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 EnosParkCommunityLaboratory@gmail.com 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 www.uis.edu/visualarts/gallery, or email Amanda Lazzara at alazz2@uis.edu.

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 www.centralillinoisaspa.org.

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 broge2@uis.edu.

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.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Leadership lived: Future nurse learns important lessons at UIS


Karen Seegers grew up in a small town and knew she wanted to attend a university where her professors would know her name. She’s glad she chose the nursing program at the University of Illinois Springfield.

“I’m really happy with the small class sizes and the really nice people around,” she said. “It’s just an amazing community.”

Seegers enjoys helping people and wants to work as an emergency flight nurse and eventually become a nurse practitioner.

“I want to become a nurse because I want to be able to give patients hope,” she said. “I want to be a support system for their families and make sure they have a comfortable stay and be an interpreter between the doctor and what they understand.”

Seegers calls her UIS Nursing Program education “extraordinary” and has already taken classes in anatomy, physiology, biochemistry and organic chemistry.

“I’ve had the best professors so far,” she said. “My professor, Mr. Holland, he’s my anatomy and physiology professor, he just obviously wants us to succeed and he does everything in his power that he can for it to happen.”

Seegers admits that the classes are hard, but she says she’s learning a lot and feels well prepared for her career as a nurse.

“It’s a lot harder than I thought it would be,” she said. “A few of my family members have been through it and they said it was difficult, but it’s extremely difficult. It should be.”

At UIS, Seegers is also part of the Leadership for Life living-learning community. It is a service and leadership program for first year students located in Lincoln Residence Hall. Students are required to complete 40 hours of service each semester.

In October 2016, Seegers and a group of 25 other students traveled to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to help flood victims clean up their homes. The students stripped homes down to the studs, so they could dry out, and removed personal belongings damaged by the flood.

“It was really hard,” she said. “We were just taking all of the stuff out of their house and we were talking to the homeowner and he was obviously devastated with everything that happened. We got to save some of his stuff, but a lot of it we didn’t get to save at all. It was really upsetting.”

Seegers plans to use the compassion she’s learned from volunteering to help better understand and treat her future patients.

“I want to be able to show them compassion and everything for what they’re going through,” she said. “I want to provide them support and help them throughout their journey.”

Monday, May 01, 2017

UIS Clinical Laboratory Science students win first place in statewide competition

The University of Illinois Springfield Clinical Laboratory Science Program took first place in the Student Bowl competition at the annual American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science - Illinois state meeting held in East Peoria the week of April 17, 2017.

The Jeopardy-like competition featured ten teams from colleges and universities around the state. Questions were based on the body of knowledge for clinical laboratory science including: clinical chemistry, hematology, coagulation, microbiology, blood banking and immunology, lab skills and urinalysis, mycology parasitology and virology.

UIS students participating on the team include Jennifer Angelo of Jacksonville, Jennifer Faulkner of Pleasant Plains, Anna Kozlov and Lindsey Stevens of Springfield and Taylor Huber of Quincy.

Aside from the Student Bowl competition, the week-long conference included the election of new state officers. UIS student Jessie Sheffield from Springfield was chosen to serve as the organization’s president for the 2017-2018 term. UIS student Jennifer Minton of Springfield was elected to serve as secretary.

William Wilson, UIS assistant professor and acting chair of the Department of Allied Health, accompanied the students to the professional conference.

The UIS bachelor’s degree in clinical laboratory science provides exciting opportunities for individuals with an interest in science who wish to pursue a career in a health/medical profession or other laboratory-related field.

Friday, April 28, 2017

UIS Chancellor Susan Koch named a Woman of Influence in Springfield

University of Illinois Springfield Chancellor Susan J. Koch has been named one of the six Security Bank and Springfield Business Journal (SBJ) Women of Influence for 2017, as announced by the SBJ. She will be honored during a reception on Tuesday, May 9, 2017.

The 14th annual program honors local women for their contributions to the Springfield area community. Winners are selected by an awards committee.

“Knowing so many women who are previous recipients of the Women of Influence Award, I am deeply honored to be among this year’s recipients,” said Chancellor Koch.

As chancellor, Koch is the chief executive officer of the Springfield campus. She also serves as a vice president of the University of Illinois and is a member of the U of I president’s cabinet.

Koch has been part of the greater Springfield community since 2011 when she was appointed chancellor. She has led the campus in a reaffirmation of its strategic plan and in building consensus around three strategic priorities: growth, talent acquisition and retention, and facilities. The campus has increased enrollment, enhanced diversity and seen a new branding and marketing strategy: Leadership lived. All of this has had a positive effect on the greater Springfield community, while creating significant local economic growth.

Koch has led the successful completion of the Brilliant Futures Campaign, which surpassed its local goal of $28 million and set new expectations for fundraising success. She is currently leading an initiative to build UIS’s first student union, which should be completed in early 2018. Koch has also led efforts to beautify UIS by securing private funding for a Shakespeare garden featuring a sculpture of “The Bard” in addition to a prominent, original sculpture of Abraham Lincoln in the heart of the campus.

Outside of her responsibilities at UIS, Koch serves on the United Way of Central Illinois Board of Directors and is a member of the Memorial Medical System Board of Directors. She has also been actively involved in the Chamber of Commerce serving on both the Strategic Leadership Committee and the Community Leadership Committee. She has previously served on The State Journal-Register First Citizen Award Committee and the Illinois Bankers Association Banker of the Year Award Committee.

