November 08, 2018

Storey honored as Lincoln Academy student laureate

by Hannah Erickson

Andrea Storey CARBONDALE, Ill. — According to her professors, Andrea Storey does not have an off button. Her unquenchable drive and passion are the key things that landed her a spot as winner of the 2018 Lincoln Academy of Illinois student laureate award for Southern Illinois University Carbondale. 

Storey, a senior from Elk Grove, Illinois is pursuing a double major in Spanish education in the College of Education and Human Services, and linguistics, with a concentration in English as a second language, in the College of Liberal Arts. She first came to campus in 2015 after receiving SIU’s most prestigious award; the Chancellor’s Scholarship. She currently holds a 3.93 GPA and serves as a leader in student life on campus while also working multiple jobs and expanding herself through travel and volunteerism.

In recognition of her excellent academic and extra-curricular success, she will receive the Abraham Lincoln Civic Engagement Award at the 44th annual Student Laureate Convocation Nov. 17 in the Old State Capital in Springfield.

Award recognizes student leaders in Illinois

Each four-year university in Illinois nominates one outstanding senior student for the prestigious award, along with one student representing all of the community colleges. From SIU, each college nominated one individual for evaluation by the faculty in the honors program, with Storey eventually chosen as the university wide representative.

After having Storey in two classes, Katherine Martin, assistant professor of linguistics at SIU, knew something was different about the high-achieving senior.

“She is very impressive in the amount of stuff she has done and the quality she has done it with,” Martin said. “I’ve had her in two different classes, and she is just an outstanding student.”

The combination of Storey’s academic excellence, along with her wide service to the community, made her a perfect fit for the esteemed award, Martin explained.

“It’s a state wide award honoring students who follow in the footsteps of Lincoln, in terms of engagement and excellence,” Martin said.

The award comes with a medallion, certificate of achievement and a monetary award. For Storey, the recognition was both a surprise and an honor.

“I just felt really honored that they chose me out of all the seniors,” Storey said.

The award is all about service, and the recognition is something Storey does not take for granted.

“I was hoping that because of what I was doing, other people were able to either benefit from it or have an easier time,” Storey said. “I speak two languages, but I can’t think of any words. It felt very humbling.”

Global experience

Storey is a native English speaker, but is also proficient in Spanish. Her love for languages first began when she took a high school trip to Spain. Since then she has greatly expanded her global perspective by spending another summer studying in Spain and traveling to another 20 countries examining cultures and absorbing knowledge.

“In order to teach it (Spanish) the best, it is only fair for me to experience it myself,” Storey said.

Some of her unique experiences include teaching English in Fiji while building schools for children, teaching English to Chinese-speaking truck drivers in Chicago, translating a blog based in Spain and volunteering as a bilingual instruction aid at Lewis School in Carbondale.

“She has gone above and beyond to get a range of different experiences and learn everything she can to be a good educator and be an advocate for language minority students and their families,” Martin said.

After graduating in May, Storey hopes to go on to teach high school Spanish and someday work on curriculum reform as an advocate for language minority and bilingual students.

“Illinois is in the top five of states with the largest non-English speaking population, so there is a huge need for well-trained teachers who know about language acquisition and are high quality teachers,” Martin said. “And that is what she wants to go on and do.”