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May 2014

SIUE School of Pharmacy’s Gable Achieves Unique Mental Health Provider Status

30 May 2014, 11:31 am

Gable_KellyKelly Gable, Pharm.D., associate professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, is the first psychiatric pharmacist to be granted provider and prescriber status by the Missouri Department of Mental Health.

Gable is currently the only pharmacist in Missouri authorized to function as a psychiatric prescriber on community mental health teams. Within this new provider role, her practice site is eligible to bill and receive reimbursement for services through the state Medicaid system. Gable gained provider and prescriber status in January 2014.

Not only is this recognition and advanced-practice pharmacy role unique and new to the state, it is innovative nationally.

“This is an exciting time for pharmacy providers across the country, as we advocate both locally and nationally for payment and recognition of our services,” Gable said. “In many states, pharmacists are permitted to enter into collaborative practice agreements with a physician, allowing for a wide range of prescriptive authority.

“However, only a few states actually provide payment for services provided. As the pharmacy profession continues to advocate for provider status nationwide, recognition at the state level is a positive step in the right direction.”

The American Pharmacists Association and others are lobbying in favor of H.R. 4190, introduced in the U.S. House in mid-March. The legislation proposes amending Title XVIII of the Social Security Act to provide for coverage of pharmacist services under Medicare Part B. Psychiatric pharmacists nationwide are using their knowledge, experience and clinical expertise to help fill the gap in care as the shortage of psychiatrists continues.

Obtaining provider status enables Gable to function as the primary psychiatric prescriber within assertive community treatment (ACT) teams – those that include a pharmacist, nurse practitioner, substance abuse specialist and others – where she fills the role traditionally held by a psychiatrist. ACT teams provide services directly to people where they live.

“We serve as a hospital without walls, providing intensive treatment to individuals with serious mental illnesses who often battle with homelessness, addiction and other serious medical conditions,” said Gable, who recently earned SIUE’s 2014 Teaching Excellence Award.

“It’s a treatment model that works to reduce hospitalizations, improve overall quality of life and promote recovery,” she added, noting that each team typically serves 80-100 clients.

SIUE School of Pharmacy Practice Department Chair Mark Ruscin, Pharm.D., said Gable’s provider status is an example of her passion for treating the seriously mentally ill.

“Beyond her excellence in instructional and clinical leadership, her recognition by the director of Missouri Medicaid as the first psychiatric pharmacy services provider/prescriber in Missouri is quite meaningful for Kelly professionally,” said Ruscin. “It clearly illustrates her compassion for service to those with serious mental illnesses as well as her advocacy for the pharmacy profession.”

SIUE School of Pharmacy Dean Gireesh Gupchup, Ph.D., echoed Ruscin. “It is an honor to have Dr. Gable as a faculty member at SIUE,” Gupchup said.

In addition to her position at SIUE, Gable serves as an adjunct assistant professor with the Saint Louis University School of Medicine’s Department of Neurology and Psychiatry. She provides psychiatric pharmacy services at Places for People, a St. Louis-based nonprofit whose primary mission is to promote recovery through service to persons with serious mental illnesses.

Gable has been on the SIUE faculty since 2007. A board-certified psychiatric pharmacist, Gable earned both a bachelor’s in pharmaceutical sciences and a Pharm.D. at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy. She completed a specialty residency in psychiatric pharmacy practice at the University of Southern California.

“Advocating for the thousands of individuals in the St. Louis area who struggle with serious mental illnesses – and teaching pharmacy students how to serve this unique population – is indeed my passion,” she said. “Practicing a holistic approach to care by working as a team to improve treatment outcomes as well as the quality of mental health care delivered is a greatly needed niche in our profession.”

A Medora, Ill. native, Gable resides in St. Louis.

Photo: SIUE’s Dr. Kelly Gable, associate professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice.

Bargiel Awarded Kimmel Scholarship for Leadership in Volunteer Service

30 May 2014, 10:40 am

Kimmel leadership Awards Ceremony 04-30-14Stephanie Bargiel, a senior in the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville College of Arts and Sciences, is the 2014 Kimmel Scholarship recipient. The annual scholarship recognizes a student who exemplifies leadership through community engagement and service while achieving academic excellence.

The scholarship was awarded by the Kimmel Student Involvement Center at the 2014 Kimmel Leadership Awards. As the recipient, Bargiel was presented a plaque of recognition and will receive an award of full-time undergraduate or graduate tuition for one academic year.

Kara Shustrin, program specialist in the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, recommended Bargiel for the award.

“Stephanie is an exemplary student with excellent professional values and the highest level of personal integrity,” Shustrin said. “She has demonstrated these values and abilities through her service to SIUE and the community in various capacities while balancing the demands of a rigorous academic curriculum.”

Bargiel was recognized for her extensive volunteer service record and leadership roles in SIUE student organizations such as:

  • Treasurer for the Alliance of Students Against Poverty
  • Community Service Coordinator for the National Society of Leadership and Success
  • Cougar Guide for the SIUE Experience

Bargiel has also participated in the SIUE Student Leadership Development Program, Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities Program, Alternative Spring Break and AmeriCorps.

Bargiel is majoring in chemistry with a specialization in American Chemical Society (ACS) Certified Biochemistry. She is a Granite City native and a graduate of Granite City High School. She was a 2012 recipient of the Emerging Student Leader Award, also presented by the Kimmel Student Involvement Center.

Sarah Laux, assistant director of Kimmel Student Involvement Center, described Bargiel’s strong personal commitment to service.

“Stephanie is truly a selfless individual and never hesitates to put others’ needs before her own,” said Laux. “Despite her busy schedule, she puts others first and does it with a smile. She leads by example and always encourages other students to improve and take on leadership roles.”

Additionally, Bargiel was acknowledged for completing 325 hours of service to SIUE and 155 hours of service in the community with Ranken Jordan Pediatric Bridge Hospital in Maryland Heights, Mo., and the Troy Community Band in Troy, Ill. She has also volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, TIP Hospice and Call for Help, Inc.

Rebekah Manwarring, pediatric health-related service manager at Ranken Jordan Pediatric Bridge Hospital, highlighted the impact of Bargiel’s volunteer work with pediatric patients.

“She provides love and affection for the children here, all with a refreshing twist of her energetic personality,” Manwarring said. “She is truly invested in patients and the success of their development cognitively, physically and emotionally. Patience and tenacity are two more strengths that Stephanie possesses which help her to be an asset to Ranken Jordan and the patients we serve.”

The Kimmel Scholarship award was established to honor Carol Kimmel, a former member of the SIU Board of Trustees, who dedicated her life to service and the cause of education. Kimmel was an ardent supporter of SIUE.

To be considered for this award, students must:

  • Maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.0
  • Demonstrate volunteer contributions through leadership in one or more student organizations and more than 30 hours of non-paid service to a community agency or organization
  • Submit letters of support documenting University service and leadership and two current letters documenting community service and leadership

Jay Tebbe presented the award to Bargiel at the annual Kimmel Leadership Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, April 30.

Photo: SIUE’s Stephanie Bargiel accepts scholarship award from Jay Tebbe.  

SIUE Professor Granted Patent for Bacterial Contamination Prevention

29 May 2014, 10:50 am

The United States Patent and Trademark Office has issued a second patent within months to Ronald E. Worthington, PhD, associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s School of Pharmacy.

The more recent patent, issued in March, represents the second of two related inventions aimed at preventing contamination by bacteria that are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics. Entitled “Bacteriophage Derived Methods to Control Lactic Acid Bacterial Growth (U.S. Patent 8,679,821),” it, too, contains the use of natural antibiotics to control bacterial contamination but focuses on developing a host microbial population – an agent that destroys bacteria. This second patent includes claims for synthetic genes for the natural protein native nisin. For the first time, Worthington said, nisin as a native peptide was shown to have antimicrobial activity.

“The use of antibiotics to control bacterial contamination in industrial production operations is widespread,” said Worthington, “but it suffers from a major drawback of acquired immunity to antibiotics over time, and that reduces the effectiveness of the antibiotics. This invention can be applied to various industrial scenarios in which bacterial contamination is a problem.”

Commercial applications for both patents, he added, include use in the ethanol biofuel industry and beverage alcohol production, where lactic acid bacteria contamination can damage yields and profits.

Worthington received the first U.S. Patent in October 2013; its emphasis was also specific to inventing synthetic genes that can be used to inhibit damaging bacteria. The first patent’s objective was to address the inappropriate use of antibiotics in industrial processes. The School of Pharmacy associate professor employed a synthetic biology approach that can be used in various fermentation applications to prevent lactic acid bacterial contamination.

“The bacteria that can become resistant to antibiotic drugs are in many cases the same bacteria that inhabit our digestive tract and serve a probiotic, healthy function,” Worthington said. “That poses a health risk, just like antibiotic resistance in any other setting. The inventions inherent in both of these patents focus on attacking this problem. In essence, we engineered artificial genes to make proteins that are not resistant to current pharmaceutical drugs.”

Worthington joined the SIUE School of Pharmacy in 2005. He earned both bachelor’s and doctoral degrees from Washington University in St. Louis. His research interests include pharmacogenomics – the study of how variations in the human genome affect the response to medications – and bioinformatics, the collection, classification, storage and analysis of biochemical and biological information using computers.

SIUE School of Pharmacy: Today’s pharmacists improve patients’ lives through the medication and education they provide. Dedicated to developing a community of caring pharmacists, the SIUE School of Pharmacy curriculum is nationally recognized as a model that offers students a unique combination of classroom education, research, community service and patient care. The School of Pharmacy’s areas of excellence include the Center for Drug Discover and Design; chronic pain research and practice; and diabetes research and practice. As the only downstate Illinois pharmacy doctorate program, the SIUE School of Pharmacy is addressing the growing need for highly trained pharmacists in a rapidly growing field.

SIUE Faculty Members Participate in NIH Grant Cancer Study

28 May 2014, 12:45 pm

Three Southern Illinois University Edwardsville faculty members are participating in a $1.5 million National Institutes of Health grant to improve the quality of life for cancer patients receiving chemotherapy.

The title of the grant is Transplatin: A Novel Agent to Mitigate Cisplatin Toxicity. The five-year grant began in July 2013 and runs through June 2018.

The drug cisplatin is frequently used to treat breast cancer. The team is exploring if the isomer, transplatin, can diminish or eliminate certain side effects, particularly hearing loss, associated with treatment.

The primary investigator is Vickram Ramkumar, Ph.D., associate professor of pharmacology at the SIU School of Medicine in Springfield. Other SIU School of Medicine collaborators include Leonard Rybak, M.D.; Debbie Mukherjea, Ph.D.; Theresa Liberati, Ph.D. DVM; and Steve Verhulst, Ph.D.

The three SIUE team members include two from the School of Pharmacy, Tim McPherson, Ph.D., professor  of pharmaceutical sciences and Bill Kolling, Ph.D., associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences. Ed Navarre, Ph.D., an assistant professor of chemistry in the College of Arts and Sciences, rounds out the team.

“Tim and Ed have developed an analytical technique using inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP/MS) to measure the concentration of platinum in serum,” said Kolling, noting that the instrument is housed in the Department of Chemistry.

“Initially, we will be using a rat model to study dosing and the potential for a protective response,” Kolling said. “If the data is promising, then human studies will most likely follow.”

“We will try to apply mathematical models that describe how the concentration of transplatin changes with respect to time after dosing.”

Kattner to Deliver Keynote Address at SIU Dental Commencement

28 May 2014, 12:09 pm

LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01Dr. Paul F. Kattner, an orthodontist with Kattner Orthodontics in Waukegan, Ill., will be the keynote speaker at the Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine commencement at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 7.

Fifty students will receive a doctor of dental medicine degree at the event in SIUE’s Meridian Ballroom in the Morris University Center. The ceremony will be seen live on siuetv.

A record 12 alumni will be participating in the Hooding Ceremony this year. The School allows an alumnus who is an immediate family member of a graduate to hood their family member as they walk across the stage.  A reception for students, faculty and family members will follow the commencement ceremony in the Goshen Lounge.

At the highest designation of achievement, Kattner has obtained Fellowship status with the American College of Dentists, the International College of Dentists, the Academy of Dentistry International, the Pierre Fauchard Academy and the World Federation of Orthodontists. He is a lifetime member of the American Association of Orthodontists, the American Dental Association, as well as the Illinois State and Chicago Dental Societies.

A dedicated champion of organized dentistry, Kattner has been an active member at the national, state and local levels and is proud to have served in various leadership roles. Among many notable appointed or elected positions, he has served as the general chair of the 146th American Dental Association Annual Session, chair for the Council on American Dental Association Sessions, speaker of the house of the Illinois State Dental Society, a trustee on the Illinois State Dental Society Board of Trustees, and numerous other society, committee, delegate and alternate delegate positions during the past 25 years.

Dr. Kattner has been the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions during his years of involvement in organized dentistry. These include the Illinois State Dental Society’s Distinguished Member Award, the Illinois State Dental Society’s President’s Award, the William J. Greek Leadership Award, the American Dental Association’s Golden Apple New Dentist Leadership Award and the American College of Dentists Award of Merit among others.

Dr. Kattner earned his doctor of dental surgery degree and his master of science degree in Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics from the University of Illinois College of Dentistry.

Photo: Dr. Paul F. Kattner, an orthodontist with Kattner Orthodontics in Waukegan, Ill.

Legendary Poet, Author and Civil Rights Activist Maya Angelou Dies at the age of 86

28 May 2014, 11:31 am

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou, world-renowned poet, award winning author, civil rights activist and actress, died Wednesday morning. She was 86.

The author of the highly influential “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” was found dead in her Winston-Salem, N.C., home. Angelou, who was also known as “America’s Poet,” rose above her own early abuse to give voice to the oppressed and trumpeted justice, peace and equality through her writing, her acting, her singing and her life.

