Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Associate Professor of Management Benjamin Walsh named the 2017 University Scholar at UIS

Benjamin Walsh, associate professor of management at the University of Illinois Springfield, has been named University Scholar for 2017. The award, considered the university system’s highest faculty honor, recognizes outstanding teaching and scholarship. Only one faculty member receives the annual award at UIS.

“Dr. Walsh’s achievements in both scholarship and teaching are impressive,” said one of his nominators. “In the six years since completing his doctorate, he has shown documented promise of becoming the very best in his field.”

The majority of Walsh’s research focuses on interpersonal relationships in the workplace, with a particular focus on civility and mistreatment in the workplace. His research examines how work places have treated cases of incivility, with a focus on understanding the history and outcomes of incivility and sexual harassment, as well as the effectiveness of interventions designed to prevent workplace mistreatment.

As a published researcher, Walsh has had 17 peer-reviewed journal articles in applied psychology and management journals, such as the Journal of Business Ethics, Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, Applied Psychology: An International Review, Stress and Health, and Journal of Business and Psychology. His scale measuring incivility in the workplace has also been published.

“The impact of Dr. Walsh’s work is reflected in the 300+ citations his published research has obtained thus far,” said a nominator.

In the classroom, Walsh is known as a true teacher-scholar who incorporates his own research interests, where appropriate, into his classes, encouraging students to develop critical thinking skills and an understanding of the research process.

Walsh teaches courses in organizational behavior and human resource management, teaching at both the undergraduate and graduate levels and via face-to-face and online modes of delivery. Walsh has been successful in motivating and engaging students in his research projects, including two collaborative community projects.

“Student perceptions of Professor Walsh’s teaching demonstrate that he is highly regarded, exceeding university, college, and department averages in every category,” said a nominator.

Walsch received his Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from the University of Connecticut in 2011. In 2015, Walsh was named the 2015 Outstanding Faculty Member at the UIS Peoria Center.

As University Scholar, Walsh will receive $15,000 a year for three years to support research and other scholarly activities. Faculty do not apply for this award; they are nominated by their peers. A committee of senior faculty makes the final selection.

Leadership lived: Student jumpstarts her marketing career at UIS

Melissa Van is getting a jumpstart on her future career at the University of Illinois Springfield where she helps promote student events on campus as the marketing chair for the Student Activities Committee (SAC).

“I make flyers, distribute flyers, do word of mouth and social media advertising,” she said. “This year, since we have more people, I actually created a marketing team.”

The business administration major is also the marketing coordinator for the Asian Student Organization, the vice president of the UIS Community Garden Club and a Capital Scholars Honors Program peer mentor. She says her involvement on campus has taught her many lessons about leadership.

“If there’s anything you ever want to try, you can’t just wait and expect someone to give it to you,” she said. “You need to go out there and say at least you tried, even if you do fail, but in the end you’ll find your people, you’ll find your place.”

Following graduation from UIS, she plans to use the knowledge she’s obtained in the classroom and by marketing events at UIS to launch her career.

“I really want to do something with marketing. I’m not sure yet, but I’m thinking advertisements, maybe something with movies.”

The Lincoln, Illinois native says she chose UIS because “it wasn’t small, but it wasn’t big either.” She says she’s glad she made the decision to come to UIS.

“If you’re the type of student who needs one-on-one time to actually find yourself, I would come to a place like UIS,” she said. “It’s a great place to learn.” 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Leadership lived: Student Government Association president serves as voice for his fellow students

Garrett Nimmo enjoys being a voice for his fellow students. He was recently elected president of the University of Illinois Springfield Student Government Association (SGA) in a campus-wide race.

As SGA president, Nimmo often meets with university leaders to express student positions on important issues. He also runs SGA meetings, making sure that senators have reports ready and are listening to student concerns.

“I think the SGA is important because it gives students a certain level of reassurance when they can come to students, opposed to going to their teachers,” he said. “Knowing they can rely on fellow students or come to fellow students with their issues can sometimes seem less intimidating than going directly to an administrator.”

Nimmo, a sophomore economics major, was first elected to the SGA as a senator-at-large his freshman year. He found it easy to get quickly involved on campus.

“From the moment you set foot on campus with the Kick Start Orientation, you’re actively given roles to participate in,” he said.

One of Nimmo’s other leadership roles is a mentor for Leadership for Life, a service and leadership program where students complete 40 hours of service each semester.

As part of Leadership for Life, he traveled to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to clean up flood damage in 2016. He also went on the 2017 Alternative Spring Break trip and helped with outdoor eco-restoration projects along the Florida Panhandle Gulf Coast.

Following graduation from UIS, Nimmo would like to attend law school and become a public servant or tax lawyer.

“I’m very happy that I chose UIS. It’s been very fruitful,” he said. “I think one of the unique opportunities at UIS is that you can get a lot of one-on-one help from your professors. Here you’re in a classroom with 30 people and it makes getting help very accessible.”

Nimmo says he’s grateful for the confidence students have placed in him and hopes to represent them to the best of his ability.

“I’m honored to be in the role that I am,” he said. “I definitely look forward to this upcoming year and seeing what all we can get done.”

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Leadership lived: UIS women’s soccer player gets involved on and off the field

Jasmin Lisowski has been playing soccer since she was in kindergarten. Now, she’s living her dream playing NCAA Division II women’s soccer at the University of Illinois Springfield, while majoring in social work and psychology.

“My favorite part about playing soccer at UIS is that fact that I can be a student and be dedicated to my studies, as well as be part of a soccer team, which isn’t the case at every university,” she said. “I love the team so much, we bond so well together and I love spending time with them all of the time.”

On the UIS women’s soccer team, Lisowski has taken on an unofficial leadership role, helping to mentor new players. She admits that she wasn’t always a vocal member of the team, but says UIS helped her step up and become a leader.

“My freshman year coming in, I wasn’t as vocal as I am now,” she said. “I’m very vocal on the field now. I like talking to the younger players and tell them what they need to work on or what they did well and just guiding them in that way.”

On campus, Lisowski is part of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), the Alpha Lambda Delta Honors Society, the Capital Scholars Honors Program and the Psi Chi National Honor Society in psychology. She also traveled to the Florida Gulf Coast in March 2017 to volunteer with the Alternative Spring Break Program.

Most recently, Lisowski completed a study abroad trip to Malta and Rome in May 2017. As a student-athlete, she says it can be hard to travel during the summer months. However, she arranged her schedule so she could take part in the trip.

“It was an amazing experience. I was so excited to be able to do that,” she said.

Following graduation from UIS, Lisowski plans to earn her master’s degree and become a counselor or social worker in an emergency room.

Lisowski says she is glad that she chose UIS because she enjoys being part of a growing campus that is part of the University of Illinois System. She has also enjoyed the positive student-athlete experience and recommends UIS to others interested in playing sports.

“We just had an ID camp here last weekend and a lot of the parents asked us if we would have changed anything. I definitely would not have changed anything about my experience. I’m so glad I chose UIS.”

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

UIS faculty chosen to participate in inaugural Teaching Fellows Program

Ten faculty members at the University of Illinois Springfield have been chosen as the inaugural class of Excellence in Teaching and Learning Fellows.

The program, which began this year, is an effort to encourage faculty to engage with high impact teaching practices that can transform their teaching.

The group will meet monthly to discuss educational psychology and research-based practices.

Participating faculty will read and discuss literature that has been shown to improve student learning, as well as engagement practices from fellow UIS professors.

Fellows that participate in seven or more of the ten sessions will be eligible to apply for competitive implementation grants and travel grants to a conference targeted at improving teaching practices.

Faculty chosen to participate include: Angela Doehring, Carlee Beth Hawkins, Elizabeth Kosmetatou, Andrea Scarpino and Richard Stokes from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; Carol Jessup and Sudeep Sharma from the College of Business and Management; Tiffany Nielson, Denise Bockmier-Sommers and Cynthia Wilson from the College of Education and Human Services.

The fellows were chosen by a committee made up of faculty and administrators representing each college.

Leadership lived: International student steps up to lead the UIS Women’s Center

When the director of the University of Illinois Springfield Women’s Center left the university, international student Bhanu Sheetal Muthyala, a graduate assistant, stepped up to lead the office. She took charge of planning events and running the center’s daily operations.

