Tuesday, November 25, 2014

UIS men's basketball team holds off Lincoln University

Junior Jamall Millison and sophomore Mark Weems Jr. combined to hit seven of eight free throws in the final 36 seconds as the University of Illinois Springfield held on for a 72-67 win over Lincoln University in a non-conference men’s basketball game Monday.

Weems put the unbeaten Prairie Stars up 63-48 with 4½ minutes left in the second half. Lincoln answered with a 9-0 scoring run, including three steals.

Joshua Buie’s steal and layup pulled the Blue Tigers within six points with 2:18 remaining.

Blake Ralling’s steal set up teammate Mike Smith’s layup and Lincoln got within four points at the 1:07 mark.

The Blue Tigers cut it 65-62 when Smith converted one of two foul shots with 47 seconds to go. Millison’s four straight free throws widened the lead to seven points with 25 seconds left.

Millison finished with a team-high 18 points and two steals. Weems added 15 points and six rebounds. Freshman Vince Walker scored 11 points for the 3-0 Stars.

Victor Scott had 21 points for Lincoln (1-5). Buie scored 20 and grabbed five steals.

In women's basketball, Freshman Shelbi Patterson collected a team-high 20 points, seven assists, five steals and two 3-pointers for University of Illinois Springfield in an 81-40 non-conference victory over Robert Morris University at The Recreation and Athletic Center.

UIS led 40-21 at halftime. RMU went 6½ minutes without scoring during a 15-0 run late in the second half that put UIS ahead 78-35. Senior Courtney Knuckles poured in 17 points for the Prairie Stars (2-3). Junior teammate Briana Starks added a team-leading nine rebounds, 12 points and four steals.

The Eagles (0-6) used just six players. Senior Brandi Bradley led RMU with 16 points. Juniors Jessica Taylor and Laci Porter scored 10 points apiece.

This article appeared online in The State Journal-Register on Monday, November 24, 2014.

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Monday, November 24, 2014

UIS men's basketball team earns second straight win

Mark Weems scored a career-best 25 points on 8-for-14 floor shooting Saturday night to lead the University of Illinois Springfield men’s basketball team to a 78-71 non-conference victory over Trevecca Nazerene.

Weems also grabbed eight rebounds and handed out three assists. Sammie Elem added 15 points and 11 rebounds — seven at the offensive end that helped UIS to 19 second-chance points — and Dylan Sparkman had 13 points and 12 rebounds for the Prairie Stars, 2-0.

UIS was 26-for-57 from the floor (45 percent) and the the Trojans shot 34 percent, 25-for-73. The Prairie Stars owned a 47-44 rebound edge.

The win was reported by The State Journal-Register on November 23, 2014.

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UIS softball team adds three players

University of Illinois Springfield first-year softball coach Shannon Nicholson announced the signing of three players to letters of intent during the early signing period.

Alexa Brown (Chatham Glenwood High School), Haley Inman (Anna-Jonesboro) and Hannah Kain (Geneseo) will join the Prairie Stars in the 2015-16 school year.

“With this being our first recruiting class, we are excited to add speed, power, and left-handed bats that make up our three new Prairie Stars,” Nicholson said. “These players all are great student-athletes who have successfully raised the bar in their current programs. Each player is looking to step right in to help replace the gaps left by this year’s graduating class of seniors.”

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on November 22, 2014.

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Friday, November 21, 2014

Academic Movers 2014: In Depth with Sarah Sagmoen

In the latest of our In-Depth Interviews with Library Journal Movers & Shakers from academic libraries, sponsored by SAGE, we spoke with Sarah Sagmoen, learning commons and user services librarian at the University of Illinois Springfield’s Brookens Library.

Hired as a visiting instructional librarian in 2009, Sagmoen was managing the reference desk and public computers by the end of her first year.

In her third year at Brookens, her work inspired the library to create the position she now occupies.

Between her academic duties and a lively student outreach program, she is busy building a strong community both inside the library and out.

This article appeared online in the Library Journal's Academic Newswire enewsletter on November 20, 2014.

Sagmoen answers many questions about her passion and creativity as a library leader.

Read the entire article here.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Next UI president: Timothy Killeen

A leading Welsh researcher in geophysics and space science has been named the 20th president of the University of Illinois.

Timothy Killeen, vice chancellor for research and president of the Research Foundation of the State University of New York, will replace longtime UI administrator Bob Easter.

A start date has not been determined.

Killeen will receive a base salary of $600,000 a year and up to $100,000 annually in performance incentives, UI spokesman Tom Hardy said today. He will also be eligible for retention payments that he will receive at the end of five years, starting at $30,000 annually and increasing by $7,500 a year, Hardy said.

