Thursday, January 24, 2019

Leadership lived: Senior helps boost school spirit as an intern for UIS Athletics

Nick Reynolds is helping to boost school spirit as a marketing and engagement intern for the University of Illinois Springfield Athletics Department. In that role, he promotes athletic events on social media and serves as a host for promotions during games.

“I’ve always been a big like get everyone to the game and pump them up type of guy,” he said. “In high school, I was the Blue Crew leader for our fan section and so that’s what I’m kind of trying to do here.”

Reynolds, a management major from Jerseyville, Illinois, says he’s also learning important business lessons from his UIS Athletics internship. For example, he helped to set up a $600 half-court basketball shot contest promotion.

On campus, Reynolds also co-founded the first Jewish student organization and has completed several internships in various campus departments.

“You can only learn so much in the classroom and UIS is Leadership lived because you can just go out and do it,” he said. “It’s really helped me become a leader and helped with business expertise and skills.”

Following graduation from UIS, Reynolds plans to become an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps. He’s headed straight to boot camp following graduation in May.

“I now know that after the military, I will probably want to go into something like Sports Management,” he said. “I think being an athletic director or something like that would be really cool.”

Reynolds, who is graduating from UIS with his bachelor’s degree in only three years, says he’s glad he came to Springfield.

“It’s a smaller school, so I’ve just been able to fly through my degree in three years because of the small class sizes and because of great professors who know your name,” he said.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

UIS Mock Trial team wins awards at University of Nebraska Invitational

The University of Illinois Springfield Mock Trial team received the Spirit of AMTA (American Mock Trial Association) Award at the first-ever Scarlet and Cream Invitational hosted by the University of Nebraska.

According to the American Mock Trial Association, since 2000 it has awarded the team that best exemplifies its ideals of civility, justice and fair play with the Spirit of AMTA Award. The Spirit of AMTA is awarded to only one team at each tournament and is voted and scored by competing teams.

Andrew Jarmer
In addition, senior Andrew Jarmer of Springfield, was recognized with an Outstanding Attorney award for his competition performance.

The UIS Mock Trial team placed among the top eight teams in the competition.

Members participating include Andrew Jarmer, Adeola Babington and Jade Sisti of Springfield, Chance Austin of Rochester, Jenny Viramontes of Carpentersville, Alexis Campbell of Chicago, Joseph Partain of Iuka and Trenton Newbury of Anna.

Mock Trial is an academic competition that provides students with the opportunity to hone valuable skills, including critical thinking, active listening, public speaking and teamwork through trial simulations. Competitors are also judged on their knowledge of legal practices and procedures.

The American Mock Trial Association serves as the governing body for intercollegiate mock trial competition across the United States. AMTA provides a forum for more than 5,300 undergraduate students each academic year.

For more information on the UIS Mock Trial team, visit their website. Questions may be directed to coach Rex Gradeless at

Four UIS Teacher Education majors write peer reviewed article for Wikipedia

Four University of Illinois Springfield Teacher Education majors recently had their research article published on the website Wikipedia, a free online encyclopedia. The students wrote an article on “Mainstreaming” in education as part of an optional final project in Assistant Professor of Teacher Education Jennifer Martin’s TEP 315 class.

Students Ashley Brown and Kelly Mast of Jacksonville, Lauren Reichert of Winchester and Cassidy Yates of Springfield wrote the article, which was peer reviewed by Wikipedia.

“The Wikipedia Student Program is a formalized exercise,” said Martin. “Students must complete a series of training modules, and any writing they do goes through a serious vetting process.”

According to their Wikipedia article, “Mainstreaming” in education is “the practice of placing students with special education services in a general education classroom during specific time periods based on their skills.”

“This assignment allowed me to focus on an area of the education field that I feel passionate about, as well as challenged me to go above and beyond to create something that others would learn from,” said Brown.

“I really enjoyed this project because it gave my research for our course an actual purpose - it motivated me to work at a higher level, because I knew that it would be accessed by anyone wanting to find out more information on the topic,” said Reichert.

Yates added, “It was great to be a part of the process that occurs between the publication of academic journals and the creation of Wikipedia articles.”

Martin became aware of the Wikipedia Student Program two years ago when she attended a conference featuring representatives from the website.

“I learned that writers for Wikipedia tend to reflect dominant/hegemonic narratives. In other words, there are fewer articles on women and people of color, issues of equity, etc,” she said. “At the training, I learned that Wikipedia was looking for more diverse authors of content, and for new authors to rewrite some articles that were told only from a dominant perspective.”

Martin decided to offer the optional final project as a way to promote education equality on the website.

“I am glad that Dr. Martin gave us this option and very grateful that she motivated us and assisted us in the process,” said Mast. “It is rewarding to know that the hard work put forth by my group will be seen by many.”

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Leadership lived: Springfield native becomes a leader on the court in his hometown

As a star basketball player at Springfield’s Lanphier High School, Aundrae Williams knew he wanted to continue his career in his hometown following graduation.

Williams says when University of Illinois Springfield Head Men’s Basketball Coach Bill Walker approached him with an offer to play for the Prairie Stars he knew it was the right fit.

“I kind of already had it in the back of my head knowing I was going to come here,” he said “Just to have the opportunity to play for my hometown, have family members be able to come here and see me play when they can, it was just really and opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”

As a sophomore, Williams has become an important part of the Prairie Stars leadership on the court as a point guard directing the team’s offense.

“When you’re a point guard, you’ve pretty much got to be the coach on the court for those guys and it comes with a lot of learning,” he said. “Your IQ of the game has to be at a certain level, so that you know what play you need to call, who needs to get the ball into certain situations and once you start learning that stuff, I think the game doesn’t slow down physically, it slows down mentally. Once you learn that, everything else just opens up for you really.”

Williams, who is majoring in communication, recently had the opportunity to represent UIS at a national three day NCAA Inclusion Forum in Indianapolis. He got a chance to meet other student-athletes from around the country and learn important lessons about leadership.

“It just kind of showed me that athletes have so much more power than they realize and they’re leaders,” he said. “They may not always play all of the time, but people always seem to look up to athletes, so we’ve got to use that power for the right things.”

Following graduation from UIS, Williams hopes to continue his basketball career. He’s proud of the UIS Athletics program, which he says is growing.

“I feel (that UIS is) one of the best universities in the country and I feel like, as far as athletics, we’re on the rise,” he said. “People are starting to realize that UIS is a team that needs to be recognized when it comes to best teams in the GLVC.”