She admits that it was challenging at first to manage the office, but says she’s learned many important lessons about leadership from the experience. She is advised by Clarice Ford, UIS vice chancellor for student affairs and her staff.

“Working at the Women’s Center is a great pleasure for me,” she said. “Before I came to UIS I had worked with many non-governmental organization back in India.”

This is the second year Muthyala has worked as a graduate assistant for the Women’s Center. Before that, she worked for UIS Residence Life where she did clerical work.

One of the weekly Women’s Center events Muthyala helps plan is called TGIF. The Friday event features an activity or project to bring students together.

“Generally, we do TGIFs to welcome students into our space and provide a safe environment, so they can interact with each other and meet new friends,” she said.

Muthyala says working at the Women’s Center has given her valuable experience and has helped create lasting memories of UIS.

“I have many memories of UIS,” she said. “One is working with the staff at the Women’s Center. They made me really improve my interpersonal skills. My friends at UIS have also been good to me and they encouraged me a lot.”

Following graduation from UIS, she plans to seek an internship or a full-time job as a data analyst. She’s glad she chose UIS and encourages other international students to attend the university.

“This campus provided me with many leadership skills and also it gave me an opportunity to interact with different kinds of people, so I think this is the best place and it has given me an edge over others,” she said.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Leadership lived: UIS student helps start Downtown Discounts program

University of Illinois Springfield political science and economics major Kaelan Smith is passionate about helping people in his community. He recently helped to start the Downtown Discounts program, which saves UIS students money at downtown businesses.

On campus, Smith is the vice president of the UIS College Republicans and is a member of the Capital Scholars Honors Program, where he volunteers as a peer mentor. He is also currently interning at U.S. Congressman Darin LaHood’s Springfield District Office.

“The internship has taught me the professional organizational skills to make a government office work for the people and the kind of leadership skills it takes to be a successful public servant,” he said.

Smith helped start the Downtown Discounts program in his role as co-chair of State Representative Sara Wojcicki Jimenez’s Higher Education Student Advisory Committee. Deals for UIS students vary, but often include a 10 percent discount at stores and eateries when students show their i-card.

“I had a lot of communication with business owners trying to get an idea of what kind of offers were best for their business strategy, but also I also talked to students to see what kind of program would really attract them to the downtown area,” he said.

Smith, who is from Clinton, Illinois, says he chose UIS because of its location in the state capital. Being in the seat of state government has given him many advantages when it comes to making connections and obtaining internships.

“UIS is just great for proximity. It’s right here in the heart of the state capital,” he said. “You meet so many professionals in state government and state politics and it’s an easy way to meet these people, get mentors and get opportunities.”

Thanks to his opportunities both on and off campus and the knowledgeable professors in the classroom, Smith says he’s learned many lessons about leadership.

“UIS has taught me that leadership requires a lot of thought, a lot of work and also thinking about the values you really want to impact in your community. The work and the measurement of what kind of leader you are is about the kind of values you leave in your community and whether or not you’ve made it a better place for everybody.”

Following graduation from UIS, Smith plans to work in state government before pursuing either a master's degree in public policy or attending law school. Afterwards, he hopes to work in a state’s attorney's office or in the public sector working on public policy or legislation.

Smith encourages other students who are interested in government and politics to attend the University of Illinois Springfield.

“If I could rethink it all over again, I would come back to UIS. UIS is a great place if you want to learn how to be a public servant, but also learn how to make your community a better place,” he said.

Lan Dong named the Schewe Endowed Professor at UIS

University of Illinois Springfield faculty member Lan Dong has been named the Louise Hartman Schewe and Karl Schewe Professor in Liberal Arts and Sciences. The endowed professorship will give Dong additional support to conduct research and other scholarly activities.

“Lan Dong has established a reputation as a ground breaking and prolific researcher in Asian American literature,” said James Ermatinger, dean of the UIS College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “She has emerged as an expert in comparative literature and has become a recognized scholar in studies of comics and graphic narratives.”

As part of the professorship, Dong looks forward to completing several projects, enhancing the reputation of Department of English and Modern Languages and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and further integrating research into teaching and mentoring students at UIS.

“It is a great honor,” Dong said, “and brings added responsibilities as well.”

Dong came to UIS in 2006 as an assistant professor of English. In 2012, she was named a University Scholar by the University of Illinois for her excellence in teaching and scholarship. She also received the Faculty Excellence Award for Scholarship from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in 2011 and the Pearson Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence at UIS in 2012.

In her teaching, Dong specializes in world literature and graphic narratives, which use sequential art to tell stories. “The juxtaposition of textual and visual elements provides a sense of immediacy and helps shorten the difference between the characters and readers,” Dong said. “The reader’s experience of being a ‘witness’ makes the books and topics particularly relevant.”

As a result, students develop more interests in world culture, tradition and events and what they can do personally to help others, thus becoming engaged citizens.

Dong also teaches Asian American literature and children’s and young adult literature at UIS.

Dong’s research focuses on Asian American literature and more specifically on women. She has published a book on Mulan entitled “Mulan’s Legend and Legacy in China and the United States.” She has also written “Reading Amy Tan,” part of the Pop Lit Book Club series published by Libraries Unlimited, and edited the multi-contributor books “Transnationalism and the Asian American Heroine: Essays on Literature, Film, Myth and Media” and “Teaching Comics and Graphic Narratives: Essays on Theory, Strategy and Practice.” Most recently, she edited “Asian American Culture: From Anime to Tiger Moms,” a two-volume comprehensive study of Asian American cultural forms.

Dong came from China to the United States in 2000 for graduate school. After earning a master’s degree in comparative literature from Dartmouth College, she earned her doctorate at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, also in comparative literature.

A bequest from Louise Hartman Schewe created the Louis Hartman Schewe and Karl Schewe Professor in Liberal Arts and Sciences. Louise was a teacher and active civic leader in Springfield and Karl was a member of the Chicago Board of Trade and A.G. Edwards and Sons, Springfield.

Endowed professorships at UIS create a lasting tribute to the donors who create them and are crucial for recruiting and retaining the high quality of faculty who are a hallmark of the University of Illinois Springfield.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Leadership lived: UIS student trustee plans future career in public service

Edwin Robles has always been interested in politics and hopes to one day run for office. At the University of Illinois Springfield, he was elected by the student body to serve as their voice on the University of Illinois Board of Trustees.

As the student trustee, Robles has a seat at the table at all of the board of trustees meetings. He regularly travels to the other U of I System campuses for meetings and helps cast the student vote on important issues.

“On the board, I represent UIS students at the university-level,” he said. “I try to make sure the university is making wise decisions, not only on the university-level, but for UIS students as well.”

At UIS, Robles is a political science and public policy major. He founded the UIS Football Club, a club soccer team which travels to play other colleges and universities. He is also a member of the Phi Kappa Tau fraternity and previously served as vice president for alumni relations. He has traveled with Model United Nations to New York City twice to participate in the annual simulation and will participate for a third time this spring.

“UIS has taught me a lot about leadership,” he said. “It has given me the insight on what it means to be a leader and a good leader. Often you have to put in a lot of work, sometimes a lot more than others, but it’s alright because at the end of the day the outcomes are worth it.”

As an elected student leader, Robles wants UIS students to know he’s here to listen to issues that students might be facing. He has an office on campus where students can come by and speak to him about issues that are important to them.

“The reason I decided to run for office was because I really cared about the university, I really cared about UIS students,” he said. “I wanted to make sure the community was growing and that students had leadership that cared about them.”

Following graduation from UIS, Robles wants to join the United States Navy as an officer. He plans to earn his master’s degree in political science and eventually a Ph.D.

“I do want to run for office,” he said. “That’s one of the things that I do want to do in the future and making sure I can be a public servant for the people.”

Robles encourages prospective students to consider UIS because of the right-sized supportive community and the abundance of opportunities for students.

“The community here is amazing,” he said. “Everyone kind of knows each other and at the end of the day, I’m really glad to call myself a Prairie Star.”

