Monday, November 30, 2015

New indoor facility run by former UIS pitcher targets softball players

Springfield has a new indoor facility for softball and baseball players to work on improving their games.

Buck Fastpitch Academy, 1200 N. Bradfordton Road, held its grand opening Nov. 21. The facility is run by Tina Buck, a former NCAA Division II softball pitcher at the University of Illinois Springfield. The academy is now accepting new clients and offers batting cage and pitching tunnel rentals.

Buck said she decided to open her academy after noticing a need locally for this type of facility for softball players. It's a need she said arises from the fact that softball is a growing sport and that there aren't enough indoor facilities available for the thousands of players who want to play the game year-round to keep their skills sharp.

"This is going to give people the opportunities to play all year round so that when they do play the Chicago and St. Louis teams and they travel south, they're able to still compete at that level, being able to get more reps in throughout the year," Buck said.

Buck was featured by The State Journal-Register on November 29, 2015.

Read the story online.

Harmon, Millison lead UIS men to basketball win

The University of Illinois Springfield men's basketball team led by 14 points at halftime and held off an Ohio Dominican rally to win 77-70 Saturday at the Saint Joseph’s College Thanksgiving Classic.

Trent Weaver’s jumper cut UIS’ lead to 73-68 with 49 seconds remaining. The Prairie Stars’ Jamall Millison missed two free throws and Ohio Dominican’s Ryan Hoyng grabbed the rebound. Hoyng passed the ball to Sherman Waugh, whose layup with 29 seconds left got the Panthers within three points. UIS’ Paxton Harmon and Millison each converted two foul shots in the final 20 seconds, while Ohio Dominican missed two shots.

Harmon and Millison scored 18 points apiece. Harmon had five rebounds and made four of the Stars’ 12 3-pointers. Davi Austin and JJ Cravatta had 12 points apiece for UIS. Vince Walker added 10.

The win snapped the Stars’ two-game losing streak and moved their record to 3-3. UIS was ahead 38-24 at halftime.

The win was featured by The State Journal-Register on November 29, 2015.

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UIS' largest baseball recruiting class ever includes 12 pitchers

University of Illinois Springfield baseball coach Chris Ramirez signed 13 high school players and one junior college transfer during the early signing period.

Chase Lowman was a freshman pitcher at Odessa (Texas) College last spring. He allowed 50 hits and 23 walks in 27 2/3 innings. Lowman, who is from League City, Texas, had 19 strikeouts and a 15.61 earned run average.

Twelve of the 14 players who signed with the Prairie Stars are pitchers. With UIS expected to graduate eight pitchers from the 2016 spring roster, Ramirez needed to load up on arms.

The team was featured by The State Journal-Register on November 26, 2015.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

UIS men's basketball team benefits from schedule break

The University of Illinois Springfield men’s basketball team has had five days between games.

The layoff has been a godsend with leading scorer Jamall Millison and starting forward Jesse Tesmer nursing injuries. Both sat out UIS’ 101-52 win against Robert Morris University last Wednesday.

Millison was on the bench with a toe and thumb injury, while Tesmer wasn't in attendance due to a back spasm.

Millison is expected to take the court in a non-conference game between UIS (2-1) and Lindenwood (3-1) at 7 p.m. Tuesday at The Recreation and Athletic Center. Tesmer is probable for the matchup, according to UIS coach Bill Walker. Tesmer practiced Monday for the first time in a week.

The pause in games also allowed UIS practice time after playing three times in six days, which included a trip to Las Vegas. “We put in few new sets offensively and defensively,” Walker said. “We got some guys some individual work and extra time in the gym.”

This story appeared online in The State Journal-Register on November 23, 2015.

Read the entire story here.

Monday, November 23, 2015

UIS women win three straight for first time since 2011

Three straight wins are a real boost for the University of Illinois Springfield women’s basketball team.

The Prairie Stars posted their third consecutive victory Saturday afternoon, defeating Lincoln University 80-69 at The Recreation and Athletic Center.

The last time UIS won three games in a row was December 2011.

With just four games under their belt and first-year coach Mark Kost at the helm, the Stars (3-1) have half the number of wins from last season when they were 6-20. “Coming from last season to this season is a totally different team,” UIS junior forward Syerra Cunningham said.

