WIU Chemistry Major Spends Summer in REU Program

 

MatteaScanlan

Mattea Scanlan

Western Illinois University senior chemistry major Mattea Scanlan, of Platteville, WI, spent her summer conducting research through the prestigious Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program. Scanlan was one of three WIU students chosen for the honor, which is coordinated and funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

 

The highly competitive research positions give students between $4,500-$5,000 to use for travel expenses and room and board. The opportunity allows the students to work with top scientists in their field.

 

Scanlan spent her summer at Indiana University (IU) working with IU Professor Sara Skrabalak on the synthesis of branched nanocrystals. The nine-week program ended in July.

 

“I started with a standard procedure and then varied aspects of the procedure to see how it affected the shape, size and symmetry of the final product,” said Scanlan. “At the end of the summer, I presented my research findings in a poster at the IU Materials Symposium.”

 

Scanlan said she also had the opportunity to learn more about chemistry-related topics through weekly seminars.

 

“These included things like graduate school, scientific ethics, patents and research areas of other faculty at IU,” she said. “I was able to network with the other undergraduate REU students, IU graduate students and faculty I met.”

 

Scanlan said her experiences at Western helped her during her time in Indiana.

 

“At Western, I have performed chemistry research for multiple semesters, which helped me to understand how a lab worked when I got to IU,” she said. “That allowed me to build upon the lab skills I already knew. The chemistry classes I had taken gave me the background I needed to better understand the chemistry behind the research I was doing.

 

She added that without the support of faculty and friends at WIU, she wouldn’t have had the experience necessary to be accepted to the REU program.

For more information about the REU program, visit nsf.gov/crssprgm/reu/.

Mattea2

WIU chemistry major Mattea Scanlan (right) with Indiana University Professor Sara Skrabalak at the Materials Symposim where I presented my findings (photo credit: Leah Buck).

 

Advertisements

WIU Alumna Balances Professional Life, Family

By Caitlin Meyers
University Relations Intern

Western Illinois University alumna Julie Foy (1990) is a model for WIU graduates and current students endeavoring for success in sales, marketing and human resources, while balancing a family and continuing to serve the community.

Foy has held three major positions in the retail/wholesale fashion industry since she left WIU. Foy joined Dansko Footwear’s staff in April 2014 and is currently the national accounts manager.

Prior to her current job with Dansko Footwear, Foy was the divisional merchandise manager of footwear and accessories for Lands’ End. She also worked for a privately held Midwest based retailer, where she managed multiple product categories, excelling in her many roles, and was promoted to general merchandise manager.

“It is unusual for someone to move from a successful retail career to a wholesale career. Dansko Footwear was looking for a new approach to their business and felt someone with a retail buying background would be a fresh approach,” said Foy.

As the national accounts manager, Foy manages many large retail accounts including Amazon, Dillards, Nordstrom, QVC and Zappos, just to name a few.

“I am always representing Dansko Footwear—from wearing the product every day to presenting the new products each season—partnering on a retailers Dansko sales plan to executing a marketing plan we help our retailers sell Dansko Footwear products from start to finish,” said Foy.

FullSizeRender-2

QVC is one of the national accounts that Foy manages for Dansko Footwear. She is on air at QVC when the brand is being offered for sale. Upcoming QVC appearances include Monday, Nov. 9 and Monday, Dec. 21 at 1 a.m. CST.

Foy says she attributes much of her success in her early years to her time at WIU.

Foy attended Griggsville High School in Pike County, Ill. with a graduating class of just 28.

“Being involved and attending a medium sized university was essential for my future success. I needed a balance of academic and campus involvement,” said Foy.

The desire for a medium-size student body led Foy to Macomb.

The student body was around 13,000 when Foy attended WIU in the late 1980s. According to Foy, this was perfect size to be involved in campus activities, prepare for a future career and build lifelong friendships.

Foy received a bachelor’s degree in communication, with a minor in marketing. While attending WIU, she was involved with the University Union Board, Student Government and Delta Zeta Sorority. Foy served as the Delta Zeta chapter secretary and chairperson for the Delta Zeta Illinois State Meeting, hosted at WIU in 1990.

“Like many students I worked multiple jobs to pay for my education. My campus job was working for Darrell Negley at the University Union Sign Shop. In May of 1990, I was awarded the University Union Employee of the Month. I also worked off campus as a waitress at a local restaurant,” said Foy.

Balancing work and extra-curricular activities, along with academic accomplishments was the just the beginning of what Foy needed to balance a successful career and a family.

She married her husband Jason in October 1994, and is mother to two sons, a 19-year-old named Jake and a 16-year-old named Justin, who is a junior at Rockridge High School. Foy is excited her son Jake will be transferring to WIU in Fall 2016.

