Graduate Spotlight: Matilyn Bindl

Posted on May 14, 2016


Call her the Benjamin Button of graduations.

On Friday night, Matilyn Bindl walked the stage at Rock Valley College to receive her Associate Degree. On Saturday she returned to RVC to cross the stage again- this time to receive her high school diploma from Belvidere North.

This is not exactly an uncommon occurrence, at least not since 2011 when the first students from RVC’s Running Start program graduated. 1.

Nevertheless, Matilyn Bindl is anything but common. Even among her fellow Running Start graduates this year (55 in total, 19 from Belvidere North), Matilyn stands out.

Matilyn Bindl receiving her Lincoln Academy of Illinois Student Laureate award in Springfield.

Matilyn Bindl receiving her Lincoln Academy of Illinois Student Laureate award in Springfield.

She graduated from RVC with highest honors after maintaining a 4.0 grade point average and making the President’s List in each of her semesters at the college. Last November, she represented the Illinois Community College System as its 2015 Lincoln Academy of Illinois Student Laureate and was honored in Springfield by Governor Bruce Rauner. She was awarded a $1,000 scholarship as a Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society 2015 Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholar, and was just recently named “Emerging Leader of the Year” at the 2016 RVC Student Life Leadership Banquet and Awards.

Beyond the classroom, Matilyn managed to get involved in numerous co-curricular activities at the college while still staying engaged at Belvidere North. She continued to participate in the honor societies at her high school and played on the volleyball team. Meanwhile at RVC, she served as Vice President of Leadership for the Omicron Eta Chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and as Treasurer for Math, Engineering, Physics, and Astronomy Club.

Through Phi Theta Kappa’s Honors Study Project last year, she and her fellow Phi Theta Kappa members studied aerospace and how it affects Rockford.

“That really opened my eyes to what Rockford has contributed to the aerospace industry,” said Matilyn.

“My extra-curricular activities at RVC have truly solidified what I want to go into, which is astronomy,” she added. “As part of the Math, Engineering, Physics, and Astronomy Club I have been able to travel to places like Fermilab and Argonne National Laboratory and that gives you really good insight into what you would do as an astronomer or a physicist.

“That really allowed me branch out and make friends at RVC and experience what it would be like to pursue the career I want to pursue.”

As far as what she wants to pursue, the first thing will be a Bachelor’s Degree in astronomy or astrophysics from the University of Wisconsin Madison, where she will transfer to this fall.

“I want to be a part of a big discovery.”

After that? Perhaps a trip to Mars.

Matilyn would love to one day work for NASA, specifically on the Mars Rover mission or future missions to the moons of Jupiter and Saturn to explore the possible existence of water with microbial life.

“It’s something that fascinates me,” said Matilyn. “That there are those questions that haven’t been answered.

“I want to be a part of a big discovery.”

That’s a pretty lofty dream, but we’re certainly not betting against her.

Matilyn Bindl receives her degree from Rock Valley College on Friday, May 13, 2016.

Matilyn Bindl receives her degree from Rock Valley College on Friday, May 13, 2016.

Matilyn Bindl

  1. In the fall of 2009, Belvidere District #100 and Rock Valley College began the Running Start program for qualified students from Belvidere High School and Belvidere North High School to attend RVC for their junior and senior years of high school. The courses taken are for dual credit, meeting the requirements for both a high school diploma and an Associate Degree simultaneously. The program has expanded over the years and now includes 10 high schools.
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