Friday, September 08, 2017

UIS and SIU researchers to collaborate on mapping asthma and COPD healthcare in Springfield

Five faculty and staff from the University of Illinois Springfield, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville have been awarded grants from the Caryl Towsley Moy, Ph.D., Endowed Fund for Collaborative Research to study asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Sangamon County has among the highest number of emergency department visits related to asthma and COPD in the state. Wiley Jenkins, Ph.D., associate professor in the Office of Population Science and Policy at the SIU School of Medicine and Egbe Egiebor, Ph.D., UIS assistant professor of public health, are employing Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to discover patterns and correlations that might aid in the treatment of adults with asthma and/or COPD.

By mapping these incidents and correlating with environmental factors, geographically targeted interventions will be developed to increase health and decrease costs. Maithili Deshpande, Ph.D., SIU Edwardsville assistant professor of pharmacy, Kristin Osiecki, Ph.D., UIS assistant professor of public health, and Amanda Fogelman, SIU School of Medicine Population Science and Policy senior research development coordinator, will also will join the team.

Richard Moy, M.D. (1931-2013), founding dean of the SIU School of Medicine, and his sons Philip and Eric Moy created the $250,000 endowed fund at UIS in honor of their wife and mother, former professor Caryl Moy (1932-2010). The fund supports faculty from UIS and the SIU School of Medicine who do team-based research. Caryl Moy taught for 21 years at UIS (then Sangamon State University) beginning in 1970. She also served as a clinical professor at the SIU School of Medicine.

For more information, contact Keenan Dungey, UIS associate vice chancellor for research and institutional effectiveness, at 217/206-8112 or

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Leadership lived: Transfer student takes full advantage of all UIS has to offer

Garrad Straube transferred to the University of Illinois Springfield to be part of the men’s cross country and track and field teams. The criminology and criminal justice major has taken full advantage of all that UIS has to offer and is currently completing an internship at the Illinois State Police Academy.

On campus, Straube works as a student ambassador for UIS Admissions where he gives prospective students and parents campus tours. He is also the treasurer for the Tau Sigma National Honor Society chapter at UIS, a member of Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Straube started his career as a runner while attending Quincy High School. He ran at a junior college before transferring to UIS where he is now a leader on the team. He enjoys mentoring younger students on the team and helping them grow.

“Being a team captain for the cross country team has just been phenomenal,” he said. “It’s hard to say you’re a team captain when you’re with a bunch of guys who invest as much as you are, but being a team captain, being a leader, on the cross country team, being able to bring them along has been just awesome.”

As an intern at the Illinois State Police Academy, Straube completes administrative tasks and has also been able to ride along with troopers on the ground and in the air. He’s also interned with the SWAT team and other departments within the state police.

Following graduation from UIS, Straube would like to become a police officer and hopes to work for the Illinois State Police.

“I think in law enforcement you can’t be afraid to do the right thing,” he said. “That’s kind of my emphasis that I want to do the right thing. I want to be a pillar in the community and I want to be a person that people can say ‘yeah, he’s a good cop or a good person’. That’s my goal.”

As a UIS student ambassador, Straube says it’s often his job to “sell” UIS to prospective students and parents. He says that’s an easy job.

“I came here my junior year and I’ve been able to find my own home within UIS. I love it here,” he said. “It’s so easy to sell a school where they invest in you as much as you invest in them.”

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Leadership lived: UIS student finds passion for public service at UIS

University of Illinois Springfield political science major Yaw Kesse of Chicago has a passion for public service.

Kesse has spent the summer interning at the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services in Springfield where he works in the Bureau of Collections. He credits UIS for the internship opportunity saying it has helped prepare him for his future career.

“I’ve learned how to better present myself,” he said. “I’ve learned communication skills and how to interact with the public. I had an advanced training where I learned about customer service.”

At UIS, Kesse is a member of the Upsilon Xi Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. He was previously involved in Student Activities Committee (SAC) and served as host for the 2016 UIS Homecoming Pep Rally.

“UIS has taught me that leadership is very important,” he said. “Coming into UIS, I really wasn’t engaged too much in high school.”

He recommends that future UIS students get involved on campus in order to gain valuable leadership experience.

“For any student who is coming to UIS, I feel like you should just really get yourself acclimated and join student organizations and do as much as possible,” he said.

Following graduation from UIS, Kesse plans to continue his career in public service and hopes to find a job with the State of Illinois. He says he’s grateful for the opportunities he’d had at UIS.

“I’m very satisfied that I came to UIS,” he said. “These past four years have been quite remarkable for me. I’ve grown as a person and as an individual and learned a lot.”

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

UIS Chancellor wins bid on Illinois State Fair Grand Champion ice cream made in Eureka

University of Illinois Springfield Chancellor Susan J. Koch was the winning bidder of 3 pounds of Uncle Bob’s Homemade Ice Cream at the Governor’s Sale of Champions at the Illinois State Fair on Tuesday, August 15, 2017.

The ice cream, which is manufactured in Eureka, Illinois, was named the Illinois State Fair Grand Champion in the ice cream category. Koch bid $600 to win the grand prize-winning blackberry ice cream.

According to their website, Uncle Bob's Homemade Ice Cream opened on July 10, 1980, at the Heart of Illinois Fair. Uncle Bob's now has a permanent location in Eureka where fresh ice cream is made year round.

Koch plans to donate the champion ice cream to the University of Illinois Springfield to be served at a special event on campus.

The Governor’s Sale of Champions is held each year at the Illinois State Fair on Agriculture Day.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Leadership lived: Future doctor loves mentoring new UIS students

University of Illinois Springfield senior Ashley Osuma loves to share the knowledge she’s gained from her four years on campus with incoming freshmen.

Osuma is a peer mentor for the Summer Bridge Program, a two-week on-campus living-learning experience for first-year students who need additional academic support and college preparation.

“As a peer mentor, we counsel students through things they might be going through, help them with their homework and answer any questions they may have,” she said.

During the Summer Bridge Program, Osuma, an O’Fallon, Illinois native, spends several hours each day socializing with the students and helping them prepare for college.

“I love getting the chance to interact with students and pass on wisdom that I may have not had at the time I was a freshman and just give them a different perspective,” she said.

During Fall Semester 2017, Osuma will continue to mentor the Summer Bridge students as a resident assistant (RA) in Lincoln Residence Hall and as a peer mentor for Students Transitioning for Academic Retention (STARS).

“My main important advice for the students is to stay focused on your school work,” she said. “Remember your ultimate goal and what you want to do for yourself and get involved with things that will help you with that goal and keep you focused on it.”

On campus, Osuma is also president of the Tau Chi Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and the historian for the Pre-Health Society. She says she’s learned many important lessons from her leadership roles on campus.

“All my experiences have taught me that everyone has different backgrounds and we all see the world through different eyes,” she said. “I also feel to be a good leader you have to know how to be led.”

As a biology major, Osuma is concentrating her studies in the pre-medicine field. Following graduation from UIS, she plans to go to medical school and become a dermatologist.

“I’m glad I chose UIS for all of the great people I’ve met,” she said. “I’ve had a great experience with the campus and love the small class sizes.”

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

UIS professor part of a research study that finds new biological sequencing method less effective

Michael Lemke, professor of biology at the University of Illinois Springfield, is part of an international research team led by the American Museum of Natural History that has found that a next-generation DNA sequencing method is less effective at microbial diversity description than originally thought.

Next-generation sequencing has given biological scientists the ability to sequence millions to billions of small fragments of DNA in parallel, revolutionizing the field.

In a study, published this week in the Nature research journal “Scientific Reports”, scientists compared two next-generation sequencing techniques – called amplicon and shotgun – on water samples from four of Brazil’s major river floodplain systems. Less than 50 percent of phyla—a category for a very broad group of related organisms—identified via amplicon sequencing were recovered from shotgun sequencing, challenging the belief that shotgun recovers more diversity than amplicon-based approaches. Amplicon sequencing also revealed about 27 percent more families.

“It is not a matter of setting back sequencing research,” said Lemke. “Sequencing is an amazingly effective tool for understanding what exists in the microbial world, but every tool does not fit the need for every job, and here, we really have a variation on the same tool. Many parts of microbial world remain unknown, and the unknown portions are even more mysterious when there are less studies, for there are less data that has been contributed to building a database.”

Lemke, through a collaboration with the Universidade Estadual de Maringá in Brazil, helped collect samples and extract DNA used for the data in the present study. He was on site to collect water samples from the Amazon and Paraguay Rivers during two trips in 2011 and 2012. These samples, along with those from the other river systems, were sequenced using both amplicon and shotgun methods.

