April 4, 2018

CARTERVILLE — An academic ‘rock star.’

That’s how the dean for student services of John A. Logan College described Tara O’Leary, the third student at the College to receive the Southern Illinois University Carbondale Chancellors Transfer Scholarship.

“Tara is a dedicated student who excels in all that she decides to pursue,” said Tim Williams, dean for students services at John A. Logan College. “She’s an academic rock star, who is a pleasure to have in class and I look forward to all that she will accomplish as she moves on to SIUC to further her education.”

Of the six Chancellors Transfer Scholarships awarded this year, three went to students from John A. Logan College.

In addition to O’Leary, Kayla Stuthers and Joel Kisekini were also awarded the prestigious scholarship, which will pay for all tuition and fees for the students for the next two years.

“This is a major scholarship and it’s absolutely wonderful — and impressive — that three of the six recipients are from John A. Logan College,” Williams said.

O’Leary, a Murphysboro native, will begin classes at SIUC this fall, enrolling in the radiological science program, seeking to earn both a bachelors degree and masters degree.

“I have also been throwing around the idea of one day going to medical school and becoming a radiologist,” O’Leary said.

In the meanwhile, O’Leary said, “this scholarship means everything to me. Going to school is expensive and not having to worry about loans will help me to focus on my education. When I got the award letter in the mail, I opened it with my mom and we both burst into tears, as well as my dad when I called him on the phone.”

Said O’Leary, “Seeing how proud my parents are of me was one of the best moments of my life. Now I get to go to SIUC and represent the university and Southern Illinois to the best of my abilities.”

O’Leary called Williams both a great teacher and a mentor who helped her through difficult academic decisions over the past two years.

“There are not enough wonderful things that I could say about Tim Williams,” O’Leary said.

O’Leary said the College has been a “wonderful stepping stone” into SIUC and “I wouldn’t change the last two years (at Logan) even if I could. If you would have told me when I was in high school that I would have gotten a full-ride scholarship anywhere, I would have told you that you were lying. I am blessed for the opportunity that John A. Logan College and SIUC have given me.”