Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Leadership lived: Anthony Boyd hopes to inspire younger students to succeed

Anthony Boyd serves as a role model for many first-generation college students at the University of Illinois Springfield. The Chicago native and business administration major is the first person in his family to attend college.

Now, as a junior, he mentors two underclassman as part of the Necessary Steps Program, a program designed to assist students transitioning from high school to college.

“The purpose is to make sure they go on the right path that you went on your freshman or sophomore year. It’s like giving back,” he said. “They know that if they have a problem they can text me and I’ll do my best to figure it out. I’ll do my best to help them.”

At UIS, Boyd is president of the Upsilon Xi Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. where he helps organize community service, educational and social events on campus. He is also a member of the Black Male Initiative and works as a front desk clerk for UIS Records & Registration.

As vice president of the Black Male Collegiate Society, he runs meetings and coordinates special events. The group meets weekly to bond and show their support for one another.

“Black males need a place to get together and talk to each other,” he said. “Maybe talk about our culture or what’s going on in our lives. That’s basically what we do at the Black Male Collegiate Society every Sunday.”

Boyd says he’s learned many lessons about leadership at UIS.

“Some people are born leaders, some people grow into leaders and you can be both,” he said. “Here at UIS there’s a lot of opportunities for leadership.”

Following graduation from UIS, Boyd plans to work in the business field or become a Chicago firefighter.

“I am glad that I chose UIS,” he said. “I think if I went to a bigger school that I would just be a number and here at UIS, there’s a lot of support through the Diversity Center. That’s why I like UIS.”

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Melissa Mlynski named Senior Director of Human Resources at UIS

Melissa Mlynski of Chatham has been named Senior Director of Human Resources at the University of Illinois Springfield. She has served as executive director of the Illinois Labor Relations Board since 2012, with a total of 16 years of experience in public service.

At the Illinois Labor Relations Board, she issued hundreds of written rulings in labor dispute cases and represented the agency before the Illinois General Assembly in appropriation hearings.

Mlynski has been teaching at UIS since 2010 as an adjunct professor in the Public Administration program. She teaches graduate courses focusing on collective bargaining and labor arbitration.

Prior to becoming executive director at the Illinois Labor Relations Board, she served as Labor Relations Counsel for the Illinois Department of Central Management Services.

Mlynski is a lawyer who earned her Juris Doctor from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of Law in 1998. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Mlynski’s employment begins on December 16. She replaces Laura Alexander who left the university earlier this year.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Leadership lived: Student hopes to help others by dancing

Tyshianna Bankhead has big plans for her future, which are fueled by the leadership opportunities she’s received at the University of Illinois Springfield.

Bankhead, a senior sociology/anthropology major, is a student ambassador for UIS Admissions, co-president of the African Student Association, secretary of Girl Talk, a member of The Research Society at UIS and a Model United Nations delegate.

However, Bankhead is most passionate about dancing. She is president of the Epic Praise for Christ Dance Team and co-president of the Afrobeat Dance Crew.

“I enjoy dancing because it’s one good thing that I love to do,” she said. “I love to just put my all into something and dancing I’m good at it. I’m skilled and God has given me the ability to do so.”

Bankhead recently performed with both dance teams at the UIS International Festival, a cultural festival attended by hundreds of people. The teams have been preparing for months.

“We meet every week, once a week, and then we practice our dances in our rooms, we practice them together. It’s dedication,” she said.

Following graduation, Bankhead plans to continue dancing and hopes to open her own community center and praise dance studio in her hometown of Rock Island, Illinois. She says it wouldn’t be possible without the opportunities she’s had a UIS.

“We follow Leadership lived for life. We have time to go out and experience being a leader on campus and then we graduate and are leaders in our community,” said Bankhead.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

UIS professor publishes new theory of revolt in book about philosophy and global uprisings

Richard Gilman-Opalsky, associate professor and chair of the Political Science Department at the University of Illinois Springfield, has published his fourth book.

