Lisle, Illinois ~ Benedictine University senior Dana Viola Cairns (pictured right flanked by her mother and advisor Scott Meyer, assistant professor of Chemistry at Benedictine), the daughter of Dale and Florence Cairns of Lombard and a 2012 Glenbard East High School graduate, was among 54 of the state's outstanding college students honored by the Lincoln Academy of Illinois in ceremonies at the state capital earlier this month.
The Lincoln Academy's Student Laureate Awards are presented for excellence in curricular and extracurricular activities to seniors from each of the state's four-year, degree-granting colleges and universities, and one student from among all the community colleges in Illinois. Each student receives a Student Laureate Medallion, a $1,000 educational grant and a certificate of achievement.
"I feel that this award acknowledges my effort for always striving to improve myself and serving as a positive influence to others," said Cairns, who has served as president of the American Chemical Society/Society of Physics Students and the Pharmacy Club, and has been as active volunteer for the Benedictine student chapter of UNICEF.
"I believe Benedictine University provided a significant platform for me to earn this recognition because of the many opportunities offered on campus, including a strong science program, a variety of student organizations and encouraging professors," she said.
Cairns, who is majoring in Biochemistry/Molecular Biology and has a 3.782 GPA, is currently applying to pharmacy schools. She intends to earn a Doctor of Pharmacy degree and pursue a career in clinical pharmacy with the ultimate goal of becoming an oncology pharmacist.
"I have worked very hard and persevered throughout my academic career, and I firmly believe that every day a person must have a decision to make, a goal to fight for and something to look forward to," she said.
The Lincoln Academy, unique among the 50 states, was established more than 50 years ago to honor distinguished citizens with the state's highest award, the Order of Lincoln. This is the 40th year Lincoln Academy has celebrated students' excellence in Illinois.
Benedictine University is located in Lisle, Illinois just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has branch campuses in Springfield, Illinois and Mesa, Arizona. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls 10,058 students in 56 undergraduate and 20 graduate programs. Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the fifth consecutive year in 2015, and the University's Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) program is listed by Crain's Chicago Business as the fifth largest in the Chicago area.