Oakton's Honors Students Lauded for Extraordinary Achievements
(June 4, 2020) Oakton Community College’s Honors students are shining examples of how community colleges prepare students for academic success. Many of these outstanding students have garnered major scholarships and will transfer to top-ranked academic institutions. Although Oakton was forced to cancel its annual Honors Banquet due to COVID-19, the College wishes to highlight the impressive accomplishments of several Honors students.
Among all 2019-2020 graduates, 11 students distinguished themselves by completing 18 credit hours within the Honors Program and earning the Honors Scholar Designation. This is the highest achievement possible within the Honors Program and requires an exceptional level of dedication to academic excellence.
- Adisa Ozegovic (Niles West High School) was named Oakton Honors Student of the Year. She served as the elected Oakton Student Trustee during 2019-2020 and has been accepted to Emory University.
- Aaron Banks (Champaign Central High School) was named the Liberal Arts Student of the Year. While at Oakton, Banks served as the elected Student Government Association (SGA) President and he co-authored a paper that was published in the journal Nature. He has been accepted at Northwestern University with a full academic scholarship.
- Maryana Nissan (Maine East High School) was named the STEM Student of the Year and has been accepted to the University of Illinois-Chicago's pre-medicine program with a generous academic scholarship.
- Savina Mihalopoulos (Maine South High School) was named the Global Studies Student of the Year. She has been accepted to the University of Illinois-Chicago’s Honors Program.
- Callan Padron (St. Edward Central Catholic School) was named the Environmental Science Student of the Year and has been accepted to Lake Forest College. She is currently doing fieldwork for a private conservation company.
- Nicole Ivanova (Glenbrook South High School) was awarded the Honors full-ride transfer scholarship to Elmhurst University.
- Zana Gradan (Penn Foster High School, Scranton, PA) was awarded the Honors full-ride transfer scholarship to Lake Forest College.
- Shaira Pascua (Maine West High School) is a Wentcher Scholar who will attend Northern Illinois University.
- Aleksia Kainovic (Niles West High School) transferred to American University in Washington, D.C. with a significant academic scholarship.
- Melinda Vigh (Niles West High School) will attend Northeastern Illinois University and continue her studies in Accounting.
- Bryan Alanis (Maine West High School) has been accepted to the Computer Science program at University of Illinois-Chicago.
Disciplinary Honors awards were also given to Karl Malchut (Women and Gender Studies Student of the Year) and LeiLani Kobzina (Peace and Social Justice Student of the Year). Mia Trais (Niles North High School) received the Honors Council of the Illinois Region Margaret Messer Student Research Grant and has been accepted to Loyola University Chicago with a generous academic scholarship. Amelia Baldwin (Lockport Township High School) was awarded the Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship, a nationally competitive award worth over $40,000 per year in college expenses. She has been accepted to Emory University and plans to study medicine and epidemiology.
The co-coordinators of Oakton’s Honors Program are Associate Professor of Anthropology and Sociology Megan Klein, Ph.D., and Associate Professor of Philosophy and Humanities Kristin McCartney, Ph.D.
“We are both extremely proud of all students who have taken Honors courses this year and especially of our Honors graduates. It takes an extra degree of work, determination and thoughtfulness to earn an Oakton Honors Scholar Designation. Despite the trials of remote learning this semester, the class of 2020 distinguished themselves as scholars at Oakton and beyond,” said McCartney.
Oakton will celebrate all 2020 graduates with a virtual commencement ceremony that will be available on-demand starting June 29, 2020.
Visit Honors at Oakton on the college's website for more information about opportunities available to students through the Honors program.