Tuesday, April 30, 2019

First students to graduate from UIS’ new public policy bachelor’s degree program

A group of four students will make up the first graduating class of the University of Illinois Springfield’s new public policy bachelor’s degree program. Students first started to enroll in the program in Fall Semester 2016.

The degree is designed to give students comprehensive training in the field of public policy, including applied policy implementation and program evaluation. The degree prepares students for careers as lawmakers, policy analysts, legislative aides, community activists, lobbyists and attorneys.

“This program was started as a way to provide students who are interested in government and politics with a more applied curriculum and to utilize our location in the state capital to allow students, who already are interested in government, a chance to start interning and working in the field,” said Magic Wade, UIS assistant professor of political science.

In addition to what students learn in the classroom, they are also required to complete a six credit-hour internship with a state, local government or policymaking agency as part of the public policy bachelor’s degree curriculum. The internships are designed to introduce students to various post-graduate professional options.

The four students expected to graduate Saturday, May 11, 2019, with their bachelor’s degrees in public policy include Tristan Akers of Cambridge, Jason Edwards of Springfield, Andrew Jarmer of Springfield and James Wheeler of Rochester.

Jarmer says he decided to major in public policy because it is a hands-on program “based on real-life problems and solutions,” which makes it different from a traditional degree in political science.

“In contrast to political science, which is more based in theories and abstract concepts, public policy is essentially a study of how we, as a society, choose our priorities and act upon them. You can learn quite a bit about a society/government/group of people by examining their agenda and policy decisions,” he said.

Following graduation from UIS, Jarmer, who is also earning a bachelor’s degree in political science, plans to continue to work as a campaign/office staffer for the Democratic Party of Illinois before starting law school.

Wheeler, who is also active in politics as a political staffer for the Illinois Democratic County Chairs’ Association transferred to UIS from Lincoln Land Community College (LLCC) to earn his bachelor’s degree in public policy.

“It is wonderful,” he said. “I was very lucky to seamlessly glide from graduating at LLCC to studying at UIS in this new program, and am thankful that it was implemented at the time that it was.”

Following graduation, he plans to apply for state jobs and earn his master’s degree in political science, with a focus on public law, at UIS.

Edwards also transferred to UIS from LLCC and currently works at the Illinois State Capitol as a senate page. He also plans to earn his master’s degree in political science at UIS following the completion of his bachelor’s degree.

“When I started this degree, I really didn’t know what to expect or how it would go, but I have to say it has arguably been the best decision I have made here at UIS,” said Edwards. “I learned such a great amount of information about past, current, and future topics and subject matters that affect all of us citizens here in our own state and our country.”

Akers, who is a dual public policy and political science major, currently interns for the Illinois Senate Republican’s District Planning and Member Services staff. He will be attending law school following graduation from UIS. He says he chose the public policy degree because it was unique.

“I figured it would give me a step up,” he said. “It feels good knowing that many others will follow in our footsteps.”

The UIS public policy bachelor’s degree curriculum addresses questions surrounding the ethics of policy-making, the conditions in which policies are made, how programs should be implemented, and whether they are effective. Courses provide in-depth consideration of health, education, labor law, social welfare, environmental, or agricultural policy while equipping students with the tools to participate in the advocacy, drafting, and analysis of public policy.

For more information on the UIS bachelor’s degree in public policy, contact Magic Wade at 217/206-6523 or mwade7@uis.edu. Students may apply online at www.uis.edu/admissions/applytoday/.

Monday, April 29, 2019

UIS to hold two commencement ceremonies in downtown Springfield on May 11

The University of Illinois Springfield will hold two commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 11, 2019, at the Bank of Springfield (BOS) Center, Ninth and Adams Streets in downtown Springfield. Of the 1,274 UIS students eligible to graduate, 744 will participate in the ceremonies.

The first ceremony for students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences will begin at 12:30 p.m. The second ceremony for students in the College of Business and Management, College of Education and Human Services and College of Public Affairs and Administration will start at 5:30 p.m.

Tickets are not required for admission and seating will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. There is no reserved seating, except for special needs such as interpretive services and wheelchairs.

The doors to the main floor will open an hour before each ceremony. Overflow seating will be provided in the lower level of BOS Center.

Former Springfield Mayor Karen Hasara to receive honorary doctorate 

During the 5:30 p.m. ceremony, UIS will present an honorary doctorate of humane letters to former Springfield Mayor Karen Hasara in appreciation of her inspirational leadership in public service and distinguished contributions to the community and the University of Illinois.

Hasara, a member of the university’s first enrolled class, holds two degrees from UIS. She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology/elementary education in 1972 and a master’s degree in legal studies in 1992.

Hasara began her storied career as a teacher, then moved into public service as a member of the Sangamon County Board in 1975 (at the time, the only woman among 29 county board members). She went on to be elected Sangamon County Circuit Clerk in 1980, Illinois State Representative in 1986, Illinois State Senator in 1993 and Mayor of Springfield for two terms from 1995 to 2003. She was the first woman ever to be elected Mayor of Springfield. Following her government career, Hasara served as a member of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees from 2009 to 2017.

“Karen Hasara is one of the most influential leaders and public servants in Illinois,” said UIS Chancellor Susan Koch. “Her long career in government and education is rooted in Springfield, but has benefitted countless citizens from all over the state.”

Hasara’s leadership and passion for social justice has led to her involvement in numerous organizations over the years. Currently, she is a trustee of the Springfield Mass Transit District, and is involved with the World Affairs Council of Central Illinois and the Sangamon County Community Foundation. She is also an active volunteer at St. John’s Hospice in Springfield.

Throughout her career, Hasara has been a dedicated and vocal supporter of the University of Illinois Springfield. She played a critical role in building a strong relationship between Springfield and UIS and currently serves on the UIS Alumni Board and the University of Illinois Alumni Alliance. At UIS, she established a scholarship for qualified students with financial need and has previously served on the Chancellor’s Community Advisory Board, the Alumni Leadership Roundtable and is a founding member of the UIS Alumni SAGE Society. She is the recipient of the 1996 UIS Alumni Achievement Award.

A fifth generation native of Springfield, Hasara places a priority on giving back to her community. She founded the Women4Women organization and is active in philanthropy including Dining for Women. She and her late husband, Jerry, are the parents of seven children and have five grandchildren.

Student speaker and faculty grand marshal announced 

Springfield resident Jeffrey Nevins, who will be graduating with a bachelor’s degree in communication, has been chosen as the student commencement speaker. Nevins is currently the technical director/show systems manager at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. He will speak about his educational journey at UIS and offer some wisdom to the Class of 2019.

Hilary Frost, associate professor of political science and Global Studies Program director, has been named the faculty grand marshal. Frost holds a doctorate in cultural geography from Pennsylvania State University, a master’s degree in international studies from the University of Iowa, a master’s degree in public administration with specialization in arts administration from Ohio State University and a bachelor’s degree in history from Michigan State University.

Student marshals announced

Faculty in each academic program select one graduating student who best exemplifies the goals and spirit of that program to serve as student marshal for the ceremony. This year’s marshals are:

Accountancy: Kayla Susanne Mackie-Carlson – B.A. (Peoria), Jenna L. Upchurch – B.A., Michelle Marie Dankoski – M.A.

Biology: Kiana Renee Davis – B.S.

Biochemistry: Chantz A. Pinder – B.S.

Business Administration: Abbie Jean Mulkins – BBA, Matthew Ryan Hutchison – MBA (Peoria), Diana Marion – MBA

Chemistry: Craig Allen Meredith – B.S.

Clinical Lab Science: Deric Rosenberger – B.S.

Communication: Olivia S. Cacciatori – B.A., Andrea Renee Duvendack – M.A.

Computer Science: Alfredo Carigga – B.S., Chad Matthew Putnam – M.S.

Criminology and Criminal Justice: Joli Rebecca Schroeder – B.A.

Data Analytics: Zeki Can Kavgaci – M.S.

Economics: Tristan M. Hodgson – B.A.

Education: Kristina Ann Gashaw – M.A.

Educational Leadership: Alicia Ann Redfield – M.A.

Elementary Education: Taylor Jayann Bauer – B.A.

English: Maura Sommer Freeman – B.A., Amanda Rae Dinardo – M.A.

Environmental Sciences: Joshua Rai – M.S.

Environmental Studies: Caleb Joe Froidcoeur – B.A., Beth Louise Kramer – M.A.

Exercise Science: Karah L. Bell – B.S.

Global Studies: Maame Ekua Dede Aggrey – B.A.

History: Ciara J. Koepke – B.A., Eric Michael Bridges – M.A.

Human Development Counseling: Meeko Taylor Dane Reddick – M.A.

Human Services: Ozetta Michelle Ann Knox – M.A.

Information Systems Security: Keith Alan Clark – B.S.

Legal Studies: Joshua Leo Zanger – B.A., Brittany Nicole Meador – M.A.

Liberal and Integrative Studies: Justina Lynn Schacht – M.A.

Liberal Studies: Mary Christine Braun – B.A.

Management Information Systems: Sheryl Ann Spejcher – B.S., Raghunath Subramanian – M.S.

Mathematical Sciences: Stefanie Kristine Springer – B.A.

Philosophy: Kimberlee Pompa – B.A.

Political Science: Jacob C. Tebbe – B.A., Erik F. Motyll – M.A.

Psychology: Marsha Kathleen Darlington – B.A.

Public Administration: Brendan Dominick Mitchell – B.A., Anjanette Williams – M.P.A., Sophia Maria Gehlhausen – D.P.A.

Public Affairs Reporting: Grant Alexander Morgan – M.A.

Public Health: Johanny Nazareth Martinez – M.P.H.

Public Policy: Tristan T. Akers – B.A.

Social Work: Rachel Yvonne Andreatta – B.S.W.

Sociology/Anthropology: Abriana S. Robinson – B.A.

Theatre: Sherri Doe Mitchell – B.A.

Pre-commencement events planned

A number of events are planned for graduates, their families and guests before the ceremonies at the BOS Center. The annual Online Graduates Brunch will be held at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 11, in the Student Union Ballroom. The Capital Scholars Honors Program will also honor its graduates that day with a 9 a.m. brunch on the lower level of the Public Affairs Center.

Admission to some commencement events is by invitation only. Updated information, including a complete list of events, is available from the commencement website at www.uis.edu/commencement/.

The ceremonies will be webcast live at www.uis.edu/technology/uislive/. DVD copies of the ceremonies can be purchased from the Office of Electronic Media for $25. Orders can be placed by phone at 217/206-6799 or at http://go.uis.edu/CommencementDVD.

For more information, go to the UIS Commencement website at www.uis.edu/commencement/.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

UIS Good as Gold awards honor more than 60 local volunteers, businesses and organizations

The University of Illinois Springfield, Junior League of Springfield and the United Way of Central Illinois honored more than 60 Sangamon County volunteers and businesses during the 11th annual Good as Gold Ceremony. The event was held on Wednesday, April 24, 2019, at the UIS Student Union.

The Good as Gold Ceremony was started in 2008 to honor people, businesses and organizations who freely give their time and talents to make Sangamon County a better place to live.

Distinguished Volunteer Award 

Donna Jean Gibney of Springfield was honored with the 2019 Distinguished Volunteer Award. Gibney has been involved in leadership roles within two local organizations since 1996: King’s Daughters Organization (KDO) and the Sangamon County Medical Society Alliance (SCMSA).

“During my service with both of these organizations, I ended up overseeing a major restructuring of each, first while president for KDO and later while chairperson of the board for SCMSA,” she said. “I had always been dedicated to each and offered a large amount of my time to each, but I will say that being involved in the restructuring processes, especially for KDO, made me even more passionate about and dedicated to them and their missions.”

From a personal perspective, Gibney feels that volunteering involves being productive beyond just family and friends.

“My belief is that volunteering is critical to the well-being of any community, not just our local community. There are not enough financial resources to pay for all the work that needs to be done, often that desperately needs to be done,” said Gibney. “In thinking of the big picture, without volunteers of all sorts giving their time freely, our society would suffer horribly, not just locally, but nationally and even globally. Each one of us volunteering in our local community is part of a much bigger picture."

The 2019 Distinguished Volunteer finalists include Cheryl Garvin, Joe O’Beirne, Mark Pence and Barb Walker.

Star Student Award 

Lincoln Land Community College (LLCC) student Sonia Kenney of Springfield was honored with the Star Student Award for her volunteer efforts.

Kenney was accepted into Habitat for Humanity of Sangamon County’s Homeownership Program in August of 2017 and did not hesitate jumping right into her position from the start. She attends LLCC, works two jobs, has three teenage daughters, and still finds the time to volunteer and make a difference.

“Volunteering to me is not being obligated to do something kind,” said Kenney. “Something that’s meaningful to not only the volunteer, but also to the organization or person I am doing it for. Volunteering is doing something from the heart. It doesn’t require compensation.”

As a Habitat for Humanity volunteer, she has worked at the Restore and has also volunteered on five home build sites. Her volunteer work has helped other families’ lives, and she has been a positive example to these other families.

Other organizations through which Kenney has volunteered include the St John’s Breadline, various schools throughout District 186, the Special Olympics and the Girl Scouts.

Star Staff Award

Angela Try of Chatham, a public relations specialist at the University of Illinois Springfield, was honored with the Star Staff Award for her volunteer efforts in the community. Try is a Girl Scout leader for Troop 6130 in Chatham, and her daughter is an Ambassador Girl Scout. Try has also served six years as the committee chair for Cub Scout Pack 79 in Chatham, and her son is currently a Cub Scout.

