Denise Yates

Denise YatesCurrent Location: Chicago, IL
Hometown: Chicago, IL

UIS Degrees: B.A. 1996 (Child, Family & Community Services)
M.A. 1998 (Human Development Counseling)

Current Position
Director for Programs, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine, Office of Graduate Diversity Programs

Career Highlights
Yates has worked as an addictions and mental health counselor for the past 20 years. Since 2001, she has adapted her counseling skills to also work with professional and graduate students at the University of Florida and now at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She carved out a niche for herself in graduate diversity recruitment and retention. Her research interests include diversity in higher education, graduate retention, attrition and time to degree for ethnic minorities and others underrepresented in graduate and medical education.

Memories of SSU/UIS
“UIS was my college experience, even though I was a non-traditional student. I loved to study and read in Brookens Library. I loved going to classes with classmates several decades my junior, learning more from them than I could have ever imagined. I loved being warned by the refs at basketball games for cheering too loudly. I loved walking along Ring Road in the fall when the maple trees turned red.”

“Being tagged by the Secret Service to sing in front of a packed Sangamon Auditorium to fill time while the audience awaited the arrival of then-First Lady Hillary Clinton. Since then I have sung our alma mater ‘Illinois, Illinois’ at every commencement. The 2015 Commencement will mark the 20th year I’ve had the honor and privilege to do so.”

“I met people, students, faculty, and staff, who are now my long-time friends.”

“I’ve lived in many places across the country but UIS and Springfield are the only places outside of Chicago that I ever called home.”

How did UIS change or prepare you?
“My coursework at UIS added theory to practice. I learned how to think critically and with broadened perspective. Without UIS I would have not have a career.”

Interesting Fact
“I make an outrageous sweet potato pie and a ridiculous banana pudding (with homemade vanilla wafers).”

Posted on March 31, 2015