FullSizeRender copy

“I am able to work from home in this position but that also means I spend a lot of time on airplanes. Each week I am traveling somewhere either to work with accounts or attend meetings in our corporate offices in West Grove, PA. I have to work on balancing all aspects of my life,” said Foy.

Although the position is demanding at times, the job also comes with many perks.

“During my career in retail buying and wholesale I have been exposed to people and brands I really never imagined. I have traveled to New York City (Manhattan) over 175 times in the last 20 years. I have crossed the street alongside of Donald and Ivanka Trump. I have sat and talked with Russel Simmons for 45 minutes and didn’t even realize who he was. I was able to see Ralph Lauren in person and was surprised to see his stature was quite small. I even once ran into Hulk Hogan in the lobby of my New York hotel. I am often times mistaken for Tina Fey, Sandra Bullock or Sarah Palin. It really just depends their current look and if I am wearing glasses or not,” said Foy.

With a busy lifestyle, Foy wanted to find a meaningful way to give back to her community using the knowledge that she has gained from her career.

“I currently manage the “Rocket Shop” for the Rockridge Boosters Organization. This means designing screen prints, ordering merchandise, managing the inventory and marketing the products. Each year we are able to keep the school spirit strong, our fans excited about ‘what is new’ at each game and raise money to support all extracurricular activities,” said Foy.

The Foy family had a scare this past year and learned that its oldest son, Jake was diagnosed Hodgkin Lymphoma. Foy said her Dansko family was very supportive and provided her with time off necessary to travel with Jake to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN for treatments.

“I can’t say enough about the support, care and flexibility Dansko provided as we were managing the unexpected,” said Foy. “Jake is now cancer-free and is looking forward to attending WIU and majoring in agricultural business. As a WIU alumna, I am ecstatic about his choice and know that his experience and career opportunities will be limitless.”

WIU Ski Trip on Lincoln’s Birthday Doubles in Size

Kickstart (Ski+Jump)

Ski-Snowstar

A collaborative project between Western Illinois University’s Campus Recreation Outdoor Pursuits program and International Studies program offered 130 members of the campus community a ski trip during Lincoln’s birthday Thursday, Feb. 12.

A combination of 128 WIU students, staff and family members traveled to Ski Snowstar Winter Sports Park in Andalusia, IL, by bus.

According to Pat McGrath, the assistant director of Aquatics and Outdoor Pursuits at Western, the trip included a mix of first-time and experiences skiers.

“Despite the daily high temperature of 16 degrees, everyone had a great time on the slopes and warming up in the lodge,” said McGrath. “We plan to continue growing the trip next year, potentially adding the opportunity for participants to snow tube, as well as ski and snowboard.”

The trip’s $30 registration fee included transportation, ski rental, a lift ticket, a one-hour ski lesson and a voucher for pizza and a drink. Students also had the chance to sample new products from Kickstart and Ubr Water, provided by Pepsi.

The number of participants in this year’s trip doubled last year’s Lincoln birthday event, which had 62 participants.

For more information about the annual trip, contact Campus Recreation at (309) 298-1228.

WIU Biology Alumnus Appears in LEGO Form

By Kolette Herndon
University Relations Student Writer

Western Illinois University alumnus Aleshia Kenney, who received her master’s degree in biology in 2004, was recently turned into LEGO form through the concept of “LEGO Ideas.” This is a platform where LEGO fans can submit new design ideas and, if approved by a popular vote, the designs will be created and sold.

Kenney is a fish and wildlife biologist at the Rock Island Ecological Services Field Office in Moline, IL. Through the Rock Island Ecological Services Field Office, Keeney works with private landowners to develop habitat restoration plans for their properties.

The recently approved design series using Kenney’s likeness is c

WIU Alumnus Aleshia Kenney, a fish and wildlife biologist, appears in LEGO form as part of a new series of scientific sets.

WIU Alumnus Aleshia Kenney, a fish and wildlife biologist, appears in LEGO form as part of a new series of scientific sets.

alled “Research Institute,” and was created by Ellen Kooijman, a geochemist and a LEGO fan, for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) Midwest Region. The plan created designs around five female scientists in an effort to get more women interested in scientific fields.

These sets are part of a series called “The Building Blocks of Women Scientists.” Kenney’s likeness and details of her career are now in LEGO form on the FWS website, Facebook, and Twitter.

A picture of the design and article can be found at http://www.fws.gov/midwest/news/WomenInScience-AleshiaKenney.html. To see the other four women scientists that were also turned into a LEGO, visit http://www.fws.gov/midwest/news/WomenInScience.html.

WIU Students, Alumni Part of Macomb Roller Derby Team

10171231_719748051381929_5640389985498060428_n

1900092_695094153847319_350306090_nBy Kolette Herndon
University Relations Student Writer

When Macomb’s roller derby team, the Macomb Bombshells, take on the Midwest Derby Divas Saturday, April 26, several Western Illinois University students and alumni will be part of the local team.

The event, which will benefit the McDonough County Special Recreation Association (MCSRA), runs from 6-9 p.m. at the Outskirts Fun Center in Macomb. The MCSRA provides positive, personal and purposeful recreation to people with disabilities in the McDonough County area.

Natalie Lister, a graduate student in psychology from Macomb, is a member of the Macomb Roller Derby team.

“I would also say that being a member of the derby team has done so much for me personally,” Lister said. “I have missed sports since I was in high school and never thought I would play on a team again. Derby has fixed that. I love the intensity of the sport and the fierce competitiveness of the teams. Even better, we play hard on the rink, but show support to the opposing team as well, getting to know them after the bout is over.”

Lister added that she enjoys giving back to charity through this upcoming event.

Participants and spectators are invited to dress as a favorite superhero, and a costume contest will take place during halftime. Kids are invited to dress up as well.

Tickets are $10 at the door; $8 for veterans, seniors and students (with an ID). Children ages 12 and under are admitted free. Concessions and merchandise will be available for purchase.

WIU Music Professor Earning Art Degree

CaldwellBy Kolette Herndon
University Relations Student Worker

Jim Caldwell, a professor in the Western Illinois University School of Music since 1985, is pursing a completely different dream that is now becoming a reality. Caldwell will graduate with a bachelor of fine arts in art degree in May after not taking an art class since sixth grade.

Caldwell teaches music theory, composition and electronic music at WIU. He is also a composer, and specializes in computer music. He is a co-director of the annual New Music Festival.

In his professional world, Caldwell is the chair of the University Personnel Committee, a former president of the WIU chapter of UPI Local 4100, was named the Distinguished Faculty Lecturer in 2009, and received the Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2005.

However, Caldwell sparked a new interest in simply learning to draw in 2004 when he began taking studio art classes in the art department. He had no art experience other than what is required in grade school and middle school. After the first few classes, Caldwell just kept going and eventually realized that he had accumulated enough credits to pursue a degree in art.

After meeting with Professor Jan Clough for advising and figuring out what courses he had left to take, Caldwell is now taking his last course requirement, an art history class. Caldwell will graduate in May and take part in undergraduate commencement while wearing his doctoral regalia. He will even have his own graduation party.

“My experience in the Art Department has been meaningful to me, and I think of myself as a visual artist, as well as a musician now,” Caldwell said. He adds that teaching has been wonderful and inspiring, and his traditional-age classmates have always made him feel welcome.

Inspired by WIU Classes, Alum Opens Her Own Business

Screen Shot 2014-03-06 at 1.22.11 PMBy Kolette Herndon
University Relations Student Writer

A recent Western Illinois University alumna was inspired so much by her classes at WIU that she has created a new organization called Real Women of the Quad Cities to help women with their self-image.

Stephanie Hoover graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences in Fall 2013 after transferring from Scott Community College (SCC) to the WIU Quad Cities campus. In the midst of her studies at WIU, she continued taking classes at SCC and took on two internships and two independent studies.

Hoover was inspired and motivated to develop her organization from within her WIU classrooms. First, she watch a video from her gender and society class, called “Killing Us Softly 4” by Jean Kilbourne, which discussed how the media and society negatively affect women and their body image. The following fall, Hoover took a women’s health class, where she began to realize how accepting herself and others was a topic that needed attention. So, Hoover began to write her ideas on what could be done and how she was going to do it, which evolved into Real Women of the Quad Cities (later shortened to Real Women LLC).

The organization began with local women replicating photos of models and actresses who had been digitally altered.

“(This is) who we are told we are suppose to look like,” Hoover said.

The images were shared over a Facebook page Hoover created. Eventually, she began receiving many messages and page ‘likes,’ and she began to take names of women who wanted to model for the organization. Women were interested in blogging for the organization as well.

Hoover hired five local photographers to take pictures of women who had volunteered. The idea was to compare the images of what society says women should look like to how they actually are.

Assistant Professors Tammy Werner and Nancy Schaefer from the classes in which Hoover was inspired helped her create an independent study on body image for Spring 2013, which won first place at the Macomb campus Undergraduate Research Day in sociology.

Now, after graduating, Hoover has written a business plan and is pairing with Mando Murga, a former WIU business graduate, to apply for grants in hopes of renting an office and hiring staff.

Hoover is fulfilling her dream of being her own boss and plans to put her strong and personality to good use in standing up for the beliefs that she and others hold. She is currently editing her third book, which she won an award for from WIU in Spring 2012.

To learn more about Real Women of the Quad Cities, visit realwomenofthequadcities.com or visit the organization’s Facebook page at facebook.com/pages/Real-Women-of-the-Quad-Cities/438737702829430.