Students Being Awesome

speaker-podiumCongratulations to Honors students Joshua LaFollette and Sara Jenkins, Stuart A. Ryder Scholarship winners in second place and honorable mention, respectively, in the 2018 Communication Arts Conference at Judson University!

The Communication Arts end-of-semester conference provides an opportunity for the members of the CA community (which includes majors in Communication Studies, English, Interdisciplinary Communication, Media Business/Management, Media Writing, and Secondary Education: English) to practice their craft in a context that goes beyond the classroom and approximates the “real life” situation of an academic conference.

Josh, a senior Media Writing major, presented on “Music in Advertising.” Sara, a sophomore Secondary Education major, presented a paper on “Graphic Novels in the Classroom.”

Great work, Josh and Sara!




Students Being Awesome

image002Congratulations to Honor student Jarod Pletcher, who was highlighted in the April 3 installment of “It’s a Great Day to be a Judson Eagle. The write-up is below:

Jarod Pletcher, a junior architecture major, is the 1151 Initiative Coordinator for JSO and next year will serve the student body as Vice President of the External Branch.  

“The 1151 Initiative was begun last year by Alan Osinski, Bryan Cherry, and Zach Hicks to create a space that would be chosen by students, designed by students, meet a student need on campus, and foster stronger relationships within the student body,” Jarod explained. “Students were given three options which were developed by JSO and the student body voted to renovate the unused Lindner Pool into an outdoor lounge.”

Marvin Reyes was a Judson Master of Architecture student last year when he created the plans and renderings that were presented at a town hall meeting in March. Now, JSO is working with Shales-McNutt Construction on an estimated budget and with Judson’s Advancement Department to begin fundraising efforts.

“Judson University is actively preparing its students not just for academic success, but also for success outside of college, and the 1151 Initiative is evidence of that. The fact that students, such as us on JSO, feel confident enough to begin a project like the 1151 Initiative shows Judson University’s care in fostering students’ ambitions,” said Jarod.

Way to go Jarod!

Students Being Awesome

Congratulations are in order for three Honors Students who have received recognition for their good work! Andrew Kennedy has an upcoming publication, and Rebekah Thompson and James Fleshman recently presented their research at an academic conference.

Their stories were publicized by Judson News and Events:

image004Judson Senior Will Publish in a Scientific Journal

Judson Senior Pre-med student Andrew Kennedy will be a published scientific writer before graduation this spring. His paper titled “Angelman Syndrome: An Autism Spectrum Disorder” was accepted for publication in the April issue of the Journal of Student Research, a peer-reviewed publication. The paper focuses on the genetic disorder Angelman Syndrome, its underlying causes and the debate over its title as an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Angelman Syndrome is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by impaired speech, uncontrollable laughter and the possible loss of total control over motor functions.

The paper was a project in Andrew’s Honors Genetic Analysis course during his sophomore year. Dr. Jeffrey Henderson, chair of the Department of Science and Mathematics, edited and submitted his paper to the Journal.

“I initially came to Judson for the caring community, to have a strong relationship with my professors, and to have the chance to pursue projects and academic excellence in a way that is not often afforded at the undergraduate level. Over my time at Judson, I have been able to achieve each aspect of these initial goals. My paper on Angelman Syndrome is a perfect example of this. I have been able to work closely with Dr. Henderson to pursue academic excellence while being surrounded by those who cared about who I am within the Judson community,” said Andrew. “Though the Judson Science and Math Program is not the largest program on campus, the Pre-Medical journey a student can go on while at Judson cannot be matched. From the personal attention, opportunities to achieve academic excellence, and a perspective and dialogue on issues in the world rooted in the church, the Judson Science and Math Program has set me up for success no matter where my journey takes me.”


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Honors Students Present at the Midwest Region Society of Biblical Literature

Congratulations to two Judson Honors students who presented papers at the Student Religious Studies Conference hosted by the Midwest Region Society of Biblical Literature, at Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Ind.

Intercultural Leadership majors James Fleshman and Rebekah Thompson presented their papers titled “Romans 8:18-39 and the Role of the Spirit in Sonship” and “1 John 4:7-21,” respectively. 

 “Presenting at the Student Religious Studies Conference in Indiana was a great privilege and honor for me. After completing my exegetical work on Romans 8:18-39 last semester, Dr. Eric Mason asked me if I would be interested in presenting the paper at the conference, to which I happily obliged! At the conference, I was given the opportunity not only to read and present my paper, but I was also able to meet other students who are interested in biblical studies and exegetical research. It was a wonderful educational experience for me as I was able to apply classroom knowledge to the ‘real world’ of academia. I’m very thankful that Judson provides opportunities like this for students, and would encourage anyone else who has the chance to present to take the opportunity,” said James Fleshman. 

The conference included papers from students at the undergraduate level through the Ph.D. level, and Judson is the only school that has had students present papers every year since the inception of the conference in 2007.

