Tuesday, May 21, 2019

DCFS simulation gives inside look at challenges investigators face

Imagine knocking on a door of parents accused of abusing their children and asking them tough questions. This is what investigators do on a daily basis.

"It can be a very draining job, mentally, emotionally and physically,” said Susan Evans, executive director of Child Protection Training Academy.

One of the jobs that the Department of Children and Family Services is tasked with is making sure children are safe. In order to do this job, DCFS investigators have to enter the homes of people accused of horrible crimes.

Reporter Ana Espinosa was given the opportunity to participate in the training that DCFS investigators must complete.

UIS instructors and former investigators are monitoring every moment from another room while actors recreate the fear and anxiety of losing their children. Usually, an investigator is alone with parents that can be influenced by drugs or alcohol because these investigators can’t call ahead and let families know they are going to be there. An investigator must ask parents difficult and personal questions about allegations of abuse or neglect.

"We want to err on the side of the child,” Evans said. “We want to keep children safe. But, it is inherently complex and it’s something that is very difficult to describe unless you have experienced it."

Before ever walking into the training, Espinosa spent hours reading policies and procedures just like investigators-in-training. "You can study the laws and procedures that you have been doing but then to put them into practice professionally but with intention,” Evans said. “You know, that’s why we do simulation." But there are no step-by-step instructions on how to act in these situations.

More than 600 DCFS investigators have been through this training.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on May 20, 2019.

Watch the entire story online.

Monday, May 20, 2019

UIS overpowers Drury en route to first NCAA baseball regional title

Despite being the higher-seeded team and playing in its home city on Saturday, the University of Illinois Springfield baseball team was the visitor on the scoreboard at Robin Roberts Stadium.

So the Prairie Stars made the most of their first cuts, belting two home runs and giving starting pitcher Brock Immke a 3-0 cushion going into the bottom of the first.

Immke held Drury scoreless through the first four innings as UIS went on to take a 11-5 win for its first NCAA Division II Regional championship.

“That’s the positive thing about being (visitors),” said Immke, a redshirt senior who came back from Tommy John surgery two years ago. “You can go out there and score first and get a little of the anxiety taken care of, take the edge off of a championship game. Three runs in the first inning makes everyone feel loose and more relaxed.”

Chris Monroe and Zach Speaker hit back-to-back homers in the first, with Monroe’s a two-run shot.

UIS coach Chris Ramirez said this year’s team had a tough act to follow after last year’s record-setting 47-9 finish. But the 2018 Prairie Stars fell short of advancing from regional play.

“Early on, you couldn’t do anything but compare us to last year’s team,” Ramirez said. “But for this year’s team to fall out of the rankings and then get back in, it says a lot about them. “We deserve to be where we’re at now. I’m happy for our guys. they deserve it.”

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on May 18, 2019.

Read the entire article online.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Springfield High alum Tyler Pence named UIS cross country, track coach

Former Springfield High School runner and University of Southern Indiana standout Tyler Pence was named Wednesday the head coach for the University of Illinois Springfield’s men’s and women’s cross country and track and field teams.

Pence, who has been the assistant coach for the program for the last three years, replaces Scott Slade, who left after one year to fulfill other commitments.

“To become a head coach in my hometown, a city that I love and a sport that I’m incredibly passionate about, has always been a dream of mine,” Pence said in a statement. “I have a great group of athletes who are team oriented and extremely motivated. This program in ready to take another step in the right direction. We will be bringing championships back to Springfield very soon.”

Pence is still a competitive runner and has qualified for the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on May 15, 2019.

Read the entire article online.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Women's Golf: UIS’ Jennifer Queller opens NCAA tourney with 81

The University of Illinois Springfield’s Jennifer Queller shot an 8-over-par 81 in the first round of the NCAA Division II Women’s Golf Championships on Tuesday at PGA National.

Queller, a sophomore from Corona, California, is tied for 57th place in the 95-player field. She had one birdie and 10 pars Tuesday, with a 39 on the front nine and a 42 on the back.

Queller, the first UIS woman golfer to reach Division II nationals, will tee off at 8:50 a.m. Wednesday on the No. 10 tee.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on May 14, 2019.

Read the entire article online.

U of I-led innovation network to expand from six to 15 statewide hubs

The Illinois Innovation Network, a group of hubs across the state aiming to drive economic development through research and innovation, will expand from six to 15 sites and encompass all of the state’s four-year public universities.

The new hubs will be located at Chicago State University, Eastern Illinois University, Governors State University, Illinois State University, Northeastern Illinois University, Rockford (on the U of I at Chicago College of Medicine regional campus), Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and Western Illinois University.

The network launched in August 2018 with hubs at U of I’s three campuses and the flagship Discovery Partners Institute in Chicago. Two additional hubs were later announced for Northern Illinois University and Peoria, which is home to a U of I regional medical campus.

Stakeholders say the goal of each hub is to grow the economy of its region through research and innovation tied to the academic strengths of the host university.

“These new hubs fulfill the guiding vision of the Illinois Innovation Network, spreading the power of innovation to every corner of our state through partnerships with every one of our state’s public universities and other important regional partners,” said U of I President Tim Killeen. “The growing network will bring together the very best minds to address our most pressing challenges, forging breakthrough solutions that will drive new waves of progress and prosperity for all of Illinois and beyond.”

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on May 14, 2019.

Read the entire article online.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Men's Baseball: UIS baseball to host NCAA regional again despite loss

The University of Illinois Springfield baseball team came up just a run shy of the Great Lakes Valley Conference tournament championship Sunday.

The Stars did get a consolation prize later in the night, though. UIS earned the No. 2 seed and for the second straight year home field advantage in the NCAA Division II double-elimination regional tournament, which will be hosted at Robin Roberts Stadium starting Thursday through Saturday.

UIS will start the first round against No. 7 Drury.

UIS made its first NCAA tournament appearance last season, losing a game shy of the regional championship round at Robin Roberts Stadium.

This story was published in The State Journal-Register on May 12, 2019.

Read the entire article online.

Innovate Springfield offers update on impact

Stakeholders in the Illinois Innovation Network and Innovate Springfield spoke before the Springfield Citizen’s Club Friday morning, offering an update on the progress of the statewide network and, specifically, the Springfield hub.

In August 2018, the University of Illinois Springfield acquired Innovate Springfield. Soon after, the university was awarded the first hub of the Illinois Innovation Network, a University of Illinois system-led initiative meant to foster economic growth through research and innovation by connecting satellite hubs spread across the state with the flagship Discovery Partners Institute, a research institute to be based in Chicago.

“This is a tremendously exciting opportunity. It’s a big idea, a real big idea,” said UIS Chancellor Susan Koch. “And if we can pull this off, it’s going to harness the intellectual talent of the entire University of Illinois to focus economic and social development across the state, including here in the state capital.”

Officials did share some statistics regarding the incubator’s economic impact in 2018.

Innovate Springfield’s 65 members collectively created 31 full-time and 21 part-time jobs. They also generated $1.9 million in gross revenue and raised $1.2 million in angel investment.

Officials said they hoped to have support from the community, which they say is necessary to make the hub a success. “This really is about having a community mindset focused on innovation,” said Katie Davison, Innovate Springfield’s executive director.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on May 11, 2019.

Read the entire article online.

Hundreds receive diplomas at UIS commencement ceremonies

The University of Illinois Springfield held its graduation ceremonies on Saturday.

The 48th annual UIS commencement took place at the BOS Center in downtown Springfield. 745 students participated in the two ceremonies.

Graduates say the ceremony was bittersweet. "I've been working on my degree for a very long time so I'm very excited to be here, I really enjoyed my time at UIS," said Psychology major Natalie Hall. "I'm just really sad to be leaving, but I'm really excited to be starting my next chapter of my life."

UIS presented an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters to former Springfield mayor Karen Hasara. It was in appreciation of her inspirational leadership in public service and contributions to the community and the University of Illinois.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on May 11, 2019.

Watch the story online.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Men's Baseball: Dean named GLVC Pitcher of the Year

University of Illinois Springfield senior Andrew Dean was named the Great Lakes Valley Conference Pitcher of the Year on Wednesday.

Dean led the conference in wins with a 9-0 record. He finished the regular season with a 2.75 ERA.

Dean recorded 95 strikeouts in 72 innings pitched, walking 20 batters and giving up just one home run.

Opponents batted .217 this season off Dean, who was also a first-team GLVC member last season. 

Six other players from UIS were named to the all-GLVC team. Chris Monroe and Justin Revels made the first team, while Brandon Bannon, Ruben Markham, John Sechen and Zach Speaker were named to the second team.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on May 8, 2019.

Read the entire article online.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Illinois House speaker gives student journalists rare access

House Speaker Michael Madigan doesn't make a lot of media appearances, but Monday morning, he talked with student journalists who are covering the Statehouse in a graduate school program.

