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  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 

Scholarships awarded to 14 Public Affairs Reporting students at UIS

January 7, 2005

SPRINGFIELD - Fourteen graduate students in the Public Affairs Reporting program at the University of Illinois at Springfield were presented with scholarships at a reception hosted by UIS Chancellor Richard Ringeisen on January 6 in the Public Affairs Center restaurant on the UIS campus.

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Recipients of the Milton D. Friedland Scholarships were Sara Godwin and Dara Walch. Steven B. Hahn Reporting Scholarships were presented to Kirsten Singleton, Erika Slife, and Kate Thayer. Robert P. Howard Scholarships were awarded to Phil Davidson, Libby John, and Bridget Shanahan. Scholarships from the Illinois Legislative Correspondents Association were presented to Mary Tallon, Elizabeth Braun, and Paige Wassel. Doug Pokorski Scholarships were awarded to Ben Fischer, Melissa Jenco, and Jennifer Miller. All of these scholarships are awarded annually to PAR students who have demonstrated strong interest and potential in the field of government and political reporting.

The Friedland scholarships are presented in memory of the late Milton D. Friedland, founder and general manager of WICS-TV in Springfield.  In addition to being a broadcast pioneer in central Illinois, Friedland was a former community relations associate for the campus and a long-time friend and benefactor of Sangamon State University, as UIS was formerly known.

Godwin, daughter of Nancy Godwin of Ashland, received a B.S. in Journalism, with highest honors, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2004. While at UIUC, she was a photographer, editor, and producer for WICD-TV in Champaign, as well as an anchor, producer, reporter, weathercaster, and director for cable TV network UI-7 News. She also served an internship at WICS-TV in Springfield. She has previously received scholarships from the Illinois News Broadcasters Association, the Broadcast Education Association, and the UIUC College of Communications. Godwin recently began a six-month internship with WICS.

Walch, the daughter of Elaine and Robert Walch of Raymond, received a B.S. in Mass Communication, cum laude, from Illinois State University in 2004. While at ISU, she was a reporter, news announcer, news director, and operations director for campus radio station WZND-FM and also served as president of the ISU chapter of the Student Association for Women in Communication. She previously worked as a reporter/anchor for WJBC-AM in Bloomington, an on-air announcer for WIBI-FM in Carlinville, and an intern with WOAI Newsradio in San Antonio, Texas. She received the 2002 Best Radio Newscast award from the Illinois News Broadcasters Association, and was awarded the Vicki Lynn Kelley Memorial Scholarship as well as scholarships from the Illinois News Broadcasters Association, the Broadcast Education Association, and the Bloomington-Normal Association for Women in Communication. During the 2004 fall semester at UIS, she worked as a reporter/anchor for WTAX-AM in Springfield. She is presently an intern with the Illinois Radio Network.

The Hahn scholarships are presented in memory of Steven B. Hahn, a former Statehouse correspondent for The State Journal-Register and United Press International.

Singleton is the daughter of Kristine Nutter of Marion, Wisconsin, and Bill Singleton of Whiting, New Jersey.  She received a B.A. in Print Journalism, magna cum laude, from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 1999. Before enrolling at UIS, she was an education reporter for the Winona (Minnesota) Daily News and a copy/features editor at The Green Bay News-Chronicle. While at the University of Wisconsin, she was a reporter for the Chippewa Herald in Chippewa Falls, as well as a reporter and editor for the UW student newspaper, The Spectator. Her PAR internship is with Copley Illinois Newspapers.

Slife received a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Iowa in 1999. While there, she was a staff reporter for the student newspaper, The Daily Iowan; studied at the Universidad Nacional de Andres Bello in Santiago, Chile; and was awarded the Chips Quinn and Washington Center scholarships. Before enrolling at UIS, she was a staff reporter for Lerner Community Newspapers and for Nadig Newspapers, both in Chicago, and served a reporting internship with the Contra Costa Newspapers in Walnut Creek, California. She was a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and is presently an intern with the Chicago Tribune.

