College of Arts and Sciences 2022 Dean's Report

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About the College

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About the College

The College of Arts and Sciences is committed to a mission of intellectual transformation for our students in which they explore a rich tapestry of ideas, experiences and people.

CAS fulfills this mission with our exceptional teacher-scholars, who provide innovative experiential learning opportunities; our excellent degree programs; and the outstanding liberal arts and sciences foundation we provide for undergraduate students across the University. 

CAS promotes scholarly and creative activity, community engagement and public service, and cultural and arts programming, all of the finest quality.

CAS by the Numbers

undergraduate degree programs

graduate degree programs

undergraduate majors

graduate students

in 58 active external grants

357 scholarships and awards
303 student honorees
2022 CAS Honors Day

Slide 1

Q&A with Dean Kevin Leonard, PhD

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What were the highlights of the 2021-2022 academic year?

Last year was a time of transition for the College. In the fall, many courses were online. By the spring most courses were face-to-face on campus. In addition, indoor musical, theatrical and dance performances before live audiences resumed. Faculty, staff and students traveled to present their research at regional, national and international conferences and won awards for their outstanding scholarship.

In the CAS Strategic Plan for 2020-2025, the College committed to promoting research and creative activities. How has the College pursued that goal in the past year?

The College has reduced the teaching load for several faculty who have substantial external grants. Teams including faculty and staff from CAS received several multi-year grants worth more than $3.6 million in the past year.

What is the College doing to improve recruitment and retention of diverse faculty, staff and students and to enhance the inclusiveness of the learning and work environment?

We have committed resources to support efforts to improve recruitment and retention of students from underrepresented groups. These efforts include Community Oriented Digital Engagement Scholars (CODES), which provides an alternative to the traditional general education coursework. Students in the program learn mapping, data visualization and digital communication skills.

What are you looking forward to in 2023?

The coming year promises to be an exciting year for CAS! We will host the largest Honors Day in the College’s history. Our new Anti-Racism, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee will bring forward recommendations that will allow us to enhance inclusiveness in the College.

Chancellor James T. Minor, PhD

A Message from Chancellor Minor

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Greetings, SIUE College of Arts and Sciences alumni and friends!

It is my honor to serve as the 10th Chancellor at SIUE. Since my arrival, I have been intentional about engaging with alumni, students, faculty, and staff to learn about challenges and discover enormous opportunities. My bold ambition is that SIUE be first and best at providing high-quality, affordable degree opportunities for students from all backgrounds. Today, SIUE is the top producer of bachelor’s degrees in the region, powering today’s workforce and defining the future of industry.

SIUE is focused on advancing student success, enhancing faculty excellence, and setting new standards for alumni engagement and community partnerships. Among the many incredible initiatives deserving of praise in the College, the Interdisciplinary Research and Informatics (IRIS) Center has received two $100,000 grants to support its work to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in the humanities and social sciences. You can read about the Center's innovative programming supporting first-generation, Black, Latinx and Pell-eligible students on page 10 of this report.

At SIUE, we are changing lives, and entire communities, by maximizing the potential of our students who will shape the region, state and beyond. Learn more about our vision and action plan at

James T. Minor, PhD

Brooks Named Interim Associate Dean for Faculty Development

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Tisha Brooks, PhD, associate professor and chair of the Department of English Language and Literature, was selected to serve as CAS interim associate dean. Brooks assumed the position on July 1, 2022.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to serve as the CAS interim associate dean and work alongside the rest of the CAS leadership team in furthering the mission of the College,” said Brooks. “I have greatly enjoyed serving in a leadership capacity as department chair and look forward to expanding that leadership to serve faculty, staff and students across the College.”

In July 2020, Brooks became the chair of the Department of English Language and Literature, which is large and complex, serving more than 130 undergraduate majors and approximately 30 graduate students. The department includes 24 tenured or tenure-track faculty members and 11 full-time instructors, and plays a critical role in SIUE’s general education program.

“I am extremely excited for Dr. Brooks to join the CAS administrative team,” Leonard said. “I have had the privilege to work with her since I arrived at SIUE two years ago, and I have been impressed by her performance as chair of the Department of English Language and Literature. Her record of success in working with faculty in the department has prepared her for success in working with faculty from all departments in the College. She has also been an outstanding mentor for new faculty members in the department, particularly women of color.”

Brooks’ responsibilities include coordinating the promotion and tenure process, instructor promotions, faculty annual evaluations and activity reports, sabbaticals, and faculty travel support. She holds a critical role in faculty recruitment and hiring, and provides training for department chairs and program directors. In all of these activities, Brooks will pursue the College’s strategic goal of improving recruitment and retention of diverse faculty, staff and students to enhance an inclusive environment. In addition, she will lead CAS’ Anti-Racism, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee.

“As interim associate dean, I aim to contribute to efforts to support the recruitment and retention of underrepresented faculty, staff and students in the College,” Brooks said. “In particular, my goal is to ensure that equity, diversity and inclusion informs our faculty development efforts and to make sure we are providing access to the resources necessary for everyone to thrive. The bodies we inhabit profoundly shape our experience of the College and of the wider University; thus, it’s crucial that our policies, practices and procedures reflect that reality and align with our EDI mission.”

Tisha Brooks, PhD, Interim Associate Dean for Faculty Development

Community Engagement & Outreach

Martinez and students with drone

Martinez Spearheads Efforts to Improve Diversity in the Geosciences

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Adriana E. Martinez, PhD, associate professor in the Departments of Geography and Geographic Information Sciences (GIS) and Environmental Sciences, has taken a leading role in creating opportunities for minority students and eliminating financial barriers that hamper diversity in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education - more specifically the geosciences.


Selected for National Fellowship Focusing on DEI in the Geosciences

As one of 12 nationwide members selected to participate in the inaugural cohort of a two-year fellowship by the AGU LANDInG Academy (Leadership Academy and Network for Diversity and Inclusion in the Geosciences), Martinez will gain new knowledge on how to create inclusive classrooms and improve diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts in geoscience departments and research labs.

“The geosciences is one of the least diverse disciplines within STEM at the student, faculty and professional levels,” Martinez said. “Learning about new techniques and strategies to improve DEI will help us recruit new students, train faculty and create a more diverse pool of geoscientists. The people that study this planet should reflect the planet’s diversity.”

