Staff in the Capital Scholars Honors Program

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


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.

Areli Calderon
Graduate Assistant
Capital Scholars Honors Program
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Areli is a recent 2020 graduate of the University of Illinois Springfield with a Bachelor of Psychology and Communications. She is a first-year graduate student pursuing her Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling here at UIS while serving as one of the CAP graduate assistants. Areli is a trained sexual assault advocate at the local Prairie Center Against Sexual Assault and serves as a Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Coordinator for Gamma Phi Omega International Sorority, Inc. In her free time, she loves to make friendship bracelets, ride her bike and walk her dog, Mocha.  


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.

Erica Mooney
Teaching Assistant for CAP 111/361
Capital Scholars Honors Program
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Erica became a CAP Teaching Assistant in the Fall of 2020. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English Education and Professional Writing with a minor in Publishing and Editing from Millikin University. She is currently working toward a master’s degree in Human Development Counseling from UIS. Outside the office, she enjoys outdoor activities such as running and biking, writing, going to concerts, and spoiling her two Ragdoll cats.

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 junior 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 found with her friends on campus.


Maddie Minnick 
Student Worker
Capital Scholars Honors Program
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Maddie began working in the CAP Program in the fall of 2019. She is a senior 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.