Staff in the Capital Scholars Honors Program

Dr. Marc Klingshirn
Director, Capital Scholars Honors Program/
Associate Professor, Chemistry
Email Dr. Klingshirn

Dr. Klingshirn joined the Chemistry Department at UIS in 2006 and has taught in the Capital Scholars Honors Program since the Spring of 2007. He became the Director of CAP Honors in the Fall of 2013. When not teaching and administering within CAP Honors, he enjoys spending time in the lab developing green, environmentally friendly laboratory procedures for the high school and undergraduate chemistry curriculum. When not on campus, he enjoys running, kayaking, and exploring his “fascination with water.”


Karen Barker
Senior Coordinator of Recruitment and Operations,
Capital Scholars Honors Program
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Karen has been with the Honors Program since 2005. She holds a master’s degree in Human Development Counseling from UIS and a bachelor’s degree in Psychology (with minor in Sociology) from Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville. Karen taught CAP 102 for 9 years. She enjoys working out, is addicted to shopping, and loves spoiling her dog, Ruby.

Cortney Trencevski
Admissions Counselor, Advisor and Peer Mentoring Program Assistant,
Capital Scholars Honors Program

Email Cortney Trencevski

Cortney joined the Capital Scholars Honors Program in the fall of 2015. She has a master’s degree in Human Development Counseling from UIS and a bachelor’s in Business Administration. Cortney is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Illinois. Outside of the office, she partakes in a variety of hobbies including volunteering, fitness, and traveling.

Patti Young

Business Administrative Associate
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Patti has been with UIS since May 2011.  She joined the Capital Scholars Honors Program in Fall of 2019.  Patti holds a bachelor’s in Business Administration and Marketing.  Outside the office, she enjoys taking classes at UIS to further her education, reading Danielle Steel books, cheering on the Chicago Cubs and Chicago Bears, watching NASCAR and hanging out with her granddaughter.

Clifford White

Capital Scholars Honors Program
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Clifford has been with the CAP program for six years and has been a full-time instructor for five. He has taught CAP 102, 111, 115, 361, and 402. He has a number of scholarly interests such as History, Politics and Economics. He has a background in Communications and English and enjoys critically examining and analyzing mass media as it relates to understanding how those messages intersect with and reflect American culture. He has a deep affinity for film and can be generally found watching movies or reading.

Dr. Elise LoBue

Capital Scholars Honors Program
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Elise has been with the Program for seven years, becoming a full-time instructor in 2018. She has taught CAP 111, 122, 123, 253, 402 and will teach CAP 115 in spring. Elise’s scholarly interests include: postsocialist transitions in the former Soviet Union where she served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kazakhstan, gender studies/gender and development, sports and media, and interdisciplinary research and writing.  She is currently working on research focusing on Turkish refugees who are members of the Islamically based Hizmet civil society movement seeking political asylum in Canada. Outside the office, Elise enjoys gardening, health and wellness, going to the beach, watching kids’ sports, and Ubering them to activities.

Diana Dabek
Coordinator and Instructor of Honors Composition & Student Academic Support,
Capital Scholars Honors Program
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Diana Dabek joined CAP in Fall 2019 as Instructor and Coordinator of Honors Composition and Student Academic Support. Since then, she has designed and implemented a new civics-infused writing curriculum for the program. In addition to teaching CAP 111 and CAP 115, she helps oversee the peer tutoring program and CAP Studios. Diana also serves as faculty mentor for Continuum, the CAP Honor’s academic journal. Diana holds an M.A. in Literature from Florida International University and is currently finishing her dissertation on Early American Literature from the University of Miami. In her spare time, she likes to go antiquing and museum hopping in Springfield and the neighboring areas of St. Louis and Chicago.

Nick Dabbs
Graduate Assistant,
Capital Scholars Honors Program
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Nick serves as the CAP Peer Tutoring Graduate Assistant. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English Literature (with minors in Women & Gender Studies and Sociology) from UIS, and he is currently pursuing a master’s in English. Nick enjoys literature, writing, LGBT+ issues, playing bass, and anime

Danielle Sakach

Graduate Assistant,
Capital Scholars Honors Program
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Dani is a graduate of the Capital Scholars Honors Program, class of 2018, with a bachelor’s in Psychology and a minor in Women & Gender Studies. She is currently pursuing her master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling here at UIS while serving as one of the CAP graduate assistants and working as a visual artist at Urban Sassafras. Dani is also a local musician as part of the band Graveswitcher. She has previously been in the bands Moondead, Wilt Candy, and Montagh, and is always working on something new. She often plays at the Black Sheep Cafe as well as other parts of the Illinois underground punk community.

Nouf Khalifi
Teaching Assistant for CAP 141/142
Capital Scholars Honors Program
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Nouf is a Microbiologist from Saudi Arabia who is currently studying Master of Public Health with concentration on Environmental Health at UIS. She graduated from King Saud University and she has two years of work experience; one of them was in a hospital and the other year was in a research center. Currently, she’s on a scholarship from the Ministry of Health in Saudi Arabia to study abroad and go back to fill a job position where there is a lack of Environmental Health majors.


Mae Matoka
Student Worker
Capital Scholars Honors Program
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Mae began with the CAP program in the Fall of 2019. She is a sophomore majoring in Communications with minors in Political Science and Psychology. She is an editor for Continuum. Also, she is the President of Legacy Dance team and the Vice President of Lambda Pi Eta, the Communications Honors Society. She loves to work on her bullet journal during her spare time, and can often be with her friends on campus.


Maddie Minnick 
Student Worker
Capital Scholars Honors Program
Email Maddie Minnick

Maddie began working in the CAP Program in the fall of 2019. She is a junior majoring in Psychology. She currently works as a peer tutor and an editor for Continuum, and has, in the past, mentored fellow CAP students. In her free time, she enjoys reading, writing, and playing or listening to music.