology from Miami University through Project Dragonfly. Since joining the Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP) master's in 2015, Hnetkovsky has traveled to Hawai'i and taken courses on the web from Miami University while also participating in on-site and field studies at Chicago Zoological Society's Brookfield Zoo. Hnetkovsky works as an agriculture teacher at Lincoln-Way Community High School.
• Ashley Pitt of Romeoville had been among the top seniors nationwide to be named a Commended Student in the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program. Commended Students placed among the top 50,000 scorers of more than 1.6 million students who entered the 2018 competition by taking the 2016 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT).
• Melanie Flock of Plainfield was selected to present a research project titled "Time Alone and Life Satisfaction in African Americans and Non-Hispanic White Osteoarthritis Patients" at the University of Alabama's Undergraduate Research & Creative Activity Conference, which was held March 30.
• Jake Harris, who was a senior at Lockport Township High School, earned second place in biology at the Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering (WYSE) competition on April 17.
Additionally, LTHS student Nick Sulich placed sixth in mathematics. Student Tom Inczauskis attended as well. These are the best results LTHS has ever had at this annual competition.
• Four VVSD students were once named Students of the Quarter by the WILCO Area Career Center. The students are Joe Callahan, Bolingbrook High School welding; David Duarte, Bolingbrook High School auto service; Emily Hughes, Romeoville High School early childhood; and Jessica Plascensia, Romeoville high school certified nursing assistant.
• Taylor Esgar, of New Lenox and a student at the University of Findlay, was a safety and health intern for the Ohio Department of Transportation District One in Lima, Ohio, for summer 2017.
• In 2017, Wendy's honored Jonathan Gall for supporting Camp Quality Illinois in Frankfort. Gall had been involved with Camp Quality—a camp for children with cancer and other life threatening illnesses—for 21 years, both as a camper and as a camp volunteer.
• In October 2017, Kendal Pitlik, then a senior at Lincoln-Way East High School, was inducted to the 2018 U.S. Army All-American Marching Band.
• In 2018 Daniel Rodriguez, a pre-nursing major from Joliet, was one of five University of Illinois Springfield students, who are also campus leaders in the fight against hunger, to be featured during the 2018 Universities Fighting World Hunger Summit (UFWH) at the University of Illinois. Rodriguez served as the UIS Community Garden coordinator. He oversaw the planting, care and maintenance of the garden; coordinated volunteers; and helped educate the public about the importance of gardens.
• In 2018, Colleen Andrae of Joliet, Illinois, earned a scholarship to study abroad from the MU College of Arts and Science. She planned to use the money to help fund a summer-long trip to Peru.
• In 2018, eight computer and mathematical sciences students from Lewis University won the prestigious Illinois Technology Foundation’s 2018 Fifty for the Future awards. Honored students include Nilly Albeitoni of Oak Lawn, Nicholas Biegel of Dyer, Ind., Ethan Blatti of Elwood, Keller Dellinger of Naperville, Brandon Joutras of Channahon, Marissa Koronkiewicz of Bolingbrook, Carley Maupin of Peotone and Ryan Meeker of Joliet.
• In 2018, John C. Parker, Lewis University assistant professor of physics and Naperville resident, worked among the most talented scientists in the world this summer as a visiting faculty at Argonne National Laboratory. Parker’s proposal on nanophotonics earned a position for himself and Lewis University undergraduate student Michael Sulwer of Morris for the 2018 summer. During the experience, Parker worked with Sulwer, supported by several Argonne research staff. The research proposes to enhance the sensitivity of optical chemical sensors using resonant plasmonic nanostructures deposited p-n junctions and LEDs.
• In 2018, Justin Malec of Joliet and Carthage College student, presented research during the Phi Alpha Theta regional conference March 24 at Purdue University in Lafayette, Indiana. Malec gave a presentation titled "Patriots, Privateers and Payments: An American Examination of the Quasi-War and Tripolitan War."
• In 2018 the Southeast Missouri State University debate team was crowned the 2018 national champion for the third consecutive year at the national Education Debate Association's (NEDA) National Debate Tournament March 23 to March 24 hosted by Duquesne University. Greg Johnson of Bolingbrook, then a junior, defended his individual championship by winning first place in the varsity division of public forum debate for the third straight year.
• In 2018, the following student presented at Undergraduate Research Day at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater: Marisa Vargas, who is studying biology, presented the following project(s); Migratory Habits of Macroinvertebrates in Ephemeral Playas in Colorado.
• Fifteen Lewis University students participated in the Intersectional College Math Competition at the 2018 MAA Tri-Section Meeting March 23 to 24 2018 at Valparaiso University. Seven students presented the research they did under the mentorship of Amanda Harsy, assistant professor of mathematics.
Quinn Stratton of Plainfield (senior double major in mathematics and computer science) and Keller Dellinger of Naperville (junior double major in computer engineering and computer science) presented their talk entitled, "Modeling DNA Self-Assembly Using Graph Theory, Linear Algebra, and Programming."
Junior Math education majors, Christina Carlson of Lockport and Lauren Klamerus of Bridgeview (also a Noyce Scholar) presented their research, "Analyzing and Comparing the Impact of Mastery-based Testing to Traditional Testing in Mathematics Courses."
Brandon Joutras of Channahon (senior computer science major and math minor) and Adrian Siwy of Gurnee (junior computer engineering major and math minor) presented their research, "Using Artificial Intelligence and Linear Algebra Methods to Improve Predictive Modeling and Analysis of Sports Data."
Heather Ray of Speedway, Indiana (senior physics major and math and computer science minor) presented her Lewis Scholar's Program research project, "Graph Theoretical Design Strategies for Modeling Self-Assembling DNA.”
• In 2018, Lauren Johnson of Joliet and a senior elementary education major at Bob Jones University, was a student teacher at Blythe Academy in Greenville, South Carolina.
Johnson taught reading, writing, and social studies for two fifth grade classes.
• In 2018, Ball State University senior public relations major Jessica Lindsey from Frankfort, Illinois, recently contributed to CreateAthon, a 24-hour event that provides local nonprofits with pro bono public relations, marketing and advertising work. Lindsey took advantage of this initiative through Cardinal Communications, Ball State’s award-winning, student-run, creative communications agency. Cardinal Communications participated as one of five Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) nationally-affiliated, student-run firms selected by PRSSA National in conjunction with CreateAthon.
• Brielle James of Bolingbrook (60440), an undergraduate Georgia State University student studying Psychology, presented research at the 12th annual Georgia State Undergraduate Research Conference (GSURC) on April 12, 2018.
• Joshua Krischel, of Dwight, IL, and the Iowa State University Crops team placed first at the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) Judging Contest held at Northeast Community College in Norfolk, Nebraska on April 21, 2018. Individual placings of Iowa State Agronomy students as well as the group team judging scores contributed to the top finish for the fifth time in the last six years.