Thursday, December 12, 2013

Leadership lived: Student finds resources to succeed at UIS

Gella-Kate Meeks has made the University of Illinois Springfield her home. The sophomore criminal justice major came to campus wanting to make an impact.

“It was my goal and mission to put myself out there and to get involved,” she said. “I didn’t want to be one of those people in my room saying it was boring and there’s nothing to do.”

Meeks discovered the hip hop culture Legacy Dance Team, which performs at events on campus, such as the Rip the Runway fashion show, basketball games, and the International Festival.

“Legacy is like a little close-knit family and we produce dances for different and various events on campus,” she said. “We just like to perform and show people what we can do.”

Meeks is now the secretary of the Legacy Dance Team, co-vice president of the campus performance arts group Creative Flow, and talent coordinator for the Student Activities Committee (SAC).

As part of her involvement with SAC, she recently helped plan a successful student-based talent show called “UIS Got Talent”.

“I knew it was a lot of work to put together events, but I didn’t know exactly how much,” said Meeks. “You have to get the budget; you have to make sure the plan is down first and foremost.”

Meeks credits her UIS education for her success. She’s learned from a teaching-focused academic experience in a right-sized supportive community.

“I don’t know what I would have did if I didn’t come to this school,” she said. “I wouldn’t have met all of my wonderful friends. I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in now. I wouldn’t have all of the opportunities I do now.”

Upon graduating from UIS, Meeks plans to become a forensic technologist combining two of her passions: science and computers.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Tradition of bipartisanship continues at UIS

Republicans and Democrats often struggle to work together, but not at the University of Illinois Springfield. At UIS, it’s become a tradition for the head of the College Democrats and College Republicans to live together.

Since at least 2010, the presidents of both organizations have voluntarily decided to live together on campus. The tradition took a brief break in 2012 when the leaders of both parties were of the opposite sex and couldn’t live under one roof.

Now the tradition is back! Marc Reiter is president of the UIS College Democrats and Jeff Wilhite is chairman of the UIS College Republicans. Both are junior political science majors and roommates in a campus townhouse.

“Sometimes we have ‘polite’ discussions on a variety of issues, and sometimes we get a little loud,” said Reiter.

Living together has its advantages. The roommates are right across the hall from each other and can easily communicate different ideas and begin projects at home.

“Anytime we want to have a meeting, we can just open the door,” said Reiter.

The bipartisan household is prone to heated discussions, especially on issues such as taxes, but they don’t limit their debates to politics.

“Sports, politics, anything,” said Wilhite.

The pair has even gotten their fellow roommates involved in their passion for politics. They attend both Reiter’s College Democrats meetings and Wilhite’s College Republican meetings just to be fair.

Reiter and Wilhite have learned a lot from being politically involved and heading the organizations has giving them great experience for the future.

“Most people don’t realize how involved they could be in politics if they wanted to,” said Wilhite. “Just by joining one of these clubs you can meet the Lieutenant Governor, Tom Cross, Congressmen. There are so many chances to network and connect with people.”

The two groups helped with the recent “Tie a Yellow Ribbon” event on campus, as well as held a voter registration drive. Next, they’ve got their eyes set on a fundraiser and hosting a debate or two.

“We’ll both tell you that we do a lot of stuff on campus, we co-sponsor, and we keep it pretty active. There’s always stuff to do,” said Reiter.

Story by Paige Heiser, UIS Marketing

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Leadership lived: Friends work together to keep newspaper running

When the editor-in-chief of The Journal, the student-run newspaper at the University of Illinois Springfield, graduated, Kate Richardson and Colten Bradford knew they had to step forward. They took on more work to make sure the weekly paper was published on time.

“Stepping up to the plate wasn’t a big deal,” said Bradford. “It was just something that had to be done. Our main goal is to get the news out to the students.”

The pair took over assigning stories and copy editing the newspaper on top of their regular duties, which included laying out the paper and checking ads.

“Every single week it was right on the minute of the deadline (when we finished the paper),” said Richardson. “We just had so much extra work to do with editing the paper.”

Richardson and Bradford have known each other almost since their first day at UIS. They graduated with their bachelor’s degrees at the same time and are now both working to finish a master’s degree in communication. They’ve become friends and co-workers.

“We’ve really worked together a lot,” said Richardson. “When I was the editor-in-chief he was my assistant editor for news and then we both started our graduate assistantships at the same time, so really we’ve always been working together here.”

Both Richardson and Bradford plan to graduate from UIS at the end of the Fall 2013 Semester. Their experience working at The Journal and in the classroom has helped prepare them for future careers in the communication industry.

“When I first came to UIS I was more of a follower,” said Bradford. “The longer that I’ve been here the more I’ve realized I could step up to the plate and help other people and help them to become a leader themselves.”

“UIS has taught me that anyone can become a leader. It doesn’t matter if you’re a student or in charge of a club or anything. There are tons of opportunities to be a leader here,” added Richardson.

Monday, December 02, 2013

UIS professor explores the impact of public election financing on campaigns in new book

University of Illinois Springfield Assistant Professor of Political Science Michael G. Miller examines the impact of state-level public election financing on political campaigns through the eyes of candidates in a new book.

In the book, Subsidizing Democracy: How Public Funding Changes Elections and How It Can Work in the Future (Cornell University Press, 2014), insights are drawn from survey data obtained from more than 1,000 candidates, elite interview testimony, and twenty years of election data.

The presence of publicly funded candidates in elections, Miller finds, results in broad changes to the electoral system, including more interaction between candidates and the voting public and significantly higher voter participation. He presents evidence that by providing new candidates with resources that would have been unobtainable otherwise, subsidies effectively manufacture quality challengers. Miller describes how matching-fund provisions of “Clean Election” laws were pervasively manipulated by candidates and parties and were ultimately struck down by the Supreme Court.

Miller wrote the book in the wake of the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010) case, which ruled corporate and union spending was allowed in elections. The Supreme Court later declared the matching funds feature of so-called “Clean Election” public financing laws unconstitutional, but there has been no strong challenge to the constitutionality of public funding as such. Subsidizing Democracy concludes with an evaluation of existing proposals for future election policy in light of his findings.

Miller holds a Ph.D. in Government from Cornell University. At UIS, he holds a joint appointment in the Department of Political Science and the Institute for Legal, Legislative, and Policy Studies.

The book is available for purchase from Cornell University Press. For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Michael G. Miller at 217/206-7220 or

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Leadership lived: UIS involvement inspires student to become leader

Jamaal Hollins never planned on becoming a leader, but that changed when he got involved at the University of Illinois Springfield.

Now the senior computer science major is the UIS student representative to the University of Illinois Board of Trustees.

“You can ask my parents. They’re surprised,” said Hollins. “It’s something I had never thought about doing, but as I got more involved at UIS I really wanted to help the university and the students.”

Hollins attends Board of Trustees meetings and has an advisory vote on all issues. He’s learn a lot about the day-to-day operations of the university.

“It’s really been an eye opening experience,” said Hollins. “I’ve learned about many issues that face not only UIS and higher education, but the university hospital for example at the Chicago campus.”

He’s also involved with the UIS Campus Senate, an ex officio member of the Student Government Association, and is a mentor for the Necessary Steps, Capital Scholars Honors Program, and Big Brothers Big Sisters

“The biggest thing about UIS is the opportunity to get involved. If you end up coming here, get involved, find something to do find somebody, an older student. Take a risk,” he said.