In his visit with the Public Affairs Reporting program class at the University of Illinois-Springfield, Madigan, D-Chicago, said legislative committees in control of budget appropriations have taken Gov. J.B. Pritzker's proposed levels of spending in next year's budget and "ratcheted them down" in case measures supporting that spending do not pass.

Those supporting measures include legalizing recreational marijuana and sports betting, which Madigan said he's "hopeful" will pass but are "not guaranteed today," although Pritzker is relying on them for more than $400 million in new revenue.

Long-awaited language for a marijuana bill was released Saturday. Madigan said that although he was not yet familiar with it, he does know "there are some very controversial aspects to the proposal," including the expungement of criminal records and other provisions requested by caucuses representing minority interests.

On the other hand, Madigan said, passing sports betting will require the cooperation of many interests, including gaming CEOs, racetracks, video poker representatives and more. "It's always been very contentious," he said. "It's no different this time than any prior legislative session."

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on May 7, 2019.

Read the entire article online.

Women's Softball: UIS softball punches ticket to NCAA Division II tournament

The University of Illinois Springfield softball team had to cope with some uncertainty and nerves as the NCAA Division II bracket was being unveiled.

“You never want to leave it in the hands of the committee,” UIS coach Shannon Guthrie said. “I think that’s always a scary thing. We felt we had won some big games and we also probably lost some games that didn’t help our cause. But I think winning the first round of the GLVC tournament was really big to at least get one win in there.”

It was enough.

The Prairie Stars (27-24) earned their second straight NCAA Division II tournament berth Monday after reaching the Sweet 16 last season. It will be their third tournament appearance in program history.

The Stars, seeded No. 7, will play a familiar opponent in the double-elimination tournament. UIS drew No. 2-seeded host University of Missouri St. Louis in the NCAA opener Thursday at 3:30 p.m.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on May 6, 2019.

Read the entire article online.

Women's Basketball: UIS hires Casey Thousand as new women’s basketball coach

Casey Thousand firmly believes that things happen for a reason.

After running into University of Illinois Springfield athletic director Jim Sarra as an assistant coach at Northern Michigan during the Wildcats’ NCAA Division II women’s basketball tournament appearance in March, Thousand will now take over the top job for the Prairie Stars.

UIS announced Thousand as the new women’s basketball coach Monday.

It comes more than two weeks after the Stars hired Matt Brock as the men’s basketball coach.

Thousand replaces Mark Kost after he resigned and went 38-66 in four years at UIS, which will formally introduce Thousand at The Recreation and Athletic Center on Tuesday, May 14 at noon.

“It was the next step,” Thousand said. “I didn’t know when it was going to happen or where it was going to happen, but it definitely was the next step in my professional career and I guess when I met Jim, I believe things happen for a reason. Everything kind of came together and I came down to campus (last week) and I just really enjoyed it. I felt like this is where I need to go next and what I need to do.”

 The 37-year-old Barneveld, Wisconsin-native assisted the NCAA Division II Wildcats the past three seasons on the far Upper Peninsula town of Marquette, Michigan. She joined head coach Troy Mattson’s staff after seven years as the head coach at Division III Edgewood College, located not far from her old home in Madison, Wisconsin.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on May 6, 2019.

Read the entire article online.

Women's Golf: UIS finishes first NCAA round in fifth place

Maria Espinosa and Jennifer Queller each shot 4-over-par 76 to lead the University of Illinois Springfield women’s golf team in the NCAA Division II East Regional on Monday.

The five Prairie Stars golfers combined for a first round team score of 312, which put UIS in fifth place with two rounds remaining.

The top-four teams advance to the NCAA D-II national championship tournament later this month.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on May 6, 2019.

Read the entire article online.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

UIS sorority hosts "Future is Female" event

"Ladies, you can do it!" - That's the message from the University of Illinois Springfield's Tri Sigma Sorority. 

A total of 300 girls from District 186 were taught about how to land their dream job Friday.

"The Future is Female" event was all about taking the right steps to achieve a career, even in male-dominated fields.

Those behind the event said for females that don't always know how to get to where they want to go, this event can help give them the motivation they need.

"We don't really know how to get to the top. Sometimes, we tear each other down and that's not how it should be. It should all be about empowering each other to make yourself the best you can be,"
Darlene Steinkamp, UIS senior nursing student, said.

Girls also learned about their health and financial literacy.

This story appeared on Fox 55 on April 26, 2019. 

Watch the story online.


Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Women's Golf: UIS women’s golf earns NCAA Division II regional berth

For a fourth straight season, the University of Illinois Springfield women’s golf team has qualified for the NCAA Division II regionals.

The Prairie Stars are seeded eighth in the 12-team East Regional, which will be played May 6-8 in Owensboro, Kentucky at The Pearl Club.

The top-four teams, as well as the top-four individuals not on qualifying teams, will advance to the NCAA D-II National Championships May 14-18.

UIS placed third over the weekend in the Great Lakes Valley Conference Championships at Panther Creek Country Club. In the previous three regional appearances, the Prairie Stars have finished fifth, sixth and 11th.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on April 29, 2019.

Read the entire article online.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Women's Softball: UIS softball clinches fifth seed in GLVC tourney

The University of Illinois Springfield softball team wrapped up its regular season with a Great Lakes Valley Conference sweep over William Jewell College on Sunday, defeating the Cardinals.

UIS scored two runs out of the gate in Game 1 while Jaycee Craver and Addison Bryant shut down host William Jewell the rest of the way.

Craver earned the win, going four winnings and allowing five hits. Bryant gave up three hits and one run in three innings. Morgan Edwards homered for the Stars and had two RBIs.

UIS will commence the GLVC tournament at the EastSide Centre in East Peoria this Thursday at 10 a.m. against No. 4 Maryville.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on April 28, 2019.

Read the entire article online.

Men's Baseball: UIS baseball picks up 13th straight win to keep pace in GLVC race

University of Illinois Springfield starting pitcher Justin Revels had never been ejected in his career. 

That is until Senior Day of all games.

It will make a fun story to tell for days to come after Revels and the Stars overcame a series of contentious calls in their 3-2 Great Lakes Valley Conference victory over University of Indianapolis on a brisk Sunday afternoon at UIS Baseball Field.

“That’s definitely something I won’t ever forget,” Revels said of the regular season home finale. “Good thing it happened later in the game in the seventh inning. I knew my team was going to have my back. “I pitch with a lot of emotion as you can see and out of all of the things I’ve done on the mound, I’ve actually never been tossed. It’s kind of crazy. It’s a first for everything.”

Revels, who was a National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association NCAA Division II pre-season All-American, fanned eight and gave up just one run and five hits.

"He’s as competitive of a player as I’ve ever coached and you saw that today,” UIS coach Chris Ramirez said of Revels. “He’s out there fighting every pitch, competing. The emotions probably got the best of him at the end and he got ejected, which was unfortunate. But then we went to Nick Alvarado at the end for a two-inning save. “That’s a big win against a good team and we’re getting to the end of the season. It felt like a playoff game and we’re starting to get that environment and it’s starting to feel like postseason, so it makes it fun.”

The Stars earned their first NCAA Division II tournament appearance after putting together a 29-game winning streak towards the end of the regular season in 2018.

“The Stars are definitely hot right now,” said Revels, who has a 2.88 ERA. “I think as a whole, we’re coming together really well. No one’s getting down on someone else doing bad. Everyone’s picking each other up and we’re making plays in the field and we’re hitting and scoring a lot of runs.”

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on April 28, 2019.

Read the entire article online.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

UIS students clean up litter at Springfield Lake Marina

You might think the ocean is littered with garbage, but small waterways are too.

Environmental students from the University of Illinois Springfield picked up litter from the Springfield Lake Marina Tuesday.

Not only are they cleaning garbage from the lake, but researching just how much Illinois water is polluted.

"We've moved past the element of surprise and now we're just trying to see what steps we can do to encourage the community to clean up litter and prevent it from getting here in the first place," Ann-Marie Hanson, an environmental studies professor, said.

The students will now sort all the garbage they find, count it and weigh it.

This story aired on Fox 55 News on April 23, 2019.

Watch the story online.

Men's Baseball: UIS wins 10th straight with doubleheader sweep over UMSL

The University of Illinois Springfield baseball team extended its winning streak to a season-best 10 games on Tuesday.

The Prairie Stars swept a doubleheader at the UIS Baseball Field over Missouri-St. Louis by scores of 12-0 and 4-3.

One of the nation’s leaders in runs score, John Sechen, set the tone early in both games.

In the opener, he hit a leadoff homer in the first which sparked the team to grabbing a dominant 11-0 lead after three innings. In the second game, he scored twice in the first two innings as UIS took an early 4-1 lead.

That proved to be just enough as the Prairie Stars held off a late Missouri-St. Louis rally.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on April 23, 2019.

