Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Leadership lived: International student becomes a leader on and off of the course at UIS

When international student Maria Espinosa came to the University of Illinois Springfield from Colombia to play on the UIS women’s golf team, she knew she would grow as an athlete. However, she didn’t know she’d become a leader on campus.

Espinosa, a biology major, is a science peer tutor at The Learning Hub where she mentors fellow students. This past summer, she went on a study abroad trip to Ghana, West Africa where she helped to conduct important public health research.

“We did three projects within the communities,” she said. “The first project was water quality research, which I was highly involved with, since I’m a biology major.”

She encourages any student who gets the opportunity to take advantage of studying abroad.

“It definitely teaches you a lot about yourself, about other people and it pushes all of the boundaries or expectations that you have,” she said.

On the golf course, Espinosa has been a leader on her team, participating in super regionals since her freshman year. This year her goal is to help take her team to nationals.

“I’ve been playing golf since I was 7-years-old and it has been part of my life since as far as I can remember,” she said. “It’s a sport that gave me the discipline that I need in my everyday life.”

As an international student, coming to UIS from a foreign country, Espinosa says she has always felt welcome in Springfield.

“I could describe my experience at UIS as feeling like home,” she said. “Even though this is not my home country, completely different language and culture, I always felt welcomed by the community, by the university, all of the faculty and staff.”

Following graduation from UIS, she plans to earn her master’s degree in biomedical sciences with a specialization in clinical microbiology and immunology.

“I think coming to UIS was one of the best decisions I’ve made for my career and my personal growth,” she said.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Leadership lived: International student finds her career path thanks to a unique UIS internship program

When international student Madhuri Podipireddy started searching for a college in the United States she discovered the University of Illinois Springfield’s Graduate Public Service Internship Program (GPSI), a governmental internship program that allows students to work for a state agency while earning their master’s degree.

“My main thing was the GPSI Program, which really attracted me to UIS,” she said. “It’s a very unique program. You don’t find this everywhere in the United States.”

Podipireddy is now a leader in the GPSI program, serving as secretary of the student organization. The graduate Management Information Systems major just started her second semester interning for the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services as a business analyst in the Department of Innovation and Technology.

“This internship has actually helped me to understand what I’m good at and what field I need to choose after my education,” she said.

On campus, Podipireddy is president of the Indian Student Organization and YesPlus Yoga, a program that teaches students stress management techniques and other skills. She is also the treasurer for International Student Friendships, an organization that helps international students adjust to the culture in the United States.

“Being an international student is not really a difficult task at UIS because you always have something happening on campus that will remind you of home and you will not feel alone, never, on this campus and you will always feel at home on this campus,” she said.

Podipireddy, who is from Visakhapatnam, India, says she would like to continue her career as a business analyst following graduation from UIS.

She says she’ll never forget what she’s learned at UIS.

“Leadership lived is the concept of UIS and I think because of so many organizations, I’ve been given so many opportunities to bring out the leader in me.”

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Leadership lived: Sophomore with a passion for volunteering helps new students feel welcome

Ben Paoletti, a sophomore political science and philosophy major, says he chose the University of Illinois Springfield because of its affordability, location in the state capital and its commitment to civic engagement.

His passion for volunteering led him to become a member of the Leadership for Life Service Program. Members complete 40 hours of service each semester and live in a service wing in Lincoln Residence Hall, where he serves as a resident assistant.

Paoletti, who is from Batavia, Illinois, recently helped new students move into Lincoln Residence Hall by carrying boxes and guiding them through the check in process.

“It’s a lot of responsibility to be a resident assistant,” he said. “Obviously there’s a learning curve because you have to account for at least 40 residents in your wing, but it’s very beneficial because you get to see the joy and happiness you can put in people’s faces.”

Paoletti is also a student project coordinator for the UIS Volunteer & Civic Engagement Center, vice president of the Alternative Spring Break student organization and is a former undergraduate senator on the Student Government Association.

“My experience at UIS has really sparked my passion for volunteerism and civic engagement,” he said.

In March, Paoletti traveled to Houston, Texas with a group of 21 UIS students as part of Alternative Spring Break. Students gutted homes that were damaged by Hurricane Harvey and cleaned up debris caused by the storm.

“Alternative Spring Break’s philosophy is to use our spring break as a way of helping people instead of vacation,” he said. “I would rather volunteer over spring break because it’s more fulfilling for me. Being able to see that I can help people is worth it.”

Following graduation from UIS, Paoletti wants to earn his master’s degree in political science and hopefully work for the city of Springfield. He’d like to possibly run for political office one day and maybe even become a mayor.

“I’m glad I came to UIS because I can be a leader on campus and I’ve created friendships and relationships that will last me a lifetime,” he said.

Monday, September 10, 2018

UIS Professor to present research on “Preventing the Next State Budget Crisis” at a Federal Reserve Conference

University of Illinois Springfield Professor Beverly Bunch, Ph.D., will serve on a panel during a one-day conference by the Volcker Alliance and Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

The conference, “Preventing the Next State Budget Crisis: Improving Budget Transparency to Bolster Fiscal Sustainability,” will discuss strategies for avoiding a state budget crisis, including long-term forecasting, stress-testing, and management of fiscal reserves and physical assets.

