Monday, October 29, 2018

Susan Koch: Learners grow into leaders at UIS

The following is an excerpt from a column by University of Illinois Springfield Chancellor Susan Koch. This column appeared in The State Journal-Register on October 27, 2018.

The University of Illinois Springfield is known for leadership lived — a reputation that reflects the university’s roots in the home of Abraham Lincoln — an educational community where talented faculty and staff help learners become leaders in a broad range of endeavors.

As Chancellor, I have the privilege of getting to know many UIS students each year, observing firsthand this learner-to-leader transformation that ultimately results in college graduates who contribute to their professions and their communities — human capital that serves the public good for Illinois and beyond.

I recently spent time with three UIS students, all seniors, each of whom has their own leadership lived story: Will Newton didn’t know what to expect a few years ago when he left Chicago to attend UIS and major in Political Science.

“It was rough at the beginning and I don’t think I was ready to live independently at first,” says Newton, “but now as a Student Ambassador working in Admissions, I’m helping other students like me make a successful transition to college.”

Newton recently started working as a communications intern for the Illinois Senate Republican staff.

He plans to become a college admissions counselor after graduation and may eventually go into public service.

Like many Chicagoland students, Newton traveled about 200 miles to attend UIS, but Maria Espinosa followed a much different — and more lengthy — path.

Espinosa is from Ibagué, a city about 2,600 miles southeast of Springfield in the heart of Colombia, South America.

A top performer on the UIS Women’s golf team, Espinosa graduated from high school at 16 and declined numerous Division I offers in favor of the then up-and-coming UIS Division II women’s golf program where she knew she could pursue ambitious goals in both academic studies and athletics.

“UIS — my teammates, coaches and faculty — have become my second family.” In addition to competing on the Prairie Stars women’s golf team, Espinosa is completing a rigorous Biology major with a minor in Public Health.

She worked with a UIS research team last summer in Ghana, West Africa, and is now applying to graduate schools with aspirations to earn a graduate degree and do medical research in microbiology and immunology.

Almost every day, I walk past “The Young Lawyer,” a beautiful Lincoln sculpture that was a gift to the UIS campus a few years ago. On the edge of the sculpture plaza is a stone with the following Lincoln quote: “You cannot fail if you resolutely determine that you will not.”

The quote always makes me think of the many resolutely determined UIS students I’ve known over the years, learners who have become leaders while earning their University of Illinois degree at UIS.

I’m proud of each one of them and grateful for the contributions they are making every day as alums and citizens. That’s leadership lived.

Read the entire column online.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

UIS Names Director Of Economic Development And Innovation

A Springfield businessman has been named as the new director of Economic Development and Innovation at the University of Illinois Springfield.

Bruce Sommer is the co-founder of Innovate Springfield, which was recently acquired by UIS when it was named as the first hub of the state’s Discovery Partners Institute.

The university says he will lead the UIS effort to spur more business growth and development in Springfield.

This story aired on 970 WMAY on October 17, 2018.

Read the entire story online.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Men's Soccer: UIS clinches postseason men’s soccer berth

The University of Illinois Springfield scored twice in the first 12 minutes of the game and defeated University of Missouri-St. Louis 2-0 in a men’s soccer game at Kiwanis Stadium.

Mario Falsone scored both times for UIS. The first came 3 minutes into the game on an upfield pass from Harry Hiscock leading to a 1-on-1 breakaway. Daniel Kemp assisted on Falsone’s second goal, 9 minutes later.

UIS remains in second place in GLVC behind Southern Indiana. The Prairie Stars clinched a berth in the conference playoff for the second consecutive season.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on October 19, 2018.

Read the entire article online.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Men's Soccer: UIS ranked sixth in Midwest Region

The University of Illinois Springfield men’s soccer team is ranked sixth in the NCAA Divison II Midwest Region.

It’s the first-ever appearance in the NCAA regional rankings for the Prairie Stars (7-4-3).

Ohio Valley University (13-2) is ranked No. 1, followed by No. 2 Southern Indiana (10-2-1) and No. 3 Saginaw Valley State (8-1-5).

UIS hosts Missouri-St. Louis at 5 p.m. Friday, followed by another home match against Truman State at noon Sunday.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on October 19, 2018.

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Women's Basketball: UIS No. 11 in GLVC preaseason poll

The University of Illinois Springfield was selected 11th in the Great Lakes Valley Conference Preseason Women’s Basketball Poll, which was announced by the conference on Wednesday.