Killeen, 62, joined UI officials today for the official announcement at the three campuses and to meet with future colleagues, faculty, students and constituents. The kickoff was at 8:30 a.m. in Chicago, followed by noon on the Springfield campus and 3 p.m. in the South Lounge of the Illini Union in Urbana.

The story was reported by the Champaign News-Gazette on November 19, 2014.

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Monday, November 17, 2014

UIS volleyball coach Rooke resigns

Noelle Rooke has resigned as the University of Illinois Springfield volleyball coach to return to her native California.

She grew up in the Los Angeles suburb of Agoura and her husband, Max Rooke, is in his first season as a NCAA Division I women’s soccer assistant at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. Max Rooke was a UIS men’s soccer assistant and director of coaching for the Springfield Area Soccer Association.

“I’ve coached for 18 years at four institutions,” Noelle Rooke said. “It’s time to put my husband’s career first.”

Rooke coached the Prairie Stars for three years. UIS wrapped up the 2014 season last weekend. It finished with a 10-18 overall record and a 2-16 Great Lakes Valley Conference mark.

Rooke came to UIS from NCAA Division I Mercer. Her coaching record at UIS was 28-59 overall and 8-46 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference.

“I strongly feel I’m leaving it better than I got it,” Rooke said. “We’ve changed the culture. I hope it’s been a positive experience for these kids on and off the court, and I think that it is all about changing the culture.”

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on November 15, 2014.

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Friday, November 14, 2014

Lincoln Land's Muench says he'll fit in with UIS baseball team

Lincoln Land Community College sophomore outfielder Austin Muench got his first look at his future team when the Loggers faced the University of Illinois Springfield in a fall game.

“Their program is going up and they’re starting to win a lot more,” Muench said. “We played them in the fall and they were good. I liked the way they played.”

Muench signed a letter of intent to play for the Prairie Stars in 2016.

UIS has unveiled a nine-player recruiting class that includes Muench. He had a .295 batting average with 29 RBIs, 11 steals and four triples for LLCC last season. “He throws really well from the outfield. He has baseball speed,” UIS coach Chris Ramirez said.

“You can see that with his triples and stolen bases. He is also a strong hitter. He’s going to provide good versatility from the offensive side.”

Another local signee is Chatham Glenwood High School pitcher Matt Sekardi. In 28 1/3 innings, he had a 1.73 earned run average, striking out 19 batters. He posted a 3-4 record. He is one of four pitching recruits and seven incoming freshmen.

Wilmot (Wisconsin) High School pitcher Austin Brewer recorded a 1.90 ERA and 9-1 last season. The Stars nabbed a pair of left-handed pitchers in Palos Heights Shepard High School’s Adam Gregory and Plainfield North High School’s Kyle Strepek. Strepek went 9-1 with a 1.64 ERA, 85 strikeouts and 15 walks last spring. He was also named to the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association Class 4A all-state first team. Gregory had a 0.47 ERA and 10-1 record.

UIS has added a power hitter in Jason Galeano, a sophomore first baseman at Iowa Central Community College from Brooklyn, New York. He drove in 38 runs, hit 13 doubles and seven home runs en route to a .362 batting average. “He is a true hitter,” Ramirez said. “He hits for good average. I always like to have some guys like him that can have a physical presence in the middle of our lineup.”

UIS has added two catchers. Ashland (Wisconsin) High School’s John Sechen is the top-ranked catching prospect by Wisconsin Prep Baseball Report. He hit .462 last season.

First baseman/catcher Ryan Deering hit .259 and had 15 RBIs for Christian Brothers College High School in suburban St. Louis. Second baseman McCauley Cox plays for Janesville (Wisconsin) Craig High School and is ranked 34th by the Wisconsin Prep Baseball Report.

This story appeared online in The State Journal-Register on November 13, 2014.

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Adoption Month: UIS Student Shares His Success Story

According to the Department of Children and Family Services, 17,000 foster children were adopted in Illinois over the last decade.

Dominique Wilson, 22, was one of those children.

The Chicago native, now a Junior at the University of Illinois Springfield was separated from his biological parents when he was three-years-old. Though, with help from DCFS, he was not only placed into a loving home, but received funding for a college education.

"There's a support system that is there within DCFS to help you," Wilson said. "So allow them to help you, because I feel like there are so many youth that become very defensive because there have been so many people that have come into their lives and left."

Jennifer Florent, of DCFS says it's important for people in the community to know there is always in need for foster and adoptive homes throughout the state.

If you're interested in more information on adoption, visit, The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

This story was featured on www.foxillinois.com on Thursday, November 13, 2014.

