Monday, April 24, 2017

Women's Golf: Hill leads UIS to victory

The University of Illinois Springfield women’s golf squad won its home Spring Invite Sunday.

Brooke Hill led the Prairie Stars with a second-place finish in the 46-player field, shooting a four-over-par 76 to gain one of only three scores under 80 for the day.

UIS shot a team-best 640 over the two-day event, beating Lewis by four strokes and easily outpacing five other Great Lakes Valley Conference teams in the field.

Jocelyn Matsen carded a 77 on Sunday and Maria Espinosa had a 78.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on April 23, 2017.

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Men's Baseball: Ramirez picks up 100th baseball win at UIS

The University of Illinois Springfield baseball team blew open a close game with five runs in their half of the seventh for a 6-2 win over visiting Truman State.

It marked the 100th victory of coach Chris Ramirez’s career.

UIS trailed the Bulldogs 2-1 in the bottom of the seventh before Cole Taylor doubled down the left field line and came home on a Trey Hannam RBI single.

Hannam later scored on a sacrifice fly by Kenny Hansen to give UIS its first lead at 3-2. Drew Harper followed with his fourth home run of the season and the Prairie Stars were on their way to their sixth consecutive home victory.

The Prairie Stars improved to 22-15 overall.

This game was recorded in The State Journal-Register on April 19, 2017.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Innocence Project director to speak in Decatur on Wednesday

John J. Hanlon, executive director and legal director of the Illinois Innocence Project, at the University of Illinois Springfield, is slated to speak at the Macon County Criminal Justice Group meeting Wednesday.

Hanlon's primary duty with the Innocence Project is to work on cases in which it is believed there is a reasonable possibility that DNA testing could lead to a wrongfully convicted prisoner's exoneration. 

He has served as adjunct faculty for the Legal Studies and/or Criminal Justice departments at the University of Illinois Springfield since 2004.

This story appeared in the Herald and Review on April 17, 2017.

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Monday, April 17, 2017

Union faculty at University of Illinois Springfield authorize strike

Professors at the University of Illinois Springfield have voted to authorize a strike.

The vote does not mean that the 168 tenured and tenure-tracked faculty will definitely be walking off the job, but it does give union leaders the ability to call a strike if a settlement can’t be reached.

“We remain hopeful that the university will show some meaningful progress at our next bargaining session,” said Kristi Barnwell, associate professor of history and vice president of University of Illinois Springfield United Faculty, the teachers’ union. “We are waiting to see where things are going and how much progress we can make before we commit to actually going on strike.”

The two sides are scheduled to resume negotiations on Monday.

Professors at UIS can’t strike immediately because Illinois law has a 10-day cooling off period. The last day of class at UIS is May 6, and finals will be held the following week.

The university released a statement Friday that said, “While negotiations have been underway for some time, the university received UIS United Faculty’s first proposal on salary and wages just this Wednesday via email. It is now under review, and everyone involved is committed to reaching a fair initial contract as soon as possible.”

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on April 15, 2017.

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Rochester's Collin Stallworth commits to UIS

Rochester High School senior forward Collin Stallworth committed to the University of Illinois Springfield men’s basketball program Friday, marking the first time in many years that the Prairie Stars landed a local player.

UIS pulled off a big-time score getting Stallworth. The 6-foot-6 forward was a star wide receiver on Rochester’s Class 4A state championship team last fall, but passed on the option to play NCAA Division I football to pursue his dream of playing college basketball.

“I’ve always grown up wanting to play basketball (in college),” he said. “It was my dream. But I had some pretty big football schools talk to me. I wanted to give that consideration because it was big football schools, but I wasn’t in love with football like I was in love with basketball. I knew I had to play basketball in college. If I were to play football, I don’t think I would have fun.”

So even though football programs such as Illinois, Michigan State, Penn State, Minnesota, Northwestern contacted him, Stallworth stayed with basketball.

He informed UIS of his decision to play basketball for the Stars Friday afternoon. He expects to sign a national letter of intent on Monday.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on April 16, 2017.

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Baseball: Muench’s clutch hit helps UIS gain split

Austin Muench drove in the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth inning and the University of Illinois Springfield won the first game of a doubleheader split with Bellarmine Saturday in Great Lakes Valley Conference play.

Muench finished 2-for-4 and his single gave UIS a 3-2 lead before the Prairie Stars tacked on one more run in the inning. Adam Gregory (7-2) pitched eight innings for the win, striking out eight.

Bellarmine scored a run in the bottom of the seventh inning to defeat UIS 9-8 in the nightcap.

Myles Hann went 3-for-3 with two RBIs. The Prairie Stars are 21-15 overall and 11-5 in the GLVC.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on April 16, 2017.

