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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!

2015-16 Graduate Mentors

 

Clinton Belott,  Master's Candidate in Biological Sciences

clinton belott

Email
cjbelott@eiu.edu                                 
                                    
Hometown/State Crescent City, IL
Undergraduate Institution Eastern Illinois University
Graduate Program at EIU Biological Sciences
Anticipated Graduation from EIU 2017
Graduate Research Involvement Bioenergetics and Desiccation Resistance
Faculty Mentor Dr. Michael Menze
Clubs/Organizations GSAC and High School Mentoring
Career/Professional Aspirations:
I plan to pursue a Ph.D. in Immunology and work developing cancer treatments using viruses and genetic engineering.
Why Did you Pursue Graduate Study:
I love working in the lab and working on extremely complex biological problems, so pursuing a Ph.D. was natural
When Did you Decide to Pursue Graduate Study? 
 
I knew when I came into college.
Share any Hobbies or Interests: 
 
My professional interest mainly lies in immunology, but I do enjoy all aspects of cellular biology.
 

Taylor Downey,  Master's Candidate in Family and Consumer Sciences

Taylor Downey

Email tndowney@eiu.edu                                        
Hometown/State Casey, IL
Undergraduate Institution Eastern Illinois University
Graduate Program at EIU Family and Consumer Sciences
Anticipated Graduation from EIU December 2016
Clubs/Organizations: Co-Advisor for the Student Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (SAFCS); Vice President for Kappa Omicron Nu National Honor Society; Representative for FCS on the Graduate Student Advisory Council  
Career/Professional Aspirations:
I am currently looking into Ph. D programs in my area. My career aspiration is to become a professor at a university.
Why Did you Pursue Graduate Study:
I pursued my Master's degree to help me reach my career aspiration of becoming a professor.
When Did you Decide to Pursue Graduate Study? 
I decided to pursue my Master's degree during my senior year when I was doing an internship. I quickly realized that I loved teaching and helping others and I knew that my ideal career would require a master's degree.
Share any Hobbies or Interests: 
 
I enjoy spending my free time outdoors or with family and friends.

Brandon Goodman, Master's Candidate in Communication Studies

Brandon Goodman

Email bmgoodman2@eiu.edu                                        
Hometown/State Peoria, IL
Undergraduate Institution Eastern Illinois University
Graduate Program at EIU Communication Studies
Anticipated Graduation from EIU May 2017
Graduate Research Involvement Identity
Faculty Mentor Dr. Matt Gill
Clubs/Organizations:  GSAC  
Career/Professional Aspirations:
After receiving this degree I hope to become a professor at the community college level, as well as, transition into a university college role after completion of my PhD.
Why Did you Pursue Graduate Study:
I pursued graduate school after closely considering the pros/cons, and realizing that I truly enjoy researching, writing, and learning about communication and teaching.
When Did you Decide to Pursue Graduate Study? 
I decided my last semester of senior year in college.
Share any Hobbies or Interests:
Athletics, Arts, Music

Colton Janes, Master's Candidate in College Student Affairs

Colton Janes

Email cdjanes@eiu.edu                                     
Hometown/State Blair, NE
Undergraduate Institution University of Nebraska at Omaha
Graduate Program at EIU College Student Affairs
Anticipated Graduation from EIU Spring 2017
Graduate Research Involvement Fraternity/Sorority Programs
Faculty Mentor Dean Harwood
Clubs/Organizations: Fraternity & Sorority Programs (Graduate Assistant); Lambda Alpha Delta (Graduate Advisor)  
Career/Professional Aspirations:
I aspire to work at a college/university in the department of student affairs. Along my journey to become a student affairs professional, I do hope to pursue a Ph.D.
Why Did you Pursue Graduate Study:
I am pursuing a graduate degree in college student affairs in order to best serve students making the transition from high school and throughout college. These students will become our campus leaders, our coworkers, and most importantly our passion to succeed.
When Did you Decide to Pursue Graduate Study?
I figured out that a graduate school program in student affairs was for me while I was a Sophomore student in my undergraduate program. I decided that helping young students develop into leaders among their peers was of utmost importance.
Share any Hobbies or Interests:
I enjoy working out, running, playing soccer, watching sports, movies, and much more. People find out that I am a down-to-Earth kind of guy who is here to help others succeed.

Alena Kalodzitsa, Master's Candidate in Economics

Alena Kalodzitsa

Email akalodzitsa@eiu.edu                                         
Hometown/State/Country Lithuania
Undergraduate Institution LCC International University
Graduate Program at EIU Economics
Anticipated Graduation from EIU December 2016
Clubs/Organizations: Economics club  
Career/Professional Aspirations:
In the future, I would like to be a Public policy adviser, and I believe that MA in Economics is a good program to prepare me for that career.
Why Did you Pursue Graduate Study:
During my Bachelor studies in International Business Administration, I loved the subject of Economics. Thus, I decided to continue studying it on Master's level.
When Did you Decide to Pursue Graduate Study? 
It was on my last year of undergraduate degree, when I realized that I shall pursue Master's degree.
Share any Hobbies or Interests:
Economics,debates, politics, event management, and traveling.

