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GN4U- the Graduate Network for Undergraduates

The graduate students below are ready to answer your questions about graduate school. Feel free to email them!

2017-18 Graduate Mentors

Charity Huwe, Master's Candidate in Curriculum and Instruction

Charity Huwe

Email crhuwe@eiu.edu                                
Hometown/State Green Bay, WI
Undergraduate Institution
Eastern Illinois University
Graduate Program at EIU Curriculum and Instruction
Anticipated Graduation from EIU May 2018

Clubs/Organizations:
Education Scholars
Student Education Association
EIU Reading Council
Graduate Student Advisory Council (GSAC)
Volunteering through the Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteerism

Career/Professional Aspirations:
I plan to work for 10-12 years in an elementary or middle school, and then move on to obtaining my Ph.D. I want to eventually teach at the collegiate level. I also want to coach or be an advisor to an academic organization.

Why Did you Pursue Graduate Study:
I want to further my knowledge in education so that I can be the best teacher that I can be.

When Did you Decide to Pursue Graduate Study:
I decided my late junior/ early senior year in my undergrad degree.

Share any Hobbies or Interests: 
I love exercising!
I love food and cooking!
I love being outdoors.
I love adventures and trying new things.
I love spontaneity.
I enjoy road trips.
I enjoy writing.
I thrive on naps.

Amber Webb, Master's Candidate in College Student Affairs

Amber Webb

Email ajwebb2@eiu.edu                             
Hometown/State Teutopolis, IL
Undergraduate Institution
Eastern Illinois University
Graduate Program at EIU College Student Affairs
Anticipated Graduation from EIU May 2019

Clubs/Organizations:
Kappa Omicron Nu
COSPA
Graduate Student Advisory Council (GSAC)

Career/Professional Aspirations:
I would like to work on a public university or college's campus, but have not decided on a specific area yet.

Why Did you Pursue Graduate Study:
I have a strong desire to work in Student Affairs and I wanted to set an example for my sons of how important education is.

When Did you Decide to Pursue Graduate Study:
I decided during the first semester of my senior year.

Share any Hobbies or Interests:
Reading, music, spending time with friends and family.

Komadhie Dissanayake, Master's Candidate in Chemistry

Komaadhie Dissanayake

Email kcdissanayake@eiu.edu
Hometown/State Colombo, Sri Lanka
Undergraduate Institution
University of Sri Jayawardenepura
Graduate Program at EIU Chemistry
Anticipated Graduation from EIU May 2018

Clubs/Organizations:
Graduate Student Advisory Council (GSAC)
 

Career/Professional Aspirations:
Do a PhD in chemistry. After this I'm planning to join a pharmaceutical company to continue research

Why Did you Pursue Graduate Study:
My ambition is to become a scientist one day. A scientist who will contribute to medicine as a chemist. So to achieve this goal graduate school is a necessary step.

When Did you Decide to Pursue Graduate Study:
When I was in my freshman year at college I realized that in order to become a scientist, the next step after the college would be the graduate school. This was realized when I saw most of the top ranking students from the senior year started graduate school right after their undergraduate degree. .

Share any Hobbies or Interests:
Read books
Watch TV-series
Research work

Kali Harris, Master of Business Administration

Email kdharris@eiu.edu
Hometown/State Charleston, IL
Undergraduate Institution Eastern Illinois University
Graduate Program at EIU Master of Business Administration (MBA)
Anticipated Graduation from EIU December 2018

Clubs/Organizations:
Resident Hall Association
Student Accounting Society

Career/Professional Aspirations:
I plan to take the CPA exam after completing graduate school and then work in the accounting industry.

Why Did you Pursue Graduate Study:
I chose to pursue graduate study because I wanted to expand my education. I also needed 150 credit hours to sit for the CPA exam.

When Did you Decide to Pursue Graduate Study:
I decided to pursue graduate study Spring of 2017, the semester I graduated from the undergrad program here at EIU.