Watch the story online.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Men's Golf: Daniel Miller leads UIS men’s golf team to 6th place at GLVC Championships

University of Illinois Springfield’s Daniel Miller manufactured five birdies Monday to wrap up the Great Lakes Valley Conference Men’s Championship at Panther Creek Country Club in a tie for 17th place at 6-over par.

He finished the final round 2-under 70 after going 1-over 73 and 7-over 79 in the first two rounds. 

Miller’s 6-over total paced the UIS men’s golf team, which shot a 298 in the last round to take sixth place.

The Prairie Stars, however, missed the final spot to reach the four-team semifinals Tuesday.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on April 22, 2019.

Read the entire article online.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Susan Koch: A pathway to opportunity for this year’s graduates

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 20, 2019.

Today’s UIS Perspectives column appears with finals week fast approaching, students completing end-of-semester assignments and, by last count, 1,273 students eligible to participate in the 48th University of Illinois Springfield commencement ceremonies in a few weeks. 

This will be my eighth UIS commencement and, like every faculty and staff member, I’m proud of our graduates — each of whom has worked with great determination to earn their University of Illinois degree. 

There is no greater satisfaction for me, as Chancellor, than meeting students the fall of their first semester, observing the transformative experience that UIS provides and ultimately sharing with them that special “handshake moment” on the commencement stage. 

This year, Tiffany Wentworth and I will share one of those moments — with her entire family, including her beloved grandmother, proudly witnessing her achievement. A soon-to-be graduate of the Capital Scholars Honors Program and a member of the Prairie Stars volleyball team, Wentworth has had a memorable four years at UIS. 

“When I visited campus, Coach Salinas told me I could be an impact player,” says Wentworth. “Now, a few years later, my teammates have become my family away from home and winning the conference championship this year was the ‘cherry on top’ for me.” 

Wentworth is graduating with honors as one of the first students to complete the new Exercise Science major. She has been accepted to the prestigious University of Kansas Physical Therapy and Rehabilitative Science program where she will pursue her doctorate in Physical Therapy. 

Eric Myers has followed a less traditional path. After earning bachelors and masters degrees in business and working in the health care sector, Myers realized he really wanted to be a teacher.

“I did some research, and the UIS teacher certification program appealed to me,” says Myers, “in part, because it offers an online option that would enable me to continue working and remain close to my family.” Myers is completing his student teaching this spring at Richwoods High School in Peoria and has already accepted a teaching position for next fall at Morton High School in Morton.

“I’m so excited about this new direction,” says Myers. “I learned to ‘think outside the box’ from UIS professors like Jennifer Martin, and my new employer is looking for exactly that.” 

Eight 2019 Commencement participants will be graduating with the doctorate in Public Administration. One of them is Sophia Gehlhausen-Anderson

“My mom has always been a huge inspiration to me,” says Gehlhausen-Anderson. “She is from Finland and she always loved to study — earning four masters degrees.” “Balancing work with family and my studies has been the biggest challenge,” Gehlhausen-Anderson continues. “I really appreciated the cohort model in the doctoral program. Members of my class got to know each other well and, with guidance from wonderful faculty, we all learned from everybody. I learned so much.”

The vision statement for the University of Illinois Springfield declares UIS will provide a “pathway to opportunity.” I’m confident we have fulfilled that promise for Wentworth, Myers, Podipireddy, Gehlhausen-Anderson and all the others who will participate in the 2019 commencement ceremonies.   

Read the entire article online.

UIS graduate students raise funds to help veterans

Graduate students at the University of Illinois Springfield are fulfilling their semester assignment of engaging with the community in part by organizing a fundraising campaign to help veterans.

Students in the Social Justice and Advocacy class in the Human Development Counseling graduate program at UIS were given an assignment this semester to engage in the community.

One group of students in the class is raising money to donate to Joe Blankenship of Springfield, who is a certified dog trainer who trains service dogs for veterans for free.

 “Students within the class, I leave it very open for them, for the most part, to identify an issue that they’re interested in and to create and carry through an advocacy project,” said Holly Thompson, associate professor of human development counseling, who specializes in and co-coordinates the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Area.

“One group of students in my class this semester have identified, of course, the issue of serving veterans, especially with support and service animals as their topic of interest. In the organizing of this, they’ve done a wonderful job.”

The student group raising money for Blankenship had planned a Counselors with Tails 5k fun color run for Saturday, May 4, but had to cancel the event due to lack of registrants.

As of Friday morning, seven tickets were sold for the 5K, said Megan Finch, a member of the student group organizing the event. “We just haven’t had enough ticket sales in order to continue. We were trying to get 150, and we weren’t able to reach that goal,” said Finch, 29, who is in her last year of graduate studies and is currently interning with Helping Hands of Springfield, which serves the homeless.

“We’re already raising some funds on Facebook, and we’re accepting donations from people who have expressed interest in what we’re doing, so we’re still going to be making a donation to him. It just won’t be through the fundraising event. It’ll just be whatever we can raise on our own for him.”

The deadline for donating to benefit Blankenship is Saturday, May 4.

This story was published in The State Journal-Register on April 19, 2019.

Read the entire article online.

UIS hosts annual STARS symposium

The University of Illinois Springfield hosted its annual STARS symposium to celebrate the scholarly and creative works of its students.

This is the eighth year that the symposium has taken place.

The event featured the works of over 75 graduate and undergraduate students from all academic disciplines.

Displays ranged from results from students' year-long research, artwork by visual art students and even live music from student musicians.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on April 19, 2019.

Watch the story online.

Women's Softball: Craver sets UIS career strikeout record

Jaycee Craver made more UIS history on Friday afternoon, as she became the University of Illinois Springfield softball program’s strikeout queen.

Craver threw a shutout in the second game of the doubleheader, helping the Prairie Stars split with Lewis.

Craver tied the career strikeout record in the first inning, and then recorded her 360th career strikeout to end the second. She passed former teammate Ali Haesele who broke the record last season.

Craver would add three more strikeouts in her start. She pitched five innings in the 8-0 run-shortened game, and allowed two hits, one walk, and one hit-by-pitch.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on April 19, 2019.

Watch the entire story online.


Thursday, April 18, 2019

Men's Baseball: UIS baseball wins in extra innings

Chris Monroe singled in John Sechen with the go-ahead run in the top of the 11th inning and the University of Illinois Springfield baseball team added two more runs to record a 9-6 baseball win on Wednesday over Missouri-St. Louis.

Sechen started the 11th with a walk and reached second on a passed ball. He went to third on a sacrifice bunt before Monroe drove him home. Sechen scored two runs and Zach Speaker went 2-for-2 with two RBIs.

Brandon Bannon had a solo home run for UIS, which improved to 25-11-1.

The Prairie Stars led 6-4 heading into the bottom of the ninth when Missouri St. Louis tied the game to send it to extra innings. Brayden Jensen pitched two innings for the win and Trent Sidwell closed out the 11th to earn the save.

UIS used nine pitchers and posted 16 strikeouts.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on April 17, 2019.

Read the entire article online.

STARS Symposium: Alchemist Review launch

The University of Illinois Springfield presents the 8th annual Student Technology, Arts and Research Symposium (STARS).

UIS undergraduate and graduate students will showcase their research and creative activities through short talks, poster presentations, art exhibitions, and musical and theatrical performances throughout the three-day event to be held at the UIS campus.

The symposium gives the community a chance to learn about the variety of work being done by students and gives businesses the opportunity to network with potential new talent.

STARS will host the launch of The Alchemist Review. The Alchemist Review is a journal of literary fiction, poetry and visual arts dedicated to publishing dynamic works by emerging writers and artists in the university community. It provides a forum for collaboration and exploration within the ever-evolving world of literary publishing, and is edited by undergraduate and graduate students at the university.

This story appeared in the Illinois Times on April 18, 2019.

Read the full article online.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

University of Illinois Springfield tabs Matt Brock as men's basketball coach

After building Missouri Baptist into a force to be reckoned with in the NAIA the past four seasons, Matt Brock will try to do the same at the NCAA Division II level.

Brock was announced as the University of Illinois Springfield's men's basketball coach Monday afternoon.

He accrued an 87-40 record over four years at Missouri Baptist starting in 2015 and finished this past season 28-5 while winning the American Midwest Conference regular season title and reaching the NAIA tournament for the first time in 14 years.

The Spartans also set school records for wins and achieved the highest national ranking in program history, getting as high as No. 3 in the country.

"When I talked to people about the job opening at UIS, Matt Brock was the one name that kept coming up," UIS athletic director Jim Sarra said in a press release. "In order to win a championship in the GLVC, you have to have one of the top defenses in the league, and Matt has a proven track record in building great defenses. He has also built his program with players with high academic achievements and good character in the community. I am excited to welcome Matt and his family to the Prairie Stars family."

This story appeared in The Pantagraph on April 15, 2019.

Read the entire story online.

UIS Announces 2019-2020 Broadway Series; THE COLOR PURPLE, WAITRESS, and More

The University of Illinois Springfield Performing Arts Center announces their 2019-2020 Madden Broadway Series.

