McKendree Secondary Education Mathematics Major is Lincoln Academy Student Laureate

Jessica Hoffmann and President Dobbins(LEBANON, Ill., October 12, 2021) – McKendree University senior Jessica Hoffmann is a 2021 recipient of the Abraham Lincoln Civic Engagement Award and a Student Laureate of the Lincoln Academy of Illinois.

It is the state’s highest student honor for leadership, service and excellence in curricular and extracurricular activities, awarded to a noteworthy senior from each college and university. Historically held every fall at the Old State Capitol State Historic Site in Springfield, the event will be held virtually once again this year due to restrictions on large in-person gatherings.

The secondary education mathematics major from Belleville, Ill., was nominated by faculty members who described her as prepared, engaged, inspiring, a mature leader and one of the most talented young people they have met. “She exemplifies the characteristics of a Student Laureate,” said Dr. Alan Alewine, professor of mathematics. “She is passionate about her future work as a high school mathematics teacher, and it is certain that she will be a devoted mentor for the young people under her supervision.”

Student Laureates also demonstrate a commitment to civic engagement. Hoffmann certainly shines in this aspect, as she is a highly active member of the Lyn Huxford Center for Community Service on campus, participating and even coordinating numerous service projects, including Empty Bowls during Hunger and Homeless Week, Into The Streets during New Student Orientation Week, the Special Olympics and more. Her volunteerism extends to serving her home community as well, in which she gives her time to her church’s parish community, grade school and high school by attending and coordinating events for various service groups. Two of her favorite service projects include volunteering at Cedar Ridge Nursing Home and Without Limits Dance Company, both in Lebanon.

“My parents have always instilled in me to be a good leader, but more specifically, a servant leader. From a very young age, I witnessed and helped them as they volunteered within our church community. They instilled in me the values of a servant leader and helped push me to give back whenever possible,” Hoffmann said. “It feels good to bring joy to someone’s life. It is also important to remain open-minded because the people one serves will often help someone right back. Everyone has a story to tell and a lesson to share, and these are what I love to share with the people I volunteer for when giving back.”

Hoffmann is a member of the McKendree varsity women’s soccer team, a student vice president of Phi Kappa Phi and a member of Sigma Zeta, Phi Eta Sigma and Pi Mu Epsilon. In addition, she has been a member of the Academic Excellence Celebration Planning Committee and a tutor for the Student Success Center on campus.

Among Hoffmann’s major accolades as a Bearcat include making the President’s List every semester of college, being asked to be a student vice president of Phi Kappa Phi for being in the top 7.5 percent of the junior class last year and being chosen for the Active Collegians Engaged in Services (ACES) award, which is awarded to students who complete over 100 hours of service each year.

Hoffmann was also selected as one of the two students for the Technos International program for Technos International Week in Japan during the summer of 2019. “This was an unforgettable, exhilarating two-week look into another culture,” she said. “It opened my eyes to other ways of life and reiterated the importance of embracing diversity.”

Mathematics is Hoffmann’s true passion and has been that way since she was young. “It is certainly no lie that math can be difficult at times, yet for some reason, it has forever remained one of my passions. Math is tricky, yet rewarding, and that is something I wish to share with today’s youth,” Hoffmann said. “I am confident that teaching secondary mathematics is the right thing for me and that I am on the path I am meant to be following.”

Her post-graduation plans include teaching future students problem-solving skills and helping them grow to be responsible, intelligent and resilient adults who are prepared for college or another career path. “Already as I student-teach, I have begun to love each and every one of my students and care about them as individuals. I want to make class enjoyable so that they enjoy coming and can later become successful adults,” Hoffmann said.