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Northwestern Senior Receives 2006 Lincoln Laureate Award

November 21, 2006 | by Judy Moore

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Lauren Parnell, of Mahtomedi, Minn., a senior at the Northwestern University School of Education and Social Policy, has received a Student Laureate Award for 2006 from the Lincoln Academy of Illinois.

The Student Laureate Award recognizes outstanding seniors from each of the four-year degree-granting institutions of higher learning in Illinois. Student Laureates are honored for excellence in curricular and extracurricular activities.

The Student Laureate Medallion is given each year, along with a $150 honorarium and a certificate of achievement to each winner. This year 48 students were honored in a ceremony in the Hall of Representatives, Old State Capitol, in Springfield.

Helen Wood, director of Northwestern's Center for Student Involvement, nominated Parnell for her consistent commitment to helping people on an individual, personal and direct level and her ability to connect and collaborate with community service groups as well as faculty and staff.

Parnell has been named to the Dean's List several times. She is a student activist, volunteer and student group leader. Her volunteer work at Northwestern began during her freshman year when she volunteered at Centro Romero and Connections for the Homeless.

During her junior year she became the co-chair of the Northwestern Community Development Corps (NCDC), the largest student-run volunteer organization at Northwestern. The group manages 25 volunteer sites in Evanston and throughout Chicago, engaging hundreds of student volunteers who perform thousands of hours of service each year in the Evanston community. The highlight of the NCDC year is Project Pumpkin, a program that draws more than 800 elementary school children to Northwestern for “trick or treating,” games, art projects, a haunted house and performances by other student groups in a safe and controlled environment.

She spent this past summer in Uganda on an undergraduate research grant studying fair trade practices. While in Uganda she worked with Ugandan staff members to negotiate between artisans and fair trade craft purchasers in the U.S. She contributed to monthly sales reports, marketing strategies and ideas for structural change and created new basket designs for artisans to weave and sell to Uganda Crafts.

In April 2006 Parnell was recognized as a volunteer of the year at the Evanston/Northwestern Volunteer Recognition Ceremony. Last year she was one of the student leaders who planned and carried out the International Youth Volunteer Summit at Northwestern University.

Parnell is majoring in social policy with a minor in history. Her post-graduation plans include using her findings from the summer in Uganda to work for an organization that supports fair-trade and to continue to conduct further research in graduate school.

Topics: People