Thursday, February 27, 2014

UIS Human Resources students bring home first place finish

On February 22, the University of Illinois Springfield Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Student Chapter competed at the Illinois State HR Games held at Northern Illinois University.

This was the third year participating, but the first time as an official student SHRM chapter. This year UIS took six students to compete: Ashley Tague, Kim Tokarski, Hunter Westbrook, Geoff Piehl, Aerie Nguyen, and Ryan Steffen.

The students competed in a Jeopardy style game in which both UIS teams made it to the semi-final round, and the two groups united into one team to compete in a case competition in which the group won first place against the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Illinois State University, and Northern Illinois University.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

UIS student journalists honored by the Illinois College Press Association during conference

The University of Illinois Springfield student newspaper, The Journal, brought home 13 awards at the 31st annual Illinois College Press Association conference on Feb. 21 and 22, 2014.

More than 30 Illinois colleges and universities competed in the annual competition. The Journal placed in categories across the board for writing, photography, cartoons, advertisements and design.

The Journal competes in the “open” division with all participating schools and the “non-dailies” division with school enrollment more than 4,000. Content was submitted from regular news editions and from the once-a-semester magazine, Beyond.

Illustrator Alex Johnson of Crystal Lake placed first in Editorial Cartoon for his piece titled “Waste,” which examined recycling issues on campus. Johnson’s bi-weekly comic strip, CAMPUIS, also placed first, in the Other Cartoon, Strip or Panel category.

General Reporter Megan O’Dell of Decatur placed first in Feature Story for her piece titled “Transitioning to self-acceptance,” which detailed the journey of two transgendered women.

Former News Reporter Marty Hobe of Hickory Hills placed first in Headline Writing for his play on words with “Christmas comes early for Easter: U of I president receives bonus for meeting goals.”

Former Photographer Kim Hobby of Springfield placed first for Feature Photo for her depiction of the Springfield Special Olympics’ Polar Plunge. Hobby’s photo also received an honorable mention in the General News Photo category.

News Editor and Photographer Brittany Henderson of Tinley Park placed second in Sports Photo for her piece titled “Prairie Stars hold off Knights.” Henderson also placed third in Feature Photo for her “demonstration of movement” in a photo of soccer player Chukwuka “Chuks” Iwe.

Former News Editor Daymon Kiliman of Springfield placed third in News Story for his coverage of Radical Student Union protests at Campus Senate.

Former News Editor Nafia Khan of Oak Park placed third in Feature Story for her piece titled “Wrap more than just a gift for your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day,” which looked at the rise of sexually transmitted infections in Sangamon County.

Former Business Manager Kate Richardson of Taylorville placed third in Advertisement Less Than Full Page for her piece promoting LGBT Gospel Artist Justin Ryan.

Former Layout and Design Editor Colten Bradford of Vermont received an honorable mention in Front Page Layout for consecutive editions Sept. 25, Oct. 2 and Oct. 9, 2013.

The Journal Editorial Board received an honorable mention in Editorial for its editorial titled “SGA creates new senator, vote yes.” The piece urged students to “vote yes” for an international student senator seat on the SGA.

For more information, contact Ashley Henry, The Journal Editor-in-Chief, at 217/206-6397 or

Friday, February 21, 2014

Leadership lived: Hands on experience prepares student for law school


Michelle Tuma loves to apply what she’s learning in the classroom. At the University of Illinois Springfield, she’s been given that opportunity.

The junior political science and legal studies major from Elgin chose UIS because of its location in the state capital and personal learning environment.

Now she’s an intern with the Illinois Innocence Project where she’s working to help overturn the convictions of people she believes were wrongly convicted.

Recently, she’s been reviewing testimony on the Pamela Jacobazzi case. Jacobazzi was convicted on the murder of an infant in her care in 1995. The conviction was based on a diagnosis of shaken baby syndrome, which scientists now question.

“I actually ended up going on a prison visit and getting to meet her,” said Tuma. “It really invests you in the case. It makes it real.”

In addition to working with the Innocence Project, Tuma is the head delegate of the UIS Model Illinois Government Organization. Each year the group spends a weekend at the state capitol debating policy with students from around the state.

She was nominated for the position as a sophomore, which meant she often found herself leading graduate students with more experience.

“It really taught me how to be a leader and gain people’s respect even if they’re older than me,” she said.

Tuma is also vice president of the UIS College Democrats and an intramural sports supervisor at TRAC.

“The best part about UIS is you can get involved in so many things because it is a small place that you can meet more people and learn more about these organizations and then get involved,” said Tuma.

As she prepares to apply to law school, she feels confident in the education she’s received at UIS.

“I feel I’ll be very prepared leaving UIS. I’m looking forward to law school,” she said.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Leadership lived: Studying abroad gives student a global voice

Dexter Burns had never left the United States before coming to the University of Illinois Springfield. However, that changed when the senior Global Studies major discovered the Study Abroad Program.

Burns traveled to Peru for a summer and most recently spent a semester at the University of Colima in Mexico thanks to a partnership between the two universities.

