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Voices of ACES

Discover our extraordinary community of changemakers through the voices that shape it — our "Voices of ACES" blog amplifies the narratives of current students, passionate alumni, and other inspiring individuals. Share your story at


Carrying Forward: Emma Hawkinson's Illinois Family Legacy

Emma Hawkinson in Caterpillar machinery

Illinois spirit flows deeply in the Hawkinson family! Meet Emma Hawkinson, a proud fourth-generation Illinois student, who carries this legacy with passion. For Emma and her family, the connection to Illinois is not a coincidence, but rather an intentional choice by each individual.

Despite the family ties, Emma’s parents never forced their alma mater on her or her siblings. This freedom allowed Emma to develop her own love for the university, which made all the