Family to accept posthumous degree for student

Janie Hernandez

Janie Hernandez pursued and completed requirements for a graduate degree at UIC before she died Sept. 11. To commemorate Hernandez’s accomplishments in life, Chancellor Michael Amiridis will recognize her at the Graduate College commencement Saturday, and Hernandez’s family will receive a posthumous degree on her behalf.

Hernandez first came to UIC as a medical student after graduating from Loyola University Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in biology and psychology. She attended the College of Medicine for two years before the effects of sickle cell anemia, an inherited blood disorder, prevented her from continuing.

She later enrolled in a master’s of education program for a degree in science education, where she fulfilled student teaching and all other requirements before she died from complications associated with the disease this fall. She was 35 years old.

“Janie was an exceptional student, teacher and scientist,” said Daniel Morales-Doyle, assistant professor of science education and her adviser. “Her strength, compassion and brilliance were inspiring.

“Her deep knowledge of science and education and her passion for youth and justice came through in her class participation, in her writing, in her teaching. Janie’s persistence and dedication to becoming an excellent science teacher, in spite of her illness, was remarkable. She provided an example of what courageous science teaching looks like.”

Hernandez’s parents, Kim and John, will be among six family members who will accept the degree on her behalf at the UIC Pavilion, 525 S. Racine Ave.

Besides her parents, Hernandez is survived by her brother, Joshua, and two dogs, Jake and Cadina. She was preceded in death by her sister, Mia, who battled effects of the same disorder.

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