Honors Students Share First Place in Communication Arts Conference

Congratulations to Honors students Catherine Anderson and Joshua LaFollette for sharing first place as Stuart A. Ryder Scholarship winners from the recent Communication Arts Conference! Catherine, a senior English major, presented her paper “We Live Again.” Josh, a senior Media Writing major, presented on “The Evolution of the Transgressive Exploitation Film.” Great work by great students!

Judson’s 2017 Student Laureate

ribbon1 (1)Congrats to Honors student Andrew Kennedy, who was named the 2017 Student Laureate of the Lincoln Academy of Illinois. Every fall, a meritorious senior from each of the four-year, degree-granting colleges and universities in Illinois is awarded the Abraham Lincoln Civic Engagement Award and becomes a Student Laureate. Andrew is a senior Biochemistry/Premedical major in the Honors Program and has earned Dean’s List honors throughout his time at Judson.

He has spearheaded initiatives to build community within the Department of Science and Mathematics, volunteering to be the student liaison to faculty, organizing departmental meetings each semester and a yearly barbecue social. He has worked as a volunteer with the World Leaders Forum and been a member of student government. In fact, as head of Student Advocacy for JSO, he traveled to Springfield, Ill., to lobby for bipartisan passage of a bill to distribute MAP grant monies. He has planned and served on the Global Outreach team and been on two trips to Belize. The summer of 2016, he worked with a cancer research lab in Singapore. 

Andrew will be honored with the Lincoln Academy Student Laureate Medallion, a certificate of achievement and the Abraham Lincoln Civic Engagement award in the amount of $1,000. Way to go, Andrew!

2017 Student Research Day

We had a successful Fifth Annual Student Research Day at Judson on April 24! Organized by The Honors Program and sponsored by the Office of Academic Affairs, each year the event celebrates and showcases some of the best work done by Judson students during the year. Eight students presented on their work from this year, in disciplines ranging from Architecture to Film to Biochemistry to Literature to Worship Arts to Graphic Design.

The Honors Program was well represented. Graduating seniors Natalia Warren and Rachel Peterson, as well as junior Catherine Anderson, shared their work.



In “The Importance of Inquiry,” Natalia reported on designing an interactive peer-to-peer learning activity for students.






Rachel shared from her study of 1893 Columbian Exposition Women’s Building architect Sophia Hayden in “Sophia Hayden: A Story of Success.”





And Catherine read from her award-winning study of “Redefining Piety” in Homer.




Congratulations to all presenters, and many thanks to the nominating faculty!

Jhennifer Amundson
Warren Anderson
Jeff Carl
Amy Greene
Sharon Kim
Lauren Meranda
Christopher Miller
Mark Torgerson


Students Being Awesome

We’ve had two different student presentation events at Judson in the past couple of weeks, and The Honors Program has been well represented.

Judson University Student Research Day


First was Judson’s Student Research Day, where faculty nominate students to share their work with a campus-wide audience. Senior science major Jarod Schieler shared his work on “Treating a Dysregulated JAK/STAT Pathway in Cancer Cells.” From the abstract:



This presentation will elucidate the key tenets of the JAK/STAT pathway and how oncogenesis transpires as a result of dysregulation. It also surveys current treatments used for an aberrant biochemical pathway and an introduction into the CRISPR-Cas9 system, which has the potential to rewrite the genome with precision, leading to cures for genetic diseases (e.g. cancer) and to the controversial creation of designer babies.




Senior Lauren Price, also a science major, described her work on “The Role of ADAM 17 in Colon Cancer”:




ADAM 17 is known to play a role in the release of growth factors that contribute to rapid tumor growth. ADAM 17 is predicted to act upstream in the pathway that initiates the release of these growth factors. Therefore, inhibition of ADAM 17 is predicted to lower the levels of these growth factors. To test this hypothesis, human colon cancer cell lines such as HT-29 and HCT116 were cultured then treated with an agonist and an ADAM 17 inhibitor at different time points. The results were analyzed using Western Blotting and the preliminary data supports the hypothesis.


IMG_4998Senior Jon Richardson, a major in the School of Art, Design, and Architecture, gave a presentation on “Time, Beauty, and Landscape in Video Art,” his large-scale video installation piece. The presentation provided an overview of how the romantic landscape painting tradition and time-based, generative design were combined to create a piece that explores the changeable, illusive nature of time, memory, and place.


Conference on Faith and History

Chicagoland Regional Student Conference


The second event was the Chicagoland Regional meeting of the Conference on Faith and History. Hosted this year at Judson, the conference is an annual meeting for top history students at region schools to present their work. Senior Secondary Education/History major Cayla Cerny presented her research on “Operation Assassination: The Impact of Assassination Attempts on Hitler during World War II.”


It’s been a great couple of weeks!