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.