Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Leadership lived: UIS involvement inspires student to become leader

Jamaal Hollins never planned on becoming a leader, but that changed when he got involved at the University of Illinois Springfield.

Now the senior computer science major is the UIS student representative to the University of Illinois Board of Trustees.

“You can ask my parents. They’re surprised,” said Hollins. “It’s something I had never thought about doing, but as I got more involved at UIS I really wanted to help the university and the students.”

Hollins attends Board of Trustees meetings and has an advisory vote on all issues. He’s learn a lot about the day-to-day operations of the university.

“It’s really been an eye opening experience,” said Hollins. “I’ve learned about many issues that face not only UIS and higher education, but the university hospital for example at the Chicago campus.”

He’s also involved with the UIS Campus Senate, an ex officio member of the Student Government Association, and is a mentor for the Necessary Steps, Capital Scholars Honors Program, and Big Brothers Big Sisters

“The biggest thing about UIS is the opportunity to get involved. If you end up coming here, get involved, find something to do find somebody, an older student. Take a risk,” he said.

Hollins took a risk when he joined the intercollegiate squash team on campus his freshman year. At that time there were only four members. Now the team has grown to 11 players who play against major universities, such as Notre Dame and Duke.

“It’s been very competitive. We’ve won some of our matches,” said Hollins who now coaches the team.

Following graduation from UIS, Hollins plans to work for State Farm Insurance in Bloomington, Ill. That’s where he’s spent the past few summers interning.

“It’s been a great experience there and most recently a couple of months ago, I actually got a job offer from them with a start date after I graduate,” he said.

He leaves UIS with the knowledge to lead a successful career and the leadership skills to succeed.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Joshua Eastby honored with Student Laureate Award from the Lincoln Academy of Illinois

University of Illinois Springfield senior Joshua Eastby was honored with the Student Laureate Award from the Lincoln Academy of Illinois during a ceremony on November 2, 2013 at the Old State Capitol in Springfield.

Eastby, an Edwardsville, Ill. native, is majoring in political science at UIS. He holds a 3.96 GPA and plans to attend law school following graduation. Ultimately, he hopes to pursue a career in federal law enforcement and work for the FBI.

On campus, he serves as treasurer of the Student Government Association, vice-chair of the Student Organization Funding Association, plays violin and the viola in the UIS Chamber Ensemble, and is a member of the intercollegiate UIS Squash Team. He’s a member of numerous committees, including the Student Union Planning Committee, Tenure Review Committee, and the Campus Planning & Budget Committee.

“My involvement in these numerous activities, committees, and organizations have served to enhance my educational experience here at UIS, because it has given me several important opportunities to explore my own interests and contribute to the UIS community at the same time,” he said.

Previously he’s served as a peer mentor and a peer tutor in the Capital Scholars Honors Program, volunteered as part of the Leadership for Life (L4L) Community Service wing, and been active in Model United Nations on campus.

Eastby has also gained valuable work experience, which has helped him pay for his education at UIS. Eastby has worked in the UIS Office of Financial Assistance as a financial aid assistant, a page in the Illinois House of Representatives, and interned with the FBI’s Springfield Division.

“My employment, separate from my academic and extracurricular activities, has reinforced my desire to become involved in government because it has enabled me to witness the ways in which government can solve problems that would be otherwise intractable,” he said.

Eastby has previously been honored with the Capital Scholars Honors Program Chancellor’s Scholarship, Capital Scholars Honors Program Academic Excellence Award, and was selected as a James J. and M. Joan Stukel Scholar. Eastby is also a member of the Pi Sigma Alpha Political Science Honor Society and has been named to the Dean’s List every semester he’s attended UIS.

Each year an outstanding senior from each of the four-year degree-granting institutions of higher learning in Illinois is awarded the Student Lincoln Academy Medallion and thereby becomes a Student Laureate of the Lincoln Academy of Illinois. Student Laureates are honored for their overall excellence in curricular and extracurricular activities.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Leadership lived: Student's passion for politics grows at UIS

Marc Reiter has always had a passion for politics.

“I’ve probably been a political junkie since I was about 11-years-old, so I’ve always followed it – policy, elections, and all that stuff I just find it fascinating," said Reiter.

The junior political science major at the University of Illinois Springfield is now president of the College Democrats on campus.

“We have political candidates come speak to us, we campaign, we work for those candidates, we learn about the political process, we learn what it means to have Democratic ideals and beliefs,” said Reiter.

He’s also president of the Amnesty International group, a senator on the Student Government Association, and Speaker of the House for the state-wide Model Illinois Government organization.

“It’s definitely, from my position, given me a lot of leadership experience. A lot of the stuff takes a lot of planning, organization, and teamwork,” he said.