Koch is married to Dennis Koch, a farmer and president of Koch Angus Farms.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

UIS professor uses current events to spark diverse discussions in the classroom

University of Illinois Springfield Associate Professor of Political Science Ali Nizamuddin, Ph.D. is using current events to encourage discussions of potentially polarizing issues among his students. 

“What I’ve tried to do in the classroom is bring together a diverse range of students, not just diversity in terms of ethnicity, religion or language or background, but disability as well. It means ‘the way I look the world is very different,’” he said.

Nizamuddin teaches a range of courses within the political science department and often has students from China, India and African countries in his classes. 

“That really helps when you have this setting, where each (student) is trying to share that person’s experiences, and contributing to the classroom,” he said.

Nizamuddin said he tries to have diverse discussions in all of his classes. He begins by teaching students to approach controversial topics with the premise that the other side is right.

“I’m trying to bring a diverse range of thoughts and opinions and tackling ideas and concepts analytically with empathy,” he said. “To me, the most important thing in the classroom is empathy. That is the general approach, trying to handle diversity in terms of a diversity of thoughts and opinions and in terms of trying to cultivate empathy so that we can try to experience the other person.”

Nizamuddin said he does not suppress opinions that could be construed as racist, and that he teaches and also requires an etiquette of disagreement.

“You have to respect (students) and show that you are neutral and their opinion also matters,” said Nizamuddin. “There’s a lot that other people have to teach us. If we have a receptive heart and mind then we will be open to the internalization of knowledge.”

He said the more intimate class size on the UIS campus lends itself to meaningful discussions and debate between students.

“It allows me to benefit and learn from them too,” he said.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Leadership lived: Future TV news reporter gets experience at UIS


Beatrice Bonner loves to talk and inform people. Ever since working at a radio station in high school, she’s wanted to become a TV news reporter.

Bonner is a junior communication major and a member of the Capital Scholars Honors Program at the University of Illinois Springfield. This semester, she’s taking a visual storytelling class where she’s learning what it takes to put together a story.

“We come up with story ideas. It’s like being in a newsroom,” she said. “We get to pitch them to our classroom and then we go out and shoot, we interview people and then we come back into the lab and we edit.”

Bonner says she wants to be a journalist because she enjoys keeping people informed about important issues happening in their community.

“I just like being able to get information out and help people because if we didn’t have TV news or reporting, people would know nothing,” she said.

Outside of the classroom, Bonner is the vice president and a founding member of the Alpha Phi Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. She also serves as membership intake coordinator.

“That means that I helped encourage these ladies to join,” she said. “I do interviews, I teach them information that they needed in order to be part of the sorority. I’m kind of like their mom.”

Bonner says she feels well prepared for her future thanks to her UIS education.

“UIS has taught me in order to be a leader you have to go and get it,” she said. “Nobody is going to sit and baby you. You have to work for it.”

Monday, April 24, 2017

Good as Gold Ceremony honors over 60 local volunteers and businesses

The University of Illinois Springfield, Junior League of Springfield and the United Way of Central Illinois honored more than 60 local volunteers and businesses during the 9th annual Good as Gold Ceremony. The event was held on Monday, April 24, 2017, at the UIS Public Affairs Center.

Distinguished Volunteer Award 

Long-time Memorial Medical Center volunteer Patty Stremsterfer was honored with the 2017 Distinguished Volunteer Award.

Stremsterfer was a young wife and mother of three, when a friend encouraged her to volunteer at Memorial. Forty-four years later, she still gives four hours a week to the 6C ICU cardiac area and has logged more than 8,000 hours of volunteering. She is one of the hospital’s most committed volunteers.

“It’s just where I should be,” she said.

Stremsterfer spends time with family members or friends of patients undergoing cardiac procedures and sometimes the patients themselves. For her, it has a special importance. Both she and her husband have undergone open heart surgery, so she understands and empathizes with the people she meets.

I love people,” she said. “I’m a people person. If I can be there when a patient’s family can’t, it feels good.”

Stremsterfer also volunteers her time creating educational dolls with fabric organs, sews “angel pockets” for families suffering a perinatal loss and serves her church by hosting card parties, coordinating events and fundraisers, serving luncheons and making blankets for members of the congregation.

The 2017 Distinguished Volunteer finalists include Les Carlson, Alfred Hampton and Scott Dickerson.

UIS Star Student Award

UIS student Matt Haury was honored with the Star Student Award for his volunteer efforts in the community. Haury began working with the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in December 2015 prior to the store’s relocation to 6th Street. Almost daily, Haury performs pickups, brings in donations and places items on the floor. He also leads other volunteers in helping the store with a number of tasks including assembling shelving and reorganizing the back end.

“Matt would make an effort to come in almost daily,” said Josh Gordon, manager of the ReStore. “His help allowed us to bring in more donations, as well as get those items on the floor for faster resale.”

Haury said it is the combined work of all volunteers and staff that make the ReStore successful.

UIS Star Staff Award 

Beverly Bunch, professor of public administration at the University of Illinois Springfield, was honored with the Star Staff Award for her volunteer efforts with the United Way of Central Illinois.

Bunch has served as Community Fund panel chair as well as on the Community Impact Committee of the United Way Board, the Venture Funds Committee, and the Emergency Food and Shelter Program Committee.

In her decade of service there, she has given thousands of hours of her time, including more than 250 hours in the past year alone.

