by Penina Sao, Digest Staff Writer
Senior Kristina Olsen was recognized as a Student Laureate of the Lincoln Academy of Illinois on November 16 in Springfield as she was honored for her leadership and service and overall excellence in curricular and extracurricular activities.
Olsen, along with 56 other notable seniors, was awarded the Abraham Lincoln Civic Engagement Award by Lincoln Academy of Illinois Chancellor Frank M. Clark.
The Lincoln Academy of Illinois is a non-profit organization dedicated to recognizing the contributions made by living Illinoians.
Each fall, an outstanding senior is chosen to represent each of the participating Illinois colleges and universities and is named the Student Laureate of the Lincoln Academy of Illinois.
Over the years, there have been many outstanding Student Laureates representing Trinity, and Olsen was no exception.
Olsen’s highlights of achievements include being an outstanding scholar who is on track to graduate Summa Cum Laude as a biology major with an emphasis in pre-medical, being in the honors program, and being on track to complete the MA in Bioethics Dual Degree at the same time as her bachelor’s degree. Her goals are to attend medical school and serve in a rural or underserved setting.
“I am so pleased that the Academic Council nominated and President Perrin chose Kristina Olsen to be Trinity’s Lincoln Laureate this year,” Division of Science, Technology, and Health Director Joyce Shelton said. “She is truly deserving of this honor. Kristina is a highly motivated young woman and an exceptional student. In addition to her academic achievements, she is a gifted leader who has a compassionate desire to serve others in her chosen profession as a physician.”
Aside from academics, Olsen also participates in multiple extracurricular activities, such as Student Government Association and the symphonic band. She is also a resident assistant, teaching assistant for many science courses, tutor, and youth leader at Christ Church Lake Forest.
Olsen has a heart for missions. After going on the Passages Israel trip with TIU two years ago, she returned to Israel the following summer and volunteered in a hospital in Nazareth.
“It’s not often, actually not ever in my memory, that you see someone working at an emergency room in Israel,” Academic Council of Divisions Chair Karen Wrobbel said. “Her combination of strong academics, her service in church ministry, and having strong grades is pretty remarkable.”
Founded by Michael Butler and Governor Otto Kerner Jr. in December 1964, the Lincoln Academy of Illinois has had over 300 prominent individuals throughout the years.
It was created to recognize the living histories of those who believe, just as Lincoln did, that those living histories remind future generations of the endless possibilities that lie ahead.
Each year, several students are presented with the award at a ceremony presided by the Governor of Illinois. This year, hundreds of students, faculty members, and families gathered together to recognize the living histories of this time, the ‘Lincoln-hearted’ people.
“To anyone who’s interested in applying for the award, I would encourage you to just do it because you never know what God has in store for you,” Olsen said. “Take every opportunity you get, and dive in everywhere—academic, leadership, extracurricular, everything.”