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Jacob McGiles named Illinois Student Laureate

Photo via Bradley Public Relations

Bradley health sciences major Jacob McGiles has been awarded as an Illinois Student Laureate for his involvement on campus, and he has the titles to prove it.

The Illinois Student Laureate awards recognize seniors from each 4-year degree-granting institution in Illinois for their leadership and service for the betterment of their community, as well as for being active on their college campus. The award is issued by Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker.

The list starts with the vice president of ACBU. Then, his involvement also includes student aide coordinator for the Office of Orientation and Advisement, an event coordinator for Late Night BU, School Swap coordinator for National Association for Campus Activities and a supplemental instructor for the biology department. If that’s not enough, McGiles is also a member of the Bradley Symphony Orchestra and a tennis club member.

“It was awesome to feel appreciated on campus,” McGiles said. ”For a lot of the work I’ve been doing, I feel like I don’t necessarily see the impact I’m having. So, it was nice to see I’m making a difference, at least towards the university and hopefully, that has been proven.”

Professor of biology Jennifer Jost taught McGiles his freshman year. McGiles also worked with Jost as a teaching assistant in the Introduction to Cell Biology course.

“The ease with which he interacts with the other students allows him to really work with them and help them understand the content,” Jost said. “In addition to his academic abilities, Jacob is just one of the friendliest and happiest people I know.

Intersecting the Bradley community with the Peoria community has been a goal for McGiles. When he was Bradley’s homecoming coordinator for two years, he wanted to keep the Bradley students, alumni and the Peoria community together. He even encourages the new coordinators to consider the local area into the homecoming plans.

McGiles is planning to go to dental school next year, and is currently job shadowing at a local dental office. Once the Jacksonville, Illinois native graduates and becomes a dentist, he wants to continue giving back to communities similar to what he has lived in.

“My goal is to be a dentist serving in a rural community because that is where I am from and I have definitely seen the lack of rural health care that those people may get,” McGiles said.

Executive Director of Student Support Service Anne Hollis has known McGiles for three years through his role as a student aide and a leadership minor.

“I have always appreciated the perspective and approach he brings to any conversation,” Hollis said. “I have seen the difference he has made in his time on campus, whether through his work as a [supplemental instructor] leader, student aide, or ACBU, and can say, without a doubt, Bradley University is better for his efforts.”

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