Wednesday, November 30, 2016

UIS basketball teams begin GLVC tests Thursday

The University of Illinois Springfield women’s basketball team could very well have a 4-0 overall record. But the Prairie Stars are 3-1 due to a 72-70 loss to Hillsdale College on Nov. 12.

UIS will face an unbeaten and nationally ranked team when it opens Great Lakes Valley Conference play Thursday at The Recreation and Athletic Center against No. 5 Bellarmine at 5:30 p.m.

Another tough task is ahead when the Stars host Southern Indiana in a GLVC game Saturday at 1 p.m.

The UIS men, meanwhile, play No. 7 Bellarmine at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and 4-0 Southern Indiana at 3 p.m. Saturday.

The UIS women won eight contests last year. So far, the Stars have three wins in four contests this season with victories against Lake Superior State, Robert Morris University and Missouri Southern State.

Contributions from new players have helped fuel the program’s improvement. “We’ve got some returners that are helping us, but we brought in seven new players that we needed contributions from for us to be better,” UIS coach Mark Kost said.

In men's basketball, UIS is 3-2 overall. The Stars' wins have come against Illinois College, Robert Morris University and Blackburn, but the first GLVC game has already arrived. After facing Bellarmine Thursday, they meet Southern Indiana -- which earned votes in the most recent NCAA Division II national poll -- on Saturday. “We play now, then we don’t play them again for a “We play now, then we don’t play them again for a couple months,” UIS men's coach Bill Walker said of Bellarmine and Southern Indiana. “Both teams are going to be different when we play again.” Walker hopes that is especially true in the case of the Stars, who do not have a win against a NCAA Division II team in this young season.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on November 29, 2016.

Read the entire article online.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Flagstaff High shortstop signs with University of Illinois Springfield

If Flagstaff Eagles shortstop Brennan Brogni has any questions or concerns about playing college baseball, he's got plenty of experienced mentors surrounding him who can pitch in some help.

On Monday in the Flagstaff High mini-auditorium, Brogni, whose grandfather, father and varsity manager all played ball in college, signed with the University of Illinois Springfield.

A third-generation collegiate ballplayer, Brogni said a lot fell into place in making the decision to play for the Division II Prairie Stars. "I love the coaches, I love the campus, I love where it's at. My father is from Illinois, so I think it will be a great place to go," said Brogni, who will play his third and final varsity season this upcoming spring before making the move to college.

"I think the biggest thing for me was the opportunity to play baseball. I've always said I'd travel anywhere in the country to play, so I saw my opportunity and took it."

In addition to his strong fielding, Brogni brings a swing and speed to the diamond. For the Prairie Stars, who went 28-23 overall last season, the shortstop's offensive attributes made him stand out as a versatile prospect. "Brennan will immediately be one of the fastest players in our program and in the conference," the team's website says. "The combination of his ability to play shortstop, hit left handed and really run make him a very exciting addition to the UIS Baseball Program. He comes highly recommended out of the state of Arizona and shows our ability to recruit and attract players from outside our region and around the country."

It'll also be a pleasure to play in the state that hosts the World Series champions. "The Cubs are my favorite team, and they are there," said Brogni, who thanked his family, friends, teammates and coaches for helping him along the way.

This story appeared in the Arizona Daily Sun on November 28, 2016.

Read the entire article online.

Nightime SMTD bus users get one-hour reprieve

University of Illinois Springfield students swayed the minds of Springfield Mass Transit District officials to reduce night service bus routes by one hour instead of two.

Reducing Monday-through-Friday night service by two hours was one of a series of cost-saving measures SMTD had proposed in October in response to payment delays from the state. The transit district also proposed eliminating Saturday night bus service and a night service route to Springfield’s west side.

Trustees on Monday unanimously approved all three reductions, which would take effect Jan. 8.

“I am confident we have done our due diligence and analyzed every angle to make sure the damage is as minimal as possible,” trustee Wynne Coplea said.

Steve Schoeffel, SMTD’s service planning and marketing specialist, said dozens of UIS students expressed concerns at a public hearing on campus Nov. 16 about ending service at 9:45 p.m. instead of 11:45 p.m.

Based on the feedback, Schoeffel said, the district amended its proposal to one hour earlier, or 10:45 p.m., to minimize the hardship for most students who rely on the bus to get home. “The route the kids take the most will still be there,” he said.

