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MEDIA CONTACT:   Terry Gearing


FAU’s Wilkes Honors College Student Receives Award in National Essay Contest

            JUPITER, FL (September 18, 2009) – Kelly Novinski, a freshman at Florida Atlantic University’s Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, was the sole recipient of an honorable mention in the 2009 Summer Scholarship Competition, sponsored by the national non-partisan website Our Voice Our Country.   This prestigious competition drew 563 essays from students across the United States who posted concise, articulate descriptions of what they observe to be urgent national problems. The students also suggested plausible solutions or nominated experts in the field, who might be able to address each problem.

Novinski’s essay proposed that preserving wetlands is urgent for America now.  As she stated, “[Wetlands] provide us with flood protection, help prevent shoreline erosion, house a variety of diverse species of flora and fauna, and serve as a venue for recreation. There is no doubt that wetlands are a vital resource, but they are seldom recognized as such. Wetlands are not just aesthetically pleasing; they serve many important functions and should be therefore protected.”

            When told of this new distinction, Novinski said, “I’m delighted to have received an honorable mention for discussing something I’m so passionate about.  It’s nice to know that so many people care about what I had to say about protecting the wetlands.  When you’re my age, it can be hard to get your voice heard, but Our Voice Our Country helped me do just that.  I’m particularly proud that I was able to represent the Wilkes Honors College, especially at the national level, and I’m excited about the coverage that it will bring to my college.”

            Novinski is a 2009 graduate of Pinellas Park High School. Before arriving at the Honors College, Novinski was chosen for another important distinction. She was one of three new students at FAU to be offered the Henry Morrison Flagler Scholarship, a merit-based scholarship that provides student-leaders with an opportunity to pursue their higher education goals with a full fellowship and annual enrichment programs.   

“All of us here at the Honors College are delighted that Kelly has received this impressive recognition.  Each year’s Flagler Scholars arrive with exciting achievements and incredible experiences.  Kelly’s certainly living up to this high standard,” said Dr. Jeffrey Buller, dean of FAU’s Wilkes Honors College.

To learn more about Our Voice Our Country, visit .  To watch a short video Novinski has created concerning her essay, visit .


The Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, located on FAU’s John D.  MacArthur Campus, is a four-year residential liberal arts & science college for academically superior undergraduates.

Florida Atlantic University opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida.  Today, the University serves more than 26,000 undergraduate and graduate students on seven campuses strategically located along 150 miles of Florida’s southeastern coastline.  Building on its rich tradition as a teaching university, with a world-class faculty, FAU hosts nine colleges: College of Architecture, Urban & Public Affairs, Dorothy F.  Schmidt College of Arts & Letters, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Biomedical Science, the College of Business, the College of Education, the College of Engineering & Computer Science, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science.

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