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Donna McCracken

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This Year



Ten Public Affairs Reporting students at UIS receive scholarships

February 4, 2004

SPRINGFIELD - Ten graduate students in the Public Affairs Reporting program at the University of Illinois at Springfield were presented with scholarships at a reception hosted by UIS Chancellor Richard Ringeisen on February 3 in the Public Affairs Center restaurant on the UIS campus.

Recipients of the Milton D. Friedland Scholarships were Abigail Alford and Tracee Brock. Steven B. Hahn Reporting Scholarships were awarded to Leslie Griffy and Dorothy Schneider. Robert P. Howard Scholarships were awarded to Bethany Carson, Jennifer Lee, and Molly Parker. Brian Wallheimer, Katie Knapp, and Sara Hooker received scholarships from the Illinois Legislative Correspondents Association. All of these scholarships are awarded annually 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.

Alford, the daughter of Vicki Elston of Lincoln, California, and James Alford of Red Bluff, California, received a B.A. in speech communication from Eastern Illinois University in 2003. At EIU, she was a reporter, writer, and producer for campus station WEIU-TV and received an Outstanding Broadcast Journalist Award. She also served as president of the EIU chapter of SINBA, the student affiliate of the Illinois News Broadcasters Association. In January she began a six-month internship with WAND-TV, Decatur.

Brock, the daughter of Clara Johnson of Chicago, received a B.S. in broadcast journalism from the U of I at Urbana-Champaign in 2003. While at UIUC, she was a reporter/producer for cable TV network UI-7 News and served internships with WLS-TV and Citizen Newspapers, both in Chicago, and WICD-TV and WCIA-TV, both in Champaign. She was vice president of the UIUC student chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists, and received the Harold E. and Dorothy Johnson Sortor Journalism award. She is currently an intern with WICS-TV, Springfield.

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

Griffy, the daughter of David Griffy of Sunnyvale, California, received a B.A. in political, legal, and economic analysis from Mills College in Oakland, California, in 2002. She was editor of the Mills student newspaper, The Weekly, and had previously been editor of The Times, the student newspaper at San Jose City College, where she won awards for feature writing, in-depth news coverage, and copy editing from the Journalism Association of Community Colleges. She has also been a news broadcaster for KSJS-FM, the campus station at San Jose State University and, before enrolling at UIS, was a clerk with the San Jose Mercury News. She is currently an intern with the Chicago Sun-Times.

Schneider, the daughter of Jerrianne Schneider of Rockford, received a B.S. in news-editorial journalism from UIUC in 2003. While there, she was a reporter and columnist for the student newspaper, the Daily Illini, and served summer reporting internships on the business desk of the Rockford Register Star and with WNIJ/WNIU-FM, the National Public Radio outlet in DeKalb. She also spent a semester as a communications intern in the press office of The Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. In January she began an internship with Copley Illinois Newspapers.

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

Carson is the daughter of Linda and Randy Carson of Algonquin, Illinois. She received a B.S. in news-editorial journalism from UIUC in 2002 and was a reporter for the Daily Illini. Before enrolling at UIS, she was managing editor of The Chronicle in Hoopeston. At UIS, she spent the 2003 fall semester as a reporter for the student newspaper, The Journal. She is presently an intern with Illinois Issues magazine.

Lee, the daughter of Dr. Young Kyoon and Jin Wha Lee of La Crosse, Wisconsin, received a B.A. in sociology from the University of Pennsylvania in 2002. She was a reporter for The Daily Pennsylvanian, the student newspaper at UP, and before enrolling at UIS also served as an intern with the Philadelphia Weekly, an editorial assistant with the quarterly Black Parenting Today, and a staff writer for 34th Street Magazine. Her internship is with the Small Newspaper Group.

Parker is the daughter of Sandy and Lou Parker of Simpson, Illinois, and received a B.S. in journalism from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale in 2003. While at SIU-C she was a reporter, editor, and editor-in-chief of the student newspaper, the Daily Egyptian, where she won several awards from the Illinois College Press Association including first place for editorial writing, second place for news writing, and third place for spot news photography. During the 2003 fall semester, she was a freelance writer for The State Journal-Register, where she interned before enrolling at UIS, and for Illinois Issues. Her internship is with the Chicago Tribune.

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

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

Wallheimer, the son of Linda Colombara-Buffo of Troy, Illinois, received a B.S. in mass communications from SIU-Edwardsville in 2003. While at SIU-E, he was a reporter and editor-in-chief of the Alestle, the student newspaper, and a stringer for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Suburban Journal Newspapers in Collinsville. He received the Kamil Winter Award for achievement in socially responsible journalism and the Elmer C. Broz Award for overall achievement in journalism. In Springfield he served a summer reporting internship at The State Journal-Register and during the fall semester was a freelance correspondent there, as well as a reporter for the UIS Journal. He is interning with the Post-Dispatch.

The Bill Miller Scholarship is presented in honor of the late director of the PAR program, who passed away in November 2003 and under whose guidance it 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. He retired in 1993 after 19 years at the PAR helm.

Knapp, the daughter of Robert Knapp, Nashville, Illinois, received a B.A. in radio-television from SIU-C in 2003. While there, she was a producer, reporter, and anchor at WSIU-FM as well as a reporter, editor, and videographer at WSIU-TV. She received the Virginia Marmaduke Endowed Scholarship for radio, and also served as president of the SIU-C chapter of SINBA. She is currently interning with WUIS/WIPA/Illinois Public Radio in Springfield.

The ILCA memorial scholarship is given in memory of deceased Statehouse reporters, many of whom have provided guidance and assistance to the PAR program.

Hooker, the daughter of James Hooker of Dwight, received a B.S. in journalism from SIU-C in 2003. While there, she was a reporter and editor for the Daily Egyptian. She has also served an internship as a general assignment reporter with the Daily Journal in Kankakee. Her current internship is with the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.

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.


    The University of Illinois at Springfield, one of three U of I campuses, is a small, public liberal arts university that offers 40 degree programs – 20 bachelor’s, 19 master’s, and the Doctorate of Public Administration. UIS has a special mission in public affairs and service and is known for extraordinary internships, a wireless campus, extensive online offerings, and a commitment to teaching.