Some of the benchmarks in Angelou’s life included:

• Presidential Medal of Freedom

• Presidential Inaugural Poem “Still I Rise”

• Three-time Grammy winner

For more information about Angelou and her life, visit:

Remembering Maya

America’s Poet Laureate

“Still I Rise”


Lox Named Interim Dean of the SIUE School of Education

27 May 2014, 4:07 pm

Curt Lox 8-17-12Dr. Curt Lox, professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Education, has been named interim dean of the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Education (SOE). Lox replaces Dr. Bette Bergeron, who resigned to assume duties as provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at Southern Connecticut State University.

Lox, who will officially begin his duties on June 16, brings 20 years of academic experience with 18 of those at SIUE. He joined the SOE faculty in 1996. During his tenure, he has provided significant service to the School and to the University in a number of different roles.

Lox has served as associate dean for the SOE from 2003-09 and as chair of Kinesiology and Health Education from 2009-present. He served on the Teaching Evaluation Task Force, Merit Plan Task Force, and the search committees for both associate dean and dean of the SOE. He most recently chaired the SOE’s Staffing Task Force.

“Dr. Lox’s experience and leadership at SIUE has been characterized by a positive approach to problem solving and a clear commitment to academic excellence,” said Dr. Ann Boyle, SIUE interim provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs. “His leadership capabilities and experience will be important for the School of Education.

“During this interim period, we still need to meet the continuing challenges of a difficult fiscal environment and adjust our academic programming to meet emerging paradigms for learning and the evolving expectations of our students. The responsibilities are numerous, and I am pleased that Dr. Lox is willing to serve the School in this interim role.”

Lox’s research is focused on the psychological impact of exercise for special populations, including the elderly, overweight and obese children and adults, and individuals infected with HIV. His research articles have been published in the Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, Journal of Cognitive Rehabilitation, International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, Journal of Health Psychology, and Rehabilitation Psychology among others. He is the co-author of The Psychology of Exercise: Integrating Theory and Practice, which is currently at press in its fourth edition.

He earned a doctorate in kinesiology from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and his master’s from Miami (Ohio) University. He has worked as a sport psychology consultant with players and coaches at the interscholastic, intercollegiate and professional levels for more than 20 years. Lox currently serves as the sport psychologist for SIUE Intercollegiate Athletics and the United States Martial Arts Team.

Lox identified two things in particular, which will occupy his attention initially.

“First is the difficult task of preparing for an academic year with an unknown budget,” he said. “Second is ensuring that the School of Education is positioned well for our teacher education accreditation visit on campus in March 2015. We have a tradition of preparing exceptional schoolteachers and administrators, and this national accreditation is one indicator of the quality of our programs.

“While the School has enjoyed a strong local and regional reputation for many years, it has been exciting to witness this notoriety begin to spread nationwide,” Lox said. “It is certainly one of my goals to continue to promote the many accomplishments of our faculty, staff, and students.”

A search for the permanent dean will begin during the fall semester.

Photo: Dr. Curt Lox, interim dean of the SIUE School of Education.  

Farrow Enters ITA Men’s Collegiate Hall of Fame

27 May 2014, 10:48 am

Farrow_Juan_actionJuan Farrow, a member of the SIUE Athletics Hall of Fame, entered the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Hall of Fame in an induction ceremony Wednesday, May 21 in Athens, Ga.

The Class of 2014 includes coaches Billy Chadwick of Mississippi, Kalamazoo College’s Timon Corwin and James Wadley of Oklahoma State. Players inducted are USC’s Matt Anger, Alex Kim of Stanford and Farrow. Northwestern’s Doug Conant enters as a contributor.

A three-time NCAA Division II singles champion in 1977, ‘78 and ‘80, Farrow was a part of three-consecutive SIUE national championships from 1978 to 1980. The Cougars placed second at the 1977 Division II Championships.

Farrow was an eight-time Division II All-American in singles and doubles and a Division I All-American in singles during the 1980 season. He was also a member of the U.S. Under-21 Davis Cup team.

Prior to his collegiate career, Farrow was the No. 1-ranked junior player in both 1971 and 1973.

The ITA Men’s Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame, housed at the University of Georgia’s Dan Magill Tennis Complex, was opened in 1983 and has inducted more than 200 players, coaches and contributors.

The ITA Hall of Fame museum displays over 2,000 rare photos and memorabilia.  The ITA Women’s Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame is located at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va.

For a complete list of the Hall of Fame Inductees, visit

SIUE School of Pharmacy Named ASHP Foundation’s 2014 Pain and Palliative Care Training Site

23 May 2014, 10:32 am

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Pharmacy was one of four training sites selected by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) Research and Education Foundation for the 2014 Pain and Palliative Care Traineeship program. Dr. Chris Herndon, associate professor of pharmacy practice, is the faculty lead for the SIUE campus training site.

The Pain and Palliative Care Traineeship Program is a tiered educational initiative, designed for pharmacists to gain specific knowledge and skills, attitudes and performance behaviors to expand and enhance practice competencies in pain management and palliative care. It is supported by an educational grant from Endo Pharmaceuticals, which includes the following components:

Level 1 – Pain Management and Palliative Care Self-Assessment Tool (knowledge-based activity)

Level 2 – Application of the Principles of Pain Management and Palliative Care (application-based activity)

Level 3 – Live Experiential Program (practice-based activity)

The selected pharmacists complete a rigorous online training program and then apply for the chance to spend a full week at one of the four sites for a “mini-fellowship” learning about pain. The three additional training sites are located at the University of Maryland, University of Virginia and University of Iowa.

“The reviewers were overwhelmed with the quality of the applicants and the obvious passion they show for helping those with pain,” said Herndon. “The ASHP Foundation Pain Traineeship is a phenomenal opportunity, and the SIUE School of Pharmacy is honored to be involved as a training site.”

The ASHP Research and Education Foundation’s mission is to improve the health and well-being of patients in health systems through appropriate, safe and effective medication use.

SIU Dental Medicine Student Varney Earns Academic Awards

23 May 2014, 9:31 am


Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine student Nicholas Varney was honored during April for his individual academic achievements.

Varney, a second year student from Springfield, earned the Irwin Robinson Research Award worth $500 from the Odontographic Society of Chicago Research and Education Foundation. The purpose of the award is to grant directly to student researchers, who are deserving of a financial award, to recognize their research efforts. The award celebrates the work of a student investigator in a scientific project related to dentistry and other health sciences.

Varney’s research presentation is  “Expression of Mas-Related Gene (MRG) Receptors in Human Dental Pulp.”  He has been working on a research project for two years in the lab of Dr. Medha Gautam, associate professor of pharmacology. He has been performing experiments to determine the identity and distribution of a new class of pain modulating receptors in dental pulp.

Varney has also earned an ADA Foundation Predoctoral Dental Student Scholarship.  The program’s goal is to facilitate the education of academically gifted dental students. He also offered an oral presentation at the 43rd Annual Session of the American Association for Dental Research in Charlotte in mid-March.

“What stood out for me, was that Nick’s work was selected for an oral presentation at the AADR meeting after a competitive peer-review process,” said Gautam. “It was a pleasure to see SDM research being presented in this way at a national level scientific meeting to an international audience of distinguished dental researchers.

“Apart from his motivation and commitment, what may have helped Nick the most in his research is his tenacity and positive attitude. He remained focused and became successful in achieving his research goals.”

As a result of his research presentation at the annual SIU SDM Resarch Day in April, Varney earned the Illinois State Dental Society Foundation’s Basic Science Research Award.  He has been invited to present his Table Clinic at the ISDS Annual Meeting, to be held September 18–20, in Schaumburg.

Varney was recently selected to serve the American Association for Dental Research/National Student Research Group as a member-at-large for 2014-15. Each year, the AADR/NSRG Board appoints two members-at-large. The one-year terms usually begin in May.

The members-at-large serve as local advocates for NSRG and reach out to dental schools to promote AADR, research and student activities. They also serve on NSRG Board committees that coordinate initiatives such as publications, student surveys, annual meeting programming and events and local outreach.

Photo: SIU School of Dental Medicine student Nicholas Varney.  


SIUE, Rend Lake College Partner on Engineering 2+2 Program

22 May 2014, 10:47 am

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and Rend Lake College have cemented an agreement to ease engineering students’ academic transition from their first two years through their final two.

Rend Lake’s Board of Trustees approved the “2+2” agreement with SIUE May 13. RLC is located in Ina, approximately 70 miles southeast of SIUE.

S. Cem Karacal, Ph.D., associate dean of the SIUE School of Engineering, said the agreement mirrors one that SIUE ratified with Centralia-based Kaskaskia College five years ago.

The 2+2 program, coordinated and monitored by representatives at both schools, helps engineering-bound students stay on track as they complete their general education courses and School of Engineering course requirements.

“Since signing the Kaskaskia College 2+2 in early 2009, we initiated one with St. Charles Community College in 2012 and a similar program agreement waiting for signatures with Lewis and Clark Community College last year,” said Karacal. “We have a 2+2 agreement pending with Southwestern Illinois College and look forward to additional engineering transfer programs with community colleges across Illinois and Missouri.”

The 2+2 program reinforces students’ degree game plan. The objective is to keep tabs on students to ensure that they’re taking the proper courses at both the associate’s degree level and during their junior and senior years. With this structure, they don’t lose time in earning their degree and make sure they reach the finish line in terms of credit hours and necessary coursework.

“The 2+2 is a great way for people to enter the SIUE School of Engineering,” Karacal said. “Completing their preliminary engineering education at the community college saves them money and keeps them moving toward their ultimate goal of a bachelor’s of science degree.

“Students participating in the 2+2 program are able to show demonstrated success during the first two years knowing that we’re saving a spot for them in the School of Engineering in year three. Thanks to the 2+2 agreement, everything (administratively) is taken care of beforehand. Students have the confidence that both schools are monitoring their completion of the prescribed courses.”

The new agreement with RLC includes the following SIUE bachelor’s of science in engineering degrees: mechanical (the largest of the SIUE engineering degree programs), civil, electrical and industrial.

Linda Denton, Ph.D., RLC physics and physical science professor, agreed that the transfer agreement with SIUE should be a timesaver.

“Typically, when you go into a bachelor’s program in engineering, it takes between four and a half to five years,” said Denton. ”This new agreement will cut down the undergraduate school by one semester at least.

“We’re able to do this, because we’ve coordinated our courses with SIUE’s upper-level courses and streamlined the process. The SIUE counselors have coordinated with our counselors to make this process smooth and easy for the student.”

The SIUE School of Engineering offers one of the most comprehensive and affordable engineering programs in the St. Louis region with eight undergraduate degrees, five master’s degrees and a cooperative doctoral program, all housed in a state-of-the-art facility. Students learn from expert faculty, perform cutting-edge research, and participate in intercollegiate design competitions. Companies in the metropolitan St. Louis area provide students challenging internships and co-op opportunities, which often turn into permanent employment. All undergraduate programs are accredited by their respective accreditation agencies.


Custom Bat Manufacturer Hits Home Run as Entrepreneur

22 May 2014, 10:24 am

SIUE Metro East Start-Up Challenge 04-28-14

Swansea resident Todd “Dutch” Eschman is batting a thousand as the first-place winner of a regional business plan competition that is driving his entrepreneurial venture toward success.

Eschman, 44, is the sole proprietor of Old Dutch Classic Bats (, a manufacturer of custom bats for vintage baseball players. Vintage baseball is a rapidly growing sport that recreates the game as it was played in the 1860s by replicating rules, period uniforms, style of play, language and equipment – including bats.

The entrepreneur’s business idea to manufacture and sell custom-made bats came from his passion to play vintage baseball, which began three years ago.

“I’ve always played baseball and have coached my kids’ teams,” said Eschman, whose day job is general manager of community publications for the Belleville News-Democrat and who began his journalism career as a sportswriter. “In August 2011, I got wind of a vintage baseball game between the St. Louis Unions and Lafayette Square Cyclone BBC and decided to check it out. After watching one game, I was hooked.”

A year later, Eschman and friends formed a team and started competing in local leagues.

Eschman and his friends were not the only ones fascinated with vintage baseball. The game’s quick growth led to the formation of the Vintage Base Ball Association with 161 member clubs across 26 states, most of which include multiple teams of 15 to 20 players each. This surge in popularity motivated Eschman to take his passion for the game to the next level.

“There was something unnatural about players using modern bats with the logos sanded off,” Eschman said. “To be true to the sport, I purchased a basic lathe in 2012 and started making my own authentic bats.

“Before long, the word got out, and my friends’ wives began asking me to custom-manufacture bats as gifts to their vintage baseball playing spouses. A year later, I’d sold enough to buy a high-quality, diamond-tipped lathe and have been busy ever since.

“I love playing and making bats. Each bat is very personal, because every player has a unique swing and feel for their own bat.”

Seeking assistance with the state-required paperwork to officially launch his company, Eschman found the Metro East Small Business Development Center at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Center Director Patrick McKeehan and SIUE School of Business graduate student Luther Cameron provided expertise not only on the paperwork, but also on how to forecast and manage the growth of Old Dutch Classic Bats.

“The Metro East SBDC had a lot of valuable advice for my start-up,” Eschman said. “Through their experience and objectivity, Patrick and Luther provided a vital business perspective and encouraged me to consider the important, strategic questions along the way.”

McKeehan also suggested Eschman consider entering the Metro East Start-Up Challenge, a brand new regional business plan competition. Despite being a newly formed company without a business or marketing plan, Eschman submitted a first-round executive summary for Old Dutch Classic Bats. Two rounds later, using the guidance and support of SBDC staff, Eschman walked away with the $10,000 first-place prize.

“Todd is a classic garage startup entrepreneur translating his passion into a business success,” McKeehan said. “In four months, he went from what he thought was a hobby to a viable startup with real potential to capture a sizeable market share of the growing demand for vintage baseball bats,”

About the SIUE SBDC

The SIUE SBDC is a service to the community supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the Illinois Dept. of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and the SIUE Edwardsville School of Business.

SIUE operates two Small Business Development Centers and the International Trade Center. All three Centers provide resources and information to Southwestern Illinois entrepreneurs, business owners and small business service providers along with the University community.

By aiding entrepreneurs and companies in defining their path to success, the SBDC network positively impacts the Metro East by strengthening the business community, creating and retaining new job, and encouraging new investment. It enhances the region’s economic interests by providing one-stop assistance to individuals by means of counseling, training, research and advocacy for new ventures and existing small businesses. When appropriate, the SBDC strives to affiliate its ties to the region to support the goals and objectives of both the SIUE School of Business and the University at large.

