Senior of the Year Award

The Alumni Association of Elmhurst University created the Senior of the Year Award in 1992 as a way to honor the senior who typifies the Elmhurst University graduate.

Students of senior status are nominated through a process that includes a summary of activities on campus, an essay, and two letters of endorsement from members of the faculty, staff and administration. These nominations are reviewed by a committee of alumni volunteers and finalists are selected.

Finalists appear for an interview by an alumni panel and are critiqued based on three categories: scholastic aptitude, campus involvement, and his or her passion for continuing the Elmhurst University tradition. The award is presented to the student who most excels in all areas.

Theresa Alberth

theresa alberth headshotTheresa Alberth is from Schaumburg, Ill. majoring in mathematics and physics. “A special part of my Elmhurst community that has brought me great joy extends to the younger students I have tutored and met as a volunteer within a junior high math classroom.” Throughout her three years at Elmhurst, she served as a peer leader and programming co-chair for the Honors Program. As a peer leader, she provided her guidance and expertise to new honors program students. She is also a member of Phi Kappa Phi and was the recipient of the Gerda Luner Memorial Prize for Social Justice and the Holocaust in spring 2022. In 2023 Theresa participated in a summer National Science Foundation Research Experience for an undergraduate program, where she worked for 10 weeks at a quantum optics lab. “As I progress through my program and beyond, my goal is to become an academic professor and mentor for women and underrepresented students in the physics community. I want to provide support and motivate younger students to reach their full potential.”

Edmund Conroy

edmund conroy headshotEdmund Conroy is from Arlington Heights, Ill, majoring in biochemistry with minors in physics and Spanish. His academic success was matched by his athletic leadership, notably as captain of the Elmhurst Men’s Soccer team. Additionally, he earned accolades such as the CCIW Respect award, membership in the Chi Alpha Sigma society, and consistent placement on the Dean’s list. Beyond his achievements, he has been deeply involved in service and mentorship, both on and off campus, including roles in Chemistry Peer mentorship and a member of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee. Off-campus, he volunteered with HeartSmart EKG and the Chicago Marathon as a medical volunteer. Additionally, he worked as a personal trainer and currently holds a role at Northwest Community Hospital in the Emergency Department. Edmund sees experiential learning as vital for his future career stating, “Experiential learning has helped establish a solid foundation for my future career as I will embrace failure and collaboration as cornerstones of my practice. Edmund will attend AT Still University Kirksville College of Medicine where he envisions becoming an Emergency Medicine Physician. He plans to continue his commitment to mentorship and community engagement, embodying Elmhurst’s spirit in his practice.

Rachel Fratt

rachel fratt headshotRachel Fratt, a native of Las Vegas, Nev. is majoring in art business with a minor in art. She excelled both academically and as a leader in various campus organizations. Throughout her time at Elmhurst, Rachel has showcased her leadership abilities as RA in West Hall, President of the Art Club, Vice President of Programming and Standards for Sigma Kappa, Head Designer for Middle Western Voice, and Lead Designer for The Leader newspaper. She has also been a dedicated member of the Women’s Golf Team and served as captain. Her commitment to social responsibility is evident through her internship with the Elmhurst Art Museum and Compound Yellow Gallery in which she showcases her talent and dedication to art and cultural projects. As she embarks on her studies in Portugal, she envisions continuing her relationship with Elmhurst University, where she has laid the foundation for a career in which art and business meet seamlessly.

Gabriel Emiliano Galindo

gabriel galindo headshotGabriel Emiliano Galindo is a native of Hoffman Estates, Ill. and is majoring in digital media and Spanish with a minor in film studies. Gabriel has demonstrated a strong commitment to academic excellence and interdisciplinary learning. During his time at Elmhurst, Gabriel has been actively engaged in various academic and extracurricular pursuits. He has served as President and Secretary of the Alpha Mu Gamma National Foreign Language Honor Society, showcasing not only his linguistic proficiency but also his leadership abilities. Additionally, he has contributed as a staff writer and recently became editor of arts and culture for The Leader newspaper, and has been an engaged member of the Latino Student Association, Political Discussion Club, and Model UN. Gabriel articulates his vision for the future, stating, “These achievements and titles I’ve obtained weren’t done in exchange for a reward, but rather on the dedication and effort to uphold these values for the greater good of the institution.”

Eaden Hvarre

eaden hvarre headshotEaden Hvarre is from Dixon, Ill. and is majoring in psychology with minors in criminal justice, dance, and Spanish. Her commitment to social responsibility is evident through volunteer work as a medical advocate for sexual assault survivors. She also aspires to reform the criminal justice system, believing in second chances for inmates. Eaden’s campus involvement includes leadership roles in various organizations, such as Director of Philanthropy for Alpha Phi Sorority, and President of Panhellenic Council, which showcases her dedication to community and service. “I will embody Elmhurst by spending the rest of my life giving back to others and believing in their potential the same way that Elmhurst has for me.”