“We have the same players, but it’s different. It’s team basketball. We’re finding those looks. We’re not forcing it. If it worked it went in the flow of the game and flow of the play. We’re moving a lot better. We’re cutting. Shots are falling. Everything is working.”

This story appeared online in The State Journal-Register on November 21, 2015.

Read the entire article here.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

UIS program shows challenge of providing nutritious, affordable school lunch

University of Illinois Springfield junior Jessica Fager of Sherman had $2 in simulated money Wednesday to buy five items that someone might find in a public school cafeteria.

She skipped the meat items altogether but still found that her $2 didn't go very far.

"I only have 30 cents left," Fager said. "There wasn't much left even if I did eat meat."

Fager was one of about 150 students who attended a special program called Lunch Hour. The evening event was designed to highlight the difficulties school districts have when trying to buy food that is both affordable and nutritious.

Mark Dochterman, director of the Volunteer and Civic Engagement Center at UIS, said school districts across the country spend between $2 and $2.15 on one lunch for one child.

"Think about that. Even buying in mass, it's difficult to make a lunch for $2," Dochterman said. "It's even more difficult to make it a healthy lunch. A lot of schools are stuck making decisions between an inexpensive protein or something like a nice slice of turkey that would be nice and healthy."

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on November 19, 2015.

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UIS men hit triple digits in basketball win over Robert Morris

The University of Illinois Springfield men’s basketball team scored over 100 points in only one game last season and the end result was a win over Robert Morris University.

UIS eclipsed the 100-point plateau again against RMU Wednesday for a 101-52 win in the Prairie Stars’ home opener at The Recreation and Athletic Center.

UIS now has back-to-back wins and a 2-1 overall record after beating Findlay 82-80 at the D2 Vegas Showdown Saturday and RMU.

“After these last two wins, I’m really excited what the season holds for us,” UIS freshman forward Bahari Amaya said. “We’re progressing every day. The sky is the limit. I’m really excited to see what we’re going to do.”

The win was reported by The State Journal-Register on November 19, 2015.

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UIS women's hoops signs four recruits

Frankfort Lincoln-Way North High School senior forward Lanie Hicks is part of University of Illinois Springfield women’s basketball coach Mark Kost’s first full recruiting class.

The 5-foot-9 Hicks averaged 14.4 points junior year.

Illinois Central College sophomore guard/forward Destiny Ramsey will also join the Prairie Stars in the 2016-17 season. She was a National Junior College Athletic Association Division II third team All-American as a freshman and led the team with 11.3 points per game and 7.1 rebounds per game. She has averaged 12.8 points per game and 8 rebounds per game in ICC’s first four games this season.

Chicago Marist High School’s Tehya Fortune, a 5-7 point guard, and Katelyn Rosner, a 6-1 forward, have also signed with the Stars.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on November 19, 2015.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Patterson, Shroyer lead UIS women's basketball team

Shelbi Patterson and Chasitee Shroyer netted 13 points apiece to lead the University of Illinois Springfield past Principia 58-43 in the Prairie Stars’ home-opening women's basketball game Tuesday at The Recreation and Athletic Center.

UIS (2-1) led 12-7 after one quarter and an 8-0 spurt to start the second period gave the Prairie Stars a 13-point advantage.

Shroyer made a 3-pointer and scored on a steal and layup, and Morgan Knorr knocked down another 3 during the run. UIS led 31-15 at the break. Shroyer finished with three 3s and Chelsea Cross went 5-for-6 from the field and added 10 points.

This article appeared online in The State Journal-Register on November 17, 2015.

Read the entire article here.

UIS plays men's basketball home opener Wednesday against Robert Morris

The University of Illinois Springfield men's basketball team plays its home opener at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday against Robert Morris University at The Recreation and Athletic Center.

The Prairie Stars are 1-1 after splitting a pair of games last week in Las Vegas.

Tonight's contest is the closest RMU will get to a home game until the new year.

UIS opened the season last year against RMU and won 106-73. The Stars lead the series 7-0.

This article appeared online in The State Journal-Register on November 17, 2015.