Hollins took a risk when he joined the intercollegiate squash team on campus his freshman year. At that time there were only four members. Now the team has grown to 11 players who play against major universities, such as Notre Dame and Duke.

“It’s been very competitive. We’ve won some of our matches,” said Hollins who now coaches the team.

Following graduation from UIS, Hollins plans to work for State Farm Insurance in Bloomington, Ill. That’s where he’s spent the past few summers interning.

“It’s been a great experience there and most recently a couple of months ago, I actually got a job offer from them with a start date after I graduate,” he said.

He leaves UIS with the knowledge to lead a successful career and the leadership skills to succeed.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Joshua Eastby honored with Student Laureate Award from the Lincoln Academy of Illinois

University of Illinois Springfield senior Joshua Eastby was honored with the Student Laureate Award from the Lincoln Academy of Illinois during a ceremony on November 2, 2013 at the Old State Capitol in Springfield.

Eastby, an Edwardsville, Ill. native, is majoring in political science at UIS. He holds a 3.96 GPA and plans to attend law school following graduation. Ultimately, he hopes to pursue a career in federal law enforcement and work for the FBI.

On campus, he serves as treasurer of the Student Government Association, vice-chair of the Student Organization Funding Association, plays violin and the viola in the UIS Chamber Ensemble, and is a member of the intercollegiate UIS Squash Team. He’s a member of numerous committees, including the Student Union Planning Committee, Tenure Review Committee, and the Campus Planning & Budget Committee.

“My involvement in these numerous activities, committees, and organizations have served to enhance my educational experience here at UIS, because it has given me several important opportunities to explore my own interests and contribute to the UIS community at the same time,” he said.

Previously he’s served as a peer mentor and a peer tutor in the Capital Scholars Honors Program, volunteered as part of the Leadership for Life (L4L) Community Service wing, and been active in Model United Nations on campus.

Eastby has also gained valuable work experience, which has helped him pay for his education at UIS. Eastby has worked in the UIS Office of Financial Assistance as a financial aid assistant, a page in the Illinois House of Representatives, and interned with the FBI’s Springfield Division.

“My employment, separate from my academic and extracurricular activities, has reinforced my desire to become involved in government because it has enabled me to witness the ways in which government can solve problems that would be otherwise intractable,” he said.

Eastby has previously been honored with the Capital Scholars Honors Program Chancellor’s Scholarship, Capital Scholars Honors Program Academic Excellence Award, and was selected as a James J. and M. Joan Stukel Scholar. Eastby is also a member of the Pi Sigma Alpha Political Science Honor Society and has been named to the Dean’s List every semester he’s attended UIS.

Each year an outstanding senior from each of the four-year degree-granting institutions of higher learning in Illinois is awarded the Student Lincoln Academy Medallion and thereby becomes a Student Laureate of the Lincoln Academy of Illinois. Student Laureates are honored for their overall excellence in curricular and extracurricular activities.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Leadership lived: Student's passion for politics grows at UIS

Marc Reiter has always had a passion for politics.

“I’ve probably been a political junkie since I was about 11-years-old, so I’ve always followed it – policy, elections, and all that stuff I just find it fascinating," said Reiter.

The junior political science major at the University of Illinois Springfield is now president of the College Democrats on campus.

“We have political candidates come speak to us, we campaign, we work for those candidates, we learn about the political process, we learn what it means to have Democratic ideals and beliefs,” said Reiter.

He’s also president of the Amnesty International group, a senator on the Student Government Association, and Speaker of the House for the state-wide Model Illinois Government organization.

“It’s definitely, from my position, given me a lot of leadership experience. A lot of the stuff takes a lot of planning, organization, and teamwork,” he said.

Through his involvement with the Model United Nations chapter on campus, Reiter was able to travel to New York City. He learned about creating resolutions and diplomacy.

“The last day you actually get to go to the U.N. building in New York and get to stand on the floor, so it’s a pretty cool experience,” said Reiter.

After he graduates with his bachelor’s degree, Reiter plans to stay at UIS to obtain his master’s degree in political science.

“Then I would like to either move out to California or Washington, D.C. to work for a congressman or something like that. I think that would be a really interesting thing," he said.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Five Join Legislative Internship Hall of Fame at UIS

The Samuel K. Gove Illinois Legislative Internship Hall of Fame at the University of Illinois Springfield will honor five individuals who have served as legislative interns at the state Capitol. U.S. Congresswoman Cheri Bustos, Scott Kaiser, Mona Martin, Scott Reimers, and David Sykuta will be inducted during a ceremony at the Governor’s Mansion on Thursday, November 21, 2013. Inductees are selected based on their contributions to Illinois and its citizens. The Hall of Fame is also recognition of the important role that public service internships play in developing public sector leadership.

Bustos, originally a journalist, used her pen to help her community. She uncovered numerous stories of corruption and greed in government, winning state and national awards for her work on behalf of the public interest. Twelve years ago, she left journalism to work for one of the nation’s largest non-profit health care systems. In 2007 Bustos was elected to serve on the City Council in East Moline for two terms and made her top priority economic development, which led to her founding the East Moline Downtown Revitalization Committee. In 2012, she was elected to represent Illinois’ 17th Congressional District. Bustos earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Maryland College Park and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Illinois Springfield. She also attended Illinois College in Jacksonville, where both her parents and son graduated.

Kaiser served as a legislative analyst on the senate republican staff from 1988-1996 working on welfare and healthcare issues and funding for human services agencies. During his eight years on staff, there were four years in the minority and four years in the majority under Senator Pate Philip. From 1997-1999 he served as deputy director of legislative affairs for Governor Jim Edgar, working primarily as the governor’s liaison to the Senate. In 1999, Kaiser and his wife Julie moved to Carbondale where he became assistant to the president of Southern Illinois University. His responsibilities included government affairs, and community and media relations. In July 2004, he was elected assistant secretary of the senate for the remainder of the 93rd General Assembly. He has been re-elected assistant secretary of the senate for the 94th, 95th, 96th, 97th and 98th General Assemblies. Kaiser is active in the American Society of Legislative Clerks and Secretaries (ASLCS), where he is currently serving as national vice president. He received his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Illinois Springfield.

Martin is an independent, contract lobbyist who owns her own consulting firm in Springfield. Prior to consulting, she worked at the Department of Commerce and Community Affairs/Economic Opportunity for 4 years where she served as the deputy director of policy development, planning, and research and was charged with developing the programmatic structure for the $12 billion Illinois FIRST program. Her career in government began as an intern in 1989 with the house republican staff. She later staffed the House Revenue Committee, and in 1993, became the director of research, in addition to later adding the responsibilities as the director of appropriations.

Reimers currently serves as chief of staff for the house republican leader in the Illinois General Assembly, a position he has held since 2011. He began his career in state government through the Illinois Staff Legislative Internship Program with the house republican staff in 1994 as a substantive and appropriations committee staff member working specifically with the human services and insurance committees and analyzing agency budgets. In 1999, Reimers was promoted to director of research and later deputy chief of staff for public policy prior to being named chief of staff. He also coordinated several political campaigns for house republican seats. In his current role, Reimers manages over 100 employees, including staff members for legislative research, communications, technology, policy, appropriations, legislative assistants, and support staff, and provides policy advisement for the house republican leadership team and caucus on state policies and legislation. He received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Northern Illinois University and a master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Illinois Springfield.

