Graciela Popoca knew she made the right choice to attend the University of Illinois Springfield shortly after arriving on campus. “In my first year, I was able to be a part of many organization and quickly felt loved by my community,” she said. On campus, she is now the president of the Organization of Latin American Students and vice president of Gamma Phi Omega International Sorority, Inc. and Students Helping Detention Centers.
Ocean Pangan chose the University of Illinois Springfield to play on the women’s golf team and be a part of the Capitol Honors Scholar Program (CAP). On campus she is an international student ambassador, a CAP peer mentor and a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
Hasani Cannon enjoys the “bond and relationships” he’s formed within the University of Illinois Springfield community calling them “long lasting and invaluable to my journey to success.” On campus, he is president of the African Student Association, Afro-Beat Dance Crew and the Art Student League.
Jace King chose the University of Illinois Springfield because of its location and educational resources. On campus, he is the Psychology Department student representative, assistant editor of the UIS Journal newspaper and content manager for the TEDxUofISpringfield committee. King is currently doing research on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on depression and anxiety levels among UIS undergraduate students.
Antone Evans chose the University of Illinois Springfield because of the state government internship opportunities offered by UIS’ Graduate Public Service Internship Program. “Being someone wanting to get into the work force before pursing my Ph.D., it was amazing to have a program where I could gain work experience, while in my two-year program.” On campus, Evans is the Student Government Association College of Liberal Arts and Science Senator and the TEDxUofISpringfield Committee Director.
Angie Quiroga Torres says she chose the University of Illinois Springfield to earn a “high quality graduate education.” On campus, she is co-vice president of the Research Society and a member of the Community Garden Club. She interns off campus at the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency as part of UIS’ Graduate Public Service Internship (GPSI) Program.
Charles Ogbogu says he enjoys the “moderate class sizes and personalized learning experience” at the University of Illinois Springfield. He plays on the UIS men’s soccer team and is a member of the Capital Honors Program and African Students Association. He is also a student assistant for the UIS Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.
Beatriz Acosta chose the University of Illinois of Springfield because it is “a smaller school, away from the city.” She is the Student Government Association (SGA) resident senator, secretary of the Chemistry Club and a member of an unofficial research journal club. She also served as the student member on a search committee for a faculty position in the Biology Department.
Amanda Young loves “the sense of community” at the University of Illinois Springfield. She is part of the mock trial team, a member of Phi Alpha Delta International Law Fraternity and the Capital Scholars Honors Program. As a student employee, Young is also assisting Associate Professor Sibel Oktay with her research project on Political Leadership and International Response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kelsey Lessen chose the University of Illinois Springfield because of the “small school atmosphere” and the Capital Scholars Honors Program. On campus, she is the treasurer of the Student Organization Funding Association, a member of Christian Student Fellowship and treasurer of Kappa Delta Phi.
Layla Wellington says she enjoys the “friendly environment” at the University of Illinois Springfield. “People are always willing to help and show support, which is why I think of UIS as my home away from home,” she said. Wellington is part of the Student Activities Committee (SAC), Voices in Praise Gospel Choir and a mentor for the STARS Living-Learning Community.
Aaleiyah Spaulding says she chose the University of Illinois Springfield for the reasonable tuition price and the community. “UIS strives for diversity and makes everyone feel welcome,” she said. “As a biracial woman, this meant the world to me.” On campus, she’s a part of The National Society of Leadership and Success Chapter and previously served as a student representative for the Psychology Department.
Menno Servaes chose the University of Illinois Springfield be part of the “talented and driven” men’s tennis team, which he now captains. On campus, he’s the president of The Research Society, Student Government Association Senator for the College of Business and Management, and is a member of the Society of Advancement of Management and Society of Human Resource Management.
Jennifer Davis chose the University of Illinois Springfield because of the small class sizes, friendly professors and proximity to home. “I like how the professors are always willing to help you out if you need it,” she said. “They are willing to go the extra mile to make sure you succeed.” On campus, she’s a member of the Green Fee Committee and also a member of the Research Society.
R’Lee Jones is heavily involved on campus as the vice president of the Black Student Union and the Voices in Praise Gospel Choir. She is also a member of UIS NAACP and Black Women of Excellence. “My favorite thing about UIS is the culture our students of color bring,” Jones said. “We work hard to make sure our campus understands the importance of not only diversity, but inclusion, equity, equality and the power of acceptance.”
Grace Weber chose the University of Illinois Springfield because of the opportunities to get involved and be part of the community. On campus, she plays on the women’s basketball team and is a peer math tutor at The Learning Hub. She is also a leader in the University Bible Fellowship and a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Mae Matoka chose the University of Illinois Springfield because it allowed her “room to grow.” She enjoys the small, close-knit community at UIS that she “craved” for her college experience. On campus, Matoka is a member of the Capital Scholars Honors Program, where she also works as the social media manager. She is president of Legacy Dance Team and the vice president of Lambda Pi Eta, the Communication Honors Society on campus.
Tasneem Shaik chose the University of Illinois Springfield because of the courses it offers, internship opportunities and great learning experiences. She works as a student employee at the Office of International Student Services and is vice president of the Indian Student Organization.
Alexis Dhamrait chose the University of Illinois Springfield because “it was close to home and allowed me to receive an excellent education while saving for law school.” At UIS, she is a member of the Capital Scholars Honors Program, Alternative Spring Break and the Phi Alpha Delta International Law Fraternity.
Jessica Joyner chose the University of Illinois Springfield because of the “amazing” Human Development Counseling program, the wide variety of graduate assistantships and because of the welcoming campus. She is the graduate assistant for the UIS Volunteer & Civic Engagement Center and helps to organize volunteer projects on and off campus.