This series features 5 national touring productions that are new to the Sangamon Auditorium stage. 

Long-time Broadway series subscriber Mrs. Peggy Madden of Decatur, Illinois, is this year's title sponsor. "It is a pleasure to support Broadway programming in our region," said Mrs. Madden, adding, "I am especially thrilled that UIS continues to look for ways to keep ticket prices affordable, including adding a $24 ticket option this year, considering how expensive these same shows are in New York these days."

UIS Performing Arts Center Director Bryan Rives pointed out that the lower ticket price option was made possible due to the financial generosity of Mrs. Madden.

She is truly a great supporter of ours. Our overall costs continue to rise, but her personal support is the reason we are able to offer these lower ticket price options. A five-show subscription option for only $70 total is unheard of elsewhere. But Peggy made it all possible."

Beautiful - The Carol King Musical - Friday, October 18, 2019, 7:30 PM
Waitress - Friday, February 14, 2020, 8:00 PM
The Choir of Man - Wednesday, March 4, 2020, 7:30 PM
The Color Purple - Friday, April 10, 2020, 8:00 PM
The Play That Goes Wrong - Thursday, May 7, 2020, 7:30 PM

This story appeared on www.broadway.com on April 15, 2019.


Monday, April 15, 2019

Men's Baseball: Trio leads UIS past Bearcats

John Sechen, Chris Monroe and Brandon Bannon combined to drive in seven runs to carry the University of Illinois Springfield past McKendree 10-0 in a matchup of in-state Great Lakes Valley Conference rivals.

Sechen and Monroe each homered for the Prairie Stars.

UIS scored four runs in the third inning and capped off the game with six runs in the seventh and final inning.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on April 12, 2019.

Read the entire article online.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Roscoe student to present at national conference

University of Illinois Springfield student Madelyn Minnick of Roscoe will present at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research on April 11-13 at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Minnick is one of five U of I Springfield students to present at the conference.

Students submitted abstracts and were selected in a competitive process by the UIS Undergraduate Research Steering Committee.

The students represent multiple programs and colleges.

Approximately 4,000 students from around the country will present their research and creative activities.

This story appeared in The Rockford Register Star on April 9, 2019.

Read the entire article online.

Men's Baseball: UIS bats around twice, down Lewis

The University of Illinois Springfield sent 22 batters to the plate in the fifth and sixth innings against Lewis University on Tuesday, and the Prairie Stars converted 12 runs in the two innings to defeat Lewis 17-3 in a Great Lakes Valley Conference game at UIS.

Brandon Bannon shined above the five UIS batters with multiple hits, going 3-for-3 with six runs batted in and three runs scored. Bannon smacked a two-run home run in the fourth inning. He drove in three with a double in the fifth, and walked with the bases loaded in the sixth.

Alec Altmyer got the win. He pitched five innings, allowing three hits and one earned run and striking out four.

UIS is 21-11-1, including 12-9 in the GLVC.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on April 10, 2019.

Read the entire article online.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

UIS education department gets donation from Horace Mann

Horace Mann, a Springfield-based insurance and financial services company for educators, has given $2,500 to the University of Illinois Springfield’s teacher education department to pay for a dual credit course for Sangamon and Menard County high school seniors.

The goal of this dual credit course is to encourage more students to become teachers in the wake of the state-wide teacher shortage, according to a press release.

The dual credit course, called “Foundations of American Education,” started in fall semester 2018 with 18 students from eight area high schools.

“School officials and administrators tell us that finding teachers is becoming more difficult,” Marita Zuraitis, Horace Mann president and CEO, said in a statement. “We hope this program will encourage more high school students to explore the educator profession and give them a jump start on their college degree.”

A report by the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools found that the teacher shortage is especially an issue in central and southern Illinois.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on April 8, 2019.

Read the entire article online.

Women's Golf: Espinosa, Queller lead UIS to first place

Maria Espinosa garnered first place to lead the University of Illinois Springfield women’s golf team to the Triton Invitational title Monday at Norwood Hills Country Club in St. Louis.

Espinosa grabbed the lead Sunday with a round of 73 and beat out fellow teammate Jennifer Queller by just two strokes with another 73 to total 146 in the tournament.

Queller, who was runner-up, shot a 78 Sunday and surged toward the top with a 70 on the second day for a total of 148.

UIS finished with 616, four strokes ahead of second place Lindenwood University.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on April 8, 2019.

Read the entire article online.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

University of Illinois Day celebrated in the Capitol

Wednesday was the 10th annual University of Illinois Day at the Illinois State Capitol.

All three universities came together to advocate for funding for U of I.

They are pushing to enhance many programs in the university system that school officials said could boost the economy.

"For students to stay in Illinois and go to Illinois universities - not just the University of Illinois, but others," Chairman of U of I Advocacy Committee Randy Witter said.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on April 3, 2019.

Watch the story online.


Wednesday, April 3, 2019

UIS Women's Center hosts Women's Leadership Reception

In honor of Women's History Month, the University of Illinois Springfield's Women's Center hosted its culminating keynote event, the Women's Leadership Reception.

The reception included a panel discussion, featuring five Springfield women who have achieved great success.

It was held exclusively for UIS students as an opportunity to provide words of wisdom about what it means to be a female leader in 2019.

"There are still many barriers that women face in leadership. We tried to bring people from a diversity of backgrounds to come because those barriers might be different, depending on what field you're in but oftentimes they're very much the same," Program Director Rexanne Whorton said.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on March 26, 2019.

Watch the story online.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Jim Sarra sets sights high for UIS athletics

Closing in on completing his third academic year, University of Illinois Springfield Director of Athletics Jim Sarra is pleased with how far the school’s athletic program has come, but he still says there is much more ahead.

Sarra, who was hired in August 2016, doesn’t just want to raise the Prairie Stars’ athletic profile, he wants it to become a gold standard. And not just for central Illinois or the Great Lakes Valley Conference.

“Our vision is to be the premier Division II public athletics department in the Midwest,” Sarra said Tuesday in an interview about the current coaching vacancies in the men’s and women’s basketball programs.

Sarra wants to see more local products given the opportunity to play at UIS. The softball and men’s basketball team are peppered with players from The State Journal-Register’s coverage area. The baseball, volleyball and men and women’s soccer teams have a combined nine from the area. None exist on the women’s basketball roster. Sarra said the next two basketball hires will have to have an “inside-out” recruiting approach, which means start in Springfield and work out from there.

When Chatham Glenwood High School graduates Cole Harper and Peyton Allen suited up for the men’s basketball home opener this year, Sarra saw plenty of fans on hand — even if they were fans of the Titans.

“I think it’s important to recruit locally when we can. It also engages the community and we saw it this year, especially on the men’s side,” Sarra said. “I chuckle . . . there was more black and red and white in the crowd (for Glenwood) than there was blue and gold (UIS) because of Cole and Peyton.” 

Getting the athletic department to match Sarra’s vision is likely closer now than when he began. 

“We’ve seen some success over the last couple of years — probably a lot faster than I anticipated — but that’s because a lot of these coaches bought into what we’re doing and we’re not using anything as an excuse anymore,” Sarra said.

“When we made the transition to Division II from NAIA, it was hard and tough and we’re slowly catching up — and at some point, we’re surpassing other institutions that have been Division II for a long time,” Sarra said.

“Personnel-wise, there are still some things we need but at the same time, we’re pretty well set,” Sarra said. “You always want to get bigger and better. Facilities is probably the one place we’re lacking a little bit but that’s OK because we’ve got a plan in place and we’re strategically planning to put things in place to help us excel.”

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on March 27, 2019.

Read the entire article online.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Men's Tennis: Clark picks up another

University of Illinois Springfield's Sam Clarke, a senior from Kendall, England, won his fourth career Great Lakes Valley Conference Player of the Week award on Tuesday.

It was his third this season. He has won 15 straight singles matches and dominated last week with wins over Quincy and Southern Indiana opponents during the weekend. He also set a school record for most wins in the NCAA Division II era after getting a doubles victory against Quincy on Friday while finishing the week 4-0 in both singles and doubles.

He has 124 career victories. He’s currently 17-1 in singles play and 12-5 in doubles play, leading the Stars to an 11-2 record.

UIS has won seven straight duals.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on March 27, 2019.

Read the entire article online.

Men's Baseball: UIS rallies past Quincy in GLVC baseball

The University of Illinois Springfield scored six runs in the top of the ninth inning and rallied to defeat nationally-ranked Quincy 13-8 Tuesday in a Great Lake Valley Conference baseball game.

UIS trailed 8-7 entering the ninth. The Prairie Stars loaded the bases with one out when Brandon Bannon hit a fly ball to left field that was misplayed by the Quincy outfielder. Two runners scored on the play, giving UIS a 9-8 advantage.

This story was published in The State Journal-Register on March 27, 2019.