Read the entire article here.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

UIS professor: French, European values attacked

A University of Illinois Springfield professor living in Paris said Friday's coordinated terrorist attacks were an assault on the European and French culture that may be the beginning of things to come.

Rosina Neginsky, an associate professor of interdisciplinary studies and comparative literature and art history, is on sabbatical from UIS and is doing research for a new book she is writing. She is set to return to Springfield in August.

Neginsky was attending a concert on des Champs-Elysees with a friend the day of the attacks. A relative of Neginsky's friend called her to tell her about the events and that they should avoid certain areas of the city.

Neginsky said she was able to return to her home in La Butte aux Cailles, in the southern part of Paris and away from Friday's violence, without incident. She later saw some of the events unfold on her computer and by listening to the radio.

"Here, it's an attack on French values and European values, the joy of life and freedom," said Neginsky, reached in Paris by phone Monday. "Those values are extremely important here."

Neginsky was profiled by The State Journal-Register on November 17, 2015.

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A chat with UIS Alumni Achievement Award Winner Wenguang Huang

The University of Illinois at Springfield recently presented its Alumni Achievement Award to Wenguang Huang -- a Chinese-born writer, journalist and translator who earned his masters degree at UIS in public affairs reporting.

Huang has written for the Wall Street Journal Asia, the Chicago Tribune, The Paris Review, Asia Literary Review, The Christian Science Monitor, and Harper’s magazine.

He’s the author of the critically-acclaimed memoir “The Little Red Guard” and several translations. In fact, he’s currently working on another one, with Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei.

WUIS public radio recently interviewed him in a November 16, 2015 report.

Listen to the audio online.

Lincoln's Bere signs with UIS women's tennis team

Lincoln High School tennis player Kena Bere will play for the University of Illinois Springfield and has signed a letter of intent during the early signing period.

Bere won two consolation matches at the Girls State Tennis Tournament in October. She recorded a 21-6 singles record and a 14-3 doubles record as a senior.

UIS announced the signing of two other recruits.

Kaitlyn Thornhill, a senior at Alpharetta (Georgia) High School, is ranked in the top 30 in her home state. She helped her high school team win a regional championship and finish as state runner-up.

Vandalia High’s Hannah Blythe qualified for state sophomore, junior and seniors years. She won titles at the Mattoon Junior Classic, Saluki Junior/Adult Open and Frog Island Junior Open.

The story was reported by the Lincoln Courier on November 16, 2015.

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Splitt among four UIS volleyball signees

Alli Splitt helped Cary-Grove High School to a third-place finish at the Class 4A state volleyball tournament last weekend and is one of four prep players who have signed a letter of intent during the early signing period to play volleyball for the University of Illinois Springfield.

Splitt, a 6-foot-1 middle blocker, led Cary-Grove with 317 kills and 168 total blocks.

Five-foot-11 setter/hitter Julia O’Malley holds Belvidere’s all-time kills record. She had 140 kills, 99 digs and 40 assists senior year.

Erie High’s Rachel Cobert led the team in kills as a junior and senior. The 5-10 middle hitter was first in blocks three of her four seasons.

Jailyn Borum, a 5-10 outside hitter, collected 290 kills, 229 digs, 75 aces and 17 solo blocks for Sterling High this year.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on November 16, 2015.

Read the story online.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Latino Innocence Initiative aims to prevent wrongful convictions

After spending about half his life in prison, Angel Gonzalez was cleared from a rape and abduction conviction when DNA testing eliminated him as one of the two men who committed the crime.

On Friday, Gonzalez stood proudly alongside the lawyers and staff who aided him in his exoneration as the Illinois Innocence Project announced the Latino Innocence Initiative, which aims to prevent wrongful convictions and help people like Gonzalez who are vulnerable because of language barriers, lack of familiarity with the U.S. criminal justice system and threats over immigration status.

The initiative will include Spanish-language outreach to Illinois inmates who need legal assistance based on assertions of innocence, DNA testing and other investigation, regional or national conferences to explore similar issues and an action or reform agenda for Illinois policymakers.