Sykuta started his career with the Senate Republican staff in 1973, specializing in industrial relations. He was hired as a full-time legislative consultant for the Illinois senate republican staff in July 1974. During his tenure on the Senate staff, he took several leaves of absence to organize and manage political campaigns. In April 1976, Sykuta joined the Illinois Petroleum Council as associate director and in 1986 he was appointed executive director of the Illinois Petroleum Council. In the fall of 1996, he co-founded the Partnership for Environmental Progress, a coalition of more than 80 businesses, labor unions, agricultural groups, trade associations, corporations and scientific groups whose common goals are a cleaner environment, economic growth and sound public policy. He also serves at the pleasure of Illinois’ governor on the Illinois Environmental and Regulatory Review Commission. Sykuta retired from the Illinois Petroleum Council last December and continues to work on special projects for the oil industry as a part time contractor. He received a bachelor’s degree in political science and history from Illinois State University in in 1972. He also attended graduate school in Public Administration at Illinois State and the University of Illinois Springfield.

The Hall of Fame is sponsored by Illinois Issues, the state’s leading public policy magazine, and the University of Illinois Alumni Association. The Hall of Fame is named for the late Samuel Gove, one of the magazine’s founders and a longtime director of the internship program. Established in 1990, the Hall of Fame, including this year’s inductees, now numbers 59 individuals, among them a former governor and several former and current state legislators. The names of the Hall’s members are inscribed on a plaque that hangs on the fourth floor of the Statehouse.

The event on November 21 will begin with a reception at 5:30 p.m. at the Governor’s Mansion at Fourth and Jackson Streets, followed by the induction ceremony at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $65 per person and may be purchased online at The deadline to register is November 18. Reservations are required. For more information on attending, call 217/206-6084.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Leadership lived: Student aims to boost school spirit


Natalie To has made it her mission to boost school spirit at the University of Illinois Springfield.

“When I came to UIS, there wasn’t a lot of school spirit,” she said. “As I progressed, I started to see that a lot of people didn’t care about coming to sporting events.”

In an effort to reverse the trend, the junior communication major started the Spirit Team to encourage more students to attend UIS Athletics events.

“In high school, I was an athlete and being involved was a key thing. I loved when I got signs of encouragement from people,” she said.

To is also a Necessary Steps Mentor, a member of the Student Union Planning Committee, the Nickname Change/Mascot Task Force, the Vietnamese Student Association, and the Greek Affairs Board.

“I want to do something that I can make an impact on this university when I leave and I think joining all of these organizations will benefit me, as well as future students,” she said.

On the Student Union Planning Committee, To has been one of several students offering their opinions about the design of the building.

“It’s very important with the student union that students are the key part in planning it,” said To. “You don’t want administrators planning a building that’s meant for students, so voicing my opinion on the committee is basically the key part I can play.”

The new UIS Student Union is scheduled to be complete by the Fall of 2016.

“I hope that when future UIS students come they appreciate all of the work that previous Prairie Stars have put into the union,” said To.

Following graduation, she plans to go to law school or obtain a job in the marketing field. She says UIS has taught her a lot about leadership and responsibility.

“UIS has taught me that I’m being watched at all times, so it’s more so that I’m a leader at all times,” said To.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Alumni Association honors two for achievement and service

The University of Illinois Alumni Association honored Richard Osborne and Charles Schweighauser during the University of Illinois Springfield Alumni Gala on Friday, November 1, 2013. Over 250 people attended the event at the Illinois Executive Mansion in Springfield.

The Alumni Achievement Award was presented to Richard Osborne, who earned a master’s degree from the UIS College of Business and management in 1973. He is currently senior managing director of Madison Capital Partners. The award is the highest honor bestowed upon graduates of the University. It is given to those who have attained distinction and success in one’s profession or life work.

Osborne is living proof of the steps he believes it takes to succeed: get an education, work hard and concentrate on results. He began his corporate career at The Pillsbury Company, and began working in the Springfield, Ill. operation in 1969. It was during this time which Osborne completed his master’s degree in business admiration at UIS (then Sangamon State University).

He joined Scotsman Industries in 1979, and rose through the ranks to assume the position of CEO, Chairman and President of Scotsman Industries, Inc. During the 10 years Osborne held the position, he was responsible for the direction and operating performance of the NYSE listed, international manufacturer. Company sales went from $150 million to $750 million, achieved through vision, strategic management and sound business practices. By 1999, when Osborne led the sale of the company, Scotsman Industries was operating 22 plants in 6 countries. Both Scotsman and Osborne have been cited and highly ranked in Crain’s Chicago Business and recognized as a Business Leader for the Chicago Region.

The Distinguished Service Award was presented to Charles Schweighauser, professor emeritus of English, Astronomy/Physics, and Environmental Studies at the University of Illinois Springfield. The award is presented to individuals who have demonstrated exceptional commitment and service to the University.

A founding faculty member of then Sangamon State University, Schweighauser’s remarkable career and wide ranging interests greatly influenced the development of the Astronomy/ Physics, Environmental Studies and English departments.

Professor Schweighauser’s life of service to the University has captivated thousands of children and adults alike. He’s inspired those who have sat in his classroom and his community lectures about astronomy and physics. He also helped establish the UIS and Barber Research Observatories and “star parties”, which have educated many community members and school-aged children.

His strong desire to share the universe led to his development of a telescope with a fixed eyepiece – a fixture which allows persons with disabilities to view the wonders of space - an accomplishment which is credited to be one of the first of its kind in the world.

Though he officially retired from the University in 2002 as professor emeritus of Astronomy and Physics, English, and Environment Studies, Professor Schweighauser has actively taught and mentored for several years following.

For more information on the awards, contact Chuck Schrage, vice president and association chancellor for alumni relations at 217/206-7395 or email

Monday, October 21, 2013

Leadership lived: Business student learns skills for the real world


Paige Heiser is busy! The senior University of Illinois Springfield business administration major not only juggles class, but involvement in multiple student organizations, while holding a job on campus.

“I like to be involved on campus because you make new connections and meet new people that maybe you wouldn’t have in your own classes, so it’s kind of a way for me to network and meet other people,” she said.

Heiser is a senator on the Student Government Association representing the College of Business and Management, serves as the acoustic performance coordinator for the Student Activities Committee, and helps with the Capital Scholars Honors Program.

However, she’s been most involved with the Alternative Spring Break group during her four years on the UIS campus. Each year, students volunteer their spring break time, traveling across the country, to help others.

“I went from being a member, to the vice president, to the president, and now this year I am the event coordinator,” said Heiser.

The group is planning a trip to Washington, D.C. in March 2014 to help the homeless. They’ve previously helped restore the Everglades in Florida, cleaned up the Mississippi River in Memphis, and helped hurricane victims in New Orleans.

“I’m in charge of planning the itinerary for the entire week and helping coordinate fundraisers for us to be able to help afford the trip,” she said.

Heiser also keeps busy as a student worker in the UIS Campus Relations Office where she’s been helping to program new digital signs on campus.

“I make the content and some of the signage that goes on there,” she said.

It’s experience that she’ll be able to use in the real world.

 “It’s been beneficial to me because it’s kind of what I want to do. I want to go into the marketing field, so I’m gaining that experience,” said Heiser.