“I have always been enthusiastic about United Way, and I was very excited when I had the opportunity to work with them,” said Bunch. “I really believe in their cause.”

Youth Volunteer Award

Springfield High School senior Russell Moore III was honored with the Youth Volunteer Award. Moore serves as president of several youth organizations including; the Sigma Beta Club of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., the Springfield Frontiers Youth Development Program and the American Legion Illinois State Junior Police Academy. He works as guide at the Abraham Lincoln National Historic Site, participates in Civil War reenactments and serves at the St. John’s Breadline. He has taken up collections for the Salvation Army and co-hosted a Kwanzaa celebration.

Upon graduation, Moore plans to seek a degree in computer programming and possibly join the Marine Corps Forces Reserve. He said his goal in life is to see his generation not only succeed, but be a positive example.

Heart of Gold Community Awards

Forty-one local volunteers were also honored with the Heart of Gold Award. Recipients included: Dan Babor, Gina Bausch, Lindsay Bentivegna, Jewel Bishop, Angie Black, Valerie Bolinger, Jack E. Carder, Evelyn Carder, Devin Dreesman, Randy Ginder, Pete Graham, Gwyn Gurgens, Neill Howey, Tom Hutchison, Alicia King, Kerry King, Don Klues, Matt Lamsargis, Donald Landry, Toni LaVigne, Robin Loftus, Marilyn Markus, Connie Matthews, Lynn McMenamin, Traci Moore, Robin Patton, Sonya Perkins, Roger Priestley, , Waldo Richie, Penny Roth, Sara Shaffer, Debra Singer, Dave Slaughter, Barbara Spiro, Jill Waltman, Christine Weisbaum, Evan & Courtney Westlake, Lisa Williams, Jan Wilson and Joyce Wilson.

Organization Agent of Service Award

The winner of the 2017 Organization Agent of Service Award is Central Baptist Church. Led by Pastor Josh Sabo, the church has created a partnership with Graham Elementary School nearby. The church congregation is instrumental in volunteering to run the school’s library as well as the after-school program and has given 3,000 hours this year alone.

The church also holds two large events each year, involving about 75 percent of their congregation. The Graham Christmas Gift Mart benefits more than 100 children each year and more than 1,000 meals are either delivered or served at the church for their Thanksgiving meal deliveries. Both events benefit the James Project and Contact Ministries.

Business Honor Roll 

A total of 25 Sangamon County businesses were named to the Business Honor Roll sponsored by the UIS College of Business and Management and supported by The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce. The honor roll recognizes businesses that have made giving back to our community a priority.

Three businesses were listed at the top of the honor roll as Golden Distinction Winners; Security Bank, Heartland Credit Union, and Bank of Springfield.

Other businesses making this year’s honor roll include Ameriprise Financial - Steven Koch; Duggins Design Center; Gem PR & Media; Terry Farmer Photography; West Central Bank; Illinois Realtors; Kerber, Eck & Breckel; Orthopedic Center of Illinois; President Abraham Lincoln Springfield - A DoubleTree by Hilton; Troxell; Brandt Consolidated Inc.; Bunn-O-Matic Corporation; Crawford, Murphy & Tilly Inc.; Horace Mann Companies; Illinois National Bank; Marine Bank; Memorial Health System; RSM US LLP; Springfield Electric Supply Company; United Community Bank; U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo Funding.

For more information about the awards, please visit www.uis.edu/volunteer, email volunteer@uis.edu or call 217/ 206-7716.

Springfield architect Paul O’Shea honored for Outstanding Advocate Leadership

The University of Illinois Foundation today announces Springfield native and long-time resident Paul O’Shea as the recipient of the 2017 William E. Winter Award for Outstanding Advocate Leadership.

The award will be presented at the UIS Celebration of Philanthropy on Wednesday, April 26, 2017, at UIS. The U of I Foundation is the fundraising arm of the University of Illinois.

A licensed architect who recently retired as planning and design coordinator for the City of Springfield, O’Shea has received many awards for his community service, including the 2012 First Citizen Award from The State Journal-Register.

O’Shea has been a tireless advocate for the University of Illinois Springfield. His greatest service has been as an ambassador building relationships between Springfield and UIS.

“The university represents an asset to Springfield that is hard to describe,” O’Shea said. “It has a major impact on our region and the city. Both the university and the community benefit when we come together.”

O’Shea works behind the scenes to encourage financial support for UIS by suggesting fundraising events, helping to plan them and inviting people to attend. He has inspired many to give through his outspoken confidence in UIS and his and his wife’s giving.

He began providing financial support for UIS in 1998 and through the years has given often to many university funds, especially for athletics. In 2012, O’Shea began funding athletic scholarships, and more recently he and his wife, Lynne, have made a generous gift in support of the UIS Intercollegiate Baseball Program Field Turf Project.

The William E. Winter Award, named for the late CEO Emeritus of the 7-Up Company and a longtime member of the University of Illinois Foundation Board of Directors, celebrates individuals who play active roles in securing private support for the University of Illinois.

Past recipients of the William E. Winter Award include W. Robert Felker, Pamela McClelland, Cullom Davis, Bob Clary, Leonard Branson, Thom Serafin, Tom Marantz, Julie Kellner, Guerry Suggs and Michelle Suggs (deceased); Howard Humphrey (deceased), James Lundquist (deceased), and Clifford Greenwalt.

