Jon O’Daniel recently completed an internship at accounting firm Eck, Schafer & Punke LLP in Springfield where he learned about tax preparation and audits. On campus, he is the president of the Delta Kappa Epsilon Kappa Beta Colony.
Kelsey Marucco is now only a few steps away from becoming an elementary school teacher. On campus, she is heavily involved as a member of the Capital Scholars Honors Program and the Tri Sigma Sorority. She also works for UIS Campus Recreation and at the Cox Children’s Center on campus.
Luigi Cabantog came to the University of Illinois Springfield knowing he wanted to make a difference. As a freshman, he was elected a Student Government Association senator and joined the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity where he is the philanthropy and service chair.
Adrienne Taylor is part of the Students Transitioning for Academic Retention and Success (STARS) living-learning community at the University of Illinois Springfield and is secretary of the leadership team.
Matthew Traxler was one of 14 University of Illinois Springfield students who spent their spring break in Puerto Rico helping the U.S. territory recover from Hurricane Maria. On campus, he is a member of the Phi Kappa Tau Zeta Zeta Chapter. He is the entertainment chair for the Dance Marathon, a fundraiser for the Children’s Miracle Network, and president of the UIS Disc Golf team.
Before coming to the University of Illinois Springfield, Caleb Froidcoeur admits he wasn’t passionate about the environment. He is now a Campus Sustainability Projects Coordinator taking project ideas, like refillable water bottle stations and low emission vehicle (LEV) parking spaces, from the drawing board to reality.
Maura Freeman has two major leadership roles at the University of Illinois Springfield. The senior communication and English major is editor-in-chief of The Journal, the editorially independent student newspaper on campus, and is a resident assistant (RA) for the Department of Residence Life.
When Alice Caceres-Turcios was looking for a place to attend college, she knew she wanted to be challenged academically. She found the perfect fit in the Capital Scholars Honors Program at the University of Illinois Springfield. Caceres-Turcios is now a peer mentor for the Honors Program, helping to guide younger students. She also works on campus as a Student Ambassador in the Office of Admissions.
Samantha Hwang transferred to the University of Illinois Springfield because she wanted to be part of the UIS Music Program. She’s played the violin since she was in elementary school and was offered a Camerata Music Scholarship at UIS. She is now the concert master for the UIS Orchestra. She is also an International Student Ambassador and works part-time at Brookens Library.
As a transfer student, Cambry Bennett says she had a smooth transition to the University of Illinois Springfield. Now she’s helping prospective students learn about UIS as a Student Ambassador. As a Student Ambassador, Bennett gives campus tours to high school students and their parents who are interested in attending UIS. On campus, Bennett is a member of the Commuter Student Association and sings in the UIS Music Choir Ensemble.
Geetu Sharma came to the United States to be part of the Graduate Public Service Internship Program at the University of Illinois Springfield. In October 2018, Sharma started interning in the Office of Health Promotion at the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) where she works to prevent cases of youth suicide. She is also active on campus as the Graduate Student Senator on the Student Government Association and president of Asian Student Organization.
Kia Jones has become an expert in reviewing resumes and cover letters. She works at the University of Illinois Springfield Career Development Center where she helps any student who walks through the door make sure they’re ready to apply for a job. In December 2018, Jones was honored with the Student Affairs Employee of the Month award for her above and beyond work helping other students.
As a political science major, Ben Szalinski says he chose the University of Illinois Springfield because of its smaller class sizes and location in the state capital. He’s using that location to his advantage as president of the Student Advocacy Coalition, a UIS student group that lobbies lawmakers on higher education issues. Szalinski is active as the treasurer of the Alternative Spring Break student organization and works on campus as an intramural sports supervisor for UIS Campus Recreation.
Nick Reynolds is helping to boost school spirit as a marketing and engagement intern for the University of Illinois Springfield Athletics Department. In that role, he promotes athletic events on social media and serves as a host for promotions during games. Reynolds also co-founded the first Jewish student organization at UIS and has completed several internships in various campus departments.
As a star basketball player at Springfield’s Lanphier High School, Aundrae Williams knew he wanted to continue his career in his hometown following graduation. Williams has become an important part of the UIS Prairie Stars leadership on the court as a point guard directing the team’s offense. The communication major recently had the opportunity to represent UIS at a national three day NCAA Inclusion Forum in Indianapolis.
Connie Sifuentes is a leader in the Greek Life community at the University of Illinois Springfield. She currently serves as the president of the Greek Affairs Board where she advocates for Greek Life on campus. She is a member of the Gamma Phi Omega International Sorority, Inc. Chi Chapter, serves as marketing chair for the Psychology Club, volunteers as a Necessary Steps Program mentor and works for UIS Brookens Library.
Hailey Hollinshead’s passion for science and medical research has grown at the University of Illinois Springfield. She plans to attend medical school following graduation and become a dermatologist. On campus, Hollinshead co-founded the Legion of Ladies, a student organization focused on women’s empowerment. She is also a resident assistant in Lincoln Residence Hall and previously served on the UIS cheerleading and track and field teams.
Rhilee Cochran is gaining valuable experience working at the Cox Children’s Center at the University of Illinois Springfield. The elementary education and psychology major plans to use the lessons she’s learning when she becomes an elementary school teacher. Cochran was recently honored with the Student Affairs Division’s first Student Employee of the Month award in recognition for her outstanding work at the children’s center.