Board chairman Brian Brewer said Monday he was happy to get so much feedback from riders. According to Schoffel, 60 people, primarily UIS students, commented at two public hearings.

The original proposed cuts were expected to save about $240,490 annually, primarily in overtime costs.

Updated figures of how much the one-hour rollback will save weren’t available Monday.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on November 28, 2016.

Read the entire article online.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Women's Basketball: Trio powers Prairie Stars in women's basketball

University of Illinois Springfield junior Destiny Ramsey collected 23 points, six steals, five assists, five rebounds and four blocks in the Prairie Stars' 73-69 win against Missouri Southern at The Recreation and Athletic Center Friday.

The non-conference contest was tied at 50-all with 7 1/2 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.

UIS senior Syerra Cunningham broke the deadlock with a free throw at the 7:17 mark. The Stars held the lead the rest of the way.

Cunningham posted her third double-double this season. She scored 13 points and grabbed 14 rebounds. UIS freshman Tehya Fortune poured in 21 points, including four 3-pointers.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on November 25, 2016.

Read the entire article online.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Women's Basketball: Chasitee Shroyer provides spark for Illinois-Springfield

Chasitee Shroyer, a Freeport graduate, has been working on several phases of her college game since the 2015-16 basketball season ended.

"I have been trying to get my shot off quicker, more accurately and more consistently," said the University of Illinois-Springfield sophomore.

She showed that in a recent 89-22 rout of Robert Morris University-Springfield. Shroyer, who came off the bench, played 18 minutes and scored 11 points, including three 3-pointers. She also grabbed three rebounds.

With the win, UIS improved to 2-1. "I like coming off the bench," said Shroyer. "I like bringing energy to the floor. I want to impact the game both offensively and defensively.

During the offseason, I worked on my shot so much. I want to get better at everything during the season, but mostly, I want to be a better ball handler."

One year ago, Shroyer finished her season with 46 total points. Other than an exhibition game, the RMU-Springfield contest was her first game of the year.

"Chasitee's performance against Robert Morris is a perfect example of what kind of player she is," said UIS head coach Mark Kost. "She is one of the best pure shooters on the team and continues to work on her game since the moment she stepped on campus. She can come off the bench and hit shots, giving us a needed spark."

This story appeared in the Journal Standard on November 23, 2016.

Read the entire story online. 

UIS Innocence Project frees Decatur man convicted of murder

A 62-year-old Decatur man who spent the last 18 years behind bars for murder will be having Thanksgiving with his family after the Illinois Innocence Project at the University of Illinois Springfield used newly tested DNA evidence to overturn his conviction.

Charles Palmer walked out of the Macon County Courthouse Wednesday after the state’s attorney’s office declined to retry the case.

Palmer’s conviction had been overturned earlier this month after DNA tests indicated that hair and fingernail scrapings found in the victim’s hands did not match Palmer.

John Hanlon, executive director of the Illinois Innocence Project, said his client is grateful to be free. “It’s a nice Thanksgiving present for him, his wife and his family,” Hanlon said Wednesday. “He got to see his two grandchildren for the first time today. That was a thrill for him as well. It’s going to be a wonderful holiday for him.”

Hanlon said Palmer was declining media interviews. Palmer was convicted in April 2000 for the August 1998 murder of Decatur attorney William Helmbacher, 32.

People set free after being wrongfully convicted react differently, according to Hanlon. Some are bitter, while others are overjoyed, he said. “Fortunately, he’s in the category of being very grateful,” Hanlon said.

The Illinois Innocence Project, through Hanlon, represented Palmer from 2011 through 2016. They filed and litigated motions that called for more in-depth DNA testing of the evidence.

Six UIS students, along with numerous Illinois Innocence Project staffers and volunteers, worked on the case over the years, along with another six law school students from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of Law.

Hanlon said Palmer’s release was a team effort, and he was also grateful to the Macon County state’s attorney’s office.

The DNA testing in Palmer’s case was made possible by federal grants awarded in 2010 and 2012 to UIS for use by the Illinois Innocence Project.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on November 23, 2016.