UIS went 13-13 with a 7-11 GLVC record during the 2017-18 season. The Prairie Stars set program records for wins, conference wins and a program-best 10th-place finish in the GLVC.

Lewis barely edged Drury for first in the poll. The Flyers earned 175 points and seven first-place votes. Drury tallied 174 points and six first-place votes to land second place in the poll. The Panthers have captured the past two GLVC regular-season titles and the past two GLVC Tournament titles. Taking third in the preseason poll was Southern Indiana with 155 points and the final first-place vote.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on October 19, 2018.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

UIS series to discuss Frank Warren's 'PostSecret' project

The University of Illinois Springfield's Engaged Citizenship Common Experience Speaker Series is hosting Springfield High School alumnus Frank Warren to talk about his work, "PostSecret: Creating Community through Confessions."

Warren will give his discussion Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the UIS Student Union Ballroom.

Warren started his PostSecret project in 2004.

PostSecret invited strangers to anonymously reveal their secrets on a homemade postcard.

More than one million postcards were sent from around the world. Most were published in his book "PostSecret."

The story was reported by WAND-TV on October 17, 2018.

Watch the story online.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

UIS offers free flu vaccines Monday

University of Illinois Springfield hosted a free flu vaccine clinic Monday.

Vaccines were available free of charge to students and employees and retired employees with state benefits.

The flu shot is also available for employees who do not have state health insurance for $20.

There are several other clinics for students and employees. For more information on upcoming flu shot clinics, click here.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on October 15, 2018.

Watch the story online.

Monday, October 15, 2018

History Harvest gets more personal

An NAACP pin given to a nurse during a 1966 Chicago riot, articles about Vice President Walter Mondale’s 1979 visit to Loami and photographs of a Lithuanian family were some of the items 40 to 50 people brought to the University of Illinois Springfield’s History Harvest on Saturday at Innovate Springfield.

The History Harvest was the UIS history department’s second. The first was held in 2016.

This year’s was a bicentennial event; organizers asked people to bring items connecting them or their family to Illinois history.

It drew more people and items than the first, according to UIS assistant professor of history Devin Hunter. “It seems the quality of the items are a little more interesting this time,” Hunter said. “Last time, we had a theme about political campaigns, so we got a lot of campaign buttons and stickers which were interesting, but we didn’t get the breadth of materials that we’re getting now: family photo albums, things from the Lithuanian-American and African-American communities, people who have deep roots in the Springfield area. We’re getting a lot more of that this time around.”

As with the first History Harvest, UIS students asked owners about the items they brought and then scanned them to be archived online.

The history department will develop the online archive of items collected Saturday and continue work on the 2016 archive.

Hunter said. UIS will hold a third History Harvest in 2020, he said, but its theme hasn’t been finalized.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on October 13, 2018.

Read the entire article online.

Women's Soccer: Stars get second victory on the road

The University of Illinois Springfield fell behind early but answered quickly with three unanswered goals for a 3-1 victory against Drury College at Harrison Stadium.

The Panthers scored just under 12 minutes into the first half on a 12-yard score from Gabe Millot with an assist from Brinn Cooper.

UIS answered six seconds later with an 8-yard goal from Amanda Meyer. Meyer also scored the first goal of the second half for the stars.

Valentina Rodriguez added the third goal with 20 minutes remaining in the game.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on October 12, 2018.

Read the entire article online.

Women's Volleyball: Bush, UIS volleyball win 10th straight match

Brianna Bush had 16 kills, 10 digs, two assists and one ace to lead the University of Illinois Springfield volleyball team to a four-set win over Findlay (Ohio) at the Midwest Region Crossover on Saturday.

The Prairie Stars have won 10 matches in a row. That mark ties its longest winning streak since it moved from the NAIA level to NCAA Division II in 2009.

Taylor Bauer added 12 kills and Alyssa Hasler finished with 11 for the Prairie Stars.

UIS went 3-0 in the Midwest Region Crossover, one of just two teams to do so.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on October 13, 2018.

Read the entire article online.

Friday, October 12, 2018

UIS students gather to celebrate National Coming Out Day

Dozens of colleges students in Springfield shared their stories during National Coming Out Day.

One by one, UIS students shared their stories.

Many faced the challenge of revealing their true sexual identity to their father or mother.