The AGU LANDInG Academy creates a community for networking and professional development among geoscience colleagues to address the need for DEI efforts within these fields. Fellows in the program will learn new strategies for creating inclusive classrooms, as well as ways to improve DEI efforts and involve underrepresented students in geoscience research.

“I hope to learn strategies I can build into a project that can enact change at all levels, including in secondary education, where I interact with students via grants; at the undergraduate and master’s levels, where I advise and teach students; at the faculty level, where I hope to create a more inclusive environment for underrepresented faculty; and at SIUE as a whole, where we can enact change to improve DEI at all levels of the university structure,” said Martinez.

Adriana Martinez, PhD, associate professor in the Departments of Geography and Geographic Information Sciences and Environmental Sciences

Watershed Scholars Graduate Program Receives $1.5M NSF Grant

Martinez is also leading a project, “At the Confluence: Supporting Critical Transitions for Graduate Students in Sustainable Watersheds Research,” which has been funded by a $1.5 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant. The program entails developing a novel model for graduate education that removes financial barriers and increases diversity in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.

The program will contribute to the national need for educated STEM professionals studying watershed science by supporting the retention and graduation of high-achieving, low-income students with demonstrated financial need.

Participating graduate students receive a tuition waiver and a $10,000 scholarship for each of the two years of their master’s program. Over the project’s six-year duration, 45 scholarships will be funded for students pursuing graduate degrees in environmental sciences, civil engineering, biology or chemistry.

“The Watershed Scholars Program will develop scholars whose research will contribute to the scientific understanding of sustainable watersheds using a variety of interdisciplinary approaches and cross-cutting skills frequently sought by local and regional employers,” said Martinez. “Graduates will be prepared to address the significant environmental challenges posed by human modifications and alterations to watersheds, including impacts resulting from climate change.”

According to Martinez, the project’s leadership team reflects a variety of subdisciplines within watershed sciences including faculty in civil engineering, climatology, geomorphology and hydrology, watershed biotic populations and communities, and geology.

Co-PIs include:

  • Rohan Benjankar, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Civil Engineering
  • Alan W. Black, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Geography and GIS
  • Carol E. Colaninno, PhD, research associate professor in the SIUE STEM Center
  • Sharon Locke, PhD, professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences and director of the SIUE STEM Center

“Students will develop close relationships with our research team so that they are provided with multiple mentoring and research opportunities,” Martinez explained. “Students will study watersheds from multiple disciplinary perspectives, which will prepare them to solve complex problems related to watershed sustainability and resiliency. Involvement in faculty research has a positive impact on a student’s science identity, ultimately making them more successful in their science pursuits.”

The research team will lead professional workshops, conduct group advising of students as they progress through their programs, offer a new course in sustainable watersheds, and connect participants with internships and professional networks in watershed science.

The program enhances opportunities for students to pursue STEM disciplines regardless of their backgrounds and family circumstances.

“I am a first-generation graduate student who didn’t know how to navigate the system,” shared Martinez, “By removing financial barriers through this program, we’re also helping to eliminate some of the mental stress of graduate school. Our group advising approach increases the likelihood of success in graduate school. Plus, our program provides an academic social network for students to support each other in their time at SIUE, which helps create a sense of belonging.”

The project team aims to better understand how to support STEM students to transition successfully to graduate school. The team’s education researchers will evaluate the effectiveness of mentoring and professional development and share the findings at national conferences and in publications. By testing a new model, SIUE is contributing to improving U.S. STEM graduate education.

Researchers on the Watershed Project

Shelly Goebl-Parker, professor in the Department of Art and Design

Goebl-Parker Selected as Laumeier Sculpture Park’s 2022 Cultural Thinker in Residence

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Shelly Goebl-Parker, professor in the Department of Art and Design, was selected as this year’s 2022 Cultural Thinker in Residence at Laumeier Sculpture Park, where she hosted several Art Hives, which are community art studios that welcome everyone as an artist. From an art pop-up in a local library to a community studio or gallery, at its heart, an Art Hive is about inclusion, respect, and learning. It's a welcoming place to talk, make art, and build communities. Responding in creative ways to things that matter.

“The Art Hives we held at Laumeier were designed to relate to the exhibition called Salutary Sculpture,” said Goebel-Parker. “Several students assisted with these Art Hives where we welcomed the public to come and participate. We also have two of our alumni working with Laumeier this year also as a Community Artist-in-Residence - Tamara Eberle and Laura Peroutka created a Mindful Nature Walk for the Sculpture Park's extensive grounds.”
Timothy E. Lewis, assistant professor in the Department of Political Science

Lewis Recognized for Challenging the Status Quo Through Educational Advocacy

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As an educator, Timothy E. Lewis, assistant professor in the Department of Political Science, has specialized in the politics of marginalized and disadvantaged groups and racial minorities, including LGBTQIA, women and gender minorities.

Over the past year and a half, he organized and moderated several virtual panel discussions including “Are We There Yet?: A Conversation of Anti-Racism at SIUE” and “Black America, White America (A Conversation about Present-day American Segregation).”

Lewis also contributed a chapter to a book, “Being #BlackintheIvory: Contending with Racism in the American University,” due for release in spring 2023. Lewis is one of many Black scholars nationwide selected to discuss racism in higher education by narrating their own experiences. 

In 2021, he was honored by the Missouri House of Representatives with a resolution for 13 years of educational advocacy work, efforts to promote scholarly enlightenment and a never-ending pursuit to challenge the status quo.

Summer Cougar Theater Camp Production - Little Mermaid Jr

Summer Camps Engage SIUE Community Students

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Students from surrounding SIUE communities had the opportunity to enjoy an enriching learning experience as they acquired theater, dance, writing, art and STEM skills through several of CAS’ summer camp programs.

In the Cougar Theater Camp hosted by the Department of Theater and Dance, children in grades K-8 learned self-confidence; critical thinking; voice, singing and acting skills; problem solving; reading and literature; and dance movement collaboration and performed The Little Mermaid, Jr. in four public weekend shows.