Read the entire article online.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Women's Golf: Stars finish seventh at Saluki Invite

The University of Illinois Springfield finished seventh in the women’s Saluki Invitational at Hickory Ridge Golf Course on Monday behind solid efforts from Paula Valdivia and Maria Espinosa. 

The Prairie Stars shot 323 on Sunday and stood in fifth place after the first round.

The Prairie Stars beat out seven other schools, including four NCAA Division I teams. 

UIS had just four golfers instead of the normal five. Valdivia shot 79 and 80 over the two rounds for a 159, which was good for 15th place individually. Espinosa shot 76 and 84 for 160 and finished in a tie for 16th. Jennifer Queller tied for 20th place with a two-day score of 161.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on March 25, 2019.

Read the entire article online.

Monday, March 25, 2019

UIS hosts dance marathon for Children's Miracle Network

University of Illinois Springfield students held a dance marathon to raise money for the HSHS St. John’s Children's Miracle Network.

The marathon featured fun music, a variety of performances by dozens of dancers, and games. This year's theme was the Olympics.

This was the fifth year for the event.

Organizer for the event, Jackie Johnson, said it was a fun way to give back and learn at the same time.

“It really allows us to take on this big opportunity and help us to raise more money for the hospital as well as get more connected to the hospital,” said Johnson.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on March 23, 2019.

Watch the story online.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Dancing for Children's Miracle Network

Students at the University of Illinois Springfield will be dancing for a good cause this month.

UIS students will hold a dance marathon to help raise money for the Children's Miracle Network (CMN) at HSHS St. John's Children's Hospital in Springfield.

The event will be held in the UIS Student Union Ballroom from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 23rd.

The theme for this year’s Dance Marathon is Olympics.

Over the past five years, the event has raised more than $25,000 for the Children’s Miracle Network.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on March 20, 2019.

Read the story online.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Susan Koch: Economic development for the public good

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 March 16, 2019.

Since its first graduates completed their degrees in 1971, the University of Illinois Springfield has been a launch pad for professional and personal success for thousands of alums — many of whom identify their UIS experience as central to their own well-being and social mobility. 

But UIS and the entire University of Illinois system is also a public good — one that is increasingly indispensable across the entire state and beyond. 

What does this commitment mean for UIS, for Springfield and for Central Illinois? Plenty! 

As some SJ-R readers will recall, UIS recently acquired Innovate Springfield, the downtown business incubator founded by the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln. Thanks in part to financial investments by the Foundation, the City of Springfield, and the Land of Lincoln Economic Development Corporation (as well as matching funds from the UI system), Innovate Springfield is becoming a catalyst for economic development in the region — a place where ideas and startups can ignite and expand. 

According to Executive Director Katie Davison, the new alignment with UIS is already producing impressive results. “Since becoming part of UIS, Innovate Springfield has grown to serve 64 members today, including 14 UIS students,” says Davison. 

“We’re providing members with access to legal and financial consulting, workshops and mentors, as well as a creative environment that is nurturing both new business success and innovation.” 

“We have more activity and energy in the space every day,” she continues, “and we’re becoming a bridge between the University and the business community that provides clients with better access to the intellectual capital the University has to offer.” 

In joining UIS, Innovate Springfield has also been announced as a hub of the UI’s Illinois Innovation Network (IIN) — a system of interconnected university-community-industry-based hubs throughout the state. 

The Network will be anchored by the Discovery Partners Institute (DPI) in Chicago that will coordinate efforts and initiatives statewide. The Illinois General Assembly appropriated funding to help launch the DPI/IIN last spring. 

UIS is expected to receive part of that funding, and conceptual planning and design is now underway for a downtown Innovation Center that will include an expanded Innovate Springfield and other related activities. 

Bruce Sommer, the University’s new Director of Economic Development and Innovation, is part of the intellectual capital being invested in this exciting project. A Springfield native who grew up in successful local businesses including Harper Oil Company, Bruce left Illinois after college and spent several years on the East coast as a venture capitalist and angel investor. 

“When I came back to Springfield, I simply didn’t see the entrepreneurial culture I was used to on the East Coast,” says Sommer. “Innovate Springfield and the Springfield hub will provide that culture and will enable us to start new companies, which in turn can attract a wealth of talent and opportunity.” 

In addition to teaching entrepreneurship classes on campus and at Innovate Springfield, Sommer is fostering the development of local university-business partnerships to create the capacity for Springfield to be a vital and sustainable hub in the statewide network. 

Keenan Dungey is another essential asset for the project. A graduate of the University of Michigan and professor in the UIS Department of Chemistry, Dr. Dungey leads Research and Institutional Effectiveness for the University. 

“Thirty UIS faculty are already engaged in system-wide DPI working groups focused on key themes including: Computing and Data, Environment and Water, Health and Wellness, and Food and Agriculture,” says Dungey. 

“The intellectual capital this project is harnessing is tremendous,” he continues, “and it is providing new ways for us to intentionally reach outward and consider how faculty, students and programs can be stronger assets for our local community and across the state.” 

Innovation is the driver of economic development and now is the time to expand our thinking about what is possible for a more prosperous future.” ... and that’s a public good we need for Springfield and for Central Illinois!

Read the entire article online.

Women's Softball: UIS softball sweeps GLVC doubleheader

The University of Illinois Springfield pounded out 20 total hits and swept Bellarmine 8-5 and 12-1 in the opening games Saturday of the Great Lakes Valley Conference.

Morgan Edwards had a two-run home run in the top of the first inning, and teammate Carolyn Franke delivered a three-run double in the Prairie Stars’ four-run third. Edwards finished 2-for-3 with three RBIs and Bree Derhake added two hits, an RBI and scored twice. Starting pitcher Jaycee Craver went the distance, striking out six and walking three.

Ali Bortmess belted a grand slam in the nightcap and Payton Long pitched a two-hitter, striking out seven and walking one, as UIS completed the sweep.

Bortmess finished with five RBIs and Franke had two hits and drove in two for the Prairie Stars.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on March 16, 2019.

Read the entire article online.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

UIS baseball, softball teams split doubleheaders

Carolyn Franke delivered a pinch-hit, two-run single in the bottom of the fourth inning and the University of Illinois Springfield softball team defeated Missouri Western 3-2 in the second game of a doubleheader split at UIS on Tuesday.

In the nightcap, UIS loaded the bases with no outs and got within 2-1 with a sacrifice fly. That led to Franke’s two-run single that gave the Prairie Stars the lead. Payton Long was the winning pitcher in relief, throwing three innings of one-hit scoreless ball. She struck out five and walked three.

In baseball, UIS had a five-run lead after four innings and Ruben Markham sealed the victory with a grand slam in the bottom of the eighth of the Prairie Stars’ 14-3 triumph over Wisconsin-Parkside in the second game of a doubleheader.

The Prairie Stars finished with 14 hits.

These stories appeared in The State Journal-Register on March 13, 2019.

Read the entire article online.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Women's Softball: Derhake lifts Stars to a sweep

Bree Derhake hit a solo home run in the fourth inning of Game 1 and went 1-for-4 with an RBI in Game 2, leading University of Illinois Springfield to a couple of victories against Southwest Baptist University, 1-0 and 3-1.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on March 11, 2019.

Read the entire article online.

Men's Baseball: Speaker named GLVC player of the week

University of Illinois Springfield outfielder Zach Speaker was named Great Lakes Valley Conference player of the week on Monday.

Speaker, a senior from Frankfort is batting .366 for the year and has a team-high 19 RBIs.

This is the first time winning the award for Speaker.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on March 11, 2019.

Read the entire article online.

Men's Baseball: No. 3 UIS baseball wins first conference series

The No. 3-ranked University of Illinois Springfield baseball team won its first series of the Great Lakes Valley Conference season, defeating Truman State 19-6 in the rubber match at UIS.

The Prairie Stars offense smashed early, scoring 14 runs in the first four innings. All nine starters collected a base hit, led by Chris Monroe going 5-for-6 with four RBIs, two runs scored and two doubles. Nick Wisz went 3-for-3 with two RBIs and a run scored, and Nick Mayerhofer went 3-for-5 with two runs scored and an RBI. Austin Alderman went 2-for-5 with three runs scored and a home run.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on March 11, 2019.

Read the entire article online.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Springfield’s Tyler Pence training for U.S. Olympics Trials marathon

Tyler Pence never struggles to get out the door.

Well, unless there’s a freakish snowstorm not unlike the one in January. That forced him to stay indoors and run on a treadmill.

“But usually 99 percent of the time I’m running outside,” said Pence, who graduated from Springfield High School in 2011.

That’s because the 2016 USI grad is prepping for his first appearance in the U.S. Olympic Trials marathon scheduled Feb. 29, 2020 in Atlanta.

“That’s something that I really wanted to accomplish,” Pence said. “The marathon, it’s a gamble. Things can go wrong. It’s such a long period of racing that something can go wrong at any moment, so to put it together and have the day that I had, I was very happy with how it went.”

