University News

Lounsberry, Todorovic, Padgett, Cherry; Lincoln Laureate College Nominees

October 30, 2007

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MACOMB, IL - - Each of Western Illinois University's five academic colleges recently nominated one student for the prestigious Lincoln Academy of Illinois Student Laureate Award, which is presented annually to an outstanding senior from each of Illinois' four-year degree-granting institutions.

College of Arts and Sciences Julia Remes (Arden Hills, MN), was named the University's recipient of the Lincoln Academy of Illinois Student Laureate Award. She attended an Oct. 27 awards ceremony at the Old State Capitol in Springfield, where she received a certificate of achievement and a check for $150 in recognition of her outstanding achievement.

Western's Lincoln Academy of Illinois Student Laureate college nominees are: Emily Lounsberry (Oakford, IL), a finance major, from the College of Business and Technology; Snezana Todorovic (Moline, IL), a social work major, in the College of Education and Human Services; Jeffrey Padgett (Dixon, IL), a music/instrumental performance major (oboe/English horn), in the College of Fine Arts and Communication; and Charles Cherry (Conesville, IA), an interdisciplinary studies major, in the Centennial Honors College.

Lounsberry, a member of Western's Centennial Honors College, has been active in academic honor societies and in community volunteerism. In Summers 2005-2007 she interned in the Illinois Office of the Comptroller in Springfield, where she was responsible for balancing and approving daily deposits up to $400 million and completing annual audits on employee payroll files. Lounsberry serves on the executive board of Golden Key International Honor Society; is secretary of the Finance Club; and is a member of Sigma Iota Epsilon Management, Phi Kappa Phi Scholastic and Beta Gamma Sigma Business honorary societies. Her volunteer activities include the Salvation Army Tornado Disaster Relief, St. Peter Church (Lexington, KY) Mission Trip for Habitat for Humanity, Big Pink Volleyball fundraiser for breast cancer, American Cancer Society-Relay for Life and working on a number of food drives.

Todorovic, who goes by "Nana" (Snezana), came to the U.S. in 2004 as a refugee from Bosnia. As an 18-year-old she was forced to leave her country in order to live; so she traveled to the U.S. with her daughter and her mother, Todorovic said. Her sponsoring agency was looking for a factory job for her, but she wanted to become a social worker and help others like her. She earned a proficiency certificate in English as a Second Language and began an associate degree at Black Hawk College in Moline, which she completed in Spring 2007, Summa Cum Laude, while also completing 32 credit hours commuting to WIU-Macomb. In Fall 2006, Todorovic served an internship in Illinois Senator Barack Obama's Moline office. She is a member of Western's Centennial Honors College, Mortar Board Society and Phi Alpha national honor society for social work students. She has also worked as an English language and social science tutor at Black Hawk College since Spring 2006. She plans on pursuing a Master of Social Work to "ultimately work with refugees, helping them adjust to the new culture or in a place that would allow me to influence social policies and better people's lives on a higher scale – a place like Senator Obama's office," Todorovic said.

Padgett is the opinion columnist for Western's student-run newspaper. the Western Courier, for which he writes articles from a moderate-conservative viewpoint with an emphasis on ethical dimensions. He has also served as the School of Music representative to the Student Government Association. Padgett has performed in Western's Symphony Orchestra and Symphonic Wind Ensemble and is active in chamber music. He was a concerto finalist at the MasterWorks Festival. Padgett is a member of Phi Kappa Phi and Golden Key International Honor Society. He volunteered on a Katrina work team to help rebuild the New Orleans area and was part of Volunteers in Teaching Adult Literacy (VITAL). He currently serves as worship leader at University Baptist Church. Padgett is planning on graduating in Spring 2008 and is currently preparing for graduate school auditions.

Cherry, Western's 2005 Homecoming King, serves as senior resident assistant, with rotational supervision over two residence halls. He has held leadership positions on several committees, including Western's Resident Assistant Council, National Residence Hall Honorary (NRHH) and the Illinois State Residence Assistant Association, as well as participated in a number of national and state conferences. He served as the only undergraduate member of the WIU Resident Assistant Training Committee. Cherry was awarded the Top Ten Program award at the Illinois Residence Hall Association Conference in 2005. He also received the Illinois Residence Hall Association Four-Year Service Award (2007). Cherry is scheduled to graduate in December, after which he will pursue a graduate degree focusing on student life in higher education.

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