"We're very proud of this, there's a big need to do this in Illinois," said John Hanlon, executive and legal director, who cited Gonzalez, who was released from prison in March and was granted a certificate of innocence in June, as the inspiration behind the initiative.

The Latino Innocence Initiative is part of the University of Illinois at Springfield's Innocence Project. The group has already created Spanish application forms for its services and is in the process of creating an advisory board.

The story was reported by the Chicago Tribune on November 13, 2015.

Read the full story online.

First Springfield sports academy for women to open

A local athlete is using her gifts to help the next generation of players.

Tina Buck was a pitcher for the UIS softball team and since graduation Buck has coached young girls locally for years.

Now, she's set to open the Buck Fast pitch Academy in Springfield on the 21st. It will offer coaching for both softball and baseball and it will be the first academy in the Capital City to focus on just female athletes.

Buck says she hopes to expand the academy to all sports. To learn more about the academy, send an email to

The story was reported by WICS-TV 20 on November 12, 2015.

Watch the story online.

Millison, Austin lead UIS men's basketball team to first win

The University of Illinois Springfield entered the win column with an 82-80 victory over Findlay at the D2 Vegas Showdown at Centennial Hills Community Center Saturday night.

Ahead by as many as 14 points in the second half, the 1-1 Prairie Stars found themselves clinging to a two-point lead with two minutes 28 seconds remaining. Senior Davi Austin’s layup and 3-pointer put UIS up 79-72 with 47 seconds left. Taren Sullivan’s 3-pointer got Findlay within 81-78. Junior Mark Weems made the first of two free throws and UIS led by four. Elijah Kahlig’s layup at the buzzer made it 82-80.

Austin and senior Jamall Millison scored 16 points apiece. Millison added five assists. Junior Paxton Harmon contributed 14 points. Freshman Zach Steinberg had 10 points.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on November 16, 2015.

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McHenry lifts UIS women's basketball team to first win

Ashley McHenry scored 17 points Saturday in the University of Illinois Springfield’s 60-45 victory over Lake Superior State the GLVC/GLIAC Challenge at McKendree.

Meredith Marti poured in 12 points and four 3-pointers in the Prairie Stars’ first win. Chelsea Cross added 12 points and Syerra Cunningham contributed 11 rebounds.UIS made 61.5 percent of its field goal tries, 23 of 58.

The Stars play a home opener Tuesday against Principia at 6 p.m. at The Recreation and Athletic Center.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on November 15, 2015.

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Volleyball: Stars end season with pair of wins

Alyssa Hasler had 15 kills and seven blocks in the University of Illinois Springfield’s 25-22, 19-25, 25-17, 25-23 Great Lakes Valley Conference win against Bellarmine.

Lexi Hall had 23 assists and Tiffany Wentworth added 27 in the Prairie Stars’ season finale. Kayla Katarzynski recorded 14 digs.

UIS (7-24 overall, 4-14 in the GLVC) finished the season with back-to-back victories and tied the program record for most conference wins in a season.

The Stars snapped a nine-match losing streak Friday with an 18-25, 26-24, 21-25, 25-18, 15-12 victory over Southern Indiana.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on November 15, 2015.

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Friday, November 13, 2015

UIS men's basketball team opens regular season Friday in Las Vegas

Getting on an airplane and flying to a game is a big deal for the University of Illinois Springfield men’s basketball program. The regular mode of transportation for the Prairie Stars is bus as they typically travel solely in the Midwest.

Wanting to provide his players with a rare treat, UIS coach Bill Walker scheduled a pair of games in Las Vegas, Nevada. “This is a great experience,” Walker said. “Half of the team has never been out there.”

The team and coaches flew west Wednesday from St. Louis to the D2 Vegas Showdown. The Stars open the regular season against Lake Superior State tonight at 6 CST at the Centennial Hills Community Center.

UIS plays Findlay Saturday at 8 p.m. CST. “They’re going to be very tough games,” Walker said. “Both teams are picked to finish toward the top of their league.”

We’re going to have to play really well,” Walker said. “We’ll find up how we stack up at our level against some of the best competition.”

This story appeared online in The State Journal-Register on November 12, 2015.