Read the entire article online.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Men's Basketball: Second half surge lifts UIS men over Blackburn

Zach Steinberg’s fourth consecutive double-double helped the University of Illinois Springfield to a 90-74 victory against Blackburn in a non-conference game at The Recreation and Athletic Center Tuesday.

Steinberg had 19 points and 11 rebounds. He also had four assists and two blocks.

It was a back-and-forth first half. UIS (3-2) was up 39-32 at halftime and pulled away in the second half.

The Prairie Stars’ Eddie Longmeyer finished with 17 points and seven rebounds.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on November 22, 2016.

Read the entire article online.

Monday, November 21, 2016

UIS students far from home celebrate Thanksgiving

The University of Illinois in Springfield campus ministry is giving students something to be thankful for.

"Giving Thanks" was the message for this morning's sermon at Springfield University Bible Fellowship.

Following the church service, a traditional Thanksgiving meal was served, complete with all the trimmings.

We're told, the meal gives UIS students who are far from home, a chance to celebrate the holiday.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on November 20, 2016.

Watch the story online.

Friday, November 18, 2016

UIS holds community policing panel

University of Illinois Springfield community policing student Jovan Ding said he doesn't want to base his opinions of police interaction solely on social media and news reports.

"For me, I need to see that in person, to talk to them about what's going on, what we should do better in our community, or to talk to the officials about what's going on," Ding said.

"So I need that direct conversation, and I think they need that conversation to see what's really going on."

Ding, and dozens of UIS students, went to the first ever panel, which was open to the entire school.

"It's really important for the community to start engaging in these conversations, especially with all of the civil rights movements going on right now," student Amanda Mullin said.

Professor Tim Gleason said he wanted students to learn a valuable lesson - Respect.

Gleason said. "Respect is a two-way street. It's how you should act during a law enforcement encounter, and it's how law enforcement should treat a citizen when there is a contact. I think it's a great message. And I want to share it with more than just 23 students."

The panel consisted of current and retired law enforcement leaders with state, Chicago, Springfield and Champaign police departments.

They wanted to teach, but also challenge students to join the force and change it from the inside. "

"Every cop is not a bad guy, and that the law enforcement career, is a prestigious career," NOBLE's Odie Carpenter said.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on November 17, 2016.

Watch the story online.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Women's Basketball: Stars rout RMU

Syerra Cunningham had a double-double for the second time in three games and the University of Illinois Springfield won 89-22 against Robert Morris University in a non-conference game at The Recreation and Athletic Center Wednesday.

Cunningham scored 14 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. She also had three blocks and two steals. She was 6-for-8 from the field and 2-for-2 at the free throw line.

 Emily Matsen and Chasitee Shroyer scored 11 points apiece for UIS.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on November 16, 2016.

Read the entire article online.

Men's Basketball: Steinberg, Donnelly carry Stars over Robert Morris

Zach Steinberg’s 21 points and 15 rebounds led the University of Illinois Springfield to a 100-60 non-conference victory over Robert Morris University on Wednesday at The Recreation and Athletic Center.

Lijah Donnelly collected 15 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists for the Prairie Stars (2-1).

Kaj Days rang up 17 points. Paxton Harmon added 16.

The Stars led 46-29 at halftime.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on November 16, 2016.

Read the entire article online.

UIS Professor Looks To Show Solidarity With Minority Groups

In the wake of the election, a new fashion statement is taking shape across the country as a way to show solidarity for the most vulnerable groups.

University of Illinois at Springfield Professor Heather Dell is passing out these safety pins for people to wear. She wants to give students and faculty a visual, so that people who are a minority have an idea who's there stand with them.

Dell is a member of the LBGTQ community herself. The professor said she has concern for people who might feel unsafe whether they're part of the LBGTQ, Muslim, or African American community.
“I think we need to build the community quickly, viably and lovingly and hang on to it. So, I think it's a great way to do it and I don't think scare tactics should stop us,” said Dell. Dell said she's happy to see the amount of faculty and students who've decided to wear these safety pins already.

According to a Huffington Post article, this movement started back during the Britain exit from the European Union. The movement over there was to show willingness to protect people being abused, which is similar to what Dell is doing here.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on November 16, 2016.

Watch the story online. 

UIS kicks off $1 million campaign for turf soccer field

The University of Illinois Springfield athletic department officially launched this week a campaign to raise $1 million to replace the grass on its soccer field at Kiwanis Stadium with an artificial playing surface.

