Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Wort wouldn’t trade the experience for anything

By Melanie Cain

When Kara Wort was looking for a college, several deciding factors led her to UIS. The first and biggest selling point was the Capital Scholars program. Kara realized that taking part in the inaugural class of an honors program would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and a huge benefit down the road.

Kara liked the fact that UIS offered the first class of Cap Scholars some financial aid that allowed them to take a chance on this new program, and says she found the staff in the financial aid office to be extremely helpful when it came to dealing with scholarships and other financial issues.

Another thing that Kara enjoyed was UIS’ small class sizes. She realized that by taking classes with a just few other students, she could get a lot more out of her classes. “I knew it would allow me to develop closer bonds with the faculty, as well as with fellow students,” says Kara.

After choosing UIS as her destination, Kara set some basic goals for herself, hoping that in accomplishing them she would be preparing herself for life after graduation. “I was hoping to get a well-rounded liberal arts education at UIS and maintain a good G.P.A. in the process,” she says. Kara also wanted to network with different business professionals in the community.

Kara did a fine job working toward these goals. She maintained a strong G.P.A., both as a Communication student and in the Capital Scholars Honors program, and she was a member and secretary of the first-ever communication honor society at UIS, Lambda Pi Eta.

Kara also took advantage of the Applied Study program, serving a communication-based internship with a local business. It was an experience she enjoyed and she not only learned valuable skills, but walked away with some solid business relationships as well.

Above all, Kara values the education she received at UIS. “Most importantly, I got a great education from people who were knowledgeable on many different subject matters,” she says. Like many others who have attended UIS, Kara feels that one of the best aspects of the university is the people she met during her four years on campus. “The relationships I developed with friends and faculty and the memories I’ve made will be treasured my whole life. I wouldn’t trade the experiences I had at UIS for anything” she says.

Kara earned her bachelor’s degree in Communication in May 2005 as a member of UIS’ first graduating class of Capital Scholars. She is currently interviewing for jobs in the Springfield area and would eventually like to get her master’s degree once she settles into a full-time position.

Do you have a great story about your experiences at UIS? If you’d like to share your thoughts, please feel free to email me at mcain02s@uis.edu.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Close-knit community is a perfect fit for Bair

By Melanie Cain

When the time came for Lindy Bair to choose a college, she knew exactly what she was looking for. “I came from a very small town and high school, and I liked the close-knit bond my classmates and I formed through the years,” says Lindy. “I was looking for a school where I wouldn't have to lose this feeling.”

It was just by chance that Lindy signed up to listen when the UIS representative visited her high school. “I was very impressed by her sincerity, honesty, and all-round enthusiasm for UIS,” says Lindy. “When I applied to colleges, I only applied to two. I attended preview days at both schools, but the minute I set foot on the UIS campus, I knew that this was where I was going to go,” she explains.

After choosing UIS, Lindy started thinking about what she wanted to accomplish during her time here. She says, “Just as UIS was hoping to shape my educational future, I was hoping for a chance to shape the future of UIS through the Capital Scholars program. My goal during my time at UIS was to balance both studies and extracurricular involvement.”

During her four years on campus, Lindy learned just how great a university UIS was. “I saw first hand how student-oriented the campus is. I never felt that there was a professor I couldn't ask a question of or share a concern with. At UIS I always felt like a student and never a number,” she says. Lindy appreciated these aspects of the college and never took them for granted.

She also realized that in order to really enjoy yourself in college, you have to get out there and experience all you can. “At UIS I learned that being a part of the campus means getting involved. One of the campus activities that I was most involved in was the UIS Choir,” says Lindy. “Through the choir I was able to meet faculty, staff, students, and community members. Watching the program grow and change through the years was a neat experience and one that I will miss when I leave here.”

Looking back, Lindy realizes that she made the right choice in coming to UIS. “The Capital Scholars program as a whole was an amazing experience, and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. I developed so many wonderful friendships and learned so much during my time there,” she explains.