Presented by the Department of English Language and Literature, the Summer Writing Camp offered basic writing skill development in combination with a fun and vigorous recreational program for 3-12 grade students.

cougar theater camp

The Summer Arts Camp held by the Department of Art and Design allowed students in grades K-8 to learn new techniques in innovative media, including 2-D and 3-D designs, collaborate with peers and express themselves creatively.

art camp students

The Departments of Chemistry, Biological Sciences and Environmental Sciences each partnered with the SIUE Center for STEM Research, Education, and Outreach to provide STEM activities for area youth during the STEM Center’s summer Odyssey Science Camp and Youth-Led Citizen Science Network for Community Environmental Assessment (Y-CITYSCI) program.

art camp student

Black Theater Workshop

Black Theater Workshop Presented “From Jimmy, To America: An Ode to James Baldwin”

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The Department of Theater and Dance, Black Theater Workshop, Black Studies Program, and Arts & Issues series presented three productions of the NU-World Contemporary Danse Theatre’s “From Jimmy, To America: An Ode to James Baldwin” in February 2022.

“The production was creatively conceived and beautifully performed. It left audiences in awe of the exquisitely talented dancers, the power of Baldwin’s words, and the timeliness of the message,” said Kathryn Bentley, associate professor in the Department of Theater and Dance and director of the Black Studies Program and the IMPACT Academy. 

Devised in artistic collaboration with Jacqueline Thompson, Bashir Page-Sanders and Christopher Page-Sanders, the production was inspired by the life, words and work of James Baldwin and centered around the contemporary view of the Black Experience. Separated into three movements, the performance brought to light themes of self-identity, sexuality and racial equity in which richly complex and nuanced words became life and moving art.

Black Theater Workshop

Indigenous Knowledge Event

Native American Studies Program Co-Sponsored Conference on Indigenous Knowledge and Sustainability

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The CAS Native American Studies Program collaborated with other institutions in the St. Louis region last October to host a virtual conference aimed at advancing research and education in Indigenous knowledge and sustainability.

Featuring leading Native scholars and specialists from the sciences, humanities and social sciences, who presented contemporary research in Native thought and sustainability, the conference offered a variety of events for researchers, practitioners, students and the public to engage with issues of urgent concern to Native people and the larger society.

Running through the various sessions were themes of food security and health of the environment, which are challenges that can be overcome through Indigenous knowledge according to the UN International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).


CAS Honors Day Ceremony

CAS Recognizes More Than 300 Students at Annual Honors Day Celebration

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Marking the first live, in-person celebration since 2019, CAS hosted its 2022 Honors Day Convocation on Sunday, April 10, honoring 303 students with 357 scholarships and awards.

SIUE’s largest single gathering outside of commencement recognizing student achievement, Honors Day celebrates the scholarships and awards of outstanding students throughout nearly two dozen departments and programs within the College.

“We are thrilled to have hosted our annual Honors Day on campus this year,” said CAS Dean Kevin Leonard, PhD. “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have not been able to gather in person to celebrate the achievements of our students and the generosity of our donors and sponsors since 2019. Through all the challenges of the pandemic, our scholarship and award recipients have persevered, excelling in their classes and making a difference through their leadership and community service activities.”

Junior double major in theater design technology and philosophy and student speaker Sabria Bender was honored with the Friends of Theater and Dance (FOTAD) William Vilhauer Merit Award in Design and Technical Theater and the John Mareing Philosophy scholarship.

“My highest purpose within speaking today is to show you that what you all are doing is good,” Bender said during her Honors Day speech. “It is important work. It impacts young people’s lives. It allows each and every single student here to create who we want to be.”

She thanked several SIUE faculty members for their support and encouragement of her learning, growth and education, including James Wolfsong, associate professor in the Department of Theater and Dance, as well as Matthew Schunke, PhD, and Matthew Cashen, PhD, both associate professors in the Department of Philosophy. Also acknowledging SIUE’s ACCESS, she stated the support she and other students received gave them the necessary tools to succeed and flourish.

Bender concluded her speech by thanking scholarship and award sponsors for their generosity.

“Through these scholarships, you are directly investing in our futures, and therefore the future of humanity and what we, as a society, will become,” she shared. “These scholarships are incredibly humbling and directly affect our lives for the better.”

Visit the CAS Honors Day website at to watch a recording of the event and to view an archive of past Honors Day events.

Department of Theater and Dance professor Chuck Harper stands (back middle) with the department’s CAS Honors Day participants including Sabria Bender (front, second on left)

Yancey (back row, left) is shown with members of SIUE’s Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity

Family of Mass Communications Alumnus Michael Yancey Creates Scholarship in his Name

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A passion of Michael E. Yancey, mass communications alumnus, which was to support and encourage young people, will continue. This legacy is being made possible because of his family’s contribution of $25,000 to establish the Michael E. Yancey Sphinx-man Scholarship, a diversity-focused endowment. 

In memory and honor of Michael, the fund awards an annual $1,000 scholarship to a sophomore with preferences given to Black and Native American applicants, according to Khalid Yancey, Michael’s brother. The first recipient of the scholarship is sophomore and cyber-security major Damien Williams.

Michael earned his bachelor’s in mass communications in 1993 from SIUE, was a pioneer in helping launch SIUE’s Alumni Ambassador Program and was a prominent member in Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., after pledging during his student days at SIUE. 

“Michael left a good mark,” said Yancey. “He loved working with young people. He wanted to help mold and build character in them. His fraternity was one significant way in which he helped young men.” 

The youngest of nine siblings, Michael was a born leader with natural intelligence. “He loved to organize,” explained Yancey. “He was also extremely smart. Because of high test scores while in elementary school, Michael was enrolled in Wade Elementary for the gifted and talented (in St. Louis).” 

Completing his secondary education, Michael spent several years in the workforce. His interest in communications led his search for higher education, which ended at SIUE, chronicled his niece, Telia Starks. “He wanted to attend a university that had a robust communications department, catered to older students and was close to home,” she said. “Michael found all of this and more at SIUE.” 

Upon graduating from SIUE, Michael worked at several jobs including Merck & Co., one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. A job opportunity at the pharmaceutical company transferred him from St. Louis to Newark, Del. While in Delaware, Michael would go on to hold numerous leadership positions within his fraternity. He led the Gamma Theta Lambda chapter in various capacities, including chapter president and membership intake director. Additionally, he served the Mid-Atlantic Association of Alpha Chapters as Area VII director for all Delaware chapters, and served as facilitator and trainer for the Eastern Region. 

