Jon Kingzette is Outstanding Senior Man, Heidi Nelson is Outstanding Senior Woman

Jun 03, 2015

North Central College has recognized Jonathon Kingzette as the 2015 Outstanding Senior Man and Heidi Nelson as Outstanding Senior Woman.  

The annual awards recognize one senior man and one senior woman for their successes in the classroom, their involvement and contributions to the campus community outside the classroom, and their future potential.

Kingzette, of Brookfield, is majoring in political science with minors in Spanish and leadership. He also is this year’s Outstanding Major in Political Science and completed North Central’s College Scholars Honors program. He presented his honors thesis at the National Conference for Undergraduate Research and North Central’s Rall Symposium for Undergraduate Research. At the National Collegiate Leadership Conference in 2014, he presented a poster on the effectiveness of veterans’ services on college campuses.

“Jon is committed to grappling with issues of inequality, social justice and civic engagement and encourages others to do the same,” said Suzanne Chod, assistant professor of political science. “He’s connected to the world around him in order to understand it better and teach others.”

Kingzette studied abroad in Ghana. On campus, he’s a resident assistant, academic life chair with the Student Governing Association, tutor for the Writing Center, and an editor for “In the Alternative,” an Illinois State Bar Association publication about alternative dispute resolution. He’s a two-time recipient of the North Central’s Writing for Social Change Award for original poems dealing with social justice themes and a recipient of the Distinguished Leader Scholarship.

He has worked as a casework summer intern in the Chicago office of U.S. Sen. Richard J. Durbin and for North Central’s Leadership, Ethics and Values program. His name regularly appears on the Dean’s List and he’s a member of the leadership honor society Blue Key and the Spanish honor society Sigma Delta Pi. Kingzette plans to pursue a Ph.D. in political science.

Nelson, of Carol Stream, carries a double major in Spanish and elementary education with a minor in English language learning. She’s also this year’s Outstanding Major in Elementary Education, the Outstanding Major in Spanish, the Outstanding Student in the Arts & Letters Division and recipient of a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Argentina, which she begins in 2016.

Nelson’s professors say she “excels in everything she does … is a mature and yet humble leader whose in-depth knowledge of the class material, curiosity and trustworthiness make her an outstanding student.” Her academic performance is “impressive … and simply excellent,” they say, and led to her name on the Dean’s List and induction in the Spanish honor society Sigma Delta Pi, the leadership honor society Blue Key and the education honor society Kappa Delta Pi, for which she served as president.

Her study abroad experiences in Costa Rica and in Peru led to involvement in North Central’s international programs, serving as a study abroad ambassador and student representative for the International Programs Committee. A resident assistant, she’s a member of the Women’s Chorale and North Central’s Teach First program, which helps first-generation college students like her become teachers.

Nelson served as a program assistant in North Central’s Junior/Senior Scholars, a college readiness program that partners with high-need elementary and secondary schools. She presented at a meeting of the National Council for Teachers of English Assembly for Research and, with professors in the education department, coauthored a subsequent publication on teacher performance assessment and accountability reforms.

Kingzette and Nelson were recognized as the outstanding seniors at North Central’s annual Honors Convocation in May.