Tori Kornatowski

tori karnatowski headshotTori Kornatowski is from Northlake, Ill. and is majoring in music education. Tori has excelled academically while actively contributing to campus life. She has been involved in various organizations, including the Concert Choir, where she served as Publicity Chair and the Late-Night Blues Vocal Jazz Ensemble, where she led as President. She has also been an active member of Lambda Sigma Psi Music Honors Society and Kappa Delta Pi Education Honors Society, demonstrating her commitment to academic excellence. Tori has made significant contributions to campus life as an Orientation Student Leader. In this role, she played a crucial part in helping new students navigate the challenges of college life, providing guidance and support during their transition to university. Tori emphasizes the importance of social responsibility and community building and plans to instill these values in her future students while continuing to promote collaboration and mutual respect in her personal and professional life.

Kendall Schieppe

kendall schieppe headshotKendall Schieppe, is a dedicated sport management major with minors in digital marketing communications and digital media. Coming from Lebanon, Ill. Kendall’s journey at Elmhurst began in 2022, and she quickly made her mark across campus. Balancing academic excellence with extracurricular involvement, Kendall has been an active member of various athletic teams and student organizations, including Women’s Lacrosse, Women’s Basketball and Film Club, where she served as Vice President. She also served as captain for the Women’s Lacrosse team. Kendall’s dedication extends beyond the classroom as she held leadership positions such as Union Board’s Large-Scale Events Chair and Senator for the Student Government Association. Looking ahead, Kendall envisions leveraging her experiences at Elmhurst to make a positive impact professionally and personally. “In five years, I envision myself as a proud alumna of Elmhurst University, and someone who has been deeply touched by the values and traditions instilled in me here, that have paved the way for my personal and professional journey.” After graduation, she will become a full-time studio manager at Body20 in Naperville, Ill.

Payton Schmidt

payton schmidt headshotPayton Schmidt, from West Dundee, Ill. is majoring in business administration and sport management, with a minor in communications. Throughout her time at Elmhurst University, Payton has shown the true spirit of a Bluejay, engaging in various clubs and organizations. As a standout athlete, Payton served as Captain of the Women’s Basketball team for three years and represented her peers as President for the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Beyond athletics, she was an active participant in academic honor societies such as Delta Mu Delta and Phi Kappa Phi, showcasing her commitment to excellence both on and off the court. In addition to the academic honor societies, she is also an Honors Program Global Scholar. “My Bluejay experience exemplified all of Elmhurst University’s values. I took full advantage of my platform to encourage social responsibility.” She envisions pursuing a Master’s in Business Administration from Elmhurst and remains committed to giving back to her alma mater as a mentor and resource for future Bluejays.

Dominika Zak

dominika zak headshotDominika Zak, is from Roselle, Ill. and pursing degrees in nursing and psychology. Throughout her time at Elmhurst, Dominika has been actively involved in various academic and extracurricular activities. She is an inducted member of Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology, Pi Gamma Mu, Phi Kappa Phi, and the Sigma Theta Tau International Honors Society of Nursing. She was also recently awarded the Pabst-Zibricky Memorial Faculty Award, which is presented annually to a nursing student who best embodies the legacy of Dr. Mary Pabst and Dr. Dawn Zibricky with exceptional commitment to self-formation and professional preparation. Additionally, she served as the President of the Student Nurses Association, President of the Elmhurst Polish Student Association, and held multiple roles as a peer advisor, including Student Ambassador and ELSA Life Coach. Dominika’s commitment to empathy and compassionate care shines through her experiences working with oncology patients during her nursing education. Dominika is dedicated to making a positive impact on the lives of others. She aspires to advocate for health equity and social justice, addressing systemic issues within healthcare and promoting inclusive, patient-centered care for all individuals.

  • 2021: Amanda O’Brien
  • 2022: Sonali Rajput
  • 2023: Hiba Anees
  • 2020: Alexandria Schultz
  • 2019: Riley Schweig
  • 2018: Esther Pereira
  • 2017: Erik Maranto
  • 2016: Tyler Espino
  • 2015:  Meredithe Mimlitz
  • 2014: Marissa McLean
  • 2013: Uchenna Ebiringah
  • 2012: Jacob Meding
  • 2011: Genesis Jelkes
  • 2010: Elizabeth Harland
  • 2009: Melissa Steirer
  • 2008: Alexander Kefaloukos
  • 2007: Brian Slackert
  • 2006: Dain Gotto
  • 2005: Isabel Bauer
  • 2004: Joud Abdel Majeid
  • 2003: Kelly VanGuilder
  • 2002: Christopher Speil
  • 2001: Angela Gianforte
  • 2000: Analy Ponce
  • 1999: Anastasia Buriegi
  • 1998: Amy Ferraro
  • 1997: Herb Washington Jr.
  • 1996: John Barr
  • 1995: Gretchen Gehrlein
  • 1994: Stephanie Nawyn
  • 1993: Eric Lindberg

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