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Although Nick has faced family challenges including home foreclosure and growing up in an unsafe neighborhood, his greatest strengths as a leader are his strong communication skills and his ability to motivate others. When he saw a disconnect in the way his school was sharing information with students, parents, and taxpayers, Nick lobbied for morning announcements over the PA system and created a Facebook page that quickly attracted over 850 members. Nick’s primary passion is food science, nutrition, and childhood obesity. He developed his leadership skills in his position with the Research Apprentice Program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he researched the chemical makeup of granola bars and vegetables. In fact, Nick’s outstanding leadership earned him the most awards the program has ever given to one individual. He also received the Cook County Sheriff’s Youth Service Medal of Honor award for his volunteer work.