Prestigious honor for neuroscience student

Cecilia Reyes ’15 was one of only 73 students nationwide to be awarded a 2013 Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship. She was selected from a pool of more than 750 students from 45 states who were nominated for the honor.

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship honors excellence by supporting outstanding community college students with financial need to transfer to and complete their bachelor’s degrees at the nation’s top four-year colleges and universities. 

A prestigious selection committee made up of 37 admissions professionals, mostly from selective four-year institutions as well as a few community colleges, chose the recipients based on achievement and academic ability, financial need, desire to engage in and contribute to the world, self-confidence, and resilience.  

Reyes was born in a small village in Mexico to hard working parents who struggled financially. “In 2001, my parents came to the U.S. hoping I could receive the education they never did,” she said.

Reyes graduated summa cum laude with an associate in science degree in pre-medicine from Prairie State College.  She was a One Million Degree Scholar and a 2012 Behavioral Research Advancements in Neuroscience (BRAIN) fellow at the Neuroscience Institute in Atlanta, Georgia. She was named to the Illinois All-Academic Team for her academic excellence. 

“I chose to attend Lake Forest College because as a neuroscience major I wanted the opportunity to gain research experience but still get the benefits of attending a small college, like small classes and personal attention from professors,” said Reyes. “My professors are so attentive and willing to help with any issue. I also love that the science programs here offer a wide range of extracurricular learning experiences.” 

At Lake Forest, Reyes is a member of Nu Rho Psi, the neuroscience honor society and has accepted a peer teaching position in biology. This summer she will get her national certification as a medical assistant and a certification in phlebotomy. “I plan to use those skills to volunteer in a hospital while I’m still a student here to explore future career options and gain more experience in healthcare,” she said.

This is the third consecutive year that a Jack Kent Cooke Scholar chose to attend Lake Forest College.