Overall, she’s learned many lessons about leadership from the right-sized supportive community at UIS.

“UIS has taught me to be a leader in the first place and to put myself out there and try and make change for what I think is right,” said Heiser.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Leadership lived: Professor helps expand computer science curriculum

As an assistant professor of computer science at the University of Illinois Springfield, Lucas Vespa is always adjusting to the world’s changing technological and cyber security needs.

Vespa realized the need for a bachelor’s degree in Information Systems Security to train students to protect our country’s virtual infrastructure. He took charge writing the degree plan and taking it to the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

“I think that this new degree is going to be not only a popular one, but one that’s going to serve our state and our country,” said Vespa.

Vespa is an active teacher-scholar, having published eight papers in research journals. Much of his research is conducted with undergraduate students.

“I get really excited about working with students and being able to give them the opportunity to actually write and publish in real computer science conferences and journals,” he said.

His next project includes working with another student on high-end graphic processing units to find ways to make them perform better.

“I went into my higher degrees in order to become a teacher. That was my main goal and so being at a place that’s so teaching orientated, yet values scholarship like this is really important to me,” said Vespa.

The bachelor’s degree in Information Systems Security is expected to be offered at UIS starting in the fall of 2014.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Leadership lived: UIS student may be youngest elected official in Illinois

At the age of 22, Melissa Sanchez decided it was time for a change. Algonquin Township trustees decided to increase property taxes, while giving themselves a raise. She decided to run for office in an effort to keep that from happening.

After a competitive campaign, she was elected as a trustee in February 2013. In the process she became one of the youngest, if not the youngest, elected official in Illinois.

“People don’t really expect me, a college student still, to be an elected official,” said Sanchez. “I saw a problem and I wanted to fix it, so I just followed my heart.”

The senior political science major at the University of Illinois Springfield used what she was taught in the classroom as a motivating force to help her succeed.

“If you want something done, you should try and change it yourself,” she said.

At UIS, Sanchez is secretary of the College Republicans, and a member of the Pre-Law Society, Catholic Student Organization, and the Organization of Latin American Students.

“I love the opportunities that UIS gives me,” said Sanchez. “I’ve had some great experiences with internships and working on campus.”

Following graduation from UIS, Sanchez plans to enter law school and continue her political ambitions by possibly seeking higher offices.

“People have their eye on me and I hope that I don’t disappoint,” she said.

Sanchez has seen many students, such as herself, succeed and grow at UIS. Out of the many leadership lessons she’s learned, there’s one she believes is most important.

“No matter how small or insignificant you think you are, you make a difference,” she said.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Leadership lived: Graduate student's career enhanced by UIS classroom experience


Bill Lear has many titles. During the week he’s the curator of the Illinois State Military Museum in Springfield, at night he’s a graduate student studying public history at UIS, and one weekend a month he’s a citizen soldier in the Illinois National Guard.

The military museum tells the story of the Illinois Militia, National Guard, and Air Guard from 1723 to present day. Lear is responsible for registering and cataloging artifacts, loaning objects to other museums, creating displays, and writing grants.

“Going through the public history program (at UIS) has validated a lot of the things that I’m doing here,” said Lear. “They very much follow the museum standards and practices of today. Graduating from class I should be ready to go anywhere in the country.”

Lear chose UIS because of the history program’s reputation and the availability of online and on-campus classes, which make it easier for his schedule.

“The master’s program is tough, but it’s rewarding,” he said. “The instructors that I’ve had are very knowledgeable about what they’re teaching.”

He’s always had a love of history, which he’s been able to develop through the program and UIS and his job at the museum.

“For this job, I love to actually be able to handle the objects,” said Lear. “What I’m doing in my job as a curator is preserving this for not just my grandkids, but their grandkids.”

As a member of the Illinois National Guard who was deployed to Afghanistan in 2008 and 2009, he knows how important it is to preserve the history of those who have served our country.

“I want to make sure we get it right because we’re telling the story of really anyone who’s served and that’s a really important story to tell,” said Lear.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

UIS Professor Karl McDermott to keynote Public Utility Research Center Conference

Karl McDermott, the Ameren Distinguished Professor of Government and Business at the University of Illinois Springfield, has been invited to deliver the keynote address at the 41st Annual Public Utility Research Center (PURC) Conference at the University of Florida on February 19, 2014.

This year’s conference theme is “Politics & Policy: What is Next for Utilities?” McDermott will be speaking about the role of utilities in the country’s energy future along with Professor Emeritus Roger Noll of Stanford University.

McDermott will also be honored with PURC’s Distinguished Service Award. Each year PURC recognize an individual who has contributed to the understanding of regulatory economics and finance, recognizing the cumulative impact of the individual’s work on both the academic community and regulatory policymakers.

Since 1974, the PURC Conference has served as a neutral forum for dialogue about issues facing utility service providers, policymakers and regulatory agencies. Nearly 150 key leaders are expected to attend.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Leadership lived: Police officer connects with students

Ross Owens enjoys making a difference. As a police officer on the University of Illinois Springfield campus, he knows connecting with students is a big part of his job.

“We’re not just cops,” said Owens. “I was a student before I was a cop and it’s one of those things where if you can relate to them on some level… it really brings you down on a more normal level than when someone sees you as a position of authority.”

Owens earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from UIS and often talks to students about their classes and experiences on campus.

“Whenever we do foot patrols it’s very common for us to stop and talk to people,” said Owens. “We interact regularly with residence assistants out here, other students just in passing making small talk. We’re always happy to answer any questions they may have.”

It’s that personal engagement that makes students feel more comfortable when it comes to reporting a crime or suspicious activity on campus.

“It’s just part of who I am and this job kind of encompasses all of that,” said Owens. “We’re out here with a family atmosphere where everyone knows each other.”

Owens typically works a 12-hour overnight shift, but that doesn’t stop him from volunteering on campus. He’s joined student teams during Springfest, helping them compete in events, such as a campus-wide scavenger hunt.

For Owen’s being a police officer at UIS is more than just a job.

“It really supports my inner motive to help people, especially when you know people you’re working around,” he said.

UIS Computer Science instructor Janis Rose honored with national award for efforts

Janis Rose, a Computer Science instructor at the University of Illinois Springfield, has been selected by the InfraGard National Members Alliance (INMA) as this year’s recipient of The Ties that Bind Award.

The award was presented by FBI Supervisory Special Agent Larry Karl and Assistant Special Agent in Charge Emmerson Buie during a nationwide video teleconference on September 4, 2013. It is one of only three major awards presented annually by the INMA and recognizes those that have spearheaded or substantially contributed to ongoing sharing and collaboration among InfraGard members and partners.

InfraGard is an information sharing and analysis effort between the FBI, academic institutions, businesses, and other partners. Rose founded the Springfield InfraGard Members Alliance (IMA) over ten years ago and is one of the longest serving presidents in the history of the program.

“Janis’ efforts have been integral to the success of the Springfield IMA. She is responsible for personally recruiting a large portion of our members, creating the excellent communication network we have in place today,” said her nominator.

Rose has played a major role in organizing the annual Cyber Defense and Disaster Recovery Conference on the UIS campus. The one-day conference teaches those in the public and private sectors about growing cyber threats facing critical infrastructure sectors.