Watch the story here.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

UIS women's basketball team shoots for a winning season

The University of Illinois Springfield women’s basketball team gave fans a sneak peak at the Blue Madness fan event Tuesday.

When UIS plays its first game Nov. 22 in front of the hometown crowd, the Prairie Stars will have three games under their belt and an idea of how they play together. Those are necessary assets for a squad with 11 new players, including nine transfers.

The Stars will have a totally different look from the one that was 7-19 overall and 3-15 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference.

“We’re more athletic,” UIS coach Chad Oletzke said. “We’re more versatile. We’re bigger. We’re more skilled. We’re deeper. We want to go at least 10, but I think we can go a little deeper ... 10 to 12. We just have to find a way to come together as a team. We’re going to need time to gel.”

The team was featured by The State Journal-Register on November 13, 2014.

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UIS men's hoops team gets Harrisburg's Amaya

Harrisburg High School 6-foot-5 senior wing Bahari Amaya signed a letter of intent Wednesday to play for the University of Illinois Springfield men’s basketball team next year.

He was a key reserve on Harrisburg’s Class 2A state championship team in 2013. He averaged 15 points and nine rebounds as a junior and received Illinois Basketball Coaches Association all-state special mention honors.

Amaya is the nephew of Ashraf Amaya, a three-time Missouri Valley Conference first-team pick at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale in the 1990s, who later played in the NBA and Europe.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on November 13, 2014.

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Susan Koch: UIS' Computer Science program providing opportunities

The following is a portion of a guest column written by UIS Chancellor Susan J. Koch. It was published in the November 9, 2014 edition of The State Journal-Register.

"Those ever-increasing opportunities in STEM fields are certainly evident on the University of Illinois Springfield campus, where our Computer Science program has grown from just over 100 students in 1990 to well over 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students today.

The program has earned the prestigious Center for Academic Excellence designation from the U.S. National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security and its online Computer Science degree has been cited as one of the four leading online Computer Science programs in the country (along with MIT, Oregon State and Udacity).

UIS Computer Science professor Svet Braynov was attracted to UIS a decade ago from the University of Buffalo because of the department’s reputation for high-quality teaching.

'On many campuses, a student can get lost,' he says, 'but not here. Our students feel a great atmosphere in the department and both students and faculty grow together.'

'We don’t really recruit students,' adds longtime department head Ted Mims. 'Our recruiting is done by our own graduates, who tell others about their great experience in the program.'

A constantly innovating curriculum is another reason that students are attracted to the UIS Computer Science program."

Read the full column online

Monday, November 10, 2014

Four honored at UIS alumni event

The University of Illinois Springfield has honored graduates with alumni awards in three categories.

The annual awards were presented Friday evening at the UIS Alumni Gala at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum.

Recipients were Ralph Blackman, president and CEO of the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (formerly The Century Council); William and Julie Kellner, co-owners of M.J. Kellner Co.; and June Agamah, a public health worker with the International Health and Development Network.

The story was published by The State Journal-Register on November 8, 2014.

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UIS students honor Veterans with yellow ribbons on campus

The tradition is 3 years old, and Samia Ahmad says she gets emotional every time.

"Thinking about everyone who's deployed," said Ahmad. "Their family and friends who are also probably going through the same thing i had gone through a couple years back."

She spent the afternoon coloring her college campus yellow. In the U.S., a yellow ribbon is a symbol of support for military forces. Samia's boyfriend is in the army, and was deployed three years ago. That same year, this tradition was born.

"My classmate and I had the idea of why not tie ribbons on trees on campus just for more of an awareness that UIS is a friendly military campus and that we're here to support anyone," Ahmad.

Dozens of students from the University of Illinois at Springfield volunteered their time lining the main roads of campus with the ribbons.

"The veterans give us so much on a daily basis," said senior, Shelby Bedford. "Whether they're deployed or home, running back and forth to drill. And it's really nice to just be able to get out and bring a large amount of people with me and see them all supporting them."

And even though Samia has graduated, she says she'll always come back for this.

The story was reported by WAND-TV on November 9, 2014.

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Thursday, November 6, 2014

'Copy Shop' at UIS gives artistic visitors chance to create

Visitors to the reception for the University of Illinois Springfield’s Visual Arts Gallery’s installation “Copy Shop” can interact with the exhibition on more than one level.

Chicago-based artists Tom Burtonwood and Holly Holmes have created 3D-printed and digitally fabricated objects for the exhibit. But visitors also can bring their own objects to be 3D scanned and 3D printed during the reception to be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the gallery located in Room 201 of the Health and Sciences Building on campus.

The exhibition runs through Nov. 27.

Visitors are welcome to bring objects the size of a softball to be 3D scanned and 3D printed. Original and printed objects will become part of the exhibition. “The plan is to display their originals on the left-side shelves (of the exhibit) and the copies on the right.