Hanna Hobson,  Master's Candidate in Clinical Psychology

Hannah Hobson

Email hehobson@eiu.edu
Hometown/State Waukesha, WI
Undergraduate Institution University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Graduate Program at EIU Clinical Psychology
Anticipated Graduation from EIU May 2018
Clubs/Organizations: 
Graduate Association of Clinical Psychology
Graduate Student Advisory Council (GSAC)
LGBT Mentor Program
Student Standards Board Member
Counseling Center Intern
 
Career/Professional Aspirations:
I plan on pursuing my PhD in either clinical or counseling psychology after I complete my master's at EIU this coming May. I am passionate about research, particularly research that will positively impact the mental health of LGBT individuals. I also hope to specialize in providing therapy for LGBT clients in my future.
Why Did you Pursue Graduate Study:
After a lot of consideration, I decided that I wanted to be a psychology researcher while I was in my undergrad. Many (but not all) fields require a master's or doctoral level degree in order to do this. I also knew that I wanted to continue to challenge myself academically, so what better place to do that than in graduate school!
When Did you Decide to Pursue Graduate Study? 
I was a little late to the game when I finally decided that graduate school was the next step I wanted to take. I began researching schools to apply to at the beginning of my senior year. I am also currently in the process of applying to PhD programs as we speak!
Share any Hobbies or Interests: I am a succulent and cacti fanatic! I also have a fascination with space and weather. I love to run, watch Netflix, and hang out with my ear-less cat when I have down time too!

Samantha Rawlings, Master's Candidate in Aging Studies

Samantha Rawlings

Email sjrawlings@eiu.edu
Hometown/State Mattoon, IL
Undergraduate Institution Eastern Illinois University
Graduate Program at EIU Aging Studies
Anticipated Graduation from EIU 2018

Clubs/Organizations: 
Kappa Omicron Nu
GSAC
Dean's Student Advisory Board- Lumpkin College of Business and Applied Sciences

 
Career/Professional Aspirations:
Executive Director of Assisted Senior Living Home
Why Did you Pursue Graduate Study:
I pursued a graduate study to make myself more marketable after graduation. I really want to work in an administrative position, and a Master's degree is exactly how you get that. It has given me a more focused education in what I really want to do for a living. That I would be working with older adults.
When Did you Decide to Pursue Graduate Study? 
I decided to pursue a graduate study the second semester of my junior year. I heard about the program and then went to speak with the graduate coordinator.
Share any Hobbies or Interests:
I am a GA in the Aging Studies program. This is my second year as a GA. I have loved all the opportunities it has provided for me.

Emily Griswell, Master's Candidate in Curriculum and Instruction

Emily Griswell

Email eagriswell@eiu.edu
Hometown/State St. Joseph, IL
Undergraduate Institution Eastern Illinois University
Graduate Program at EIU Curriculum and Instruction
Anticipated Graduation from EIU May 2019

Clubs/Organizations: 
Kappa Delta Pi
Graduate Assistantship Program

 
Career/Professional Aspirations:
I can’t wait to have a classroom of my own (preferably in upper elementary—3rd through 5th grade). Completing a Ph.D program is on my bucket list but that won’t be for years down the line. I would eventually like to progress to teaching at the collegiate level and preparing students in the education field, such as the professors at EIU did for me.
Why Did you Pursue Graduate Study:
My plan was to get my master’s, regardless of the time frame. It was going to happen. When I got an email from Dr. Bickford describing the Graduate Assistantship program at EIU when I was applying for teaching jobs, I knew it was the step I needed to take.
Share any Hobbies or Interests:
Crafting, reading, hiking, movies, spending time with family and friends

Megan Lindsay, Master's Candidate in Curriculum and Instruction

Email mllindsay@eiu.edu
Hometown/State Lombard, IL
Undergraduate Institution Eastern Illinois University
Graduate Program at EIU Curriculum and Instruction
Anticipated Graduation from EIU May 2019
Career/Professional Aspirations:
I am hoping to pursue a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership within the next 5 years.