Thayer, daughter of Geri and Tom Thayer of Naperville, received a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Iowa in 2001. While there, she was a news correspondent for the Iowa City Gazette and a metro reporter for the student newspaper, The Daily Iowan. She has been an intern with the Dubuque Telegraph Herald; a project writer for the UI College of Public Health; and a staff reporter for the Iowa Journalist, the alumni magazine of the UI School of Journalism and Mass Communication. She was awarded the Gerald Tauchner Reporting Scholarship for Interpretation of Health Science and was a member of the Society of Professional Journalists as well as Alpha Kappa Delta, the national sociology honor society. Before enrolling at UIS, Thayer was a staff writer for Suburban Life Newspapers in suburban Cook County. She is presently an intern with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The Howard scholarships are presented in memory of the late Robert P. Howard, who joined the Chicago Tribune in 1944 and was its Statehouse bureau chief from 1957 until 1970.  A noted historian, Howard also wrote several books and articles on Illinois history, including Illinois: A History of the Prairie State and Mostly Good and Competent Men: Illinois Governors, 1818-1988.

Davidson is the son of Ellen and Douglas Davidson of Chicago and received a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Iowa in 2003. While at UI, he was a reporter and editorial writer for The Daily Iowan and interned with The Onion in Chicago. His current internship is with the Bloomington Pantagraph.

John, the daughter of Mary and Mathai John of Morton Grove, received a B.A. in Journalism from Northern Illinois University in 2004. At NIU, she was a correspondent for the Daily Chronicle in DeKalb and a reporter, editor, and editorial writer for the student newspaper, the Northern Star. She received writing awards from the Illinois College Press Association and was awarded the Kathy Buettner Memorial Scholarship. Before enrolling at UIS, she was a correspondent for the Kane County Chronicle; during the 2004 fall semester, she was a correspondent for the State Journal-Register. She is interning with the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.

Shanahan, the daughter of Sue and Bob Shanahan of Mokena, Illinois, received a B.A. in Speech Communication, cum laude, from Eastern Illinois University in 2004. While at Eastern, she was a producer, news anchor, and writer/reporter for campus station WEIU-TV and recipient of the Outstanding Broadcast Journalist Award. She also worked as a legal clerk for Lowis & Gellen, a Chicago law firm, and studied Irish literature and film at Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland. She received a WEIU-TV scholarship and served as treasurer of the EIU chapter of the Student Illinois News Broadcasters Association. Her PAR internship is with WAND-TV, Decatur.

The ILCA scholarships are named after several people with close ties to both the PAR program and the Illinois Legislative Correspondents Association, the entity comprised of the news media outlets represented in the Statehouse pressroom.

The Burnell A. Heinecke Scholarship honors the former ILCA president and long-time Statehouse reporter. A 23-year veteran of the Chicago Sun-Times and the paper’s first permanent legislative reporter in the state capitol, Heinecke also helped found the PAR program and served for many years on both its program and selection committees.

Tallon is the daughter of Kathie and Lyle Tallon of Lexington, Illinois. She received a B.S. in News-Editorial Journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2004. At UIUC she was a reporter, wire editor, and news editor for The Daily Illini, as well as a music critic for that publication’s weekly entertainment magazine, Buzz. She was also named as a James Scholar. Tallon has been a reporting intern for the regional desk of the Bloomington Pantagraph and a copy editing intern for U-Wire, a college newspaper wire service based in Carlsbad, California. The summer before enrolling at UIS, she was a reporting intern on the city desk of the Peoria Journal Star. She is presently an intern with the Associated Press.

The Bill Miller Scholarship is presented in honor of the late director of the PAR program, who passed away in November 2003 and under whose guidance it established a national reputation for preparing journalists to cover government and politics. Before coming to UIS, Miller was an award-winning reporter with WTAX radio in Springfield and with the Capitol Information Bureau, a predecessor of Illinois Radio Network. He retired in 1993 after 19 years at the PAR helm.

Braun is the daughter of Mary and Mark Braun of Norridge, Illinois, and received a B.A. in Journalism and Multimedia from Bradley University in 2004. While at Bradley, she was a reporter, writer, and producer for the campus National Public Radio affiliate WCBU-FM, as well as news director of campus radio station WRBU. She was a reporter for the student newspaper, the Bradley Scout; news editor of the school yearbook, the Anaga; and a writer for the weekly television program Midstate Magazine. She won first-place awards for radio news reporting from Public Radio News Directors, Inc. and from the Student Illinois News Broadcasters Association, and received the 2003 Olive B. White award for university leadership. She is currently an intern with WUIS/WIPA/Illinois Public Radio in Springfield.

The ILCA memorial scholarship is given in memory of deceased Statehouse reporters, many of whom have provided guidance and assistance to the PAR program.

Wassel, daughter of Susan and Michael Wassel of Robinson, Illinois, received a B.A. in Communications, summa cum laude, from Milligan College, Milligan, Tennessee, in 2004. While there, she was a reporter, managing editor, and editor-in-chief of the student newspaper, The Stampede, and received Stampede leadership and writing awards. Through the 2003 Summer Institute of Journalism, she worked as a regional reporter in Washington, DC, writing news and feature articles for the Robinson Daily News. Wassel was chosen as Milligan’s Outstanding Communications Student in 2003 and received the Board of Trustees Outstanding Academic Student Award in 2004. During the 2004 fall semester, she was a reporter for the UIS student newspaper, The Journal. Her internship is with Illinois Issues magazine.

The Doug Pokorski Scholarships are presented in memory of the veteran reporter who covered higher education and cultural affairs for The State Journal-Register.

Fischer, son of Charlotte Sue and Orvie Fischer of Marietta, Ohio, received a B.S. in News, summa cum laude, from Kent State University in 2004. At Kent State, he was a reporter, managing editor, and editor of the student newspaper, The Daily Kent Stater. During his tenure as editor-in-chief, the Kent Stater was recognized as best all-around student newspaper in a four-state region by the Society of Professional Journalists. Fischer has also been an editorial page intern with the Cincinnati Enquirer, a city desk intern with the Peoria Journal Star, and a sports reporter for the Marietta Times. He is interning with the Chicago Sun-Times

Jenco is the daughter of Linda and Steve Jenco of Joliet and received a B.A. in Journalism from Marquette University in 2004. While at Marquette, she was a reporter, news editor, and managing editor of the student newspaper, The Marquette Tribune, and also studied at St. Clare’s College, Oxford, England. She has been a summer stringer for the Joliet Herald-News and a media center coordinator for Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet. She won awards for best news story from both the Milwaukee Press Club and the Wisconsin Newspaper Association in 2002, and received the John and Leocadia Shinner award for excellence in communication from Marquette in 2003. She is interning with the Arlington Heights Daily Herald

Miller, the daughter of Clement Miller of Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, received a B.A. in Communication Studies from West Chester University, West Chester, Pennsylvania, in 2004. While there, she was a news writer and copy editor for the student newspaper, The Quad, and a part-time reporter for the Williamsport Sun-Gazette. She was also vice president/news director of WCU-TV 5, the campus television station, as well as host/producer for WPTC-FM, the student radio station at Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport. Before enrolling at UIS, she was a correspondent for the Daily Local News in West Chester. She is interning with Lee Enterprises.

The Public Affairs Reporting program at UIS is a one-year master’s degree program focusing on coverage of state government news.  In addition to academic work, students serve six-month internships with newspaper, magazine, radio, television, wire service, or audio news service bureaus in the Statehouse pressroom in Springfield.
    The University of Illinois at Springfield, one of three U of I campuses, is a small, public liberal arts university that offers 42 degree programs – 21 bachelor’s, 20 master’s, and the Doctorate of Public Administration. UIS has a special mission in public affairs and service and is known for extraordinary internships, a wireless campus, extensive online offerings, and a commitment to teaching.
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