“Because of Michael’s life’s work of reaching out and helping young men through his fraternity,” Yancey noted, “the family thought it fitting to set up this memorial scholarship in his name.” 

The late Michael Yancey, College of Arts and Sciences Mass Communications alumnus

Professor Emerita Virginia Bryan, PhD, (center) with scholarship recipients

Generous Gifts Support Department of Chemistry Students and Programs

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The Department of Chemistry was the recipient of two sizeable gifts during fiscal year 2022 in honor of former Professor and Department Chair James Eilers, PhD, and Professor Emerita Virginia Bryan, PhD. Eilers passed away in March 2021, leaving a $50,000 gift to support the Dr. James Eilers Award in Physical Chemistry and Dr. Virginia Bryan Award in Chemical Education. Bryan also made a $25,000 gift to create the Dr. James E. Eilers Computational Chemistry Endowment.

“Their generous support provides opportunities and resources for our students to achieve their educational goals and aspirations,” said CAS Senior Director of Development Kyle Moore. “We’re grateful for the leadership and generosity they have provided.”

The Dr. James Eilers Award in Physical Chemistry and Dr. Virginia Bryan Award in Chemical Education support students who have excelled in physical chemistry and are pursuing a degree in chemical education at SIUE. This year's award recipients were 2022 graduates Bene Gray and Holly Brecht, respectively.

The Dr. James E. Eilers Computational Chemistry Endowment will be used to provide overall general support for the Computational Chemistry program within the Department of Chemistry.

Eilers served as professor and department chair at SIUE from 1994-2003. He began his teaching career at State University of New York Brockport before working for Eastman Kodak in the field of computational chemistry. When Eilers joined SIUE in his return to academia, he enjoyed working with students and helping them achieve their goals.


Professor Emerita Virginia Bryan, PhD, and former Professor and Department Chair James Eilers, PhD

CAS Honors Day Celebration

New College of Arts and Sciences Scholarships

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CAS Created 13 New Scholarships This Year to Support Student Success
  • La’Trina D. Brown Memorial Scholarship
  • Christina Leigh Crome Memorial Scholarship Endowment
  • Constance Ann Denue Memorial Scholarship Endowment
  • Dr. James E. Eilers Computational Chemistry Endowment
  • Outstanding Mathematics and Statistics Student Award Endowment in Memory of Michael James Fernando
  • Stephen L. and Julia Y. Hansen Humanities Development Fund
  • Dr. Carol A. Keene Outreach Activities and Events in Philosophy Endowment
  • Ryan K. Marten Memorial Scholarship
  • Jessica McCaskill Champion Scholarship
  • Vera M. McCoy-Sulentic Scholarship Endowment
  • Peppler Family Scholarship Endowment in Memory of Margery C. Halstead
  • Dr. Eric J. Voss Award in Inorganic Chemistry
  • Louis P. Westefield Scholarship
Two New CAS Scholarship Recipients Provide Testimonials 

Le Tu, Senior Mass Communications Major | Jessica McCaskill Champion Scholarship

“Thank you to Jessica McCaskill for giving me the honor to receive this scholarship. This scholarship will help me focus on Media production and find a job in the media field in St. Louis.  Thank you for this opportunity.”

Le Phuong Tu

Braden Wright, Senior Criminal Justice Major, Environmental Sciences Minor | Ryan K. Marten Memorial Scholarship

“Saying that I am thankful for this scholarship would be an understatement and I hope to serve Ryan’s memory with the honor it truly deserves.”

Braden Wright

To learn more about creating a scholarship for CAS students, contact Kyle Moore, senior director of development:

To make a gift online, visit

Students Highlights

Taylor Ewing, Biological Sciences

Ewing Honored as Rotary Student Leader of the Month for Community Involvement

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Biological sciences major Taylor Ewing was named SIUE Rotary Student Leader of the Month in September 2021. An active student leader and budding clinical pathologist, Ewing served as legacy chair of the Student Leadership Council.

“It was a great honor being recognized as Student Leader of the Month,” said Ewing. “It showed me that not all my actions go unnoticed and was motivation for me to keep doing what I'm doing.”

She is involved in Black Girls Rock, Black Campus Ministry, Pre-Health Hub, Healthcare Issues and Ethics Club, and Pre-Med Association, as well as part of an undergraduate research lab called The BugGuts Lab directed by Brittany Peterson, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences.

Ewing also volunteers with Potbangerz, a St. Louis-based nonprofit whose mission is to fight injustice by uplifting the community, meeting nutritional needs, helping unhoused families as they navigate to permanent housing, and advocating for them when it’s most needed.

Evan Smith's Guise

MFA Candidate Smith Wins 2022 Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award

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MFA candidate Evan Smith received the 2022 Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award for an intriguing art piece called “Guise.” Presented by the International Sculpture Center, it is the third year in a row an SIUE student has won the award.

Nominated for the award by Thad Duhigg, MFA, a professor in the sculpture program at SIUE, Smith developed “Guise” using a combination of conceptual art techniques such 3D printing and projection mapping to make a commentary about climate change.

"Evan works hard, is completely committed to his art, and pushes the parameters of what sculpture can be,” Duhigg said. “It is so nice to see his dedication rewarded by the ISC. It really says something about the quality of our students that they have been recognized for their work three years in a row.”

MFA candidate Evan Smith

Samantha Gallatin, Lincoln Laureate, with Dean Kevin Leonard, Geography & GIS Chair Wendy Shaw, and Assistant Professor Alan Black

Biology, Geography Double Major Recognized as a 2021 Student Laureate by The Lincoln Academy of Illinois

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Samantha Gallatin, who double majored in biology and geography, was recognized in November 2021 as a 2021 Student Laureate by The Lincoln Academy of Illinois, which honors one senior from each of Illinois’ four-year, degree-granting colleges and universities for demonstrating leadership and a desire to make a difference in the world through civic engagement

“This award is a recognition of the effort I have put into my college career and a sign that the work I have submitted to my professors is dependable and noteworthy,” said Gallatin. “It is also a sign that I can be a proud representative of SIUE, with the time I have spent being a student researcher, student leader and community volunteer.”

Actively involved on campus in various student leadership positions and research, Gallatin went on to receive both the Senior Award in Genetics and Cell Biology and the Dr. Carl Lossau Distinguished Student in Geography Award ahead of her May 2022 spring graduation.

