Field Contributions: WIU Prof Chairs National Counseling Conference in QCs

WIU counselor education students and faculty

WIU Counselor Education Professor Rebecca Newgent (in pink shirt) and (L to R) Rona Galica (Rock Island, IL), Molly Watkins (Davenport, IA), and Julie Churchill (Davenport, IA) at the AARC National Conference in Moline. Galica, Watkins, and Churchill are master’s degrees candidates in the Western Illinois University Department of Counselor Education and helped Dr. Newgent plan and organize the conference as Newgent’s conference chair committee.

In early September, Dr. Rebecca Newgent, professor in Western Illinois University’s Department of Counselor Education, served as the chair for the Association for Assessment and Research in Counseling‘s national conference. Held at the iWireless Center in downtown Moline (IL), the event drew participants from 27 states and many different institutions.

“She did an excellent job organizing the event and received rave reviews for the venue and content,” noted Lloyd Kilmer, assistant dean of the College of Education and Human Services at the WIU-QC campus.

Recently, Dr. Newgent provided an overview of how one goes about organizing such a large gathering for fellow counseling educators and counselors, all the while keeping up with the daily demands of being a university faculty member.

Q: Can you provide a little background about the AARC’s National Assessment and Research Conference?

Newgent: The Association for Assessment and Research in Counseling (AARC), a division of the American Counseling Association, is an organization of counselors, educators and other professionals that advance the counseling profession by promoting best practices in assessment, research and evaluation in counseling. The purpose of the AARC’s National Assessment and Research Conference is to advance the mission of AARC by promoting and recognizing excellence in assessment, research and evaluation in counseling. The benefits of the AARC conference include professional development, professionalization, research and knowledge, human development, public awareness and collaboration.

Professional counselors, counselor educators, researcher and educators attend. It is held annually in various cities throughout the country. This was the first time the conference was held in the Midwest, and we had attendees from 27 states and almost doubled the attendance from prior conferences.

Q: How did your chairperson position of the National Assessment and Research Conference come about?

Newgent: Each year the executive board of AARC accepts proposals from members to chair and host the next conference. With the help of the Quad Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Quad Cities was selected—over major cities around the country—for the 2014 conference. We began this process approximately 14 months prior to the conference.

Q: What the benefits of chairing the conference for you as Western Illinois University professor? for your students?

AARC Conference Keynote Speaker Thank You

Dr. Thelma Duffey, president-elect of the American Counseling Association, receiving her “Thank You” gift after her keynote speech at the AARC’s National Assessment and Research 2014 Conference, which was chaired by WIU Counselor Education Professor Rebecca Newgent (in the pink). Pictured with Dr. Duffey and Dr. Newgent is Dr. Shawn Spurgeon, president of the Association for Assessment and Research in Counseling.

Newgent: As a university professor, it was an honor to chair the conference. As chair, I was able to highlight my department and Western to my colleagues across the country. My students also benefited, in that they were exposed to national leaders; several came to classes to talk with my students about their leadership roles. Additionally, WIU had the largest number of student attendees at the conference, where they were exposed to cutting-edge information about assessment and research and also had the opportunity to meet the president-elect of the American Counseling Association, Dr. Thelma Duffey, our keynote speaker.

Q: What are the duties of the conference chair?

Newgent: In AARC, the conference chair must wear multiple hats. From the submission of the proposal to host/chair the conference through the post conference accounting, the chair is involved in every aspect. Fortunately, we have a great conference model to follow. The role was intensive for the entire 14+ month period, but fortunately I had a great committee of graduate students who made my job much easier.

Q: How do juggle those duties with your instruction and other scholarly work as a WIU faculty member?

Newgent: It was certainly not easy juggling my conference chair duties with my faculty position. It was not uncommon for me to work into the wee hours of the morning and all weekend just to make sure that I was keeping up with all of my responsibilities. Would I do it again? Ask me in a couple of years!

Q: Any other info. that you would like shared/highlighted about the conference and your work with the AARC for it?

Newgent: Personally, I love being associated with AARC. This association provides me with valuable information, tools and a network of colleagues that are leaders in the field of counseling. Over the years, I have increased my involvement with AARC. In addition to having chaired the 2014 national conference, I am the editor of Counseling Outcome Research and Evaluation, a national peer-reviewed journal published by SAGE in association with AARC.

Next year, AARC will celebrate its 50th birthday and the conference will be in Memphis, TN.

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Working for Western at Western: Beu Health Ed’s Grad Student Andy Lehr Talks Experience

Andy Lehr, WIU College Student Personnel Graduate Student

Andy Lehr, a graduate student in Western Illinois University’s College Student Personnel Program, is pictured here at the University Union in March, where he helped Beu Health Education with the implementation of Kick Butts Day, a national event sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids. The event increases awareness about the hazards of smoking and using tobacco.

