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Honors “home” is where student’s story begins

Jackie shows off her website

Honors student Jackie Durnil presents the website she created to showcase her Honors achievements and evidence of her learning.

When Jackie Durnil left home in Grayslake, Illinois, and arrived at Illinois State University in the fall of 2013, she (like almost everyone else on campus) had never heard of digital badging.  But she had heard of two other things… the competitiveness of graduate school in her chosen field, communication sciences and disorders, and the Illinois State University Honors Program.

I joined the Honors Program to find a small community within the larger University,” Durnil says. I was only going to attend ISU if I knew I would be part of the Honors Program, too. 

She may have never imagined that the Honors Program would become her new “home away from home,” but in the last three years, Durnil has made it just that.

Durnil has participated in multiple Honors Sections, courses she says she loved.  “My Honors Sections have given me the opportunity to engage more deeply in course material and make lasting friendships with great people,” Durnil says.  “Some of my professors have even incorporated volunteer work into the syllabus, which have been great involvement opportunities.”

She went on to enhance her leadership skills through multiple years of participation in Honors Alternative Spring Break, as well as the Honors Student Leadership Team.

This year she tackles the additional responsibility of serving as the program’s undergraduate assistant, a role she’s passionate about.  “Honors has given me the opportunity to grow as a student, leader, and citizen,” Durnil says.  “Guiding new Honors students along a similar path is so rewarding to me.”

Toward that end, Durnil has created a compelling online presence that showcases her Honors achievements and evidence of her learning.  She documents all of her Honors Learning Experiences and participation in the Honors community through the use of her digital badging.

“I believe digital credentialing will be critical in setting ISU Honors alumni apart from other graduates,” Durnil says.  “Potential employers or graduate program coordinators can learn so much more through a badging profile, essentially an electronic resume, than they can through a transcript alone.”

Soon, Durnil will join the ranks of these #HonorsProud alumni.  But for now, Honors is home.

“These people are my family,” says Durnil.  “Family look out for you, have fun with you, and want the best for you.  That’s what my classmates, my coworkers, and the Honors staff do.”

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