Why Did you Pursue Graduate Study:
I decided pursuing a Master's Degree was right for me because I want to become a better educator. Your students can only as smart as you!

When Did you Decide to Pursue Graduate Study:
Spring 2017

Share any Hobbies or Interests: I love cats! I just adopted my first cat, a polydactyl tabby named Hemingway.

Tshawnda Kitchen, Master's in Business Administration

Tshawnda Kitchen

Email tkitchen@eiu.edu
Hometown/State Chicago, IL
Undergraduate Institution Eastern Illinois University
Graduate Program at EIU MBA

Clubs/Organizations:
Dance team

Career/Professional Aspirations:
To become a certified public accountant and work at one of the top public accounting firms.

Why Did you Pursue Graduate Study:
In order to take the CPA exam, I need 150 credit hours. I only graduated with 120 as an undergrad so I decided to pursue my masters degree which will help with getting prepared for the CPA exam as well.

When Did you Decide to Pursue Graduate Study:
My junior year of college is when I decided that I want to sit for the CPA. I didn’t take any summer classes to reach my 150 credit hours so I just decided to pursue my masters degree.

Share any Hobbies or Interests:
I love to dance and I love to solve math problems.

Cobi Christiansen

Cobi Christiansen

Email cjchristiansen@eiu.edu
Hometown/State Manhattan
Undergraduate Institution Eastern Illinois University
Graduate Program at EIU  
Anticipated Graduation from EIU May 2019

Clubs/Organizations:
Ultimate Frisbee Club
KSS Club
IAHPERD
EIU Intramurals
 

Career/Professional Aspirations:
After I finish grad school, I plan to teach English to K-12 students in another country for a few years.  Depending on how my experience overseas goes, I will either stay or come back to the United States and teach in a secondary school teaching Physical Education, Health, Reading or ESL classes depending what the school I get hired at needs.  I will also coach volleyball whether it is at the school or at a club organization.

Why Did you Pursue Graduate Study:
I got an offer to be a graduate assistant and it was too good not to turn down.  I plan on it helping me prepare myself to teach English in another country, become ESL certified and expand my marketability with a Reading Endorsement.

When Did you Decide to Pursue Graduate Study:
After deciding between a graduate assistantship or teaching elementary physical education in Arizona (a few months after finishing my student teaching).

Share any Hobbies or Interests:
Family, friends faith, travel, live music, volleyball, sports/fitness

Nuwanthaka Jayaweera, Master's Candidate in Chemistry

Nuwanthaka Jayaweera

Email npjayaweera@eiu.edu
Hometown/State Gampaha
Undergraduate Institution University of Sri Jayewardenepura
Graduate Program at EIU Chemistry
Anticipated Graduation from EIU 2019

Clubs/Organizations:
Student Government

Joseph Marshall, Master's in Business Administration

Joseph Marshall

Email jtmarshall@eiu.edu
Hometown/State Seneca, IL
Undergraduate Institution Eastern Illinois University
Graduate Program at EIU MBA
Anticipated Graduation from EIU Summer or Fall 2018

Clubs/Organizations:

Career/Professional Aspirations:
Start/Buy businesses. Work for a private equity firm.

Why Did you Pursue Graduate Study:
I need 30 more credit hours to sit for the CPA. Graduate school is 33 credit hours. So why not get an MBA?

When Did you Decide to Pursue Graduate Study:
It all started three months before the Fall 2017 semester. I was about to graduate from EIU with my degree, excited to enter the world of accounting. Knowing that a CPA is a great way to advance my career, I realized that I was 30 credits short from taking the tests. So now I am earning an MBA.

Share any Hobbies or Interests:
Forex, Data analysis, Books, Manual vehicles, Sleeping, Food, and all kinds of other things.

