Wednesday, May 27, 2020

UIS star party goes virtual

The University of Illinois Springfield says it is moving one of its summer star parties online.

The next star party will be broadcasted live on Zoom (rain or shine) from 8-9 p.m. on Saturday, May 30.

John Martin, UIS associate professor of astronomy/physics, will give tips for finding Venus, the Big Dipper, and other bright stars and constellations in the late spring and early summer evening sky and answer astronomy questions submitted live. The link for the Zoom event will be posted at and @UISObservatory on Twitter.

Three other star parties are planned but at this point, those are set to be in-person. The other star parties are set for June 27, July 25, and August 11 from 8:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on May 26, 2020.

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Thursday, May 21, 2020

What does the future hold for education?

What does the future hold for education during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond?

It's a question that staff at the University of Illinois Springfield hope to shed light on.

A free public webinar is set for Friday, May 22 from noon to 1 p.m.

During the webinar, panelists will share their insight and foresight about what we can expect education will look like this fall and far beyond.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on May 20th.

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Friday, May 15, 2020

UIS professors receive grant to assess pesticide risks near agricultural communities

Two University of Illinois Springfield professors have received a three year grant from the United States Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture to assess the risk of pesticide use and air dispersion in urban agricultural communities.

The study is being done in collaboration with professors at Tuskegee University in Alabama.

UIS Assistant Professor of Public Heath Egbe Egiebor and Associate Professor of Public Heath Dorine Brand will get about $168,000 from the overall $500,000 grant awarded to Tuskegee University.

The study will evaluate methods for monitoring and modeling the atmospheric spread of pesticide pollutants under different weather conditions, identify hotspots, and assess the vulnerability of affected communities as greater populations are now at the edge of agricultural land due to urban growth.

Egiebor said, "We are really excited to conduct this study. It is the first time a project like this will be facilitated in two different agro-ecological zones with different production systems." The study will be conducted in both Alabama and Illinois.

This story aired on WAND on May 14, 2020..

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UIS plans for in-person fall classes, final decision pending

Illinois state officials have yet to release a statewide plan for higher education amid the pandemic, but local schools like the University of Illinois Springfield are creating their own plans for how to move forward.

UIS officials have yet to release a concrete decision. However, the university is planning on having face-to-face instruction in the fall.

For UIS to open back up, the state would have to be in Phase 4 of Restore Illinois. If the state is not, the university is not afraid to at least start the semester online.

"As of this moment, we are planning to have in-person instruction in the fall with modifications that will ensure the health and safety of the students, faculty, and staff," UIS Chancellor Susan Koch said. Koch said nothing is concrete right now, but they should have a solid decision by mid-June.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on May 14, 2020.

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Thursday, May 14, 2020

Men's Baseball: Jensen gets UIS baseball sportsmanship nod

Brayden Jensen, a senior pitcher for the University of Illinois Springfield baseball team, was named that team’s Great Lakes Valley Conference James R. Spalding Sportsmanship Award honoree.

Each team in the GLVC selected one player who distinguished himself through sportsmanship and “ethical behavior” throughout the coronavirus-shortened season. The honorees must also be in “good academic standing and have demonstrated good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting,” according to the GLVC press release on Monday.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on May 13, 2020.

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Tennis: UIS promotes Quevedo as next tennis coach

The University of Illinois Springfield promoted former tennis assistant coach and recent interim head coach Raul Quevedo to that program’s head coach, the university announced on Wednesday.

As an interim coach, Quevado’s men’s team was 5-2 before the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the season while the women’s team was 3-3 before it too was abruptly halted.

He has been an assistant since the 2017 season. In the 2018-19 season, both the men and women teams were ranked in the top-50 among NCAA Division II teams.

“I am very excited and grateful for this opportunity,” Quevedo said in a press release. “I want to thank (UIS athletic director) Peyton Deterding and the search committee for trusting in me to lead this team to success. I look forward to taking these teams to new highs and contributing to the overall success of the athletic department. UIS is a great place to study, compete, and be part of the community. I can’t wait to give student-athletes from all over the world the chance to experience what it means to be a Prairie Star.”

