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Sept. 6, 2018

The Update is a student newsletter for undergraduate
majors and minors in the College of Education at Illinois.

Student Spotlight
Olivia Isaacs 

Pursuing Her Passion
Freshman Olivia Isaacs hails from Farmer City and was destined to study elementary education. After all, when she was younger, Olivia would play the role of a pretend teacher with her brother as the student. Her sibling would have to prepare worksheets, make a name tag for his "desk," and refer to his sister as Ms. Isaacs. All these years later, Olivia is thrilled to be a student herself at the College of Education, where she has experienced the inclusion, passion, and excitement of faculty. "Each of them has been so kind to make sure everyone has felt like they were a true part of the College," she said. "Not just a number or a face, but a true College of Education student with individualized goals and passions." Olivia plans to someday earn a master's degree in educational administration and become a principal of an elementary school.   


Freshmen Focus: The College of Education Welcomes ...

Bianca Espinosa-Speta 

Bianca Espinosa-Speta, Elementary Education; Chatham

"I absolutely love working with kids, and having an influence on kids."

Fun fact: "I'm bilingual in Spanish."

Margo Morady 

Margo Morady, Elementary Education; Skokie

"During the summer, I worked with preschool children and loved it. It made me realize that I want to help children discover their interests and teach them." 

Fun fact: "I have known that I wanted to teach since I was 8 years old."

Samantha Neilson 

Samantha Neilson, Elementary Education; River Forest

"When I attended the Innovators in Education Camp last summer, I met so many students, teachers, and many open, kind people."

Fun fact: "I love English!"

Brooke Slavik 

Brooke Slavik, Elementary Education; Buffalo Grove

"I knew I wanted to get into the field of education because I simply love kids."

Fun fact: "I went to an overnight camp for 10 years." 

Nancy Vargas 

Nancy Vargas, Secondary Education; Chicago

"When I went to visit campus, the best part was the fact that it felt so much like a city. It almost feels like home."

Fun fact: "I love trying new things! I had the opportunity to go to Costa Rica."


News to Use: Check Out Thursday Farm Stands on Quad

Scholarships and Awards

Learn How to Prepare for Competitive Scholarships
Sept. 7; 3-4:30 p.m.
Illini Union, South Lounge
RSVP Deadline: Sept. 4

The National and International Scholarships Program at Illinois encourages students to meet with campus scholars and staff to discuss how to apply for nationally competitive scholarships. These individuals will help students as they prepare to apply and interview for highly sought-after awards. RSVP to  

Undergraduate Women Invited to Apply for Mary Ramier Grant 
Fall Deadline: Oct. 1

The Mary Ramier Grant, which ranges from $50 to $500, is designed to inspire undergraduate women to develop into successful leaders, activists, and professionals. The competitive grant can be used to support research, try creative projects, take field trips, and for other activities that promote the advancement of women. Learn more about the award and contact Jacque Kahn at for inquiries.      

Study Abroad Via Gilman International Scholarship
Spring and Summer Early Application Deadline: Oct. 2

The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship is given to undergraduate students who have limited financial means and want to study abroad. Learn more... 

Kevin T. Early Memorial Scholarship for Freshmen
Application Deadline: Oct. 12

Freshmen students with an aptitude for and skills in writing poetry may apply for the $2,000 Kevin T. Memorial Scholarship. Students must submit five poems, and the complete manuscript should not exceed five pages. Entries will not be returned, and writers must include their name, address, phone number, email, and university UIN number on the title sheet of the entry. Contact Deb Stauffer at or 217-333-2391 for inquiries.

Apply for Illinois Club Scholarships
The Illinois Club is a diverse and welcoming group that draws its membership from all areas of the University of Illinois and the community. It has provided financial support for worthy undergraduate students and is offering five awards this year. To be eligible for a scholarship, undergraduates must have at least 60 credit hours by the start of the Spring 2019 semester and have a grade-point average of 2.75 at the time of applying for and during the winning of the scholarship. Learn more...