“Janis takes great care to hand-select our speakers each year, so that each key critical infrastructure sector can expect to walk away at the end of the day having learned vital information specifically pertaining to their sector,” said the nominator.

In 2012, Rose was honored by FBI Director Robert Mueller with an “Award for Exceptional Service in the Public Interest”. The award recognized her 10 years of service to InfraGard and the FBI.

For more information, contact Ted Mims, chair of the UIS Computer Science Department at 217/206-7326 or

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Janice Marvel wins the 2013 CARE Award

Janice Marvel, facilities manager and director of classroom scheduling in Facilities Scheduling & Services, was honored with the 2013 Chancellor’s Award to Recognize Excellence in Civil Service during a September 18, 2013 luncheon.

Chancellor Susan J. Koch announced the winner of the award and thanked all civil service staff members for their dedication to UIS.

“I hope I inspire others at UIS by my belief that we should all become involved with the University through service, and feedback, to help make it a better place for us to work and ultimately for the students to develop,” said Marvel.

Marvel has worked tirelessly for the betterment of the campus and her fellow employees. She was one of the founding employees for the UIS Staff Scholarship and has continued to fundraise for it every year since its development. She has severed on the Civil Service Advisory Council for over 10 years and has held many important and time consuming positions.

“Janice is known for her positive helpful attitude on campus. She is in a position that deals with so many departments and individuals on campus and even during the busiest of times strive to assist anyone with their requests,” said the selection committee.

Marvel has worked at UIS for almost 24 years. She is currently vice president of the Civil Service Advisory Council, secretary of the University of Illinois Employee Advisory Council, and the UIS representative on the SURS Members Advisory Committee.

The award was handed out as part of the 7th annual Civil Service Appreciation Day, which honors the approximately 320 civil service employees at UIS for all of their hard work and dedication. This year’s celebration included a variety of door prize drawings.

Other Civil Service employees nominated for the award include: 
  • Chad Athey, Stationary Engineer, Building Maintenance
  • Alice Bettis, Administrative Aide, Sangamon Auditorium
  • Rhonda Bussell, Admissions and Records Officer, UIS Peoria Center
  • Gwen Cribbett, Admissions and Records Officer, Admissions
  • Talonna Elam, Human Resources Representative, Human Resources
  • Jerrad Frank, Electrician, Facilities and Services
  • Debra Hartz, Staff Clerk, Cox Children’s Center
  • Laurie Koehne, Building Service Sub Foreman, Building Services
  • Toni Langdon, Business Manager, Illinois Issues
  • Pam McGowan, Staff Clerk, Graduate Public Service Internship Program
  • Lesly Schoo, Office Manager, Undergraduate Academic Advising
  • Beverly Weddle, Office Administrator, College of Liberal Arts and Science
The winner of the CARE award receives $500, plus a $500 donation made to the campus organization of his or her choice.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Fernando Planas named UIS Admissions Director

Fernando Planas has been named the new director of admissions at the University of Illinois Springfield. He began on September 2, 2013.

Planas comes to UIS from the City Colleges of Chicago, where he served as the Associate Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management. Before working with City Colleges of Chicago, Fernando served in several positions within enrollment management at the University of Illinois at Chicago, beginning in 1993 as an Admissions Counselor.

“Fernando’s extensive experience in recruitment, particularly with diverse populations, is a tremendous asset, as UIS moves forward in increasing our student enrollments,” said Tim Barnett, UIS vice chancellor for Student Affairs.

For more information, contact Derek Schnapp, director of public relations at 217/206-6716 or

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Leadership lived: Clinical Laboratory Science major takes on national leadership role

After attending the University of Illinois Springfield for only a year, senior Clinical Laboratory Science major Courtney Lower has already gained three leadership positions.

During a July 2013 trip to the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS) conference, Lower successfully ran for the position of Student Forum Secretary against other students from around the country.

“From the people I’ve talked to, there haven’t been many people from Illinois who have been this involved, so I feel honored,” said Lower.

The Terre Haute, Indiana native already holds a bachelor’s degree in biology, but decided to return to school in order to take on a greater career challenge.

“I like to be given a problem and try to figure it out,” said Lower.

For Lower, clinical laboratory science is more than just looking under a microscope and examining specimens. She knows she’s helping real people by helping doctor’s diagnose illnesses.

“It makes me feel good because, I know that I might not be the doctor, but I’m behind the scenes and I do play an important role in people’s lives,” said Lower.

Lower chose UIS because of the personal attention from faculty and the UIS Clinical Laboratory Science program’s 100 percent job placement rate.

“The faculty and staff here at UIS, they allow a lot of one-on-one attention,” said Lower. “Right now we only have 10 people in our class, so the one-on-one attention is very helpful, especially when you have questions and basically it’s just like they’re talking to you.”

In addition to her national leadership role, Lower is also chair of the ASCLS-Illinois Student Forum and student representative for ASCLS Region VI.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

UIS professor publishes book exploring the myth of Salome

Rosina Neginsky, associate professor of Liberal & Integrative Studies at the University of Illinois Springfield, has published a new book exploring the history of the myth of Salome.

Salome: The Image of a Woman Who Never Was explores how the myth was created, the roles that art, literature, theology and music played in that creation, and how Salome's image as evil varied from one period to another according to the prevailing cultural myths surrounding women.

After setting forth the Biblical and historical origins of the Salome story, the book examines the major cultural, literary and artistic works which developed and propagated it, including those by Filippo Lippi, Rogier van der Weyden, Titian, Moreau, Beardsley, Mallarme, Wilde and Richard Strauss.

Although the root of the Hebrew name "Salome" is "peaceful," the image spawned by the most famous woman to carry that name has been anything but peaceful. She and her story have long been linked to the beheading of John the Baptist, as described in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark, since Salome was the supposed catalyst for the prophet's execution.

“In a remarkable display of interdisciplinary erudition, Rosina Neginsky explores the Salome myth across the centuries, in different artistic media. This is a fine book, rich in sensitive analyses and new interpretations of a wide variety of works of visual art, literature, and music,” said Peter Cooke, a senior lecturer in French Studies at the University of Manchester, UK.

The book will be of great interest to scholars and students of cultural history, literature and art history. It is available in hardcover on and from Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Leadership lived: Gardener hopes beautiful campus makes students feel at home

Terry Minder, assistant grounds gardener at the University of Illinois Springfield, has made it his mission to keep the campus beautiful. He’s part of an 11 person crew that maintains 370 acres of campus grounds.

“The students will fill more comfortable, I believe, walking campus when it looks nice,” said Minder. “We have people all of the time say it’s beautiful.”

On a daily basis, Minder takes care of the annual plants and tends to flower beds on campus. He also waters indoor plants and helps with snow removal in the winter.

“Especially in the snow, we have to get those walks clean so (students) can get to and from the parking lots,” said Minder.

Minder enjoys interacting with students and jokes he often gets in trouble for talking too much, however he always gets the job done.

“My job to serve students – That would be to make them feel at home and then when you run across one of them to say good morning, good afternoon, whatever and also appreciate that they are here because I wouldn’t be here if they weren’t here.”

Minder has a passion for working outdoors and says he’s “never had an indoor job.”

“I grew up on a farm and I’ve been around plants all of my life,” he said. “I worked 20 years at a landscape company and got a job opening chance out here and got hired on.”