Pence had only attempted one other marathon – the Las Vegas Rock n Roll Marathon in 2016. Pence said that was just for fun. Sacramento was different.

Pence started training rigorously in August, approximately the same time he won his third straight 10-kilmometer Abe’s Amble road race at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. His training spanned four months, running 110-120 miles a week. Sundays were always his big runs, reaching up to 20-24 miles.

His job was not a hindrance. Beginning in 2016 under Mike De Witt, Pence has been the assistant coach on the University of Illinois Springfield cross country and track programs. He often did morning practices with UIS runners, in addition to a second jaunt in the afternoon. It was the source of his inspiration.

“I’m a big believer in practice what you preach. That’s definitely what got me back into getting motivated to run at the next level.”

”Tyler’s now turning his eye toward higher altitude during the summer, specifically Colorado Springs. He doesn’t have any real goal in mind, except one thing. “I’m just going to go there to compete and give it 100 percent,” Tyler said of Atlanta. “I just want to leave there knowing that I left it all out there for sure.”

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on March 10, 2019.

Read the entire article online.

UIS students to join volunteer efforts over spring break

Local University of Illinois Springfield students will be looking beyond the beach for spring break to help with something meaningful.

As part of "Alternative Spring Break" - an organization on campus - two groups of students will spend their entire Spring Break, helping to rebuild Puerto Rico and Florida following Hurricanes Maria and Michael that left devastation.

"Alternative Spring Break - that's our main mission - utilizing recess to dedicate it to something better and bigger than yourself...," President of Alternative Spring Break Maddie Reuss said. "Those who choose ASB - their hearts are really in it."

This trip marks the 11th anniversary of Alternative Spring Break at UIS.

Each year, the students go to different locations throughout the U.S., in need, to volunteer.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on March 8, 2019.

Watch the story online.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Decorated recycling bins not increasing recycling on UIS campus

A new study from the University of Illinois Springfield now shows decorated recycling bins aren't increasing recycling on campus.

As part of the study, researchers put bedazzled bins or bins with positive messages made people more likely to recycle.

The study was funded by a $3,600 grant from Pepsi Co.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on March 7, 2019.

Watch the story online.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Men's Baseball: Undefeated UIS wins, ties in baseball home games

The University of Illinois Springfield defeated William Jewell 10-1 in the opener, and then tied the Cardinals 2-2 in the nightcap in a game that was called due to darkness Friday in a doubleheader at UIS Field.

Chris Mathieu and Ruben Markham had three hits apiece and two RBIs each as the Prairie Stars compiled 14 hits in Game 1.

Justin Revels (2-0) was the winning pitcher, allowing just four hits in six innings with six strikeouts and no walks.

UIS was one out away from the sweep when William Jewell (5-5-1) hit a game-tying single that forced the tie.

This story was published in The State Journal-Register on March 2, 2019.

Read the entire article online.

Women's Basketball: Stars pick up win against Bellarmine

University of Illinois Springfield ended the regular season on a positive note, defeating Bellarmine 90-81 at TRAC for the first victory over the program in school history.

UIS connected 11 times from deep, including three players with three apiece. Val Meissner, Carson Vance and Tehya Fortune all had three 3s and finished in double figures; Meissner with 11, Vance with 10 and Fortune with 23 off the bench.

The team went 11-for-20 from 3-point range. Lauren Ladowski also had 23 points for UIS, with eight coming from the free throw line.

Ladowski went eight of 10 from the line and 7-for-9 from the floor. She also added nine assists and three steals.

 UIS finished the season at 8-18 and 5-13 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on March 2, 2019.

Read the entire article online.

UIS hosts open house for Women's History Month

The University of Illinois Springfield is kicking off women's history month with an open house.

The Women's Center at UIS held an open house Friday to let everyone know what they offer.

For more than 25 years, the center has offered a variety of services and events - often challenges women face every day.

"As part of this month, we're doing a age negotiation workshop. It's not just limited to women - anyone can go to our wage negotiation workshop, but the focus is on the fact that women often struggle with that sort of thing in the workplace," Program Director of the Woman's Center Rexann Whorton said.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on March 1, 2019.

Watch the story online.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Men's Baseball: UIS baseball starts with sweep at home

The University of Illinois Springfield opened its season-opening home games with a 9-4 and 5-1 doubleheader sweep over visiting Purdue Northwest on Friday at the UIS Baseball Field.

In Game 1, UIS rallied from a 3-1 deficit, scoring one run in the bottom of the seventh inning and seven in the eighth to take the lead.

The Prairie Stars benefited from six walks and three hit batsmen during those two innings.

Nick Mayerhofer had a two-run single in the eighth, and Chris Monroe smacked a three-run double for UIS.

Brayden Jensen threw two shutout innings in relief to earn the win, while striking out four.

In the nightcap, UIS starter Andrew Dean threw six scoreless innings as the Prairie Stars completed the sweep to improve to 5-0. Dean allowed just three hits.

Leadoff hitter John Sechen went 2-for-2 and scored twice, and Ryan Fish had a pair of hits for UIS.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on February 23, 2019.

Read the entire article online.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Men's Basketball: UIS breaks slump, 3-point record in close win

The University of Illinois Springfield men’s basketball team made a school-record 18 3-pointers, and Vince Walker’s 3-point basket was the biggest.

Walker drained a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1 minute remaining in the game and the Prairie Stars defeated McKendree 76-75 on Saturday in a Great Lakes Valley Conference game at the Statham Center.

Walker’s shot helped UIS snap a six-game losing streak, as he finished with six 3s and 19 points.

The Prairie Stars’ 18 3-point field goals broke the previous record of 17 that was set in a win over Ashford during the 2005-06 season.

The Prairie Stars improved to 14-12 overall and 7-9 in the GLVC.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on February 23, 2019.

Read the entire article online.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Local kids take part in UIS baseball camps

Some local kids in Springfield had the chance to spend Presidents Day learning about baseball.

The baseball camps were hosted by the University of Illinois Springfield and were open to kids from five to 12 years old.

Campers worked with current UIS players to learn the basics of the sport and get to know the players.
"The main thing is just to connect with the community, youth baseball in Springfield. Then, have some fun playing baseball in the gym," Coach Chris Ramirez said.

UIS baseball does host other camps and clinics throughout the year.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on February 18, 2019.

Watch the story online.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Art Express gives people with dementia creative outlet

An art expression class for people with dementia and their care partners learned of a new way of creating art that even one who balks at creativity may like.

University of Illinois Springfield graduate student Cheyenne Snodgrass told people gathered Wednesday afternoon for the Art Express class at Hope Presbyterian Church how they would work on abstract painting using acrylic paints and palette knives that day.

Established in 2012, the Art Express class is co-hosted by Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Neuroscience Center and the University of Illinois Springfield Human Development Counseling Program.

Art Express gives people with dementia an outlet to creatively express themselves without needing memory, management or verbal communications skills. It promotes creativity, self-expression, social engagement and autonomy in a supportive environment. Its goal isn’t to produce beautiful artwork, but that can be a by-product.

Meeting weekly for a 2-hour session on a semester basis, the class is led by Karen Lee, UIS clinical instructor of Human Development Counseling, and Maggie Schaver of the Neuroscience Institute, SIU School of Medicine.

Graduate students from the UIS Human Development Counseling Program, community and church volunteers also assist with the class, partnering with individual participants.

“I was out at UIS, and I had this idea that it would be fun to bring some of my graduate students with me so that they could get experience in art therapy and working with this population,” said Lee, a trained art therapist.

UIS graduate student Rachel Stewart was helping a woman Wednesday with the painting project, first asking her if she wanted to paint on a big piece of paper or a smaller one. “You get to pick,” Stewart said. “What colors are your favorite colors?”

 Stewart is in her second semester helping with Art Express. “I just really like working with people with dementia. I think they’re super honest, and they’re just genuine, and I like interacting with them and helping them to feel normal, even if it’s just for the two hours that we’re here,” Stewart said.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on February 16, 2019.

Read the entire article online.

Women's Softball: UIS pounds Davenport, wins sixth straight

University of Illinois Springfield collected 14 hits and won its sixth straight game by beating Davenport 15-3 Saturday at Drake Creek Field.

The Prairie Stars scored three runs each in the bottom of the second and third innings and plated nine runs in the fourth to blow the game open. The bottom order of the lineup, consisting of Kendra Peifer, Hunter Niebrugge and Natalie Cokel combined for eight hits and eight RBIs.

Peifer and Niebrugge both went 3-for-3 and drove in three runs apiece, and Cokel finished 2-for-3, drove in two and scored twice. Winning pitcher Jaycee Craver threw 4 1/3 innings, allowing two earned runs and four hits. UIS improved to 6-2.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on February 16, 2019.