Lindy earned her bachelor’s degree in Visual Arts in May 2005 as a member of UIS’ first graduating class of Capital Scholars. In the fall, she will return to UIS to finish up a few classes in the Teacher Education program and she will be student teaching in the spring. After that, she hopes to find a position as an elementary school teacher.

Do you have a great story about your experiences at UIS? If you’d like to share your thoughts, please feel free to email me at mcain02s@uis.edu.

Student trustee/grad student Carrie Bauer is prepared for life’s options

By Heather Shaffer

At the end of the spring semester, the UIS student body elected Carrie Bauer as their student representative to the U of I Board of Trustees. This hard-working graduate student is ready for the challenges and new experiences that await her.

Carrie said is she very excited about the coming year. With a new university president, B. Joseph White, she sees changes in both vision and direction for the university in the near future.

Already, Carrie and her fellow student trustees from Urbana-Champaign and Chicago are organizing a leadership retreat in Chicago where student leaders from all three campuses will come together to discuss their roles in helping advance the U of I system as a whole.

Before being elected to the BOT, Carrie served on UIS’ Student Government Association. She decided to join the SGA during her freshman year when a position representing the College of Public Affairs and Administration opened up. Someone told Carrie she should lobby for the position, so she did and was elected. Last year, she served as SGA vice president. "I am glad I was elected to the SGA and had the honor of serving the UIS student body," she said.

Carrie has also been involved in many clubs and organizations while on campus, including the UIS College Democrats, United Students Against Sweatshops, Blue Crew, Women’s Issues Caucus, Diversity Task Force, Model Illinois Government, Model United Nations, Phi Sigma Alpha National Honor Society, and women’s volleyball team.

Carrie came to UIS in the fall of 2001 as part of the inaugural class of Capital Scholars. She chose UIS because of the chance to be part of a new program and because of its strong Political Studies department.

Carrie received her bachelor’s degree in Political Studies in May 2005. "I have enjoyed my time at UIS, in both the CAP Scholars and Political Studies programs. The personal attention and time that teachers give students is tremendous and has made for a great experience," she said.

Currently, a graduate student in Political Studies, Carrie is employed as a GA at the Women’s Center, and also works as an administrative assistant for the Athletics Department.

Carrie hopes to complete her master’s degree in Political Studies in May 2006, then plans to either attend law school or enter the work force. Either way, she feels she will be ready because of her experiences at UIS. "UIS has prepared me for each option equally -- through my classes, student groups, work experience, athletics, and much more," she said.

This summer, I am interested in learning about other people's experiences at UIS. If you’d like to share your campus experiences, please e-mail me at hshaf01s@uis.edu.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Learning the Ins and Outs of Journalism

By Heather Shaffer

Mallory Medved cringes when she sees a spelling or grammar error and loves to read papers, articles, and stories for their content and syntax. These traits come in especially handy in her work as an English major at UIS and as a copy editor for The Journal, the student newspaper.

Mallory didn’t always want to study the complex world of writing and editing. Beginning her studies four years ago as a political studies major in the second class of Capital Scholars, she originally chose UIS because she liked the campus and its location in the city of Springfield, a prime location for starting a career in politics.

But she joked that one day she realized that watching “West Wing” reruns on Bravo does not necessarily make a politician and decided she might be better suited for a different career path. So during her sophomore year she switched her major to English with a minor in Communication.

The first two years of the Capital Scholars Program were, overall, a positive experience for Mallory. She said that the program has helped her learn to think clearly and concisely and to reflect that in her writing.

For Mallory, one of the most positive aspects of the Capital Scholars program is its small class sizes. She said, “I went from a grade school class of 19 to a high school class of 1,100 and definitely prefer going to school where you aren't meeting classmates for the first time on the day you graduate.”

She also noted that, because all of her classes are small, she has gotten to know her professors well and they are available when she needs help.

When not studying or in class, Mallory holds down two jobs on campus: not only is she copy editor for The Journal, but she works in the bibliographic services department at Brookens Library as well.