“In the case with the Brazil large rivers study, the study that came out represents evidence for a ‘better’ way to use the sequencing tool in this case,” said Lemke. “You can think of the work led by Michael Tessler and Mercer Brugler as having two different (sequencing) flashlights used to look into the microbial black boxes we retrieved from Brazil. It turns out that the amplicon flashlight shed double the light into the box than the shotgun flashlight.”

Lemke’s work continues as a research associate for the American Museum of Natural History with the DeSalle Lab, part of the Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics.

“I’m preparing the last samples from a nine-year study on The Nature Conservancy’s restoration project at Thompson Lake (located near the Emiquon Preserve in Fulton County) to take to the Museum for sequencing yet this summer,” he said. “Application of sequence technology is a big issue in our work.”

Other researcher partners included in the American Museum of Natural History study are the City University of New York (CUNY), Weill Cornell Medicine and Instituto Cesumar de Ciȇncia, Tecnologia e Inovação.

This study was supported in part by the Korein Foundation, the Gerstner Family Foundation, the Irma T. Hirschl and Minque Weill-Caulier Charitable Trusts, the Bert L. and N. Kuggie Vallee Foundation, the WorldQuant Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (grant #OPP1151054), and the Brazilian National Council of Technological and Scientific Development.

For more information, contact Michael Lemke, UIS professor of biology, at 217/206-7339 or

Leadership lived: Student helps manage UIS Brookens Library

As a student manager at Brookens Library, Andrew Koontz, a senior University of Illinois Springfield computer science major, makes sure that patrons find the resources they need. He also trains new student workers and is responsible for special projects.

“The most rewarding part about working at the library is the feeling you get after helping someone, whether it be a patron that comes in, a student or a fellow worker,” he said. “It’s just a really great feeling helping someone achieve what they want to do.”

Koontz, who is from Belleville, Illinois, has worked at the library for the past year and a half and worked his way up to the student manager position. It’s the first time he’s ever held a management position.

“If a student worker needs help with a patron or gets asked something they don’t know they’ll come to me or another supervisor for help,” he said.

As a computer science major, Koontz likes to point out that Brookens Library not only offers books, but online databases for students to take advantage of while doing research.

After he graduates from UIS, Koontz wants to continue to work with computers and possibly become a software engineer.

“As long as it involves my major and I get to work with computers I’ll be happy,” he said.

Koontz chose the University of Illinois Springfield because of the right-sized supportive community. He says he came from a smaller higher school and didn’t want to attend a large university.

“UIS has many services and opportunities for students that really helps them feel welcomed into the school. I think this is a great school,” he said.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Leadership lived: Resident assistant helps students feel at home

Da Zhane' Sinclair says the University of Illinois Springfield “feels like home” and the friends she’s made on campus are like family.

Sinclair, a senior accountancy major, is a resident assistant (RA) on campus and mentors fellow first-generation college students as part of the Necessary Steps Mentoring Program.

“I enjoy being an RA because I am a people person, so communicating with people and helping them is why I became an RA,” she said.

As an RA, Sinclair regularly plans social events to help her fellow students feel welcome. She recently hosted the “Sip and Craft” event where students living on campus over the summer and Summer Bridge Program students came together to make crafts using boards, nails and yarn.

Sinclair, who is from Chicago, attended a charter high school where she got individual attention from teachers on a smaller campus. At UIS, she feels she’s getting the same level attention.

“Like my charter school, I can communicate with my professors here and build relationships. It’s like a family,” she said.

Being an RA has taught her many lessons about communicating with others, crisis mediation, event planning and budgeting for events.

“UIS taught me that you have to jump outside the box,” she said. “You have to stand out and be the first person to raise your hand, even if at times you don’t want to.”

Following graduation from UIS, Sinclair would like to open her own non-profit that helps women and children. She feels well-prepared by her UIS education.

“I’ve been able to do things that I didn’t think I was going to be able to do,” she said. “I never pictured myself being an RA. I never pictured myself actually doing things that I’ve done so far.”

Friday, July 21, 2017

UIS professor co-edits new book exploring gender quotas in three major South American countries

Adriana Crocker, professor of political science at the University of Illinois Springfield, has co-edited a new book titled “Gender Quotas in South America’s Big Three: National and Subnational Impacts” with Gregory Schmidt, professor of political science at the University of Texas at El Paso and Clara Araújo, professor and researcher at the University of the State of Rio de Janeiro.

The book focuses on gender quotas in Argentina, Brazil, and Peru. Since the return of democracy to Latin America, policies intended to promote the inclusion of women and other underrepresented groups have been increasingly adopted in the region. In particular, gender quotas have been one of the most popular and effective mechanisms employed in elections and other contexts in Latin America.

“Gender quotas provide women with a means to secure their participation in legislatures and have been employed worldwide,” said Crocker. “Their adoption in Latin America was influenced by both domestic and international phenomena.”

In the book, Crocker and her co-editors explore quotas at both national and subnational levels, and compares and contrasts the experiences of gender quotas in these Big Three countries of South America (by area) with respect to their adoption and their impacts in terms of both descriptive and substantive representation. This book also deals with current trends in quotas, including parity systems in Latin America, and explores the prospects for parity adoption in Latin America.

“Overall, this book presents three South American case studies of quota systems, expands on the literature regarding the impacts of gender quotas, and examines the prospects for the political representation of women in the national and subnational legislatures of Argentina, Brazil, and Peru,” said Crocker.

The book was published by Lexington Books and can be purchased as either a hardcover or an electronic book from various retailers including Amazon, Barnes & Nobles and Google.

For more information, contact Adriana Crocker, UIS professor of political science, at 217/206-8329 or

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

UIS Legal Studies professor writes a new book about the dangers of for-profit law schools

Riaz Tejani, an assistant professor of legal studies at University of Illinois Springfield, has written a new book called “Law Mart”. The book was published by Stanford University Press and released on July 18, 2017.

In the book, based on extensive field research and interviews, Tejani argues that the rise of for profit law schools shows the limits of a market-based solution to American access to justice. Building on theories in law, political economy, and moral anthropology, Tejani reveals how for-profit law schools marketed themselves directly to ethnoracial and socioeconomic "minority" communities, relaxed admission standards, increased diversity, shook up established curricula, and saw student success rates plummet.

“They contributed to a dramatic rise in U.S. law student debt burdens while charging premium tuition financed up-front through federal loans over time,” said Tejani. “If economic theories have so influenced legal scholarship, what happens when they come to shape law school transactions, governance, and oversight?”

Tejani explores whether there is a need for protections that better uphold institutional quality and sustainability, while offering an unprecedented, in-depth glimpse of this landscape.

The book is available for purchase from Stanford University Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other websites.

For more information, contact Riaz Tejani at 217/206-6561 or

Friday, June 30, 2017

Leadership lived: Love of music brings international student to UIS

Music has been a part of Yu Shao’s life since she was six-years-old. That’s when she first started playing the Guzheng, a traditional Chinese instrument with thousands of years of history.

“I love the voice, I love the tune so much,” she said. “It’s a 21 string instrument. It gives you a lot of flexibility to create your own music or focus on the composer’s music to express yourself.”

Shao says it was her love of music that brought her to the University of Illinois Springfield where she is majoring in accountancy and is a Camerata Music Scholar. She regularly sings with the UIS Chorus and plays in small ensembles.

Shao is vice president of the Student Accounting Society and helps other international students adjust to campus life as a student worker for the Office of International Student Services. She answers student questions over the phone and by email and helps plan important events.

“I highly recommend UIS to the international students because our campus is super fun,” she said. “We have a lot of traditional activities that are fun for the international student to get involved in, such as Springfest and the International Student Festival.”

Shao admits that it was a challenging transition to leave China and come to the United States. However, she says she now feels at home at UIS.

“My English was poor when I came here, but I got enrolled in Intensive English Program classes for one semester and it really helped me to get involved in American culture and to get to know more about English,” she said.

Following graduation from UIS, Shao would like to stay in the United States and pursue her master’s degree and find a job in the business field.

“I think the biggest things I’ve learned from UIS is take advantage of any challenges,” she said. “I believe that if a thing doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you at all.”

