The Lincoln Laureate is awarded to students who have shown the qualities of President Abraham Lincoln: excellence, service and honor. As an active member of the COD community, Samiha Syed decided to apply for the award and won.
When the COD campus was still open, Syed saw a poster on the wall by the Office of Student Life about the Lincoln Laureate. Syed is a member of the Student Leadership Council, the elected Student Trustee and the president of BioTech club.
The Illinois Governor bestows the Lincoln Laureate to students who have shown their leadership and service to the community. Each year one student from each four-year university in Illinois and one student from the 49 community colleges is chosen.
To apply, applicants must write an autobiography and a 272-word “Legacy Letter.” The letter is 272 words because that is the length of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.
Syed explained the application as an “expanded resume.” In the autobiography, applicants explain what extracurriculars and research they completed at their college. Syed said the Legacy Letter explains your “civic-minded life and how do you exemplify that.”
Syed was informed by Office of Student Life Manager Chuck Steele that she was the COD representative. Steele reviewed Syed’s application and together they prepared to submit her application.
Steele said, “Once she was chosen to represent COD, I helped her with the essay and gave her feedback. She put together a very strong application because of all of the ways she is involved.”
Syed wrote about being a member of the Board of Trustees, creating the ChapsUnite initiative and being the president of the Biotech club. She is working to make a support system at COD as well as a sense of unity and coalition.
Syed said, “I created Chaps Unite to empower student success and provide a support system, a sense of unity and coalition within the College of DuPage community to support students academically, socially, emotionally, psychologically and physically through student-led leadership initiatives, demonstrations and advocacy.”
Although COD remains online for the spring semester, ChapsUnite hopes to make the online community a better place. Their goal is to provide a support system where members can “process emotions, make connections and build relationships.”
Syed said, “Networking with peers, speaking with peers, and developing those relationships is what college is all about. What is unique about COD is we are one big family. I hope everyone that goes to COD experiences what COD is. So, that’s why you should get involved.”