Top 10 of 2018: Student Success (3)

Throughout the year, Oakton student success was on display both in and outside of the classroom achieving institutional milestones as well as demonstrating individual success.

The “Persistence Project,” designed by Oakton faculty to help identify each students’ objectives and to facilitate their success, continued to see improvements as more faculty practiced the persistence protocol. Overall, new student persistence continued to increase at the college with a 6 percent improvement between 2014 and 2018. The success of the project garnered national attention, including recognition in Inside Higher Ed.

Since 2015, the institution’s graduation rate has steadily increased from 18 to 22 percent. In May 2018, Oakton celebrated the largest commencement ceremony in the history of the college.

Oakton nursing graduates exhibited a powerful blend of compassionate care and excellent technical abilities as they moved into the workforce. The high quality of the college’s rigorous program is evident as Oakton nursing graduates first-time pass rate of 98 percent on the NCLEX national licensure exam well surpassed the national average of 87 percent and the state average of 86 percent.

In the STEM field, Oakton teams flexed their muscles at various competitions held in 2018.

The National Science Foundation and American Association of Community Colleges awarded Oakton’s “Heat Recovering Silencer” second place in the 2018 Community College Innovation Challenge. The Oakton team took part in a June 13 White House reception and presented their project to members of the administration, Congress and legislative staff.

The college also took second place in the WSP Student Design Competition at the World Environmental & Water Resources (WEWR) Congress June 6 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Oakton’s project, “Smart Recovery of Water Vapor Loss for Sustainable Operations,” examined a heat mass exchange process to convert wasted heat to renewable energy.

Oakton’s robotics team finished 10th overall in the 2018 NASA Robotic Mining Competition at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center, marking the fifth straight year the team finished among the top 15.

Individual Oakton students also achieved outstanding success. Faria Ameen (Des Plaines, Maine East High School) and KylaRose Sybico Schulman (Lincolnwood, Niles West High School) were named to the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Illinois All-Academic Team.

Caroline Nebl, a general education student at Oakton and a member of the Speech and Debate Club, earned a bronze medal in the “Speech to Entertain” division of the Phi Rho Pi national forensics competition. In her comedic presentation “In Defense of Clowns,” Nebl argued that the professional clown community should be respected for the good work they do in bringing joy, laughter, and silliness to an often too serious world.

Golfer Stephen Bukielski competed at the 2018 National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division II Men’s Golf Championship. In fall 2018, golfer Nzelu Maitha cemented his place in Oakton history becoming the fourth player in the past 11 years to complete the “trifecta” of being named to the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference All-Conference Team, NJCAA Region IV Tournament All-Region Team and qualifying for nationals in the same season. Oakton volleyball improved from a one-win team from a year ago to 20-12 in 2018.