North Central College names 2016 Outstanding Seniors

Jun 03, 2016

North Central College recognized Jack Ryan as the Outstanding Senior Man and Kori Sye as the Outstanding Senior Woman for 2016 during the College’s annual Honors Convocation in May.

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.

Ryan, of Oswego, double majored in mathematics and theatre and minored in computer science. Regularly on the Dean’s List, Ryan was an active member of the mathematics honor society Pi Mu Epsilon and the leadership honor society Blue Key. He also was recognized by the Goldwater Scholarship Program as a 2015 Honorable Mention and was North Central College’s 2015 Lincoln Laureate.

A College Scholar who studied abroad at the University of Glasgow, Ryan has presented research at several conferences. Notably, he was selected for a panel discussion at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the New American Colleges and Universities (NAC&U). He was selected because of his unique integrated research project and honors thesis, “Betting Better on Broadway,” which combined his mathematics and theatre majors. Ryan also has engaged in National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) at California State University, Channel Islands, and the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.

“Jack Ryan is the epitome of what it means to be a liberal arts student,” said Neil Nicholson, assistant professor of mathematics. “His involvement extends across disciplines and he is passionate about everything he does. His work is impeccable; he critically assesses feedback to improve his abilities and consistently does it with a smile on his face.”  

Among his many leadership roles on campus, Ryan was a Resident Assistant, orientation leader, preceptor and student ambassador in the Office of Admission. He will pursue his Ph.D. in mathematics at the University of Tennessee in fall 2016.

Sye, of Roselle, majored in chemistry and minored in mathematics. A College Scholar and the Outstanding Major in Chemistry, Sye participated last summer in a National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The research she helped conduct was accepted for publication in the journal Protein Science, and Sye was listed as the second author. Among her many conference presentations, Sye presented this research as part of her honors thesis.

At North Central, Sye demonstrated her leadership skills as a Resident Assistant and as founder of the Women of Math and Science Club (WAVES), which promotes women’s careers in STEM fields. Sye was recognized by the Goldwater Scholarship Program as a 2015 Honorable Mention recipient, was awarded an Undergraduate Award in Inorganic Chemistry by the American Chemical Society Division of Inorganic Chemistry and received the Gladys Anderson Emerson Scholarship from Iota Sigma Pi. She is a member of the women in chemistry honor society Iota Sigma Pi, the mathematics honor society Pi Mu Epsilon and the American Chemical Society.

“Kori is a self-starter and a highly motivated learner,” said Nancy Peterson, professor of chemistry and director of undergraduate research. “An outstanding scholar, productive researcher and active participant in the life of the College, Kori fulfills the characteristics of the award and has integrated her campus citizenship with her academic interests.”

Sye has been awarded a highly prestigious NSF Fellowship and a Robert C. and Carolyn J. Springborn Graduate Fellowship in Chemistry. Together, these fellowships will fund her five-year Ph.D. program in physical chemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in fall 2016.