The university hopes to meet its fundraising goal and have the new playing surface ready for the men’s and women’s seasons in August 2017. Private funds will be the driving force.

The field will be used for college and high school matches as well as intramural and extracurricular events.

The current field needs an overhaul. A grub infestation caused damage this season and there have been past problems. “With the new technology in artificial turf and drainage systems, this is the way to go for our program moving forward. I am very excited for this new project to take shape and for our program to return to the glory days of (former coach Aydin Gonulsen),”  UIS men’s soccer coach Adam Hall said.

This story appeared in The State Journal Register on November 16, 2016.

Read the entire article online.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Men's Basketball - Late 2nd Half Surge Lifts UIS In Home Opener

University of Illinois Springfield defeats Illinois College 82-65 in its home opener. UIS Sophomore Center Zach Steinburg finished with 16 points and 14 rebounds.

UIS Junior Guard Eddie Longmeyer finished with 15 points and 7 rebounds.

UIS will host Robert Morris University-Springfield on November 16th at 7:30 p.m.

This story appeared on WICS Newschannel 20 on November 14, 2016.

Watch the story online.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Matsen sisters ambassadors for University of Illinois Springfield

University of Illinois Springfield student-athletes and sisters Jocelyn Matsen and Emily Matsen play different sports in the same season, so the Rochester High School graduates turn to technology to keep tabs on what the other one is up to.

“I watch her soccer games even if we are traveling in the bus,” said Jocelyn, a senior on the UIS women’s golf team. “I’ll pull it up on my phone or I’ll watch it at the hotel.”

Golf tournaments aren’t usually broadcast over the Internet. “I’ll look at the live stats and if our mom goes to watch, she’ll text me every three holes,” said Emily, who also is a member of UIS women’s basketball team.

There’s a lot for the sisters, who are one year and eight months apart, to keep up with this fall. Jocelyn was named the Great Lakes Valley Conference Women’s Golfer of the Week on Oct. 13. “She played exceptionally well,” UIS golf coach Frank Marsaglia said. “She just seems more relaxed on the course this year. I think that’s why you’re seeing lower scores from her.”

Emily is a junior starter on a women’s soccer team that has set the program’s single-season record for wins at seven and she was the hero in one of those victories. Emily scored the game-winning goal in a 1-0 win against Wisconsin-Parkside on Sept. 30. It was UIS’ first time ever beating the Rangers. 

Jocelyn’s award came of the heels of her winning the Maryville Fall Invitational, where she set the school record for lowest 36-hole round and became the first UIS golfer to finish a 36-hole tourney under par. Her 70 is a college career low and ties the school record for lowest 18-hole score.

Emily originally considered playing basketball at Millikin or Monmouth instead of playing soccer for the Stars. She got the opportunity to play basketball for UIS last year after participating in an open tryout. She is one of only two athletes who competes in two sports at UIS and she cannot envision herself anywhere else.

There was just one thing that could have put a wrinkle in her plans to attend the school. “I asked Jocelyn 20 times to make sure it was OK if I came to the same college as her,” Emily said. “I did not want it to be 20 years from now and her be like, ‘I wish she didn’t follow me to college.’ “I asked Jocelyn, ‘Are you sure it’s OK that I go to the same college as you?’ So she wouldn’t be mad at me.” 

Jocelyn, who picked UIS over Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville and Western Illinois, had no trouble giving her blessing. She wanted her sole sibling to attend UIS, but didn’t want to pressure her. UIS was just the best fit.”

 Emily, a biology major, and Jocelyn sort of see themselves as ambassadors of the university when it comes to sharing their success stories with local athletes in hopes of convincing them to compete for UIS.

This story appeared in The Washington Times on November 13, 2016.

Read the entire article online.

Women's Volleyball - Stars close with back-to-back wins

The University of Springfield defeated Bellarmine 25-21, 25-22, 25-19 in a Great Lakes Valley Conference match Saturday at The Recreation and Athletic Center.

Ashley Beaton had 12 kills in the final match of the season for the Prairie Stars. Alli Splitt contributed six blocks and five kills. Lexi Hall had 17 assists.

UIS ends with back-to-back wins for the second consecutive season. The Stars also beat Southern Indiana Friday. Their final record is 11-20 overall and 4-14 in the conference.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on November 12, 2016.