SIUE faculty and students on a global expedition to El Salvador

Students Experience Active Learning in a Trip to El Salvador

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A group of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville students and faculty are still reminiscing on their summer global experience after participating in a summer trip to the Universidad Gerardo Barrios (UGB) in El Salvador. 

The collaborative expedition was led by Sharon Locke, PhD, director of the SIUE STEM Center and professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), and Adriana Martinez, PhD, associate professor in the CAS Departments of Environmental Sciences and Geography and Geographic Information Sciences.

“The primary goal of the trip was to learn about natural hazards by visiting Central America,” said Locke. “El Salvador is part of the Central American Volcanic Arc. There are hundreds of volcanoes, so this was a chance for SIUE students to learn about active volcanoes in a part of the world that is geologically very different than Illinois.”
Virginia “Gigi” Florek, a double major in art education and studio art in the College of Arts and Sciences

Florek Selected for Summer Gyo Obata Fellowship Program

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This summer, 10 area college students will embark on a unique journey through the Gyo Obata Fellowship Program, which provides the opportunity to learn about arts administration through a local arts nonprofit. One of those students is Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s Virginia “Gigi” Florek, a double major in art education and studio art in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Ten local organizations will take part in the program this summer: Springboard, Central Print, St. Louis Artworks, Cinema St. Louis, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, National Blues Museum, COCA, Consuming Kinetics Dance Company, Perennial, and Intersect, Florek’s host organization.

“I am honored to be accepted into the Gyo Obata Fellowship Program,” said Florek. “Through my involvement, I am excited to reach out to people, especially kids, who have health conditions (or for any reason feel marginalized) with empathy and create a more aware community that supports everyone. I look forward to learning about the fantastic opportunities to support diversity and inclusion in the community.”

Alumni Highlights


History Alumna Litteken Explores 1930’s Russia-Ukraine Conflict in Debut Novel

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Erin Litteken, who earned a bachelor’s in history in fall 2003, published a heart-wrenching novel titled “The Memory Keeper of Kyiv,” uncovering the horrors of the Holodomor, a man-made terror famine instigated by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, which led to the death of nearly four million Ukrainians in 1932-1933.

Featured on Fortune Magazine's “10 New Page-Turning Novels You Should Read This Summer” list alongside authors such as John Grisham and Stacey Abrams, Litteken’s book has been translated into 13 languages. The captivating historical fiction is her debut novel, inspired by the stories told by her late great-grandmother, a Ukrainian refugee.

Litteken explores the Ukrainian story through different characters to paint a portrait of strength and resilience in the face of the starvation that was inflicted on a self-determined people. For a mother of two, juggling her talent with a part-time job, this literary undertaking took 10 years to accomplish. Without the slightest expectation, it culminated during a similarly turbulent time for Ukraine.

Erin Litteken, History Alumna

A Night Among the Stars

Mass Communications’ Ganey and Madigan Inducted into Alumni Hall of Fame

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On September 23, two remarkable CAS alumni were honored at the Alumni Hall of Fame Ceremony, “A Night Among the Stars.” Through their leadership, character and hard work, these impressive alumni have made exceptional contributions in their chosen fields, in their communities and at SIUE.


Terry Ganey, BA Mass Communications ’70

Terry Ganey is an award-winning journalist and bestselling author. During a 28-year career with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, he received numerous regional reporting awards and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in investigative reporting for his disclosures of Missouri's Second Injury Fund scandal. Ganey’s two nonfiction books have appeared on the New York Times Best Sellers list, and he served as the collaborating writer with U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill on her political memoir. Ganey was a member of the first class of SIUE graduates to earn a bachelor’s in mass communications. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves shortly before graduation and was honorably discharged in 1976. In 2003, Ganey covered U.S. Army operations in Iraq and recounted the chaos that had enveloped Baghdad. He holds a master’s in journalism from the University of Missouri.


Terry Ganey

Kathleen Madigan, BA Mass Communications ’88

Kathleen Madigan is one of the most respected comedians of her generation. After more than three decades in the industry, Madigan continues to sell out theaters across the country and around the world with her stand-up act during which she has “all but perfected the art of crafting and delivering a perfect joke,” according to the Chicago Tribune. After earning a bachelor’s in mass communications, Madigan decided to try stand-up comedy at the St. Louis Funny Bone Comedy Club’s open mic night. Before long, she was performing at Funny Bone comedy clubs across the country. Today, Madigan is still traveling the country 250 nights a year while squeezing in appearances on late night talk shows and performing at international comedy festivals. She has released five highly-rated comedy specials, with a sixth scheduled for release in early 2023.


Kathleen Madigan

Faculty Highlights

Dr. Howard Rambsy

Rambsy Earns SIUE’s Distinguished Research Professor Rank

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A faculty member in the Department of English Language and Literature, Howard Rambsy II, PhD, known for his depth of expertise and experience in the field of African American literary studies, achieved SIUE’s highest academic rank of Distinguished Research Professor in fall 2021, making him the first Black professor at SIUE to do so.

The distinction and award only add to what many at the University and elsewhere believe and feel about him – that he is an illustrious educator with years of innovative scholarship, culturally-based research, creative teaching and substantial mentoring to his credit.

Rambsy teaches courses in American and African American literature. Since joining the SIUE faculty, he has received approximately $1 million in external grant funding, where he has served as principal investigator (PI) or co-PI. His research has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Illinois Humanities Council.  

Since he arrived at SIUE in 2003, Rambsy has published two books The Black Arts Enterprise (2011) and Bad Men: Creative Touchstones of Black Writers (2020). He has published 25 scholarly articles on African American literature and culture, and he edited or co-edited four special issues of scholarly journals. 

Rambsy has curated several exhibits featuring black artistic culture in a variety of places, including Illinois, Missouri, Virginia, and Ibadan, Nigeria. He has co-developed and directed two Summer Institutes on Frederick Douglass in 2019 and 2021.

Rambsy’s primary reason for coming to SIUE was the opportunity to work with Dr. Eugene B. Redmond, SIUE emeritus professor of English and East St. Louis poet laureate. SIUE’s Lovejoy Library opened the Eugene B. Redmond Collection and Learning Center in 2015. Rambsy continues to embed the scholarship of Redmond in his teachings of literature. 