For more information, contact Jeff Lorber, UIS vice chancellor for advancement, at 217/206-6058 or email jlorber@uis.edu.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Barbara Cass wins the 2017 CAPE Award

Barbara Cass, an online program coordinator for the University of Illinois Springfield’s Business Administration Department, is the winner of the 14th annual Chancellor’s Academic Professional Excellence (CAPE) Award. The award was presented by Chancellor Susan J. Koch during a ceremony on April 12, 2017.

Cass joined UIS nearly 20 years ago in the Center for Teaching and Learning and Ombud’s Office. She also served as the online coordinator for the English degree program prior to moving the BBA program eleven years ago.

Her passion for online learning has been demonstrated as she assisted in developing an articulation agreement with the College of Lake County for a seamless transition from lower coursework to the UIS online BBA program. She was instrumental in the successful AACSB reaccreditation for the College of Business and Management. She serves on the steering committee for COPE-L (Community of Practice for E-Leaning), which works to share best-practices related to e-learning. She stays current on best practices by attending distance education conferences and having regular meetings with other online coordinators and COLRS (Center for Online Learning, Research and Service).

“Countless numbers of our students have told me how Barbara has been the key to enabling them to complete their degrees,” said one nominator. “What better testament to her contributions could there be?”

Currently Cass is assisting with the STAMATS/Slate pilot program for online lead nurturing.

“This will not only benefit her program, but will pave the way for other online programs to adopt best practices,” said one nominator.

Cass has also served in many other capacities across the university including, as an adjunct faculty assisting in facilitating the UIS Speakers Series, the Employee of the Month selection committee, as an advisor to the Provost for the University of Illinois System’s Conflict of Commitment & Interest Policy, and also as a long-time member of the CAPE selection committee.

“It is good that she is no longer on the CAPE Committee so that we can finally nominate her,” said a nominator.

The CAPE Award recognizes U of I academic professionals for their efforts in three general categories: work projects, professional development and affiliations, and contributions to their units. The winner receives $500 in cash for personal use.

All academic professionals are eligible to receive the CAPE Award; nominations are reviewed by campus committees and candidates’ names are forwarded to the chancellor, who makes the final selections.

Others nominated for the 2017 CAPE Award include Lori Benedict, Vickie Cook, Sean Crawford, Mae Noll, Chris Ryan, Donna Schaub, Robin Vansacik and Ryan L. Williams.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Leadership lived: Veteran finds therapeutic relief by acting in UIS play


Shane Graham is not your typical college student. At 25, the U.S. Army veteran has found a passion for acting at the University of Illinois Springfield.

The senior communication major plays three roles in UIS Theatre’s spring production of “Almost, Maine”. He describes it as “a play about love and relationships” with some “really cartoony and quirky” elements added to the plot.

While Graham did some acting in high school, this is the first time he’s ever had to memorize lines as part of a major theatrical production.

“It’s been exciting because theatre has been just really therapeutic since getting out of the military,” he said. “It's been able to not just help me cope with issues, but it's been able to help me just kind of come to peace with myself.”

Graham served as an infantry solider for four years and completed a combat tour in southern Afghanistan.

“I got out and decided that I wanted to raise my son outside of the military,” he said. “I want to be with my wife outside of the military and I was able to explore other options.”

Graham commutes to UIS several times a week, even more now that he’s part of the play, from his home in Lincoln, Illinois, about 34 miles north of Springfield.

“Apart from living 45 minutes away, commuting and taking classes, balancing my schedule has definitely been the hardest part,” he said.

Following graduation from UIS, Graham said he would like to find a job in the public relations or advertising field. He said he’s very thankful that he decided to come to UIS.

“There’s not a day that goes by I don’t think about how life would have turned out if I went to another school or stayed out of college,” he said. “I don’t think I would have made it as far or done as well if it were not for UIS.”

Monday, April 10, 2017

Eleven UIS students present at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research

Eleven students from the University of Illinois Springfield presented their work at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research at the University of Memphis on April 6-8, 2017.

Students submitted abstracts and were selected in a competitive process by the UIS Undergraduate Research Steering Committee. They were later approved by the national conference committee. The students represent multiple programs and colleges.

Students presenting include Marquiera Harris (Social Work), Elizabeth Karras (Sociology & Anthropology), Eli Hahn (Psychology), Alex Skarr (Sociology & Anthropology and Political Science), Shyleen Frost (Biology), Gabriel Broughton (Business Administration), Ebony Forslund (Psychology), Amanda Monke (English), Turner Clark (Business Management), Allie McIntire (Psychology) and Nhan Khanh Le (Business Administration).

The 31st annual National Conference on Undergraduate Research is a program of the Council on Undergraduate Research. Around 4,000 students from around the country will present their research and creative activities.

The students were accompanied on the trip by Tiffani Saunders, UIS Sociology/Anthropology lecturer, and Keenan Dungey, associate professor of chemistry and director of the Undergraduate Research Support Program.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Leadership lived: Student finds passion for helping others at UIS


Kelsie Roberts enjoys helping others, whether she’s fixing a problem at work or volunteering with a non-profit organization on the weekend. Roberts is a junior business administration major at the University of Illinois Springfield.

On campus, she’s worked at the ID Center for the past 3 years where she creates i-cards, the official identification for University of Illinois students. She helps students replace lost or stolen cards, takes passport photos and mails i-cards to students who live off campus.

“I’ve learned a lot from working here,” she said. “I love interacting with students and getting a chance to talk to them. I’ve learned a lot about organizational skills and how to handle problems when they arise.”

