Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Leadership lived: Student-athlete winning in the classroom and on the course

Rebbecca Ramirez of Springfield has been playing golf ever since her father bought her a pair of clubs at a garage sale. Now, as a member of the Prairie Stars golf team, she’s played in 11 tournaments and has a stroke average of 82.91.

“I started playing golf when I was 12 years old,” she said. “We were just testing it out to see what I could do.”

At the University of Illinois Springfield, Ramirez is majoring in psychology and using what she learns in the classroom to help her on the course. She likes golf because the sport has helped her grow as a person and a leader.

“I just like the pressure that golf puts upon me because it makes me a better individual,” she said. “It’s just kind of like a life lesson it has taught me.”

Ramirez admits balancing her time on the course and in the classroom can sometimes be a challenge, but she’s found ways to manage her time and succeed. She was recently named to the Great Lakes Valley Conference’s Academic All-GLVC list for 2014-15.

“School does come first, even though golf is always on my mind,” she said.

After she graduates from UIS, she plans on earning her Professional Golfers' Association of America (PGA) certification and start coaching others in the sport she loves.

She’ll look back at her time spent at UIS and the lessons she learned fondly.

“In one word, I would say that UIS it’s been awesome,” she said.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Leadership lived: Student balances her love of music and the law

Breanna Hunt has always loved music. She started singing when she was 2 years old and now leads the A Capella Choir at the University of Illinois Springfield.

As the choir leader, she picks musical selections and helps mentor fellow students. She says signing A Capella can be challenging.

“It’s a lot more difficult than signing with an accompaniment because usually the accompaniment gives you your notes, but with the A Capella you have to find the notes on your own when you first begin or you get the starting pitches,” she said.

The English and Legal Studies major also sings with the UIS Ensemble Choir and is a member of the Sigma Tau Delta International English Honor Society.

As a member of the UIS Mock Trial team she’s won several awards for her performance. Her experience on the team is helping to prepare her for her future career as a lawyer.

“I’m applying to law schools right now,” said Hunt. She feels UIS does a great job preparing students to become lawyers. “I know a lot of law schools, they teach you things that I have already learned, so I’m already going to be ahead of those students who haven’t learned it, which is a huge thing.”

As a commuter student from Chatham, Hunt says she’s made many friends on campus and credits her professors for helping her succeed.

“The teachers are great and I love them,” she said. “They’ve always been there and been understanding and I think that’s something you won’t get at another university.”

Friday, September 04, 2015

Leadership lived: Student gets a taste of political life as SGA President

Josh Lawson wants to be a lawyer and possibly run for political office one day. At the University of Illinois Springfield, the Legal Studies major is getting a taste of political life as the President of the Student Government Association (SGA).

“I decided to run for Student Government President because I really wanted to help out the students. I’ve found this is the best way to do that,” he said.

As SGA President, he runs regularly scheduled meetings and organizes town hall forums where students can express their concerns about campus issues.

“It’s important to have these sorts of meetings because it develops a relationship between the Student Government Association and the students,” he said. “It makes the students aware of who their student government leaders are, so if they have an issue they know what to do.”

Lawson is also president of the Mock Trial team, a member of the Model Illinois Government Moot Court, the Tau Sigma Honor Society and the Pre-Law Society. He also serves his country as a Sergeant in the Illinois Army National Guard.

“UIS has really taught me a lot about leadership,” he said. “The SGA as a whole goes to a leadership conference every year in St. Louis and they really develop and hone in on your leadership skills.”

Lawson says he’s found it easier to get involved at UIS because of the size of the campus.

“I feel that getting involved in Student Government has been a lot easier here at UIS than it would be at other universities, given the small size of the campus,” he said.

Following graduation, he plans to apply to law school. He knows the opportunities he’s received at UIS will benefit him in his future career.

“At the very least, it will definitely help with the leadership skills,” he said.