Allie Moran, Master's Candidate in College Student Affairs

Allie Moran

Email ajmoran2@eiu.edu                                      
Hometown/State/Country   Quincy, IL
Undergraduate Institution  EIU
Graduate Program at EIU   College Student Affairs
Anticipated Graduation from EIU  May 2016
Graduate Research Involvement Factors of Self-Esteem and Leadership Behaviors Among Female College Student Leaders (thesis); The College Experience of Male Student-Athletes; Factors that Influence College Students to Live Off-Campus
Faculty Mentors   Dr. Dena Kniess
Clubs/Organizations: Graduate Student Advisory Council, President; Council of University Planning and Budgeting; Council of Student Personal Association; Alpha Sigma Tau, Advisor;
CSA Interview Days Committee, Chair member;  Counseling and Student Development Orientation Committee
 
Career/Professional Aspirations:
I plan to pursue a job at an institution of higher education. I would like to gain a few years of experience before eventually pursuing a Ph.D. in the academic field.
Why Did you Pursue Graduate Study:
Many of my undergraduate mentors encouraged me to explore the option of a career in student affairs. I have a passion for working with college students, and I feel a true calling to this profession.
When Did you Decide to Pursue Graduate Study: The idea of pursuing an advanced degree was on my mind as I completed my junior year of college. During my senior year of college, I began to look seriously into the opportunity of graduate school.
Share any Hobbies or Interests:
I enjoy antique shopping, crafting, cooking, dancing, and traveling.

Ahmed Salim Nuhu, Master's Candidate in Economics

Ahmed Salim Nuhu

Email anuhu@eiu.edu                                      
Hometown/State/Country   Ghana
Undergraduate Institution  Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology
Graduate Program at EIU   Economics
Anticipated Graduation from EIU  2017
Graduate Research Involvement Currently researching the impact of women's bargaining power on child health development in Ghana
Faculty Mentors   Dr. Mukti Upahyay
Clubs/Organizations: Student Society for Economics; Graduate Student Advisory Council; Association of International Students  
Career/Professional Aspirations:
I hope to leverage on the great training I am currently receiving in economics here at EIU to proceed onto a PhD program in Economics
Why Did you Pursue Graduate Study:
My choice of graduate studies is informed by my desire to play an active part in creating knowledge in economics through research which forms a substantial part of graduate education here at EIU.
Share any Hobbies or Interests:
I love to watch adventure movies, go biking, traveling hang out with family and friends.

Madeline Smart, Master's Candidate in College Student Affairs

Madeline Smart

Email mjsmart@eiu.edu                                     
Hometown/State  Hopkins, MN
Undergraduate Institution  Marquette University
Graduate Program at EIU   College Student Affairs
Anticipated Graduation from EIU  Spring 2017
Faculty Mentors   Dr. Dena Kneiss
Clubs/Organizations: COSPA  
Career/Professional Aspirations:
I am interested in becoming a hall director and working with students. I would love to one day be the Vice President of Student Affairs at a private institution. I hope to be involved in higher education development throughout the country
Why Did you Pursue Graduate Study:
I chose to go to graduate school to learn more about the things I love.
When Did you Decide to Pursue Graduate Study? 
I first realized I wanted to go to graduate school when I was a junior in college. I had just come back from Studying Abroad and knew that I wanted to go into student affairs. Graduate School was the logical-and best- choice for me.
Share any Hobbies or Interests: Listening to audio-books, painting, walking.

Tania Stanford, Master's Candidate in College Student Affairs

Tania Stanford

Email tlstanford2@eiu.edu                                    
Hometown/State   Chicago
Undergraduate Institution  Eastern Illinois University
Graduate Program at EIU   College Student Affairs
Anticipated Graduation from EIU May 2017
Clubs/Organizations: ACTS Campus Ministry, GSAC(Graduate Student Advisory Council), COSPA(College Student Affairs Personnel Association)  
Career/Professional Aspirations:
After graduating from the CSA program, I plan to pursue a career at an institution of higher learning. My motto is “The right door will open at the right time." I have a passion for working with students and hope to make an impact on their life while they are in college. I hope to obtain a Ph.D. after getting experience working in a college setting for a few years

Why Did you Pursue Graduate Study:
I decided the graduate school was right for me when I realized what I wanted to do in my career. I knew that in order for me to fulfill that goal, graduate school was the next step. I want to be effective at what I do; the CSA will better equip me for the job to come.

When Did you Decide to Pursue Graduate Study:
I first realized that I wanted to pursue an advanced degree during the beginning of my junior year. I had never thought that I would attend graduate school until then. I had many mentors encouraging me that I would be great for the CSA program. I then began to research more into the program.

Share any hobbies or interests:
Hobbies and Interest of mine include dancing, reading inspirational books, writing blogs, hearing motivational speeches, spending time with family and friends, spending quality time with my fiancé, hiking, and learning how to cook.

