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Omar Salinas Chacón, B.A. SPA major, Wins National Honors Award

Omar Salinas Chacón Wins National Honors Award

EKU Honors Student Omar Salinas Chacón, B.A. SPA major, B.A. Paralegal 2nd major, B.A. Political Science 3rd major, Japanese Certificate student, and DACA Dreamer, was named 2017 Student of the Year by the National Collegiate Honors Council!

"According to Dr. David Coleman, director of EKU’s Honors Program, Salinas Chacón is believed to be the only student nationally to participate in a presentation at each of the past four NCHC annual conferences. Each year, he was a member of panels within the diversity thread. This year, he, along with classmates Ivan Olivas, Jeniffer Paxtle-Granjeno and Andrea Patino discussed “Leading from the Margins: Justice through Activism” and how the Honors Program has honed their leadership skills.

“Honors is the great equalizer in my life,” Salinas Chacón said. “Society and the law says I am not equal because of my immigration status. In Honors, I can be my highest potential because it does not discriminate. In other parts of my life, I can work hard and sometimes even harder than my peers, but I would never be able to come out on top. Honors has allowed me to be the person I want to be.”

But his “Eastern Experience” is hardly limited to Honors. Salinas Chacón has served for three years as an Honors Ambassador recruiter, and has held numerous offices within the Student Government Association. He has also served as captain of the University’s nationally prominent mock trial team, volunteered as a Spanish language translator and intake contact for the Maxwell Street Legal Aid Clinic in Lexington, and in 2015 was invited by the White House to serve as Kentucky’s lone college student representative at a national Hispanic Heritage Month celebration in Washington, D.C. He carries a 3.84 GPA despite several challenging Honors seminars.

“Omar stands as a paragon example of exactly what is at stake in this policy debate,” said Dr. David Coleman, director of EKU’s Honors Program, which includes 19 Latino students, nearly 4 percent of the total of 498. “Although always a stellar student, he has because of his immigration status been ineligible to apply for many of the nationally competitive fellowships for which he otherwise would have been extremely competitive.

“As a student, scholar and a citizen of this world, Omar exemplifies the very best spirit of Honors education and the NCHC,” Coleman wrote in his nomination letter. “Regardless of how the DACA debate evolves at the congressional level, I am confident that Omar will move forward toward his goal of becoming a transformative leader in the fields of immigration and human rights law, whether within the United States or elsewhere.”

Read more about Omar's amazing story at:http://stories.eku.edu/people/daca-student-wins-national-honors-award

EKU's Latino panel at the recent NCHC featured, from left, Ivan Olivas, Jeniffer Paxtle-Granjeno, Andrea Patino and Omar Salinas Chacon.

Published on November 14, 2017

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