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Softball: Stars’ winning streak

Ali Haesele and Jaycee Craver each threw a complete game as the University of Illinois Springfield extended its winning streak to five games with 12-1 and 8-1 wins Saturday over Indianapolis in a Great Lakes Valley Conference doubleheader.

Crave (7-9) allowed seven hits and one earned run in Game 2. She struck out two and walked one. Erin Stroup (2-for-3) and BriAnna Edgar each hit home runs and Morgan Edwards finished 3-for-4 with an RBI for UIS.

The Prairie Stars (25-21 overall, 11-11 in the GLVC) won the opener in five innings. Haesele (14-6) struck out six, walked two and allowed four hits. Lakyn Wagoner went 3-for-4 and Edwards finished with a double and drove in three runs.

The story was featured by The State Journal-Register on April 17, 2017.

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Friday, April 14, 2017

UIS’ Ramirez closing in on 100 career wins

University of Illinois Springfield baseball coach Chris Ramirez is just three wins shy of 100 for his career.

He has 97 wins in four seasons. UIS had 20-plus win seasons in each of his first three years.

Ramirez has a chance to reach the milestone this weekend, with the Prairie Stars playing doubleheaders at Bellarmine today and Saturday. UIS plays Tuesday at home against Truman State.

UIS is tied with Southern Indiana for first in the Great Lakes Valley Conference East Division with a 9-3 conference record. The Stars are 19-13 overall.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on April 14, 2017.

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Close friendship brings Nelson to Prairie Stars

University of Illinois Springfield men’s basketball coach Bill Walker has signed Gilwan Nelson, a player who already has a strong connection to the program.

The 6-foot-5 wing from Mount Vernon is a close friend of UIS sophomore forward Bahari Amaya, who is from Harrisburg.

Nelson played the previous two seasons at Olney Central College. He averaged a team-high 14.5 points as a sophomore. He also averaged 3.9 rebounds and 1.8 assists.

“He is a good scorer and will be able to score at this level,” Walker said. “His best value for us is he is so versatile offensively and defensively. He can guard any position on the floor.” Nelson is expected to give the Prairie Stars different defensive options. He is interchangeable and really values defense. That’s really the kind of guy what we needed.”

UIS is expected to return everyone except senior forward Paxton Harmon from last season’s 9-18 team.

This story was reported in The State Journal-Register on April 12, 2017.

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UIS looks to recruit more child advocates

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. The University of Illinois Springfield is working to recruit more students to help the most vulnerable.

The Sangamon County Child Advocacy Center officials said they see around five to seven kids a week suffering from child abuse.

During a UIS panel, students from the UIS child advocacy studies certification program discussed their experiences in this field. There were about a dozen agencies on hand to allow students to seek internships and possible employment in their offices.

CAST's (Child Advocacy Studies) clinical assistant professor Betsy Goulet told the students be prepared to do more with less funding. "I hoped by the time when I was at this point in my life we would have made greater strides," said Goulet.

CAST is one of three child advocacy programs in the country to earn approval from the national training center.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on April 12, 2017.

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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

UIS child advocacy program, one of three in the country

The University of Illinois Springfield is now one of only three child advocacy programs in the country to earn approval from the national training center.

The Child Advocacy Studies Program began at UIS in 2015, but has quickly established itself as top contender in educating child protection professionals.

UIS said it's an important milestone for the program, but it also benefits the students.

“They know that they have completed a certificate that meets a national standard and I think that says something for our program that we have modeled our curriculum after a national program," said Betsy Goulet, professor and clinical assistant.

UIS uses a simulation lab and as well as a mock courtroom on campus to teach students how to help children-at-risk.

This story aired on FOX Illinois on April 11, 2017.

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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Slammers baseball: Roster gets boost from pitcher Ortiz

The Joliet Slammers’ 2017 roster is beginning to take shape.

The addition of Joseph Ortiz, a former Cubs prospect who pitched in 32 major-league games for the Texas Rangers in 2013, is being counted on to help the Slammers build on a 2016 campaign where they won the Frontier League East Division championship.

The Slammers also have some area products who will make their Frontier League debuts this season. Zach Jones, a Northwestern graduate from Glenview, will play the outfield and first base for Isom. Maxwell Biedrzycki, a University of Illinois Springfield graduate and Plainfield native, will add depth to the Slammers’ pitching staff.

The 2017 Frontier League Tryout Camp and Draft will be held April 24-25 at GCS Ballpark, home of the Gateway Grizzlies. All 12 teams will be present, along with scouts from multiple major-league franchises. The Slammers open at home on Tuesday, May 16, against the Traverse City Beach Bums.

This story appeared in The Herald-News on April 10, 2017.

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Monday, April 10, 2017

Women's Softball: UIS bounces back for split

The University of Illinois Springfield smoldered in a 6-3 loss to host Lewis University, then busted out in a big way for a 13-3 win in the second game of GLVC doubleheader.