Through his involvement with the Model United Nations chapter on campus, Reiter was able to travel to New York City. He learned about creating resolutions and diplomacy.

“The last day you actually get to go to the U.N. building in New York and get to stand on the floor, so it’s a pretty cool experience,” said Reiter.

After he graduates with his bachelor’s degree, Reiter plans to stay at UIS to obtain his master’s degree in political science.

“Then I would like to either move out to California or Washington, D.C. to work for a congressman or something like that. I think that would be a really interesting thing," he said.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Five Join Legislative Internship Hall of Fame at UIS

The Samuel K. Gove Illinois Legislative Internship Hall of Fame at the University of Illinois Springfield will honor five individuals who have served as legislative interns at the state Capitol. U.S. Congresswoman Cheri Bustos, Scott Kaiser, Mona Martin, Scott Reimers, and David Sykuta will be inducted during a ceremony at the Governor’s Mansion on Thursday, November 21, 2013. Inductees are selected based on their contributions to Illinois and its citizens. The Hall of Fame is also recognition of the important role that public service internships play in developing public sector leadership.

Bustos, originally a journalist, used her pen to help her community. She uncovered numerous stories of corruption and greed in government, winning state and national awards for her work on behalf of the public interest. Twelve years ago, she left journalism to work for one of the nation’s largest non-profit health care systems. In 2007 Bustos was elected to serve on the City Council in East Moline for two terms and made her top priority economic development, which led to her founding the East Moline Downtown Revitalization Committee. In 2012, she was elected to represent Illinois’ 17th Congressional District. Bustos earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Maryland College Park and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Illinois Springfield. She also attended Illinois College in Jacksonville, where both her parents and son graduated.

Kaiser served as a legislative analyst on the senate republican staff from 1988-1996 working on welfare and healthcare issues and funding for human services agencies. During his eight years on staff, there were four years in the minority and four years in the majority under Senator Pate Philip. From 1997-1999 he served as deputy director of legislative affairs for Governor Jim Edgar, working primarily as the governor’s liaison to the Senate. In 1999, Kaiser and his wife Julie moved to Carbondale where he became assistant to the president of Southern Illinois University. His responsibilities included government affairs, and community and media relations. In July 2004, he was elected assistant secretary of the senate for the remainder of the 93rd General Assembly. He has been re-elected assistant secretary of the senate for the 94th, 95th, 96th, 97th and 98th General Assemblies. Kaiser is active in the American Society of Legislative Clerks and Secretaries (ASLCS), where he is currently serving as national vice president. He received his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Illinois Springfield.

Martin is an independent, contract lobbyist who owns her own consulting firm in Springfield. Prior to consulting, she worked at the Department of Commerce and Community Affairs/Economic Opportunity for 4 years where she served as the deputy director of policy development, planning, and research and was charged with developing the programmatic structure for the $12 billion Illinois FIRST program. Her career in government began as an intern in 1989 with the house republican staff. She later staffed the House Revenue Committee, and in 1993, became the director of research, in addition to later adding the responsibilities as the director of appropriations.

Reimers currently serves as chief of staff for the house republican leader in the Illinois General Assembly, a position he has held since 2011. He began his career in state government through the Illinois Staff Legislative Internship Program with the house republican staff in 1994 as a substantive and appropriations committee staff member working specifically with the human services and insurance committees and analyzing agency budgets. In 1999, Reimers was promoted to director of research and later deputy chief of staff for public policy prior to being named chief of staff. He also coordinated several political campaigns for house republican seats. In his current role, Reimers manages over 100 employees, including staff members for legislative research, communications, technology, policy, appropriations, legislative assistants, and support staff, and provides policy advisement for the house republican leadership team and caucus on state policies and legislation. He received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Northern Illinois University and a master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Illinois Springfield.

Sykuta started his career with the Senate Republican staff in 1973, specializing in industrial relations. He was hired as a full-time legislative consultant for the Illinois senate republican staff in July 1974. During his tenure on the Senate staff, he took several leaves of absence to organize and manage political campaigns. In April 1976, Sykuta joined the Illinois Petroleum Council as associate director and in 1986 he was appointed executive director of the Illinois Petroleum Council. In the fall of 1996, he co-founded the Partnership for Environmental Progress, a coalition of more than 80 businesses, labor unions, agricultural groups, trade associations, corporations and scientific groups whose common goals are a cleaner environment, economic growth and sound public policy. He also serves at the pleasure of Illinois’ governor on the Illinois Environmental and Regulatory Review Commission. Sykuta retired from the Illinois Petroleum Council last December and continues to work on special projects for the oil industry as a part time contractor. He received a bachelor’s degree in political science and history from Illinois State University in in 1972. He also attended graduate school in Public Administration at Illinois State and the University of Illinois Springfield.