Watch Obama Campus Address at College of Education
Sept. 7; 11 a.m.

Education Building, Room 22
Watch a livestreamed talk in the College of Education given by former President Barack Obama, who will be on campus to accept the 2018 Paul H. Douglas Award for Ethics in Government. Learn more... 

The Mindful Student: Discovering Strengths and Reimagining Success
Sept. 11; 4-5:30 p.m.

Lincoln Hall, Room 1028
Taking a more mindful approach in life can improve academic performance and overall well-being. In this workshop, students will participate in hands-on activities and learn about campus resources that can help them in their pursuit of meaningful academic and personal goals. Contact Anna Ivy at for inquiries. 

SEA Meeting to Include Thoughts from First-Year Teacher
Sept. 19; 7 p.m.

Education Building, Room 2
Join members of the Student Education Association to hear from a first-year teacher in the area about how her hiring process went and how her first year of teaching is going. Free pizza will be available.  

Flu Shots to be Administered at College of Education in October
Oct. 18; 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Education Building, North Lobby
Flu shots will be available at the College of Education for all Illinois students who have paid their health-service fee and have their iCard at the time of service. Learn more and contact Jill Rannebarger at 217-265-4453 or for inquiries.

Career and Professional Development

Check Out Research Park Student Open House
Sept. 6; 4-7 p.m.
Research Park will be offering 10-minute tours and hosting a networking session for all Illinois students this evening. Participants will be able to discover internship and career opportunities, see the park, and get to know other professionals. Food will be provided. Learn more...

Info Session on Illinois in Washington Internship
Sept. 11; 5-6 p.m.
David Kinley Hall, Room 106

Illinois in Washington is an academic program for undergraduate students in which participants live and work as interns in Washington, D.C., while taking classes. This is an exceptional opportunity for students to gain rewarding work experience and discover the political, intellectual, and cultural experiences in the nation's capital. Learn more and attend this informational workshop.

Study Abroad
Study abroad this winter! 

Study Abroad this Winter in Ecuador or
Hong Kong

Jan. 1-12
Application Deadline: Oct. 28
Consider studying abroad during Winter Break in Ecuador or Hong Kong and Macau! Along with visiting multiple exciting sites within the countries, participants will visit some of the world's top-ranked schools, meet various educators, and study the culture within the high-performing schools.


Discover Studying Abroad in Ecuador
Discover Studying Abroad in Hong Kong and Macau

Happenings and Deadlines

Apply for LENS Diversity Certificate Program
Application Deadline: Sept. 10
Join the LENS (Learn, Envision, Navigate, Synthesize) diversity certificate program and gain important skills for working and living in a diverse, multicultural society. Students in the one-year program will take classes, develop projects, build intercultural communication skills, engage in critical discussions with peers, and help change the world for the better. Learn more about LENS and register for the program. The first LENS meeting will take place Sept. 11.

Register for STEM Service-Learning Course
The STEM Education Practicum course (ENG 298, section SEP) for undergraduate students is taking place on Thursdays this semester and focuses on issues of developing STEM identities, access and equity, and working effectively with middle-grades students from diverse backgrounds. Participants in the two-credit class offer hands-on lessons for youth in afterschool and Saturday programs in Champaign County and Chicago. Contact Lara Hebert at for inquiries.

Support Groups for LGBTQ Students to Begin Meeting Sept. 11

Transgender Support Group
First and Third Tuesdays of Month; 6-7 p.m.
Email for location
This is a safe and informal support group for individuals in the university community who want to listen, discuss, and learn about aspects of identity. It is open to all transgender, gender nonconforming, genderqueer, gender fluid, and questioning people, as well as those who choose not to identify themselves.

Queer Support Group
Second and Fourth Tuesdays of Month; 6-7 p.m.
Email for location
This is a safe and informal support group for Illinois students who want to listen, discuss, and learn about aspects of identity and queerness. It is open to all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning students, as well as those who choose not to label themselves.


The Student Academic Affairs Office welcomes student input for issues of The Update.
Please submit your events, announcements, and comments via the links below.

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