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Jessica Schimek in front of butterfly mural
Jessica Schimek in front of butterfly mural

Jessica Schimek posing in front of the vibrant wing mural she created for the Sweetbriar Nature Center, featuring pollinators for butterflies and moths.

  • May 11, 2021
  • Marketing and Communications staff

Jessica Schimek, a senior receiving concurrent degrees in Visual Arts and New Media (B.A.) and Chemistry (B.S.), from Smithtown, has been named the Honors Student of the Month for May. 

Associate Professor Peter Tucker of the Department of Visual Arts and New Media, nominated Schimek  for this award, writing, “As an exemplary student, Jess is committed to learning. She strives to understand and in her studio art classes, to master, her materials. In the few years that I have known Jess, she continually explored career options, and has chosen to pursue chemistry education. She did her research and was readily accepted into a graduate program starting this fall. Her career-readiness far exceeds most of my students. Jess works incredibly hard and she gives so much of her time for others. She is a quiet leader who leads by example.”

Ms. Schimek has distinguished herself in academics, athletics and service. She is an ambassador and peer recruiter for the Department of Visual and New Media and has worked with Mr. Tucker on a proposal and subsequent project for the Costello Interplay Award Fund, which supports projects exploring the intersections between the visual and performing arts and the natural and mathematical sciences. She is also a member of the Chemistry Club and of the Chi Alpha Sigma honor society, established to recognize college student-athletes who excel both on and off the field of competition. For four years, Ms. Schimek was a member of the women’s swimming and diving team; this past year, she was the captain of the men’s and women’s teams.

She has also undertaken sustained community service with Habitat for Humanity (10-year member), Vote Forward, USPS Operation Santa, Celebrate Mondays, community clean-ups, and COVID-19 test kit assembly on campus. Beyond campus, she has volunteered at the Sweetbriar Nature Center, in Smithtown, where she served as the Butterfly and Moth Vivarium Intern, as one of her experiences for the Fredonia Honors Program.

Of this experience, Ms. Schimek writes, “I love the flexibility of the Honors Program. It allowed me to develop a learning contract and explore different modes of learning and career paths through an internship...while still fulfilling graduation requirements.”

Looking back at her undergraduate career more broadly, Ms. Schimek writes, “Fredonia has given me the opportunities to explore and develop my creative, academic, and athletic passions, which allowed me to create so many connections during my time here. The courses I have taken and experiences I have had while at Fredonia have made me feel prepared and excited for my future endeavors.”

Starting next fall, Schimek will be attending SUNY New Paltz, where she will pursue a master’s degree in chemistry adolescence education with a dual certification in art education.

Ms. Schimek added her thanks to Professor Tucker for “his constant support and encouragement to push myself and experience new things. He has introduced me to a wide variety of people and opportunities, including the Costello project, which have helped me take on leadership roles in the art department and become more involved on campus. I also want to thank Astrid Escobar for keeping the swim team highly involved in the community and for ensuring my teammates and I are successful in such an unprecedented year.”

The Honors Student of the Month Program is a collaboration between the Honors Program and the Honors House, which is part of the Office of Residence Life. Nominations of Honors students who embody the three pillars of the Honors Program (Learn. Lead. Live.) and who intentionally support the campus in honoring diversity, enhancing wellness and promoting career readiness are especially encouraged.

Recipients of the Honors Student of the Month award receive a gift card to the bookstore and a certificate and have their name engraved on a plaque to hang in the Office of Residence Life. To learn more about how to nominate an Honors student for the award, please email the program.