The conference is expected to draw attendance from government officials, academia, business leaders, public policy analysts and the media.

Bunch will participate on a panel that will address, “Deferred Infrastructure Maintenance: How to Measure It, How to Finance It.” She will share information obtained from her participation in a national study of the fifty states’ budget processes sponsored by The Volcker Alliance.

Bunch is a full professor in the UIS Department of Public Administration and in the Center for State Policy and Leadership. She is currently leading a team of researchers as part of a national state budget project administered by the Volcker Alliance.

“Preventing the Next State Budget Crisis: Improving Budget Transparency to Bolster Fiscal Sustainability” takes place all day on September 17, 2018, at the Chicago Federal Reserve.

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Feng-Shun “Leo” Bin named the PNC Distinguished Professor at UIS

Business Administration Professor Feng-Shun “Leo” Bin has been named the PNC Distinguished Professor in Banking & Finance at the University of Illinois Springfield. The endowed professorship will provide Bin significant financial support to conduct research and other scholarly activities.

“Dr. Bin brings both skill and enthusiasm to his teaching in financial management and analysis at UIS, and his research is robust, some of it first in his field,” said James Ermatinger, interim dean of the UIS College of Business and Management. “We are pleased to have him represent the academic excellence available in the College of Business and Management at UIS.”

As part of the professorship, Bin plans to further outreach activities to build close connections with local bankers and financial practitioners; gather more information helpful for the development of the UIS finance curriculum, student enrollment and employment; and obtain additional data helpful for influential research in banking and finance.

“Investment requires a return, and support demands professionalism,” said Bin. “In response to this honor, therefore, I will work hard to repay my supporting colleagues and my banking and finance community.”

Bin came from China to the United States in 1992 with a bachelor’s degree in economics from Zhongshan University. In 2000, having earned a master’s degree in economics at the University of Mississippi, he completed a Ph.D. from the same university in finance with two minors, in accounting theories and quantitative methods. He joined the UIS Business Administration Department in 2001 and teaches classes on corporate financial management, investment analysis, financial institution management, and capital budgeting. He became a full professor in 2016.

Bin’s published scholarship focuses on financial analysis and international investment, especially related to risks. Some of his research is first in its field, such as investment group decision efficiency and risk-return effectiveness as simulated in the StockTrak portfolio management program and the risk-return association for U.S. gaming industry stocks.

Thanks in large part to Bin, who earned his professional Chartered Risk Analyst (CRA) certificate in 2015, the UIS College of Business and Management now has an undergraduate concentration in finance and a graduate certificate in applied finance. While at UIS, Bin has also been actively involved in serving the business community locally by building ties to China. In November 2002, he invited executive officials from China’s Agricultural Bank to Springfield. He has also arranged for Chinese bankers to meet with UIS College of Business and Management faculty and the local banking community regarding U.S. banking practices and Chinese banking reforms.

PNC Bank and the PNC Foundation have long histories of strengthening and enriching the lives of communities in which they live and work. They provide resources to seed ideas, foster development initiatives and encourage leadership. The Foundation makes it a priority to partner with local nonprofit organizations to enhance educational opportunities and promote economic growth. Their continued support of a Distinguished Professor in Banking and Finance at UIS exemplifies this commitment.

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Leadership lived: Student finds passion for social media storytelling at UIS

Haley Simpson never imagined her love of social media could turn into a future career. However, the University of Illinois Springfield junior communication and environmental studies major is using her storytelling ability to help spread important messages.

“Social media is such a growing field,” she said. “A few years ago it wouldn’t have even been possible to have a job in social media and now that is possible and I think it’s always changing, so you’re always able to learn new things and connect with people in different ways and I think that’s really cool.”

Simpson works at the UIS Student Union doing social media and marketing in order to promote events happening in the building. She is also a member of the UIS Green Fee Committee and treasurer for the Community Garden Club.

Following graduation from UIS, she would like to combine her passions for storytelling and the environment by working for a green or sustainable company.

“Promoting sustainability for them on their social media would be ideal,” she said. “I’d maybe also like to look into working for the National Park Service.”

Simpson, who is from Olney, Illinois, is also involved on campus as an orientation leader, treasurer of the UIS College Democrats and the performance coordinator for the Student Activities Committee (SAC).

“I chose to come to UIS because of the smaller campus size,” she said. “There’s definitely a sense of community and family here. It’s really easy to get involved and make a difference with things that you’re passionate about.”

Simpson says she’s challenged herself to try new things and UIS.

“I’ve definitely tried to push myself out of my comfort zone and try things that I maybe wouldn’t have tried before, which has been a really awesome growing experience,” she said. “I definitely feel like grown both as a person and as a student and definitely as a leader.”

She encourages other students to consider attending the University of Illinois Springfield, adding that she’s made many friends and feels at home on campus.

“I’m absently glad I came to UIS,” she said. “I think my college experience would not have been the same if I went to a different university.”