To learn how the SBDC can help your small business, contact the Metro East SBDC at (618) 650-2929 or

Photo:  Todd  Eschman (right) poses with SIUE School of Business graduate student Luther Cameron



Crystal Nesbit’s “Higher Education Marathon” Chronicled in

20 May 2014, 10:58 am

After years of struggles, determination and faith, Crystal Nesbit graduated from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville with two degrees. Her most recent one, this month, was a master’s in curriculum and instruction from the SIUE School of Education.

Her scholastic journey, which was suspended at times because of illness, family ties and child rearing, is recounted in The Belleville News-Democrat online magazine.

Read the story here.


SIUE’s Robyn Berkley Featured in Recent WalletHub Study

19 May 2014, 2:58 pm

Dr. Robyn Berkley, associate professor of management and marketing in the SIUE School of Business, was featured in WalletHub’s recent study examining the best and worst cities to work for a small business. Berkley was included in the Ask the Experts section of the online report where she speaks to the benefits and risks of working for a small business. Launched by Evolution Finance in 2012, Wallet Hub provides financial tools and information to consumers and small business owners.

SIUE Charter School Graduating Seniors Encouraged to “Keep on Pushing”

16 May 2014, 10:00 pm

Dr. Rev. Bro. Howard

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville East St. Louis Charter High School (CHS) graduating seniors, at their 2014 commencement ceremony Friday night, were told that they are just “warming up” for greater success.

Dr. Howard Rambsy II, associate professor in the SIUE Department of English Language and Literature, gave the commencement address at Our Lady of the Snows Church in Belleville.

“You are a group of well-supported people taking the necessary steps to produce something wonderful,” Rambsy told 35 seniors, CHS’ largest graduating class ever.

Valedictorian Gibson and Salutatorian Walker

The English and African American literature professor cited the career beginnings of such legendary names as jazz player Miles Davis and authors and poets Toni Morrison and Maya Angelou. Rambsy cited some of the greats’ earlier works, such as Davis’ “Kind of Blue” jazz album, Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye” and Angelou’s “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.”

“I’m so thankful they kept pushing themselves and drawing on networks of support to produce even more,” said Rambsy. “I’m so thankful Toni Morrison didn’t stop in 1970 after ‘The Bluest Eye’ . . .  I’m so glad she didn’t stop in 1977 when she produced “Song of Solomon” . . .

“I’m so glad, graduates, that what you’ve accomplished so far is just a beginning.”

Dean Bette Bergeron

The SIUE associate professor also likened himself to an ongoing life and intellectual traveler. He talked of his accomplishments after earning bachelor’s in literature and history.

“My parents, family and support group were there,” he said. “They said ‘Good job, but keep going.’”

And that is, Rambsy said, what he has done and is doing. He earned a Ph.D. in literature and a year ago completed 10 years as a professor at SIUE.

Gina Washington and graduating senior

SIUE School of Education Dean Bette Bergeron also congratulated the 2014 CHS graduating class and its supporters. “To the faculty, I want to thank you for the magic and motivation in making this village possible,” said Bergeron. “At the Charter High School, we say: ‘Hope happens here.’ And to the students, I want to say you are the hope for this community and for this generation.”

Some of the honors and recognition of the night went to class valedictorian Starr’Retiece R. Gibson and salutatorian Bryanna N. Walker. Pamela Coaxum, executive director of the Greater East St. Louis Community Fund, awarded scholarships to Gibson, Angelica Howard and Kamia Suggs. The scholarships ranged from $4,000-$10,000.

Cause I'm Happy. . . .

Also recognized Friday night were CHS faculty associates Jamila Ajanaku and Jack Williams. The pair was acknowledged with plaques for their years of teaching performing arts at CHS and the SIUE East St. Louis Center. Ajanaku received an award noting 34 years of service and Williams for 31 years of service.

Bergeron received two presentations. The first was in acknowledgement of the School of Education’s financial support of the 2013 CHS Christmas Basket Drive. Bergeron was presented with a framed picture of cut out hands. “This is for all the years, you’ve lent us a helping hand,” said Staccy Lampkin, CHS counselor. The art work was created by senior Aleisha Latta and supervised by Renee Tate, art therapy counseling intern.


Senior male walking

Bergeron also received a plaque for her years of working with CHS. Bergeron has been named provost and vice president at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven. She will assume her new duties sometime next month.

“Tonight, CHS is making history with the largest graduating class ever,” said Gina Washington, CHS director. “CHS graduates have accumulated more than $220,000 in scholarships and counting. I am proud of the academic accomplishments of the CHS Class of 2014.”

The students’ achievements are cause for celebration, Rambsy said. “Good job. Really good job. But keep pushing. You still have work to do.”

The mission of the SIUE East St. Louis Charter High School is to prepare students who are career and college-ready upon graduation. To achieve this mission, the school and its staff will positively impact the educational and economic lives of East St. Louis, Illinois youth through individualized instruction in core academic subjects, exploration of career interests and aptitudes, assistance in realizing students’ talents, high academic goals, and expectations that graduates will become competitive employees for the 21st Century.


Dr. Howard Rambsy II was the 2014 commencement speaker for the Charter High School.

SIUE East St. Louis Charter High School valedictorian and salutatorian from left to right: Starr’Retiece Gibson and Bryanna Walker.

SIUE School of Education Dean Bette Bergeron acknowledges students and faculty.

Gina Washington, CHS director, poses with a graduating senior receiving her diploma.

A CHS senior does a dance move, because he’s happy!

All smiles Friday night are two graduating seniors.


Incoming Frosh An Nguyen Featured in Rockford Register Star

16 May 2014, 2:22 pm

An Nguyen is a first-generation college student scheduled to arrive at SIUE as a freshman this fall. Read her inspirational story in the Rockford Register Star.  Writer Corrina Curry posted the profile Friday, May 15.

“Everything Changes:” First-generation collegians lauded in Rockford

By Corina Curry
Rockford Register Star

Posted May 15, 2014 @ 9:12 am

ROCKFORD — An Nguyen will head to Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville this fall, fulfilling a dream that started when her mother moved to the United States 16 years ago.

Hoa Nguyen of Rockford got her high school diploma in Vietnam, then went immediately into the workforce. She had two daughters. She came to the U.S. when she was 34. She became a nail technician to support herself and her girls.

She passed her dreams of a higher education on to her daughters.

“I told them I didn’t get the chance to go to college,” Nguyen said. “But here … this is the land of opportunity. I just kept pushing them to go and get it.”

An’s older sister led the way. She went to Bradley University and will graduate in August from the physician assistant program at Midwestern University. An, a senior at Guilford High School, plans to study biology at SIU and, like her sister, study to become a physician assistant.

The Illinois Student Assistance Commission, which helps high school students find the money to pay for college, honored An and about a dozen other first-generation college students Wednesday at the Rockford Public Library.

“College changes everything,” Danae Harris of the ISAC said. “That’s our motto, and we truly believe that. … When you go to college, doors open up for you.”

Students and their families were treated to inspirational performances by the Beloit Memorial High School Knightingales step team and Will Fleming, with words of encouragement from Dorothy Turner, 17th District Democratic State Central Committeeman; Mark Bonne, chief of staff for Sen. Steve Stadelman, D-Rockford; Keith Dainty, president of the Rock Valley College Black Student Alliance; and the Rev. Jeffrey Ferrell of Chicago,

According to the National Center for Education Statistics’ 2012 report, “The Condition of Education,” more than one-third of 5- to 17-year-olds in the U.S. will be first-generation college students if they attend. First-generation students are defined as those whose parents did not attend an institution of higher learning.

The path from high school graduation to college graduation is difficult, the speakers advised, but well worth it. Obstacles will come, but it’s important to stay focused and take advantage of the opportunities to learn and grow.

“It’s not going to be easy,” Ferrell said. “If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.”

First-generation collegians often need someone — a parent, a teacher, a counselor, a coach — to see the potential in them, said Guilford High School Principal Janice Hawkins, another first-generation college student.

“They don’t know what they don’t know,” she said. “They may not have someone expecting them to go to college. That’s where the school — the teachers, the guidance counselors — need to step in and let these students know that they can do it, and they should do it.”

An Nguyen sees the challenges ahead. She sees the opportunities, too.

“It means a lot to me to be going to college,” she said. “A lot more doors are going to be opened up for me that wouldn’t be if I wasn’t going to college.”

Corina Curry: 815-987-1371;; @corinacurry

Bethalto’s McCune is SIUE Student Government Senator of the Year

14 May 2014, 5:39 pm

Kimmel leadership Awards Ceremony 04-30-14Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Student Government has selected Madeline McCune as the 2014 recipient of Senator of the Year Award. The award is presented annually to a student senator who demonstrates excellence, goes above and beyond their duties, and serves as a strong advocate and role model for students.

McCune, a sophomore in the School of Business, was selected for the award by Nasir Almasri, 2013-14 student body vice president and 2014-15 president-elect.

“I selected Madeline for Senator of the Year because of her outstanding dedication to serving the SIUE community,” said Almasri. “While she has done a great job serving as a voice for students, her main job as a senator, she has made every effort to go above and beyond. She has assisted with programming and events, asked pointed questions about spending student fee dollars, and was a leader among leaders in the Student Senate.”

McCune joined student government in her first semester at SIUE. In addition to her work as a student senator, the Bethalto native has served on the External Affairs and University Quality committees. Through her work with Student Government, she discovered her passion for fostering student life on campus.

“I absolutely love working as a student senator, because I get to be involved and continuously work to improve campus life.” said McCune. “I love making a difference, no matter what the size. I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunities that I have had along the way.”

She has grown within the organization and looks forward to continuing to serve the SIUE community next year.

“I was honored to have been selected for this award, and I hope I can continue my success with my peers here at SIUE,” said McCune.

“We are excited to have her returning as a senator next year,” Almasri added. “Even outside of Student Government, Madeline is a great role model and friend. She is someone everyone looks up to. She has given back so much to the SIUE community, and she will have great success in the future.”

McCune is a 2012 graduate of Bethalto’s Civic Memorial High School. She is majoring in business administration and considering a minor in mass communications.

As a member of the sorority Alpha Sigma Tau, McCune has held positions as parliamentarian and vice president of community relations. She has also served on the Sisterhood Growth and Development, Events, and Public Relations committees.

McCune is also a member of the women’s club soccer team, Phi Eta Sigma and the National Residency Housing Association Red Storm Chapter.

Fall 2013 marked the fourth-consecutive semester McCune was listed on the SIUE Dean’s List. She has been inducted into the Golden Key International Honor Society, National Society of Leadership and Success, and National Society of Collegiate Scholars.

McCune has worked as a STARS student tour guide and Preview Day guide for the SIUE Office of Admissions.

On April 30, McCune was also recognized by the SIUE Kimmel Student Involvement Center as a 2014 recipient of the Emerging Leader of the Year award during the Kimmel Leadership Awards.

Photo: SIUE’s Madeline McCune receives the Senator of the Year Award from Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Narbeth Emmanuel.

SIUE’s Van Leishout featured in Alton Telegraph

14 May 2014, 2:22 pm

SIUE’s Leslie Van Leishout, coordinator of theater education and director of Cougar Theater, was featured in an Alton Telegraph story posted May 12. Telegraph writer Vicki Bennington describes Van Leishout’s successful theater and dance summer camps’ impact on students. Read it here.

SIUE School of Education Graduates Second Class of Educational Leadership Doctoral Candidates

13 May 2014, 5:13 pm

SOE_hooding _group_001Southern Illinois University Edwardsville graduated its second class of students to earn the doctor of education (EdD) in Educational Leadership Saturday, May 10. The 11 graduates received their doctoral hoods the previous day at the Morris University Center on campus.

All of the graduates have significant school leadership positions in the bi-state region. They include:

  • Dennis Cramsey – principal, Edwardsville High School
  • Lori Franke-Hopkins – superintendent, Jersey Community Unit School District
  • Pamela Leonard-Kukorola – superintendent, Harmony Emge School District
  • Tanya Patton – principal, Nelson Elementary School (Edwardsville)
  • John Pearson – superintendent, East Alton-Wood River Community High School District
  • Beth Renth – principal, Worden Elementary School (Edwardsville)
  • Patrick Shelton – principal, Hanna Woods Elementary School (Parkway School District, Ballwin, Mo.)
  • Cornelia Smith – principal, LeClaire Elementary School (Edwardsville)
  • Nancy Spina – assistant superintendent for personnel, (Edwardsville School District)
  • Hillary Stanifer – principal, Liberty Middle School (Edwardsville)
  • Tara Wells – principal, Goshen Elementary School (Edwardsville)

The EdD in Educational Leadership Program at SIUE is designed for practicing P-12 school administrators who want to pursue careers as superintendents or school district leaders. Through doctoral study, they develop expertise in using research to make system-wide changes that benefit all students within the school district.

Photo: Tanya Patton, Tara Wells, Patrick Shelton, Hillary Stanifer, Nancy Spina, John Pearson, Lori Franke-Hopkins, Pamela Leonard-Kukorola, Dennis Cramsey, Beth Renth and Cornelia Smith.

Jacks Named SIUE School of Business Professor of the Year

13 May 2014, 2:29 pm

Tim Jacks CMISSouthern Illinois University Edwardsville’s Tim Jacks, Ph.D., was named the School of Business Professor of the Year by the student organization Emerging Leaders Improving Through Experience (ELITE). Jacks is an assistant professor of computer management and information systems.

The accolade came Wednesday, May 7. Jacks was one of 51 faculty members from the School of Business nominated for the award.

“It is extremely meaningful to be selected for this award,” Jacks said. “I am honored that the fantastic students at SIUE think so highly of me.”

Senior accounting major and ELITE Vice President of Operations Steve Wilkerson said the organization wants to recognize outstanding faculty, who contribute to student academic growth. ELITE is composed of School of Business student leaders who serve as a liaison between students, faculty, alumni and others affiliated with the School.