Roberts is also a member of the Capital Scholars Honors Program, the Christian Student Fellowship (CSF) leadership team, a founding member of the Alpha Lambda Delta Honors Society and a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma Honors Society.

As part of CSF, she helps plans service projects both on and off campus. She has volunteered at the St. John's Breadline, Kumler Outreach Ministries, the Salvation Army, Northside's Children Library, the Springfield Zoo, Habitat for Humanity and the Refuge Ranch.

“I love how UIS provides many different opportunities to serve here on campus,” she said. “I love getting the opportunity to help people and just give back with being a servant.”

Roberts, a Pawnee, Illinois native, decided to attend UIS because it was close to home and affordable.

“UIS has given me so many great opportunities to be involved,” she said. “What I’ve gotten out of that and the people I’ve met. It’s been great.”

Following graduation from UIS, Roberts plans to earn an MBA and pursue a career in the business finance field.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

UIS Education Honor Society inducts 11 new members

The Alpha Alpha Gamma chapter of Kappa Delta Pi, the International Honor Society in Education, at the University of Illinois Springfield inducted seven new members during a ceremony on April 3, 2017.

Kim Thomas, the Illinois State Board of Education’s 2016 Teacher of the Year, was the guest speaker at the event. She is a math teacher at Woodruff Career and Technical Academy in Peoria, Illinois.

The Society inducts individuals who have exhibited the ideals of scholarship, integrity in service, and commitment to excellence in teaching and its allied professions. Selection as a member of Kappa Delta Pi is based on high academic achievement, a commitment to education as a career, and a professional attitude that assures steady growth in the profession.

Students inducted at this year’s ceremony include:

In-State 
Carmi: Sean Courty
Decatur: Kyleen Streckfuss
Girard: Jordan Emery
Kewanee: Paul Van Wassenhove
Springfield: Katherine Lounsberry, Lyndsey Staff
Worden: Shelby Steinmeyer

Kappa Delta Pi was established in 1911 to recognize and promote excellence in education. Through its programs, services, and strategic partnerships, the honor society supports the professional growth and teaching practices of educators throughout all phases and levels of their careers. The organization currently has more than 600 chapters and an active membership of nearly 40,000 worldwide.

For more information, contact Ronda Mitchell, chapter advisor and UIS assistant professor of Teacher Education, at 217/206-7008 or rmitche@uis.edu.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

UIS historical document editor wins research award

Ed Bradley, a University of Illinois Springfield employee and assistant editor of The Papers of Abraham Lincoln, has been awarded the 2017 Kate Broocks Bates Award for Historical Research from the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA).

Bradley received the $4,000 award on Friday, March 3, 2017, at the TSHA’s annual meeting in Houston.

The Bates Award is given annually for a significant piece of historical research dealing with Texas history prior to 1900. Bradley was chosen for his book, “We Never Retreat: Filibustering Expeditions into Spanish Texas, 1812-1822”, which thoroughly recounts the targeted invasion of land in Spanish Texas by private military forces.

Bradley’s book examines the motives of American participants, as well as the extent to which the U.S. government was either involved in or tolerated the expeditions. 

“We Never Retreat” makes a major contribution placing the expeditions within the context of the Mexican War of Independence and international relations between the United States and Spain.

“I am very grateful and honored to receive this award from the Texas State Historical Association,” said Bradley.

The book was published by Texas A&M University Press and is available for purchase from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other websites.

For more information, contact Ed Bradley at ebradley@papersofabrahamlincoln.org.

Leadership lived: UIS graduate student works to finish his education following a military deployment


Like most graduate students, Francisco Solano planned to finish his MBA at the University of Illinois Springfield in two years. However, his plans were changed by a military deployment.

A year and a half into his education, while in the middle of a Graduate Public Service (GPSI) internship with the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), Solano got the opportunity to deploy for a year with the U.S. Army.

“That interrupted my internship as well as my studies,” he said.

A few months before returning to the United States from deployment, Solano reached out to the GPSI Program to discuss how he could finish his education at UIS.

“I contacted the GPSI office and told them that I was still interested in pursuing the internship and completing the program,” he said. “They were nice enough to allow me to come back and finish the program.”

For 43 years, the UIS Graduate Public Service Internship Program has been helping graduate students receive real world experience working in state government.

“(UIS and IDOT) did go out of their way to make everything work so that I could return in time and so that both of our timelines would work,” said Solano.

Solano commissioned as an active duty solider in the U.S. Army in 2010. Upon starting graduate school, he left active duty and joined the Illinois Army National Guard where he currently holds the rank of captain.

Reflecting on his experience at UIS, Solano is glad he made the choice to come to Springfield.

“What I like the best about UIS specifically is that they have the resources of a large university, but they give the attention of a smaller university. The student to professor ratio is excellent,” he said.

Although deploying in a middle of his internship wasn’t his original plan, he’s happy with the way that things have worked out.

“It wasn’t my initial plan, but everything just kept falling in place,” he said. “I’ve kept with it and it’s worked out great for me.”

Monday, March 27, 2017

UIS Professor Karen Swan to receive award from the National University Technology Network

Karen Swan, the James J. Stukel Distinguished Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Illinois Springfield, is being honored by the National University Technology Network (NUTN) with their 2017 Distinguished Service Award. The award is the highest honor given by the organization.

Swan was selected for the award due to her commitment to higher education and for the work she’s done with online learning.

“Your energy, leadership and vision are to be commended. It is for your past and present successes that you are being recognized,” said Justin Louder, NUTN advisory board chair and associate vice provost at Texas Tech University.

