Monday, December 17, 2018

Leadership lived: “Quiet leader” helps advocate for the Greek Life community at UIS

Senior psychology major Connie Sifuentes is a leader in the Greek Life community at the University of Illinois Springfield. She currently serves as the president of the Greek Affairs Board where she advocates for Greek Life on campus.

“As Greek Affairs Board president, I basically make sure and ensure that all of the organizations here are getting along, as well as implementing events that we can do to unify us together as a community,” she said.

Sifuentes is a member of the Gamma Phi Omega International Sorority, Inc. Chi Chapter. She says being a part of the Greek organization has helped inspire her to reach her full potential as a student.

“In terms of my grades, I really put in those study hours, communicating with my sisters and everything if something is going on,” she said.

Outside of Greek Life, Sifuentes is marketing chair for the Psychology Club, volunteers as a Necessary Steps Program mentor and works for UIS Brookens Library as a communications and media assistant.

Sifuentes, who grew up in Peoria, Illinois, says she’s often described as a “quiet leader” who likes to see other people succeed. She’s thankful for the many opportunities she’s had to be a leader at UIS.

“I’m really glad I came to UIS,” she said. “If it wasn’t for making that first initial choice, I wouldn’t have been in the organizations that have really helped me grow as a person and helped me step out of my shell.”

Following graduation from UIS, Sifuentes plans to attend graduate school and hopes to eventually become a therapist or maybe even a psychologist.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Leadership lived: Future doctor finds a passion for science at UIS

Hailey Hollinshead’s passion for science and medical research has grown at the University of Illinois Springfield. The biochemistry major plans to attend medical school following graduation and become a dermatologist.

“I’m really happy that I came to UIS,” she said. “It was probably one of the better decisions I’ve made with my academic career and my professional career. I think that it’s really prepared me.”

On campus, Hollinshead co-founded the Legion of Ladies, a student organization focused on women’s empowerment. She is also a resident assistant in Lincoln Residence Hall and previously served on the UIS cheerleading and track and field teams.

In November 2018, Hollinshead was honored with the Student Laureate Award from the Lincoln Academy of Illinois during a ceremony at the Old State Capitol in Springfield.

“It’s an award that is given to a student who are really involved in extra-curricular activities and who excel academically,” she said.

As an undergraduate student, Hollinshead is currently conducting research with Associate Professor of Chemistry Layne Morsch and works off campus as a research assistant at the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield.

Hollinshead grew up in Springfield and attended Rochester High School. She has an older sister who graduated from UIS and a younger sister who is currently attending the university.

“It’s almost a family legacy now that we’ve all been here,” she said.

Hollinshead says she’ll remember the lessons she’s learned about leadership at UIS.

“I feel like UIS has prepared me and grown me as an individual and helped me get ready for the next step of my life,” she said.

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Leadership lived: Future teacher gains valuable experience working at the UIS Cox Children’s Center

Rhilee Cochran is gaining valuable experience working at the Cox Children’s Center at the University of Illinois Springfield. The elementary education and psychology major plans to use the lessons she’s learning when she becomes an elementary school teacher.

“As a student-employee, I go around to all of the rooms and just help the teachers out wherever they need extra assistance,” she said. “Whether that’s just sitting with the kids at nap time or helping them out with lessons. It can be all kinds of different things.”

Cochran was recently honored with the Student Affairs Division’s first Student Employee of the Month award in recognition for her outstanding work at the children’s center.

“I want to work with kids just because I really like learning and I really enjoy children,” she said. “It’s just fun to see them grow, especially here at Cox Children’s Center because you can see them all of the way from the infant room up to the preschool room.”

In addition to working at the Cox Children’s Center, Cochran is also currently completing her pre-clinical observation hours at a Springfield elementary school as part of her degree.

“You learn a lot from the time in the classroom, more than I think when you’re just sitting in class listening to a lecture,” she said.

As a commuter student from Mt. Auburn, Illinois, Cochran says she chose UIS because of the right-sized supportive community and quality education.

“I just really like UIS not only because it’s close to home, but because I like the close-knit community that is UIS,” she said. “I really like how it’s a small school. I can’t walk across campus without seeing somebody that I know and will say ‘hi’ to me.”

Cochran says she’s learned many lessons about how to define leadership at UIS.

“UIS has taught me that leadership can come in many forms,” she said. “It can be helping kids make octopuses out of play doe or it can be leading a campus-wide project. There’s lots of different ways to be a leader, so it’s not just one set thing saying you’re a leader.”