Even after 12 years on the job, Minder still looks forward to coming to work every day.

“This is the best job I’ve ever had and I’ll retire here. It’s a great place to work,” he said.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

UIS Professor Scott Day honored with the Illinois Principals Association's highest honor

The Illinois Principals Association (IPA) has honored Scott Day, associate professor and chair of the Department of Educational Leadership at the University of Illinois Springfield, with the Abe Lincoln Region Herman Graves Award.

Considered the highest honor bestowed by the Illinois Principals Association, the Herman Graves Award was established in 1991 to recognize outstanding service to the IPA. The award was presented during an awards banquet on August 14, 2013 in Decatur, Ill.

A Danville, Ill. native, Day earned his doctorate in education (Ed.D.) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2000. Before coming to UIS, Day spent the thirteen years as a middle and high school assistant principal in Pennsylvania and junior high principal in Illinois.

His research publications includes work on blended learning, using design-based research to improve online courses and programmatic change, technology uses of at-risk students, and school district reorganization issues.

Day was one of two founding faculty to develop and teach one of the first courses in the online master’s in Teacher Leadership degree program at UIS. The program was awarded the Sloan-C Outstanding Program of the Year in 2010. Also in 2010, Day was awarded the Pearson Faculty Award for Outstanding Teaching at UIS.

UIS names Vickie Cook director of the Center for Online Learning, Research and Service

Vickie Cook has been selected to be the new director of the Center for Online Learning, Research and Service at the University of Illinois Springfield. She will begin effective September 16, 2013, pending U of I Board of Trustees approval.

Cook received her Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from Capella University, and is currently the Associate Vice President for Innovation and Technology at Greenville College in Greenville, Illinois, where she has successfully launched seven online programs. Her prior positions include serving as Dean of the School of Education and Director of Online Learning at Greenville. Cook was a faculty member at UIS from 2006 to 2009, before leaving for a deanship at Greenville College. Prior to 2006, she served as Dean of Continuing Education and University Alliance at Kaskaskia Community College.

She succeeds the founding director of the UIS Center for Online Learning, Research, and Service, Associate Vice Chancellor for Online Learning Ray Schroeder.

"We are delighted that Vickie Cook accepted our invitation; she is an outstanding leader in the field of technology-enhanced learning," said Schroeder. "Vickie has the abilities and expertise that make her an ideal person to lead the Center for Online Learning, Research and Service. I know that the Center will continue to lead in innovation and quality in online learning under her leadership."

The Center for Online Learning, Research and Service is the recipient of many national awards for excellence in online learning. The center has launched two Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and is engaged in research on the pedagogy and quality outcomes of MOOCs, predictive analytics reporting, and community college degree completion online.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

David Racine named executive director of the UIS Center for State Policy and Leadership

David Racine has been named the executive director of the Center for State Policy and Leadership (CSPL) at the University of Illinois Springfield. He has served as interim executive director since June 2010.

Racine came to UIS in the Fall of 2007 through a successful national search for a new director of the Institute for Legal, Legislative, and Policy Studies at UIS, a unit within the Center for State Policy & Leadership. He has held a number of administrative leadership, consulting, and project management positions, accumulating more than 35 years of experience working with public policy, public affairs research, and program development in a variety of public and private sector organizations.

“David’s expertise and experience make him an ideal person to lead the Center for State Policy & Leadership, and I am delighted that he has accepted the position,” said Lynn Pardie, UIS Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. “I know that the Center will continue to advance under his leadership.”

Prior to joining UIS, he led a foundation-funded national organization, Replication and Program Strategies, devoted to the scale-up of effective health, education, and social programs. He was the founding staff member of the Points of Light Foundation and served for a time as its executive vice president and chief operating officer. He also served for eight years as Director of Government Affairs and Social Policy for the American Public Welfare Association, the national organization representing state and local human service agencies. Racine was a senior policy advisor to New Jersey Governor Tom Kean during his second term and legislative director for U.S. Senator Jack Danforth at the start of his third term.

Racine holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Ph.D. from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Center for Public Administration and Policy.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

UIS announces Resident Assistants for the 2013-14 academic year

The University of Illinois Springfield announces those students serving as Resident Assistants (RAs) for the upcoming academic year. RAs are responsible student leaders who create supportive living/learning communities, serve as peer advisors and knowledgeable campus resources, and assist students in transitioning and adapting to college life. RAs start two weeks of training, prior to UIS students returning for classes which begin on August 26.

The following students will serve as Resident Assistants during the 2013-14 academic year: JC Brown, Carson Buss, Hannah Cave, Danielle Cherry, Mike Chmielewski, Ryan Chipman, Corey Cooperider, Robyn Crutchfield, Matt Dobill, Amber Fluker, Tori Higgason, Haley Houser, Josh Howland, Shomari Jackson, Leigh Mosher, Rachel Neudhal, Jelsie Pacifico-Patterson, Jasmine Palomar, Rebecca Romero, Michael Rosenberger, Steven Stransky, Juan Trevino, Sean Vaughan, Dominique Wilson, and Katie Woodford.

For more information, contact John Ringle, UIS director of Residence Life at 217/206-7261 or

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Leadership lived: Student brings her culture to UIS

When senior criminal justice major Jasmine Torres-Gonzalez came to the University of Illinois Springfield as a freshman she knew something was missing. There was no Latin dance team.

During her first semester in college, she founded Ritmo Latino, which helped her share her culture with the UIS campus. The dance team has since grown and changed its name to Global Rhythm, incorporating other types of dance.

“I wanted to bring the Latin culture to UIS, because I wanted people to experience my culture. I wanted them to see the way I was raised with this Latin enriched culture,” said Torres-Gonzalez.

At UIS, she’s learned to become a leader now serving as Vice President of Global Rhythm, Vice President of the Organization of Latin American Students (OLAS), Vice President of the Greek Affairs Board, and a mentor for the Necessary Steps program, which helps first-generation college students.

“UIS has taught me a lot about leadership, it has taught me to not be afraid to start your own organization. It has taught me to network and the importance of networking,” she said.

Through OLAS, she’s helped to coordinate many events on campus, such as a Cinco de Mayo celebration and traveled to national conferences. She also helped to bring Greek Life to UIS for the first time during the fall semester of 2013.

Following graduation, Torres-Gonzalez plans to attend graduate school or pursue a career in law enforcement. Ultimately, she wants to become a detective.

Monday, July 01, 2013

UIS professor's book wins national award for excellence

University of Illinois Springfield Accountancy Professor Donald Morris’ book Tax Cheating: Illegal--But Is It Immoral? was recently honored with the silver award by ForeWord Reviews in the political science nonfiction category for 2012.

ForeWord Reviews 15th annual Book of the Year Awards finalists were selected from 1,300 entries covering 62 categories of books from independent and academic presses. These books represent some of the best books produced by small publishing houses in 2012.

Morris’ book examines the ethical issues surrounding tax cheating and implications for public policy. From unreported gambling winnings and inflated claims of the value of clothing donated to charity to money hidden in Swiss bank accounts and high-profile tax schemes plotted by celebrities and business leaders, the range of tax cheating opportunities is wide and the boundaries and moral status can be hazy.

Considering the behavior of individuals and small businesses as well as the involvement of congress and the IRS, Morris combines insights from law, psychology, sociology, criminology, accounting, economics, and philosophy to examine the ethical issues surrounding tax cheating and implications for tax policy.

