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2007 NIU Lincoln Laureate
Name: Samie Chaudhry
High School: Glenbard North
Double Major: Political science with an emphasis in public administration and service and geography with an emphasis in geographic information systems.
Honors: NIU honors student; political science student of distinction; soon to be inducted into the National Political Science Honor Society; selected as one of two university delegates to the Student Conference on United States Affairs at the U.S. Military Academy.
Speaks three languages: English, Punjabi and Urdu
Activities: Elected to serve as the undergraduate representative on the search committee for the new dean of the NIU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (LA&S); member of the LA&S Student Advisory Committee; member of NIU Southeast Asia Student Club; elected chair of the NIU Political Science Student Advisory Committee (2005-06); member of NIU Forensics Club (2005-06); member of NIU Student Education Association; tutor at West Aurora High School (2005-06).
Contact: Tom Parisi, NIU Office of Public Affairs
October 17, 2006
DeKalb, Ill. — Samie Chaudhry is a walking advertisement for a daily planner.
The Northern Illinois University senior is scheduled to graduate in May with a bachelor of science degree with a double major in political science and geography. His grade point average in rigorous honors courses is 3.97. And throughout college he has juggled a dizzying array of extracurricular activities—from tutoring high school students to serving as the undergraduate representative on a search committee for a new NIU dean.
The 22-year-old from west-suburban Bartlett also has been working for months on an honors thesis analyzing the role of U.S. domestic politics in F-16 fighter jet sales to Pakistan over a 30-year span.
How does he manage his time? “The key is keeping a planner,” laughs Chaudhry, “and actually using it.”
The hard work, dedication and organization have generated numerous awards and honors, but none more prestigious than the most recent. Chaudhry has been named as the 2007 Student Lincoln Laureate at NIU.
The Student Lincoln Laureate is an annual honor reserved for the top senior from each of the state’s public and private four-year colleges and universities. The award recognizes excellence in both curricular and extracurricular activities.
“Samie is an extraordinary young man, who through his work within and beyond the classroom has demonstrated academic excellence, diligence, leadership, concern for others and strong character,” says NIU Political Science Chair Christopher Jones, who nominated Chaudhry for the honor.
“He possesses outstanding writing, research, analytical and oral communication skills,” adds Jones, a leading national security scholar and award-winning teacher. The professor is so impressed with his student that he plans to involve him in an upcoming research project.
“In my 17 years of teaching at Binghamton University, Syracuse University, Whittier College and NIU, Samie is among the top five undergraduates that I have encountered,” Jones says.
The oldest son of Shamshad and Salim Chaudhry, immigrants who left Pakistan in the late 1970s to make a new life in the United States, Samie originally planned to become a high school history teacher. But during his freshman year, he became fascinated with political science and geography after taking courses in those subject areas.
Following graduation next spring, he plans to attend graduate school, seeking a master’s in political science with an emphasis on South Asia. Eventually he wants to work in public service, either in a governmental post or with a non-profit organization.
“I’m fascinated with what’s happening in such countries as India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Afghanistan,” says Chaudhry, who speaks the languages of Punjabi and Urdu, the latter being the official language of Pakistan. “It’s an important region of the world that has been largely overlooked in the past but will be very important in the future.”
His professors see no limits to what Chaudhry can accomplish.
“Samie is able to quickly understand complicated ideas and phenomena and analyze and assess their merits against a broad knowledge base,” says History Professor Eric Jones, who has helped Chaudhry shape his post-graduation plans.
“He’s also very witty, engaging and positive,” he adds. “It is easy to see why students look up to him, why he deserves this award and how much potential he possesses.”
Chaudhry and his fellow Lincoln Laureates will gather in Springfield on Saturday, Oct. 28, for a recognition ceremony in the House of Representatives of the Old State Capitol. Chaudhry used one of his tickets for the ceremony to invite a friend, Michael Celis of Chicago, a political science major who finished as first finalist for the NIU Lincoln Laureate this year.
Other finalists for the NIU Student Lincoln Laureate were: