CPAA Alumni Council Members
Michelle Gentry-Wiseman BA ’88 PAA, MA ’05 PAA is a contract lobbyist for health-related issues. Prior to lobbying, she worked for the Illinois Department of Public Health for 13 years, primarily in positions that dealt with policy and legislation. She started her master’s degree immediately after her bachelor’s was completed, but was unable to finish. When she was finally able to come back to school, SSU had changed, but the relationships and personal support hadn’t. “You won’t find that at a larger school,” she said.
She wants the Alumni Council to become a tool for the College of Public Affairs & Administration to help students in school and out. “There’s no better place to be to get some real skills in your major area than Springfield,” she said.
John Webber MA ’03 PAA is a policy strategist for the Illinois Department of Transportation and an adjunct instructor at UIS for the public affairs program. Prior to his current position, he was a small business owner, a journalist and a policy strategist for Governor Jim Edgar. When he started work for the Department of Transportation, he quickly realized his need for an education in public affairs and administration. His experience at UIS provided him the perspective to see how his work fit into the larger picture of policy and state government. “When I went back to school, I learned how the public sector really worked,” he said. “My degree has been absolutely crucial to being able to know and actually apply theory. It’s worked out great.”
Webber serves on the Alumni Council to stay involved with the college and to give back to the university. He wants to help connect current students with real, hands-on professional experiences.
The Alumni Council is working to build a network of alumni who want to share their SSU/UIS experiences with current students. “There are lots of people in organizations and associations in [in Springfield],” said Gentry-Wiseman. “We want to get people involved, get people to give back to UIS.”
One of the ways you can give back to UIS is to provide internship or project work match-ups through your organization. If you would like to become involved with the Alumni Council or have opportunities to offer current students, please contact the Dean’s Office at the College of Public Affairs & Administration at (217) 206-6523.