Student Named to State Board of Education

Justin McDermott is one meeting away from completing his yearlong stint as the elected student representative to the Harper College Board of Trustees, but he's nowhere close to ending his advocacy.

McDermott, a Crystal Lake resident studying information technology, has been chosen to represent nontraditional students on the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

He is the first Harper student ever to land a spot on the state board. He'll take over his new role July 1.

McDermott, who also served on Harper's Student Senate, plans to use the skills he's learned to affect broader change.

"Representing students has turned into a passion for me," McDermott says. "Harper and its Board of Trustees have given me quite a bit of knowledge regarding higher education, and it would seem like a crime to not use it to help convey the importance and the impact of education issues facing the state."

First on his agenda: accentuating the implications that proposed education policies may have for nontraditional students like himself, who come to college as adults and not straight out of high school.

McDermott began his Harper education in 2002 before joining the U.S. Army. He was stationed in Iraq for 15 months, met then-President George W. Bush, and spent time in Israel and Germany before being retired for disability after five years in the military.

He hopes to eventually work for the National Security Agency or the Department of Homeland Security, helping shape America's cyber security policy. 

Press Contact: Erin Brooks, Media Relations Manager, 847.925.6159.