North Central News

Student leader receives 2020 Lincoln Laureate Award

Kamari Jordan

Oct 30, 2020

In recognition of her active leadership on campus, Emma L. Nelson ’21 has been selected as North Central College’s 2020 Lincoln Laureate honoree. 

Nelson, who is majoring in athletic training, will receive a Student Laureate Medallion, a $1,000 educational grant and a certificate of honor. This year, the Lincoln Academy of Illinois–which sponsors the annual award program–will also send winners a challenge coin to encourage them to continue to inspire and transform the world through integrity, courage, honesty and empathy.  

According to the Lincoln Academy of Illinois website, “Student Laureates are honored for their leadership and service in the pursuit of the betterment of humanity and for overall excellence in curricular and extracurricular activities. 

Nelson recognizes North Central’s faculty as a source of inspiration. “Inside the classroom, I have always felt comfortable enough to ask questions and valued enough to share my thoughts and opinions without judgment from my professors or classmates,” said Nelson. “My professors teach from a place of passion, and they inspire me to be a curious and engaged student and citizen.” 

Her empathy and passion for others are reflected in her involvement on campus and participation in the two mission trips she took through her church. “One of the greatest things about North Central has been the opportunity to meet so many new, different people,” she said. “I’ve learned to work alongside, as well as lead, people who think differently than me, and this is probably one of the most valuable things that I will take with me.” 

Nelson plans to give back through her career. As a former captain of the Newark Community High School volleyball team, she remembers the help she received as an athlete from athletic trainers. “I have always dreamed of going back to a high school setting to work as a certified athletic trainer and inspire students like I was inspired by my athletic trainer,” said Nelson.  

This award has reassured Nelson that she is following her passion and making a difference in the world “Winning this award humbles me,” she said. “It makes me realize that I am creating change and being a light. To me, that is the greatest award of all.” 

Emma Nelson holds her certificate for being North Central College's 2020 Lincoln Laureate.