A panel of sixty judges, librarians and booksellers only, determined the winners. Gold, Silver, and Bronze awards, as well as Editor’s Choice Prizes for Fiction and Nonfiction, were awarded during the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference in Chicago on Friday, June 28, 2013.

Morris’ book was published in June 2012 by the State University of New York Press. It is available in hardcover, paperback, and can be downloaded as an eBook. For more information, visit or contact Morris at

Professor part of national institute exploring African-American Poetry

Dr. Kamau Kemayo, associate professor of African-American Studies and associate director of the Whitney M. Young Graduate Fellowship Program, has been invited to participate in a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute for College and University Teachers.

The title of the institute is “Don’t Deny My Voice: Reading and Teaching African-American Poetry.” It will be at the University of Kansas for three weeks starting July 14.

Kemayo is one of 25 faculty from across the country accepted into the institute through a competitive process.

The NEH awards stipends to participating faculty to cover travel, books, research expenses, and living expenses. The program is designed primarily for teachers of American undergraduate students.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Leadership lived: International student develops research passion at UIS

University of Illinois Springfield chemistry major Ritesh Uppuluri wants to make a difference in the world. He’s focused on sustainable energy and healthcare research.

“I could benefit society in a big way, like finding a cure for cancer or finding good ways to harness renewable energy,” said Uppuluri.

The international student from Bangalore, India chose to come to UIS because of the hands on research opportunities available at the right-sized university.

“I felt it was a good place to start as an undergraduate because at big universities often we don’t get hands on research experience and we don’t get strong interaction with the faculty members,” said Uppuluri.

At UIS, he’s been able to work closely with chemistry faculty members on several projects, including research into the environmental aspects of nanotechnology.

“We are trying to remove nitrates in the environment,” he said. “Nitrates are pollutants in the agricultural soil, due to the runoff into lakes and rivers. When we consume the water it’s harmful.”

Uppuluri points to events, such as the Student Arts and Research Symposium, as helping him to grow as a student and develop leadership skills. The annual symposium gives students the opportunity to show off their work and receive feedback from their peers.

“I think that’s good exposure to express yourself and talk about your research interest and your specialty,” he said.

As he nears graduation from UIS, Uppuluri is applying for admission to some of the top 10 graduate science and engineering programs in the country. He credits the experience he’s gained at UIS for the opportunity.

“I think UIS is a great place for developing leadership, especially in science. I think it gave me good opportunities,” he said.

Uppuluri will spend the summer continuing his research at the University of Minnesota.

Monday, June 03, 2013

Leadership lived: Student serves as governor of statewide organization

Zachary Sullivan’s University of Illinois Springfield education has taught him that good leaders don’t always have fancy titles.

“I don’t mind playing the support roles, because I feel like it strengthens the organization and you can be an effective leader without having the front title of the organization,” said Sullivan.

In March, he was elected governor of the statewide Model Illinois Government (MIG) organization. It’s the first major leadership role he has held. MIG puts on a government simulation for over 300 college students each year at the state capitol.

“It’s a great title to bring back to UIS,” said Sullivan. “Eight of the last twelve governors have been UIS students, so it’s a great honor for me to bring this back to the University of Illinois Springfield.”

As a non-traditional student, Sullivan transferred to UIS after graduating from Blackhawk College in Moline. He chose UIS because of its location in the state capital and the hands-on experience it provides to students studying state government.

“I think going to UIS was by far the best decision I could have ever made,” said Sullivan. “I came to Springfield to study political science. That’s why I choose UIS.”

Sullivan has also helped lobby for university funding during the annual University of Illinois Day at the Capitol and is an active member of the College Republicans, the Global Issues Club, and Model United Nations student organizations.

He’s grateful for the abundance of opportunities offered to him as UIS and encourages others to take advantage.

“Basically (if) you come to UIS you will find your potential and will learn how to maximize your potential, while learning to be affective as well,” said Sullivan.

Sullivan graduated from UIS in May 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and plans to continue his education as a graduate student at UIS.

Friday, May 31, 2013

UIS professor to study the massive star Eta Carinae using the Hubble Space Telescope

University of Illinois Springfield Associate Professor of Astronomy-Physics John Martin is part of a group of scientists that will be studying the massive star Eta Carinae using the Hubble Space Telescope.

Martin will utilize a specialized technique he developed to measure the changing brightness of the star. The collaboration, headed by Dr. Andrea Mehner of the European Southern Observatory also includes astronomers in Japan and Minnesota. The researchers plan to study ongoing changes in the brightness and spectrum of Eta Carinae using ultraviolet wavelengths of light that cannot penetrate the Earth’s atmosphere.

“We can only do this type of research by utilizing the Hubble Space Telescope,” said Martin. “This is a rare opportunity to observe a star on the verge of going supernova before it explodes.”

Eta Carinae is one of the most massive stars in our galaxy with a mass more than 100 times the Sun. Its history of violent outbursts and eruptions includes one in the mid-nineteenth century when Eta Carinae briefly became the second brightest star visible in the night sky. During that Great Eruption it ejected an expanding shell of material that is visible today through a small telescope. Astronomers think that these outburst (called “supernova impostors”) are part of the life-cycle of the most massive stars before they explode as supernova.

“The atoms of iron in your blood and the calcium in your bones were made inside the core of massive stars like Eta Carinae,” said Martin. “Astronomers want to understand how supernova impostor activity helps disperse the atoms manufactured deep inside these stars.”

Eta Carinae, at a distance of about 7,000 light years from Earth, is too far south to be seen in the night sky in Illinois, but in the last ten years it has brightened enough to become visible to the naked eye in parts of the Southern Hemisphere.

“We have theorized that Eta Carinae is at a critical stage and may undergo dramatic changes over the next few decades,” said Martin.

Time on the Hubble Space Telescope is allocated through a competitive peer-review process with only about 20% of proposals successfully earning time. Martin and his colleagues were awarded eleven “orbits” (roughly the equivalent of 8 hours) over the next two years.

“It might not seem like much but it’s a great affirmation of your work to be chosen by your peers,” said Martin. “We expect to get a lot of productive science out of the time we have been awarded.”

For more information, contact Martin at 217/206-8342 or

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Leadership lived: Student-athlete spends time off the field volunteering

As an outfielder on the University of Illinois Springfield baseball team, Adam Unes knows being a NCAA student-athlete means more than just taking the field and playing ball.

Unes and his teammates spent over 300 hours during the spring semester volunteering at St. John’s Breadline. The downtown Springfield facility serves daily meals to the homeless population. He personally volunteered over 50 hours.

“It’s a very humbling experience,” said Unes. “I think before this you tend to not really understand what these people are going through and what they might need, so when I come here it gives me an opportunity to kind of connect with them on a higher level.”

Unes is a junior Business Administration and Management Information Systems major at UIS. He’s a member of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee and the Intercollegiate Athletic Committee.

During the fall semester, he helped the baseball team build a Habitat for Humanity home on 5th Street in Springfield.

“It was a split level home, so we actually helped out two families,” said Unes.

As a student-athlete, he knows it’s important to stay involved in the community and give back to those who support him.

“When we give back to the community, they in return, come out and support us through athletics, but it’s also important from a moral standpoint to come out and help those who are less fortunate because its something they need. We need to learn that we can’t take things for granted,” said Unes.