Read the entire article online.

Governor Rauner, UIS students donate time and service to new veteran's home on Friday

Governor Bruce Rauner and others contributed community service to veterans on Friday in Springfield.

The governor, along with the Salvation Army and members of the University of Illinois-Springfield soccer team volunteered at "Our Home" which is a place for veterans.

Friday's efforts marked the first official day of the state's new "Serving Those Who Served" campaign put on by the state's Department of Veteran's Affairs.

The governor told those in attendance that volunteering time and service to veterans is something the people of Illinois should do year round not just one day a year.

This story appeared on WAND on Friday, November 11, 2016.

Watch the story online.

Susan Koch: Dining Services is a well-known staple

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 November 12, 2016.

"An old Spanish proverb says: “The belly rules the mind.” That might explain the appreciation students, faculty, staff and visitors have for the outstanding dining services provided on the University of Illinois Springfield campus.

With an average of 4,500 food service transactions taking place every day, members of the campus community probably interact with Dining Services more than any other entity on campus.

 Excellence starts with leadership and the leader who ensures all this planning, procuring, cooking, baking and serving runs smoothly is Geoff Evans. A Springfield native, Geoff completed his bachelor’s degree at Southern Illinois University Carbondale and then attended the prestigious California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, eventually working in London and Tucson, Arizona, before returning to Illinois. Geoff was chef at the Illini Country Club before joining the culinary team at UIS in 2003.

Randy Williams, who earned his culinary credentials at Parkland Community College in Champaign, has been part of the UIS Dining Services leadership team since 2009. Randy is well known in central Illinois as a successful restaurateur who owned and operated the Trucker’s Homestead near Divernon for many years as well as Conn’s Corner, a popular food vendor at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. Randy also teaches culinary arts courses at Lincoln Land Community College and often judges various food competitions at the State Fair. 

What’s the secret to keeping food service customers happy? “We serve affordable, fresh and appetizing food every day,” says Geoff, “and emphasize providing great service in every transaction.”  
With about 35 full-time employees and 45 part-time student workers, the departmental culture in Dining Services emphasizes teamwork, collaboration and striving for the highest possible level of customer satisfaction. 

It starts each day with breakfast — a very popular meal that is in high demand throughout the day. Dining Services uses about 45 dozen eggs daily (mostly for made-to-order specialty omelets) and about 4,000 pounds of bacon each semester. 

“Thanks in part to Food Network on cable TV, our customers have more sophisticated palates today than students had several years ago,” says Randy. 

“Responding to requests from our customers, we’ve expanded vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free menu items during the past few years. At the same time, we’ve introduced foods like quinoa, couscous, orzo and edamame (a preparation of immature soybeans).” 

International dishes are also more in demand by both international and more adventurous local students. In fact, everyone seems to know when popular cook and UIS Employee of the Year Danny Lau is serving his fried rice. Customers start lining up two hours before lunchtime to ensure they will be able to pick up their order. 

And what can students and other customers look forward to when UIS Dining Services moves into the new Student Union next year? According to Geoff, “Plenty.” Members of the culinary team have worked closely with Dewberry Architects and Ricca Newmark Designs (the food service consultant for the project) to design a state-of-the-art kitchen, servery areas and a second-floor banquet facility that can serve up to 450 guests. An emphasis on sustainability throughout the facility, including a green roof, will add to both its economic and educational value. “The new kitchen equipment is going to greatly increase efficiency of operations,” says Randy, “and a display cooking station will add a little drama, allowing students to watch our chefs prepare fresh, made-to-order dishes right in front of them.” 

 Read the entire column online.

UIS gets grant to study rivers in Illinois, Brazil

The University of Illinois Springfield is one of eight institutions to receive an Innovation Fund grant from the Coca-Cola Foundation, and the school plans to use the $25,000 to help students study and compare river ecosystems in Brazil and Illinois.

The grant will help fund a joint project between UIS and the Universidade Estadual de Maringa (UEM) in Brazil.

Students and faculty from the two universities will study two of the world’s great rivers, the ParanĂ¡ and the Illinois.

According to UIS, nine students and six faculty will be involved in the summer of 2017, with plans to increase that number in the future. Faculty and staff from UIS and UEM have been collaborating for 10 years on similar projects.