“An online survey was sent via email to all School of Business undergraduate and graduate students,” Wilkerson said. “The survey was not mandatory, and we received 166 responses.”

Despite teaching only two classes this semester, Jacks won with overwhelming student support. Wilkerson said students found Jacks to be an engaging teacher. His passion and experience from the field shows in his commitment to incorporating real-world situations into classroom learning.

Jacks received a $50 gift card courtesy of Fazoli’s in Edwardsville and a certificate in recognition of the award.

Jacks earned a bachelor’s in philosophy in 1990 rom Davidson (N.C.) College and an MBA from Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory, N.C., in 2004. He achieved a doctorate in information systems in 2012 from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Photo:  SIUE’s Tim Jacks, Ph.D., assistant professor of computer management and information systems.

SIUE Charter School Seniors Look Back and Ahead

13 May 2014, 1:33 pm

The last few years of high school were full of trials and testing so much so that Ramhad Walker of East St. Louis wanted to quit. But the 19-year-old thanked the staff of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville East St. Louis Charter High School for not giving up on him.

Walker was one of 35 graduating seniors who completed his 2014 Senior Exit Portfolio Presentations last week.

“It is an expectation of all those graduating to give Senior Exit Portfolio presentations,” said Gina Washington, SIUE East St. Louis Charter High School (CHS) director. “It is an opportunity for them to formally present what they have learned to a panel.

“It is also good practice for the students as they advance to college, and as they seek job opportunities.”

The Senior Exit Portfolio panel consists of CHS staff, faculty and advisory council members. Graduating seniors are required to have the following in their presentations:

• Resume

• Proof of career goals

• Proof of application to college and or the military

• Writing work samples

• English work samples

• Awards received

• Documentation of a minimum of 20 community service hours

“I learned how to deal with my problems and not run from them,” said Walker in response to

panelist’s question.

Walker told the panel that he loves engineering and construction, and has plans to pursue a career-related degree after working and establishing some financial stability for him and his family.

Bryanna Walker (no relation) wants to obtain a degree to become a school counselor to help children and families. “The counselor, faculty and staff at the Charter School helped me so much that I want to help others,” said the 18-year-old.

Time at CHS for John Wicks was well spent. “I’ve grown as a young adult,” Wicks said. “I’m ready for college.”

The 17-year-old said his most memorable occasion of his high school career was scoring 23 points on the ACT.

In his summation, Wicks recited a quotation from well-known motivational speaker Les Brown: “Most people fail in life not because they aimed too high and missed. Most people fail in life because they aimed too low and hit. And many don’t aim at all.”

Seniors presented a binder of their portfolio and gave oral presentations. After students gave their remarks, they were questioned by the review board. Then panel members offered advice and encouragement.

“We will always be here for you, Ramhad,” said a teary-eyed Kimberly Allen, CHS faculty associate and CHS senior class advisor. “And we’re expecting good things from you.”

Bridget Nelson, CHS faculty associate (English), served as the senior portfolio coordinator. Nelson is also CHS senior class advisor.

CHS seniors’ graduation ceremony is at 6:30 p.m. Friday, May 16 at Our Lady of the Snows Church in Belleville.


SIUE School of Nursing Students Offer Triage Services to Needy

13 May 2014, 10:41 am

SON-RAMSeven Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Nursing students offered triage services to those in need during a Remote Area Medical (RAM) community health clinic held May 2-4 at the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Center in East St. Louis. The seven senior nursing students are members of the RAM Volunteer Corps, along with Caitlin Phelan, instructor of nursing.

RAM is a non-profit, volunteer organization that offers free health, dental and eye care; veterinary services; and technical and educational assistance to people in underserved areas of the world. Founded in 1985, this volunteer program is designed to address health care issues in communities and to see those communities transformed into healthier places to live.

“It is important that we prepare our nursing students to care for patients from underserved populations as more and more American citizens are gaining access to health care under the Affordable Care Act,” said Phelan. “This RAM event is an annual opportunity for SIUE students and faculty to serve their neighboring community.”

Students assisting Phelan included: Whitney Smith, Seth Gregory, Kelcie King, Michelle Piro, Teresa Tucker, Cara Holzaepfel and Lamat Omar.

RAM’s founder, Stan Brock, was in attendance along with East St. Louis Mayor Alvin Parks, Jr.

Photo (L-R): SIUE School of Nursing instructor Caitlin Phelan with nursing students Whitney Smith, Seth Gregory, Kelcie King, Michelle Piro, Teresa Tucker, Cara Holzaepfel and Lamat Omar.

SIUE School of Pharmacy’s Lubsch Receives National Honor

12 May 2014, 3:13 pm

Lubsch_Lisa_mugThe Pediatric Pharmacy Advocacy Group awarded Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s Lisa Lubsch its 2014 Presidential Citation for service during its annual meeting May 2 in Nashville. Lubsch, PharmD, is a clinical associate professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice at SIUE’s School of Pharmacy.

The PPAG is celebrating its 35th year and has nearly 1,000 members worldwide. The organization is dedicated to improving medication therapy in children.

“I’m surprised, delighted and honored to be recognized in this way by a group of my true pediatric pharmacy peers,” said Lubsch. “There is nothing greater than being acknowledged by those who share the same passion for working with and helping children.”

Lubsch is also a clinical pharmacy specialist at SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center in St. Louis. Serving in her second term on the PPAG’s executive committee, Lubsch helped plan the organization’s recent conference and was surprised to be the recipient of the award. She previously volunteered as chair of the group’s education committee.

Lubsch, who is just returning from maternity leave after the birth of her first child, has been working for nine years at Cardinal Glennon in partnership with pulmonology and general medical teams.

“Our (SIUE School of Pharmacy) students are so eager to learn and to embrace the challenges inherent in pediatric pharmacy,” she said. “The students come with me to Cardinal Glennon and gain advanced pharmacy practice experience toward their doctorate in pharmacy degree.

“Children are unique because they require different dosages (than standard adult dosages) that are based on their size. It’s a mathematical challenge. I love it.”

Many of the patients Lubsch and her students treat face chronic conditions such as asthma and cystic fibrosis.

Lubsch earned her PharmD from St. Louis College of Pharmacy in 2001. She performed her pediatric pharmacy residency at Texas Tech University’s Health Sciences Center School of Pharmacy in Amarillo.

In January, the Pediatric Pharmacy Advocacy Group appointed Lubsch to lead the PPAG-University initiative to prepare pharmacists for pediatric board certification with exams beginning in spring 2015.

Photo:  Dr. Lisa Lubsch, clinical associate professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice at SIUE’s School of Pharmacy.

SIUE Grabs OVC Softball Crown and First NCAA D-I Tournament Bid

11 May 2014, 1:25 pm

SIUE_ChampsSIUE earned the automatic bid to the NCAA Softball Tournament with a convincing 12-1 victory in six innings in the 2014 Ohio Valley Conference Tournament championship game in Jacksonville, Ala.

The Cougars (30-21) became the first SIUE team to earn a bid to the NCAA Tournament in the Division I era. The Cougars will play Alabama in Tuscaloosa at 6 p.m. Friday. on ESPN3. South Carolina Upstate and South Alabama round out the regional.

“We’re extremely, extremely excited,” said SIUE Head Coach Sandy Montgomery.

SIUE went undefeated in the OVC Tournament behind the arm of left-hander Haley Chambers and a barrage of home runs. The Cougars hit seven homers in three games at University Field after hitting just nine during the regular season.

Chambers led SIUE’s contingent on the All-Tournament team and was named the Most Valuable Player after going 3-0 and improving her season record to 18-13.

Third baseman Alex McDavid, first baseman Kayla Riggs, and shortstop Chelsea Yankolovich also were selected to the All-Tournament team.

The OVC Tournament dealt with two straight days of rain. It washed out the tournament completely Friday and most of Saturday. Tournament officials eliminated the consolation bracket and deemed that two teams left in the winner’s bracket would play a winner-take-all game.

Having not played since Thursday afternoon, the Cougars were more than anxious to take the field.

“We were itching to play all day,” said Chambers. “We wanted this win. We wanted to get back at Murray State, because they swept us this season. We wanted to prove that we deserved to be out here, and we deserved to get this win.”

Photo: SIUE 2014 Ohio Valley Conference softball champions.

SIU President Dunn Makes First Commencement Remarks at SIUE

9 May 2014, 8:58 pm

Dunn-JFB_Commencement-14_sm[1]Commencement Video – 6:30 p.m. , 9 a.m.1 p.m., 5 p.m.

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Chancellor Julie Furst-Bowe oversaw four 2014 Spring Commencement exercises during the weekend in the Vadalabene Center on campus. The festivities began with the Graduate School, School of Business and School of Nursing students receiving their degrees Friday night. The remainder of the 2,231 eligible graduates received their degrees during three ceremonies Saturday.

Newly installed SIU President Dr. Randy Dunn participated in his first commencement ceremonies by speaking at the Friday night exercise. “My hope for all of you is to use all that you have gained at SIUE to change and improve the lives of all whom you encounter for the rest of your life,” he said. “Transform others for the better just as SIUE has transformed you.”

Furst-Bowe provided the assemblage with a quote from highly successful businessman and philanthropist W. Clement Stone. He said, “There is little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference. The little difference is attitude. The big difference is whether it is positive or negative.”

“Whether you’re a student, a parent, a leader, a community resident … whatever your role, your attitude will determine the tone of your life and achievements,” Furst-Bowe said. “Set your sights high, work to maintain a healthy focus on what’s true and positive, and you’ll find that success comes to you.”

Alton attorney and philanthropist John Simmons was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. Simmons, who graduated with honors from SIUE in political science, earned a Juris Doctor from Southern Methodist University School of Law in Dallas. He is founder and chairman of Simmons Browder Gianaris Angelides & Barnerd LLC, a national law firm headquartered in Alton, with additional offices in St. Louis, Chicago, San Francisco and El Segundo, Calif.

With an entertaining presentation that described his rise from originally being rejected as an SIUE student to chairman of the SIU Board of Trustees 20 years later, Simmons provided a road map for success.

“Be grateful and support someone who helped you get here,” said Simmons, as he credited former SIUE Chancellor Dr. David Werner for the foundation of his remarks. “Help others by sharing your knowledge and experience. Be ethical, because one falsehood spoils a thousand truths. Never give up as you maintain your conviction to honor and good sense.”

Dixie Engelman, dean emerita of the SIUE College of Arts and Sciences and associate professor emerita of speech pathology and audiology, was honored with the University’s Distinguished Service Award. Engelman has been a community advocate and volunteer for more than 35 years. Engelman spoke to the Saturday afternoon and evening sessions.

Engelman encouraged the grads to not only continue reading in their respective disciplines, but also take time for personal interests. “Reading will calm your mind, take you places you never dreamed and bring laughter on an ordinary day,” she said.

Dr. Kelly Gable, associate professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice in the School of Pharmacy, received the 2014 Teaching Excellence Award. Gable was recognized for her enthusiastic approach and for serving as a role model for pharmacy students, nursing students and medical students. Gable will speak at the December commencement ceremony.

Peter Gillen, who earned a bachelor’s in nursing, was the student speaker for Friday’s session.

“In these few short years, we have never stopped learning and we never will stop learning,” said Gillen. “There is always something more you can learn whether it be from a fellow nurse, physician, patient or maybe even a nursing student.

“It is quite incredible to think of how much we have achieved in our time here. Let us not stop here, though. We should continue to strive to be the best in our field, no matter what the future holds for us.”

Ceremonies resumed Saturday morning with the Graduate School and School of Education. The morning student speaker was James Engracia, who received a bachelor’s in speech language pathology from the School of Education.

Engracia encouraged grads to “explore the world, enjoy and do different things. Taking all of the opportunities that life offers you will allow you to grow unimaginable feats. My mentors told me to be flexible. We may not get everything we desire like the job or grad school we want. Be flexible and keep an open mind to other opportunities that may come your way, because you never know where that door will lead.”

The Saturday afternoon ceremony featured the College of Arts and Sciences. Victoria Francis, who earned a bachelor’s in chemistry, encouraged her classmates to make a difference. “An entire world stands before us, waiting for us to make it better,” she said. “Maybe we will solve world hunger, end homelessness or develop a new foreign policy. Some of us will save lives, teach young children or become our future politicians.

“The possibilities are endless, but we don’t know what we are capable of until we try, until we lay it all on the line. So, let’s go forth and start a new legacy that the SIUE Class of 2014 made a difference.”

The School of Pharmacy, College of Arts and Science graduate students and the School of Engineering closed Saturday’s exercises. The student speaker was Jonathan Long, who received a master’s in sociology.

Long dispensed seven jewels of advice. “Embrace opportunity, be confident in yourself and get involved,” he stated. “Building a good reputation builds you to success, find your motivation, be determined and realize that every chance is a foundation of opportunity.

“Follow SIUE’s mission statement – shape a changing world for you and for others.”
Photo:  SIU President Randy Dunn (left)  greets an SIUE graduate with SIUE Chancellor Julie Furst-Bowe (right).

SIU SDM Pitches in with Special Olympics at SIUE’s Korte Stadium

9 May 2014, 3:27 pm

Special Olympics (4.26.14) - 2[2]More than 500 Special Olympics athletes from southwestern Illinois competed during the last weekend in April at the annual Spring Games at SIUE’s Korte Stadium. At the same time, approximately 45 Special Olympians took advantage of the Special Smiles program managed by the SIU School of Dental Medicine.

The SIUE Athletics Department partnered with Special Olympics for the fifth-consecutive year, providing volunteers that included nearly 300 student-athletes, coaches and staff members. The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) sponsored the event to assist in the costs associated with facility rental and staffing.

Meanwhile, the dental students provided dental screenings and oral health care education for the athletes participating in the games. Dr. Adam Snyder, pediatric dentist (SDM Class of 2007), led a team of 14 Year III students and was assisted by fellow alums and pediatric dentists Dr. Greg Dietz (2007) and Dr. Christy Wohlford (2008).

Dr. Poonam Jain, SDM director of community dentistry, and Snyder had trained the students in performing standardized screenings the previous week. The SDM has participated in the event for more than a decade. Each screened athlete gets an appropriate referral, if necessary, and a goodie bag consisting of a SpinBrush, toothpaste and other oral hygiene products.

