McKendree 2015 Graduate Victoria Cook Wins Technos Prize

Spanish-Psychology Major is Honored for Academics, International Understanding

(LEBANON, Ill., May 8, 2015) - A McKendree University scholar who pursued dual studies in Spanish and psychology is the winner of the 2015 Technos International College Prize.

Victoria (Tori) Cook, of Highland, Ill., accepted the award on April 23 from Makiko Tanaka, president of the Tanaka Memorial Foundation, who was on campus to receive the Friend of the University Award on her family’s behalf. Through the continuing generosity of the Tanaka Educational Trust, the Technos Prize is given annually to foster multicultural awareness. Faculty members choose a graduating senior who has demonstrated outstanding academic achievement and a commitment to international understanding.

Cook graduates cum laude from McKendree on May 9 with a double major in Spanish and psychology and a minor in clinical and counseling psychology. She was a Spanish tutor and juggled other jobs while maintaining a high grade point average. A prestigious Gilman Scholarship, granted by the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, allowed her to practice her Spanish fluency at La Universidad Latina in Heredia, Costa Rica, in summer 2014. She received two grants to conduct research for her psychology thesis, “An Examination of the Correlation between Socioeconomic Status and Mental Illness,” which was published in McKendree’s “Scholars: Journal of Undergraduate Research” and presented at conferences.

“Tori is one of the very small number of students who double major in psychology and a foreign language,” said Dr. Christine Bahr, McKendree University provost and dean. “Psychology is in desperate need of professionals whose language skills match the growing needs of the Spanish-speaking citizens of the U.S. Tori pursued her second major out of cultural interest and a desire to meet the mental health needs of Spanish speakers.”

Cook has been accepted into the master’s degree program in Spanish at Saint Louis University’s campus in Madrid, where she will further expand her language and cross-cultural skills. She plans to pursue a career in clinical psychology and work with the Latino community. Soon after graduation, she will leave for Nicaragua as part of McKendree’s mission community service trip.


Photo of Technos Prize Recipient

Dr. Christine Bahr, McKendree University provost and dean; Victoria Cook,

winner of the 2015 Technos International Prize; and Makiko Tanaka, president

of the Tanaka Memorial Foundation, which sponsors the award.