CHICAGO–(ENEWSPF)–November 19, 2015. Roosevelt University senior Lacy Reyna, who is double majoring in Psychology and Biology with a concetration in Neuroscience and a minor in Chemistry, has been named the University’s 2015 student laureate by the Lincoln Academy of Illinois.
Reyna, 21, of Winterset, Iowa, was selected as this year’s student laureate based on academic achievements as well as an ability to put social justice values in action. The child of a daycare provider and union laborer, Reyna is the oldest of seven siblings and will be the first in the family to graduate from college in the Spring of 2016.
“Being recognized as Roosevelt University’s student laureate is shocking, and totally unexpected,” said Reyna. “It’s an honor to have been nominated.”
“What Lacy demonstrated to me this Fall is an ability to go beyond the norm in helping others, and I found it astounding that Lacy is capable of balancing a plethora of things socially and academically and is also capable of doing everything so well,” said Norbert Cordeiro, associate professor of biology and one of several Roosevelt professors who nominated Reyna.
While Reyna’s peers from Winterset went to nearby state schools immediately after graduating from high school, Reyna chose to attend Roosevelt University because of its urban location and social justice values.
“After visiting Roosevelt University for the first time, I felt at peace with myself because I knew this is where I was supposed to be, and I was making the right choice for myself,” said Reyna.
Reyna did a study of the Altgeld Gardens community on Chicago’s far South Side while enrolled in one of Roosevelt Professor Mike Bryson’s Sustainability Studies honor seminars. Reyna quickly picked up on the project’s environmental justice implications, and believes the Altgeld Gardens project has been life changing.
“After visiting the Gardens, I realized there aren’t effective public health policies in place to protect a community like Altgeld Gardens from the toxic materials that have been dumped there,” Reyna said.
“Fight or Flight: The Altgeld Gardens Conflict,” an essay about the study of Altgeld Gardens, has been featured on Roosevelt’s Sustainability Future student website, and remains as an example of quality student research and writing being done at Roosevelt.
The essay is available at: https://futureofschaumburg.wordpress.com/environmental-justice/altgeld-gardens-chicago/.
“My future goal is to obtain my Master’s in Public Health in order to work within the public health care system to create equal and just policies. I want to protect communities like those I’ve studied against the injustices they currently face,” Reyna said.
Reyna received the Abraham Lincoln Civic Engagement Award on Nov. 7 during an Illinois Student Laureate ceremony in Springfield, where the new student laureate had an opportunity to meet Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner.