Reaching Stellar: Stories of Academic Excellence
Payton Raso | The “Jailhouse Snitch Law”
Payton Raso majored in Political Science and History at UIS. During his time working with the Illinois Innocence Project, Payton played an active role in the passage of Senate Bill 1830 regarding the testimony of jailhouse informants. It is considered the strongest bills of its kind in the United States.
Payton graduated from UIS magna cum laude in May 2019. He will be attending the University of Iowa Law School in the fall. For now, he’s keeping his future options open but whatever he does in his career, his education was immeasurably enhanced by his experience with the Illinois Innocence Project and his perspective on the criminal justice has been forever changed. Read his story here.
Academic Excellence is a Reaching Stellar priority…because learning empowers the future.
New Public Policy Major at UIS
A strong commitment to preparing professionals for public service has identified UIS from its earliest days, and excellent academic programs strengthen that commitment. Public Policy, one such program, explores the full policy-making process. This includes applying and evaluating policies—especially important here in the state capital of Illinois. Public Policy is part of the UIS Political Science Department.
Students complete internships in many settings, including the American Red Cross, Illinois Innocence Project, Cook-Witter, Inc., Senator Durbin’s Springfield Office and more. Three award-winning student organizations enhance students’ experience: Model United Nations, Model Illinois Government, and the Illinois Moot Court/Mock Trial Club.
This year, the first four graduates in the Bachelors of Public Policy will complete their programs. Pictured from left: Tristan Akers, James Wheeler, Andrew Jarmer, and Jason Edwards. Congratulations!
Academic Excellence is a Reaching Stellar Campaign priority…
Because learning empowers the future (for all of us).
UIS Helps Alleviate Nursing Shortage
Illinois has a nursing shortage. To help meet this shortage, in 2014 the University of Illinois Chicago College of Nursing worked with UIS and Memorial Health System to launch a nursing program here in Springfield. Students take pre-nursing classes at UIS, and then apply to complete two more years at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Nursing, Springfield Regional Campus, with classes held at UIS and clinical work at Memorial Hospital.
Twelve nurses graduated from the program in 2018, the first graduates from the program. This year, 24 more nurses will graduate, and 65% say they plan to stay in Springfield.*
Darlene Steinkamp is one of the students completing her nursing program this May. “It’s really hard coursework,” she says, “but at the end of the day, it’s important to know all this because we are taking care of lives.”
Academic Excellence is a Reaching Stellar priority…because learning empowers the future.
*See “Illinois lawmakers trying to find solution to nurse shortages,” by Katie Bandish, NewsChannel20 (2/27/2019).
Sarah Lindholm, Outstanding Thesis Award
On Thursday, February 7, Sarah Lindholm accepted the Outstanding Master’s Thesis Project Award for her thesis entitled A Longitudinal Study on the Floristic Quality of the Emiquon Preserve’s Tallgrass Prairie Reconstruction in Illinois. Sarah earned her BS and MA in Biology and a BA in environmental studies at UIS. Dr. Amy McEuen was her master’s thesis chair.
Sarah collected plant species data from the five management sites of restored native prairie at Emiquon Preserve in the summer of 2016. The preserve is owned by the Nature Conservancy and features a restored functional wetland complex and 148 ha of mesic tallgrass prairie restoration. After adding her work to previous data collected in 2008 and 2012, she applied standard quality metrics to judge the restoration through time and compare sites. Two showed positive progress over the nine-year period, while the other three, likely due to heavy flooding, did not fare as well and even decreased in quality. Her research will help the Nature Conservancy decide the next best steps for management and provide UIS with the data needed to continue a variety of long-term research on the tallgrass prairie.
Sarah now works as an environmental scientist and geographical information systems analyst at Northwater Consulting in Springfield. She is interested in pursuing a PhD in ecology. Great work, Sarah, and wonderful proof of the learning at UIS that empowers students’ futures!
Kayla Thomas | Out of Her Comfort Zone
Kayla Thomas, a senior English major, recently commented on her academic experience at UIS: “My classes have really made me think and grow as a person. This past semester, for example, I took a research course and connected “Sounds of Silence, by Simon and Garfunkel, to a rap song called “Alright,” by Kendrick Lamar. I also read Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, both of which I connected to my own life in ways I would not have thought possible. I was out of my comfort zone, which is never easy, but it has been so exceptionally rewarding as well. Thank you!” Your gifts to UIS, and especially to specific academic units like colleges or departments, allow UIS to continue reaching stellar in academic experiences for students.
Memorial Medical Center Foundation | Anatomical Models
The Memorial Medical Center Foundation continues to support academic excellence at UIS. This fall the Foundation followed up an earlier grant to the Biology Department for anatomical models with a second grant. Students in anatomy and physiology labs are using the additional torsos, legs, arms and other 3-D models both for learning and testing. “The additional models are especially helpful because we have added so many exercise science students to the A & P classes,” said UIS Biology Instructor David Holland, who co-wrote the grant proposal with Dr. Tracy Schatteman. The models will also be used in Dr. Schatteman’s upper-level A & P course for pre-med students. At left: UIS student Janelly Mendia analyzes leg muscles.
Turner Clark | Undergraduate Research
Since the start of Spring Semester 2018, Clark has worked with Associate Professor of Management Nathan Steele and Assistant Professor of Management Sudeep Sharma to investigate “The Role of Personality Traits in Predicting Negotiation Effectiveness.” He presented his research at the University of Illinois Undergraduate Research Day at the Illinois State Capitol in 2018 (pictured at right) and the National Conference in Undergraduate Research in Memphis, Tennessee, which he says is one of the most amazing experiences he has had at UIS. “I think every student benefits from the close working relationship that we have with our UIS professors,” he said. “It will benefit us for the rest of our lives.”
Jeremy Hobson | Award-Winning Journalist at UIS
NPR Illinois hosted Jeremy Hobson, journalist and co-host of Here & Now, Jeremy Hobson in Springfield on Monday, September 10, 6 p.m. He discussed his background in journalism and the upcoming state and national elections with Sean Crawford before participating in a question-and-answer session with the audience. You can view of a video of the event here. The next day, UIS communication and public affairs reporting students had a chance to meet with Hobson, who will share insights with them from his wealth of experience in journalism, public affairs, and communication during a Q&A session. Opportunities like this, available because of community support for NPR Illinois, elevate the academic experience of students at UIS. Thank you to all NPR Illinois donors.
Dr. Leo Bin | PNC Distinguished Professor in Banking and Finance
On Wednesday, September 5, at 3:30 p.m., UIS hosted a very special event – the investiture of Dr. Leo Bin as the PNC Distinguished Professor in Banking and Finance. The named professorship honors Dr. Bin’s extraordinary teaching skills and provides financial resources for his research on financial analysis and international investment. Named professorships are crucial because they help to attract and retain excellent faculty, and as you know we pride ourselves on the influence our UIS professors have in students’ lives, learning and leadership.
Special thanks to PNC Bank and the PNC Foundation: They have a long history of strengthening and enriching the lives of communities in which they live and work. We are both proud and grateful to have a professorship that bears their name.
MBA Students Shine
Congratulations to UIS MBA students Ajey Kulkarni, Paul Lutinen and Keith Tanner, who scored in the top 10% of graduate business students nationally on the Educational Testing Service’s (ETS) Major Field Test. Most of the questions require specific knowledge of marketing, management, finance and managerial accounting. Half the questions are based on case-studies. Tanner, Lutinen and Kulkarni, pictured at right with Dr. Jorge Villegas, take their courses at the UIS Peoria Center. Learning that empowers the future.
Dr. Holly Kent | Excellence in Teaching
In May 2018, Dr. Holly Kent, associate professor history at UIS, received the Pearson Faculty Award given for excellence in teaching. She specializes in fashion history. In recognition of her unique scholarship and teaching excellence, Dr. Kent was chosen as a representative to the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC) to collaborate and develop a multi-campus, multi-disciplinary course entitled “Fashion as an Agent of Social Change Since 1900.” Read more about Dr. Holly Kent and about faculty award recipients.
Aubrey McCarthy | Professional Experience as a Student
Aubrey McCarthy’s passion for helping people has led to a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a master’s in Human Development Counseling at UIS, expected in Fall 2018. She plans to work with children with developmental disabilities. At UIS, Aubrey has done research on child development with Dr. Michele Miller. “I have been able to present at the Midwestern Psychological Association Conference in Chicago and the Society for Research in Child Development Conference in Austin, Texas.” Read more about Student Research at UIS. Make a gift in support of student research.
Justin Brown | Taking on the Challenge of Cyber Security
Justin Brown is majoring in Information Systems Security at UIS. This past summer, he interned at the Security Operations Center at Horace Mann. He helped to monitor, review and take action on abnormal web or email traffic that might be come through the network. He enjoyed the challenge of staying on top of new attacks and Justin also appreciated the opportunity to apply what he had been learning at UIS, which sets up their students for success not only in their career path but life in general.” Read more about computer science at UIS