FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                             December 13, 2001

Contact:  Donna McCracken

Ten students in UIS’ Public Affairs Reporting program receive scholarships

Ten graduate students in the Public Affairs Reporting program at the University of Illinois at Springfield were presented with scholarships for 2001 at a reception held Thursday, December 13, in the UIS Public Affairs Center.

Staci Bivens and Thomas Weber received the Milton D. Friedland Scholarships; Adam Kovac and Patrick J. Powers were awarded Steven B. Hahn Reporting Scholarships; Heath Hixson, Kate Karnes, and Amanda York are recipients of Robert P. Howard Scholarships; and Pat Milhizer, Paula Van Drisse, and Jeff Druchniak are recipients of the Illinois Legislative Correspondents Association Scholarships. All of these scholarships are awarded to PAR students who have demonstrated strong interest and potential in the field of government and political reporting.

The Friedland scholarships are presented in memory of the late Milton D. Friedland, founder and general manager of WICS-TV in Springfield.  In addition to being a broadcast pioneer in central Illinois, Friedland was a former community relations associate for the campus and a long-time friend and benefactor of Sangamon State University, as UIS was formerly known.

Bivens, the daughter of Natalia Bivens of Schaumburg, received a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts in Broadcast Journalism from Northern Illinois University in 1999.  Before enrolling at UIS, she was a reporter, writer, and videographer with WHBF-TV in Rock Island. While at NIU she anchored and reported for CNN Headline News Local Edition and received a National Security Education Program/University of Illinois fellowship to live and study in Mexico City. Bivens was also awarded an Illinois News Broadcasters Association Minority Internship, through which she spent a semester at WAND-TV in Decatur.  In January she will begin a six-month internship with WICS-TV, Springfield.

Weber, the son of Mary and Michael Weber of New Lenox, Illinois, received a bachelor of arts degree in Radio-Television and German, magna cum laude, from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale in 2001.  While at SIU-C, he was a reporter, producer, writer, and anchor at WSIU-FM and a reporter, anchor, writer, editor, and videographer at WSIU-TV, both in Carbondale.  He held a summer internship with WCIA-TV, Champaign, and another with the Freedom Forum in London, England. Currently employed at WTAX-AM in Springfield, he will be interning with WUIS/WIPA/ Illinois Public Radio.

The Hahn scholarships are presented in memory of Steven B. Hahn, a former Statehouse correspondent for The State Journal-Register and United Press International.

Kovac is the son of Roberta Baker of Williamsport, Indiana, and a 2000 graduate of Purdue University where he received a bachelor of arts degree in Journalistic Communication. While at Purdue, he was a reporter, city editor, and managing editor at the student newspaper, The Exponent. Before enrolling at UIS, he was a night police reporter for the Journal and Courier in Lafayette, Indiana, and served nine years in the airborne infantry with the U.S. Army.  He is currently a reporter for the UIS student newspaper, The Journal, and will be interning with the ChicagoTribune.

Powers is the son of Trisha and Jim Powers, Ellisville, Missouri. He received a B.A. in Communication and Political Science from St. Louis University in 2000. While there, he was editor-in-chief of the student newspaper, The University News, and won various awards from the Missouri College Media Association, including a first place for investigative reporting. Powers was also a correspondent for Suburban Journal Newspapers in St. Louis and participated in Project Interchange for Newspaper Editors, a nationwide program under which 15 university newspaper editors were selected to spend 10 days in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Before enrolling at UIS, he was a reporter for the Olathe Daily News, Olathe, Kansas. Currently employed with the UIS Alumni Association, he will be interning with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The Howard scholarships are presented in memory of the late Robert P. Howard, who joined the Chicago Tribune in 1944 and served as its Statehouse bureau chief from 1957 until 1970. Also a noted historian, Howard was the author of several books, including Illinois: A History of the Prairie State, and Mostly Good and Competent Men: Illinois Governors, 1818-1988, as well as numerous articles on Illinois history

Hixson is the son of Marcia and Richard Tuggle of Alamosa, Colorado, and Deana and Will Hixson of Duluth, Georgia. He received a bachelor or arts in Technical Journalism and Political Science from Colorado State University in 2001. While at Colorado State, he was state editor at the student newspaper, the Rocky Mountain Collegian, and a news announcer and host of weekly shows on current affairs and specialty music at KCSU-FM. Currently he is a reporter for The Journal. Hixson will be interning with the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.