“There’s no other feeling like doing something for others with no expectation of it being returned. It’s how my husband and I live our lives,” said Try. “Leading by example and teaching my kids, and the other youth that I work with, about service to others is the most important aspect of volunteering to me.”

Try teaches middle school faith formation classes at St. Joseph the Worker in Chatham, has volunteered to attend Catholic Heart Work Camp with the high school students and has been involved with the Glenwood High School speech team, serving on the booster executive committee.

“I only hope I’m leaving a legacy of kindness, thoughtfulness and genuine integrity in my wake with the youth and people that I come in contact with,” she said.

Youth Volunteer Award

Chatham Glenwood High School senior Athena Try, daughter of Carl and Angela Try, was honored with the Youth Volunteer Award. For 13 years, Athena Try has served the Chatham Girl Scouts and the Girl Scout community of central Illinois by volunteering throughout her elementary and high school years. She has racked up approximately 200 hours of volunteer service in just this past year alone.

As a younger scout, she earned her bronze award by hosting a World Thinking Day/Princess event for the Girl Scout community. As an older Girl Scout, she has taken on more leadership and responsibility in the community of Chatham as well as the Girl Scout community as a whole in central Illinois.

“By being present and leading activities in the community, Try has encouraged young girls to become leaders by providing them a strong example,” said her nominator. “She serves as a role model in and outside of Girl Scouts and demonstrates daily what service and leadership truly mean. Athena has taken the leadership quality that scouting has taught her and applied it to several school and church organizations.”

As part of her volunteer service, Try designed and built a reading garden at Matheny-Withrow Elementary School in Springfield. The project took a year-and-a-half to complete.

“This selfless project has given the students of Matheny-Withrow Elementary School a beautiful reading garden to enjoy,” said her nominator.

Finalists for this award include Kylie McMillan, Emily Monroe and Gwen Rees.

Heart of Gold Community Awards 

Thirty-one local volunteers were also honored with the Heart of Gold Award. Recipients included: Carl M. Affrunti, Judith Barringer, Michael Blitstein, Stacey Ann Bredemeyer, Connie Butts, Thomas J. Byerly, Nancy Canady, Cindy Denby, Andrea Fuchs, Dr. Sam Gaines, Sarah Goleman, Tiffani Graham, Tammy Gilchrese, Carol Gruwell, Diane Hayes, Jim Keys, Rita Keys, Jamie Kuhlmann, Paul Layton, Patricia Leamon, Rena Leggitt, Rochell Logan, Megan Mitchell, Robert J. Moore, Sharon Nichols, Lori Payne-Mullett, April Poole, Matthew Scrivano, Beth Sonneborn, Eileen G. Tepatti and Joann Wente.

Organization Agent of Service Award

The winner of the 2019 Organization Agent of Service Award is King’s Daughters Home (KDO). The organization has been serving the seniors of Sangamon County for the past 125 years. From the beginning in 1893, the focus of KDO has been on the well-being and health of all seniors in Sangamon County, and in 1895 the Home for Women opened for those who had no other means or family to care for them.

“We have nine, what we call circles of friendship, that are made up of 350 members,” said Brenda Staab, president of KDO. “We do not have staff here. Everything we do here is volunteer. Of the 350 circle members, more than half are active volunteers.”

From 2006 to 2018, KDO has awarded more than $1.3 million in grants to more than 160 organizations in Sangamon County that serve the needs of seniors. Beyond granting $200,000 each year to support organizations that help seniors, KDO members volunteer their time with the organizations it supports.

Last year, KDO volunteers contributed approximately 5,000 hours of service. Members have volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, Senior Services of Central Illinois, the Loami Food Pantry, the First Presbyterian Church food pantry, Land of Lincoln Honor Flights and the Fair Hills Residence at the Illinois Presbyterian Home.

Business Honor Roll

A total of 21 Sangamon County businesses were named to the Business Honor Roll sponsored by the UIS College of Business and Management. The honor roll recognizes businesses that have made giving back to our community a priority.

Three businesses were listed at the top of the honor roll as Golden Distinction Winners including the Butler Funeral Homes and Cremation Tribute Center, Illinois Educators Credit Union and Marine Bank.

Other businesses making this year’s honor roll include AlignLife of Springfield; Bank of Springfield; Formea Insurance Group, Inc.; Horace Mann; Illinois REALTORS; Kerber, Eck & Braeckel; Koch, Sylvia, and Associates - Ameriprise Financial; Memorial Health System; President Abraham Lincoln Springfield - A DoubleTree by Hilton; Scheels; Sangamon Reclaimed; Sensible Innovations; Serious Lip Balm; Springfield Electric Lighting & Design/Springfield Electric Supply Company; St. Joseph’s Home of Springfield; UNDERDOG Sports, Memorabilia & Games; United Community Bank and Wells Fargo.

For more information about the awards, please visit www.uis.edu/volunteer, email volunteer@uis.edu or call 217/ 206-8448.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

UIS students win awards from the International Society for Advancement of Management competition

A group of University of Illinois Springfield students, who are members of the Society for Advancement of Management (SAM) student chapter brought home two awards from the 2019 International Management Conference held March 27-30, in Orlando, Florida.

The team placed third in the International Collegiate Business Skills Championship.

Turner Clark received first place in the Extemporaneous Speech Competition and the UIS Chapter president - Mike Kirchgesner also served as the Social Media Ambassador for the conference.

“It has always been my goal to create experiences and memories for others and to help inspire people to achieve their full pot
ential,” said Kirchgesner, who was competing for the second time.

During the International Business Case Competition, UIS students competed against 23 other colleges and universities presenting solutions related to a business case about Hard Rock Café International. The case involved determining a strategic vision and creating a recommendation the company should take to improve, sustain, turn around, or correct its performance.

“There are so many great networking opportunities at these conferences to help college students prepare for life after college,” said Kirchgesner.

UIS students participating were; Mike Kirchgesner, a business administration major on the pre-med track from Springfield; Turner Clark, a business administration major from Swansea; Shreyas Shirish, a management information systems major from Mumbai, India and Rohith Madamshetty, a management information systems major from Telangana, India.

The UIS chapter and competition team are advised by Hasan Kartal, Ph.D., assistant professor in management information systems.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Hundreds of students take part in the 27th annual Springfest competition

Hundreds of students participated in the 27th annual Springfest competition at the University of Illinois Springfield in April. Springfest is one of the longest running student traditions on campus, which started in 1992.

Students competed in fun events, such as the Scavenger Hunt, Flag and Chant, Game of Games, Trivia Night and Sports Day. During Sports Day, students competed in everything from flag football to the annual mud tug-of-war.

Students also gave back to the community by helping to build a Habitat for Humanity home.

This year, 31 teams made up of more than 300 students took part in the week-long event.

Thursday, April 04, 2019

Horace Mann donates $2,500 to fund UIS dual credit teacher education course for high school seniors

Horace Mann, a Springfield-based insurance and financial services company for educators, has donated $2,500 to the University of Illinois Springfield Teacher Education Department to help cover the cost of a dual credit course for high school seniors in Menard and Sangamon counties.

The goal of the dual credit course titled “Foundations of American Education” is to encourage more students to become teachers.

“We are always looking to provide solutions for our educator customers and find ways to attract students to this noble profession,” said Marita Zuraitis, Horace Mann president and CEO. “School officials and administrators tell us that finding teachers is becoming more difficult. We hope this program will encourage more high school students to explore the educator profession and give them a jump start on their college degree.”

According to a recent Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools survey, 89 percent of central Illinois school districts and 92 percent of southern Illinois districts are having issues with staffing teaching positions with qualified candidates.

“This unique program provides a local long-term solution to the teacher shortage crisis that Illinois and the nation is facing today, and creates an exciting partnership with UIS, Horace Mann and our local school districts to help our own students become future high-quality teachers,” said Jeff Vose, regional superintendent of schools for Sangamon and Menard counties. “I want to thank Horace Mann for their generous gift of $2,500 to help support tuition costs for these approximately 15-20 high school students from our region to attend these teaching courses at UIS.”

The dual credit course started in Fall Semester 2018 when 18 students from eight area high schools enrolled. The course is only the second dual credit option to be offered by the University of Illinois Springfield in its nearly 50 year history. Seniors earn both college and high school credit for completing the dual credit course.

“This course allows students to get a head start on their teaching degree and to provide the foundation of education at all levels”, said Scott Doerr, a UIS adjunct instructor who teaches the course and superintendent of the Nokomis School District.

The “Foundations of American Education” course counts toward general education credits for students who attend UIS to complete their bachelor’s degrees. The credits can also transfer to other institutions in the state if a student should choose to complete his or her education degree elsewhere.

Thanks to the support from Horace Mann, the cost of the course to high school students will be minimal. Students will be responsible for the cost of textbooks (rental, used and online options are available) when the course starts in August. Local students who are interested in the course should talk to their high school guidance counselor to register by the May 4 deadline.