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on May 13, 2020.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Women's Softball: Springfield’s Derhake is UIS softball sportsmanship winner

Bree Derhake, a senior infielder on the University of Illinois Springfield softball team and a 2016 Sacred Heart-Griffin High School graduate, was named the Prairie Stars’ Great Lakes Valley Conference James R. Spalding Sportsmanship Award honoree.

Tuesday’s press release by the GLVC said the award goes to the player who “distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior.

“These individuals must also be in good academic standing and have demonstrated good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting.”

In her shortened senior season, Derhake finished with a .362 average (21 for 58), with seven RBIs, six doubles, two triples and she was successful on all 18 of her stolen base attempts.

The Prairie Stars were 10-8 before spring sports were canceled throughout the country as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold. Derhake was UIS’ lone senior.

This story was published in The State Journal-Register on May 12, 2020.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2020

University of Illinois Springfield holds virtual commencement

It's one of the most celebrated days of many people's lives, but as COVID-19 has forced large events to be put on hold, graduation ceremonies across the country have been canceled, as well.

University of Illinois Springfield said they're still honoring their students, but now in a safer way.

"It's really impossible to replace that moment with all their families cheering, and I’m going to miss that and they're going to miss that, and that's a shame, but we have to keep everybody safe and healthy," UIS Chancellor Susan Koch said.

There were no tassels and gowns, no cheering families, and no handshakes on stage. Yet, there were still tears of joy on graduation day. For the 1,179 graduates from UIS this year, it wasn't how they imagined their graduation. However, despite a global pandemic, the Class of 2020 was still honored in a special, virtual way.

The university created a virtual graduation ceremony that features faculty and students celebrating their achievements. Killeen ended the ceremony with an official naming of each college and the presentation of the degrees. Koch said the university plans to resume on-campus instruction in the fall and hold a physical graduation ceremony for the Class of 2020 later in the year.

"What led us to deciding that it's important to have a face-to-face event -- even if it's much smaller, even if a much smaller number of students can come -- is that it's important to our students, and they told us that it was important," Koch said.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on May 9, 2020..

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University partners with city to cut litter

One university in Central Illinois is teaming up with a city to make sure people are keeping the earth clean.

The University of Illinois Springfield is working with CWLP in Springfield to put up bins where people can safely discard their cigarette butts. They are located near Lake Springfield.

The two-sided bins have questions on each side letting you cast your vote while cutting down pollution. “A lot of people see cigarette butts as something semi-natural. Thinking that it’s made out of tobacco products and stuff but actually there is a lot of plastic in it. It’s almost 75 percent plastic and so there’s a lot of toxins that can get into the waterways,” said Anne-Marie Hanson, UIS associate professor of environmental studies.

They plan to leave the voting bins up indefinitely.

This story appeared on WCIA on May 12, 2020.

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Tuesday, May 5, 2020

McClaughry to lead Monmouth

llinois native and former collegiate softball standout Alexa McClaughry has been named Monmouth College’s softball head coach.

"We are pleased to have Alexa McClaughry lead our softball program into the future as our head coach,” said Roger Haynes, Monmouth’s director of athletics. “Our committee was impressed with her statistical analysis of the program and certainly in her ability to teach the game. I believe her personality and approach to the game will be a great fit for the women and the culture coach John Goddard has worked so hard to develop.”

A four-year member of the University of Illinois-Springfield softball team and a four-time All-Academic Great Lakes Valley Conference honoree, McClaughry graduated cum laude from Illinois-Springfield with a degree in mathematical sciences.

This story appeared in The Review Atlas on May 4, 2020..

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Monday, May 4, 2020

UIS gears up for virtual graduation

The coronavirus pandemic has disoriented many norms and graduations are set to be the next annual events forced to adjust.

University of Illinois Springfield Chancellor Susan Koch’s final graduation ceremony will also be a first – a virtual commencement.

UIS’ ceremony was scheduled at the Bank of Springfield Center on May 9. It will be held on the date but at

Koch, 70, who is set to retire June 30 after nine years with UIS, took the commencement stage at the UIS Performing Arts Center with University of Illinois system President Tim Killeen Friday to record the degree conferment.