Special Smiles is a national program designed to provide dental screenings, patient education and nutritional counseling on site to the athletes competing in one or more Special Olympics events. The athletes visit the Special Smiles Tent with their families and/or coaches prior to or after their individual events. Special Smiles is a part of the Special Olympics Healthy Athletes Program.

Photo:  Front row (L-R) Mazen Sultan, Patrick Farrow, Joshua Heimerdinger and Megan Oldridge. Back row (L-R) Dr. Christy Wohlford, Dr. Greg Dietz, Dr. Adam Snyder, Kye Mallernee, Carly Joehl, Reesa Mercado, Alexandria Hawkins, Kent Tuneberg, Jillian Bruch, Patrick Murphy, Kristi Schafer, Andrew Hartman and Nick Bishop.

Crystal Nesbit’s Persistent, Twisting Journey to SIUE Graduation

9 May 2014, 9:07 am

Crystal Nesbit2

A meandering journey involving learning, issues of life and death, family and faith led Crystal Nesbit to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. During that trip, Nesbit learned what happened to a degree deferred.

“I believed God had a plan for me,” she said. “I believed I would finish my degree.”

Nesbit will graduate Saturday with a master’s in curriculum and instruction from the SIUE School of Education. She received her bachelor’s in special education from SIUE in 2004. Nesbit is a special education teacher at Belleville East High School, but she didn’t set out to become one.

More than 12 years ago, the now wife and mother of three, had her sights on an athletic training career. Nesbit attended the University of Tennessee-Martin on a softball scholarship, where she was a dual major in health/physical education and athletic training.

Nesbit was one semester shy of completing her degree when it was discovered that her then high-school-aged sister, Anna, had bone cancer. Anna had a tumor in her thigh.

Nesbit, who was raised in a tight-knit family from Millstadt, is one of seven siblings. Their mother home schooled all the children until the fifth grade. At the time of Anna’s illness, three of Nesbit’s siblings were in high school and the other three worked full time. Her parents, Ed and Debbie Godard, also worked full time.

“I was the only one who could push pause,” Nesbit said. “And so I did.”

She withdrew from school and went back to Millstadt to take care of Anna. Nesbit provided the primary care for her sister during the day. Her brothers and sisters provided supplemental care as their schedules allowed. Nesbit’s parents stayed with Anna in the hospital during her routine chemotherapy treatments.

In the beginning, doctors believed that Anna would not survive. Then the family was told that Anna’s leg would have to be amputated, and lastly that her sister would never be able to have children. Anna had a prosthesis piece implanted in her leg. She also eventually married and is now pregnant with her fourth child.

But when Anna first began to get better, Nesbit no longer had a scholarship and couldn’t afford the out-of-state tuition to return to UTM. Nesbit was also reconsidering her career field, after trying to transfer both her college hours and major. SIUE then became a good and qualitative choice, she said.

“I still needed a job, and there was an opening for an aide at Belleville East High School,” Nesbit said. “I worked with a student with Asperger’s. The student was in my husband’s (Joe Nesbit) class, and he was a special education teacher at the time.

“I fell in love with the special education aspect of the job,” she said. And eventually, Nesbit fell in love with Joe.

“The students are very forgiving and truly have the purest souls,” Nesbit said. “We all have our different callings, and special education is mine.”

In completing her newfound major at SIUE, Nesbit said she had times of difficulty. In part, she credits the mentorship of School of Education Associate Dean Victoria Scott. Scott is also department chair for Curriculum and Instruction.

The mother of six-year-old Chase, four-year-old Brendan and three-year-old Tanner, also heralds her own mother. Debbie Godard enrolled at SIUE at the age of 36, while she was raising seven children.

“She would come home and tell my dad that she was one of the oldest students in her classes and that the work was hard,” Nesbit said. “My dad always encouraged her, just like my husband encouraged me.”

Godard received a bachelor’s in elementary education from SIUE and teaches at Maplewood Elementary School in Cahokia. Other Nesbit family members who are also SIUE alumni include: her husband, Joe; her sister, Hollie; her father-in-law, Tim Nesbit; and four sisters-in-law.

“What got me through it all,” Nesbit said, “was my husband, my family and my faith.”

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville provides students with a high quality, affordable education that prepares them for successful careers and lives of purpose. Built on the foundation of a broad-based liberal education, and enhanced by hands-on research and real-world experiences, the academic preparation SIUE students receive equips them to thrive in the global marketplace and make our communities better places to live. Situated on 2,660 acres of beautiful woodland atop the bluffs overlooking the natural beauty of the Mississippi River’s rich bottomland and only a short drive from downtown St. Louis, the SIUE campus is home to a diverse student body of nearly 14,000.

Photo: Crystal Nesbit


SIUE CosmoQuest Crowd Funding Effort Raises $24,000 for Science

8 May 2014, 5:19 pm

GayPamela1_smThe CosmoQuest team at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville kicked off a 36-day fundraiser April 26-27 with a 36-hour Google Hangout-on-Air broadcast. This “Hangoutathon” raised more than $24,000.

CosmoQuest is a virtual research facility that allows the public to aid researchers mapping the solar system using NASA imagery in an environment rich with learning opportunities. Dr. Pamela L. Gay, SIUE STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Center assistant research professor, directs this second-generation citizen science facility.

During the Hangoutathon, CosmoQuest launched a new online astronomy content repository for teachers called Explore@CosmoQuest. They also announced the construction of a new citizen science project, Planet Mappers: Mars, to map out the red planet’s smallest craters.

Funds raised during the Hangoutathon and subsequent 36-day fundraiser support CosmoQuest’s ability to expand its suite of tools for engaging people in space science.

Drs. Gay and Nicole Gugliucci, a post-doctoral fellow in the STEM Center, hosted the 36-hour event. Their guests included scientists, authors, leaders in commercial space, podcasters and science-inspired artists who all share a love of astronomy.

Notable guests were Planetary Resources CEO Chris Lewicki, iTelescope Science Advisor Peter Lake and television host Geoff Notkins of Meteorite Men and STEM Journals.

All funds raised during the event were donated to CosmoQuest through the SIUE Foundation. It will be used to support the continuing research, citizen outreach, and education efforts of the CosmoQuest team.

“The median donation was just $30,” said Gay. “This fundraiser truly shows the size of our community and their willingness to support us. Donations have come from a variety of donors, including individuals, small businesses and corporations. So far, support has come from sources spanning 20 different nations.”

The need for the fundraiser was precipitated in part by increasingly tight budgets for science research and education. CosmoQuest’s goal is to provide a cost-effective answer for sustaining science through a model of using volunteers to fill the roles previously held by astronomy and space science students. This serves the double duty of providing needed aid to scientists, while also helping to increase the general public’s science literacy.

This 36-hour plus 36-day fundraiser is on track to harness the power of crowd funding to maintain and grow SIUE science outreach programs.

Those wishing to give may do so through PayPal at:

Photo: SIUE STEM Center Assistant Research Professor Dr. Pamela L. Gay

NCAA Honors Three SIUE Teams for Academic Performance

8 May 2014, 3:56 pm

Three SIUE teams were among those receiving public recognition awards for top academic performance from the NCAA Wednesday.
The SIUE men’s cross country, women’s tennis and women’s soccer squads were among the 24 Ohio Valley Conference programs that were honored.

“We are extremely proud that SIUE’s student-athletes’ commitment to our value to pursue excellence continues to be publicly recognized,” said SIUE Director of Athletics Dr. Brad Hewitt. “We are excited to be part of the NCAA’s recognition and are pleased to show our dedication to the value of academic performance.”

The awards are given to teams scoring in the top 10 percent of the multi-year Academic Progress Rates (APR), which is part of the NCAA’s academic reform program.

“This success is a reflection of the daily efforts and support of the student-athletes and departments on campus, including Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, Intercollegiate Athletics, and faculty and staff members who provide services,” added Hewitt.

The APR is an annual scorecard of academic achievement calculated for all Division I sports teams nationally. Teams must meet a certain academic threshold to qualify for the postseason, and they also can face penalties for continued low academic performance.

The APR measures eligibility, graduation and retention each semester or quarter and provides a clear picture of the academic performance for each team in each sport. The APR awards two points each term to student-athletes who meet academic eligibility standards and who remain with the institution.

A team’s APR is the total points earned by the team at a given time divided by the total points possible, multiplied by 1,000. It includes four years (this year’s numbers included the school years of 2009-10, 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13).

High-performing teams receiving public recognition awards posted APR scores ranging from 980 to a perfect 1,000.
This year 1,049 teams (631 women’s teams, 418 men’s or mixed teams) were publicly recognized for high academic achievement, up from 976 a year ago. In all, 275 Division I institutions placed at least one team on the list.

Multi-year APR scores for all Division I sports teams will be announced May 14th.

SIUE Fee Changes Approved by SIU Board of Trustees

8 May 2014, 2:06 pm

The Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees today approved fee-related changes for the Edwardsville campus for the 2014-15 academic year. The changes made during the board’s meeting on the Carbondale campus included the student fees for Housing occupancy rates, Information Technology, Textbook Rental and Intercollegiate Athletics.

Other fee changes were approved for the Student Welfare and Activity Fee (SWAF), Student Fitness Center, Facilities, the Morris University Center and resident meal plans.

Annual rental rates for a shared room at Woodland, Prairie and Bluff residence halls will be $5,590 compared with the current charge of $5,430. A deluxe single room will cost $11,180 annually compared with $10,860 now.

Annual housing rates at Evergreen Hall will be $5,940 for a shared apartment in fall 2014 compared to $5,770 now. A private apartment in fall 2014 will be $7,930 compared to $7,700 now. A private suite rate in fall 2014 will be $6,730 as opposed to $6,530 now.

Upperclassmen residing in Cougar Village Apartments will pay $4,250 per year in fall 2014 for a shared room compared with $4,130 paid currently per year. A single room will cost $6,310 annually compared with $6,130 now. A deluxe single room has decreased to $7,310 per year compared with $8,260 now.

Families in Cougar Village, now paying $1,020 per month for a two-bedroom, unfurnished apartment, will pay $1,050 in the fall 2014. A family paying $1,195 per month now for a furnished two-bedroom apartment will pay $1,230 per month in fall 2014. Families in a three-bedroom unfurnished apartment now paying $1,145 per month will pay $1,180 per month in fall 2014. A three-bedroom furnished apartment is now $1,340 per month and will be $1,380 in fall 2014.

Occupancy fee rate increases will offset inflationary cost increases, fund debt service payments, maintain adequate fund balances in housing operations and provide for administrative costs.

The Resident Housing Association received a 3 percent increase per semester in the meal plan charges for residents living in residence halls on the mandatory meal plan. The rates were developed for the academic year effective fall 2014 to offset inflationary cost increases in labor and food.

The Information Technology fee will change from $7.05 per credit hour to $7.25, a 2.8 percent increase resulting in a full-time undergraduate student paying $217.50 annually (two academic semesters of 15 hours each) compared with $211.50, currently. This fee helps defray the costs of supporting computing resources and networking infrastructure on campus.

Textbook rental fees will increase by $21 for the academic year effective fall 2014. The textbook rental fee is assessed at the same rates year-round. The annual rate for 30 hours will increase from $369 to $390. The 5.7 percent increase will offset other inflationary operating cost increases in salaries and the cost of books, provide necessary levels of service and maintain an appropriate fund balance.

A full-time undergraduate student (30 credit hours) will pay an Intercollegiate Athletics annual fee of $352.80 beginning in the fall, a change from the current rate of $341.30. The approved 3.4 percent increase of $11.50 will support the annual operating expenses associated with an NCAA Division I program and will move the program toward established fund balance targets.

Annually (for a full-time student enrolled in 15 hours or more during fall and spring)

                                                      FY14                       FY15                        Change

• SWAF                                       $229.90                  $233.20                        + 1.4 %

• Student Fitness Center         $168.40                  $173.40                        + 3.0 %

• Facilities                                  $570.00                  $585.00                        + 2.6 %

• University Center                   $323.10                  $333.00                        + 3.1 %

The Board also approved a 15 percent differential tuition surcharge to all undergraduate majors in the School of Engineering. The surcharge will result in an additional charge of $1,094 (30 credits hours) for engineering students.

Finally, the Board approved an alternate tuition of 1.8 times the in-state tuition rate ($7,296) for SIUE non-resident undergraduate and graduate students who are participating in dual diploma programs, including those students from Istanbul Technical University (ITU).

SIU Board Confirms Ansari as SIUE Provost

8 May 2014, 1:02 pm

Ansari_parvizThe Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees today confirmed Dr. Parviz Ansari (Pair-VEEZ An-SAR-ee) as the provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs for the Edwardsville campus. The board approved the appointment at its regularly scheduled May meeting at SIUE’s Morris University Center.

“Dr. Anne Perry and the search committee did an excellent job of identifying highly qualified candidates,” said SIUE Chancellor Julie Furst-Bowe. “Dr. Ansari brings a wealth of experience in program development, comprehensive strategic planning and health sciences curriculum. We look forward to his contributions as we strategize and implement the next phase toward advancing SIUE.”

Ansari arrives at SIUE after serving as dean of the College of Science and Mathematics (CSM) since 2012 at Rowan University in Glassboro, N.J. He was also the founding dean of Rowan’s School of Biomedical Sciences. Rowan is a comprehensive public research institution located in southern N.J. serving more than 14,000 students on three campuses.

“SIUE is a wonderful student-centered university with excellent programs, dedicated faculty and staff, and visionary leadership,” Ansari said.  “I am thrilled to join them and collaborate with them to advance the mission of the University.”

As dean of Rowan’s CSM, he managed seven departments that included 3,100 majors, 16 undergraduate degree programs, eight graduate degree programs and 305 faculty. He also served as a physics professor.

Ansari first landed at Rowan as dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in 2009. He oversaw 14 departments that included 5,500 majors, 31 undergraduate degree programs, 10 graduate degree programs and more than 400 faculty.

As dean, Ansari initiated and spearheaded the development of comprehensive strategic plans in 2009 and 2012. Focusing on academic excellence in a student-centered model, he:

  • Upgraded the college academic policies and procedures
  • Enhanced grants and research activities
  • Initiated new graduate and undergraduate programs
  • Focused on interdisciplinary education
  • Strategized the future growth of his college through open dialogue and shared governance.
  • Saw college enrollment increase by 68 percent from 2009 to 2013
  • Saw his internationalization initiative add six agreements with international institutions
  • Increased international enrollment 10 fold since 2010
  • Generated approximately $8.5 million in grants and contracts including $1.2 million in research funds through international initiative

Before moving to Rowan, Ansari served Seton Hall (N.J.) University in a variety of capacities from 1983-2009. He was the associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences from 2006-09, which included managing 14 departments, 2,000 majors and 200 faculty. During that time, he oversaw academic administration and outreach from 2006-08, and academic affairs and planning from 2008-09.

He was acting chair of SHU’s Department of Physics from 1998-89 before eventually taking over as department chair from 1994-2005.

He began his academic career in 1982 as a visiting assistant professor of physics at St. Michael’s College in Vermont.

Perry, interim dean of the SIUE School of Nursing, led the search committee. “I’d like to thank the members of our search committee for their hard work and everyone who participated in the various meetings and open sessions on campus,” she said.

Ansari is an American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow and a Lead New Jersey Fellow. He is an active member of several state and national organizations including New Jersey Economic Development Authority and the Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences. He is a founding member of New Jersey Big Data Alliance and serves as an executive board member of the ACE Council of Fellows.

Ansari earned a bachelor’s in physics from Pahlavi (Shiraz) University in 1976. He achieved both a master’s and a doctorate in physics and astronomy from Tufts University in 1978 and ’83, respectively.

Ansari succeeds Dr. Ann Boyle, who has served as SIUE’s interim provost for the past three years. She is the former dean of the SIU School of Dental Medicine.

For more on Ansari, visit

Photo: Dr. Parviz Ansari, SIUE provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs.

“Hattitude” and Goodwill Win the Day at SIUE’s Meridian Derby

7 May 2014, 4:08 pm

Meridian Derby Day Fairmount Park Racetrack – Collinsville, IL 05-06-14

It might have been an easier job to pick a winning horse Tuesday than to select two top hat contenders out of the nearly 160 women who came to the Meridian Derby at Fairmont Park Racetrack in Collinsville. The Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Meridian Society sponsors the annual Derby at the Top of Turf clubhouse.

“I want to congratulate the Meridian Society on its 10-year anniversary,” said SIUE Chancellor Julie Furst-Bowe, who wore a white straw hat with a black and white brim. “I knew I would see some great hats, but you’ve outdone yourself.”

Outgoing Meridian Society President Elizabeth Keserauskis welcomed the exquisitely adorned crowd to the Third Annual Meridian Derby. Keserauskis has served as president since 2012 and will end her term June 30.

Meridian Derby Day Fairmount Park Racetrack – Collinsville, IL 05-06-14

“As an auxiliary organization of the SIUE Foundation, the Meridian Society promotes women’s leadership and invests in SIUE community-based projects,” said Keserauskis. “Through pooled resources and collective giving, the women of the Meridian Society demonstrate a spirit of philanthropy and a commitment to making a positive impact in the community.

“The Meridian Society accepts funding applications for projects benefitting SIUE community based projects. Bringing together the financial power, influence and voices of women since its inception in 2003, the Meridian Society has given 118 awards totaling over $225,000.”

The Derby is the Meridian Society’s annual spring social where members celebrate what they have done for the community, while also having fun.

The prize for the best hat went to SIUE alum Marcy Pinnell of Edwardsville.

The award for the biggest hat went to SIUE alum Bobbi Ault of Glen Carbon.

Meridian Derby Day Fairmount Park Racetrack – Collinsville, IL 05-06-14

Cheryl Brunsmann, assistant director for SIUE Community Education Programs and recent Meridian Society member, didn’t think she’d be a winner. However, Brunsmann said she was glad to be among the wonderful group of women. She sported a white straw hat with pink roses that belonged to her late mother, Catherine Biver. Brunsmann graduated from SIUE in 2002 with a master’s in Public Administration.

Huaibo Xin, assistant professor in SIUE’s Kinesiology and Health Education Department, wore a turquoise hat that she wore to the Kentucky Derby.

“This is my first Meridian Derby,” said Xin, who is considering joining the Meridian Society. “It has been a very elegant experience for me. I enjoy seeing all these hats. It’s also good to communicate with one another and dedicate money for a good cause.”

Meridian Derby Day Fairmount Park Racetrack – Collinsville, IL 05-06-14

“I’m loving it,” said Jo Anne Holt of East St. Louis. “It’s enjoyable to see the women in different styles of dress and hats. It’s also great to see some SIUE alumni that I haven’t seen in such a long time.”

Holt graduated from SIUE with a bachelor’s in elementary education in 1975. Holt, who is not a member and brought two guests with her, is also contemplating being part of the group.

If there were a prize given to those bringing the most guests, it may have gone to Deborah Hunt of East St. Louis and Barbara Green of Fairview Heights. Between the two, the clubhouse held about 40 of their guests.

“I invited my church members, my friends and my family,” said Hunt, a Meridian Society member for the past three years. Hunt graduated from SIUE with a bachelor’s in elementary education and special education in 1976 and a master’s in special education in 1980. She serves on the group’s Grants Committee.

“The Meridian Society is important because of all the good projects they help fund, like the Grit program at the SIUE East St. Louis Charter High School,” Hunt said. “The Grit program teaches students perseverance, so they can stay in high school and hopefully go to college. It’s designed to raise their expectations.”

The Meridian Society’s commitment to awarding SIUE Community-Based Projects is the most important thing that the group does, according to Bev George, past president of the SIUE Alumni Association, current SIUE Foundation board member and Meridian Scholar member for the past three years.

Meridian Derby Day Fairmount Park Racetrack – Collinsville, IL 05-06-14

“This is my favorite event,” said George, owner of Bev George and Associates Realty in Edwardsville. “I brought about six colleagues to introduce them to the Meridian Society.”

The event is a social networking and recruiting opportunity for the Meridian Society, according to Julie Babington. Registered guests totaled 160.

“This is an exciting time for the SIUE Meridian Society,” Babington said. “We are currently at 45 members, our largest membership yet. We hope to by the end of the Meridian Derby to be over the 50-member mark.”

The Meridian Society is a significant group, according to Rachel Stack, SIUE vice chancellor for University Advancement. “Nothing is as powerful as a group of women committed to helping others,” she said.

The Meridian Society’s new president is Alicia Lifrak, CEO of Boy Scouts of America. She will assume her duties on July 1.

For more information or to join the Meridian Society, visit or contact Babington at (618) 650-2378.


Pictured are the winners of the Meridian Society’s hat contest: biggest hat was Bobbi Ault; best hat was Marcy Pinnell.

Enjoying a day at The Derby are from left to right: Rachel Stack, SIUE vice chancellor for University Advancement and SIUE Chancellor Julie Furst-Bowe.

Styling and profiling is Bev George, Meridian Scholar member in the foreground, and from left to right, Sara Colvin, director of development in SIUE School of Business in green hat and Marcia Weaver in the white hat.

Inviting about 40 guests to Tuesday’s Derby were, from left to right, Deborah Hunt of East St. Louis and Barbara Green of Fairview Heights.

Two guests of Deborah Hunt and Barbara Green were from left to right: Deborah Brooks and Jewel Reid.


SIUE’s La’Derrick Ward is OVC Male Field Athlete of the Year

6 May 2014, 1:35 pm

Ward_LaDerrickSIUE’s La’Derrick Ward was selected as the Ohio Valley Conference Male Field Athlete of the Year as voted by the league’s track and field coaches.

Ward, who has been ranked No. 1 nationally after posting a long jump mark of 26 feet, 3 inches (8.00m) at the Gateway Invitational, has been setting the pace for the Cougars all year. He won the OVC outdoor long jump title at 25 feet, 4-1/2 inches last weekend.

SIUE hosted the OVC Outdoor Championships May 2-3 for the first time in school history and made a strong showing at Korte Stadium. The Cougar men placed third of seven teams with 116 points, while the SIUE women finished sixth of 11 teams with 74 points.

Other Cougar winners included:

  • Julian Harvey captured the high jump title at 6 feet, 9-3/4 inches
  • Elizabeth Hampl’s win in the hammer throw was an OVC-record 200 feet as well as a new record for the Cougars
  • Braxton Klavins was a double winner in the 200 and 400 meters
  • Jatavia Wright won the triple jump for the second straight season with a school record leap of 41 feet, 10.75 inches
  • The men’s 4×400 relay team (Derek Drew, Ahmad Evans, Davinn Smith and Klavins) also ran for gold

Zipcar Comes to SIUE during Fall Semester

6 May 2014, 12:58 pm

ZipcarThis fall, Zipcar is coming to campus for all 18-and-older SIUE students, faculty and staff. Zipcar is car-sharing, an alternative to bringing a car to school, that gives members 24/7 access to vehicles parked right on campus.

Rates start at $7.50/hour or $69/day with gas, insurance and 180 miles per day included to go wherever you want to go.

Members can reserve cars online or with a smart phone for as little as an hour or up to seven days. This fall, enjoy all the freedom of owning a car without any of the hassle.

Find out more about how it works at or find us on facebook.

School of Pharmacy’s Gable Named Teaching Excellence Award Winner

6 May 2014, 10:14 am


The Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Office of the Provost announced that Kelly Gable, PharmD, is the recipient of the annual Teaching Excellence Award for tenure-track faculty. It is the most prestigious teaching award that a faculty member can receive at SIUE.

Gable is an associate professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice in the School of Pharmacy. She received a $2,000 prize as part of the award.

“It is a wonderful honor to receive this award and to bring awareness to the field that I am so passionate about,” said Gable, a Medora native who now resides in St. Louis. “I love to teach, because it affords me the opportunity to impact young minds.

“My hope is that every student, who walks away from our program, feels empowered to make a difference in a person’s life, to help those less fortunate, or to break down the stigma associated with mental illnesses.  I am grateful for the opportunity to do what I love.”

Gable will be recognized during SIUE’s May commencement ceremony later this week and speak at the December commencement ceremony. She will be nominated for the Council of Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) for the National Professor of the Year Award.

Chair of the Teaching Excellence Awards committee McKenzie Ferguson, PharmD, an assistant professor of pharmacy practice, cited Gable as an extraordinary educator. The committee noted Gable’s empathy and competence as a specialized healthcare provider who consistently encourages students to be self-reflective. She was recognized for being a strong role model for pharmacy students, nursing students, medical students and residents. Gable had previously been honored as the School of Pharmacy’s Preceptor of the Year and received the social work humanitarian award.

“Dr. Gable is not only an excellent teacher in the classroom, but also has proven to be a quality clinical preceptor,” said Gireesh Gupchup, dean of the SIUE School of Pharmacy. “Her students often comment that her didactic and clinical teaching in her specialty area of psychiatry have been transformational in their careers.

“Dr. Gable’s passion for her specialty is unrivaled, and this becomes evident to all her students in the health professions. It is an honor to have Dr. Gable as a faculty member at SIUE.”

Gable is also an adjunct assistant professor with the Saint Louis University School of Medicine’s Department of Neurology and Psychiatry. Her clinical appointment is with Places for People in St. Louis, where she works collaboratively with psychiatry and social work in the treatment of persons with persistent and severe mental illnesses.

A board certified psychiatric pharmacist, Gable joined the SIUE School of Pharmacy from the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy in 2007. She attained both a bachelor’s in pharmaceutical sciences and a PharmD at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy. She completed a specialty residency in psychiatric pharmacy practice at the University of Southern California.

Teaching Distinction Awards went to four faculty members. Kathy Costello, Ph.D., Anne Flaherty, Ph.D., Jack Glassman, Ph.D., and Ryan Krauss, Ph.D., are all recipients of $500 prizes.

Costello is a recipient for her work in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction within the School of Education. The Chicago native earned a bachelor’s in biology from Northern Illinois University and a master’s in forest ecology from SIU Carbondale. She joined the SIUE faculty in 2006.

The committee acknowledged Costello’s teaching through hands-on learning and genuine concern for the student learning that extends beyond the classroom. Her attention to detail, day-to-day consistency and enthusiasm drew praise. The committee enjoyed Costello’s ability to help student teachers learn to adapt to difficult teaching situations in adolescent education.

Flaherty is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science within the College of Arts and Sciences. She joined the SIUE faculty in 2009.

The committee complimented Flaherty’s strong commitment to teaching and her capability to engage students in thoughtful discussion, particularly relating to controversial issues. Her ability to display enthusiasm for the material and historical content, while making it applicable to current events is a positive attribute. She stimulates students to think critically through discussion or writing assignments.

Flaherty earned a bachelor’s in political science/international studies from the University of Richmond. The Watertown, N.Y., native achieved a master’s in peace and conflict studies from the University of Sydney in Australia. She earned a doctorate in political science from Duke.

Glassman was complimented for his depth of physics knowledge along with an enthusiastic, articulate and thoughtful display of pedagogy. His classroom approach involves teaching in a more conversational method as opposed to formal lecturing. As a result, he creates a comfortable environment for students to inquire and think critically.

Glassman earned a bachelor’s in physics from the University of Arizona. After achieving a master’s in physics from the University of New Mexico, the New York City native went on to earn a doctorate at UNM in optical sciences. He joined the SIUE faculty in 2004.

Krauss is an associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering within the School of Engineering and has been with the department since September 2006.

The committee pointed to Krauss’ ability to employ a variety of teaching methods to enhance student understanding of complicated material. He was commended for being responsive to student comments and working continually to improve his approach to teaching for the long-term success of the students.

Krauss earned a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from Michigan Technological University and a master’s in engineering mechanics from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. He attained a doctorate in mechanical engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology.

Three faculty members received Teaching Recognition Awards. Amie King, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Speech Education and Communication Disorders within the School of Education; Cassandra Maynard, PharmD, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice; and Brad Reed, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Accounting in the School of Business received $250 prizes.