The Hall of Fame is sponsored by Illinois Issues, the state’s leading public policy magazine, and the University of Illinois Alumni Association. The Hall of Fame is named for the late Samuel Gove, one of the magazine’s founders and a longtime director of the internship program. Established in 1990, the Hall of Fame, including this year’s inductees, now numbers 59 individuals, among them a former governor and several former and current state legislators. The names of the Hall’s members are inscribed on a plaque that hangs on the fourth floor of the Statehouse.

The event on November 21 will begin with a reception at 5:30 p.m. at the Governor’s Mansion at Fourth and Jackson Streets, followed by the induction ceremony at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $65 per person and may be purchased online at The deadline to register is November 18. Reservations are required. For more information on attending, call 217/206-6084.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Leadership lived: Student aims to boost school spirit


Natalie To has made it her mission to boost school spirit at the University of Illinois Springfield.

“When I came to UIS, there wasn’t a lot of school spirit,” she said. “As I progressed, I started to see that a lot of people didn’t care about coming to sporting events.”

In an effort to reverse the trend, the junior communication major started the Spirit Team to encourage more students to attend UIS Athletics events.

“In high school, I was an athlete and being involved was a key thing. I loved when I got signs of encouragement from people,” she said.

To is also a Necessary Steps Mentor, a member of the Student Union Planning Committee, the Nickname Change/Mascot Task Force, the Vietnamese Student Association, and the Greek Affairs Board.

“I want to do something that I can make an impact on this university when I leave and I think joining all of these organizations will benefit me, as well as future students,” she said.

On the Student Union Planning Committee, To has been one of several students offering their opinions about the design of the building.

“It’s very important with the student union that students are the key part in planning it,” said To. “You don’t want administrators planning a building that’s meant for students, so voicing my opinion on the committee is basically the key part I can play.”

The new UIS Student Union is scheduled to be complete by the Fall of 2016.

“I hope that when future UIS students come they appreciate all of the work that previous Prairie Stars have put into the union,” said To.

Following graduation, she plans to go to law school or obtain a job in the marketing field. She says UIS has taught her a lot about leadership and responsibility.

“UIS has taught me that I’m being watched at all times, so it’s more so that I’m a leader at all times,” said To.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Alumni Association honors two for achievement and service

The University of Illinois Alumni Association honored Richard Osborne and Charles Schweighauser during the University of Illinois Springfield Alumni Gala on Friday, November 1, 2013. Over 250 people attended the event at the Illinois Executive Mansion in Springfield.

The Alumni Achievement Award was presented to Richard Osborne, who earned a master’s degree from the UIS College of Business and management in 1973. He is currently senior managing director of Madison Capital Partners. The award is the highest honor bestowed upon graduates of the University. It is given to those who have attained distinction and success in one’s profession or life work.

Osborne is living proof of the steps he believes it takes to succeed: get an education, work hard and concentrate on results. He began his corporate career at The Pillsbury Company, and began working in the Springfield, Ill. operation in 1969. It was during this time which Osborne completed his master’s degree in business admiration at UIS (then Sangamon State University).

He joined Scotsman Industries in 1979, and rose through the ranks to assume the position of CEO, Chairman and President of Scotsman Industries, Inc. During the 10 years Osborne held the position, he was responsible for the direction and operating performance of the NYSE listed, international manufacturer. Company sales went from $150 million to $750 million, achieved through vision, strategic management and sound business practices. By 1999, when Osborne led the sale of the company, Scotsman Industries was operating 22 plants in 6 countries. Both Scotsman and Osborne have been cited and highly ranked in Crain’s Chicago Business and recognized as a Business Leader for the Chicago Region.

The Distinguished Service Award was presented to Charles Schweighauser, professor emeritus of English, Astronomy/Physics, and Environmental Studies at the University of Illinois Springfield. The award is presented to individuals who have demonstrated exceptional commitment and service to the University.

A founding faculty member of then Sangamon State University, Schweighauser’s remarkable career and wide ranging interests greatly influenced the development of the Astronomy/ Physics, Environmental Studies and English departments.

Professor Schweighauser’s life of service to the University has captivated thousands of children and adults alike. He’s inspired those who have sat in his classroom and his community lectures about astronomy and physics. He also helped establish the UIS and Barber Research Observatories and “star parties”, which have educated many community members and school-aged children.

His strong desire to share the universe led to his development of a telescope with a fixed eyepiece – a fixture which allows persons with disabilities to view the wonders of space - an accomplishment which is credited to be one of the first of its kind in the world.

Though he officially retired from the University in 2002 as professor emeritus of Astronomy and Physics, English, and Environment Studies, Professor Schweighauser has actively taught and mentored for several years following.

For more information on the awards, contact Chuck Schrage, vice president and association chancellor for alumni relations at 217/206-7395 or email