As Spring 2013 Commencement Weekend commences at Western, many soon-to-be WIU alumni are looking toward the world of work that lie ahead. And while it may be daunting to go out into wilds of the job market (particularly in a still-recovering U.S. economy) with not-so-much work experience, many students—both undergraduate and graduate—have had the chance to gain experience working in some capacity for WIU. Andy Lehr is one of those students.

A graduate student in Western’s College Student Personnel program, Andy has been working for Beu Health Education this past semester. He will continue his post at Beu Health Ed in Fall 2013, too. (He also serves as the assistant complex director at Tanner Hall for WIU Housing and Dining Services.)

When I met Andy earlier this year, he was filled with positive energy and ideas about how to help Beu Health Education with its outreach efforts. Recently, he took some time out of his busy grad-student schedule to answer some questions about what he does for Beu and how the experience has helped him acquire skills that he’ll be able to use when he finishes his master’s program.

Q.) What do you do for Beu Health Education?
I am a practicum student for Beu Health Education. It is a requirement of the College Student Personnel master’s degree program that I am in here at Western. As a practicum student, I work for Beu Health Education for eight hours a week.

Q.) What kinds of duties/tasks do you do for Beu Health Education?
My main role is to manage the social media for the office. I work with Twitter and Facebook in order to help and send different health and wellness information out to the WIU community and anyone else that wants to follow Beu Health Ed. I have also assisted in the facilitation of the training for the certified peer education program, Students T.A.L.K., that Beu Health Education offers. In addition to those things, I also sit in on a variety of meetings (such as the weekly update meetings for the AOD [Alcohol and Other Drug] Center and Beu Health Education).

Follow Beu Health Ed on Twitter @BeuHealthEd

Follow Beu Health Ed on Twitter @BeuHealthEd

Q.) How do you use social media to help disseminate info. to students at WIU?
I use social media to get quick health and wellness facts out to all of those that follow us on Twitter and Facebook. I try to focus on one certain topic each week and then Tweet four or five facts and tips a day about the topic. The topics usually align with “Stall Talk,” which are put out weekly by Liz Andrews, the Beu Health Education graduate assistant.

Through the Beu Health Ed Twitter account, I also follow many other health and wellness sites that offer quality information, and I will often retweet that information out to the WIU community. I have also found that using social media to promote different events happening on campus, (Beu Health Ed related events or general campus events) is a great way to help get the word out and support other departments across the WIU campus.

Q.) What are some of the most rewarding/informative experiences you’ve had in your work for Beu Health Education?
So far, the most rewarding thing has been getting to work in a department outside of what I have been used to. Most of my previous work has been focused on residence life, and it has been very exciting for me have this new experience. Getting to work with Liz Andrews, JoAnn Hairston-Jones [Beu Health Education Coordinator], and everyone else that I have been able to work with, has been a really great experience. I enjoy being able to build new relationships and meeting new people, and without this practicum opportunity, I probably would not have had the opportunity to meet the great people who work in Beu Health Education.

Along with social media, I have come across a lot of other useful information because of working with Beu Health Education. Beu’s Health Education Office promotes the health and wellness of students here at WIU in many different ways. As a student, I try to take advantage of some of the services that are offered. For example, there is a stress-management technique called “Freeze-Frame,” which is used here, and I have been able to use that myself to try and help manage my own stress. Also, while doing research to find information that I want to tweet about, I have been able to increase my knowledge on the different aspects of wellness.

It has been a great experience for me to work for an office that focuses on health and wellness, because I feel everything that I work on I can relate to my own life in some way. I mean, I’m sure that a lot of people talk about stress, health, and wellness in their daily conversations with their co-workers, but I don’t know how many other opportunities exist where the goal of the office is to promote different health and wellness techniques and information. I’m really grateful to have been given this opportunity, and I enjoy the hours that I am able to come into the office each week to work.

Q). How do you think your work for/with Beu Health Education will help you in your future career?
First, I feel as though working with social media will turn out to be an important experience. We are living in a world today where the many different types of social media play an important role in our lives. People seem to be attached to their phones, constantly checking for Facebook and Twitter updates. While some may view this as a negative aspect—given that it seems as though there can be a dependence on technology at times—it is also a great opportunity to do a lot of good. If there are good messages that can be sent out through different outlets of social media, it is important to be using those in the right way.

I think the experiences I have had so far this semester have taught me some of the tools necessary to know how to use social media for good reasons. To have an understanding of social media and how to use it effectively, I think could be very important for me moving forward in whatever it is that I do.