Karnes is the daughter of Janet Pioli and Evan Karnes II, Northfield, Illinois. She received a bachelor of science in Broadcast Journalism from Illinois State University in 2001. While at ISU, she was a producer, anchor, and reporter for TV-10 news and an assistant in a ISU residence hall.  She interned one summer with NBC Network News in Chicago and is currently employed as an office assistant with Lincoln Towers Apartments in Springfield.   She will be interning with WCIA-TV, Champaign.

York, the daughter of Kim and Tim York, Winchester, Kentucky, is a 2001 graduate of the University of Kentucky, where she  received a B.A. in Journalism, magna cum laude.  While at UK, she was editor-in-chief of the student newspaper, the Kentucky Kernel, a correspondent for the Lexington Herald-Leader, and a reporter and anchor for JAT News, the university=s student-produced cable newscast.  She served summer internships as a general assignment reporter with The Kentucky Post, a supplement to The Cincinnati Post, and as a metro reporter in the Kentucky bureau of The Cincinnati Enquirer. Currently a reporter for The Journal, she will be interning with the Associated Press.

The ILCA scholarships are named after several persons with close ties to both the PAR program and the Illinois Legislative Correspondents Association, an entity comprised of the news media outlets represented in the Statehouse pressroom.

The Burnell A. Heinecke Scholarship honors a former president of the ILCA and a long-time Statehouse reporter. Heinecke was a 23-year veteran of the Chicago Sun-Times and the paper=s first permanent legislative reporter in the state capitol. He also helped found the PAR program and served for many years on both its program and selection committees.

Milhizer, the son of Paula and Robert Milhizer of Chicago, received a B.A. in Communications from Marquette University in Milwaukee in 2001.While at Marquette, he worked for two years at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, including one year as a night police reporter. Currently he is a free-lance writer for The State Journal-Register and also works at Marly’s Pub in Springfield.  He will be interning with the Chicago Sun-Times.

The Bill Miller Scholarship is presented in honor of the former director of the PAR program, who retired in 1993 after 19 years at the PAR helm. Under his guidance the program established a national reputation for preparing journalists to cover government and politics.  Before coming to UIS, Miller was an award-winning reporter with WTAX radio in Springfield and with the Capitol Information Bureau, a predecessor of Illinois Radio Network.

Van Drisse, daughter of Elizabeth and Everett Van Drisse of Casco, Wisconsin, received a bachelor of arts degree in Communications from St. Norbert College, De Pere, Wisconsin, in 1999.  While at St. Norbert, she was a member of the college=s vocal ensemble and was chosen Miss Green Bay Area for 1996.  She interned one semester with WFRV-TV in Green Bay and before enrolling at UIS was a reporter and an anchor at KIMT-TV in Mason City, Iowa, and a broadcast assistant at WFRV-TV in Green Bay.  Currently Van Drisse is working with ACCESS 4 in the UIS Television Office.  She will be interning with WAND-TV, Decatur.

The ILCA Memorial Scholarship is given in memory of deceased Statehouse reporters, many of whom provided guidance and assistance to the PAR program throughout its history.

Druchniak is the son of Vicki and Gary Druchniak, Livonia, Michigan. He received a B.A. in English from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in 2000. While at UM he was a writer and editor of the feature section for the student newspaper, the Michigan Daily, and was a member of the Delta Epsilon Iota honor society.  Before enrolling at UIS, he was a reporter and columnist for the Journal Newspapers in Plymouth, Michigan. Currently employed at OId Luxemburg Inn in Springfield, he will be interning with Copley Illinois Newspapers.

The Public Affairs Reporting program at UIS is a one-year master’s degree program focusing on coverage of state government news.  In addition to academic work, students serve six-month internships with newspaper, magazine, radio, television, wire service or audio news service bureaus in the Statehouse pressroom in Springfield.