Read the entire article online.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Susan Koch: Embracing history with Lincoln studies at UIS

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 February 9, 2019.

February commonly brings predictions of spring’s arrival provided by a groundhog named Phil or handfuls of candy conversation hearts to celebrate Valentine’s Day. 

Here in Springfield, Illinois, however, February’s center stage goes to our own hometown hero — Abraham Lincoln

With Mr. Lincoln’s 210th birthday only two days away, my thoughts, too, are with the 16th president. Fortunately, resources for contemplating Lincoln are close at hand here at the University of Illinois Springfield. 

The study of Abraham Lincoln — his leadership and his legacy — is a unique point of pride for the University that continues to grow and contribute to the education of tomorrow’s leaders as well as to the Springfield community. 

Though UIS faculty in many areas of study engage in teaching and research about Lincoln, Professor Michael Burlingame, who occupies the Naomi B. Lynn Distinguished Chair in Lincoln Studies, is most prominent. 

The author of many critically acclaimed Lincoln books including a biography titled Abraham Lincoln: A Life, Burlingame believes learning about Lincoln ”... deepens students’ understanding of what it means to be an American.” 

Devin Hunter, who joined the UIS faculty after working at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., and earning a Ph.D. in Public History from Loyola University, agrees. “Studying Lincoln’s life,” says Hunter, “enables better understanding of how others navigate challenges — some of which are similar to what we see today.” 

Professors Burlingame and Hunter take full advantage of their location in Lincoln’s hometown where resources for teaching and research about Lincoln and his time abound. “I have a 75-step commute from my residence to do my research at the Lincoln Presidential Library,” says Burlingame, “which has a fabulous collection of primary source materials, books and journals.” “Next to the Library of Congress,” he continues, “it’s the premier place to do Lincoln research.”

(Burlingame’s current project is focused on Lincoln’s many interactions with African Americans throughout his lifetime.) Hunter, who is currently teaching a course titled “Monuments, Museums and Memory,” could not agree more with his colleague’s assessment. “To have local, state, and federal sites all within a small radius is uncommon,” he says, “and it creates an opportunity for faculty and students to have unparalleled access to a variety of important historical sites and information.” 

Local resources also create opportunities for hands-on learning and community engagement. One of Dr. Hunter’s classes recently served as an advisory panel for Springfield’s African American History Museum. His students also help conduct a local “History Harvest” — inviting Illinois residents to bring historical items to a site where they are digitized and become part of an online exhibit. 

Many UIS graduates who studied Lincoln at UIS have gone on to successful careers in a variety of leadership roles. Claire Jerry is one of them. 

Jerry earned a master’s degree in public history from UIS and then a Ph.D. from the University of Kansas. She is now at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. where she is the Lead Curator in Political History at the National Museum of American History. 

“My experiences at UIS were absolutely essential to my career as a museum professional,” says Jerry. “Professor William Siles’ insistence that I pursue increasingly challenging opportunities gave me the confidence to do more than I had ever thought possible and Dr. Cecilia Cornell not only insisted I do my best work, but that I strive for more. “I would not be where I am today,” she concludes, “without the education I received at UIS.” 

Lincoln Studies at UIS will take another important step forward in the coming year with the formal launch of the Center for Lincoln Studies — a priority of the current Reaching Stellar fundraising campaign. 

With planning underway for collaboration with the ALPLM, the Abraham Lincoln Association and other Lincoln-oriented organizations, the Center will provide new opportunities for learning about Lincoln and the impact of his contributions. 

I’m so pleased the growing Lincoln Studies agenda at the University of Illinois Springfield will enable us to further embrace, rather than escape, history.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Lincoln!

Read the entire article online.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

UIS Black History Month event examines NAACP history

As part of Black History Month, the University of Illinois Springfield’s Engaged Citizenship Common Experience (ECCE) Speaker Series, the UIS Diversity Center and the Springfield NAACP will co-host a film screening and panel discussion on “The History of Springfield – From 1908 to Now.”

This event will begin with a screening of the 30-minute film Springfield Had No Shame: The Springfield Race Riot of 1908.

The film will be followed by a panel discussion led by Teresa Haley, president of the Springfield and Illinois chapters of the NAACP. The panel will also include previous NAACP presidents and members who will discuss the history and plight of the NAACP since its establishment in 1909.

This story appeared in the Illinois Times on February 7, 2019.

Read the entire story online.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Women's Basketball: UIS outlasts Indianapolis for fourth conference win

The University of Illinois Springfield women's basketball team outlasted the University of Indianapolis with a 68-65 victory during Saturday's Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) matchup at TRAC.

UIS topped the Greyhounds for the first time in program history.

"It was a great team effort with balanced scoring and contributions from our bench," UIS coach Mark Kost said.

Influencing much of the game was the battle in the paint, which accounted for 51.1 percent of the game's scoring. Both teams turned in 34 points apiece in the paint.

Throughout the game, the Prairie Stars were able to receive the benefits of the home-court crowd. "Our crowd was awesome and energized our team. We need that to continue when we return home."

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on February 2, 2019.

Watch the story online.

Men's Basketball: Vince Walker breaks UIS' career three-point record

Vince Walker broke the University of Illinois Springfield men's basketball career record for three-pointers on Saturday, but his five three-pointers in the game were not enough for the Prairie Stars as they fell to Indianapolis by an 86-76 score at TRAC.

Walker hit his 193rd three-pointer of his career with 2:20 left in the first half, tying him with Jamall Millison who set the previous mark in 2016.

That tie lasted just 78 seconds into the second half when Walker hit another long distance shot. He added one more later in the half and is now just five away from 200 for his UIS career.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on February 2, 2019.

Watch the story online.

UIS moving forward with downtown plans despite SIU proposal

Despite a proposal unveiled last week that would allocate funds for another public university to build a campus in downtown Springfield, officials from the University of Illinois Springfield say they are continuing to move forward unimpeded with plans for an increased downtown presence.

Last August, the university acquired business and social innovation incubator Innovate Springfield, which was founded in 2014 as a subsidiary to the Community Foundation, but with UIS squarely in mind as a future repository. Soon after, the university was awarded the first hub of the Illinois Innovation Network, a University of Illinois system-led initiative meant to foster economic growth through research and innovation by connecting satellite hubs spread across the state with the flagship Discovery Partners Institute, a research institute to be based in Chicago.

More than $500 million was appropriated toward the statewide initiative in the fiscal year 2019 state budget, approved by lawmakers last year. Though most of it will go toward the construction of the Chicago-based institute, at least $15 million has been set aside for UIS to build a hub somewhere in downtown Springfield.

Innovate Springfield remains at 15 S. Old State Capitol Plaza, but university officials have made clear their intention to move into a larger space.

In addition to the innovation hub, Chancellor Susan Koch said other programs could make the move to a new downtown space. “We haven’t made final decisions, but we really believe there are some other entities that being downtown would be a great match for them,” Koch said. While cautioning that nothing is yet conclusive, Koch said moving the university’s Illinois legislative staff intern program and NPR Illinois have been discussed.

Koch said university leaders are trying to strike the “right balance” between having a robust downtown presence and increasing the vitality of the main campus.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on February 2, 2019.

Read the entire story online.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

UIS cancels class as temperatures drop

The University of Illinois Springfield announced that all classes are canceled for Wednesday, January 30th.

The school also canceled classes in the evening after 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 29th.

However, the campus is still open.

This story appeared on WICS Newschannel 20 on January 29, 2019.

Watch the story online.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Women's Basketball: First quarter run seals win for Stars

University of Illinois Springfield trailed 7-5 early in the first period but closed out the quarter on a 14-0 run and a 12-point lead that they would ride to the finish for a 77-65 win over Quincy University at the Pepsi Arena.

Tehya Fortune led the Stars from 3-point range, shooting 5-for-12 and scoring 23 points. Fortune sank three 3s in the first half. UIS shot 43.5 percent from deep. Val Meissner went 7-for-11 from the floor for 16 points.

UIS breaks a four-game losing streak in the conference, moving to 3-6 in the GLVC and 6-11 overall.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on January 26, 2019.

Read the entire article online.

Renovations set to begin at University of Illinois Springfield

University of Illinois Springfield will be making major structural improvements to its studio theater.

The theater received a $150,000 grant from the university to modernize its facility. The improvements will include new seating, a new curtain system and upgrades to lighting and sound.

Bryan Rives, the director of performance arts services, said the renovations will support UIS as well as the outside community. "These upgrades were definitely necessary and it's going to help us be more cost-effective in the daily operations of the building and by bringing the operating cost of the building down, we're also hoping that new community arts organizations will start popping up that will use this space as their performance home," Rives said.

The grant money will be combined with money from outside donors to pay for the total renovation cost of $200,000. Work is set to be complete by the end of the summer.

This story aired on Fox 55 Illinois on January 25, 2019.

Watch the story online.