“We have this exciting video celebration that is in production and there’s a lead up to it that already has students involved,” Koch said. “I think it’s going to be absolutely just what we need since we can’t do what we want, which is having commencement with everybody together.”

Students can use #UIS20 on social media, create virtual photo frames, and short video clips and submit them at as part of the celebration.

While Koch said graduation is about the students, she acknowledged the final time she’ll take the stage. “It was going to be my last time being on the stage shaking the hand of every single student, having a moment with every student which is the highlight of my year every single year,” Koch said. She added that she feels “a little bit cheated,” like the graduating students but said the important thing is that students are still receiving their degrees and life will go on.

“That degree is going to set them on a new path and serve them well for the rest of their lives,” Koch said. “Whether we have a face to face moment together on the stage or not, they are completing their degrees and they are graduating. That’s what holds me up.” While in-person ceremonies have been canceled or postponed for dates to be determined, many colleges are holding online ceremonies and mailing diplomas.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on May 1, 2020.

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Women's Softball: UIS’ Addison Bryant makes relief appearance off the field

University of Illinois Springfield junior pitcher/utility player Addison Bryant is a bona fide multi-tasker. And, a certified nursing assistant.

Even during her season-debut with the Prairie Stars last year, Bryant squeezed in a weekly night shift around her softball schedule and coursework at Memorial Medical Center, summoning enough energy to work a handful of hours after practice.

Her softball season, of course, vanished this past March due to the coronavirus pandemic, leaving her with considerable unexpected free time that made Bryant restless after she moved back home to Gillespie, where she earned The State Journal-Register’s honorary captain for the 2016 area softball team.

“I’m not really one to sit around and do nothing,” Bryant said.

That spunk prompted Bryant to volunteer at Heritage Health, a nearby nursing home in Staunton. She has virtually worked there full-time since the end of March, often committing four or five days a week from 2 p.m. until 10:30. She often wakes up in the morning, completes her routine softball workouts and then her class assignments before taking the short drive to Staunton.

“It’s not too bad,” Bryant said. “You just have to have time management and know that you have to get up and do your homework because you have to work later. I just get up and get that stuff done so I don’t have to worry about it.”

She also had full support from her parents, despite the risks. Nursing homes have turned out to be especially vulnerable to the coronavirus.

“Being in the health care profession, there’s always things that are kind of scary with being around infectious things all of the time. What’s going around right now, it is a serious situation because we aren’t really sure about it and there’s just a lot of unknowns. And the virus can get to anyone at any time, which is scary. “But we’re doing all of the things we need to be doing. We’re wearing masks and gloves and all of that sort of stuff, and just continuing to wash our hands and use proper techniques and things to keep us safe during this time.”

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on May 1, 2020.

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Friday, May 1, 2020

"Hindsight 20/20"

The University of Illinois Springfield Visual Arts Gallery is proud to present “Hindsight 20/20,” a virtual exhibition showcasing the creativity and skill sets of senior visual arts majors at UIS.

As a result of the public health concerns regarding COVID-19, and in keeping with UIS policies in place to protect our students, faculty, staff and patrons, this special exhibition will take place online.

"Hindsight 20/20” features works by UIS Visual Arts graduating seniors that, together, explore how visual language can more clearly express those experiences that are difficult to communicate through words alone.

Exhibiting artists include Logan Baskett, Kelsey Cleary, Kailee Harris, Rachel Lewis, Dominic Miraldi and Merrick Wilderman.

This exhibition will feature animation, digital media, painting, screen printing and sculpture. Each of the student artists have created works that collectively strive to transport the viewer, inviting individuals to immerse themselves and recognize not only how our surroundings affect our emotions, but also how individuals impact the environment and the world around them.

These works are especially poignant in light of recent develops and the hardships many now face as a result of the global pandemic. “Hindsight 20/20” serves as a reflection and testament to the hard work of these students in the midst of these challenging times.

This article appeared in The Illinois Times on May 1, 2020.

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