Tulana Ariyaratne, Master's Candidate in Chemistry

Tulana Ariyaratne

Email tarachchige@eiu.edu
Hometown/State Sri Lanka
Undergraduate Institution University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka
Graduate Program at EIU Chemistry
Anticipated Graduation from EIU Spring 2019

Clubs/Organizations:
Chi Alpha

Career/Professional Aspirations:
Need to continue my PhD

Why Did you Pursue Graduate Study:
For better opportunities.

When Did you Decide to Pursue Graduate Study:
In 2015

Share any Hobbies or Interests:
Music
Movies
Reading
Swimming

Carl Starwalt, Master's Candidate in Sustainable Energy

Email crstarwalt@eiu.edu
Hometown/State Toledo, IL
Undergraduate Institution University of Maryland
Graduate Program at EIU Sustainable Energy
Anticipated Graduation from EIU Fall 2017

Clubs/Organizations:
Student Investment Society
Graduate Student Advisory Council

Career/Professional Aspirations:
Current Employee at EIU as Stationary Engineer at the Renewable Energy Center.

Why Did you Pursue Graduate Study:
The master of science in sustainable energy program at Eastern is new. The first class started in 2012. As an employee at the Renewable Energy Center, the program is tailor made for my interest. I work at a living laboratory.

When Did you Decide to Pursue Graduate Study:
I was pursuing an MBA at Eastern when the Master of Science in Sustainable Energy program started, so I switched from business to science. It has been a challenging endeavor but I do not regret the transition of focus. One note of interest is that I am 60 years of age.

Share any Hobbies or Interests:
coin collecting
restoration of antique cars

Nicholas Caldwell, Master's Candidate in Counseling

Nicholas Caldwell

Email njcaldwell@eiu.edu
Hometown/State Iowa
Undergraduate Institution University of Northern Iowa
Graduate Program at EIU School Counseling

Clubs/Organizations:Chi Sigma Iota

Career/Professional Aspirations:
School Counselor
Cross Country, Basketball, and/or Track Coach
Ph.D
Professor

Why Did you Pursue Graduate Study:
I pursued graduate school to push myself to my intellectual limits and achieve as much as I could achieve. I also saw it as an opportunity to access jobs where I would be able to change the lives of others.

When Did you Decide to Pursue Graduate Study:
Winter of 2014/2015

Share any Hobbies or Interests:
I enjoy playing basketball, running, researching, watching sports, traveling, and learning!

Razak Dwomoh, Master's Candidate in Curriculum and Instruction

Razak Dwomoh

Email rkdwomoh@eiu.edu
Hometown/State New Edubiase, Ghana
Undergraduate Institution University of Cape Coast
Graduate Program at EIU Curriculum and Instruction
Anticipated Graduation from EIU 2019

Clubs/Organizations:
EC/ELE/MLE Representative for GSAC
Acts Campus Ministry
EIU International ambassador
International Prowl leader
Graduate Assistant
 

Career/Professional Aspirations:
I have plans of pursuing my Ph.D

Why Did you Pursue Graduate Study:
I wanted to contribute to the educational sector in Ghana in ensuring that our Curriculum is fair and well implemented to each grade level as far as every distinct subject is concerned.

When Did you Decide to Pursue Graduate Study:
Since 2011.

Share any Hobbies or Interests:
writing, teaching, tracking field

Sahan Shrestha, Master's in Economics

Sahan Shrestha

Email sshrestha9@eiu.edu
Hometown/State Kathmandu, Nepal
Undergraduate Institution Kathmandu University
Graduate Program at EIU Economics
Anticipated Graduation from EIU 2019

Clubs/Organizations:
Econ Club
AIS
GSAC
 

Career/Professional Aspirations:
These are my future plans (in order):
Do a Ph.D.
Work for a couple years.
Start my own business.
Work really hard on it.
Build an empire.
Profit.

Why Did you Pursue Graduate Study:
I wanted to be really good at something, and graduate school is the place where you specialize in a certain field.

When Did you Decide to Pursue Graduate Study:
After working for 2 years after my undergrad study and seeing no growth, I went for graduate study.

Share any Hobbies or Interests:
I like playing music, and watching football (not the American one - the real one). I also like dogs.