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Leadership lived: UIS student helps future Prairie Stars transition to college

The first time Marquiera Harris visited the University of Illinois Springfield she felt so welcomed that she instantly knew that UIS was her perfect fit. Now, the social work major is helping other students make the transition to UIS as an orientation coordinator.

“I love this campus,” she said. “It’s beautiful and definitely feels like home away from home. The professor’s care, they want you to get involved and I try my best to be involved.”

As a student orientation coordinator, Harris supervises 18 student orientation employees and helps to coordinate social media operations. On the day of orientation, she is responsible for supervising the help desk for new students and their parents.

“I make sure everything is going smoothly at the help desk in the mornings and make sure that students get to where they need to be,” she said.

UIS holds a total of six orientations for new students in June, July and August, which often means that Harris is working 50 to 60 hours a week to make sure everything goes as planned.

“We always get comments that ‘everything ran so smoothly’ and I’m always amazed because they don’t see the stuff that goes on behind the scenes, the little hiccups, but we make sure they don’t see it,” she said.

Harris says she has learned many lessons about leadership by supervising fellow student employees, many of whom she is friends with after hours.

“It’s been an amazing experience, stepping out of my comfort zone and taking the initiative to be a leader,” she said.

On campus, Harris also serves as the organizational liaison for the Research Society at UIS where she helps to plan events. She recently presented her academic research at the Midwestern Psychological Association meeting in Chicago and at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research in Memphis, Tennessee.

“UIS has been an amazing fit for me,” she said. “I wouldn’t want to go anywhere else. It’s a lot of work, but it’s a great pay off in the end.”

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Leadership lived: Student learns hands-on lessons from summer internship

University of Illinois Springfield senior Information Systems Security major Justin Brown is making the most out of his summer by interning at Horace Mann’s Security Operations Center in Springfield. He helps monitor, review and take action on abnormal web or email traffic that might be coming through the network.

“This internship is providing a lot of hands-on experience,” he said. “I’m taking a lot of the theories and practices I’ve learned in my courses at UIS and actually putting them into application here at the company.”

Brown says he enjoys working in the cyber security field because of the challenge.

“It’s really a big challenge, especially because you have to stay on top of all of the new attacks that happen almost daily,” he said. “I really enjoy stepping up to the challenge.”

On campus, Brown is a member of the Computer Science Club and the Christian Student Fellowship (CSF). He’s also part of the UIS Prairie Stars cross country and track and field teams. He was one of the first students to join the cross country team when it started in 2015.

“I really enjoy being a part of a new team and really being able to step up into a leadership role for the new members that may come on throughout the years and really kind of show them the ropes of what it means to be a collegiate runner,” he said.

Following graduation from UIS, Brown plans to find a full-time job in the information systems security field.

“Overall, my UIS experience has been pretty great,” he said. “Being able to be a part of the student-athlete body as well as part of the overall campus in general is just great. It’s definitely been everything I wanted in a campus.” 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Leadership lived: Future lawyer finds passion for volunteering at UIS

University of Illinois Springfield legal studies and political science major Payton Roberts loves volunteering with children on and off campus.

At UIS, she is the volunteer coordinator for the Lee Elementary Homework Club. She and other UIS students travel to the school weekly to help kids with their homework and teach them about different cultures from around the world.

“I love getting to walk into the classroom every week and just seeing the kids’ faces light up and know that you’re making a difference, no matter how little it may seem,” she said. “One hour a week or an hour and a half a week to us, it means the world to these kids.”

Roberts has also spent the past two summers volunteering with kids in Israel. She’s also spent a summer interning in Washington, D.C.

As a legal studies major, she serves as the vice president of the Pre-Law Society and works in the Pre-Law Center. She is also the undergraduate student representative for the UIS Legal Studies Department. She is also a member of the UIS Capital Scholars Honors Program.

Roberts said UIS has taught her that leadership “starts from the bottom” and that everyone can be a leader, no matter their role.

“The volunteers and people making a difference behind closed doors, those are the true leaders,” she said. “The people who don’t get recognized. I think those are the people that UIS really values the most.”

Roberts recently accepted a new internship with the Illinois Legislative Research Unit at the Illinois State Capitol. Following that internship, she plans to attend law school.

“I feel like I’ve been really blessed,” she said. “I came to a really good school that’s helped me find things that I’m passionate about and work those into the career that I want to have some day.”

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Leadership lived: Student leads effort to maintain UIS Community Garden

The first time biology major Daniel Rodriguez volunteered at the University of Illinois Springfield Community Garden he wasn’t sure what to expect. However, he soon found himself having fun tending to the garden and watching it grow.

Rodriguez is now leading the effort to maintain the garden over the summer as the project coordinator. It’s a paid student position where he works 20 hours a week.

“My daily responsibilities include watering the plants, making sure no animals get inside, pulling weeds and organizing volunteers,” he said.

The UIS Community Garden was started by a group of students and Assistant Professor Megan Styles in 2016. It is located just north of the historic Strawbridge-Shepherd House on the UIS campus. The garden provides locally grown food to the campus community.

“Harvesting is not stealing here, so as long as you’re helping out with the garden and want to stop by and take a few plants after everything is grown you’re more than welcome,” said Rodriguez.

During the school year, Rodriguez is also active as a member of the TARA Meditation Club, the Biology Club and plays on the dodge ball team.

When he’s not tending to the garden, Rodriguez works as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) at a Springfield nursing home. Following graduation from UIS, he plans to continue his education in the medical field and become a physician assistant.

However, he says he’ll never forget the lessons he’s learned about leadership at UIS.

“UIS taught me that leadership is not only a one man job,” he said. “You definitely need help from others in order to have a leadership role. You’re taking on the responsibility, but you’re also giving them the responsibility and you’re here for them as well.”

Rodriguez, a Joliet, Illinois native, says he would recommend UIS to others because of the academic quality and the opportunities available to students on campus.

“It may not be the biggest campus, but it’s where we all get together and make long-lasting bonds. It’s just a heck of a time to be at UIS.”

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Leadership lived: Student learns about other cultures by studying abroad

Before enrolling in classes at the University of Illinois Springfield, Abbegayle Stevenson had never traveled outside the country. Now, she’s traveled to five countries in Europe and is about to embark on a summer study abroad trip to Croatia.

“I actually decided I wanted to study abroad when I came for a campus visit before I even started coming to UIS,” she said. “I stopped at the study abroad table and it just seemed so interesting.”

Stevenson, a social work major at UIS, spent the past 9 months studying abroad in Trollhättan, Sweden at Högskolan Väst (University West).

“It was weird at first, because I was so used to coming to UIS, but once I landed in Sweden I could already tell it was going to be a different atmosphere and it was,” she said. “We would have 10 week courses and that was it, so I only had 3 or 4 courses, but it was spread out throughout the semester.”

The shorter classes allowed Stevenson to have time to travel around Europe. She traveled to Norway, Italy, France and Spain and saw the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Eiffel Tower and the Roman Colosseum. She also made a lot of friends along the way.

“I created some Swedish friends and they helped me out with where to go and places to see,” she said. “They were just all around great friends and I can’t wait to go back and visit them.”

At UIS, Stevenson is a founding member of the Chi Chapter of the Gamma Phi Omega International Sorority Inc. and is a member of the Leadership for Life Service Organization.

Following graduation from UIS, she wants to earn her master’s degree in social work and eventually work for the Department of Children & Family Services (DCFS).

However, before she graduates, she plans to continue to travel and experience new cultures by studying abroad. She encourages other UIS students to take advantage.

“People say they found themselves when they studied abroad. I can honestly say that I think I did,” she said. “I grew as a person and as an individual.”

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Bryan Rives named the next director of the UIS Sangamon Auditorium

Bryan Rives, a performing arts center manager with more than 30 years of experience, has been named the next director of the University of Illinois Springfield’s Sangamon Auditorium. Rives will hold the title of director designate during a transitional period from July 3 to September 30, 2017, and will assume the director title on October 1, 2017, following the retirement of current director Robert Vaughn.

“I am excited to be returning to the great State of Illinois,” said Rives. “The University of Illinois Springfield’s Sangamon Auditorium is not only a beautiful venue for the campus and greater metro area, but the current director and staff have put together a fantastic season of events for the upcoming year which I expect will bring out record attendance. Continuing to schedule great seasons of diverse events and ensuring there is something for everyone at UIS’s Sangamon Auditorium is something I am very much looking forward to."