Q). What are your future career plans?
Even though I am working toward my master’s degree in Western’s College Student Personnel program, I am still not sure what my future career plans really are. I decided to pursue this degree because I love working with others and especially because of the opportunity to be able to work on a college campus. College just seems to be such a fun and unique environment to be in, so I can see myself continuing to work in some capacity in student affairs. I’m not sure where I will end up after completing my master’s program here, but I know I want to be working with others in a position where I am able to make a positive impact on others’ lives.

Q). Anything else you think should be included/highlighted I didn’t ask you about?
I would just like to share that there are so many great opportunities and services offered here in Beu Health Education. I hope that students continue to utilize the different resources offered from this office. I wasn’t very aware of Beu Health Education before I became a practicum student here, but after working and seeing everything that goes on here, I now know there are some great services and resources that are beneficial to the WIU community. There are different outreach programs and presentations throughout the year, which are often conducted and implemented by student leaders from Beu Health Ed, and then there are also individual consultations available to help handle concerns, such as sleep management and tobacco cessation.

I encourage everyone to check out the office to see if there are any services provided that may be beneficial, even if only in a small way, to their daily health and well-being. Other than that, just make sure to follow us on Twitter @BeuHealthEd! And thank you very much for taking the time to let me share my experiences!

Playing for more than a score

That Peachey Thing: Western Shootout Game

On April 16, Western alum Joe Peachey’s game for iPhones and iPads, “Western Shootout,” was released via the iTunes App Store. Peachey, who finished his M.S. in WIU’s School of Computer Sciences last fall, said not only will 50 percent of the profits from “Western Shootout” be donated to the National Brain Tumor Society, but the apps and games he builds and sells through his new company, That Peachey Thing, will also all support a specific charity.

For avid gamers, the gaming experience — advancing to higher and higher levels, as well as achieving higher and higher scores — often drive the desire to play. But for Western Illinois University alumnus Joe Peachey, a game he recently published in Apple’s iTunes App Store, his desire to design a game that enables gamers to “play for something bigger” started with his own experience with a malignant brain tumor he had as a child and with a course he took in his graduate program in Western’s School of Computer Sciences.

On April 16, Peachey’s game, “Western Shootout” was released via iTunes. Peachey, who finished his M.S. in computer science last fall, said not only will 50 percent of the profits from “Western Shootout” be donated to a worthy cause (the National Brain Tumor Society), but the apps and games he builds and sells through his new company, That Peachey Thing, will also all support a specific charity.

“The idea behind ‘That Peachey Thing’ is to give 50 percent of the profits from any app made to a specific charity,” Peachey noted. “Each app will support a different cause. This way, others may play for something they feel passionate about. The idea is to let people play for something bigger than just high scores.”

Recently, Peachey provided some background about his new game, how he started it, and why he started his new company.

Western Shootout by Joe Peachey

Western Shootout can be purchased/downloaded from iTunes for iPhones and iPads. See the game preview at itunes.apple.com/us/app/western-shootout/id513810420.

Q). Tell me a little bit about yourself and your background at WIU: How did you get into building games? What are your professional pursuits in computer sciences and/or game development?

My undergraduate degree is in psychology with a minor in computer science from Olivet Nazarene University. After graduation, I decided to pursue my master’s degree in computer science. I am from the Midwest, and WIU allowed me the convenience of being close to home with an opportunity to be a research assistant and teaching assistant.

Originally, my plan was to study network security. During my last semester, I took Computer Graphics 465G. This class piqued my interest and laid the groundwork for my first app, “Western Shootout.” In February, I set up a small business, That Peachey Thing, to make apps and games. I recently took a job with Tata Consultancy Services as an iOS developer. I will be working on enterprise level iPad/iPhone applications.

Western Shootout by Joe Peachey: Game Play

Peachey’s “Western Shootout” game started as a project for his Computer Graphics 465G course. “I needed a final project that involved logic or a game. My friend and I were talking about learning iOS development, and I decided to use the iOS platform to do my final project,” he said.

Q). What gave you the idea for “Western Shootout”? Will you eventually publish it on the Android platform?

Western Shootout started as a project for Computer Graphics 465G. I needed a final project that involved logic or a game. My friend and I were talking about learning iOS development, and I decided to use the iOS platform to do my final project. My hope was to keep the game play simple enough to learn the basics of iOS development but also make it intriguing and fun to play. It started as an idea to shoot just one cowboy. My final project was just one cowboy and the player had 10 seconds to shoot him.

After graduation, I decided to finish the project and publish it to the App Store. Now there are a total of 36 levels across three different difficulties and three shooting galleries varying in difficulty. The game’s levels are simple: shoot all the “ bad guys” before time runs out. In the shooting galleries, the objective is to get a high score by shooting as many “bad guys” as possible in two minutes. The shooting galleries are a way to compete against friends via Apple’s Game Center. Eventually, I may work a little bit in the Android space. For now I will concentrate on my job as an iOS developer and see what the future holds.

Q). Why are you donating 50 percent of the profits you earn from Western Shootout to the National Brain Tumor Society?

At the age of eight, I began to experience seizures. It was discovered two years later that the seizures were caused by a malignant brain tumor. It was not until I was 11 years old that the brain tumor was removed. This was a very challenging and difficult time in my life and the lives of my family.

A vivid memory I have is just before surgery, I looked at my worried, but smiling, mom and wanted to reassure her that I would be okay. I told her, “Don’t worry mom, if I don’t see you when I wake up, I will see you in heaven.” I will never forget the peace I had before the surgery. After surgery I was completely healed and have not had any complications since. Many friends and family were praying for me and I truly believe God saved my life for a purpose. I believe God plans to use That Peachey Thing as a way for me to help others. Giving back to the National Brain Tumor Society is just one way I can begin to give back.

Q). What did you enjoy most about the process of developing the game?

Dealing with the graphics was a lot of fun. The graphics are what got me excited about developing in the iOS environment. Making something that other people would enjoy to play is also rewarding.

Q). Any advice for students or professionals interested in developing games and/or applications (for Apple or Android platform)?

Do not be afraid to try something… just start. There are a lot of resources and people out there to help you along the way. A lot of things I learned came from blogs, stackoverflow.com, and other iOS Developers. Also, ask for help. There are a lot of people with different skills that have developed apps or want to learn more about the iOS platform. At WIU, Jacob Thurman has also developed apps for the App Store and was always willing to help. Toward the end of the development, I was getting help from a graphic artist, Jeff Barbee, and a musician, Lyndon Perry. Both were just dying to get into the iOS space. The more we collaborated; the more excited we became; therefore, the game just got better and better.

Visit That Peachey Thing at www.thatpeacheything.com

Taking ag to a whole new horizon

For WIU alumnus John Carroll, farming is a family tradition, but now his family’s tradition is to do something …non-traditional.

Carroll received his bachelor’s (business-agriculture ’02) and master’s (MBA’03) from WIU, where he met his wife, Kelly (Kaufman) Carroll ’03 (accountancy).

And while business and agriculture students may already be prepped for changing markets, Carroll is applying his educational background and family history to a whole new level: farming in Brazil.

As he explained in a recent story from the Quincy (IL) Herald-Whig, (Carroll is a native of the west central Illinois region), Carroll is now CEO of the family farming operation, which includes managing about 20,000 acres of cotton, as well as 9,000 acres of soybeans, in South America.John Carroll in Brazil

“I’d never seen a cotton plant until I went to Brazil,” Carroll said.
Carroll Farms Brazil now owns 8,000 acres and share-crops the rest with U.S. landowners in the state of Bahia, about five hours northeast of Brasilia, the country’s capitol.

Why Brazil?

And how did he get there?

To find out how a Midwestern farm boy become a CEO in another country, read the full story here.

(Check out Western’s business and agriculture programs on our web site at wiu.edu).

Math teacher ‘adds up’ to AP Teacher of Year

One of our alumni was recently listed in USA TODAY among the AP (Advanced Placement Program) Teachers of the Year!

Amy-Karen Dougan, who received a master’s degree in education from WIU in 1972, has been selected as AP Teacher of the Year for the State of Rhode Island by the Siemens Foundation. According to the Siemens Foundation, the organization provides more than $7 million annually in support of educational initiatives in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in the U.S.

Dougan teaches AP calculus at North Kingstown High School
 in North Kingston, (RI). She was featured along with the other 49 state winners in the Feb. 22 edition of USA TODAY.

USAToday Logo

Top Teachers of Top Students

According to the Siemens Foundation, one exceptional teacher per state is selected for this recognition each year to receive a $1,000 grant to his or her high school to support science and mathematics education.

Teachers with a minimum of five years of teaching experience in math, science or technology AP courses are selected for their exemplary teaching and enthusiastic dedication to students and the AP Program.

Sounds like the best kind of math teacher a high school kid could have. Congrats to Amy-Karen, and keep up the “advanced” work!

Did you know we’ve got a world-ranked disc golfer among our ranks?

photo credit: Macomb Journal

photo credit: Macomb Journal

…or even that there’s an international competition for ‘frolf‘?

That’s the story in the local news!

The McDonough County Voice, the daily newspaper serving the home city of Western Illinois University’s main campus, recently featured biology graduate student Kenny Glassman, who took ninth place in the Advanced Male division in the World Disc Golf Championship in Kansas City, Mo., over the summer. Read the full story here!

Glassman, who came to WIU from Gurnee, IL, started playing the game when he was a junior at Warren Township High School.

Learn more about Western’s biology programs–and the countless recreational options our students enjoy.

Kudos to Kenny.