Visitors can collect their creations on or after the 27th,” Burtonwood said in an email. “The printing process is fairly slow; it would take much longer than the time of the reception to print a single object. Average time is probably 5-6 hours.”

What’s called 3D printing or additive manufacturing is a process of making three-dimensional solid objects from a digital file, according to 3dprinting.com. The creation of a 3D-printed object is achieved using additive processes in which an object is created by laying down successive layers of material until the entire object is created.

Giving visitors the opportunity to have their objects 3D scanned, 3D printed and added to the exhibition at UIS is a reprise of what Burtonwood and Holmes did in January at Firecat Projects gallery in Chicago. People had objects such as stuffed toys, cameras, flowers and keepsakes 3D scanned, 3D printed and added to that exhibition.

“Participants in ‘Copy Shop’ received a limited-edition, 3D-printed sculpture in recognition of their help in this project,” Burtonwood said on his website tomburtonwood.com.

Working from a variety of sources, Burtonwood and Holmes create 3D-printed, modular works that borrow from natural systems of organization.

Among creations in “Copy Shop” are “AIC Candy Dispensers, 2014.” There’s also the “Dana Thomas House Frieze Interactive Project.” “These molds, depicting the frieze design created by Frank Lloyd Wright for the Dana Thomas House in Springfield, have been created through the process of scanning and 3D printing,” said an accompanying statement.

“You are welcome to use the available air-drying clay to press into the molds to create your own frieze design. Take the product with you; the clay will harden and serve as a permanent artifact from ‘Copy Shop.’”

Burtonwood said the 3D printer/scanner is to sculpture what the sampler was to music.

“The world is open. It can be copied and pasted at the touch of a button. This is a paradigm shift in terms of how we make objects, and the economies that support their production,” Burtonwood said.

“Artists have always tinkered with the newest technology and have taken the tech places its creators never intended. With 3D printing, I imagine you’ll see the same.”

The article appeared in The State Journal-Register online, November 5, 2014.

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UIS students performing Neil Simon's 'Brighton Beach Memoirs'

The first of Neil Simon’s semi-autobiographical plays, “Brighton Beach Memoirs,” opens the University of Illinois Springfield theater season Friday.

While Simon is best known for comedies such as “The Odd Couple,” director Missy Thibodeaux-Thompson noted that “Brighton Beach,” which debuted on Broadway in 1983, marked one of the first times that critics recognized Simon’s ability to blend comedy and drama in a single work.

“This play has been on my list (of plays to direct) for years,” said Thibodeaux-Thompson, an associate professor of theater at UIS. “Simon’s work can be deceptive — it’s not simple but very, very challenging.”

“Brighton Beach Memoirs” takes place in 1937, with 15-year-old Eugene Jerome (Liam Schaver) — a shy Jewish youth preoccupied with baseball, writing and girls — living with his extended family in the Brighton Beach neighborhood of Brooklyn.

The play depicts the antagonism and affection between Eugene, his parents Jack and Kate (Wesley Skym and Liza Torrence), his brother Stanley (Christopher Romero), his aunt Blanche (Diamond Dixon), and his cousins Laurie and Nora (Emily Hartney and Courtney Kincaid), who all live under the same roof.

It is the first in Simon’s “Eugene trilogy” of plays loosely depicting his teenage years, his experiences as an Army recruit in World War II (“Biloxi Blues”) and his early career as a television comedy writer (“Broadway Bound”).

“He’s intelligent, but sort of naive at the same time,” Schaver said of Eugene. “His ambitions are to be either a sportswriter or a pitcher for the New York Yankees. He’s good hearted, but a little self-centered.”

Eugene’s mother, Kate, “is a busybody who worries about everything, takes on everyone else’s problems as her own, and needs to be in control,” Torrence said. In contrast, Blanche is quiet and reserved, and “has a hard time finding her voice,” said Dixon, because she is ashamed to be dependent upon her sister and her brother-in-law.

The play requires 1930s-era costumes and props and must be staged in a manner that allows the audience to see simultaneous actions in more than one room in the Jerome household. “All of these moving parts have been part of the challenge,” Thibodeaux-Thompson said. She and set designer Dathan Powell, UIS assistant professor of theater, began planning the set design over the summer, eventually creating a multi-level set combined with a non-standard seating arrangement for the audience.

“I’ve always loved this play,” which portrays the struggles of a working-class family in the years between the Depression and World War II, Thibodeaux-Thompson said. “I love the relationships it depicts, and that the characters are not one-dimensional. We see these people as flawed human beings, not caricatures.”

The article appeared in The State Journal-Register on November 5, 2014.

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