Most recently, Rives has served as tour manager/company manager at Talmi Entertainment where he was responsible for the USA/Canada Moscow Ballet Nutcracker Tour, an 8 week 43 city USA/Canada bus & truck tour with 45 traveling personnel. He also served as a production manager for Celebrity Cruises in Miami, Florida from May 2014-October 2016 where he provided overall production management for on-board alternative-performance venues.

He has worked as a company manager for VEE Corporation / Blue Star Media / VStar Entertainment from where he managed a variety of US and US/Canadian tours including “Hello Kitty’s Supercute Friendship Festival” arena tour (2015), The Pro Football Hall of Fame “Honor the Heroes” tour (2015), and “Discover the Dinosaurs – Unleashed!” tour (2016). From 2012-2014, he managed his own company Applause Management Group, based out of Bloomington, Indiana, where he provided marketing consulting services to performing arts organizations.

From 2007 to 2011, Rives served as the director of event services at Southern Illinois University Carbondale where, as part of the executive team of the University’s Executive Director of Administration, he oversaw the department of SIU Event Services, which included the University’s performing arts center, Shryock Auditorium, the University’s regional ticketing system, Southern Tickets Online, and the staff responsible for marketing and/or providing technical support for major non-athletic events on campus.

He has also served as chief operating officer for the Michigan Opera Theatre / Detroit Opera House; director of the James H. Whiting Auditorium in Flint, Michigan; executive director of the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center at the University of Missouri – St. Louis; and general manager at the Indiana University Auditorium.

“The search committee was impressed with Mr. Rives’ vision for the future, and his ideas for utilizing new technology resources to lead the auditorium to even higher levels of engagement with faculty, staff, students, patrons and donors,” said James Ermatinger, interim vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost at the University of Illinois Springfield.

Rives earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts in theatre production from the University of Texas at Austin, and a master’s degree in business from the Bolz Center for Arts Administration at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

About Sangamon Auditorium, UIS

Located on the campus of the University of Illinois Springfield, Sangamon Auditorium hosts more than 120 performances annually. Home to the Illinois Symphony Orchestra and Springfield Ballet Company, it is the only auditorium of its kind and size in the Springfield area, with a seating capacity of 2,018. Sangamon Auditorium, UIS continues to fulfill its mission of presenting and supporting varied cultural and educational professional arts activities to audiences in Springfield, Sangamon County, and the surrounding areas. The Auditorium administrative offices can be reached at 217.206.6150 or by email at

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Leadership lived: Student becomes environmental advocate at UIS

Growing up on a family farm in central Illinois, the outdoors has always been a part of Marissa Jones’ life. Her passion of nature and the environment led her to the University of Illinois Springfield where she is majoring in environmental studies.

At UIS, she is employed as the Campus Sustainability Projects Coordinator where she helps to organize suitability events on campus. She is also the co-president of the student organization Students Allied for a Greener Earth (SAGE).

Jones recently helped to organize a waste audit on campus where students collected campus trash, sorted it and calculated the amount of waste that could have been recycled.

“It is a messy job, but we can get really beneficial results,” she said. “The goal is to try and look at the data and notice that we’re not recycling as much as we could be and try to influence a change in behavior.”

Jones said she’s passionate about sustainability and the environment because she wants to help prevent climate change. She believes UIS has already taken many steps in the right direction, but she wants the campus to do even better.

“Here on campus we have the new student union that’s going up and that has a big green and energy efficient vibe,” she said. “We’re just wanting to spread that vibe all across campus.”

As a student leader, Jones has learned many lessons about leadership, however the biggest lesson she’s learned is how to be a team player.

“Being a leader sounds like an individual position, but being a leader also involves getting help from outside sources,” she said. “That’s what also makes you a leader, being able to compromise and work with other people well.”

Following graduation from UIS, Jones said she would like to continue her environmental advocacy and find a career where she can work outdoors.

She’s proud of the work she’s done at UIS.

“I chose UIS because it’s a nice local campus and it was very diverse and small,” she said. “I felt like I could personally leave an impact on UIS and come back and see my impact later on.”

Friday, May 19, 2017

UIS professor to study a historic women’s conference during a summer seminar in Texas

Hinda Seif, University of Illinois Springfield associate professor and chair of the Department of Women and Gender Studies, was recently selected for a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Seminar at the University of Houston.

Seif is one of two dozen NEH summer scholars from around the country who will spend a week exploring 20th century U.S. history through the lens of the National Women’s Conference, which was held in Houston in 1977.

The 1977 National Women’s Conference was the only federally funded conference of its kind in U.S. history. Approximately 130,000 elected delegates participated in the lead-up state conventions. The main conference in Houston created a National Plan of Action to present to then President Jimmy Carter.

The NEH Summer Seminar will explore overarching themes in the conference including political/party realignment, states’ rights, the Vietnam War and many other subjects.

At the 1977 Conference, participants debated key issues that faced over 50 percent of U.S. population, such as women’s role in the military, equal rights, child care and the family, reproductive rights and sexual orientation. Women who attended included Rosalyn Carter, Betty Ford and Coretta Scott King.

“In 2017, these issues are as important as ever,” said Seif. “Participating in this NEH seminar will energize my women’s studies courses. It’s a great opportunity for me to work with faculty from across the country.”

The conference will address issues that Seif is writing about from her recent sabbatical research on Diana Solís, a Chicana Mexicana artist and activist from Chicago who participated in and photographed women and their organizing efforts in her Pilsen neighborhood during the 1970s and 1980s.

The NEH Summer Seminar runs from June 12-18 at the University of Houston in Houston, Texas.

Two alumni inducted into the first class of the UIS Management Information Systems Hall of Fame

The Management Information Systems (MIS) Department at the University of Illinois Springfield inducted two alumni into its inaugural Hall of Fame class on Friday, May 19, 2017. The event also celebrated the 30th anniversary of the founding of the MIS program at UIS.

The Hall of Fame honors alumni who have made significant contributions to their fields, their communities and society as a whole. The Hall of Fame recognizes MIS alumni who serve as an inspiration for the next generation of students.

The two Hall of Fame inductees were Natasha Conley, a 1994 MIS graduate, and Eugenio “Gene” Fernández, a 2007 MIS graduate.

Conley serves as the Vice President of Professional Services & Resources, Inc. (PSRI), a family owned business which was incorporated in 1987. Conley also serves as President of PSRI Technologies, LLC (PSRI Tech), which she founded in 2001. PSRI Tech’s headquarters are located in Jefferson City, Missouri and has a branch office in Metropolitan St. Louis.

Her company is a United States Small Business Administration (SBA) 8(a) graduate and holds a number of state minority and women owned business certifications. Her company’s core services include staff augmentation (information technology/administrative and clerical), help-desk operations and project management.

Over the years, her company has worked with a number of high profile firms which include, IBM, JP Morgan Chase, Xerox, NTT Data, TATA Consultancy Group, CGI, Deloitte, Motorola and Unisys to name a few. She has a number of state clients including the governments of Missouri, New York, Maryland and Rhode Island. Conley’s company has worked with the United States Army and currently works with the U.S. General Service Administration.

One of her most notable projects was with the American Management Systems (now CGI). They implemented the first state-wide Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system for the State of Missouri. It was one of the largest IT projects ever outsourced by the State of Missouri and its contract value was approximately $100 million. Her company managed a team of 50 developers which provided systems integration support, business analysis and post implementation training.

Conley is currently a Ph.D. student at Case Western Reserve University. In addition to her UIS master’s degree, she earned a bachelor’s degree in computer information systems from Central Missouri State University. She is also a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) by the Project Management Institute (PMI).

Fernández is chief technology officer (CTO) at Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare (MLH) in Memphis, Tennessee. As CTO, he is responsible for developing the information technology infrastructure strategy; operational areas of responsibility include: wired/wireless infrastructure, enterprise architecture, network management, telecommunications and data center technical services, desktop support, the project management office and information security.

He is also responsible for providing leadership in the development, implementation and governance of MLH’s information systems and technology infrastructure domains.