Swan is recognized as a leading researcher in the nation when it comes to the effectiveness of online teaching and learning.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of Connecticut, a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Keene State College and master’s and doctorate degrees in instructional technology from Teachers College, Columbia University.

The award will be presented during the 35th annual NUTN conference in San Antonio, Texas on October 11-12, 2017.

Founded in 1982, NUTN is a consortium of higher education institutions. It provides a networking and professional development arena for the advancement of online and blended learning. NUTN members represent a widely diverse group of innovative leaders in the advancement of teaching and learning.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Leadership lived: Student helps plan Alternative Spring Break trip


For the past three years, University of Illinois Springfield psychology major Hailey Hawkins has spent her spring break volunteering with the Alternative Spring Break (ASB) student organization. However, this year was a little different. As president of ASB, she helped select the destination and organize the trip.

“It’s definitely different than how most college students spend spring break, but it’s a great experience and I wouldn’t change it for anything,” she said.

Hawkins and a group of 25 UIS student spent their spring break helping with eco-restoration projects along the Florida Panhandle Gulf Coast. They helped with an oyster relief project where they bagged oysters to put back into the Gulf of Mexico, in an effort to prevent coastal erosion. They also shoveled rocks and cleaned roofs for non-profit organizations.

“I’ve had a different experience all three years during spring break, but it’s a lot of fun,” said Hawkins. “I get to meet new people. I really love volunteering and helping others.”

In past years, Hawkins has helped feed the homeless in New York City during Alternative Spring Break and helped with ecological sustainability projects in Biloxi, Mississippi.

On campus, Hawkins is a member of the Capital Scholars Honors Program and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She has played on the UIS women’s soccer team for the past three years.

“I absolutely love being on the soccer team,” she said. “It’s definitely challenging. It keeps me very busy, but I love the team aspect of it and traveling. I love being pushed and just showing all of the hard work coming together in the end.”

Following graduation from UIS, Hawkins wants to apply to the Peace Corps. She knows the experiences she’s had at UIS will help her in the future.

“I’m very glad that I decided to come to UIS,” she said. “I’ve loved the campus and the experience ever since I’ve been here. The fit has just felt so right and there’s been so many opportunities for me here on campus.”

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Leadership lived: Student finds passion for music and research at UIS


The University of Illinois Springfield is helping Alex Skarr grow his academic and musical talents. The senior political science and sociology/anthropology major is a member of the UIS Choir and sings without accompaniment in the acapella group.

“Being a part of the choir, I consider myself to be one of the leaders in the section. I come from a very good music program in high school and being part of the choir here has really led me to develop my leadership abilities, particularly in the acapella group,” he said.

Skarr is a member of the Capital Scholars Honors Program, the research society (a student group on campus that promotes research) and works for the Undergraduate Research Support Program where he helps plan and run the Student Technology, Arts & Research Symposium (STARS) and the U of I Undergraduate Research Day at the Illinois State Capitol.

He has been working closely with a former UIS faculty member on a sociology research project about social movements. Later this year, he’ll present his research at the National Conference for Undergraduate Research at the University of Memphis and at the Midwest Sociological Society annual conference.

“I think that’s the great thing about UIS, the small campus we have where faculty really care about their students and they really want students to succeed,” he said.

Following graduation from UIS, Skarr would like to work with high school students teaching music. Ultimately, he’d like to become a college sociology professor.

“I really found sociology here at UIS,” he said. “I came in as just a political science major, but I really found sociology was something I really liked.”

Skarr is grateful for all of the opportunities he’s had at UIS and feels well prepared for his future academic career.

“(UIS) just gives you so many opportunities to be a leader, if you want to be a leader. There’s so many opportunities to get out there and do what you like, find something you’re passionate about and become a leader in that,” he said.

Monday, March 06, 2017

UIS students win awards and offices at Model Illinois Government simulation

Several University of Illinois Springfield students were honored during the annual Model Illinois Government (MIG) simulation at the Illinois State Capitol this weekend.

Two UIS students were elected to statewide office within the Model Illinois Government organization. Caitlin Osborn of Edwardsville will serve as treasurer and Donnie Lewis of Decatur will serve as comptroller.

Three students were named to leadership spots within the house and senate. Keith Williams II of Chicago was named assistant majority leader in the senate, David Wilson of Illinois City was named minority whip in the senate and Cole Moriarty of Algonquin was named majority whip in the house.

Payton Raso of North Liberty, Iowa was named the Outstanding First Year Delegate. Austin Mehmet of Springfield and Nathan Hoffman of Springfield reached the finals of the Moot Court competition.

Each year, students from more than 20 colleges and universities around the state gather at the Illinois State Capitol to serve as legislators, staffers, lobbyists, journalists, and officials of the executive branch. Through committee actions, a regular legislative session and a veto session, participants learn the legislative process by doing it.

MIG members get started in the fall term preparing legislation, polishing up parliamentary skills, and organizing the membership into a delegation for the spring conference.

For more information, contact Kenneth Owen, UIS assistant professor of history at 217/206-7439 or kowen8@uis.edu.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Leadership lived: UIS opens doors for future teacher Oscar Mercado


The University of Illinois Springfield is preparing future math teacher Oscar Mercado to be a leader in the classroom. Mercado is majoring in mathematical sciences with a minor in secondary education and Spanish.