After graduation, Mallory hopes to work for a newspaper as a copy editor/designer and eventually would like to become a freelance proofreader “so I can work at home, in my pajamas.” Mallory said that working for The Journal has been a priceless experience in helping her achieve that goal. “Because The Journal is small, I have been able to experience all aspects of working for a newspaper, from writing and editing to photography and designing. I think that will be invaluable after I graduate and enter the job market,” she said.

Mallory is already one step closer to finding full-time employment in the field of journalism. While attending the Illinois College Press Association Conference with The Journal staff in February, Mallory took part in the Jobs Fair and interviewed with Jan Larsen, a features editor for The Joliet Herald News. Jan told Mallory that there weren’t any positions open at that time; however, when a position did open up for a summer copy editor intern in the features department, she remembered Mallory and offered her the job.

In her internship, Mallory spends most of each morning proofing newspaper pages that have already been laid out and sends them to the printers for the next day. In the afternoon, she edits articles for future sections. Mallory said she also does a little writing on the side, mainly taking articles the paper gets from other area papers and reworking them to make the stories more local. “When Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was released, we picked up an article from the Naperville paper about local launch parties, which meant I got to call every bookstore in our area to see what they were doing for the big night,” she said.

Mallory said that the internship has also allowed her to talk to a lot of interesting people this summer and to learn a lot about the ins and outs of professional journalism.

Working full-time has also made Mallory realize how valuable and short the college experience is, so her advice to new students at UIS is simple: get involved in activities on campus and make the most of the college experience while it lasts. “The rest of your life will come soon enough, so be sure to enjoy your years at UIS for the incredible experience that it is,” she said.

This summer, I am interested in learning about other people's experiences at UIS. If you’d like to share your campus experiences, please e-mail me at hshaf01s@uis.edu.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Living and Learning through the Capital Scholars Program

By Melanie Cain

When Gabrielle Wiegand first came to UIS, she had two distinct goals in mind. “The first thing I wanted was to figure out what I was going to do with my life. I had always been fascinated by politics, but I wasn’t sure if it was something I really wanted to do,” she says.

Her second goal was to meet new people and make friendships that would last a lifetime. “Just about every older person I know met their best friends, their maids of honor, or their children’s godparents in college,” she explains.

As it turned out, Gabrielle accomplished both goals, and had many other rewarding experiences along the way.

Originally from Metamora, Gabrielle was first drawn to UIS because the small class sizes appealed to her. She also loved the fact that the Capital Scholars program was just beginning and she could have an opportunity to help build the program into something great.

She also felt that the professors at UIS offered something that faculty at most colleges didn’t. “On my visits to campus, I got the sense that the UIS faculty were dedicated to students and to teaching. Research and publishing came second,” says Gabrielle. She felt the professors would be willing to give more one-on-one attention, allowing her to get the education she was hoping for. As someone planning to major in political studies, she also liked the fact the UIS was located in Springfield and had ties to the capitol.

During her time as a Capital Scholar, Gabrielle learned a great deal about her chosen major as well as about herself. “At UIS I learned what I am good at, and what I want to do with the rest of my life. I learned that I love to learn new things. I love to have new experiences. A lot of that derived from time in the classroom, but most of the knowledge and experiences that I cherish from UIS came from ‘living and learning’ with 100 of my closest friends in the Capital Scholars program,” she explains.

Gabrielle says that perhaps the thing she enjoyed most about UIS was that “anything is possible there. Come up with an idea, and as long as you can have a good argument and are willing to do some hard work, you can make it happen.”

Gabrielle earned her bachelor’s degree in Political Studies with a minor in Communication in May 2005 as a member of UIS’ first graduating class of Capital Scholars. This summer, she is living in Chicago and working for the public relations firm Serafin & Associates. In the fall, she will return to UIS to complete her master’s in Political Studies.

Do you have a great story about your experiences at UIS? If you’d like to share your thoughts, please feel free to email me at mcain02s@uis.edu.