Rachel Nandelenga, a senior pre-medicine and neuroscience major from Cary, Ill., was selected as a student laureate for The Lincoln Academy of Illinois. She was nominated by Augustana College President Andrea Talentino.
This is the Lincoln Academy's 49th year celebrating student excellence in Illinois. Each fall, a senior from each of the state’s four-year colleges and universities and one student from the community colleges in Illinois are awarded the Abraham Lincoln Civic Engagement Award and named student laureates.
Nandelenga thanked President Talentino for nominating her. She also thanked her supporters, including her mom; Augustana’s Director of Office of Student Inclusion and Diversity Ashley Allen; and all of her mentors.
“Augustana has provided me with so many joys, one of the greatest was providing me a forum to express my passion for altruism,” Nandelenga said. “The award signified that I was working towards a future where my passions for helping others; diversity, equity and inclusion; and advocacy can all align.”
“The award signified that I was working towards a future where my passions for helping others; diversity, equity and inclusion; and advocacy can all align.”
Nandelenga serves as president of Augustana’s Student Government Association, social media chair for the Multicultural Programming Board and a member of the Phi Rho sorority. She also serves as a mentor for the Office of Student Inclusion and Diversity’s PACE program, which supports first-year students of color.
“I hope that as I leave Augustana, I keep working towards what the award represents, a path of civic leadership,” she said.
The Lincoln Academy honors student laureates for embodying the spirit of Lincoln for their "leadership and service in the pursuit of the betterment of humanity and for overall excellence in curricular and extracurricular activities."
President Talentino said she selected Nandelenga because of her interactions with her and because of Nandelenga’s commitment to community outreach.
"In her leadership at Augustana, both within and beyond the Student Government Association, Rachel has proved herself worthy of the esteem and respect of her fellow students by her deeds, her selfless service and her commitment to serving the needs of this community,” President Talentino said. “I am grateful to have her as a partner in governance at Augustana, and I look forward with great anticipation to following Rachel as she continues to shape and improve the communities she will call home in the years ahead."
The student laureates were honored this fall at the President Abraham Lincoln Hotel in downtown Springfield. Each student laureate received the Abraham Lincoln Civic Engagement Award certificate, a Lincoln medallion; a challenge coin; and a $1,000 check from The Lincoln Academy.