At UIS, he is the president of the Organization of Latin American Students (OLAS), colony president of Sigma Lambda Beta International Fraternity, Inc., treasurer for Multicultural Male Society and a mentor for the Hispanic-Latino Mentorship Program.

“As president of OLAS, I’ve learned how to establish myself in a manner that’s very professional and be able to not only represent myself, but also my people, the Latinos on campus,” he said.

OLAS aims to bringing awareness to issues that are happening within our society and provide cultural awareness on campus.

Mercado, a Palatine, Illinois native, says he chose UIS “because they wanted me to come here”. He says admissions counselor Aaron Boettcher went out of his way to help him succeed.

“He made sure that I felt welcome,” he said. “Regardless of what I needed, he would be there for me and he would do whatever I needed to ensure that I continue my higher education here at UIS.”

Following graduation from UIS, Mercado wants to teach at a “school of need” where he can encourage other students to earn a college education.

“I am glad that I chose UIS,” he said. “It’s opened up a lot of different opportunities for me and a lot of doors. I’ve gotten to meet incredible people and really establish myself not only as a student, but as a leader.”

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

UIS English Professor Meagan Cass wins award for her story collection

Meagan Cass, assistant professor of English at the University of Illinois Springfield, has won the Katherine Anne Porter Prize for her story collection "ActivAmerica”. Her work will be published by the University of North Texas Press in November 2017.

“I’m thrilled to join the UNT press community,” said Cass. “The fact that Claire Vaye Watkins was the prize judge makes this even more meaningful as she is one of my favorite contemporary fiction writers.”

Drawing from fairy tales, ghost stories, and science-fiction, the stories in “ActivAmerica” explore how we confront (and exert) power, re-imagine ourselves, and form communities on soccer fields and hidden lakes, in overgrown backyards and across ping-pong tables. A group of girls start an illicit hockey league in a conservative suburb. A recently separated woman must run a mile a day in order to maintain her new corporate health insurance. Children impacted by environmental disaster create a “mutant soccer team.” Throughout the collection, athletic risk comes with unexpected, often unsettling results.

At UIS, Cass is a co-curator of the Shelterbelt Reading Series and edits Shelterbelt Books with her colleague Adam Clay. She also serves as an assistant editor for Sundress Publications. She is the author of the chapbook "Range of Motion" (Magic Helicopter Press), and her short fiction has appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review, The Pinch, DIAGRAM, Joyland, and Puerto del Sol, among other places.

Her work has previously been honored in SmokeLong Quarterly’s 10th anniversary “best of” print anthology in 2013 and on Dan Chaon’s Wigleaf Top 50 (Very) Short Fictions of the Year list in 2012.

Cass holds a Master of Fine Arts in fiction writing from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Leadership lived: Resident assistant helps fellow students feel welcome


As a resident assistant (RA) at the University of Illinois Springfield, liberal studies major Benita Ekwonwa has learned many lessons about leadership. Every day she successfully juggles a full academic schedule and her duties as an RA.

“Being an RA really helps you to learn how to time manage and also communication skills because you have to learn to talk to your residents and they are from different backgrounds, they are different people who have different interests,” she said.

As an RA, she’s often on call 24 hours a day and responds to resident lock outs, fire alarms and noise complaints. However, she says the best part of her job is planning community engagement events which helps her to get to know residents better. She recently hosted a “Warm Up Wednesday” event where she fixed hot chocolate and tea for her fellow students.

“I think a big important part of being an RA is getting to know your residents, knowing their interests, dislikes, just knowing that they can come to you for anything,” she said. “I think it’s really important.”

On campus, Ekwonwa is president of the Catholic Student Association, a member of the African Student Association and the Afrobeat Dance Crew. She is also a member of the Capital Scholars Honors Program.

“I really like the small campus feel, just knowing that you can go talk to professors and they know who you are,” she said. “Being more than just a number was really important to me. Also, it was pretty inexpensive and being from the suburbs it’s not too far from home.”

Following graduation from UIS, Ekwonwa plans to attend medical school and plans to become a family physician. She feels well prepared by her UIS education.

“I’ve learned a lot. I’ve met different people. I think I’m growing every day and I think it’s just a great experience being at UIS,” she said.

Monday, February 20, 2017

UIS student newspaper staff wins awards from the Illinois College Press Association

The Journal, the student newspaper at the University of Illinois Springfield, won five awards in an annual Illinois College Press Association (ICPA) competition judged by professional journalists throughout the state. Awards were presented at the annual ICPA convention, held Feb. 17 and 18 in Chicago.

Entries from Spring Semester 2016 and Fall Semester 2016 were recognized.

Erica Thomas of Springfield, Journal photographer, won first-place for a sports photo she took of two players in action during a UIS men’s soccer game.

Alex Camp of Chicago, former Journal columnist and assistant editor for sports, won second-place for a spring 2016 column describing his concerns about returning to Chicago after earning his bachelor’s degree. Camp, now a graduate student in the UIS Public Affairs Reporting Program, received an honorable mention for a headline he wrote in fall 2016: “Hell freezes over: Cubs win the pennant.”`

Others receiving honorable mention include Megan Swett of O’Fallon, Illinois, Journal editor-in-chief, for the fall 2016 article, “Celebrating Queertober: AroAce student discusses her identity, her relationships, and the LGBT+ community,” and Jeff Burnett of Loves Park, Illinois, for a story about the Sangamon County Drug Court, which was published in the fall 2016 Journal magazine, Beyond. Burnett is now a graduate student in the Public Affairs Reporting Program.