The committee was impressed with King’s over-flowing energy and status as a role model to students. Her rapport with students is commendable, and her commitment to professional development is highly evident.

King joined the SIUE faculty in 2010. The Mt. Vernon native earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in communications sciences and disorders from Saint Louis University. She achieved a doctorate in speech and hearing science from the University of Illinois.

Maynard was credited with utilizing unique games and teaching strategies to help students understand content. She also injects humor to make information relatable and fun to all students.

Maynard earned a bachelor’s and doctorate of pharmacy from the St. Louis College of Pharmacy. The Bloomington native has worked in the area of in-patient cardiovascular medicine at St. Mary’s for the past 12 years.

Reed was applauded for teaching with plentiful relevant examples to real world situations. He not only cares for his students’ success in the classroom, but also after graduation in their pursuit of certification.

Reed achieved both bachelor’s and master’s in accounting from Brigham Young University. A Springville, Utah native, he earned a doctorate in accounting from the University of Arizona. He joined the SIUE faculty in 1995.

SIUE’s Berrocal Selected as a Finalist for the GoAbroad Award

6 May 2014, 9:47 am

2009 New faculty headshotsJoaquin Berrocal, assistant professor of Spanish in the Department of Foreign Language and Literature at SIUE, is a finalist being considered for the 2014 STA Travel – Start the Adventure Award by the GoAbroad Innovation Academy.

The Academy is made up of a selective group of international education professionals working to advance the understanding of what is possible in global education. Sponsored by STA Travel, the Start the Adventure Award recognizes an individual who has made meaningful travel more accessible to students and young travelers.

Berrocal leads a four-week residential program for SIUE students studying abroad every other summer in Seville, Spain. Students study Spanish conversation and popular culture.

When he learned many students turn away from studying abroad due to the perceived cost, Berrocal applied for an Excellence in Undergraduate Education (EUE) grant at SIUE. The University grant funds innovative projects in undergraduate education. By emphasizing the impact on language proficiency and other benefits realized by students who engage with local culture, Berrocal was awarded $16,000 to help fund the program.

The SIUE Office of International Programs supplemented the EUE grant with an additional $3,500. With a total of nearly $20,000, Berrocal was able to cut the cost of the Seville trip by 50 percent per student.

“Had it not been for Joaquin’s dedication to his students, I am certain that several students would never have realized their dream of study abroad,” said Julie Wojtal, assistant director of SIUE’s study abroad program.

The winner of the award and various others will be announced Thursday, May 29, during the GoAbroad Reception at the National Association for Foreign Student Affairs Annual Conference and Expo in San Diego.

SIUE has more than 150 approved or sponsored study abroad opportunities in over 20 countries. Students are provided the opportunity to travel and enhance their academic experience while earning credit toward their degree.

Photo: SIUE’s Joaquin Berrocal, assistant professor of Spanish in the Department of Foreign Language and Literature.

Gillespie’s Schmidt Receives SIUE Dual Admission Academic Award

5 May 2014, 5:35 pm

Gillespie native Adam Schmidt is the recipient of the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Summer 2014 Dual Admission Academic Schmidt-Adam_smAward.

All students entering SIUE through dual admission programs are eligible for the award. Schmidt is currently a student at Lewis and Clark Community College in Godfrey.

The SIUE Office of Educational Outreach administers the award, and students are selected based upon academic merit. The recipients must be enrolled at least part-time at SIUE and are eligible to receive $400 for up to six-consecutive semesters.

The SIUE Foundation funds the award during the next three years for dual admission students and those in approved 2+2 programs with area community colleges. Through dual admission, students are able to be admitted and receive academic advising and other services from SIUE while they are still attending community college.

Schmidt intends to major in civil engineering in SIUE’s School of Engineering and says his “educational decisions are built upon a foundation of hard work, commitment and dedication.”

Mary Ettling, associate director in the Office of Educational Outreach, sees the academic award as an acknowledgement of SIUE’s commitment to students who actively are engaging in this unique transfer program.

“Coordinating the community college curriculum to set the students up for the best possible transfer scenario is the over-arching goal of these programs,” Ettling said. “This award solidifies the University’s commitment to serving transfer students.”

For additional information, contact Ettling (618) 650-3215 or

Therapy Dogs Give SIUE Students a Break from Final Exam Stress

5 May 2014, 3:28 pm

Gone to the Dogs Therapy dogs dog 05-05-14On Monday, May 5, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville students took a break from the stress of final exams and received a little puppy therapy. From 10 a.m.-1 p.m., nearly 250 students stopped by the Morris University Center Goshen Lounge to connect with therapy dogs and, for at least a few minutes, breathe a little easier.

The finals week tradition, which began four years ago on the SIUE campus, has become a favorite among students. This year’s visit marks the second year SIUE has partnered with C.H.A.M.P. Assistance Dogs of Florissant, Mo, to make the therapy dogs available.

Liz Aurbach, C.H.A.M.P. therapy dog program director, described the calming influence of the therapy dogs.

“Some students come for just a few minutes, where others stay with the dogs for hours,” she said. “It’s a bit of a mystery, but there have been studies that show that dogs lower blood pressure.”

The organization arranged for six certified therapy dogs, accompanied by their volunteer handlers, to visit campus.

  • Newman, black lab
  • Kylie, border terrier
  • Harper, golden retriever
  • Moose, Irish wolfhound
  • Romey, German shepherd
  • Nala, golden retriever

The feedback from students is a testament to the effectiveness of the time spent with the dogs.

“I just came from a final exam,” said Emily Bublitz, a freshman in the SIUE School of Nursing. “I enjoyed this so much, I wish we had a puppy room on campus.”

“I would love to see this every week,” said Miranda Farrow, a freshman in the SIUE College of Arts and Sciences.

“I really appreciate the time with them (dogs), and I hope to see this offered again,” said Morgan Tillery, a sophomore in the SIUE School of Education.

The therapy dogs’ visit is one of several events planned for final weeks to support students as they prepare for and complete exams. Final exam week will conclude on Thursday, May 8, prior to the Spring 2014 Commencement exercises on May 9 and 10.

Photo:  C.H.A.M.P. volunteer Lisa Becher introduces Harper, a certified therapy dog, to SIUE students (L-R) Miranda Farrow, Morgan Tillery and Amber Fobert.

SIUE Engineering Students Nab 3rd at International HPV Challenge

5 May 2014, 2:28 pm


A team of 13 mechanical engineering students at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville won third place in the endurance category at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ Human Powered Vehicle Challenge April 11-13 in Orlando, Fla.

More than 30 teams vied in the international competition. SIUE’s finished product–a three-wheeled, steel-framed, recumbent vehicle–was the culmination of two semesters’ worth of work, according to mechanical engineering senior Terrence Brown.

“This competition was the capstone of our year-long design project,” said Brown, ASME SIUE chapter vice president. “It’s the first time in SIUE School of Engineering history that a senior project has captured an award in an international event.”

Soondo Kweon, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at the SIUE School of Engineering, supervised and led the students as their faculty advisor.

To compete in the endurance category, teams’ self-engineered vehicles teams had to complete as many laps as possible within 2.5 hours on a two-lane obstacle course replete with hairpin turns, rumble strips and more. Six team members took turns as drivers. Mere days before the competition when SIUE team members were already in Orlando prepping for their event, they had to cope with an unanticipated malfunction.

“Our (gear) shifter broke,” said senior Morgan Hemker, ASME SIUE chapter president. “We weren’t able to fix it in time, but we still had shifting capability with the front gearing. It took us from a 10-speed to a three-speed, but we made it work.”

Senior Jonathan Kutz credited Kweon for his dedication and expertise as advisor, along with seniors James Stilt and James Leffew who designed and analyzed the lightweight steel vehicle and Chris Holland who engineered its flywheel. The students manufactured the HPV in senior Tim Doyle’s garage.

Safety is a particular emphasis throughout the ASME competition, said Kutz, who added that the SIUE team spent a fraction of what other teams did in manufacturing the vehicle.

“Our 60-pound vehicle had to withstand a 600-pound top load and a 300-pound side load. We were able to achieve that and complete the rigorous course, speed bumps and all. Several teams around us were losing wheels and crashing.”

Senior Hayden Sievers said staying the course, especially in light of the gearshift mishap, made him proud to be a part of the team and to win third place in the endurance category.

“Last year we won fourth place in endurance,” Sievers said. “We were one of very few three-wheeled HPVs in the event, but this year the majority of competitors designed theirs with three (vs. two) wheels.”

Applying engineering principles and competing in a real-world event, sophomore Lauren Bailey said, was definitely time well spent. “The ASME HPV Challenge brought it all to life and made our hard work worthwhile,” she said. “It was exciting. Several of us competed last year, too, and we’ll be back next year.”

Members of the 2014 SIUE High Powered Vehicle team included 10 seniors: Brown, Doyle, Hemker, Holland, Kutz, Leffew, Logan Rennegarbe, Santos Reyes, Sievers and Stilt.

Three sophomores also contributed: Bailey, Brandon Koyanski and Chris Maske.

Photo (L-R):  Chris Maske, Brandon Koyanagi, James Leffew, Jon Kutz, Santos Reyes, Hayden Sievers, Lauren Bailey, and Morgan Hemker.

SIUE Students Stayed Calm, Ate Well and Studied On

5 May 2014, 1:47 pm

Late Night breakfast study breakfast 05-04-14

Campus administrators helped provide nourishment for Southern Illinois University Edwardsville students during Finals Study Break.

Chancellor Julie Furst-Bowe, among other administrators, served more than 750 students breakfast from 8-9 p.m. Sunday in the Morris University Center Court Area. Students enjoyed a meal of pancakes, hash browns, bacon, ham, fruit, pastries, coffee and juice.

Morris University Center, University Housing and the Kimmel Student Involvement Center sponsored the event. The breakfast was a quick break from preparing for finals. Students also received handouts with study tips, and they signed up for prize drawings.

Late Night breakfast study breakfast 05-04-14



From left to right: Michael Schultz, director of SIUE Housing, and SIUE Chancellor Julie Furst-Bowe serve up pancakes and hash browns during Finals Study Break.

More than 750 SIUE students piled into Morris University Center Court Area for a breakfast break from studying for finals.


SIUE Pharmacy Students Take Prescription Drug Abuse Education into Area Schools

3 May 2014, 2:17 pm

Holloman_JaymiHighland News Leader writer Mark Hodapp featured SIUE School of Pharmacy students in a story posted Wednesday, April 30. The SIUE students have taken the program’s drug awareness program into junior and senior high schools in Madison and St. Clair counties.

The article follows:

Students Warned of Dangers of Prescription Drug Abuse

It’s hard to talk about heroin being a “problem” without mentioning the recreational use of prescription drugs, Highland Police Sgt. Chris Conrad said Monday.

“Many teenagers have a false sense of security thinking prescription drugs are safe, because they were prescribed by a doctor,” he said. “But taking prescription drugs for non-medical use to get high can be just as dangerous and addictive to taking illegal street drugs.”

On Friday, three Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville’s School of Pharmacy students — Jaymi Holloman, along with Kimberlee Kabbes and Elizabeth Lass — talked in great length about the dangers of prescription drugs with the Highland High School health classes.

In recent months, the SIUE pharmacy school has taken its drug awareness program into area junior high and high schools in Madison and St. Clair counties.

Studies have shown children who receive drug prevention education at home and in school are less likely to use drugs, Kabbes said.

But recreational prescription drug use is on the increase among teenagers, she said.

According to the National Education Association (NEA) Health Information Network, one in six teens admitted to using a prescription drug for other than its prescribed purpose.

“Children and teenagers are no longer just using prescriptions to get high,” the NEA stated in its Rx for Destruction flyer. “They are using prescription medications to change their mood, stay awake longer, study harder and even fit in with friends.”

Take pain killers, for instance. A lot of teenagers are legally prescribed pain killers after their wisdom teeth are removed, Kabbes said. But pain killers are commonly abused and obtained illegally, though. According to the NEA, 2/3 of teens who abuse prescription pain medication report getting it illegally from either a family member or friend, Kabbes said.

Sgt. Conrad added there is a huge black market today for prescription pain killers.

“Their target audience is the same people who are using heroin today,” he said. “They are mixing heroin with a prescription pain killer, to get a different high.”

So, why are prescription drugs so popular with teens?

According to NEA, 43 percent of teens indicated prescription drugs are easier to get than illegal drugs.

But prescription drugs are only safe for individuals who actually have prescriptions for them, Lass said.

“That’s because a doctor has examined these people and prescribed the right dose of medication for a specific medical condition,” she said.

Taking prescription drugs in a way that hasn’t been recommended by a doctor can be more dangerous than people think.

“And it’s just as illegal as taking street drugs,” Kabbes said. “Taking drugs without a prescription — or sharing a prescription drug with friends — is actually breaking the law.” Lass cited depressants and stimulants as an example.

Abruptly stopping or reducing a stimulant can also lead to seizures, Holloman added.

“Taking depressants with other medications, such as prescription painkillers, some over-the-counter cold and allergy medications, or alcohol can slow a person’s heartbeat and breathing — and even kill,” she said. “… Abusing stimulants (like some ADHD drugs) may also cause heart failures or seizures.”

Photo:  Jaymi Holloman, a third-year pharmacy student at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville talks with a Highland High School health class about the dangers of taking stimulants and depressants.

-Mark Hodapp

Highland News Leader

April 30, 2014

RHA President Receives Outstanding Student Leader Award

2 May 2014, 4:17 pm

Kimmel leadership Awards Ceremony 04-30-14

Courtney Gross, Residence Housing Association (RHA) president at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, was chosen to be a 2013-2014 SIUE Outstanding Student Leader.

Gross was recognized Wednesday at the Kimmel Leadership Awards Ceremony. The Outstanding Student Leader award recognizes a maximum of 10 students who have significantly enhanced the quality of campus life or have provided outstanding leadership in the area of co-curricular activities.

A Chester resident, Gross is a sophomore studying psychology. RHA had one of its most successful years to date under Courtney’s leadership.

RHA saw an increase in student program participation and meeting attendance and increased interaction with residents throughout the housing communities. In addition, Gross led an effort to focus on resident advocacy and improve the resident experience.

