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University Honors Program recognizes outstanding capstone mentors

June 1, 2020

This semester the University Honors Program (UHP) has instituted an award to recognize faculty mentors who provided outstanding support and guidance to Honors students completing their capstones. This is an especially meaningful award as nominations come from student mentees who are moved to acknowledge their mentor’s exceptional work. Two remarkable faculty members were selected to win this award in spring 2020, Katherine Coulter, Assistant Professor in Nursing, and Jenn Jacobs, Assistant Professor in Sport and Exercise Psychology.

Julia Altemus

Nursing major, Julia Altemus, nominated Katherine Coulter, who guided her in completing her capstone, “The Impact of ‘Stop the Bleed’ on Nursing Students at Northern Illinois University.” Stop the Bleed is a national awareness campaign designed to teach life-saving bleeding control techniques. Julia recruited and taught other nursing students these skills, and also administered pre- and post-tests and analyzed the data measuring students’ perception, knowledge, and comfort level with the techniques. Julia comments that Coulter helped her “every step of the way” including through the rigorous IRB process. “Dr. Coulter has made this capstone experience run so smoothly and I truly cannot thank her enough for all the time and efforts she offered to help my research goals come true.”

Assistant Professor Coulter expressed her gratitude at receiving this recognition. “I am extremely honored to be receiving such a meaningful, special award. I have to thank Julia for the time and dedication she put into her Honor’s Capstone. She went above and beyond, learning new skills with research and teaching. Working on this Capstone with Julia was very special to me and I am so humbled by this nomination from her.”

Ben Lee, fourth from left, at the Belizeans Advocating for Equity Spots Summit

Ben Lee, Pre-Physical Therapy major with a minor in Kinesiology and Physical Education, nominated Jenn Jacobs who helped him complete his capstone project related to the Belizeans Advocating for Equity Sports Summit (2020). When asked about the experience, Assistant Professor Jacobs stated “It was a privilege to work with Ben and see the impact of his leadership take effect with an international audience of sport administrators in Belize. His role in delivering this gender equity summit greatly embodies why universities aim to support experiential learning opportunities. His work had far reaching impacts in the research world, but did what many projects only aspire to – foster social change. ” 

Jacobs empowered Ben to serve as a site leader, construct a training manual, and mentor other NIU student leaders for the 2020 Belize Women’s Sport Summit. Ben credits Jacobs for making the summit almost entirely student-led. “She could have easily done this project on her own, but instead, chose to take the extra time and energy to mentor and empower me and my peers to do so.” He continues: “She gave me confidence in myself as a leader and advocate for social change.” Assistant Professor Jacobs, for her part, adds: “I’m very grateful to the University Honors Program and College of Education for supporting engaged student learning and allowing me to collaborate with such talented and committed students.” 

As a tribute to the hard work of both mentors and mentees, the two capstones mentioned here were also recognized, Julia’s as the Outstanding Capstone in Health Sciences and Ben’s as the Outstanding Capstone in Community Service.