IVCC students receive award to present at national NSF conference


Sam McCauley, at left, and
Judith Kirchner, right)
received scholarships to
attend the NSF / ATE
Conference in Washington D.C.

Two technical students at Illinois Valley Community College received a national award at a conference in Washington D.C. hosted by the National Science Foundation and the American Association of Community Colleges.

Judith Kirchner of LaSalle and Samuel McCauley of Princeton received scholarships to attend the Advanced Technological Education Conference Oct. 17-19, 2007 where they were honored at a Student Recognition Breakfast.

Kirchner, an engineering design student, and McCauley, an electronics student, are in their second year as members of a Leadership Team for technical students at IVCC. The Leadership Team, which is supported by a National Science Foundation grant, recognizes students for their commitment to their studies and fellow students and provides them with opportunities for personal and professional growth.

Potential team members are nominated by their instructors and a committee selects students on the basis of attitude, commitment and work ethic, willingness to help others and leadership potential. The students are paid a stipend each semester to mentor fellow students and assist with promotional activities.

Kirchner and McCauley presented a showcase on their Leadership Team activities at the ATE conference.

"We got a lot of compliments on our program," McCauley said. "The four-year college students said they wished they could be involved in the kinds of activities we’re doing at the community college."

McCauley, a 2006 graduate of Princeton High School, will earn an Associate in Applied Science degree in electronics in May 2008. He plans to transfer to a university to pursue a bachelor’s degree in electro-mechanical engineering.

McCauley is currently working as an apprentice electrician at Elmore Electronics in Princeton, and he is the lab assistant for IVCC Electronics Program Coordinator Jim Gibson.

He is the son of Paul McCauley of Princeton and Jody Bell of Indianapolis, Ind.

For Kirchner, the networking opportunities at the conference were especially helpful.

"I talked to professors from Purdue University about my plans to transfer there next year in the mechanical engineering program," she said.

Kirchner, who is from Fort Wayne, Ind., was in commercial and residential property management for 17 years before enrolling at IVCC. She has two children, ages 17 and 20.

Kirchner is currently working as a drafter and CAD operator at Cougar Industries in Peru. She also serves as the lab assistant for IVCC CAD/CAE Program Coordinator Dorene Perez.

McCauley and Kirchner were selected for the conference on the basis of essays they wrote outlining their goals for attending the conference. Only 45 students nationwide were selected.

"I am very proud of the students and the exceptional growth I’ve seen in them," said Gibson.

Perez said she has been very pleased with the leadership team students. "It has been exciting to watch the students develop and take initiative," she said.

The students were accompanied to the Washington D.C. conference by Perez, Gibson and IVCC communications instructor Rose Marie Lynch, who serve as Principal Investigators on the NSF grant that funds the Leadership Team.