The Prairie Stars fell behind early in the first game and rallied to within 3-2 in the fourth inning on a homer by Morgan Edwards and an RBI double by Ali Haesele, but stranded runners at second and third to end the threat.

But in game two, it was the Stars — and especially sophomore Amanda Gosbeth — who came out hot. UIS dropped four runs on the Flyers in the top of the first inning and never trailed in the 13-3 win. Gosbeth went 4 for 4 with two homers, five RBIs and three runs scored to lead the way for UIS. Haesele also homered in the game.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on April 9, 2017.

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Men's Baseball: Prairie Stars complete sweep of Lewis

The University of Illinois Springfield finished off its second four-game sweep of a Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) opponent this season, decking visiting Lewis University 7-2 and 9-4 in the home portion of the four-game series.

In game one, Myles Hann tripled in a pair of runs in the sixth to snap a 2-2 tie and Drew Harper soon followed with a three-run homer to give the Stars control. Adam Gregory improved his pitching record to 6-2 with a career-high nine strikeouts.

In game two, the Stars pounced in the first inning, with Trey Hannam doubling in the first run before Hann uncorked a three-run homer over center field. UIS led 6-0 before the Flyers could get on the board. Braden Jenson improved to 4-0 with six solid innings of work for UIS in the second game.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on April 9, 2017.

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UIS demonstrates ruck march for Central Illinois Food Bank

Saturday, the Military and Veterans Club at the University of Illinois Springfield held a military inspired ruck march to bring more awareness to student veterans.

Participants were asked to carry their donations in backpacks as they would in the military, then take on the UIS Cross Country Course, before dropping off their donations at the end for the Central Illinois Food Bank.

The club has plans to hold more food ruck drives down the road and want to make it bigger and better each year.

This story aired in WICS Newschannel 20 on April 8, 2017.

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UIS students presenting their research at national conference

Eleven students from the University of Illinois Springfield are presenting their work this weekend at the 31st Annual National Conference on Undergraduate Research being held through Saturday at the University of Memphis in Tennessee.

Some of the students’ research is already being used to solve problems around the world. “I think the water quality in The Gambia will improve in the next few years,” said 29-year-old UIS student Shyleen Frost of Pleasant Plains. “They hadn’t measured water quality at some sites in 10 years, so we gave them the updated data from our samplings, and they are now implementing better structures for water-quality impact, and have issued directives for a lot of programs like trash disposal.”

“It’s really great to represent the university in a national conference like this,” added Frost, and although she would like to pursue a career in virology, she chose water quality in the west African nation as her undergraduate research topic because “water quality is important and applicable to the field, since it is pretty essential to life.”

Other UIS students taking part in this week’s conference -- which drew some 4,000 from across the country -- include Turner Clark of Swansea, Ebony Forslund, Amanda Monke and Gabriel Broughton of Springfield, Marquiera Harris, Chicago; Elizabeth Karras, Des Plaines; Alex Skarr, Naperville; Allie McIntire, Washington; and Nhan Khanh Le of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. They are accompanied by Tiffani Saunders, UIS sociology/anthropology lecturer, and Keenan Dungey, associate professor of chemistry and director of the Undergraduate Research Support Program. “For some students, this is their first time to present outside a classroom setting,” Dungey said. “It also gives them some professional connections and opportunities to look at graduate schools and what their future careers might be.”

Several of the students in Memphis this week will also present their research on the UIS campus at the annual Student Technology Arts and Research Symposium April 20-21.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on April 7, 2017.

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Susan Koch: STARS symposium to present sustainability theme

The following is an excerpt from a column by University of Illinois Springfield Chancellor Susan Koch. This column appeared in The State Journal-Register on April 9, 2017.

Less than a year ago, the University of Illinois board of trustees approved a new strategic framework for the three universities in the UI system with the goal to reaffirm the central role that higher education plays in promoting the public good in Illinois and beyond.

One of four strategic pillars of our framework is “Research and Scholarship with Global Impact.” 

Research and scholarship, including creative work in the humanities and the arts, not only generate new knowledge of great value to our state and to society but also provide students with valuable opportunities to enrich their educational experiences.

Providing opportunities for students to collaborate with faculty one-to-one is a particularly strong feature of the University of Illinois Springfield student experience, and the results of those opportunities will be “front and center” this month at the STARS Symposium.

STARS stands for Student Arts and Research Symposium, and this annual event offers a rich array of presentations and performances by UIS students, each of whom has worked closely throughout the year with a faculty mentor to complete an individual research or creative project.

With a special symposium theme of “Sustainability,” this year’s event, co-chaired by Mike Miller, associate professor of visual arts, and Carolee Rigsbee, assistant professor of management, promises to be especially intriguing.

The program includes student presentations of more than 80 projects representing the natural sciences, the social sciences, the arts, business, the humanities and technology.

