Honors Student Council

Welcome to HSC!

The purpose of the Honors Student Council (HSC) is to provide a community where honors students can develop friendships and participate in activities that are critical to the mission of the program. The HSC is supported financially and overseen by the Campus Honors Program staff. During the spring semester, students have an opportunity to apply for leadership positions on the HSC Executive Board. Each of the Vice Presidents is responsible for chairing a committee focused on each of their respective areas of responsibility, and all students in the Campus Honors Program are encouraged to actively participate on one or more of these committees. Those selected for the 2021-22 academic year include:

  • Niraj Lawande, President
  • Briana Sobecks, Secretary
  • Nicholas Davis and Braden Moore, Co-Vice Presidents of the Academic Engagement Committe
  • Matthew Haak, Vice President of the Arts Committee
  • Amanda Finn and Andrew Schollmeier, Co-Vice Presidents of Community Engagement
  • Gail Schneiderman, Vice President of the Publications Committee
  • Ashley Hornig and Gina Jagminas, Co-Vice Presidents of Social Engagement
  • Adam Dziaba – Communications and Social Media Chair
  • Emily Yan – Student Mentorship Chair
  • Maya Chattoraj – Member-At-Large

The HSC meets at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday evenings on alternating weeks throughout the semester. All students are encouraged to attend. On those Tuesday evenings when the HSC does not formally meet, it sponsors an “Honors After Dark” program that is thematically determined by students.

We encourage all students to become involved in the HSC this year!

2021-22 Honors Student Council Executive Officer Bios

Niraj Lawande – President

Niraj is a senior majoring in Molecular and Cellular Biology with minors in psychology and chemistry. He is interested in going into healthcare. Outside of CHP, he is involved with Illini EMS where he volunteers as an EMT-B and teaches CPR to the Champaign-Urbana Community. He is also actively involved with neuroscience research in the Christian-Hinman Lab. In his free time, he loves going out to eat, hanging out with friends, going to music concerts, and traveling. He got involved with HSC early on because he wanted to meet others in the program and see how he could make an impact. Over the past three years, he has gone from serving as a committee member to being the VP of Community Engagement for two years to his current position as president.

For Niraj, HSC is one of the most important parts of his undergraduate experience. He believes that HSC is a great place to meet other Chancellor’s Scholars and work together to build a stronger Honors community. He would encourage every Chancellor’s Scholar to attend a few meetings to try it out and see if this warm and welcoming environment is a good fit for them.

Nick DavisCo-Vice President, Academic Engagement

Nicholas is a junior studying Aerospace Engineering with a concentration in Mechanical Design. After graduation, he hopes to work in design for the automotive industry. Outside of CHP, he is involved in the aerodynamics, drivetrain, and chassis/suspension sub-teams of the Illini Formula Electric Team. In his free time, he enjoys weightlifting, running, and learning everything he can. Nicholas joined the Honors Student Council to meet more students with common interests and goals. Through the executive board he hopes to have the opportunity to connect with more people and help other Chancellor’s Scholars create new connections, not only with fellow students but also with faculty and staff. Nic encourages any student looking to get involved to attend a meeting!

Brady Moore – Vice President, Academic Engagement

Brady is a sophomore in nuclear, plasma, and radiological engineering. He plans to attend graduate school and dreams of working in research and development at a national laboratory.  Outside of CHP, Brady is involved in the American Nuclear Society Student Chapter, Tau Beta Pi, IRobotics, Illinois Men’s Rugby and he conducts research at the Center for Plasma-Material Interactions, studying the wetting properties of liquid lithium. In his free time, Brady enjoys playing cello in the Symphony Orchestra, going for walks at the arboretum, and reading books about physics.

Brady got involved with the Honors Student Council to meet other Chancellor’s scholars and attend interesting events. On exec board, he hopes to foster connections between professors and students and encourage the exchange of ideas.  He would encourage new students to try attending a few Honors Student Council meetings early on to see if they have a good time. 

Matthew HaakVice President, Art

Matthew is a senior majoring in Architecture. In his free time, Matthew likes to paint, spend time with his dogs, and ride his bike. Matthew has been a member of HSC’s art committee since his first semester at the university and he is excited to continue in HSC as the Vice President of Art. He has creative ideas for making art engaging for all students, even those who don’t consider themselves to be artistic. Outside of CHP, Matthew is involved in a co-ed service fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega, in which he has held a variety of leadership positions including Vice President of Service. Matthew looks forward to collaborating with honors students on many exciting projects in the coming school year.

Adam DziabaCommunications and Social Media Chair

Adam Dziaba is a sophomore double majoring in Graphic Design and Sustainable Design. After getting his undergraduate degree, he wants to design labels and sustainable packaging for products, but is open to doing anything he can with his degree. Outside of CHP, Adam is hoping to get involved in design and gardening clubs, along with volunteering. He likes to spend a lot of his free time exploring Urbana-Champaign with his girlfriend and friends, longboarding, baking, biking, and doing photography. Adam chose to get involved in HSC because he wants to foster supportive connections both within the honors program and between the honors program and the community. As social media chair, he will utilize his role to engage honors members on the platforms most used today, and help everybody feel included.

Amanda FinnCo-Vice President, Community Engagement

Amanda is studying Animal Sciences on the Science, Pre-Veterinary and Medical track. After completing her undergraduate schooling, she hopes to earn a D.V.M. and work as a wildlife veterinarian.

Outside of CHP, she is the fundraising chair for 4 PAWS for Ability, an organization where students lay the key foundation for socialization and training in future service dogs. In her free time, she enjoys traveling by any means possible. Whether car, plane, train, or walking, Amanda loves seeing new sites.