 “Dr. Rambsy is an especially prolific scholar who has produced an impactful body of work in African American Studies,” said Jerry Weinberg, PhD, associate provost for research and dean of the SIUE Graduate School. “Notably, in addition to garnering the attention of his scholarly community, Dr. Rambsy is a remarkable public scholar. Through his books, presentations, invited talks and many funded grants, he has introduced numerous people outside of academia to African American studies. As a dedicated teacher-scholar, he also brings his remarkable work into his classes, which creates a richness to his teaching that is one of the hallmarks of SIUE.”
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DiSalvo Awarded Prestigious NSF CAREER Award for Bacteriophage Research

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In early 2021, Susanne DiSalvo, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, received the highly competitive National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award totaling $463,557.

The award supports her research entitled, “Population and evolutionary dynamics of bacteriophage-symbiont-host interactions: Development of a multi-layered model microbiome,” the findings of which will elucidate virus-host evolution and may inform alternative strategies for treating bacterial infections. The funding will allow DiSalvo to train several graduate and undergraduate students in hands-on inquiry-based research while learning valuable scientific skills and directly contributing to novel discoveries.

“I feel incredibly fortunate,” said DiSalvo. “This grant will fund a long-term project in my lab integrating bacteriophages (viruses of bacteria) into my research program which focuses on bacterial infections in an amoeba host system. Bacteriophages are highly ubiquitous in the environment and play a powerful role on bacterial prevalence and evolution. With the rise of antibiotic resistance, interest in using phages to treat bacterial infections has magnified, but their long-term efficacy and their potential to drive the evolution of their bacterial targets within a treated individual is not well understood. This project seeks to illuminate the dynamic outcomes of phage treatment in a tractable model system.”

“The CAREER grant is the NSF’s most prestigious award a faculty member can receive in their early career,” said Jerry Weinberg, PhD, associate provost for research and dean of the Graduate School. “This award is recognition of Dr. DiSalvo’s achievements, as well as NSF’s investment in her potential for advancing knowledge and education in her area of research.”

DiSalvo underscores the importance of publicly investing in science, the value of which has become obvious amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The fact that there are effective vaccines against Sars-Cov-2 within a year of its emergence is a product of decades of research in both basic and translational science,” she explained. “This would not have been possible without federally funded research and infrastructure. The current emphasis on supporting science makes me optimistic about our future, specifically for training future scientists who can go on to solve future challenges.”       

Funding from the NSF CAREER Award will allow DiSalvo to train several students in hands-on inquiry-based research.

“I will be able to support graduate and undergraduate students in my research lab with these funds and integrate key research elements into my teaching courses – specifically microbiology and virology,” DiSalvo said.

Susanne DiSalvo, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences

Carol Colaninno, PhD, research associate professor in the SIUE STEM Center and adjunct professor in the Department of Anthropology

Colaninno Leads Efforts to Reduce and Prevent Sexual Harassment and Assault in New National Role

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Carol Colaninno, PhD, research associate professor in the SIUE STEM Center and adjunct professor in the Department of Anthropology, was named the first Sexual Harassment and Assault Reduction and Prevention (SHARP) Coordinator for the Southeastern Archaeological Conference (SEAC) Executive Committee.

According to Colaninno, research demonstrates that archeologists, primarily students and early career professionals who identify as female, experience sexual harassment and assault at alarming rates. With the creation of this critical position, SEAC is prioritizing efforts to reduce and prevent the frequency at which its members are subjected to sexual harassment and assault.

“I am excited about this appointment, as it allows me to have a broader understanding of how the discipline can respond to issues of harassment and what we can do to support students and professionals who experience harassment,” Colaninno said.

She is uniquely qualified to serve in this critical new position, given her work as principal investigator of a collaborative research project aimed at preventing sexual harassment from occurring during undergraduate field-based courses, specifically in the field of archeology. The project, “Evidence-based Transformation of Undergraduate Field Schools to Promote Safety and Inclusivity,” is funded by a $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.

“My research focuses on how instructors of field schools can make their field schools safer and more inclusive for students by reducing and preventing behavior that is considered harassment and/or sexual harassment,” Colaninno explained. “I have spent hours interviewing field school instructors to see how they try to create an environment free of harassment, and I’ve also interviewed students to see what they perceive as effective. This research has given me a unique perspective on the full range of positions people have when developing and implementing practices and policies, and how people feel affected by those policies and practices. I also have a unique understanding of where archaeological instructors, students, and professionals need support when it comes to handling issues of harassment.”

Colaninno will lead efforts that support SEAC’s commitment to creating an environment where members feel comfortable, safe and free from harassing behavior. Efforts will include coordinating workshops at annual meetings, developing and piloting a code of conduct for the annual meeting, and conducting research to investigate if these efforts are reducing the number of archeologists who are subjected to harassment.
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Petrocelli Honored with CAS’ Most Distinguished Award

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Matthew Petrocelli, PhD, professor in the Department of Criminal Justice Studies, received the 2021 William and Margaret Going Endowed Professorship Award, which is bestowed upon faculty who have produced outstanding scholarship and connected that scholarship in fundamental ways to their teaching and transformed students’ lives.

In April 2022, he presented the Going Public Lecture titled “Reconceptualizing Police Use of Force: A call for change in police culture, policy and training” outlining how police departments and policy makers can better address national concerns about how and why police use force in the wake of the George Floyd verdict.

“Dr. Petrocelli has compiled a remarkable record as both a scholar and a teacher,” said CAS Dean Kevin Leonard, PhD. “His research, the results of which include three books and many articles in influential journals, has made a lasting contribution to the academic understanding of policing. His careful approach to evidence and analysis in his scholarship carries over into his teaching. Students acknowledge that he holds them to high standards, but they praise his clarity and support in helping them to succeed.”

Throughout his career, Petrocelli’s research has contributed to important breakthroughs in policing research, such as racial profiling and the idea of continuum of force in which use of force by police officers is conceptualized as a linear progression from the mere presence of a police officer through the use of hands-on techniques, less-than-lethal force weapons and lethal force.

“My contribution to the notion of the use of force continuum has helped enable the policing community to reform its use of force policies and give officers more concrete steps to take predicated on the suspect resistance they are facing,” Petrocelli explained. “In the early 2000s, no one really knew the extent to which racial profiling was being utilized in the U.S., and I happened to be in the right place at the right time to empirically document that nefarious practice, which, along with other studies, led to widespread changes in how police conduct traffic stops.”

This research led Petrocelli to publish his first book, “Anatomy of a Motor Vehicle Stop,” which blended theory and practice to show police officers proper, legally-validated methods of traffic enforcement and is now an academy text for dozens of police agencies, including the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center.

His latest research surrounds police officer training and how to better establish wellness programs for police officers.

Matthew Petrocelli, PhD, professor in the Department of Criminal Justice Studies

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“Clumsy” Pumpkin Toadlets Gain International Attention Thanks to SIUE Researcher

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A small frog made big headlines thanks to the intriguing findings of researchers led by Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s Richard Essner, PhD. 

Comparable in size to the end of a pencil, or approximately one centimeter in length, Pumpkin Toadlets’ tiny nature, notably their semicircular canals, is making them clumsy when they jump with the inability to land gracefully, according to the researchers. 

Essner, a professor in the SIUE College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Biological Sciences, collaborated with researchers from Edge Hill University in England, Universidade Federal do Paraná in Brazil, and the Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida in Gainesville. 

Their work was published in the prestigious, open-access scholarly journal Science Advances. 

“We discovered that this group of miniaturized frogs from Brazil, known as Pumpkin Toadlets, are unable to control their landings,” Essner said. “We think that their unusual landing behavior results from the small size of their semicircular canals, which are used to detect angular acceleration.” 

During his time as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, Essner developed an interest in the jumping and landing behavior of a group of frogs known as leiopelmatids, which branched off from other frogs over 200 million years ago. At the time, most of what was known about frog locomotion was based on frog species commonly available but not evolutionarily informative. His team filmed the frogs in his lab at SIUE and determined they lacked the controlled landings of other frogs, meaning they did not fold up their hindlimbs in midair and land forelimbs-first. This provided evidence that the evolution of jumping was a two-step process with jumping appearing first and controlled landings appearing later. 

“In the future, we’d like to examine jumping in other groups of miniaturized frogs and juveniles from small frogs,” explained Essner. “We’d also like to examine soft tissues associated with the vestibular system and collaborate with neurophysiologists to investigate the neural control of locomotion in miniaturized frogs.”  

Because disorders of the vestibular system are common in humans, Essner asserts that having an animal model of naturally occurring vestibular dysfunction could be useful for future scientific research. 

Richard Essner, PhD, professor in the Department of Biological Sciences

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SIUE’s O'Brien Receives 2021 American Chemical Society St. Louis Award

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Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Professor of Chemistry Leah O’Brien, PhD, won the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) St. Louis Section 2021 Saint Louis Award. 

The Saint Louis Award, originally sponsored by Monsanto Co., now Bayer, is presented to an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the profession of chemistry and demonstrated the potential to further advance the profession. The award consists of a $1,500 honorarium and a plaque.

An SIUE chemistry faculty member within the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) since August 1990, O’Brien has been making important contributions to determine and understand the molecular electronic structure of diatomic transition metal ligand molecules and their excited states. These studies guide the development of high-level computational methods to predict the properties of new molecules and materials. Her work has provided fundamental insights into the nature of metal bonding involved in chemical synthesis and catalysis, as well as the structure and properties of the nucleus important in nuclear physics known as electronic field shift effects. 

“Dr. O’Brien’s selection for the St. Louis Section ACS Award confirms what SIUE students and faculty have known for many years—that she is an outstanding teacher and scholar who has made valuable contributions to the discipline of chemistry,” said CAS Dean Kevin Leonard, PhD. “I had the good fortune to work with Dr. O’Brien when she was the chair of SIUE’s Department of Chemistry, and I quickly came to appreciate her careful attention to detail, her dedication to students and faculty colleagues in the department, and her commitment to the advancement of women and members of underrepresented communities in STEM fields.

“This recognition reminds us that the Department of Chemistry and the College of Arts and Sciences offer SIUE students the opportunity to learn alongside excellent researchers. Our students emerge from the labs of Dr. O’Brien and her colleagues with the knowledge and skills necessary to move directly into positions in industry or into graduate programs.”

O’Brien is an active member of the St. Louis ACS section where she has served in various governance positions including section chair and founded the Women Chemists Committee. She has also been an advocate for women and underrepresented minorities in STEM within the St. Louis ACS section, at SIUE and in the local community.

 Leah O’Brien, PhD, Professor in the Department of Chemistry

College Highlights

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The IRIS Center Promotes DEI Through New, Innovative Programming

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CODES Project Welcomes First Cohort in Fall 2022

The Interdisciplinary Research and Informatics Scholarship (IRIS) Center is working to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in the study of humanities and social sciences through new, innovative programming aimed at providing a more equitable future and combating challenges brought on by the pandemic.

After the center received a $100,000 National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant last year, its Community-Oriented Digital Engagement Scholars (CODES) project welcomed its first cohort and their families to campus this fall.

CODES is an innovative, first of its kind general education program comprising 25 students and is designed for first-generation, Black, Latinx, and/or Pell-eligible students who are interested in research and active learning and are committed to taking action in the community.

Every aspect of the program involves students working in research teams, thereby creating a tight-knit learning community. The students’ research will address topics such as mental health crises, racial justice and the human dimensions of climate change, all of which will be embedded within a community focus.

The students research will focus in Alton, working with the community partners of National Great Rivers Research and Education Center, YWCA of Southwestern Illinois and National Council of Negro Women Alton Section.

RISE-DH Project Receives $100K NEH/SSRC Grant

In 2022, a new experiential learning and training program for 150 African American students at SIUE, Realizing Inclusive Student Engagement in the Digital Humanities (RISE-DH), received a $100,000 grant supported by the NEH and the Social Science Research Council (SSRC).

RISE-DH helps address the digital divide of people of color and the digital humanities. The program has three goals:  

  • To engage African American students in the study of Black literature and culture using digital humanities methods that will help them develop 21st century skills and imagine careers in the humanities and social science
  • To support incoming students who are struggling to feel connected to the University in the wake of the pandemic 
  • To create equitable access to high-impact practices.
“The RISE-DH fellows will engage with four established projects, giving them the opportunity to learn more about the field of ethnography, linguistic archiving, community engagement, literature, and technical cultural remix,” said principal investigator (PI) Jessica DeSpain, PhD, co-director of the IRIS Center.

Along with the established projects, RISE-DH will also have a peer mentorship component to the program that will connect senior and incoming students on campus. The program will begin in fall 2022 with its first cohort.
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African American Literary Studies at SIUE Outpaces English Departments Nationwide

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The African American Literary Studies (AALS) unit within the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of English Language and Literature has expanded its group of professors with expertise in Black literature and literary history. 

AALS currently offers approximately 15 African American-related courses and provides more classes on Black subject matter than almost any other English department in the country, according to Howard Rambsy II, PhD, English Language and Literature professor and AALS faculty, who specializes in Black poetry, contemporary African-American literature, comic books, and Black men writers. 

“I have always been proud of the fact that we teach such a wide array of African-American literary and cultural studies courses,” said Rambsy, who began at SIUE in 2003. “And just as important, I’m excited that we have enrolled so many Black students, approximately 200-250, in our classes each year.” 

Other AALS faculty include: 

  • Tisha Brooks, PhD, associate professor, with specialties in 19th century African-American literature, religion and spirituality, autobiography, travel writing, and slavery’s legacy in literature and film
  • Elizabeth Cali, PhD, associate professor, with specialties in 19th century African-American literature, Black women writers and editors, and Black print culture studies
  • Donavan Ramon, PhD, assistant professor, with specialties in Literatures of the African Diaspora, African-American Literature, Narratives of Racial Passing, Critical Race Theory and American Literature
  • Cindy Reed, PhD, assistant professor, with specialties in representations of Black girlhood, creativity, and urban space in 20th and 21st century African-American literature 
AALS has a rich history of building knowledge concerning literary art and culture. 

In recent years, AALS has offered such courses as African American Women’s Writing, Black Girl Magic, African American Religious Perspectives, Black Lives Matter, and the Black Fantastic Imagination.  In addition, classes offered have been devoted to individual figures such as Toni Morrison, Ta-Nehisi Coates and Jay-Z. 

AALS courses contribute to English, General Education, Black Studies, and Women’s Studies requirements, and give students opportunities to explore a wider range of texts in the American and global literary canon, cited Rambsy. 

 “In addition, students who take the courses,” said Brooks, “engage in critical conversations about legacies of racial and gendered violence, injustice, and practices of freedom that are necessary for navigating and transforming our current world.”
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The Center for Predictive Analytics Introduces Data Science Internship Program

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Real-world applications are essential to college student development, specifically for those pursuing data sciences. Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s Center for Predictive Analytics’ (C-PAN) Data Science Internship (DSI) Program is providing students with the opportunity to gain applied experience in data analysis to prepare for their future careers while aiding the local region with affordable and novel data solutions.

C-PAN was founded in 2019 to support the growing need for big data and machine learning solutions on the SIUE campus and surrounding area. By assisting campus researchers and local industries, C-PAN provides innovative data analysis solutions and real-world training opportunities to the next generation of data scientists.

C-PAN is currently recruiting graduate and undergraduate student interns to provide data analysis skills for a variety of projects. Student interns at the undergraduate level gain exposure to real-world datasets while receiving hands-on training they can utilize in their future careers. Graduate student interns work on data science projects while serving as project managers and coordinating teams of undergraduate students.

“What we are finding with training students in data science is that coursework is invaluable and has its rightful place, but students also need hands-on training in order to develop the data skills they’ll need in the workplace,” said C-PAN Director Carolyn Butts-Wilmsmeyer, PhD. “The DSI Program will help students develop those important job skills before they graduate.”

Within the DSI Program, interns can expect to conduct data analysis, compile data, help researchers find and evaluate data analysis tools, help others understand their analysis, and troubleshoot coding errors in R, SAS, Python, Excel, and Business Intelligence software.

C-PAN Director Carrie Butts-Wilmsmeyer (center) mentors DSI students Courtney Flach (right) and Elijah Florence (left) as they work on data analyses. Geography major Courtney Flach, of Montrose, is C-PAN’s inaugural DSI graduate student. Flach applies her background in math, computer science, and geography to solve complex data problems while mentoring undergraduate students.

“Through C-PAN, I have had the opportunity to work with several different types of data, been exposed to different methods, and gained experience interpreting data and reporting it in a way that others can understand,” said Flach. “These are valuable skills in preparing for a future career that I would have not otherwise gained.”
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SIUE University Museum Awarded $153K Museums for America Grant

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The University Museum at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville was awarded a two-year $153,459 grant by the Institute of Museum and Library Services as part of their Museums for America program.

With the funding from this award, the Museum will improve its collections stewardship by implementing the second stage of the Museum Collections Inventory Project, during which museum staff, graduate assistants and grant funded research assistants will inventory approximately 10,000 objects from the ethnographic collections from the continents of South America, Asia, Africa and Oceania.

The project will include identifying and recording undocumented objects found in these collections, completing digital photographic documentation, improving basic storage stabilization, and gathering condition information for each object inventoried. It will also provide a foundation for increased intellectual control and preservation of the Museum’s ethnographic collections and expand the accessibility of the collections and associated data for both research and educational purposes.

With the goal of completing a full physical inventory by 2025, the Museum will increase staff capacity and collections expertise by hiring temporary full-time research assistants, which will accelerate and consolidate this portion of the inventory project.

“The value of the University Museum can be measured on multiple scales and differently by the many communities it serves,” said Erin Vigneau-Dimick, executive curator of the SIUE University Museum. “Its cultural resources are unmatched in the southwestern Illinois region. It is a virtual ‘hidden treasure’ of cultural capital that can be deployed to support the University’s values of creation, preservation and sharing of knowledge in conjunction with its mission of cultural inclusiveness and diversity.”

Gorgets are meticulously labeled and filed for safekeeping in the SIUE University Museum. The collections include items of many sizes, materials and traditions ranging from archaeological artifacts to examples of 20th century material culture. Each has the potential to delineate the rich cultural traditions of people from throughout the ages and around the world for the campus faculty, staff and students and members of the surrounding southwestern Illinois community.

“This project has direct benefits to the long and short-term care of the Museum’s collections, and the data collected will serve as an essential step in the Museum’s strategic plan goal of establishing intellectual control,” Vigneau-Dimick explained.