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2003 STUDENT LAUREATE COMBINES PHILOSOPHY AND EDUCATION

During her four years at Trinity, Yvana Hansen has compiled a long list of academic achievements. She was still surprised to find out from President Steven Timmermans that she had been named student laureate for the Lincoln Academy of Illinois.

"This is quite an honor for me," said Hansen, a senior from Lynden, Washington. "I am aware of this award's history and some of its past recipients, and I'm privileged to follow in their footsteps.

Hansen is a senior majoring in both philosophy and elementary education, a member of the Honors Program, and a Trinity Presidential Scholar. The former two-year resident assistant also is a recipient of the Vander Velde Junior Scholars' Award and Ed Vander Weele Memorial Scholarship.

The Lincoln Academy's Student Laureate Awards recognize seniors at four-year, degree-granting colleges and universities in Illinois who exhibit excellence in curricular and extracurricular activities. The winners are chosen by their institution's chief executive officers and receive a medallion of Abraham Lincoln, a certificate of merit, and a small stipend. They also attend a ceremony in their honor and have lunch in the governor's mansion in Springfield, Illinois.

Hansen's primary interests lie in education and philosophy. The Vander Weele scholarship, given to potential Christian educators, encourages education students to complete their degrees and launch their careers in teaching. Through the Vander Velde award, she has teamed with philosophy professor Aron Reppmann '92 to study feminist philosophy. That research has had a significant influence on her viewpoint of education. 

"I would like to propose a gender studies minor at Trinity, a practical application of philosophical principles rooted in relationship," said Hansen, who declared philosophy as her second major last spring. "It's important that we live up to our mission of transforming culture, and I see this program as another way to bring Christ's redemption to all areas of life. Christian colleges should be aware of the implications that gender has in their campus communities."

Hansen's mentor admires her foresight and aptitude.

"The student laureate highlights a person who has excelled academically and is important to the life of the College," said Reppmann, Trinity's student laureate in 1992. "Yvana is a tremendous person who fits that description. Though her double major is not a common combination, she mixes a practical concern for helping people learn with a reflective background and sensitivity that stems from philosophy. She certainly is well-deserving of this distinction."

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