UIS associate professor of chemistry Keenan Dungey, professor of biology Michael Lemke and international programs director Jonathan GoldbergBelle submitted the grant-funded proposal along with their Brazilian colleagues.

“Students are going to learn how to measure the ecology of the rivers, water chemistry and microbes, plankton, and compare the state of the Illinois River to the Parana.” “The Illinois River has been impacted by human agriculture and industrialization for more than 100 years, whereas the region of the Parana has had a lot less impact and three national parks help to preserve the river,” Dungey said.

The $25,000 grant is part of the Coca-Cola Foundation-sponsored competition “100,000 Strong in the Americas.” The grants recognize initiatives to create partnerships between higher education institutions and Latin America, with the goal of increasing study abroad in the field of environmental sciences, with an emphasis on water.

The eight grants awarded in 2016 will help 115 students to study abroad and prepare them for the 21st-century workforce.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on November 12, 2016.

Read the entire article online.

Friday, November 11, 2016

UIS recieves grant from Coca-Cola Foundation

The University of Illinois Springfield is receiving a $25,000 grant from the Coca-Cola Foundation. 

The Innovation Grant is in recognition of the Schools partnership with the State University of Maringa in Brazil, and their study abroad programs focusing on environmental science.

The school says the money will be used to create additional student research opportunities.

This story aired on FOX 55 on Thursday, November 10, 2016.

Read the article online.

Men's and Women's Basketball: UIS men to be busy with four basketball games in week

The University of Illinois Springfield men’s basketball team is hitting the ground running.

Friday night the Prairie Stars close out the preseason with an exhibition against Bradley at Carver Arena at 7. It is the first of four games in six days for UIS.

The Stars tip off the regular season Sunday at Findlay (Ohio). UIS then hosts Illinois College on Monday and Robert Morris University on Wednesday. “It’s four games in six days, but one of them being an exhibition game, it doesn’t stay on your record so there is a little bit of flexibility,” UIS men’s basketball coach Bill Walker said.

UIS women’s basketball team is also back in action Friday night at 7. The Stars are tipping off the regular season against Lake Superior State in Hillsdale, Michigan, at the GLVC/GLIAC Challenge.

UIS plays again Saturday against host Hillsdale.

UIS has one exhibition game under its belt. Northwestern defeated the Stars 84-56 last Sunday in Evanston. “I was pleased with our performance in the exhibition game because I thought we played fearless,” UIS women’s coach Mark Kost said.

One of the biggest takeaways for UIS is five newcomers logged significant playing time in the exhibition.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on November 10, 2016.

Read the entire article online.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Area prep athletes make college commitments


Austin Alderman helped Springfield High School’s baseball team place second at the Class 3A tournament last spring and the next chapter of his baseball life will include playing for the University of Illinois Springfield.

Alderman signed a national letter of the intent to play for the NCAA Division II Prairie Stars Wednesday, the first day of the early signing period.

“They seem to be committed to growing the baseball program,” he said. “They’re getting turf on the field and upgrading the facilities. They compete well. They’ve improved every year they’ve had a program.”

Normal University High catcher Jake Armstrong also signed a letter of intent to play baseball for UIS Wednesday.


Rochester High School senior infielder/pitcher Ali Bortmess and Buffalo Tri-City senior pitcher Payton Sturdy have signed to play softball at UIS.

Seven incoming freshmen have signed with UIS including Maroa-Forsyth’s Calla Wickenhauser, Stanford Olympia’s Kendra Peifer, Princeville’s Natalie Cokel, Morrison’s Emma Melton and Breanna Robbins from Seckman in Imperial, Missouri.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on November 10, 2016.

Read the article online.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

State finances continue to weigh on local employer outlook

State of Illinois finances remain the biggest drag on the local economy based on a survey of 330 private and public-sector employers released Tuesday by the University of Illinois Springfield

Employers were a little more optimistic than in the spring Economic Outlook Survey. Nearly one-third said they expect the Sangamon County economy to improve in the coming year compared with 25 percent last spring.

They were less optimistic about their individual prospects compared with a year ago. A little less than half predicted a sales increase in the coming year compared with more than two-thirds expecting higher sales in the fall of 2015.

After state government, employers said government regulation, consumer confidence and finding qualified workers were their biggest concerns.

