Oakton's Honors students lauded for achievements

Submitted by Oakton Community College
Posted7/3/2020 12:59 PM

Oakton Community College Honors students are shining examples of how community colleges prepare students for academic success, as many 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 major accomplishments of these distinguished students:


• 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 premedicine 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.

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• Amelia Baldwin (Lockport Township High School) was awarded the Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship, a nationally competitive award worth more than $40,000 per year in college expenses. She has been accepted to Emory University and plans to study medicine and epidemiology.

• 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 a full-ride transfer scholarship to Elmhurst University.

• Zana Gradan (Penn Foster High School, Scranton, Pennsylvania) 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.


• Karl Malchut (Florida) was named the Women and Gender Studies Student of the Year.

• LeiLani Kobzina (Colorado) was the 2019 Oakton Honors Student of the Year, and was named the 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.

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," said McCartney.

"Despite the trials of remote learning this semester, the class of 2020 distinguished themselves as scholars at Oakton and beyond."

Oakton will celebrate all 2020 graduates with a virtual commencement ceremony that will be available on-demand starting June 29.

Visit Honors at Oakton on the college's website for more information about opportunities available to students through the Honors Program.

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