Read the entire article here.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

UIS softball signs 6 players, including SHG's Derhake, Wagoner

Sacred Heart-Griffin High School’s Bree Ann Derhake and Lakyn Wagoner were among six players who signed with the University of Illinois Springfield softball program Wednesday.

Derhake, a left-handed hitter, was named to the Illinois Coaches Association Class 3A all-state second team and helped SHG place fourth at the state tourney.

Wagoner transferred to SHG from Havana. She led the area with 43 stolen bases and hit .496 for the Ducks last season.

St. Joseph-0gden High outfielder Allison Rose hit in six postseason softball games last spring after tearing an anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus in a knee in the final basketball game of the 2014-15 season.

Infielder Baylee Hull helped Bishop McNamara to a win over Rose and her teammate in third third-place game at the Class 2A tournament.

Effingham St. Anthony catcher/infielder Hunter Niebrugge earned ICA all-state honors as a sophomore and junior and was the National Trail Conference Most Valuable Player in 2015.

Brittany Moore was an all-state pitcher at Union Grove (Wisconsin) High School last spring.

This article appeared online in The State Journal-Register on November 11, 2015.

Read the entire article here.

New UIS women's basketball coach stresses versatility

New coaches bring new systems, new philosophies and new staff, and that is what Mark Kost has done with the University of Illinois Springfield women’s basketball program.

The former NCAA Division I assistant will mesh the new with a roster made up mostly of returning players. Eight of 12 players were with the program last year, yet only five played on a regular basis.

“Our roster allows us to have interchangeable parts where we can move people around to different positions,” Kost said. “With our versatility, that’s how we’re going to attack the point guard position. We have three players who can man the point, and we’re going to use all of them.”

“We feel like we’re getting a fresh start,” senior Morgan Knorr said. “We’ve got a lot of the same players back, but we also have some new younger players and they seem to be getting on board with what we’re trying to do.”

UIS opens Friday against Hillsdale at the GLVC/GLIAC Challenge in Lebanon.

The article appeared online in The State Journal-Register on November 11, 2016.

Read the entire article here.

Cave honored with Student Laureate Award

University of Illinois Springfield senior Hannah Cave has been honored this past Saturday with the Student Laureate Award from the Lincoln Academy of Illinois.

Cave, a 2011 Rochelle Township High School graduate, is majoring in Global Studies at UIS along with secondary education (social studies) and psychology minors.

“Receiving that award was incredibly humbling, yet very exciting,” recalled Cave on receiving her award. “ I have given hours and hours of my time for things that I do simply because I want to make the world a better place, so to be recognized for those things is an amazing feeling. Being in the company of leaders I look up to and peers I hope to change the world with was even better.”

Each year an outstanding senior from each of the four-year degree-granting institutions of higher learning in Illinois is awarded the Student Lincoln Academy Medallion and thereby becomes a Student Laureate of the Lincoln Academy of Illinois.

Student Laureates are honored for their overall excellence in curricular and extracurricular activities.

This article appeared online in the Rochelle News-Leader.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

UIS researchers studying Hepatitis C among homeless

Five hundred dollars may seem a paltry sum for a crowdfunding effort these days. But the $500 being sought by University of Illinois Springfield researchers will be used for research that could save lives and thousands of dollars in treatment costs for those with Hepatitis C.

UIS researchers are for the first time using crowdfunding as a way to purchase rapid testing kits and other equipment needed to study Hepatitis C in the central Illinois homeless population.

Two professors want to test members of the homeless population in Springfield, Bloomington, Champaign, Decatur and Peoria to find the number of people infected with the virus and conduct genotype testing to look at transmission of the disease.

“We hope to limit the spread of Hepatitis C,” said Kanwal Alvarez, assistant professor of biology at UIS.”

Alvarez and Josiah Alamu, associate professor of public health, are leading the study along with Dr. Janak Koirala, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. Several UIS students also are working on the research study.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on November 11, 2015.

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Monday, November 9, 2015

Illini basketball overpowers UIS, 104-69, at Prairie Capital Convention Center

The University of Illinois men’s basketball team showed off a new-look rotation and the NCAA Division II University of Illinois Springfield showcased its program against its sister school in an exhibition at the Prairie Capital Convention Center Sunday afternoon.