"I came out when I was in eighth grade and she said that I was too young to know and that I'm probably not, so whatever. Then I came out to my father and he said that he hopes it's not true, but if it is, alright. And just kind of got up and walked away," Freshman student Cielo Delgado said.

They all stood behind one word Thursday, broadcast in bold across their shirts: Human.

"It's been two years since I came out and it hasn't gotten any easier. It doesn't really get easier, ever. But being here and doing it in front of all these people somehow makes it feel alright," Junior student Spencer Voyles said.

The story was reported by WICS-TV 20 on October 11, 2018.

Watch the full story online. 

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Women's Volleyball: UIS volleyball sets sights on GLVC title and higher

Four years ago, new University of Illinois Springfield volleyball coach Trey Salinas was selling a vision of success.

It’s all he had. He was taking over a program that had won a total of 14 Great Lakes Valley Conference matches over the previous six seasons.

“I started going out (recruiting) thinking that I needed to change UIS volleyball’s reputation. Because I assumed we had a bad reputation,” Salinas said. “What I quickly found out was that we had no reputation. Most players, even in the Midwest, had never even heard of UIS."

“We tried to make that work for us because I quickly found out that I could get kids to come here if I could get them to visit campus -- if I could show them what UIS has to offer as an athlete and as a student. Once they knew that stuff was really good, I could share with them where we wanted the volleyball program to be and how they could thrive in it.”

Two current seniors believed in that vision and the program started to change.

Middle blocker Alyssa Hasler and setter Tiffany Wentworth came to Springfield in 2015 believing this is what they would help build.

“When I had my one-on-one conversation with coach, I realized I really wanted to play for him,” Wentworth said of her recruitment to UIS. “He told us it was going to be a work in progress and I was ready and wanted to be a part of that.”

The destination wasn’t always apparent during the journey.

Hasler, from South Bend, Indiana, leads all NCAA Division II players in total blocks and is third in blocks average. She originally came to Springfield largely based on the opportunity for immediate playing time for a team that had been 10-18 in 2014. She did get on the floor right from the start and led the 2015 team in blocks. She is now the school’s all-time leader in that category and is on the verge of reaching 1,000 career kills.

“The first two years were really tough for me, because I was coming from a high school program (Mishawaka Marian High School) where I was losing maybe two games a season,” Hasler said. “So coming here, where we knew we might only win two games a season was a big change. I want to win -- I want that competition. And sometimes I felt we didn’t have that as a team, which was frustrating."

“But as the time grew and as we got more confidence in ourselves that built up. That was important. Because we knew there was a lot of talent on the team but we weren’t winning. So we had to work through that.”

That team-first philosophy has paid off.

Last season the Prairie Stars finished 22-11 and 12-6 in the GLVC. It was the third straight season UIS’ win total jumped under Salinas.

They’re goals for the rest of the season are high. “We, for sure, want to win a conference championship,” Salinas said. “But our bigger goal is to make it to regionals.”

The players might be looking even higher. “We want to win regionals and make the school’s first NCAA Tournament appearance,” Wentworth said.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on October 10, 2018.

Read the entire article online.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Men's Golf: UIS men’s golf 8th in Midwest Fall Regional

Steffen Heckele tied for 15th individually to lead the University of Illinois Springfield to eighth place in the 18-team Midwest Fall Regional that concluded Tuesday at Fox Run Golf Club.

Heckele shot a 71 in the first round, followed by a 77 for a two-day total of 148.

Teammate Jaime Kreisler finished 31st with a 151 as the Prairie Stars had team scores of 300 and 306 for a 606 total.

Other UIS totals were a 153 by Dnaile Miller, a 154 by Sabastian Trujillo and a 158 by Daniel Nyman. The Stars’ Louis Bagur competed individually and had a 161.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on October 9, 2018.

Read the entire article online.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Women's Volleyball: Borum and Cobert playing pivotal roles, putting up big stats for Illinois Springfield

The University of Illinois Springfield volleyball team is off to a 14-4 start to the season, including an 8-1 mark in Great Lakes Valley Conference play, thanks to a pair of local 2016 graduates.

Sterling native Jay Borum has become the Prairie Stars’ most reliable defensive specialist, while Erie native Rachel Cobert clobbers kills and collects digs when called upon.

The Division II school picked up three GLVC wins in a 5-day stretch recently, while the former Golden Warrior etched her name into the school record books.

