Monday, June 17, 2013

Camp gives girls hands-on experience with technology

A University of Illinois Springfield professor hopes she can convince two dozen middle school girls just how fascinating computer science can be.

But here’s the catch: She has just two days to make it happen.

At a time when the number of women interested in computer science is declining rapidly, Girl Tech 2013, a two-day camp at UIS that started Thursday, aims to get young girls interested in the field and strengthen their technology skills by giving them hands-on opportunities, said Mary Sheila Tracy, a computer science instructor at the university.

“The key to making this successful is to find something that engages the girl as well as teaches them, and teaching really becomes secondary,” Tracy said, adding that the camp, which is in its fifth year, is geared toward girls in middle school, an age when interest begins to decline.

“Girls in middle school make a decision somewhere along the way to walk away from science, technology, engineering and math,” Tracy said.

The story was featured by the State Journal-Register on June 14, 2013.

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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

College students fear possible interest rate hike

The clock is ticking for college students across the country who are anticipating a possible hike in student loan interest rates. The rate hike is scheduled to kick in on July 1.

It would double interest rates on students with subsidized Stafford loans from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. If Congress fails to come to an agreement, students with subsidized Stafford loans would have to pay nearly $1,000 more in interest over the life of their loan.

UIS Financial Aid Associate Director Carolyn Schloeman said the possible interest rate hike most likely won't impact future students' decisions to go to college.

"At this point, a lot of them already committed, they made their plans, and they kinda already had an idea about how they are going to pay their education for this upcoming year," said Schloeman. "They have already made their plans and got everything together, so I don't see it being a huge impact."

Shloeman said currently the interest rates are fixed on all subsidized and unsubsidized loans. Therefore, if Congress doesn't come to an agreement by July 1 of this year, only students who take out loans after the first will be affected by the higher interest rates.

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Monday, June 10, 2013

Susan Koch: UIS students benefit from studies abroad

The following is part of a column written by UIS Chancellor Susan J. Koch. It was published in the June 9, 2013 edition of The State Journal-Register.

"If conversations I had recently are any indication, many University of Illinois Springfield students will return to the Springfield campus next fall with more vigorous minds indeed, along with some interesting stamps in their passports. These students are part of a larger trend of increasing global student mobility.

In fact, according to UNESCO, there are 3.4 million students on the move every year all over the world.

UIS history major Caitlin Osborn is one of those 3.4 million this year. A senior from Edwardsville who is on the women’s golf team, Caitlin is spending much of this month in Rome studying the Eternal City with professor of comparative religion David Bertaina."

Read the full column online

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Softball diamond full of activity all day long

Softball is a way of life for many area families, who spend their summer nights and weekends at the University of Illinois Springfield-owned softball complex on South 11th Street. The season may stretch into cool-weather months for families with a player on a competitive traveling team.

“The players show a lot of passion, coaches too. Heck, the parents are very supportive as well,” said Heath Erwin, assistant director for the Land of Lincoln Junior Olympic Softball organization.

The softball complex is busy with balls being thrown, batted or caught. Land of Lincoln hosts 500-600 league and tournament games each summer.

This summer, there are 54 teams between four age divisions. Teams are responsible for their own tryouts, which usually take place in the fall. However, the league helps players connect with teams that still have openings. The players, ages 10 to 18, grow up at the fields — with the help of a small army of volunteers, parents, coaches and others who make sure not just that the games go on, but that the complex is a welcoming place for all visitors.

The story was published on June 9, 2013 in The State Journal-Register.

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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Chatham native named new UIS women's soccer coach

New University of Illinois Springfield women’s soccer coach Molly Grisham is coming back home and returning to a school where she once studied.

Today is the first day on the job for the 1992 Chatham Glenwood High School graduate. She was the head coach at NCAA Division II Wayne State College in Nebraska the previous four seasons.

Grisham received a master’s degree from UIS in 2002. At the time, the school did not yet have a women’s soccer program.

“I have nothing but good memories, especially the men’s soccer program,” she said. “The opportunity to develop on the women’s side is there. “I’m excited about the opportunity of me having a chance to be back in the soccer community, which is a real draw. It is a chance to recruit in-state players and take the program to the next level.”

The 39-year-old is the second coach since UIS began its program in 2008. She replaces Pete Kowall, now an assistant at Indiana State University. He was 16-56-4 in five seasons beginning with the inaugural season.

The story was featured by The State Journal-Register on June 6, 2013.

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Monday, June 3, 2013

UIS professor gets out of this world opportunity

One UIS professor is getting a chance to put his stamp on history.

Astronomy and physics associate professor John Martin will join scientists from around the world to study the massive Eta Carinae star using the Hubble Space Telescope.

This is a huge opportunity for Martin. He will embark on learning more about a star bigger than the sun.

"We have a baseline of data for this star going back 10 to 15 years with the Hubble Space Telescope," Martin said. "This is the first time in three years we've been awarded time to do this, so we get to follow up basically on what it's been doing."

Martin and his team expect to receive data from the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore over the next two years.

The story was featured by WICS-TV 20 on May 31, 2013.

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