Breanna Sampo Named McKendree University's 2022-2023 Student Laureate

Lincoln Laureate 2022 and President Dobbins(LEBANON, Ill., November 28, 2022) – McKendree University senior Breanna Sampo recently received the state’s highest student honor – the 2022-2023 Abraham Lincoln Civic Engagement Award – as 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.

The psychology major from Cedar Point, Ill., was nominated by faculty members who praised her academic and research abilities. She has amassed an impressive record of scholarships, has been the coauthor on four peer-reviewed journal articles and three professional conference presentations and also presented her work at multiple undergraduate research conferences. She also recently earned a position as a Fulbright Canada Mitacs Globalink intern at Wilfrid Laurier University; during this time, she spent the summer designing and evaluating health literacy courses for educators in developing countries and is the first author on the paper being submitted for publication based on this project.

“Breanna Sampo is a model citizen at McKendree. Her myriad involvements prove that she not only possesses varied interests but also the drive to pursue them,” said Dr. Alan Alewine, associate provost at McKendree University. “Her research experiences are exceptional for an undergraduate and would rival those of students graduating from doctoral programs.”

Student Laureates also demonstrate a commitment to civic engagement. While Sampo certainly excels academically, she is passionate about serving others. During her time at McKendree, she has been a tutor, an intern, a peer mentor and an academic mentor at the Student Success and Advising Center. The president of Psi Chi, the international psychology honor society, Sampo has also served her fellow Bearcats as the Student Government Association’s secretary and as a student representative on the Academic Excellence Celebration, in which she took the lead in promoting the day’s activities on campus and through social media.

“The psychology faculty have been so impressed with her that they selected her to participate in the hiring process for a new full-time psychology faculty member,” said Dr. Alewine.

Off campus, Sampo has volunteered at Cedar Ridge Nursing Home in Lebanon, Ill., Trinity Social Services and the LaSalle Veterans Home and Spring Valley food pantry in her hometown.

“Through these organizations, I was able to have meaningful connections with people of diverse abilities and cultures that expanded my compassion for the world and sparked my interest in creating inclusive and supportive environments,” said Sampo.

In addition to being the president of Psi Chi and McKendree’s Psychology Club, Sampo is the captain of McKendree’s Color Guard, a member of Phi Eta Sigma and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies and a student academic mentor. Following graduation, Sampo plans to earn a doctorate in positive education research and become a professor at a university in which she can teach and mentor students. Another long-term career goal she has is to become a dean of students in order to advance school leadership in the direction of creating supportive inclusivity on campus.

“I am so grateful for the love and support I have received in order to accomplish my educational goals thus and thank all my family, friends and faculty who encourage my pursuit of future goals beyond McKendree,” Sampo said.