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Waubonsee Students Ascencio, Merrill Recognized for Achievements

photo of Mekenah Merrill
Mekenah Merrill
photo of Marisa Ascencio
Marisa Ascencio

Two Waubonsee Community College students recently were honored among the top community college students in Illinois.

And one of the two was listed among the 100 top community college students in the country.

On April 1, Waubonsee students Marisa Ascencio, of Oswego, and Mekenah Merrill, of Somonauk, were each named to the 2014 Phi Theta Kappa All-Illinois Academic Team, selections which annually recognize outstanding students at two-year colleges for achievement and leadership in their classrooms, at their colleges and in their communities.

Students selected for the honor are nominated by their schools.

Ascencio was further recognized as one of the top students at two-year colleges in the country, receiving a place among the Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team Silver Scholars.

The Coca-Cola Academic Team recognizes high-achieving two-year college students who demonstrate academic excellence and intellectual rigor, combined with leadership and service that extends their education beyond the classroom to benefit society.

Students receiving the award must be nominated by their school, and their applications are later reviewed by an independent team of judges. Recipients of the award receive scholarships.

Ascencio, a biology major, was recognized for her academic achievement, as well as her service as president of Waubonsee’s student government, as president and founder of the Future Healthcare Providers student organization, and as Vice President of Organizational and Academic Affairs for Waubonsee’s chapter of the national Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. She also was noted for her ongoing antibiotic research project as a member of Waubonsee’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) program.

Merrill, a political science major, was recognized for her service as student trustee on Waubonsee’s Board of Trustees, and as recording officer and Awards and Recognition Chair for the Illinois Community College Board’s Student Advisory Committee. Merrill has received a Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges Award, as well as awards through Waubonsee’s Lucile Gustafson Scholar program and the International Scholar Laureate Program.