Awards and Achievements

2018 Award Recipients

Outstanding Young Alumnus Award: Kassie Karrsen-Schoon '13


After graduating from Carl Sandburg College in 2013, Kassie Karrsen-Schoon pursued her education with a relentless desire to reach her goals, including working for the federal government to protect and preserve wildlife and wilderness in the United States. She worked diligently as an undergraduate to ensure entrance into a competitive program tied to future employment with the federal government. She also volunteered for various cleanup projects in and around Macomb.

As a graduate student, Karrsen-Schoon participated in study abroad and domestic travel experiences complete with research components. She volunteered at the Peoria Zoo, Blank Park Zoo, Phillips Park Zoo, Wildlife Prairie Park and Scoville Zoo. Karrsen-Schoon graduated with a master’s in biology in 2018 from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Her work during her master’s program is being reviewed for publication and has the potential to create global impacts in the conservation world.

Karrsen-Schoon earned a position with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service after graduate school as a part of a program to put highly qualified biologists to work for the federal government. She now works as a research biologist at Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge in Indiana and is getting ready to take in her first crop of interns, giving back to her chosen field by educating the next generation of research biologists.


Distinguished Alumnus Award: Darci Heap '06


After graduating from Carl Sandburg College in 2008, Darci Heap earned her bachelor’s in athletic training from Western Illinois University in 2012. She continued her education at Midwestern University in Downers Grove, attaining her doctorate in physical therapy in 2015. Heap has worked at McDonough District Hospital in Macomb for 3½ years in outpatient, inpatient, and home health physical therapy. She also is a clinical instructor for WIU’s athletic training program, with students observing her work as a physical therapist, and has been an adjunct faculty member at WIU.

Heap frequently donates canned goods, clothes and grocery bags to the Family Outreach Community Center in her hometown of Stronghurst, which provides several services to people in need in Henderson County. She also volunteers to wrap Christmas gifts for underprivileged children and families of the West Central School District. When she’s not working as a physical therapist, Heap can be found tending to her children, trying to get meals to her husband in the field, helping with moving equipment from one field to another, or assisting with cattle chores.

Nominations are now open. 

Please follow the links below to fill out your nomination form. All nominations may be turned into the Foundation Office or emailed to


Distinguished Alumnus Award
Nominees must -

  • have completed a degree or certificate from Carl Sandburg College
  • demonstrate notable achievements in career field
  • demonstrate specific philanthropic or public service activity that supports the community and/or College
  • have achieved recognition at a national level
  • provide inspirational impact or significance
  • have continued interest in and support of education and community colleges

Nomination form: Alumni-Giving/Alumni-Awards/nomination-form1.docx

Outstanding Young Alumnus Award
Nominees must -

  • have completed a degree or certificate within the last 10 years from Carl Sandburg College 
  • demonstrate outstanding professional achievement in career field

Nomination form: Young Alumni Nomination Form


Distinguished Service Award

This award serves to recognize leadership within the college community, excellence in performing the tasks required by the position held at the college, service in organizations outside the college community, humility, and sincere effort in self-growth. Retirees and past employees are eligible for nomination.


Nomination form: Alumni-Giving/Alumni-Awards/nomination-form.docx


Please call 309.341.5349 if you have questions or for more information about the awards and nomination requirements.