The ICPA membership is comprised of more than 30 college newspapers from throughout the state. Among the schools competing in the division of non-dailies with enrollments of more than 4,000 were DePaul, Columbia College, University of Chicago, SIU-Edwardsville, Bradley, Loyola and the School of the Art Institute.

For more information, contact Debra Landis, UIS Student Publications Adviser at 217/206-7717 or dland2@uis.edu.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Leadership lived: Non-traditional student finds success at UIS

 

Daniel Owusu-Bempah says his road to a college education hasn’t always been an easy one, but the University of Illinois Springfield liberal studies major is now only a few months away from graduation.

At age 24, Owusu-Bempah considers himself to be a non-traditional student. He is a father and works an off campus job in the alcohol and substance abuse rehabilitation field.

“One thing my parents taught me was that you just have to keep going in life, whatever life throws at you,” he said.

On campus, he is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and the Black Male Collegiate Society. He started his own photography business and often takes pictures of campus events along with portraits of friends and family.

“What UIS has taught me about leadership is there is time for everything,” he said. “There’s time to take charge and learn skills that will benefit you in the future, while you’re here on campus, and leadership overall here is just an opportunity to grow as an individual.”

Following graduation from UIS, Owusu-Bempah hopes to enter the law enforcement field.

“I want to go into law enforcement because I want to be the change I want to see,” he said. “I just have a passion and it runs in my family as well. My grandfather was the head police chief back in Ghana, West Africa.”

Owusu-Bempah will leave UIS feeling well prepared for his future.

“My experience here at UIS has been nothing but a blessing,” he said. “I grew as an individual both socially and educationally. Nothing but positive growth.”

Outstanding Master's Thesis Award presented to former online student from California

The University of Illinois Springfield Research Board has awarded Amelia Owre with the UIS Outstanding Master’s Thesis Award for the 2015-2016 academic year. The award was presented during a ceremony on February 6, 2017, on campus.

Owre, a former online student from California, graduated from UIS in May 2015 with a master’s degree in environmental sciences. Her thesis was entitled “The Impact of Sea Level Rise on Carbon Storage and Sequestration in the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve.” Her thesis chair was Shipeng Sun, UIS assistant professor of environmental studies.

Originally from Dallas, Texas, Owre attended the U.S. Naval Academy and majored in Oceanography with an emphasis on meteorology and climate science. Following graduation, she became a Naval helicopter pilot and flew three different variants of the H-60 Seahawk.

“After my first overseas deployment, I began searching for graduate programs that both related to my bachelor’s degree and would be flexible enough to fit with my military schedule,” she said. “When I found the online ENS program at UIS I knew it would be a great fit.”

Owre is now out of the military and is the director of training for a drone training company, after spending her last years of active duty as a military drone flight instructor.

“Though not working directly in the environmental field, I have been able to leverage many of the things I learned here in my current job,” she said. “We are presently building classes that cover topics like aerial mapping, multispectral imaging and LiDAR, all things I was introduced to at UIS.”

The following students received their departments’ Outstanding Thesis or Project Award for 2015-16 and were nominated for the UIS Outstanding Master’s Thesis/Project competition:

English & Modern Languages 
Keith Huddleston of Springfield, Illinois
“Beautiful Bastards: Linguistic Power and Socio-Political Advancement in The Tempest, King John, and King Lear.”
Thesis Chair: Ethan Lewis

History 
Michael Taylor of Rochester, Illinois
“Pornography, Violence, and Weirdos: American Comic Book Censorship in the 20th Century.” Thesis Chair: Kenneth Owen

Political Science 
Nathan Tarr of Springfield, Illinois
“Deradicalization of Egypt and Turkey’s Islamist Parties in Foreign Policy towards the United States and Israel during their Rise to Power.”
Thesis Chair: Sibel Oktay

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Leadership lived: Women’s basketball player serves as a role model

 

Destiny Ramsey of Bloomington, Illinois never dreamed she would be a role model, but as a NCAA Division II basketball player at the University of Illinois Springfield she is for many children in central Illinois.

As a student-athlete, she regularly visits elementary and junior high schools where she speaks about her basketball career and spreads positive messages about not using drugs or alcohol.

“It feels good to know they look up to me and that I’m held to a high standard by these little kids, who are like ‘I want to be you when I grow up.’ I was just like you were,” she said.

A business administration major at UIS, Ramsey is one of the key players on the Prairie Stars women’s basketball team. She’s also academically strong in the classroom.

“It feels good to know that I’m a student-athlete and I’m held to a high standard on both the academic side and on the court,” said Ramsey.

Ramsey started playing basketball when she was in elementary school.

“My dad just asked me to try all of the sports that I could possibly try and whatever I like the most, stick with it,” she said. “I was a gymnast, I was a cheerleader, basketball was the last thing I tried and that’s the one that stuck with me the longest.”

Ramsey said she chose UIS because of the great basketball facilities, coaching staff and the academic opportunities on campus.

“I love the atmosphere here, so it kind of motivated me to want to come here more. The gym is really nice, the people are great. I went from a junior college to here and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made,” she said.

She hasn’t decided what she wants to do following graduation, but she knows that she wants to continue to make a difference in the world.

“One of my goals in life is to change lives and I’ve already tried to do that in every aspect of the word,” she said. “I love interacting with people, so I’m thinking whatever I do, as long as it’s working with people, I’ll be happy doing it.”