During the 2019 Elmhurst College Founders’ Honors Convocation ceremony earlier this month, four seniors received the Founders and Senior of the Year awards, considered among the College’s top honors for individual student achievement.
Held on May 2 in Hammerschmidt Memorial Chapel, the Founders’ Honors Convocation celebrated students who received academic awards, research grants, scholarships and other recognitions of achievement.
“We are inspired by your accomplishments and are committed to fostering many more, by you and the students who will follow you,” President Troy D. VanAken said during the ceremony.
The Founders Award: The Courage to Change 2019 comprises three awards, each recognizing self-initiated service that brings about change and embodies humane values. One Founders Award is given for service to the College community; a second is given for service to the greater society; and a third, the Cureton Award, is given for service to the global community. The award includes a medallion, a certificate and a monetary award. Candidates are nominated by members of the College community.
- Katrina Mioduszewski, a senior from Elmwood Park, Ill., received the Founders Award for Service to the College Community. The co-founder and president of EC Justice also has held positions in the Student Government Association and written columns for the student newspaper, The Leader. Mioduszewski, an intercultural studies and sociology major, also has been a member of Alpha Phi Omega and the Elmhurst College Honors Organization. She has volunteered through AmeriCorps- Illinois Youth Center, and after graduation she plans to work with youth who need support before pursuing master’s and doctoral degrees in sociology.
- Natalie Barnes, a senior from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, received the Founders Award for Service to the Greater Society. Barnes is president of the Spiritual Life Council and founding president of Civic Engagement. The urban studies and political science major also is a member of the Student Government Association, Mock Trial team, Elmhurst College Democrats, Coalition for Multicultural Engagement, UCC student council, Habitat for Humanity, EC Justice and several honors societies, including Omicron Delta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi. Barnes has spent her summers interning and studying off-campus, her work focusing on politics, urban studies and fair housing.
- Jentry Schirmbeck, a senior from Palatine, Ill., received the Founders Award known as the Cureton Award for Service to the Global Community. She has been an Honors Program Peer Leader, a student ambassador and a member of the Residence Hall Association, Alpha Phi Omega and Kappa Gamma. An exercise science major, she has studied in Jamaica, interned in Australia and New Zealand, and volunteered with Habitat for Humanity. After graduation, she hopes to continue “to reach greater possibilities, motivating people, investing in communities and traveling the globe.”
The Senior of the Year Award is a highly sought-after award whose winner is selected by a special committee of the Elmhurst College Alumni Association, which created the award in 1992 to honor the senior who typifies the Elmhurst College graduate. The winner excels in academics and campus involvement, and is passionate about continuing the Elmhurst College tradition.
The 2019 Senior of the Year Award winner is Riley Schweig, a biology and psychology double major from Aurora, Ill. Schweig has juggled multiple roles on campus, including playing on the softball team and serving as president of Relay for Life, pledge trainer for Alpha Phi Omega and Orientation Student Leader. Schweig is proudest of her contributions to Relay for Life, an event that not only is a significant fundraiser for the American Cancer Society but that also honors cancer survivors and their families. When asked what makes a good alumnus, Schweig answered that a good alumnus represents the College well, is open to new experiences and gets back to campus regularly to experience how the College continues to evolve.