Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Leadership lived: International student helps improve UIS’ web presence

Graduate computer science major Bhavyanshu Parasher says he chose the University of Illinois Springfield because of its outstanding cyber security courses.

At UIS, Parasher works as a student web associate for the UIS Office of Web Services, is vice president of the UIS Computer Science Club and recently helped to redesign the UIS Computer Science Department website.

“UIS has provided me with a lot of opportunities to grow as a full-stack engineer,” he said. “It has certainly prepared me for the professional field and the projects I’ve worked on at UIS will certainly help me stand out in the job market.”

One of the projects he recently worked on for UIS Web Services was developing the skill that allows Amazon’s Alexa, an intelligent personal assistant, to answer questions about UIS. Alexa can now answer admissions questions or tell you today’s lunch menu.

As part of the Computer Science Club, Parasher recently finished in the top one percent of competitors in the United States in the National Cyber League (NCL) competitions. He finished 37th against more than 2,400 competitors. The UIS team finished 18th out of 182 teams nationally.

“There was log analysis, there was network security analysis. Basically, we just had to go in and solve a number of challenges that were given to us,” said Parasher.

Parasher, a native of Gurgaon, Haryana, India, says he feels that he made the right decision in attending the University of Illinois Springfield.

“I would recommend to students that they go and look at the cyber security-related courses that are offered at UIS,” he said.

Following graduation from UIS, Parasher plans to begin his career as a full-stack engineer, someone who works on both the front-end and back-end of developing applications.

“My experience at UIS has been amazing and it has offered me a lot of opportunities to grow in my field,” he said.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Leadership lived: Psychology major becomes student leader at UIS

University of Illinois Springfield senior psychology major Danielle Gibbs admits that she’s a “very busy person.” She is actively involved with several student organizations on campus and works for UIS Campus Recreation at The Recreation and Athletic Center (TRAC).

In her role at TRAC, she is a facility lead. She supervises student shifts, helps plans special events, such as the Prairie Star 5K, and works with students, faculty and staff to help improve their health and overall experience at TRAC.

“On a day-to-day basis, I do a lot of one-on-one giving information to people, whether it be fitness or health related,” she said. “I also do a lot of advertising for the health-related and fitness-related events that we host.”

At UIS, Gibbs is the secretary, historian and a founding member of the Chi Chapter of Gamma Phi Omega International Sorority, Inc. She is also the chapter founder of the Alpha Lambda Delta National Honor Society and a member of the Psi Chi International Honor Society in Psychology and the UIS Capital Scholars Honors Program. She is a Student Employee Leadership Program book study coordinator and a member of the Student Affairs Leadership Program.

“I’m very engaged on campus and I think that’s done a lot for me. It’s been a very positive aspect of my life and I like to see others realized that and take part in that.”

Gibbs did not anticipated joining a sorority when she came to UIS, however she says becoming a member of Gamma Phi Omega has been one of the best decisions she has made.

“Being a part of Gamma Phi Omega has taught me a multitude of different things,” she said. “I’ve gained so much that I never thought I’d be able to gain from here, especially in this tight-knit community that Greek Life on this campus presents.”

Gibbs says she’s learned many lessons about leadership from her involvement at UIS.

“I’ve learned to work with so many different people,” she said. “I’ve learned really who I’m able to be. That’s helped me branch out, that’s helped me be comfortable in any type of situation.”

Following graduation from UIS, she plans to earn her master’s degree in child life and become certified as a child life specialist, who works with children in the hospital.

“UIS has been a home away from home for me,” she said. “On this small campus, I can stand out and being involved like I am, I’m able to do that and I’m able to make a big difference in what I do here.”

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Leadership lived: Business Administration major wins award for overall excellence

As Regina Bolin puts it, “you don’t always have to be the loudest person in the room” to be a leader. Bolin, a senior business administration major at the University of Illinois Springfield, has often played the role of a behind the scenes leader, however now she’s in the spotlight.

Bolin was recently honored for her overall excellence in curricular and extracurricular activities when she was presented with the Student Laureate Award from the Lincoln Academy of Illinois. She was the only student at UIS who received the award, which was presented by Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner during a ceremony at the Old State Capitol.

“It’s really cool to be here and be able to get this award because there are so many people who could have gotten it at the University of Illinois Springfield,” she said. “I just feel so honored that my achievements have been recognized. It’s awesome.”

Bolin is vice president of the Alternative Spring Break student organization, a member of the Capital Scholars Honors Program, Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She is also on a marketing committee that gives UIS student feedback about social media and advertising.

However, she’s spent most of her time on campus as a student-athlete. Bolin played for the UIS Prairie Stars Women’s Soccer team for four years, being named to the Athletics Academic Honor Roll three times.

“I loved everyone that I got to play with and just being able to have a role on a team and getting to continue playing the sport that I loved is awesome,” she said.

Bolin, a Kansas City, Missouri native, has participating in the past three Alternative Spring Break trips, starting with New York City in 2016 where she helped feed the homeless. This year, she’s planning to go to Texas with the group to help with Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.

“Leadership is what you make out of it,” she said. “There’s always opportunities to be a leader and I think anyone could be a leader and it just depends how much effort you put into it.”

Following graduation, Bolin plans to attend graduate school and pursue a career in the business marketing field. She looks back at her experience at UIS with fond memories.

“I’ve met a lot of great people, I’ve been able to learn a lot while I’ve been there too,” she said. “There’s just a lot of opportunities at UIS that I’ve been glad to be a part of and I think the school has been a really good fit for me.”

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

UIS students earn first place category win during National Cyber League competitions

University of Illinois Springfield Computer Science and Information Systems Security majors earned a first place win the Log Analysis category and finished in the top 10 percent of teams nationwide during the annual National Cyber League (NCL) competitions.

During the regular season, several UIS students ranked highly in the national challenge where they faced more than 2,400 competitors. Steve Berryman of Louisville, Kentucky finished 31st and Bhavyanshu Parasher of Gurgaon, Haryana, India finished 37th placing them both in the top one percent of competitors in the United States.

Team captain Austin Bransky of Marengo, Illinois finished 79th and in the top three percent nationwide.

Overall, the UIS team finished 18th out of 182 teams nationally during the NCL’s postseason tournament. This is the second year that a UIS team has competed in the competition.

“This NCL Season was a huge success and there was improvement across the board for most of our returning members,” said team captain Austin Bransky. “It seems like the competition got a lot tougher compared to past years, which is great as it will force us to improve and innovate the way we compete both as individuals and as a team.”

The NCL was founded in May 2011 to provide an ongoing virtual training ground for participants to develop, practice, and validate their cybersecurity knowledge and skills using next-generation high-fidelity simulation environments.

The competition utilizes certified ethical hacker objectives, such as open source intelligence, traffic and log analysis and wireless security.

For more information, contact Brian-Thomas Rogers at 217/206-8165 or