"The main difference here is those companies that do business with the state, and those who don't do business with the state," Juan Carlos Donoso, director of the UIS Research Survey Office, said after release of the survey at the fall economic outlook breakfast of The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce. "Those who are not doing business with the state are much more optimistic about the future of their firms and the future of the county economy," Donoso added.

Chamber President and CEO Chris Hembrough said unpaid bills and budget uncertainty have a ripple effect, including for companies that have no direct business with the state. "I talked to a business owner recently in the home-remodeling sector. They don't do any direct work with the state, it's just people holding on to their dollars," said Hembrough, who added that a permanent state budget would go a long way toward easing those concerns. "It's the cloud of uncertainty, even all the way down to not knowing what the personal income tax of the state is going to be," said Hembrough.

The full UIS survey will be released Friday.

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

Read the entire article online.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

College Democrats give their thoughts on the eve of election

University of Illinois Springfield College Democrats Treasurer, Nick Zambito talks about millennials voting on the eve of the election.

This story aired live on WICS Newschannel 20 on November 7, 2016.

Watch the story online.

College Republican at UIS gives his thoughts on the eve of election

University of Illinois Springfield College Republican Treasurer, Kaelan Smith talks election 2016 and how young conservatives are thinking ahead of Tuesday's election.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on November 7, 2016.

Watch the story online.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Women's Basketball: Youthful UIS women's basketball team aims for improvement

The University of Illinois Springfield women’s basketball team was left in the offseason to bemoan the games that got away last season.

“When I look at last year’s season, there were eight games that we were very competitive in and had chance to win with five minutes left, and we won one of them,” UIS second-year coach Mark Kost said.

Winning those types of contests are vital moving forward. “That is the next step for our program…closing out games that we have a chance to win,” Kost said. “I’m hoping we take that next step where we win our share of those games.”

Kost and his players are confident they have the necessary personnel to better last season’s 8-18 overall record and 2-16 Great Lakes Valley Conference record. “I think we’ve definitely got the girls to do it,”

UIS has eight newcomers and six returners. “I think our talent level is raised,” Kost said. “With the depth of our team, we can absorb more foul trouble or absorb injury or absorb more than two players not having a good night. We have other options to turn to, which I think will help us be more competitive.

“I believe we are more athletic than the past,” Kost said. “We score the ball better than we did in the past. We’re quicker and longer on the perimeter. We’ve added some depth in the frontcourt through recruiting to go with what we’ve got returning.”

UIS plays an exhibition at noon Sunday at Northwestern. It opens the regular season against Lake Superior State on Friday at the GLVC/GLIAC Challenge in Hillsdale, Michigan.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on November 5, 2016.

Read the entire article online.

UIS Celebrates Cultures From Around The World

The University of Illinois Springfield is celebrating cultures from around the world.

UIS hosted their 39th Annual International Festival Friday which included exhibits, artistic performances and food tasting.

There were a number of countries represented like India, Peru and Scotland.

This story aired on Fox 55 on November 4, 2016.

Watch the story online.

UIC, UIS, Memorial Health System Partnership Aiming to Fix Nursing Shortage

A partnership between University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Illinois at Springfield and Memorial Health System is aiming to fix a local nursing shortage.

We're told there are hundreds of nurses needed in central Illinois hospitals and their importance cannot be overlooked.

Nurses are the unsung heroes of the hospital. They provide 90 percent of patients’ needs. “They're the eyes and ears of the rest of the care team at the bedside each and every day,” said Marsha Prater, the chief nursing officer at Memorial Health System.

Prater said patient falls and infections drop significantly when you have more nurses. The problem, nationwide and locally, is there just aren't enough. “We could hire 50 nurses today and we'd still have opportunities for more of them,” said Prater. The need is growing with more people using health care.

“The nurses that are working are taking care of more patients than would be optimal,” said Cindy Reese, the regional director of the Springfield campus for UIC College of Nursing. Reese said it’s a quality of care issue.

University of Illinois at Chicago has an established nursing program with a couple hundred students on campuses in Chicago and Urbana. They're now offering a satellite campus at UIS with Memorial Health System offering training for the students.

The hope is to keep these students locally when they graduate. Experts say nursing students tend to work within 50 miles from where they train. In this case that’s Springfield.

