Defining Excellence – The Campaign for SIUE isn't just a campaign for an institution; it's a campaign for the SIUE community — the students, faculty, alumni and donors who make this University such a special place. The stories below show how SIUE students grow as intellectuals and citizens, how faculty improve our region through instruction and research, how alumni are taking advantage of their degrees to make the world a better place, and how donors have made it all possible.
More than half our 85,000 graduates live and work in the St. Louis region. The professional accomplishments of our alumni make SIUE proud and ensure a lasting legacy for the donors who made their education possible.
Candi LeDuc calls it a stroke of luck. But at SIUE, it’s mission in action.
As an underclassman in the School of Nursing, she was unsure what career path she would take until she was paired with her faculty mentor: School of Nursing Dean Marcia C. Maurer.
Maurer had extensive experience consulting and educating nurses for careers in neonatal intensive care units (NICU), where ill and premature newborns receive life-saving medical care. It was a career path that became more appealing for Candi as the bond with her mentor grew stronger.
“The mentoring program allowed us to get together once a month. I could go to her and talk about stresses of school and what I needed to do to be a better nurse,” Candi said. “Although she didn’t plan it, she really inspired my career.”
As their relationship continued into Candi's senior year, Dean Maurer helped Candi connect with open jobs in NICUs in the St. Louis area and wrote her a letter of recommendation. Eventually, Candi secured her current position with the NICU at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center in St. Louis.
Candi received valuable preparation for her position through the SIUE School of Nursing’s Simulated Learning Center for Health Sciences. By working on seven lifelike mannequins and other high-tech equipment, Candi was able to treat “patients” in virtually every scenario she could eventually face on the job, from a heart attack to childbirth.
Contributions to resources such as the planned Advanced Education Simulated Learning Center — a high-tech learning environment for graduate students — help the School of Nursing train highly skilled caregivers and solve the region’s shortage of nurses.
So inspired by the education she received, Candi has returned to SIUE’s School of Nursing in two ways: as a member of its Board of Advisors, and as a graduate student pursuing a nurse practitioner degree.
“I’m proud to be a graduate of SIUE. I’m making a difference in people’s lives because of the education I received here,” Candi said. “The instructors are all nurses and are so driven to help patients. They were very inspiring for me to become the best nurse that I can be.”
A scholarship opened a world of opportunity for Kusumakar Bhusal at SIUE, a university he first learned about a half a world away from Edwardsville, Ill.
As an undergraduate environmental science student at Katmandu University in Nepal, Kusumakar met SIUE Associate Professor of Geography Mark Hildebrandt, a visiting professor who brought his expertise to Kusumakar’s classrooms and told him about SIUE’s graduate program in geographic information systems (GIS).
Inspired by an internship with the World Wildlife Federation, where he met GIS professionals using their skills and technology to explain how the global environment is changing, Kusumakar hoped to enroll in SIUE’s graduate GIS program to pursue a similar career path. Just a few years later with the help of a Competitive Graduate Award, Kush not only enrolled in SIUE’s program but he reconnected with Hildebrandt, who served as his thesis advisor.
“After learning more about the SIUE GIS program, I loved it,” Kusumakar said. But without the scholarship, his would have been an impossible dream. “The currency conversion would have made it difficult to attend SIUE.”
Contributions to SIUE’s College of Arts and Sciences help fund scholarships that give students such as Kusumakar the opportunity to pursue their dreams. An affordable SIUE education equips students with the skills they need to thrive in the global marketplace and make our world a better place.
After graduating from SIUE, Kusumakar was hired by Monsanto in St. Louis as a GIS analyst. Using the image processing skills he learned at SIUE, Kusumakar analyzes satellite images to help farmers yield more from their fields.
The journey that Kusumakar began at SIUE continues; he’s been accepted into the GIS doctoral program at Kansas University, but deferred entrance until fall 2011 so he can “soak up” as many GIS skills as possible on the job at Monsanto. During his doctoral studies, Kusumakar wants to pursue research that will help the public gain a better understanding of global warming and arctic ice melting.
“Receiving a scholarship means a lot. It provides the financial resources to explore and realize your dreams,” Kusumakar said. “Making a donation to a scholarship fund opens a way to the future for students like me. “