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Hodgson, Jones chosen for national academic team

Illinois Valley Community College sophomores Jessie Hodgson of Oglesby and Jerrill “Jay” Jones of Ottawa have been chosen as the college’s nominees for the 2013 All-USA Community College Academic Team.

Hodgson is an influential peer tutor in the nursing program and Jones, 33, has a 4.0 GPA and plans to one day teach high school math.

Other nominees for the prestigious award were Hailee Brayton of La Salle and Connor Armstong of Utica, both 2011 graduates of St. Bede Academy.

Hodgson has a 4.0 grade point average in nursing where she has also distinguished herself as a peer tutor.

“I have had groups of 18 and 20 attend my tutoring sessions out of a class of 30,” said Hodgson. “As their peer, they feel they can connect on a more personal level and ask questions they would normally not ask an instructor.

“I now conduct one-to-two sessions per week, helping students understand complex subjects, improving their study skills, and offering survival tips for making their schedule work around this intense curriculum,” she said.

“Walking the halls, I am often stopped by first year students who tell me they passed their exam and they couldn’t have done it without me. That brings me great joy.”

Nursing instructor Margie Francisco said Hodgson is a role model of “impeccable integrity” who maximizes “her peers’ success by holding tutoring sessions, developing study guides and being available by email for questions.”

Dean of Health Professions and Director of Nursing Bonnie Bennett-Campbell, said Hodgson has, “extreme dedication, passion and will be a great asset to the field of nursing.”

After earning her RN, Hodgson plans to earn her master’s in nursing and become a nurse practitioner. Since 2011, she has worked as a hospice CNA for St. Margaret’s Health and volunteers for hospice in her off hours by spending time with patients, cleaning their homes and cooking.
As secretary to the Student Nurses Association, Hodgson raised a record amount of donations through a Bergner’s Days community event to help fund “Hearts for Lily (Rosploch)” and led Operation Christmas Child/Christmas Care collecting toys for needy children. She’s also the student representative for the online e-book program Evolve PageBurst, hosting seminars for faculty and fellow students.

Jones, a married father of two, is a delivery driver for NAPA Auto Parts and an apartment manager. After high school, Jones earned an AAS in design from a technical school and worked for a firm on the Shed Aquarium expansion/renovation and Brookfield Zoo’s Amazon exhibit. He later worked construction for his father’s company before an injury ended that career.

Jones’ life adventures include dirt biking across the Rocky Mountains, bowling in the White House, flying a World War II plane, traveling to five countries and celebrating New Year’s Eve 2000 in Times Square.

Since returning to IVCC, Jones has become active in Phi Theta Kappa, the honorary society for two-year colleges, and he helped raise more than $60,000 as “popcorn kernel” for his son’s Cub Scout pack. His fundraising methods have become a model for other packs.

Mathematics instructor Wes Black says Jones is one of the finest calculus students he’s had in 14 years at IVCC.

“He could reason out difficult mathematical concepts and explain those concepts to his peers,” said Black.

Being invited to join Phi Theta Kappa, was a turning point for Jones.

“When I started at IVCC, I did not have great expectations for success but I knew I needed to change something in my life to become a better provider for my family. Phi Theta Kappa changed my entire outlook on life …” he says.

“I invited my whole family to the induction ceremony,” he says of that fateful night. “I changed that evening while walking across the stage to receive my pin. I saw my oldest son and my parents looking at me with such pride and joy it overwhelmed me. From that moment on, I have had the self-confidence to truly believe in myself and that I can succeed, even excel, at anything I put my mind to.”

All-USA and Coca-Cola All-State Community College Academic Team selections will be announced in late March.

To qualify for Phi Theta Kappa membership, students must achieve a minimum 3.5 GPA on a 4.0 scale. For information, call LeeAnn Johnson, Phi Theta Kappa co-advisor at (815) 224-0308 or leeann_johnson@ivcc.edu.

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