Borum recorded a single-match school record for digs with 43 last Saturday in a 3-2 home win over 10th-ranked Drury.

The total now ranks in the top-10 all-time in GLVC history, and is the fifth-most in DII this season.

This story appeared on on October 5, 2018.

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Men's Soccer: Javier Milla goal gives UIS men’s soccer a win

Javier Milla scored the University of Illiniois Springfield’s lone goal on Friday in a 1-0 victory over McKendree at Kiwanis Stadium.

Milla connected on a pass from Rory Carlson, as UIS improved to 5-4-2 overall and 4-2-1 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference.

UIS’ keeper Pijus Petkevicius had a four-save shutout.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on October 5, 2018.

Read the entire story online.

Women's Volleyball: Stars sweep McKendree

University of Illinois Springfield took control on the defensive side of the net to defeat McKendree in three sets.

Brianna Bush led the Prairie Stars with 10 digs, two blocks and five kills.

Alli Splitt added two blocks and nine kills for UIS. Jailyn Borum recorded 16 digs.

The victory was the 15th victory of the season and the Stars are now 9-1 in Great Lakes Valley Conference play. It is the first time UIS has defeated McKendree in conference play.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on October 6, 2018.

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Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Wrongful Conviction Day

Tuesday was Wrongful Conviction Day. One of the places taking note was the quad on the University of Illinois Springfield campus.

“Sometimes there was evidence that should have been looked at that wasn’t,” says Lauren Myerscough-Mueller, a staff attorney with the UIS-based Illinois Innocence Project.

“Sometimes there’s evidence that was hidden that could have exonerated someone, but sometimes it’s very simple that there is DNA that can be tested. We have had a few exonerations based on DNA, and it’s kind of the gold standard in our kind of work.”

Black and blue flags formed a bullseye on the quad, the blue for Illinois exonerations (more than 200) and the black for those elsewhere in the U.S. (more than 2,000).

Myerscough-Mueller says the Illinois Innocence Project claims credit for eleven exonerations, with more attempts in the works.

This story was published online at WTAX News Radio on October 2, 2018.

Read the entire article online.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Women's Volleyball: 6 numbers behind Illinois Springfield's first DII volleyball top 10 upset in program history

University of Illinois Springfield is following up its record-setting 2017 DII volleyball season with quite the encore.

The Prairie Stars upset No. 10 Drury on Saturday in five sets, earning them their first-ever upset of a top 10 team.

The win extends the Prairie Stars current win streak to five games and puts them in a three-way tie atop the Great Lakes Valley Conference.

Here's what you need to know about the Prairie Stars latest win.

3: Sets short senior MB Alyssa Hasler is shy of setting the program record of 412. Hasler set the program kills record in the historic upset and now owns five of the program's all-time marks.

13-4: The Prairie Stars improved their record to 13-4 on Saturday, which is the best start for the program.

43: Digs by Jailyn Borum, the single-match program record.

56: Match-high assists, recorded by UIS setter Tiffany Wentworth.

70: Total kills by Illinois Springfield, the most it has recorded in a match this season. Four Prairie Stars finished in double-digit kills. Brianna Bush tied for a match-high 19 kills, Hasler had her 15 record-setting kills, Alli Splitt added 13 and Taylor Bauer finished with 10.

908: Hasler had 15 kills, giving her 908 in her Prairie Stars career. Her 907th kill set the program record for most kills during the NCAA era.

This information was published on on September 29, 2018.

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Women's Cross Country: UIS’ Christy breaks school record

Taryn Christy broke the school record and placed 18th individually in leading the University of Illinois Springfield to 17th in the team standings Saturday at the Greater Louisville Classic.

Christy, a freshman, finished the 5k-race in 18 minutes 33.8 seconds. She beat the former record by 59.8 seconds.

UIS finished with 483 points.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on September 29, 2018.

Read the entire article online.

Men's Cross Country: Prairie Stars place eighth at Classic

The University of Illinois Springfield finished with 309 points and placed eighth as a team Saturday at the 8k Greater Louisville Classic.

UIS senior Kenton Wilson finished 39th individually in a time of 25 minutes 43.7 seconds.

Teammate Tyler Hiserole (25:55.7) had a personal-best and placed 50th for UIS.

St. Francis won the 45-team meet with 146 points.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on September 29, 2018.

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