After a close first half, the Illini rolled to a 104-69 win in the first of five games for Illinois in Springfield while renovations are being completed at the State Farm Center in Champaign.

UIS tied the game twice in front of the crowd of 5,833. Senior Jamall Millison’s free throws made it 19-all with 10 minutes 50 seconds left on the clock. Junior Paxton Harmon knotted the contest at 23-all with a layup at the 7:22 mark.

The highlight for UIS was playing against its sister school and a Big Ten opponent seven miles from campus. Senior guard Davi Austin scored the Prairie Stars’ first seven points and finished with a team-high 14.

Senior transfer forward Jesse Tesmer collected 10 rebounds and 10 points. Redshirt freshman Vince Walker scored 10 points. “We really appreciate the University of Illinois giving us this opportunity,” Walker said. “We wanted to make it more of a competitive game. I know everybody can say this, but if you took four minutes out of each half it was pretty competitive, but they had two huge spurts on us and we didn’t do a very good job of answering them.”

UIS opens the season Friday against Lake Superior State at the Division II Las Vegas Showdown in Nevada.

This story appeared online in The State Journal-Register on November 8, 2016.

Read the entire article here.

UIS drive nets 18,000 pounds for food bank

Instead of candy, the University of Illinois Springfield community collected 9,000 pounds of canned goods in its UIS TRICK-OR-TREAT FOR CANNED GOODS drive to benefit the CENTRAL ILLINOIS FOODBANK.

HY-VEE on Friday matched UIS' collection by donating to the food bank its own 9,000 pounds of items such as apple juice, breakfast burritos, frozen chicken fingers and salad dressing.

The 2,041 pounds of canned food collected on Halloween by a team of 28 people led by UIS junior DEJA' WILLINGHAM topped collections that were part of the total 9,000 pounds of canned goods UIS students, faculty and staff collected for the food bank.

Willingham, 20, of South Holland, was present Friday when Hy-Vee's donation was loaded into a food bank truck at the store at 2115 S. MacArthur Blvd. "Technically, our group was sponsored by the Black Student Union ... but I compiled a bunch of my other friends and a bunch of student leaders to fill the rest of the team up," said Willingham, who was captain of the UIS team that collected the most canned goods.

MARK DOCHTERMAN, director of the UIS Volunteer & Civic Engagement Center, said the UIS Trick-or-Treat for Canned Goods drive has been held annually since 2008, but this is the first time UIS has partnered with Hy-Vee.

Hy-Vee is in a position to support that." KYLE THORNSBROUGH, Hy-Vee's store director, said the community is the backbone of Hy-Vee's business. "We're in such a great neighborhood, and the community is so awesome. I appreciate everything that our customers do, and so I give back anything I can," Thornsbrough said.

The 18,000 pounds of food donated to the Central Illinois Foodbank through the drive and the match will make 15,000 meals, said KRISTA LISSER, spokeswoman for the food bank.

This story appeared online in The State Journal-Register on November 6, 2015.

Read the entire story here.

Yellow Ribbons put on UIS Campus to Honor Veterans

Trees around the University of Illinois Springfield campus are adorned with yellow ribbons as a tribute to veterans.

A group of student volunteers gathered Sunday morning to tie 400 yellow ribbons ahead of the upcoming Veterans Day holiday.

This is the fourth year UIS students have organized the campaign on campus. Students say the event is designed to raise awareness about veterans, specifically students who have served or are currently serving our country.

"We simply cannot do enough for them. Too many time they get kind of pushed to the side, and not recognized enough. I would love it if we could have more than one Veteran's Day per year. That would by my hope." Says UIS sophomore Riley Andriano.

UIS will also be holding a Veteran's Day flag raising ceremony on Wednesday at 9a.m. in front of the public affairs center.

This story appeared online on Fox 55 on November 8, 2015.

Watch the story here.

New York City museum exhibit includes UIS contribution

A world-class exhibition that opened this weekend at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City has a decidedly Springfield stamp on it.

"The Secret World Inside You," which runs through Aug. 14 at the museum on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, takes an up-close look at microbes — humans are hosts to hundreds of trillions of bacteria, viruses, fungi and other organisms — and how the scientific community is revolutionizing the way we view human health.