Morgan Tudor, Master's in Counseling

Morgan Tudor

Email mttudor@eiu.edu
Hometown/State Springfield, IL
Undergraduate Institution Eastern Illinois University
Graduate Program at EIU Counseling: Clinical Mental Health
Anticipated Graduation from EIU May 2019

Clubs/Organizations:
Undergrad= Professional Psychology Club, Peer Ed, SACIS, HOPE of East Central, Prowl Leader
Grad= SACIS, CSI (next semester)

Career/Professional Aspirations:
I wish to ultimately have my own private practice. The population I am most interested in includes people who have experienced trauma (sexual assault, domestic violence, crisis intervention). I would also like to teach at a university. I intend to pursue a Ph.D.

Why Did you Pursue Graduate Study:
My major was psychology in undergrad. You need a masters degree to become a licensed counselor. I also wanted to continue my education to better understand and fine tune my skills.

When Did you Decide to Pursue Graduate Study:
I knew I wanted to go to grad school my sophomore year of undergrad. After volunteering at numerous agencies in the Charleston community, I found my passion in counseling. I want to be a part of the healing process of people who have experienced trauma. I also want to change the stigma of counseling. There is a belief that going to counseling is a sign of weakness, but it is actually a sign that the person is strong enough to seek help and want to improve their overall wellness.

Share any Hobbies or Interests:
Athletics (softball, volleyball, basketball)
Coffee shops
Movies
Walking my dog

Mihir Limbachiya, Master's in Economics

Mihir Limbachiya

Email mihir199459@gmail.com
Hometown/State Charleston, IL
Graduate Program at EIU Counseling: Clinical Mental Health

Anticipated Graduation from EIU

   

Clubs/Organizations:
I am the Vice President of the Economics Club

Career/Professional Aspirations:
I want to start my new business.

When Did you Decide to Pursue Graduate Study:
When I passed Grade 10.

Share any Hobbies or Interests:
traveling, making friends, discussing business topics, reading books about successful businessmen

Prashansa Kannangara, Master's Candidate in Chemistry

Prashansa Kannangara

Email dbkannangara@eiu.edu
Undergraduate Institution University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka
Graduate Program at EIU Chemistry
Anticipated Graduation from EIU  

Clubs/Organizations:
Member of the Graduate Student Advisory Council

Career/Professional Aspirations:

Why Did you Pursue Graduate Study:

When Did you Decide to Pursue Graduate Study:

Share any Hobbies or Interests:

Mason Wood, Master's in Counseling

Email mtwood@eiu.edu                                             
Hometown/State Pittsfield, IL
Undergraduate Institution Quincy University
Graduate Program at EIU School Counseling
Anticipated Graduation from EIU May 2019

Clubs/Organizations:

Career/Professional Aspirations:
I would like to pursue my Ph. D. in Clinical Psychology, possibly through the Navy. My goal is to work with Veterans. My Pop was the in the Marine Corps for 14 years, so I have gotten to see firsthand the neglect that our Veterans face.

Why Did you Pursue Graduate Study:
I decided it was right for me because I knew that what I wanted to do required a Graduate degree. I chose the school counselor track over the clinical counseling track because you receive dual licenses; PEL and the LPC.

When Did you Decide to Pursue Graduate Study:
When I was a junior in my undergrad, I knew graduate school was right for me.

Share any Hobbies or Interests:
Going to concerts is my favorite thing to do. I also enjoy playing video games, hanging out with friends, and I competition shoot.

Zachary Johnson, Master's in Counseling

Email zajohnson2@eiu.edu                                      
Hometown/State Carbondale, IL
Undergraduate Institution University of Arkansas
Graduate Program at EIU Counseling
Anticipated Graduation from EIU 2019

Clubs/Organizations:

Career/Professional Aspirations:
School Counselor

Why Did you Pursue Graduate Study:

When Did you Decide to Pursue Graduate Study:

Share any Hobbies or Interests:

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