She became involved in HSC to help navigate the vastness of the U of I population and campus size. She hopes that her time as co-VP of Community Engagement will allow students to fully explore all the opportunities available within their new home in Urbana-Champaign.  Amanda encourages all Chancellor’s Scholars to participate in HSC because it has awarded her countless mentors, study buddies, and friends. The Honors House has become such an inviting space to unwind, destress, and grab hot cocoa during the winter months!!

Andrew SchoellmeierCo-Vice President, Community Engagement

Andrew is a senior majoring in Statistics & Computer Science. Over the summer he interned with the Risk Management department at GCM Grosvenor.  In his free time, he enjoys reading, weightlifting, meditating, and listening to podcasts (some of his favorites are Dear Hank & John, Revisionist History, and The Dollop). This year, he’d like to try out rock climbing and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, as well.

This will be Andrew’s third year as co-VP of Community Engagement. He joined the Honors Student Council because it is an excellent opportunity to become more involved in CHP and get to know more of its members. He has found HSC to be a welcoming and supportive community, and he hopes everyone will give it a try. He looks forward to making a positive impact alongside his fellow Chancellor’s Scholars.

Gail SchneidermanVice President, Publications

Gail is a senior majoring in graphic design and minoring in communication and is interested in a design career. Outside of CHP, she is involved in Illini Hillel, the Jewish Center on campus, where she served on their student board for two years and holds a communication internship. In her free time, she likes to paint, read, and go on long walks. 

She is VP of Publications and has been involved on the committee since freshman year. Her main role is designing the Equinox literary magazine. She encourages all CHP students to submit any form of art or literature to showcase their awesome talent. She is super excited to lead the committee and help other CHP members gain awesome memories, like the ones she treasures.

Briana SobecksSecretary

Briana is a senior in Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering with plans to go to graduate school for computational biology. She has participated in HSC since her freshman year on the Publications committee and loves helping with the honors newsletter and literary magazine. She is excited to take on a greater role in HSC through keeping the council organized as its secretary. Outside of HSC, Briana is Vice President of the American Chemical Society Student Chapter, sings with the St. John’s Newman Center choir, and studies computational modeling of protein dynamics in Dr. Diwakar Shukla’s lab. She also loves reading and drawing. Briana recommends HSC as a great way to get involved and make new friends, like her roommate that she met through CHP!

Ashley HornigCo-Vice President, Social Engagement

Ashley is a History major with a minor in Secondary Education. After undergrad, she plans to become a high school history teacher. Outside of CHP, she is a student worker for the Illinois Early Learning Project and an intern for the LAS Life and Career Design Lab. On-campus, she is a member of her sorority, Alpha Omicron Pi, and is involved in Illinithon’s Leadership Committee. She spends most of her free time listening to music and singing.  Ashley chose to become involved in HSC because she wanted to make connections with like-minded students on campus. Her role on the exec board has given her the opportunity to strengthen her leadership and organizational skills, as well as the opportunity to create a network of peers and mentors on campus. HSC has been an unforgettable part of her experience at U of I, and she is so grateful for the experiences it has given her.  Ashley would encourage anyone who is looking for a way to get involved to join!

Gina JagminasCo-Vice President, Social Engagement

Gina is a sophomore in the Division of General Studies, currently planning on majoring in History with plans to teach or enter the field of journalism. Outside of HSC, she is involved with the campus publication Her Campus. In her free time, she is almost always watching movies, crocheting, or going out to eat with friends. 

HSC provided Gina with a much-needed sense of community during her freshman year, and she wanted to become more involved to continue making new connections with students and faculty. Working with the rest of the executive board and the Social Engagement Committee, she is excited to plan even more events to bring everyone in CHP closer together. She encourages anyone who is a part of CHP to stop by at an HSC meeting or an Honors After Dark event to check it out and meet some great people!

Emily YanStudent Mentorship Chair

Emily is a junior majoring in Accountancy and Finance with a minor in Informatics. After undergrad, she plans to pursue a career in Advisory at a Big 4 accounting firm. Outside of CHP, Emily serves on the executive board for Beta Gamma Sigma and Phi Eta Sigma. She also works as a tutor at the Gies College of Business Undergraduate Success Lab as well as the Office of Minority Student Affairs Academic Services Center. In her free time, she enjoys listening to music, taking photos, and visiting art museums. She is also passionate about giving back to the community through volunteering. She encourages all Chancellor’s Scholars to get involved by joining committees and attending HSC meetings!

Emily joined CHP for the opportunities to gain exposure to the interdisciplinary curriculum and interact with people from diverse backgrounds. She decided to become a part of HSC to get to know more students on a personal level and develop leadership skills by implementing new initiatives. As the Chair of Student Mentorship, she is excited about connecting CHP students and alumni to establish networks and maintain relationships.

Maya ChattorajMember-At-Large

Maya is a senior majoring in chemistry. After graduation, she plans to pursue a PhD in physical chemistry. Outside of HSC, she designs and builds high-powered rockets with the Illinois Space Society. She also does research in the Jain Lab and is a member of the American Chemical Society student chapter on campus. In her free time, she enjoys reading and working out. Maya became involved with HSC to interact with her fellow Chancellor’s Scholars as well as faculty and staff. She served as Vice President of Academic Engagement in 2019-2020 and President in 2020-2021. Now as the at-large exec board member, she is happy to help wherever she is needed! She encourages all Chancellor’s Scholars to join HSC to meet other Chancellor’s Scholars and eat lots of free pizza!