Tuesday 12, 2009
               The Northern Michigan University Board of Trustees recently presented its 2009 Student Achievement Awards recognizing significant contributions to the quality of life at NMU through extracurricular involvement or work in a university department. The four recipients and their respective awards were: Nicole Weber from Tomah, Wis., outstanding female graduating senior; Darren Widder from Antioch, Ill., outstanding male graduating senior; Christina Boncyk from Madison, Wis., outstanding student (from any class); and Jason Richards from Oshkosh, Wis., outstanding non-traditional student.     

Weber’s accomplishments at NMU include receiving the 2007 Michigan Service Scholar for completion of 300 hours of community service in one year, accompanying her Freshman Fellow mentor and professor Louise Bourgault to Morocco to co-present an AIDS-related project at a Fulbright academic conference and volunteering for various organizations. While studying in Spain, Weber volunteered her time with the Spanish Red Cross, assisting with programs for underprivileged children, and with a local hospital, visiting child cancer patients. In the coming year she will serve abroad as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar in a master of public health program.

            Widder was a triple major in pre-law/political science, economics and philosophy. Widder served as a chairperson of the All-Student Judiciary and the Student-Faculty Judiciary and as a member of the Student Finance Committee. He was also an active member of the Student Law Forum. Widder was one of three NMU students who interned at the Republican National Convention. He researched articles for Bloomberg News, reported live from the convention floor to the NMU campus and provided up-to-date protest coverage for Bloomberg journalists.

            Boncyk is a biochemistry major at NMU. She served as an officer of the Alpha Lambda Delta Freshman Honor Society. She has worked as a hospice volunteer and with children on the psychiatric ward of Marquette General Hospital. She was the founder of the Marquette County Rapid Recovery program for the Alzheimer’s Association. Boncyk was one of only 24 pre-health care students from the United States to participate in the Denmark International Study on HIV and AIDS in Western Europe. She has also been a medical volunteer in Honduras, Panama and Costa Rica.

            Richards is an NMU nursing major. He has worked with children on community developmental assets. He has also worked with disabled children through the Michigan Service Scholars, served as a volunteer coach for Marquette Junior Hockey and read to both children and seniors through Mortar Board National Honor Society. While studying abroad in Peru, Richards examined alternative and complementary health care in the country.