Friday, February 09, 2018

UIS Master's Thesis awards presented to two recent graduates from Sangamon County

Dennis Papini, UIS vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost, presents the Outstanding Master's Thesis Award to Jonathon Mark Redding.
The University of Illinois Springfield Research Board has honored two former graduate students, both from Sangamon County, with awards for their master’s thesis projects for the 2016-2017 academic year. The awards were presented during a ceremony on February 8, 2018.

The Outstanding Master’s Thesis Award was presented to Jonathon Mark Redding of Springfield. Redding graduated from UIS in December 2016 with a master’s degree in history. His thesis was entitled “Benjamin Chew – Loyalist or Patriot?” His thesis chair was Kenneth Owen, UIS assistant professor of history.

Redding grew up in Chicago and says his parents instilled in him a love of books and education from an early age. Although interested in history, he obtained a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Greenville University and pursued a career as a computer systems administrator. Later, he obtained an MBA from Benedictine University.

After relocating to Springfield, he decided to formalize his knowledge of history by pursuing a master’s degree in American History at UIS.

“The night classes offered at UIS were a perfect match that allowed me to continue my daytime career as a computer systems administrator,” he said. “My newly acquired interest in colonial American history was a ‘happy coincidence’ stemming from a class assignment in Dr. William Siles’ Archival Management course and the arrival of Dr. Kenneth Owen on the UIS History Department faculty. Dr. Owen specializes in colonial American history and ‘converted’ me to that era.”

Courtney Cox, a Chatham native, was honored with the English and Modern Languages Department award for her master’s thesis entitled “Applications of Creative Writing Methodology: A Paired Meta-Reflection of Researcher Subjectivity in Qualitative Composition Inquiry.”

Cox graduated from UIS in May 2017 with a master’s degree in English. Her thesis chair was Stephanie Hedge, UIS assistant professor of English.

During her time pursuing her master’s degree at UIS, Cox says she discovered her passion for composition pedagogy, publishing and technical writing. While at UIS, Cox was managing editor of campus publications “Uproot” and “Alchemist Review,” as well as an executive board member of the Graduate Public Service Internship Program Association. Cox is now pursuing a Ph.D. in English Studies with a concentration in Rhetoric and Composition.

The Outstanding Master’s Thesis/Project Award is funded primarily through an endowment established by Nancy and Charles Chapin, along with gifts from other donors. In addition to providing funding for the Outstanding Master’s Thesis/Project Award, Charles and Nancy Chapin have provided support for Brookens Library, the Chancellor’s Fund for Excellence and scholarships.

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

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