The first 15 students started this fall. The hope is to grow to 64 in a couple years.

For the UIC nursing program, you can apply as a freshman or as a junior after taking necessary pre-nursing courses at another college, such as UIS. The nursing program itself is two years.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20.

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Thursday, November 3, 2016

UIS takes on ‘Macbeth'

The University of Illinois Springfield’s theater department is taking on one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays in its production of “Macbeth,” which wraps up its run this weekend at the university’s Studio Theatre.

The tragedy follows Macbeth and his wife from their climb to power through their struggle to keep their grasp on it.

After being told by three witches that he one day would be king of Scotland, an ambitious Macbeth murders the sitting king and claims the throne as his own. He doesn’t rule happily ever after. Instead, he is consumed by guilt and paranoia, even as he is forced to kill more people to protect himself and his throne.

It isn’t long before the civil war triggered by his tyrannical rule drive the power-hungry couple to madness and death.

Directed by Bill Kincaid, the UIS Theatre version features a cast of students and faculty members, including faculty members Eric Thibodeaux-Thompson and Missy Thibodeaux-Thompson as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, respectively.

This story appeared in My Journal Courier on November 3, 2016.

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Celebrate ethnic diversity

Celebrate 39 years of diversity at the University of Illinois Springfield by attending the Annual International Festival on Friday, Nov. 4, from 5-8 p.m.

The free festival is hosted each year by the Office of International Student Services and serves as UIS’s longest-running student-led program.

This year’s theme is “World at a Glance” and features cultural exhibits, live artistic performances, food tastings and more.

Countries represented include India, Peru, Ireland, Scotland, several African nations, Asian nations, Middle East nations and more.

Programs will be available on site to serve as a roadmap through the festival’s many exhibits, tastings and performances.

This story appeared in The Illinois Times on November 3, 2016.

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Tuesday, November 1, 2016

UIS students break record with Trick-Or-Treat for Canned Goods

Hundreds of University of Illinois Springfield students helped to collect a record 14,085 pounds of food for the Central Illinois Foodbank on Halloween night. The total breaks a previous Trick-or-Treat for Canned Goods record of 11,620 pounds of food collected in 2014.

A total of 18 teams, consisting of 181 students, went door-to-door in several Springfield and Chatham neighborhoods collecting the canned goods.

"More different volunteer work that will help the food bank in ways that impacts the community, and we're going around, engaging the community, engaging its members, to all kind of come together to help for a cause," Tyler Beitler, a UIS freshman, said.

The story was reported by WICS-TV 20 on November 1, 2016.

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DCFS workers learn to spot child abuse at UIS training academy

A partnership between the University of Illinois Springfield and Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is the first of its kind in the country, a university official says.

The state agency and university announced last week the launch of its Child Protection Training Academy, held on the UIS campus.

Susan Evans, recently named director of the Child Protection Training Academy, said the academy will greatly improve training for child welfare investigators, which has been behind the curve.

“Historically, the training has been didactic,” Evans said. “There has been some job shadowing, online webinars and then three to four weeks in the classroom.”

Evans is a 24-year veteran of DCFS who spent 14 years in the field as a child protective investigator and 10 years in the Office of Professional Development.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on November 1, 2016.

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UIS adds six degree programs

The University of Illinois Springfield has added six new majors to its curriculum that are in high demand among incoming students.

Half of the new programs, including biochemistry, are connected to the health field. Students graduating with a degree in biochemistry would be in a good position to pursue careers in medicinal chemistry and the pharmaceutical and biotechnology fields. For some of the students holding that degree, their first post-college job could be in Springfield.

The six new programs bring the total number of bachelor’s degrees offered at UIS to 31 and the number of master’s degree programs to 20. The university also has one doctoral program.

In addition to biochemistry, the other new bachelor’s programs are in exercise science, theater, public administration and public policy. The sixth new program is a master’s degree in data analytics, which has applications in the medical field and other areas.

All of the new majors started this fall except for theater, which starts next fall.

James Ermatinger, UIS interim vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost, said the university typically adds about one new program each year.

“A few years ago we looked at our data and noticed that students were requesting certain majors,” Ermatinger said. “We created a task force that identified several new majors. Departments on their own also produced proposals for new majors.”

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on October 31, 2016.

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