Melany Zwilling, Master's Candidate in Clinical Counseling

Tania Stanford

Email mkzwilling@eiu.edu                                 
Hometown/State   Olney, IL
Undergraduate Institution  Eastern Illinois University
Graduate Program at EIU   Clinical Counseling
Anticipated Graduation from EIU May 2016
Graduate Research Involvement Music Therapy
Faculty Mentor Dr. Angie Yoder
Clubs/Organizations: Member of Sexual Violence Prevention Team;Member of Graduate School Advisory Council;Sexual Health Promotion Coordinator; Graduate Assistant at the HERC  
Career/Professional Aspirations:
After graduating from EIU, I would like to obtain my Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) and working in a University counseling setting or on a military base. My passion is working college students, couples, and military families. After working for a few years, I would like to pursue a Marriage and Family Therapy License and open my own practice to work with families in the military sector.

Why Did you Pursue Graduate Study:
With the warm atmosphere and positive undergraduate experience, I knew obtaining my Master's Degree at EIU was the right choice. I always knew I would want to enter the health care profession and entering the Clinical Counseling program would help me to achieve that dream.

When Did you Decide to Pursue Graduate Study:
Since high school, I've always had an interest in Psychology and Health Studies. After coming to EIU, I soon realized a Master's degree was possible. I was able to find a program that has the opportunity to include both areas of study.

Share any hobbies or interests:
My hobbies include spending time with family and friends and listening to classical music for relaxation. When graduate school allows, I enjoy taking naps and vacationing.

Samantha Young, Master's Candidate in Aging Studies

Sam Young

Email smyoung2@eiu.edu                                
Hometown/State  Naperville, IL
Undergraduate Institution  Eastern Illinois University
Graduate Program at EIU  Aging Studies
Anticipated Graduation from EIU December 2016
Clubs/Organizations
Graduate Student Advisory Council; Student Dean of The Graduate School; Kappa Omicron Nu Honors Society, Secretary; Graduate Assistant
Career/Professional Aspirations:
From the moment we are born we are aging. It is never too early to start thinking about retirement. With that said, I want to pursue a career that allows me to educate others both young and old about the importance of retirement, well-being physically and emotionally as well as saving money for the future.

Why Did you Pursue Graduate Study:
I decided that graduate school was right for me because I wanted to learn more about the aging population. I had taken courses within Family and Consumer Sciences that sparked my interest, which included Aging in the Family and Death and Dying.

When Did you Decide to Pursue Graduate Study:
I decided to pursue the Aging Studies Master's program after a professor encouraged me. I was able to talk to the professor about my questions and concerns, which helped me realize that graduate school was for me!

Share any hobbies or interests:
I enjoy cooking, crafting, scrapbooking, motorcycles, and nature trails.

 

Frank Vargas,  Master's Candidate in Communication Studies

Frank Vargas

Email fjvargas@eiu.edu                                        
Hometown/State Chicago
Undergraduate Institution Eastern Illinois University
Graduate Program at EIU Communication Studies
Anticipated Graduation from EIU Spring 2016
Graduate Research Involvement  Diversity, Rhetoric, and Social Identity Research
Faculty Mentor T.M. Linda Scholz
Clubs/Organizations: G.S.A.C. - VP of Programming; DubClub E.I.U. - President/Founder  
Career/Professional Aspirations:
Diversity Trainer; HR Specialist; Possible interest in Ph.D
Why Did you Pursue Graduate Study:
I pursued my Master's degree to help me reach my career aspiration of becoming a professor.
When Did you Decide to Pursue Graduate Study? 
Shortly before I graduated from undergrad.
Share any Hobbies or Interests: 
 
Video Games; Basketball
 

Nick Caldwell,  Master's Candidate in School Psychology

Nick Caldwell

Email njcaldwell@eiu.edu                                        
Hometown/State Forest City, Iowa
Undergraduate Institution University of Northern Iowa
Graduate Program at EIU School Psychology
Anticipated Graduation from EIU Spring 2018
Clubs/Organizations: Undergraduate: Psychology Club, D4NC (track club), Panthers Pacers (running club), Psi Chi, Advocates for ALzheimer's, Rider Hall Senate, Chinese Language Club, and Volunteer Tuesdays. Graduate: SAPSE and Best Buddies  
Career/Professional Aspirations: I would like to be a School Psychologist in the field at first. Then, I would like to pursue a Ph.D. and train future School Psychologists.
Why Did you Pursue Graduate Study:I have high expectations and aspirations for myself. I wanted to accomplish something that would really bring me satisfaction to all of my hard. From there, it was a matter of knowing what program and placement was right for me.
When Did you Decide to Pursue Graduate Study? 
I knew I wanted to go to graduate school around my Junior year of undergraduate studies. I graduate and took some time off to work. About three years after my initial decision to go to graduate school, I decided what program would be best for me.
Share any Hobbies or Interests: 
 
I enjoy running, playing basketball, reading, researching, volunteering, hanging out with friends, traveling, attending concerts, and watching the Denver Broncos win.
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