A special addition to the symposium this year is a field trip (by charter bus) to the Emiquon Nature Preserve floodplain restoration project on the Illinois River near Havana, where participants will be hosted by Field Station Director Dr. Tom Rothfus for a tour of the preserve and opportunities to learn about research that faculty and their students are conducting at the UIS Therkildsen Field Station. 

“STARS represents so much of what we try to do and be as UIS faculty,” says Rigsbee. “It is a community of faculty, students and staff supporting student scholarship. Having the opportunity to help students strengthen their skills and abilities so they can be more successful in their careers while at the same time advancing work in your own area of study is a win-win proposition.”

Read the entire column online.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Illinois Innocence Project: Judge vacates conviction in Naperville murder case

A DuPage County judge on Thursday ordered a new trial for a man convicted 20 years ago and sentenced to 45 years in prison for arson and murder in his mother-in-law's death.

The ruling vacated the conviction of William Amor, 60, who is imprisoned at the Taylorville Correctional Facility in central Illinois.

The ruling follows a weeklong hearing in December when Amor's attorneys presented new arson-related scientific evidence. He is represented by the University of Illinois Springfield's Illinois Innocence Project. 

Amor's conviction was based on a false confession and arson findings that are no longer scientifically reliable, his attorneys said in statement.

His attorneys said the false confession to police came after 15 hours of questioning and Amor's being served divorce papers at the station.

Amor's attorneys said evidence points to the fire being accidental.

"It is undisputed by the experts in this case that fire science has evolved, and it has changed to such an extent that the original findings in this case are unreliable," said Amor's attorney Lauren Kaeseberg, legal director of the Illinois Innocence Project Chicago office.

A hearing is scheduled April 13 to determine if Amor will be released or if prosecutors will appeal, Amor's attorneys said.

This story appeared in the Daily Herald on April 6, 2017.

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Thursday, April 6, 2017

Loves Park resident receives journalism award

Jeff Burnett of Loves Park recently received an honorable mention at the annual Illinois College Press Association competition.

Burnett is a member of The Journal, a student newspaper at the University of Illinois Springfield. Burnett received the award for his story about the Sangamon County Drug Court, which was published in the fall 2016 Journal magazine, Beyond.

This story appeared in the Rockford Register Star on April 5, 2017.

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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

UIS softball splits with McKendree

Ali Haesele hit the game-winning RBI single in the fourth inning and the University of Illinois Springfield won 4-3 against McKendree in a Great Lakes Valley Conference doubleheader Tuesday. 

She also struck out seven and walked none to earn the pitching win. McKendree won the second game 5-2. The Prairie Stars are 20-18 and 6-8.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on April 4, 2017.

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UIS names new dean of College of Public Affairs

University of Illinois Springfield has named the new Dean of the College of Public Affairs.

Robert Smith previously served as the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Savannah State University, and Chair of the Political Science Department at Kennesaw State University.

He is scheduled to start on July 16 and said he's excited about his new position.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on April 3, 2017.

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Monday, April 3, 2017

Women's Softball: Stars’ Wooldridge, Gosbeth hit back-to-back walk-off homers

Katie Wooldridge and Amanda Gosbeth hit walk-off home runs in each game of a Great Lakes Valley Conference doubleheader and the University of Illinois Springfield swept Bellarmine Saturday.

With two out, Wooldridge hit her first collegiate home run in the seventh inning and UIS won 1-0 in the first game.

Gosbeth led off the seventh inning of the second game with her homer, lifting UIS to a 3-2 victory. Teammate BriAnna Edgar was 2-for-3.

UIS’ Jaycee Craver struck out seven and walked one in 6 1/3 innings.

UIS hosts a doubleheader today against No. 10 Southern Indiana at noon.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on April 1, 2017.

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Men's Baseball: UIS baseball wins on walk-off

Cole Taylor hit a walk-off home run in the 10th inning and the University of Illinois Springfield won 4-3 against Southern Indiana in a Great Lakes Valley Conference doubleheader Saturday.

Southeast High School and Lincoln Land Community College graduate Mike Ringer was pitching for Southern Indiana when Taylor hit the home run.

Ringer took the loss after striking out two and walking one in 1 2/3 innings. He only gave up one hit and one run. The Stars and Screaming Eagles split their doubleheader.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on April 1, 2017.

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UIS announces deputy athletics director

Roy L. Brown III has joined the University of Illinois Springfield Department of Athletics as the deputy athletics director.

He will be responsible for leading the external affairs efforts. He is a native of New Orleans and graduated from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Brown was the senior associate director of athletics for external relations and oversaw marketing and communications at Towson University the past 3 ½ years.

Prior to Towson, Brown was the associate director of athletics for sports marketing and promotions for seven years at Fairfield University. At Southeastern Louisiana University, Brown was the assistant director of athletics for marketing and community relations.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on April 1, 2017.

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