Sauk Valley Community College

an institution of higher education that provides quality learning opportunities to meet the diverse needs of its students and community

SVCC Recognizes 14 Honors Students for 08-09

Fourteen Sauk Valley Community College students were recently recognized for their outstanding academic achievement in SVCC’s Honors Program for the fall 2008 and spring 2009 academic year.

The students were honored with a reception that was attended by students, family, and faculty members. Honors Program Co-Director Valarie Wittman, associate professor of computer information systems, welcomed the students. Co-director Steve Shaff, professor of mathematics, presented the awards, which were made possible by the Sauk Foundation.

The recipients include Nathan Schumacher, Franklin Grove; Jim Shirk, Morrison; Onnica Martin, Sterling; Carrie Smoot, Dixon; Justin Diehl, Polo; Cynthia Heckman, Dixon; Terra Thomas, Dixon; Jon Hoekstra, Dixon; Cody Rhea, Dixon; Chiyo Palen, Morrison, Tina Thompson, Walnut; Lailonie McKinney,  Dixon; Janette Clay, Dixon; and Sowmya Hombal, Dixon.

  • Nathan Schumacher, a Business-International Law major, received a $450 award. His current project involves researching Charles Ponzi and Bernard Madoff’s “Ponzi Scheme.” His past projects included a speech and visual aid on welding, a paper addressing the rhetorical style of Muhammad Ali, and research on the VIOXX litigation process.       
  • Jim Shirk, an engineering sciences major, received a $450 award. His current project involves the exploration of the physics and calculations in the field of rocketry. His past projects included mathematics papers that addressed the calculus of suspension bridges and arch dams, and physics investigations on the Kelvinator, a Marble Launcher, and cathode-ray and plasma televisions.
  • Onnica Martin, major undecided, received a $450 award. Her current project involves teaching a week-long unit on 1920s movies and mass culture in a SVCC American History course. Her past projects included the production of a black and white video for a Medieval through Renaissance art course and the creation of a display panel on the local influence of Abraham Lincoln for the Sterling-Rock Falls Historical Society.
  • Carrie Smoot, a nursing major, received a $450 award. Her current project is a 25-page persuasive / informative essay on the importance of adult stem cell research and the lack of need for embryonic stem cell research. Her past project consisted of a 12- page informative pamphlet on the importance of breastfeeding.
  • Justin Diehl, a criminal justice major, received a $300 award. His current projects involve a paper on the Miranda rights and a compilation of interviews conducted during visits with the Sterling Police Department. His past project was an essay analyzing newsworthy topics in the criminal justice system.
  • Cynthia Heckman, a special education major, received a $300 award. Her current projects involve a report summarizing the teaching methods and adaptations for general and special education students in the field of fiction and literature, and teaching a short unit in an American History course. Her past project included an oral presentation for a biology course that analyzed the results of a personal nutrition survey.
  • Terra Thomas, a nursing major, received a $200 award. Her current and past projects each address the value of Hatha yoga classes in stress reduction for beginning nursing students. These projects involved research, verbal and written communication, interactions with fellow students, and experience with yoga as it pertains to holistic nursing practice.
  • Jon Hoekstra, a history major, received a $200 award. His current project is an essay written as a continuation of a display completed for the Sterling-Rock Falls Historical Society that highlights Abraham Lincoln’s 1856 visit to Sterling. The display was aimed for elementary school students.
  • Cody Rhea, a criminal justice major, received a $200 award. His current project involves a paper summarizing criminal law procedures and policies employed by the Dixon Police Department during a visit. His past project was a comparative study among local law enforcement on their response to school shootings.
  • Chiyo Palen, an accounting major, received a $200 award.  Her current project is a research paper regarding observations of nonverbal behavior in professional and nonprofessional settings.     Her past project was a workbook titled “Art Appreciation for Beginners,” which encourages the beginner to think outside the box and view art in a different light.
  • Tina Thompson, an art history major, received a $200 award.  Her current project is an anthology for a SVCC Literature course which uses a variety of writing styles that represent a personal transformational process. Her past research project was titled “Sarcophagi in Ancient Civilizations.” It addressed ancient Etruscan, Roman, and Early Christian civilizations.
  • Lailonie McKinney, a psychology major, received a $200 award. Her current project addresses the topic of gender as a learned concept taught by the ethnocentric attitudes of society. Her past project was a presentation detailing the physical and emotional events associated with rape.
  • Janette Clay, a psychology major, received a $200 award. Her current project involves outreach to the local Hispanic community via hands on training and translation through the Master Gardeners of Whiteside County organization “Plant a Row for the Hungry.” This is a continuation of a project completed during the fall 2008 semester.
  • Sowmya Hombal, a radiology technology major, received a $200 award. Her current project is a paper addressing Angiogenesis and Cancer. Her past project, entitled “Gene Therapy and Cancer” involved researching various techniques used to transfer genes, the recent successful clinical trials, drawbacks, and ethical and moral issues associated with Gene Therapy.

The College’s Honors Program provides unique educational opportunities for successful students.  Once admitted to the program, students may pursue special intellectual interests and courses on an honors basis that extends beyond normal course demands. Students who complete projects then have the opportunity to apply for Foundation Scholarship Awards during the spring semester. 

The Sauk Foundation provides funding for the Honors Program Awards. Through its many services, the Foundation broadens Sauk’s range of educational opportunities and services for students.

For more information on the Sauk Foundation, call 815/288-5511, extensions. 329 or 345. For more information on Sauk’s Honors Program, call Valarie Wittman, at 288-5511, ext. 388; or Steve Shaff at extension 238.

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