As a team, UIS baseball spent over 1,000 hours volunteering in the Springfield community during the 2012-13 academic year.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

UIS professors publish book on teaching gender and sexuality in the university classroom

University of Illinois Springfield faculty members Michael Murphy and Elizabeth Ribarsky have published a new book entitled Activities for Teaching Gender and Sexuality in the University Classroom. The book, published by Rowman and Littlefield Education, is available in paperback and electronic formats.

“This is the first interdisciplinary collection of activities devoted entirely to teaching about gender and sexuality,” said Murphy, a UIS assistant professor of women and gender studies. “It offers both new and seasoned instructors a range of exciting exercises that can be immediately adapted for their own classes, at various levels, and across a range of disciplines.”

Activities are self-contained, classroom-tested, and edited for ease of use and potential to remain current. The book is designed to serve as a desk-reference for gender studies and sexual communication educators.

“Each activity is thoroughly described with a comprehensive rationale that allows even those unfamiliar with the material/concepts to quickly understand and access the material, learning objectives, required time and materials, directions for facilitation, debriefing questions, cautionary advice, and other applications,” said Ribarsky, a UIS assistant professor of communication.

For the reader’s benefit, each activity is briefly summarized in the table of contents and organized according to themes common to most social science classrooms: Work, Media, Sexuality, Body, etc. Many activities also include handouts that can be photocopied and used immediately in the classroom.

The book is available for purchase on and the publisher’s website. For more information, contact Murphy at or Ribarsky at

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

UIS Peoria Center MBA student awarded FMC Technologies Inc. Fellowship

Sripada Kuber, a graduate student in the MBA program at the University of Illinois Springfield, has been awarded a $12,000 fellowship from FMC Technologies Inc. for the 2013-14 academic year.

Kuber, a Dunlap, Ill. resident, takes classes at the UIS Peoria Center. The UIS Peoria MBA format is designed to meet the needs of students who are employed full-time, but wish to complete degree requirements in a timely manner. Courses are offered so that it is possible for students to complete degree requirements in less than two years.

The fellowship program honors outstanding graduate students in business administration, economics, engineering, finance or related fields. Final selections are made by representatives from FMC Technologies, the University of Illinois, and the U of I Foundation.

Applicants are required to submit a background essay describing their achievements as a graduate student, as well as three letters of reference, and official transcripts. Faculty members nominate students for consideration.

The FMC Educational Fund (formerly the Link-Belt Educational Fund) was established in 1963 by U of I alumnus Bert A. Gayman, who generously donated 10,000 shares of stock to the University of Illinois Foundation.

For more information, contact Cecilia Cornell, faculty associate in the Provost’s Office, at 217/206-7230 or

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Leadership lived: UIS program helps student fulfill his dream


Blake Johnson, who recently graduated from the University of Illinois Springfield with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology/Anthropology, has always wanted to become a teacher.

Thanks to UIS’ Project Midstate Student Support for Teaching he’ll get that opportunity. The program helps students pay for college; with the promise they’ll become local educators following graduation.

“I really, really want to be a teacher because at a very troubling time in my life there were some really awesome teachers that stepped up and really uplifted me and helped me to be here and the leader I am today. I hope to be that person for someone else in the future,” said Johnson.

Outside of the classroom, Johnson was the Student Government Association representative for the College of Education and Human Services and mentored kids in Springfield Public Schools through the AVID Tutoring Program.

Johnson spent the spring semester student teaching and observing at Jefferson Middle School in Springfield. He even planned a visit to UIS, so students in his class could learn more about college.

“It’s deepened my passion for it because I can see where I can be effective. I see where my leadership skills I’ve gained from UIS can be useful,” said Johnson.

UIS gave Johnson the opportunity to travel throughout Europe and learn about other cultures through the Study Abroad program.

“Having those experiences abroad with other cultures, other leaders from other places in the world was really, really intriguing and eye opening just to know there’s a whole world out there,” he said.

As a Springfield native, Johnson always knew about UIS, but didn’t know about the abundance of opportunities until he visited.

“When I first stepped on campus, I felt like home,” said Johnson.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Peter Boltuc named the Louise Hartman Schewe and Karl Schewe Professor in Liberal Arts and Sciences

James Ermatinger, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois Springfield announced today the appointment of Peter Boltuc as the Louise Hartman Schewe and Karl Schewe Professor in Liberal Arts and Sciences.

“We are proud of Peter Boltuc’s international reputation and his interdisciplinary approach to teaching and scholarship. His work in moral and political philosophy and machine consciousness across fields make him an ideal Schewe Liberal Arts and Sciences Professor,” said Ermatinger.

Boltuc, a professor of philosophy, serves on the editorial boards of several scholarly journals, and is editor of the American Philosophical Association Newsletter on Philosophy and Computers, which under his editorship has become a full-fledged academic journal. Boltuc has maintained an extremely productive research program, with well over 100 peer reviewed articles and presentations.

At UIS, Boltuc served as chair of the Community Outreach Partnership Center, administering a substantial U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grant. He served as chair of the philosophy department from 2003 to 2006, and used that position to establish the nation's first online B.A. degree in philosophy. He has maintained active collaborations with Europe, especially with the Warsaw School of Economics. He currently serves on the UIS Campus Senate, and is the vice chair of the University of Illinois Senates' Conference.

Boltuc has a long history of service both inside and outside academia. He chaired an advisory committee for culture to Lech Walesa in his first presidential campaign in 1990.

He has two Ph.D. degrees in philosophy, one from the University of Warsaw and one from Bowling Green State University. Before coming to UIS, he held visiting fellowships at Oxford University and Princeton University, and taught at St. Olaf College.

Karl Schewe was a member of the Chicago Board of Trade and A.G. Edwards and Sons, Springfield. Louise was a teacher and active civic leader whose interests included the Springfield Art Association and the Illinois Symphony Guild. Upon her death in 2006, Louise Schewe left a generous bequest to the University of Illinois Foundation to support initially a Professorship, and eventually a Chair in the Liberal Arts and Sciences.

For more information, contact Derek Schnapp, UIS public relations director, at 217/206-6716 or

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Four UIS student-athletes receive Avery Brundage Scholarships

Four students from the University of Illinois Springfield have been awarded Avery Brundage Scholarships for excellence in academics and athletics. Each winner will receive a $2,500 award for the 2013-2014 academic year.

The recipients are Mallory Beck of Springfield, Ill., a biology major and Prairie Stars basketball and softball player; Chelsea Minor of Petersburg, Ill., a criminal justice major and softball player; Paige Polonus of Plainfield, Ill., a biology major and soccer player; and Mandy Smith of Fillmore, Ill., a business administration major and softball player.

The Avery Brundage Scholarship Fund Committee, composed of nine representatives from the faculties and student bodies of the Chicago, Springfield and Urbana-Champaign campuses, selects students from each U of I campus who engage in athletics for personal development, not as preparation for professional sports. In addition, the students must be working toward bachelors, masters or doctoral degrees at the U of I and must be in the upper 25 percent of their undergraduate class or in good academic standing in their graduate program.

The scholarship program was established in 1974 by an endowment from Avery Brundage, University of Illinois alumnus and former president of the International and U.S. Olympic committees.

For more information, contact Tim Gilles, scholarship coordinator for University-wide Student Programs at 217/333-1171.