Students, faculty recognized at annual Student Choice Awards

By Shikha Duttyal

The Student Association honored outstanding students and faculty at the Student Choice Awards Monday.

The awards, which take place annually, were organized to honor student and faculty contributions to NIU and the DeKalb community. About 100 people gathered in the Duke Ellington Ballroom for the awards ceremony.

This year, 13 awards were distributed. Derrick Martin, SA director of Student Life, coordinated the event. The preparation for the awards began in October; nominations started in February and lasted for four weeks.

“It’s an event to be remembered. I’m truly honored to acknowledge all the students and faculty this evening,” Martin said.

The awards required leadership, mentoring ability, well-rounded success and academics in candidates.

Jenna Grafton, junior psychology and family, consumer and nutrition sciences major, received the Eli Whitney Award of Excellence in the non-traditional category. Grafton said the award required leadership skills, trustworthiness, mentoring and overcoming diversity.

“I’m thrilled. It’s pushing me to continue with my education. I’ve helped so many other non-traditional students trying to encourage them to return to school,” Grafton said.

James Forman, SA director of Public Affairs, presented the Greek category, which included Outstanding Greek Advocate, Outstanding Greek Relations and Outstanding Chapter President Awards.

“The different categories that target students off-campus bring the community closer …,” Forman said.

Ashley Terrell, senior family, consumer and nutrition sciences and child development major, received the Outstanding Chapter President Award along with James McCarter.

“I feel good. I never thought that I would be nominated for any award. It’s nice to see that someone sees your efforts,” Terrell said.

Martin said the candidates were nominated by students and faculty who wrote essays about the individual they were nominating. Essays went to a panel of directors who would choose a candidate for the award based on the essays. The candidates participated in an interview before being selected for the award.