“This is something I really wanted to be able to do, to travel to a new country as a citizen of the world, instead of an American,” said Burns.

The part of Mexico he visited has acquired a reputation of being unsafe for foreign visitors, however Burns always felt safe.

“There were a lot of rumors about the insecurity of Mexico and a lot of worries about safety, but when I got there it was the total opposite,” he said.

During his visit, he actively worked to fight the stereotype and was even interviewed by a local newspaper and television station.

“(The reporter) came over and said ‘why don’t you come and tell the whole world because Mexico has such of a bad reputation’. That’s what the newspaper (article) is about. Not listening to the rumors, actually going to experience it yourself,” said Burns.

For Burns, leadership means taking a stand. He wanted to experience the Mexican culture for himself and didn’t let rumors prevent him from traveling.

“You’re able to just become a new person when you go there. There’s nothing like being submerged in the culture,” he said.

Burns encourages other UIS students to take advantage of the opportunity to study abroad.

“I definitely would encourage other people to study abroad. It’s one thing to read about a foreign country, it’s another thing to actually be there,” he said.

Burns is an international student organization ambassador and is living in the International House on campus this year.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Outstanding Master's Thesis Award presented to Environmental Studies graduate Chris Young

Environmental Studies graduate student Chris Young of Springfield was presented with the University of Illinois Springfield’s Outstanding Master’s Thesis Award for the 2012-13 academic year during a reception on February 3, 2014 in the Public Affairs Center.

Young’s thesis was entitled “Response of the Franklin’s Ground Squirrel to Recreational Trail Development in Springfield, Illinois.” Young is the outdoors news editor for The State Journal-Register newspaper. He was advised by Associate Professor Tih-Fen Ting.

Graduate biology major Nathan Grider of Donnellson was presented with the Special Merit Award for his thesis entitled “Growth, Condition, and Diet of Alligator Gar (Atractosteus Spatula) Released in Merwin Preserve.” He was advised by Professor Michael Lemke.

The following students received their departments’ Outstanding Thesis or Project Award for 2012-13 and were nominated for the UIS Outstanding Master’s Thesis/Project competition: Adam Bell of Naperville, Educational Leadership; Juanita Blanco of Champaign, Political Science; Kristen Chenoweth of Jacksonville, English; Ryan Nelson of Rockford, History; Blake Wood of Springfield, Communication.

For more information, contact Derek Schnapp at 217/206-6716 or

UIS faculty members part of Fifth House Ensemble performance

Several University of Illinois Springfield faculty members will be part of Fifth House Ensemble’s February 15, 2014 appearance at Sangamon Auditorium, UIS.

Known for their innovative chamber music programs, Fifth House Ensemble has created a new performance event that considers the question, “What inspires you?” This multimedia event, unique to Sangamon Auditorium, incorporates presentations from UIS faculty in fields ranging from astronomy to fine arts. UIS faculty members collaborating on this project include Michael Burlingame, Ethan Lewis, John Martin, Tiffani Saunders, Yona Stamatis, and Missy Thibodeaux-Thompson.

The scholars will share their own stories of inspiration and thoughts on how inspiration manifests itself in their individual fields. Intermixed with the presentations will be musical works by Astor Piazzolla, Philip Glass, and others, brought to life by piano, flute, oboe, and four strings. Fifth House Ensemble will also perform the Midwest premier of a national award winning composition by Charles Zoll. Join us as we reflect on the nature of inspiration and what drives people to become creative and passionate in their pursuits.

Tickets are now on sale and can be purchased from the Sangamon Auditorium Box Office at 217/206-6160 or online at Ticket prices are $21 for students and $39 for the public.

Monday, February 03, 2014

UIS Student Chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management inducts 13 members

The University of Illinois Springfield Student Chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) inducted 13 members during a chartering ceremony on Saturday, February 1, 2014 on campus.

Heidi Bruce of Virden; Kari Elliott of Macomb; Prerna Khullar of Bhadohi, India; Nhung (Aerie) Nguyen of Vietnam; Joan Ogwumike of Chicago; Geoff Piehl of Prospect Heights; Kerry Portillo-Lopez of Aurora; Joseph Schweickert of Peoria; Ryan Steffen of Springfield; Ashley Tague of Mt. Zion; Kim Tokarski of Hobart, Ind.; Hunter Westbrook of Mehlville, Mo.; and Samantha Willits of Clinton were inducted into the chapter.

Ashley Tague was named president of the chapter, Kim Tokarski vice president, Hunter Westbrook secretary, and Geoff Piehl treasurer.

The chapter is advised by UIS faculty member Donna Rogers, SPHR, instructor of management, and co-advised by Desiree Becker, Employment Specialist at HD Smith.

The UIS SHRM Student Chapter is the newest nationally recognized professional student organization on campus. SHRM provides opportunities for students to network on the local level through student chapters. SHRM student chapters have regular meetings with programs designed to help members learn more about human resources (HR) and successful organizations. Meetings feature local leaders and HR professionals who provide insights about human resource issues in business, nonprofit and government.

For more information on the UIS SHRM Student Chapter, contact Donna Rogers at 217/206-8264 or