The exhibition is largely interactive, appealing to school groups and families, with large-scale replicas; videos, games and quizzes; a live theater; and a chance to become familiar with microbes, such as Streptococcus pyogenes, which causes strep throat.

Co-curator Rob DeSalle, who is on staff with the museum's Division of Invertebrate Zoology and the Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics, is a Springfield native and Griffin High School graduate. Two University of Illinois Springfield professors, Michael Lemke, who teaches biology, and Keenan Dungey, who teaches chemistry, also contributed work to the exhibition, along with Daniell Bennett, a senior from Pekin who is majoring in chemistry at UIS.

DeSalle, who has curated a number of shows at the museum, most recently "Brain: The Inside Story" in 2010, said the exhibitions continue to bridge the important gap between science and the public, even if it's in an entertaining way.

"There's lots of things in science we need to communicate to the public," DeSalle said. "Learning things about the natural world is important for your health. "This (new exhibition demonstrates) an important new area of scientific discovery.

After its run in New York ends in August, the exhibition will go on the road for two years. Lemke called it "an honor to be part of such an important message." While the exhibition is a significant accomplishment, DeSalle said, "this coming week, I know I'll be thinking of what I'm going to do next."

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on November 8, 2015.

Read the entire article here.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Newcomers give UIS men's basketball team different look

To hear coach Bill Walker tell it, the University of Illinois Springfield men’s basketball team does not lack for shooters. “We shoot it better as a team,” he said. “If you look at the guys we’ve brought in, by and large, they’re all good shooters.

That’s the common thread.” Walker, who is in his second season at UIS, has a retooled roster after losing two starters and bringing in seven newcomers, including two NCAA Division I transfers.

“We’re deeper,” Walker said. “We have better shooters. We’re more competitive.”

A tough schedule leaves little time for UIS players to ease into the season. The Stars open with an exhibition game Sunday against Division I Illinois at the Prairie Capital Convention Center, then plays next week at the Division II Las Vegas Showdown against Lake Superior State and Findlay. “Seven of our 10 hardest games are before the new year,” Walker said. “They’re going to be challenged. There’s no warming up period.”

UIS has road games in December against Bellarmine, Southern Indiana, Kentucky Wesleyan and NCAA Division I Indiana State.

This article appeared online in The State Journal-Register on November 5, 2015.

Read the entire article here.

UIS' Polonus earns conference honor

University of Illinois Springfield senior Paige Polonus became the first goalkeeper in the history of the school's women's soccer program to receive Great Lakes Valley Conference honors when she was named to the third team Thursday.

Polonus led the conference with 104 saves this season and set UIS career records for wins (5), shutouts (7), minutes played (1,695) and goals allowed (26).

During a three-game win streak in September, Polonus played more than 330 minutes without giving up a goal. It was the second-longest span in team history.

Polonus joins former UIS players Erin Egolf and Casey Thorpe as the only UIS players who’ve earned all-GLVC honors.

This story appeared online in The State Journal-Register on November 5, 2015.

Read the entire article here.

Monday, November 2, 2015

$754K federal grant seeks to help exonerate wrongfully convicted Latinos

The Illinois Innocence Project at the University of Illinois Springfield is shifting its focus to exonerating Latino inmates who have been wrongfully convicted in Illinois.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin joined UIS Chancellor Susan Koch on Friday to announce that the Innocence Project has been awarded a $753,958 federal grant from the U.S. Department of Justice.

John Hanlon, executive director of the Innocence Project, said Latinos are more susceptible to wrongful convictions due to barriers involving language, citizenship and status.

The federal grant will allow the Innocence Project to hire two additional bilingual lawyers, Hanlon said.

The organization, which receives help from UIS students, is primarily funded through federal grants but also receives private donations.

"We hope to address these disparities, which often lead to improper convictions and create difficulties for Latino inmates, by working on cases where the individual can be proved innocent through the use of DNA testing," Hanlon said.

In addition, Hanlon said staff at the Innocence Project will continue to use DNA testing to attempt to exonerate other inmates who they believe were wrongfully convicted.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on October 31, 2015.

Read the story online.