Kyle Rice, assistant director for Training and Development, nominated Gross for the award. Rice described Gross as a student with integrity, motivated, hard-working and one who fulfills her campus commitments with dedication.

For more information about RHA, contact Rice at (618) 650-4629.

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville provides students with a high quality, affordable education that prepares them for successful careers and lives of purpose. Built on the foundation of a broad-based liberal education, and enhanced by hands-on research and real-world experiences, the academic preparation SIUE students receive equips them to thrive in the global marketplace and make our communities better places to live. Situated on 2,660 acres of beautiful woodland atop the bluffs overlooking the natural beauty of the Mississippi River’s rich bottomland and only a short drive from downtown St. Louis, the SIUE campus is home to a diverse student body of nearly 14,000.

Photo:  Courtney Gross, receives the 2013-2014 SIUE Outstanding Student Leader Award from SIUE Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Nobby Emmanuel

SIUE Kimmel Leadership Awards Celebrate Excellence in Scholarship and Service

2 May 2014, 3:04 pm

Kimmel leadership Awards Ceremony 04-30-14

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and The Belleville News-Democrat honored those who made outstanding contributions in leadership and service during Wednesday’s 2014 Kimmel Leadership Awards ceremony.

The SIUE Kimmel Student Involvement Center recognized exceptional students, staff, faculty and community persons. Stephanie Bargiel, a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences, is the 2014 Carol Kimmel Scholarship recipient.

Bargiel will receive free tuition for one year, according to Michelle Welter, associate director for the Kimmel Student Involvement Center. The scholarship program is co-sponsored by the SIUE Kimmel Student Involvement Center and the News-Democrat.

The award was established to recognize students for their outstanding leadership and community volunteer service contributions, in addition to academic excellence. It is named for Kimmel, a former member of the SIU Board of Trustees who died in 2008. She was an avid volunteer for many years and a devoted SIUE supporter who dedicated her life to education.

Other awards included:

• Student Leadership Development Program (Gold Certificate): Carolyn Allison, Kyle Cary, Jodi Cox, Nicole Dean, Amanda Lands, Stephanie Little, Kyle C. Martin, Heidi Schillinger, Rachel Schwartzkopf and Emma Scott

• Alumni Association Award (to current SIUE students): Bargiel, Dalton Ervin, Stephanie Little and Courtney Page

• Student Volunteer Award: Dominique Davis, Alphonzo French and Mindy Park

• Volunteer Services SIUE Faculty/Staff Award: Vicky Dean, assistant director of Residential Life for Residential Education

• Volunteer Services Community Agency Award: Campus Kitchens Project and Safe Connections

Photo:   Stephanie Bargiel (left), receives Carol Kimmel Scholarship winner from Jim Kimmel, son of Carol.

SIUE Holds Town Meeting to Discuss Underage Drinking

2 May 2014, 1:56 pm

Underage Drinking Town Hall Meeting Courtney Kenner  04-30-14

The SIUE Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, in collaboration with Intercollegiate Athletics, held a Town Hall Meeting Wednesday on underage drinking prevention for Alcohol Awareness Month.

Underage Drinking Town Hall Meeting Jill Rackers  04-30-14

The discussion, held in the Goshen Lounge, also coincided with the national movement to prevent underage drinking.

Underage Drinking Town Hall Meeting Tierny Austin  04-30-14

Guest speakers, including University students, staff and faculty, discussed the issues and dangers of underage drinking in the community.

Underage Drinking Town Hall Meeting Haley Briggs  04-30-14

Underage Drinking Town Hall Meeting Anthony Jones  04-30-14

For more information, visit

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville provides students with a high quality, affordable education that prepares them for successful careers and lives of purpose. Built on the foundation of a broad-based liberal education, and enhanced by hands-on research and real-world experiences, the academic preparation SIUE students receive equips them to thrive in the global marketplace and make our communities better places to live. Situated on 2,660 acres of beautiful woodland atop the bluffs overlooking the natural beauty of the Mississippi River’s rich bottomland and only a short drive from downtown St. Louis, the SIUE campus is home to a diverse student body of nearly 14,000.


Some of the guest speakers included: Courtney Kenner, Jill Rockers, Tierny Austin, and Haley Briggs, all

SIUE student athletes; and Anthony Jones, SIUE police officer

SIUE Spring Commencement Features 2,200 Graduates

2 May 2014, 1:10 pm

JFB_handshaking_Spring2013Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Chancellor Julie Furst-Bowe will oversee the 2014 Spring Commencement exercises on Friday and Saturday, May 9 and 10. Ceremonies for the 2,231 eligible graduates will begin at 6:30 p.m. Friday in the Vadalabene Center on campus.

Newly installed SIU President Dr. Randy Dunn will participate in his first commencement ceremonies by speaking at the Friday night exercise.

Dixie Engelman, dean emerita of the SIUE College of Arts and Sciences and associate professor emerita of speech pathology and audiology, is being honored with the University’s Distinguished Service Award. Engelman has been a community advocate and volunteer for more than 35 years. Engelman will speak to the Saturday afternoon and evening sessions.

Dr. Kelly Gable, associate professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice in the School of Pharmacy, will receive the 2014 Teaching Excellence Award. Gable is recognized for her enthusiastic approach and for serving as a role model for pharmacy students, nursing students and medical students.

Alton attorney and philanthropist John Simmons will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. Simmons, who graduated with honors from SIUE in political science, earned a Juris Doctor from Southern Methodist University School of Law in Dallas. He is founder and chairman of Simmons Browder Gianaris Angelides & Barnerd LLC, a national law firm headquartered in Alton, with additional offices in St. Louis, Chicago, San Francisco and El Segundo, Calif. Simmons will speak at Friday night’s and Saturday morning’s exercises.

The festivities begin Friday night with the Graduate School, School of Business and School of Nursing students receiving their degrees. Peter Gillen, who is earning a bachelor’s in nursing, is the student speaker for Friday’s session.

Ceremonies resume at 9 a.m. Saturday with the Graduate School and School of Education. The morning student speaker is James Engracia, who is receiving a bachelor’s in speech language pathology from the School of Education.

The Saturday afternoon ceremony begins at 1 p.m. with the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) followed at 5 p.m. by the School of Pharmacy, College of Arts and Science graduate students and the School of Engineering. The student speakers will be Victoria Francis, who is earning a bachelor’s in chemistry, during the afternoon session and Jonathan Long, who is receiving a master’s in sociology, closing the day.

Photo: SIUE Chancellor Julie Furst-Bowe greets a graduate during the Spring 2013 commencement ceremony.

SIUE Student Leaders Hillery and Martin Featured in Alton Telegraph

2 May 2014, 10:47 am

SIUE Student Body President Alex Hillery and External Affairs Officer Tre Martin were featured in an Alton Telegraph story posted May 1. Writer Brett Luster wrote about the student leaders welcoming feedback about student life on campus. Read the article.

SIUE Students Catch Cougar Pride During Springfest

2 May 2014, 10:31 am
Students spin the prize wheel during the Springfest celebration.

Students spin the prize wheel during the Springfest celebration.

Students enjoy the Giant Banana Split served in a canoe during Springfest.

Students enjoy the Giant Banana Split served in a canoe during Springfest.

The Stratton Quadrangle was full of students enjoying food, fun and games April 21-26, as Southern Illinois University Edwardsville celebrated Springfest. Dating back to the 1960s, Springfest is the longest running annual tradition on the SIUE campus.

“Springfest is designed to celebrate the end of the academic year, unify the campus community and spark SIUE pride,” said Anee Korme, assistant director of campus life. “Students enjoy gathering on the quad to enjoy the spring weather.

“Springfest reminds students that the end of the year is coming. It’s a moment to celebrate themselves along with celebrating SIUE.”

Each year, a different theme is chosen to accompany the event. This year’s theme was based on the bestselling book and worldwide sensation, “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.” Students honored the theme by competing in this year’s “Cougar Games” in hopes of gaining the most spirit points.

Springfest’s 4,000 participants enjoyed a variety of activities:

  • Springfest Queen and King voting
  • Chalk Mural Design Competition
  • Springfest Trivia Tournament
  • Food eating competition
  • Springfest Scavenger Hunt
  • Physical challenges and games
  • Student Organization Fair
  • Giant Banana Split served from a canoe, sponsored by TheBANK of Edwardsville
  • Free screening of “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” and costume contest
  • Woodland Bowl Flour War, sponsored by A Cross Between

On Thursday, April 24, the winners of the “Cougar Games” were announced for two categories: Top Student Organization and Top Fraternity or Sorority. The first place winners, Red Storm and Sigma Tau Gamma, received a trophy and $400 in organization funding. The second place winners, Hispanic Student Union and Alpha Phi, were awarded $200 in funding.

Springfest came to a close on Saturday, April 26, with the Springfest Carnival. Sponsored by University Housing, the carnival included games, crafts, food and rides.

Springfest is planned and organized by the Campus Activities Board, overseen by the Kimmel Student Involvement Center. The Campus Activities Board plans and produces more than 150 events on campus each year to contribute to campus life and promote school spirit.

Academic Awards Banquet Honors Cougar Student-Athletes

1 May 2014, 5:44 pm

At the Athletics Academic Awards banquet Tuesday, April 29, SIUE Athletics honored Cougar student-athletes for their accomplishments away from the playing surface. Scott Credit Union was a presenting sponsor of the event in the Morris University Center Meridian Ballroom.

Awards were presented to a wide variety of individuals representing SIUE’s 18 sports.

The Ohio Valley Conference Medal of Honor was presented to four Cougars. Women’s golf produced Molly Marcum, a sophomore English/mass communications major from Leroy, and Ashton Stair a junior exercise science major from Milton, Wis. Volleyball was represented by Cori Harris, a senior chemistry major from Champaign, and Kristen Torre, a sophomore elementary education major from Highland. The award is given annually to student-athletes who achieve the highest grade point average in an OVC-sponsored sport among all 12 conference schools.

The Ohio Valley Conference Commissioner’s Honor Roll included 52 SIUE student-athletes who posted a cumulative GPA of 3.25 or better, attained a 3.40 GPA in each of the two preceding terms, or were first-year student-athletes with a 3.40 GPA in their first term.

The 2013-14 Dean’s List included 95 Cougar student-athletes. It recognized students who had a 3.5 GPA in any term and have passed at least 12 hours of classes.

The National College Athlete Honor Society of Chi Alpha Sigma is an honorary athletic society for recognition of high academic achievers and sports letter winners. The 20 inductees had a 3.4 GPA, earned a varsity letter, and had junior or senior status.

Thirty SIUE student-athletes received Four-Year Participation Awards, given to athletes who were four-year athletes and completed their eligibility in the 2013-14 school year.

Ten Cougar Participation Awards were also given to Cougars who completed their eligibility in the 2013-14 school year after one to three years as SIUE student-athletes.

Each sport program received a Cougar Cadre Award. It was developed by the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and is given to one member per team selected by his or her peers. Cougar Cadre Award winners must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 and have earned a varsity letter.

SIU President Randy Dunn Starts First Day of His “Dream Job”

1 May 2014, 4:57 pm

President Randal Randy Dunn 05-01-14

Dr. Randy J. Dunn visited Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Thursday on his first official day as President of Southern Illinois University. View the video here.

“This is my dream job, being president of the SIU system,” Dunn said at a press conference in the Morris University Center Mississippi/Illinois Rooms. “I’m a native of Illinois, and I really love this state. For me, it’s coming home.”

Dunn, who replaces outgoing SIU President Glenn Poshard, is the eighth president of the system. Poshard will retire from SIU effective June 30 and will serve in an advisory role to Dunn until that time. Poshard served as SIU President for eight years.

Dunn came to SIU after serving as president of Youngstown (Ohio) State University since July 2013. He was selected after a five-month national search.

The new president told reporters that he will continue the progress made by his predecessor.

Dunn noted a few strategic points that he has in mind for SIU:

• Expand the building and renovation projects

• Continue outreach in the region and help improve the quality of life

• Continue operational effectiveness

In providing more detail, Dunn added, “The best universities are good stewards of the places they serve. Our defining mark is how we are linked to this region.”

The new president said he will support SIUE Chancellor Julie Furst-Bowe’s goals to make advances by working to provide more resources and raising funds.

The SIU system has good stories to tell about positively impacting the lives of students, the community and the region, Dunn said. In continuing to tell those stories, the new president believes it will build more support for the two campuses.

“I love the footprint of this system,” Dunn said. “Great state universities are integrated with the region they serve, and it is no truer than at SIU.”

The new president started his day at SIUE with student leaders, followed by a campus tour and meeting with the SIUE Chancellor’s Council. After Dunn’s press conference, he and his contingent traveled to SIU Carbondale.

For more information about Dunn, visit

Photo: Dr. Randy J. Dunn, Southern Illinois University president, began official duties May 1.


Speaker Informs SIUE Audience about New Medical Cannabis Program

1 May 2014, 8:55 am

Conny Mueller Moody

Conny Mueller Moody, assistant deputy director of the Office of Health Promotion with the Illinois Department of Public Health, visited SIUE’s Vadalabene Center Wednesday. She spoke to a group of mostly students about the state’s new Medical Cannabis Pilot Program.

Moody, along with Kristyn Budd, SIUE Health Education intern, informed the audience about the new law, its regulations and conditions of use.

As of January 1, Illinois’ Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act officially took effect. Of the 20 states with medical marijuana laws, Illinois is considered one of the most stringent.

The pilot program is a four-year plan and provides access to medical cannabis for qualifying patients, according to Moody.

“The program does not allow for recreational use of marijuana or for patients/caregivers to grow their own supply of medical cannabis,” Moody said. “And it does not allow persons under the age of 18 to apply as a qualifying patient.”

Some general requirements that Moody informed the audience included:

• Registered qualifying patients are limited to buying 2.5 ounces of medical cannabis every 14 days

• Smoking of medical cannabis is prohibited where smoking is banned under the Smoke-free Illinois Act

• Agriculture will regulate up to 22 cultivation centers

For more information, visit and

Photo: Conny Mueller Moody, assistant deputy director of the Office of Health Promotion


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