“Specters of Revolt: On the Intellect of Insurrection and Philosophy from Below” argues that the world is haunted by revolt, by the possibility of events that interrupt and disrupt the world, that throw its reality and justice into question.

Gilman-Opalsky develops a theory of revolt that accounts for its diverse critical content about autonomy, everyday life, anxiety, experience, knowledge, and possibility.

The book examines a timeline from 1848, when Karl Marx declared that a communist specter was haunting Europe to the 2008 Greek revolts and present day uprisings in Ferguson and Baltimore.

In light of recent global uprisings, Gilman-Opalsky, aims to move beyond the critical theory of revolt to an understanding of revolt as theory itself.

The book was published by Repeater Books and is available for purchase from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other websites.

Three UIS Computer Science students finish strong in national cyber security competition

Three University of Illinois Springfield Computer Science majors have finished in the top 20 percent of 3,070 competitors in the first of three National Cyber League (NCL) annual competitions.

Austin Bransky of Marengo, Illinois; Paula Kawal of Black Diamond, Washington and Dennis McDonald of Payson, Illinois are competing against other students from across the country.

During the competition, students defend systems from real-time network attacks, learning how to find the attacks in system logs, traffic captures and much more. The students use NCL-sanctioned gymnasiums, virtual learning environments located throughout the U.S. that are comprised of systems-integrated software and hardware, to practice and develop their skills.

“Our students have one more individual game to go before they engage in a final, team-based competition at the end of the season,” said Janis Rose, a UIS Computer Science instructor. “They’re off to a great start!”

The games are performance based to measure a player’s strengths and weakness among learning objectives. The competition utilizes certified ethical hacker objectives, such as open source intelligence, traffic and log analysis and wireless security.

The National Cyber League was founded in May 2011 to provide an ongoing virtual training ground for collegiate students to develop, practice, and validate their cybersecurity skills.

For more information, contact Janis Rose at 217/206-8246 or

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Kendra Baber honored with the Student Laureate Award from the Lincoln Academy of Illinois

University of Illinois Springfield senior Kendra Baber was honored with the Student Laureate Award from the Lincoln Academy of Illinois on November 12, 2016, at the Old State Capitol in Springfield.

Baber, a Normal, Illinois native, holds a 3.99 GPA and is majoring in history with a minor in secondary education. She is a member of the Capital Scholars Honors Program and has made the dean’s list every semester she has attended UIS.

At UIS, she is president of the History Club and mentors fellow students through the Capital Scholars Honors Program. She volunteers with Dance Marathon, an organization that raises money for the Children’s Miracle Network, and works at the Cox Children’s Center on campus.

Baber previously served as Alternative Spring Break vice president and has participated in three trips during her time at UIS. Most recently, she traveled to New York City where she worked to fight hunger and homelessness by volunteering at soup kitchens and related service agencies.

“Through my experiences with Alternative Spring Break, my life perspectives have grown drastically,” said Baber. “These trips have allowed me to break down stereotypes that I did not even know I had. Ultimately, my world view was drastically impacted and I quickly learned the importance of helping others.”

During her first two years at UIS, Baber served as the Hunger and Homelessness Committee Chair for the Leadership for Life service organization. She coordinated the Oxfam Hunger Banquet on campus and planned a dinner with Kumler Outreach Ministries that fed over 90 in-need or homeless members of the Springfield community.

The qualities she has learned at UIS have inspired her to volunteer off campus. During the summers of 2014 and 2015, she worked at the Mom and Me Camp, a camp for children with mothers in prison. Children are allowed to spend time with their mothers and participate in a variety of fun activities.

“Without my involvement with organizations at UIS, I would never pushed myself to participate in such a life-changing experience,” said Baber.

Following graduation from UIS, Baber plans to achieve her lifelong goal of becoming a middle or high school history teacher.

“I have always wanted to be a teacher, but my studies at UIS have allowed me to feel prepared to make my dreams become a reality. Due to my education at UIS as well as my natural passion of teaching, I feel as though I can become a trustworthy, positive role model for my students,” said Baber.