Fernández has more than 30 years of experience as a healthcare information management bilingual executive. Prior to joining MLH, he served as chief information officer at L.A. Care Health Plan in Los Angeles where he was responsible for providing leadership in the development, implementation and governance of the organization’s information systems and technology infrastructure. His career includes information technology leadership positions with the Department of Defense, as an active duty commissioned officer in the Navy Medical Services Corps. He served as CIO at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland and the Naval Medical Center in Portsmouth, Virginia. He has also worked for Sparrow Health System, Accident Fund Insurance Company of American and for PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP Healthcare Consulting Practice.

He earned a bachelor’s degree from Southern Illinois University and a second master’s degree from Purdue University, in addition to his UIS master’s degree. He is board certified in healthcare management as a fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives and holds a Certified Healthcare CIO (CHCIO) designation by the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME).

The UIS Management Information Systems program has more than 1,000 alumni worldwide. In fall 2016, the program enrolled more than 450 graduate students in the on-campus and online degree programs.

UIS Visual Arts Gallery announces its summer Enos Park artist-in-residence

The University of Illinois Springfield Visual Arts Gallery has partnered with the new Enos Park Residency for Visual Artists to award a funded summer residency and solo exhibition. After a review of a competitive applicant pool that represented national and international applicants, German-born and San Francisco-based artist Astrid Kaemmerling has been awarded the opportunity.

Kaemmerling will be in residence at the Enos Park Residency for Visual Artists from June 9 through July 28. Her exhibit at the UIS Visual Arts Gallery, “Walking Enos Park: Who is your neighborhood?” will open with a reception on Wednesday, June 28 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. The exhibit will run from Wednesday, June 28 through Friday, July 28. The UIS Visual Arts Gallery is open for the duration of the exhibit on Saturday afternoons from 12 to 4 p.m. or throughout the week by appointment.

While in residence, Kaemmerling will develop a new project to support her exhibit: the “Enos Park Community Walking Laboratory”. She is seeking participants -- local artists, Enos Park residents and residents of Springfield -- to walk with her in Enos Park from June 11 through July 28. The “Enos Park Community Walking Laboratory” sets out to provide artist and local residents opportunities to exchange information about the neighborhood. While meandering the streets of Enos Park, artist and community members will engage in conversations about the past, present and future of the district with a specific focus on arts & culture. Meet Kaemmerling for a 1 hour walk through your neighborhood, show her around and tell her who your Enos Park is and moreover what resources you think artists may need in this district. Reach her via email at to set up a walking appointment.

Kaemmerling is a German-born artist, scholar and educator based in San Francisco, California. Her work as an interdisciplinary artist spans the genres of visual, performance and media art and strives to connect place memories of the past, such as collected travel experiences, with a critical exploration of specific neighborhoods and selected urban places.

Kaemmerling has been exhibited internationally in Germany, Italy, Korea and the United States. Her work has won several awards and fellowships, such as at the Cittadellarte-Fondazione Pistoletto (Italy) and the Vermont Studio Center (Vermont). She is the founder of The International Community of Artist-Scholars, a community of artists who work at the intersection of art & research, as well as founder of The Walk Discourse, a Bay Area based laboratory for walking artists and walking enthusiasts to share walking art methodologies, practices and tools. The interest in interdisciplinary collaboration has led her to the School of Interdisciplinary Arts at Ohio University where she received her Ph.D. and completed a dissertation on walking art. Her writing has been published in peer-reviewed journals and publications.

The UIS Visual Arts Gallery is centrally located on the UIS campus in the Health and Science Building, room 201 (HSB 201). For more information on exhibition programming, please visit the UIS Visual Arts Gallery website at, or email Amanda Lazzara at

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Leadership lived: Cricket team captain leads team to first national victory

Growing up in India, Saiprasad Bhosle never expected that he would play more cricket in the United States than he did at home. However, as the captain of the University of Illinois Springfield Cricket Club intramural sports team he got that chance.

“Cricket is basically my life,” he said. “It’s the way I keep myself fresh, fit and it is somehow related to my life all of the time.”

Bhosle recently graduated with a master’s degree in Management Information Systems. While he was at UIS, he led the UIS Cricket Club team to its first national victory in the American College Cricket Tournament over Florida Tech. It’s the first time any UIS intramural sports team has ever won a game during a national competition.

"The second match we got all of our acts together - all three departments, batting, fielding and balling where we scored 171 runs,” he said. “We had 8 players in the top 50, so that was the biggest achievement with respect to UIS."

As an intramural supervisor for UIS Campus Recreation, Bhosle was also responsible for planning home cricket matches with other Midwestern colleges and universities. His mission was to education everyone on campus about his favorite sport.

“My work is to make cricket a game known to everyone across UIS, not only Indians,” he said. “I just want it to be internationally recognized by all the students on the UIS campus.”

Bhosle says he decided to attend UIS because of the quality academic programs and because of the cricket team. He feels he’s giving back to UIS through his work with the cricket team.

“It’s not just that I’ve taken something from the University of Illinois Springfield, in respect to the education and facilities they’ve provided, but I’ve helped create a platform for UIS to explore themselves in the field of cricket, to put more effort into the field of cricket for students who are here, so they come up, participate, and play on different levels.”

Following graduation from UIS, Bhosle plans to continue to play cricket for clubs and seek full-time job opportunities in United States.

“You never know. Anyone can be a champ and anyone can participate in USA national teams,” he said. “You never know. Anything can happen.”

Friday, May 12, 2017

UIS staff and students honored at the Railsplitter Public Service Awards Ceremony

UIS graduate student Scott Kinsell, UIS Clinical Assistant Professor of Public Administration Betsy Goulet and UIS Center for State Policy and Leadership Associate Director Barbara Ferrara at the awards ceremony.
A University of Illinois Springfield staff member and two students were honored by the Central Illinois Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) at the Railsplitter Public Service Awards Ceremony on May 11, 2017, at the Hoogland Center for the Arts.

Barbara Ferrara of Springfield, associate director of the UIS Center for State Policy and Leadership, is the recipient of the 2017 Railsplitter Award for Public Service. The annual award pays tribute to public servants whose careers exhibit the highest standard of excellence, dedication and accomplishment to the ultimate benefit of the public.

“It is a great honor to receive the Railsplitter Award, a perfect cap to my career,” said Ferrara, who will retire on June 1 after a 41-year career in public affairs research and service at UIS.

Among her accomplishments is the successful Lincoln Legacy Lecture Series that she helped establish and has coordinated since 2002. She also co-directed the creation of the Illinois Channel, the state’s version of C-SPAN that was launched in 2003. Ferrara played a major role in the Illinois Civic Engagement Project conducted by Illinois Issues magazine for the United Way of Illinois in 1991. At UIS, she has planned over 40 public events, including two national conferences related to state government.

The UIS students honored with Outstanding Student Public Service Awards include Scott Kinsell of Springfield, a graduate student in the public administration program, and Amy Leman of Forsyth, a student in the doctorate of public administration program. The students were selected by UIS faculty for their academic and community service achievements.

The awards ceremony was held in celebration of National Public Service Recognition Week. For more information, visit the Central Illinois ASPA chapter website at

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Leadership lived: Student discovers passion for medical research at UIS

As an undergraduate biology major at the University of Illinois Springfield, Abigail Norville has been heavily involved in a major medical research project.

Norville has been working with UIS faculty members and other students to study Hepatitis C, a viral blood born pathogen, in the central Illinois homeless population. The students traveled to homeless shelters in five cities where they tested the population for the disease.

“We wanted to determine if there was a higher prevalence within the homeless population compared to the general population,” said Norville. “Our research has shown that there’s a 15.35% greater prevalence within the homeless population.”

Norville is the winner of the Brookens Library Undergraduate Research Award and was recently chosen to present her research at the Illinois State Capitol during University of Illinois Undergraduate Research Day. She shared her findings with lawmakers and others visiting the seat of state government.

“It feels good to let people know, legislators know, how prevalent this is and how big of a problem and burden this is on the general public,” she said. “A lot of people don’t know about Hepatitis C, even though it is more prevalent than HIV and kills more people than HIV.”

Off campus, Norville works as a chief medical scribe for HSHS St. John’s Hospital in Springfield and HSHS St. Francis Hospital in Litchfield. She also regularly volunteers at HSHS St. John’s Children’s Hospital.

She is also the secretary for the UIS chapter of the Tau Sigma National Honor Society and is a member of the UIS Biology Club. Following graduation from UIS, Norville would like to go to medical school and become a doctor.