UIS Mock Trial team wins awards

The University of Illinois Springfield Mock Trial team recently received the Spirit of American Mock Trial Association Award at the first Scarlet and Cream Invitational hosted by the University of Nebraska.

Area team members are Chance Austin, of Rochester; and Adeola Babington, Andrew Jarmer and Jade Sisti, of Springfield.

Jarmer was recognized with an Outstanding Attorney award for his competition performance.

The American Mock Trial Association has awarded the team that best exemplifies its ideals of civility, justice and fair play with the Spirit of AMTA Award since 2000. The award is given to only one team at each tournament and is voted and scored by competing teams.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on January 24, 2019.

Read the entire article online.


Softball: Prairie Stars No. 2 in GLVC preseason poll

The University of Illinois Springfield is No. 2 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference preseason softball poll.

The Prairie Stars, defending regular-season GLVC champions, received one first-place vote and 149 points. They finished No. 2 behind defending national champion Southern Indiana (11 first-place votes).

UIS is coming off its best season in program history, going 40-19 overall and 22-6 in the GLVC. The Stars eventually reached the NCAA Super Regionals and finished No. 12 in the national rankings.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on January 25, 2019.

Read the entire article online.

Baseball: UIS receives preseason honors

Four players from the University of Illinois Springfield have been named to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association NCAA Division II Preseason All-Midwest Team.

UIS players named to the first team were senior pitcher Andrew Dean from Alvin, Texas; senior pitcher Justin Revels from Peoria, Arizona, and senior catcher John Sechen from Ashland, Wisconsin. UIS junior pitcher Cameron Zunkel, who’s from Lombard, was named to the second team.

The Prairie Stars also were rated No. 2 in the NCBWA NCAA Division II Midwest Regional preseason rankings.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on January 25, 2019.

Read the entire article online.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

UIS students volunteering for MLK Day of Service

More than 80 students from the University of Illinois Springfield are volunteering for the national Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.

Students will be helping six community organizations in Springfield.

They will volunteer at Concordia Village, Computer Banc, Habitat for Humanity ReStore, HSHS St. John's Hospital, Pleasant Grove Baptist Church, and Ronald McDonald House. At Concordia Village students will sort through donated computers at the Computer Banc, prepare items for sale at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore and prepare stuffed animals and cards that will be donated to children at HSHS St. John's Hospital. They will also help around the house and sort donated items at the Ronald McDonald House.

The largest group will be stationed at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church to assemble valentines and crafts for donation to mothers and children at Sojourn Shelter & Services, MERCY Communities and Contact Ministries.

Students will also assemble food bags for PGBC's food pantry and prepare garbage bags to be used in flood relief and tornado tubs for the Midwest Mission Distribution Center.

This story aired on WAND 17 on January 21, 2019. 

Watch the story online.

Men's Basketball: Bahari Amaya, UIS men rally over Drury

Bahari Amaya came off the bench to score a career-high 24 points, including a 3-point basket with 10.4 seconds left in regulation, on Saturday to lift the University of Illinois Springfield men’s basketball team to a come-from-behind, 88-87 Great Lakes Valley Conference victory over Drury at TRAC.

UIS trailed by 16 points early in the second half and still was down by 10 with 7 minutes 16 seconds left. But the Prairie Stars made an 8-0 run that gave them an 85-54 lead with 1:49 to go.

Both teams shot well, with UIS 33-for-52 from the field for 63 percent and the Panthers 34-for-63 for .540. The Stars also shot 59 percent from 3-point range.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on January 19, 2019.

Read the entire article online.


Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Man wrongfully convicted of attempted murder exonerated after death

A wrongfully convicted Illinois man will be exonerated decades after he died in prison.

The Illinois Innocence Project at the University of Illinois Springfield said the person granted clemency will be Grover Thompson, who was convicted after the 1981 death of a Mount Vernon woman.

Grover decided to rest in the lobby of a Mount Vernon post office during a bus journey to see family in Mississippi while, at the same time, a man broke into the home of 72-year-old widow Ida White, hid in her shower and stabbed her.

The Innocence Project says Lt. Paul Echols, a now-retired member of Carbondale’s police department, ended up getting a confession to the crime from Tim Krajcir, who it says was “sometimes mistaken for a dark-complexioned man”.

Krajcir has a history of sex crimes dating back decades and admitted to killing nine people, police say.

This is the first posthumous exoneration in Illinois history and the 21st nationwide.

This story aired on WAND on January 14, 2019.

Watch the entire story online.

UIS Student Union celebrates one-year anniversary

The University of Illinois Springfield's Student Union celebrated its one year anniversary since its opening in 2018.

The Student Union serves as the center of students' social and organizational activities.

"This building is such an amazing piece of this campus now and has really changed how students interact and have a good time on this campus and connect with one another," Executive Director of the Student Union Ann Comerford said.

Some of the one-year celebration activities included license plate personalizations, giveaways, a DJ and a game show.

This story aired in WICS Newschannel 20 on January 14, 2019.

Watch the story online.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Men's Basketball: Peyton Allen, Cole Harper pave way for UIS victory

The University of Illinois Springfield men’s basketball team overcame a long drought in the second half and escaped with the 81-70 Great Lakes Valley Conference victory over Maryville on Saturday at the TRAC.

A couple of Chatham Glenwood High School grads quickly fueled a 7-0 run to grab the lead for good.

UIS senior guard Cole Harper ended the rut with a jumper and junior teammate Peyton Allen reclaimed a 68-66 advantage with a 3-pointer with 5 minutes 2 seconds remaining. It was Harper’s first appearance since he twisted his left ankle on Jan. 2. He finished with three points, three rebounds and two assists in 22 minutes off the bench. Allen contributed 15 points for UIS, which snapped a two-game skid and improved to 10-5 overall and 3-2 in conference play.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on January 12, 2019.

Read the entire article online.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Women's Basketball: UIS guard Sangster tabbed Player of the Week

University of Illinois Springfield’s Jasmine Sangster earned Great Lakes Valley Conference Player of the Week after leading the women’s basketball team to a 84-73 victory over McKendree University on Saturday.

She scored 33 points, shooting 11 of 16 from the field and 3 of 5 from 3-point range while going 8-for-8 from the free throw line. That was the highest single-game performance since Dec. 10, 2014.

Sangster, a junior guard, averages 14.2 points per game.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on January 7, 2019.

Read the entire article online.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Susan Koch: Career development at UIS

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 January 5, 2019.

As the new year begins, college students across the country will soon return to their studies following the winter break. More than 20,000 of those students will begin their final semester at the University of Illinois, including about 1,500 whose hands I’ll proudly shake on the University of Illinois Springfield commencement stage in May.

According to the Pew Research Center, a college degree is worth more today than ever before in terms of employment prospects, higher salaries and job satisfaction; but managing the transition from college to career can be intimidating.

Fortunately for UIS students, that’s exactly where Kathyy Battee-Freeman, Director of the UIS Career Development Center, can help.

With a background including degrees in Human Resources, Career Counseling and Applied Psychology and with more than 18 years of Career Development experience, Battee-Freeman and her team provide essential resources for students, faculty and employers to ensure the college-to-career transition has a positive outcome for all.

“Our first goal is to serve as a partner with students to develop tailored, realistic career strategies and obtainable goals,” says Battee-Freeman. “Starting with Freshman Orientation, we work with students throughout their educational experience — providing individualized counseling to help clarify goals and aspirations, connecting students to resources both on and off campus, and helping them develop skills such as resume writing, using digital job search tools like LinkedIn, interviewing and presenting themselves professionally — all so important for a successful transition from college to career.”

Jodi Weiss, CEO of EverythingSmart (a career strategy organization), advises students to plot their career roadmap throughout the college experience.

For this reason, Battee-Freeman and Career Center staff also partner with UIS faculty to integrate career readiness components across the curriculum — elements tailored to specific programs and majors.

Professor Hilary Frost, Director of the Global Studies program at UIS, is one such faculty partner.

Dr. Frost begins her Freshman Seminar by engaging students in a self-assessment to determine what kinds of careers might be a good match for their interests. She then takes her students on a “field trip” to the Career Development Center where they learn about services offered, interpret results of their assessment, and explore opportunities and networks that will lead toward career goals during their college experience.

“The UIS Career Development Center is key to a successful college experience,” says Dr. Frost. “It provides a strategic bridge between the theoretical ideas of the classroom and the working world.” “Over many years collaborating with the Center, I’ve learned what employers in my field are seeking from new college graduates (e.g., language skills, international experience and intercultural communication skills),” she adds. “I’ve developed my courses accordingly to ensure students build those skills. This ultimately enables students to truly put their education to work.”

A third strategic partner is the employer, and the Center maintains relationships with employers, large and small, throughout Springfield and beyond.

A special opportunity will occur next month when the UIS Career Connections Expo is held in The Recreation and Athletic Center (TRAC). This annual event, scheduled for February 14th, draws more than a hundred employers and several hundred job-seekers.

Read the entire column online.