By Collin Overton
Omar Salinas Chacón, senior political science and Spanish major and DACA student, was named Student of the Year by the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) at its national conference in Atlanta, Georgia. The conference lasted from Nov. 8 to 12 and was Salinas Chacón’s fourth in a row in which he gave a presentation as part of a panel within the diversity thread.
David Coleman, director of EKU’s Honors Program, said Salinas Chacón could be the only student nationally to participate in each of the past four NCHC annual conferences.
This year, Salinas Chacón and a panel of three other students, including Ivan Olivas, Jeniffer Paxtle-Granjeno and Andrea Patino, led a presentation titled “Leading from the Margins: Justice through Activism” and discussed how the Honors Program has honed their leadership skills.
“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 in a press release. “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.
The Honors Program currently includes 19 Latino students, nearly 4 percent of the total of 498.
Salinas Chacón was previously honored in 2015, receiving an invitation to attend a White House reception in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month. He was the only college student from Kentucky to receive the invitation.