“I like working hands on, one-on-one with people and I would definitely love to be a doctor for underrepresented communities, such as the homeless,” she said.

Norville admits that she never though her research on Hepatitis C would help shape her future.

“Once I started working with it, I realized just how important it was, but I still didn’t think it was going to be important enough to go to the state capitol and as I moved forward, I was like ‘this is really important,’” she said.

Friday, May 05, 2017

Two UIS Computer Science students finish in the top 25 in a national cyber security competition

Two University of Illinois Springfield computer science majors have finished in the top 25 out of 2,077 competitors in the National Cyber League (NCL) competition. The virtual event was held April 21-23, 2017.

Team captain Austin Bransky of Marengo, Illinois, an information systems security double major, finished 18th and Bhavyanshu Parasher of Gurgaon, Haryana, India finished 21st.

During a second competition, held April 28-30, 2017, a team of UIS students finished 6th out of 138 teams nationwide.

During the competition, students defend systems from network attacks, learning how to find the attacks in system logs, traffic captures and much more. The students use NCL-sanctioned gymnasiums, virtual learning environments located throughout the U.S. that are comprised of systems-integrated software and hardware, to practice and develop their skills.

“Overall the NCL season was extremely successful, and was a great learning experience for everyone involved, old and new,” said Bransky.

The games are performance based to measure a player’s strengths and weakness among learning objectives. The competition utilizes certified ethical hacker objectives, such as open source intelligence, traffic and log analysis and wireless security.

The National Cyber League was founded in May 2011 to provide an ongoing virtual training ground for collegiate students to develop, practice, and validate their cybersecurity skills.

For more information, contact Brian-Thomas Rogers, visiting instructor of computer science, at 217/206-8165 or

UIS faculty members receive awards for teaching and service; promotions and sabbaticals announced

The University of Illinois Springfield held its annual Faculty Honors Reception on Thursday, May 4, 2017. Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost Jim Ermatinger presided over the ceremony honoring faculty members who have been recommended for tenure and/or promotion, been awarded sabbaticals, or granted emerita/emeritus status. Four major awards – the Pearson Faculty Award, the Spencer Faculty Service Award, the Burks Oakley II Distinguished Online Teaching Award and the Faculty Excellence Award - were also presented.

The Faculty Excellence Award was given to Scott Day, professor and chair of the Educational Leadership Department. The award recognizes mid- and late-career colleagues who best exemplify the ideal of the teacher-scholar and whom the faculty recognizes as role models, based on sustained accomplishments in teaching and scholarship at UIS. The award is funded through the generosity of Wilbur and Margaret Wepner.

During his eighteen years on campus, Day has consistently maintained high scores that exceed the college and university averages on the standard evaluation of teaching instrument.

“Based on the student letters in his file, it is clear that Day has a reputation for rigorous course expectations, but at the same time, develops a caring, professional relationship with his students,” said Hanfu Mi, dean of the UIS College of Education & Human Services. “Many of his students have gone on to become community leaders as school principals and superintendents in the area.”

In the area of scholarship, Professor Day has focused his research agenda on online teaching and learning issues, a school law reference book for principals, and school district reorganization. Over the course of his career at UIS he has co-authored three books, seventeen journal and book chapters, and presented forty-five peer-reviewed papers at international, national, and state conferences. His work on using peer review and analytics to improve online courses has been cited forty-two times by other researchers since publication. His co-authored work on design-based approaches to improving online courses and pedagogical approaches to massive open online courses (MOOC’s) brought the research team international recognition for their papers presented in Finland, Scotland, and Ireland.

Day came to UIS in 2000, was tenured and promoted to associate professor in 2006, and was promoted to the rank of professor in 2014. In 2010, Day received the Pearson Faculty Award which recognizes excellence in teaching.

The Pearson Faculty Award for outstanding teaching was presented to Amy McEuen, associate professor of biology. The award recognizes a faculty member whose performance exemplifies UIS’ commitment to excellence in teaching and who stands among the very best teachers on campus. Such a teacher both informs and inspires students, giving them the knowledge and values with which they may become productive and enlightened citizens. The award was established by a gift from Dr. Emmet and Mary Pearson, longtime benefactors of the campus.

Since coming to UIS, McEuen has taught seven different courses for lower division undergraduates and upper division graduates. She has developed six different courses targeted to a range of students. Even though McEuen teaches to a wide audience of students and teaches a variety of courses, she consistently maintains strong teaching evaluations. McEuen uses multiple approaches such as simplicity, engagement, interaction and active learning to help her students master complex subjects and cultivate their passion for the material.

In his nomination letter, James Bonacum, UIS associate professor of biology, said “being in the classroom with Amy makes me feel like a student again. She reminds me of the joy and excitement I experience in the classes that I took with the very best teachers I had. I think Amy ranks among the best instructors I have ever seen.”

McEuen was recognized by her peers in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences who awarded her the CLAS Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award in 2015.

The Spencer Faculty Service Award was given to Jorge Villegas, associate professor and chair of the UIS Business Administration Department. Honoring Robert Spencer, founding president of Sangamon State University, this award recognizes faculty who best exemplify the ideal of the “professor-citizen” through public service and service to the academic community.

Under Villegas’ leadership, the Business Administration Department has added three new BBA program concentrations in marketing, finance and sport management. In addition to his responsibilities as department chair, since 2015 Villegas has also served as the chair of the economics program and has served as the director of the college-wide MBA program. His college-level service includes his work as adviser of the Beta Gamma Sigma honor society for business students. Villegas has been very active in campus governance, serving on campus senate as well as the University Senates Conference. He has served on a number of important campus and system search committees, including co-chairing the search committee for the vice chancellor of academic affairs & provost.

Villegas also has an admirable record of community and professional service. He has worked with students and community members in support of healthcare literacy. For example, he has been part of the SIU-UIS Camden Coalition Healthcare Hot-Spotting Project, initiated in summer 2015, to help vulnerable populations get access to medical services that they need. As service to the profession, he has been on the editorial board of the “Journal of Advertising Education” since 2011, and has been a reviewer for several journals and conferences in his field.

Cheng-Chia (Brian) Chen, assistant professor of public health, was honored with the Oakley Distinguished Online Teaching Award. The award was established by Burks Oakley II, who helped launch UIS’ online programs and was also in attendance at the event The Oakley Award recognizes UIS faculty members whose performance exemplifies the institution’s commitment to excellence in online teaching.

According to his nominators, Chen strives to provide a student-centered learning environment because he thinks that students can engage with learning at a much deeper level when the instructor focuses on students’ needs, capabilities, learning motivations, and interests, as well as creates learning resources that provide diversified learning tools and activities for students.

“Chen successfully demonstrates that he has integrated seamlessly the active learning, problem-based learning, and interactive learning strategies to create a comprehensive and inclusive educational experience for online students,” said Hanfu Mi, interim dean of the UIS College of Public Affairs & Administration.

Chen’s teaching evaluations and student testimonials regarding their experiences in his online courses provide telling details about the long-lasting, positive impacts on them.

“Dr. Chen’s dedication and ability to reach students by creating an online learning environment that successfully nudges students to actively engage with the courses on their own is remarkable,” said Mi.

Recommended for tenure and promotion to associate professor were Mark Buxton, Accountancy; Meagan Cass, English & Modern Languages; Shane Harris, Art, Music, & Theatre; Stephen Johnson, Chemistry; Brian Kahn, Teacher Education Preparation; Holly Kent, History; Ann McCaughan, Human Development Counseling; Kay McChesney, Social Work; Gary Reinbold, Public Administration; Ann Strahle, Communication; and Benjamin Walsh, Management. Roghieh Gholami, an associate professor in Management Information Systems, was also recommended for tenure.

Recommended for promotion to full professor were Adriana Crocker, Political Science, and Xiaoqing Li, Management Information Systems. Lynn Pardie, Psychology, received the designation of professor emerita.

Sabbatical leaves were granted to Kristi Barnwell, History; Michael Burlingame, History; Michael Cheney, Communication; Heather Dell, Women & Gender Studies; Sibel Oktay Karagul, Political Science; Jorge Villegas, Business Administration; and Junfeng Wang, Public Administration.

All promotion, tenure, sabbatical leave, and emerita/emeritus status recommendations are subject to approval by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees.