Goodbye to the Class of 2018
On May 13, the College of Applied Health Sciences awarded more than 700 doctoral, master’s, and bachelor’s degrees in Community Health, Interdisciplinary Health Sciences, Kinesiology, Speech and Hearing Science, and Recreation, Sport and Tourism. Dr. Susan Farner, lecturer in the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health, carried the AHS gonfalon.
Dr. Farner retired in May after mentoring thousands of Community Health undergraduate and graduate students for 15 years. She received both the college and campus awards this year for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching-Specialized Faculty. Raebekkah Pratt-Clarke, a Bronze Tablet graduate of the Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism, was this year’s student speaker. Among those fellow graduates who listened to her inspiring words were the following:
Alexis will pursue a master’s degree in Exercise Science with a concentration in Exercise Oncology at the University of Toronto.
As an undergraduate research assistant in Dr. Linda Trinh’s Exercise Oncology Lab, she studied the effects of exercise versus behavioral counseling coupled with supervised physical activity in encouraging prostate cancer survivors to maintain national physical activity guidelines. She will continue to work with Dr. Trinh at the University of Toronto.
A Dean’s List honoree, Alexis received a Legacy Scholarship and a Kendall County Sheriff’s Association Awards Scholarship.
“I will miss the friendships I have gained throughout my time here. Many of us have been together for four plus years, and it will be difficult going from seeing these people every day to once every blue moon. I will miss the professors, as they have helped me a lot. I will never forget how willing they were to be mentors and to guide me to success. I will miss the advisors, as they genuinely cared about our outcomes. There are many things I can truly say I would have not been able to do without the help of the university. This campus really made my college experience most enjoyable.”
Garett begins studies toward a medical degree this fall at the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Peoria.
Garett worked with Dr. Marni Boppart in the Molecular Muscle Physiology lab, where he assisted in research on pericytes, a type of stem cell associated with vasculature, and worked to develop a stem cell therapy for patients with immobilized limbs.
During his time at Illinois, he was a Chancellor's Scholar and Edmund J. James Scholar. He also received a Stamps Scholarship, the most selective scholarship at Illinois. He spent last summer conducting research at the Mayo Clinic and received the AHS James Scholar Award for commitment to research.
“The thing I will miss the most is having brunch with my friends after a hard week of studying for exams.”
Raebekkah will pursue a master’s degree in Sport Management at the University of Michigan.
Raebekkah completed her undergraduate studies in three years, graduating as a Bronze Tablet honoree with highest honors in the College of Applied Health Sciences. She was on the Dean’s List every semester and an Edmund J. James Scholar throughout her undergraduate career. She also was a scholar in the Mannie L. Jackson Illinois Academic Enrichment and Leadership Program (I-LEAP) and received the 2018 I-LEAP Outstanding Senior Award. Raebekkah served an internship with the Mcdonald's All American Games, studied sport management abroad in Australia, and worked three professional tennis tournaments at the Atkins Tennis Center.
“I will miss Huff Hall! I spent so many hours in Huff, attending classes, meeting with professors, studying, and just hanging out. Huff was really a second home for me during my time at Illinois and I'm already looking forward to coming back to visit!”
Danielle will continue her education at Rush University toward a master's degree in Health Systems Management.
Working with Dr. Steve Notaro, Danielle researched female leadership on hospital boards of directors throughout Illinois and its impact on healthcare outcomes.
An Edmund J. James Scholar in the College of Applied Health Sciences, Danielle made the Dean’s List every semester of her undergraduate career. In 2017, she was a member of the winning team in the Claro Case Competition.
“I will miss all of the amazing people that I have met over the past four years. AHS has opened so many doors for me and I will miss my advisors and professors that have helped me along the way! U of I really has a great community of people.”
Peter hopes to begin his career in healthcare administration in either Chicago or New York City.
Peter served an internship with the vice president of surgical services at Carle Foundation Hospital. The recipient of a Presidential Award Scholarship, he served as treasurer for the registered student organization I-HEAL and co-founded the registered student organization Dipping Things in Chocolate Club.
“I will miss being able to collaborate and learn with people of so many different backgrounds and perspectives. I have heard life stories of people from South Korea, China, Brazil, South Africa, Spain, and many more countries. The cultural enrichment I have received during my studies at this institution have given me the drive to explore the world and make it a better place for all.”
Yaejin has a post-doctoral position with the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, formerly the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.
Yaejin’s research focuses on improving gait and balance among people with neurological diseases. She also is interested in teaching older adults how to fall safely to reduce the risk of injury.
During her time at Illinois, she received a Chittenden Fellowship, Robert L. Sparague Thesis Award, and T.K. Cureton Physical Fitness Research Award. Yaejin has published scholarly articles in Human Movement Science, PloS one, and Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.
“Working with my advisor, Dr. Jacob J. Sosnoff, was such a rewarding experience. He taught me everything about research by involving me in many projects that helped me to learn how to accurately collect data, collaborate, and write with clear logic. He also gave me unique learning opportunities through the Fall Prevention Clinic to apply things that I learned from research to the real world. Thanks to his guidance, I am now confident in my ability to be a researcher.”
Lynn is seeking a position that will tap into her passion for developing others while using her teaching and event management skills.
Lynn coordinated the Sport for Development and Peace Symposium that drew more than 100 scholars and students from around the world. The symposium focused on forming and sustaining partnerships to use sport as an engine for development through intercultural exchange, conflict resolution and peace building, community building, and social inclusion.
“I will miss the influence of the world class RST professors and the cultural diversity of my peers. Both the professors and my peers in the RST program shaped and sharpened my understanding of the world.”
Kevin has accepted a position as a healthcare consultant with Cerner Corporation in Kansas City, Missouri.
An Edmund J. James Scholar and Dean's List honoree, Kevin received the 2017 Community Health Leadership Award. He served as a teaching assistant to Dr. Susan Farner and as Vice President of Administration for Future Health Care Executives (FHCE). Kevin held internships at Carle Foundation Hospital and Intelligent Medical Objects, and worked as a Senior Desk Clerk for University Housing.
“I am really going to miss how easy it is to meet new people and experience new things on campus. Through classes, organizations, jobs, events, and so on, I have been able to get to know a ton of great people that have made a huge impact on my four years at U of I.”
Renee will pursue a master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology at Eastern Illinois University.
An Edmund J. James Scholar, Renee served on the executive board of 4-H House Cooperative Sorority and as co-chair of fundraising and chair of publicity for the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association. Renee worked as an assistant in the Academic Affairs Office of the College of Applied Health Sciences. She volunteered as an assistant coach for University High School’s girls’ basketball team and as a peer consultant in the Writer’s Workshop.
“Without my advisor Kathi Ritten, professors, friends, Michele Andrews and Gretchen Adams in the Academic Affairs Office, and the incredible opportunities afforded to me--studying abroad, Greek life, and RSO's--I would not be where I am today. I am beyond grateful for each person and moment and will greatly miss the supportive and encouraging community that has made U of I 'home' for the past four years.”
Nitesh will work for a year before applying to medical school.
Nitesh was a research assistant in Dr. Naiman Khan’s Body Composition and Nutritional Neuroscience Lab. He presented his research on effects of multiple sclerosis measured by an occipital coherence tomography machine at the Undergraduate Research Symposium.
A Dean’s List honoree, Nitesh founded Future Physicians of Applied Health Sciences.
“What I think I'll miss the most about my undergraduate years will be the innocence that I had freshman year. I was a wide-eyed kid from a small town and made many mistakes. But as time went on, I became much more responsible and level-headed. I feel a little weird not being able to make the same kind of mistake I was able to get away with in the early years of my college career. Missing friends is an obvious issue, but the relationships formed with professors and faculty on campus will also be missed because they added a great deal to the overall college experience.”
Bailey will begin studies this fall toward a master’s degree in Sport Management at Northern Illinois University, where she also will serve as an Athletics Graduate Assistant within their Marketing and Game Experience department.
Bailey graduated as a Bronze Tablet Scholar with highest honors from the College of Applied Health Sciences. An Edmund J. James Scholar in AHS, she received a 2017 Chicago Knight Life Charities Scholarship and served on the Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism’s Honor and Advisory Council.
“The thing I will miss the most about my experience at the University of Illinois is the people. I will miss the same 20 people that I had in all my classes, the amazing RST faculty, my boss, my sorority sisters, and many, many more.”
Janell will pursue a Master of Public Health degree with a focus on Health Policy and Administration at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
She conducted research on alternative and complementary approaches to treating anxiety, and the acceptability of yoga as a method for managing anxiety, and presented her research at the conference of the Southeastern Association of Educational Opportunity Program Personnel.
Janell worked as a resident advisor at Wassaja Hall and served as vice president and treasurer for the Central Black Student Union (CBSU).
“I’ll miss all the academic and social opportunities the university provided for me. As a transfer student, I never would have explored the campus or made any of the connections I have if it wasn’t for CBSU and many other RSOs. I’ve made a special home here at Illinois.”
Ami will pursue master’s degrees in Social Work and Public Health at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
An Edmund J James Scholar and Dean’s List honoree, Ami was a research assistant in Dr. Klonoff-Cohen’s Obstetric-Pediatric-Oncology Lab. She also served internships with the Uniting Pride Center of Champaign County and St. Mary’s Hospital in Centralia through the National Center for Rural Health Professions. Ami received the 2017 Social Justice Award from the Interdisciplinary Health Sciences program.
“I’m definitely going to miss all of the amazing relationships I’ve made over the past four years, with friends, peers, faculty, and staff. They were definitely a huge part in shaping who I am today. I’ll also miss the caramel iced lattes from Espresso!”
David will pursue a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in Chicago.
As an undergraduate research assistant in Dr. Naiman Khan’s Body Composition and Nutritional Neuroscience Lab, he helped to facilitate studies investigating the link between dietary intake, body composition, physical activity level, and cognitive function. He also assisted in studies of walking, mobility, and balance impairments as a research assistant in Dr. Jake Sosnoff’s Motor Control Lab.
David was an Edmund J. James Scholar and five-time Dean’s List honoree. He completed certification in both American Heart Association First Aid/CPR and Illinois High School Association coaching.
“I will miss all of the friends I made and the wonderful faculty that assisted me through this journey. Whether it was a professor, advisor, TA, or graduate student, I was supported and mentored in an exceptional way since the first day I got to college. The classes were all so interesting and informative, and I learned a great deal from each one. My Kinesiology classes motivated me to take care of my body every day and understand that exercise is a form of medicine. Lastly, the balance of a studious and very exciting/lively environment made my experiences at U of I wonderful.”
Schafaris works at the Don Moyer Boys and Girls Club. In the fall, she will pursue a career in academic advising in higher education
As an undergraduate student at Illinois, Schafaris received a Chicago Knight Life Charities Scholarship and a George and Mary Lowrey Memorial Scholarship from the Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism and was both an Edmund J. James Scholar and a Mannie L. Jackson Illinois Academic Enrichment and Leadership Program Scholar. As a master’s student, she mentored undergraduate I-LEAP Scholars.
“I will miss the amazing peers in both the master’s and undergraduate programs that I met along the way, being a member of I-LEAP, and I-LEAP’s amazing advisors, April Carter and Elizabeth Mason.”
Clare will pursue a Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree at Rush University.
As an undergraduate research assistant in Dr. Andiara Schwingel’s Aging and Diversity Lab, Clare investigated the impact of father involvement on telomere length in Mexican and Mexican-American mothers and children.
A Bronze Table honoree, Clare was an Edmund J. James Scholar in the College of Applied Health Sciences and received the AHS James Scholar Award for Community Research. She also was a member of the Senior Honorary 100.
“I will definitely miss the quad the most! There is nothing like a warm fall or spring day with students sitting out on the quad. Hammocks, tight rope walkers, dogs, happiness... the quad has it all!”
Sarah will return to her home state of Hawaii, where she is looking forward to building a career that uses all that she has learned about kinesiology.
Sarah was a research assistant in Dr. Ken Wilund’s Renal and Cardiovascular Disease Research Laboratory, where she investigated exercise interventions for people on dialysis.
She earned a Graduate Teacher Certificate from the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning. As a teaching assistant, she was named to the list of teachers ranked as excellent by their students.
“What will I miss most? My friends!”
Megan has been working this year in the McKinley Health Center’s Health Education Department and will continue developing programs for students until the fall, when she will pursue a career in health education in the Chicago area. Eventually, she hopes to obtain a Master of Public Health degree.
In her junior year, Megan was a research assistant in the Child Development Lab, where she administered the Bayley Scale of Infant and Toddler Development III Screening Test to children from 13 to 24 months old. She worked in the College of Applied Health Sciences’ Academic Affairs Office for over a year and has been an active volunteer with Planned Parenthood. Last month, Megan ran the Illinois Half Marathon.
“I will miss the community! I have established a family within the College of Applied Health Sciences and it will be sad to leave them.”
Joey will spend the next year in Boston working in a cognitive neuroscience research lab at Northeastern University. He will then enroll in medical school and hopes to become a surgeon.
Joey worked in a cognitive neuroscience research lab with former Kinesiology professor Charles Hillman for three years and published a research paper that looked at the effects of high intensity exercise on declarative memory and inhibitory control.
Joey was a Mannie L. Jackson I-LEAP Scholar, an Academic All-American and 1st Team All-Conference, and captain of the Illinois Men's Hockey team. A four-time Dean’s List honoree, he participated in the 2018 Undergraduate Research Symposium.
“I will miss the many friendships that I have made with people of various backgrounds. Being able to make friends through classes, athletics, and other activities is something that I will forever be grateful for. I will also miss being a student at an unbelievable university that offers so much. I couldn't have asked for a better four years.”
Silvia also completed a bachelor’s degree in Spanish. She will pursue a master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology at the University of Texas at Austin.
Silvia assisted Dr. Adele Proctor in her research on bilingual screening tests. She held leadership positions in several student organizations, including the Bilingual Organization for Speech & Hearing Students (BOSS), the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association, and the James Scholar Advisory Board. She received a summer Fulbright award to Wales and also studied abroad in Barcelona during her junior year. Silvia volunteered at the refugee center and tutored ESL for Project READ. In addition to being an Edmund J. James Scholar in the College of Applied Health Sciences, Silvia was a Chancellor's Scholar and received Senior 100 recognition.
“My favorite memory is celebrating with my SHS friends after a tough exam or being inspired by talking to an SLP and reaffirming that I loved what I was studying. I'm going to miss the faculty, advisors, and friends from AHS who have helped support me and been with me through these four years!”
Leslie will remain at Illinois to pursue a PhD in Recreation, Sport and Tourism.
Her research interests include leisure among ethnic and racial minorities, with particular emphasis on families and youth, culture change among immigrant families, and the effects of adaptation on recreation behavior among minority populations. For her master’s thesis, she explored intergenerational family dynamics and leisure among second-generation Mexican-American youth.
Leslie has received The Academy of Leisure Sciences Future Scholars Award, an Allen V. Sapora Research Grant, Illinois Park and Recreation Foundation Scholarship, and University of Illinois ASPIRE Graduate Fellowship. She is the co-author of a chapter published in the Youth Development Principles and Practices and Out-of-School Time Settings.
“I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to attend such a great university where I’ve been able to work and interact with the magnificent professors and students in the Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism. Being surrounded by so many great individuals has helped me not only to grow as a person but also as a scholar, and I look forward to building more great experiences when I start my PhD in the fall.”
Stephanie will work in a rehabilitation setting before pursuing a doctoral degree in Occupational Therapy.
She was a research assistant in Dr. Steven Petruzzello's Exercise Psychophysiology Laboratory and presented her research at the Undergraduate Research Symposium. Stephanie also served as an ESL tutor in the SOAR program on campus, and was a FITKIDS Staff member.
“I'll miss the close knit community in AHS and all the Illini school spirit!”
Jacob will be getting married to his high school sweetheart this fall after 7 years of dating. He plans to work for the next two or three years, during which time he will prepare for medical school. Jacob hopes to be a primary care physician.
He served as a squad leader for two years with the trombone section of the Marching Illini. He also served as a section leader and Brass Sergeant of an independent summer marching group.
“I will miss the natural beauty of Urbana-Champaign and the vibrant social life brought to its campus by the student body.”
Abby is joining R1 RCM in Chicago as a Revenue Cycle Integrity Analyst.
She was a member of the first-place-winning team in the Claro Group Case Competition in 2017, and served as a teaching assistant for CHLH 455, Health Services Financing, for 1.5 years.
“I am going to miss the close family-like dynamic of AHS. I always knew people walking through the halls of Huff Hall and I really appreciated how much the faculty was willing to help at all costs. I did not just feel like another student. I felt like my presence was appreciated as a student and that truly everyone was rooting for me to succeed.”