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.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Tisha Palmer wins the 2016 CARE Award

Tisha Palmer, administrative aide to the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, has been awarded the 2016 Chancellor’s Award to Recognize Excellence in Civil Service (CARE). The award is the highest honor annually awarded to a Civil Service staff member at the University of Illinois Springfield.

Chancellor Susan J. Koch announced the winner of the award during a breakfast on November 3, 2016. She also thanked all civil service staff members for their dedication to UIS.

Palmer has worked at UIS for 26 years, starting in the Sangamon State University Foundation Office, then transferring to the Office of Business and Financial Services (OBFS) in 1997. She has worked for the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs since 2006.

As her nominator put it, Palmer is “the face of student affairs”, known for her positive attitude and deeply caring about the students she assists.

“Tisha is the most positive person I know,” said her nominator. She deals with so many people, students, community members and visitors. She is always up-beat and happy and loves her job at UIS in student affairs.”

Palmer regularly volunteers at student events, such as homecoming and Springfest, and participates in volunteer service events.

“Students are the reason we are all here,” said Palmer. “They are what makes me excel and I take pride in what I do for them.”

She is passionate about her job, answering challenging phone calls and emails, and treating everyone she speaks with “like it is her family.”

“I believe care, patience, honesty and loyalty are what it takes to be a great employee,” said Palmer. “Every day we put those qualities toward our students and that’s what is important.”

The CARE award was handed out as part of the 10th annual Civil Service Appreciation Day, which honors the over 300 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:
Brian Beckerman, Superintendent, Grounds
CJ Castelletti, Grounds Worker
Ann Cole, Administrative Clerk, COLRS
Scott Fay, Building Service Sub Foreman
Bobbi Fults-Babbs, Business/Administrative Associate, Computer Science
Elizabeth Huffines, Administrative Aide, VC Academic Affairs
Sandra McGinnis, Business/Administrative Associate, WUIS
Pamela McGowan, Staff Clerk, GPSI
Denise Rothenbach, Business Administrative Associate, Residence Life
Pamela Scott, Library Specialist
Teresa Seacrist, Campus Parking Manager
Anna Sheehan, Building Service Worker
Patricia Stoutamyer, Office Support Specialist, Mathematical Sciences
Allison Thornley, Business/Administrative Associate, Athletics
Melissa Ulbrich, Sr. Library Specialist
Michelle Vinson, Housing Administrator
Donna Young, Administrative Aide, Campus Relations/Legal Counsel
Patti Young, Office Support Specialist, Biology

The winner of the CARE award receives $500, plus a $500 donation made to the campus organization of his or her choice.

Leadership lived: Student leader lands job before graduation

As president of the Student Government Association (SGA), Austin Mehmet often serves as a voice for all University of Illinois Springfield students. It’s a position that’s taught him a lot about leadership and responsibility.

“I think it’s taught me a lot about how to work with others, about teamwork, and how to delegate authority to particular people,” he said.

Mehmet, a senior computer science and legal studies major from Springfield, is set to graduate in May and already has a software development job lined up with State Farm Insurance in Dallas, Texas.

In addition to his SGA role, Mehmet is a team captain on the mock trial team and a member of the Model Illinois Government Moot Court.

“College is what you make of it and as you become more and more engaged on campus, you gain more and more value from your college degree,” he said.

Out of all of his leadership roles, Mehmet is most passionate about being a voice for students. He worked his way up to the SGA presidency, starting as a senator and then treasurer.

“I like student government because I like to see the change that I want to see,” he said. “I have goals that I see this university going in five or ten years and I want to offer my input on these particular issues and I want to ensure that students are well represented.”

Mehmet says he will leave UIS feeling well prepared and ready to start his future career.

“UIS has helped prepare me to lead in a role outside of the university,” he said. “If you were to sum up everything I’ve done at the university, it’s prepared me for a job or an internship within leadership outside of UIS.”