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EIU Graduate School

The Hamand Society of Graduate Scholars

Named in honor of the first dean of the Graduate School, Dr. Lavern M. Hamand, the Hamand Society of Graduate Scholars recognizes degree-seeking candidates nominated from among each year's class of Distinguished Graduate Students whose achievements in both scholarship and service have had a documented impact on the discipline and the community. The quality and impact of the scholarship and service achievements of the Hamand Society Scholars reflect the highest ideals of the engaged graduate student.

The Hamand Society is endowed by the Hamand family.

Dean Hamand was a professor of history at EIU from 1957 to 1982 and served as dean of the Graduate School from 1961 to 1974.

2023 Hamand Scholars

Amina Feder

Amina Feder, '23, Master of Science in Counseling

While working in another department during their first year as a graduate student, Amina’s talents and passion for counseling were so evident to Dr. Angela Yoder, Professor, Counseling and Higher Education, that Dr. Yoder actively recruited Amina to become the Counseling program’s graduate assistant. Given that the Counseling program only seeks out those graduate students who, according to Yoder, are “prepared for the rigorous requirements of assisting with clinical courses, supervision, research and course preparation,” the move acknowledged the character and scholarship Amina possesses. Amina readily met the tasks and responsibilities of the graduate assistantship, working in multiple roles from webpage maintenance, new student interviews, teaching, and recruitment.

Amina’s skills continued to flourish in their time at EIU. Working with Dr. Danessa Carter, Assistant Professor, Counseling and Higher Education, they created a presentation to assist in making waiting rooms and offices welcoming and inclusive to diverse individuals. The presentation was accepted at the MEI Rise Conference and both the spring and fall Illinois Counseling Association conferences. Amina has also worked as an outpatient counselor at RISE (Recovery/Integrity/Support/Empowerment) where Lauren Christina, MS. LCPC, Executive Director describes Amina as “committed to improving the mental health of the community at large.”  This sentiment about Amina was echoed by Dr. Yoder, “they have already represented EIU extremely well in both scholarly and community networks and it is my belief that they will continue to do so long after graduation.”

Outside of their rigorous academic load, which includes a graduate assistantship, an internship, and research, Amina also serves on the Executive Board of the CSI, serves on PFLAG, an officer in the honors society Chi Sigma Iota, and has completed prevention and education presentations for the local sexual assault treatment center.

Jess Meadows

Jessica Meadows, '23, Master of Science in Counseling

“Personable, bright, hardworking and motivated…a well-respected individual who brings a great deal of human warmth to the classroom and the work environment,” are all attributes ascribed to Jessica Meadows by her mentor, Dr. Heidi Larson, Professor, Counseling and Higher Education. It is these admirable qualities that obviously help Jessica manage the impressive scholarship and engagement activities shared by her faculty mentors.

Having received one of only five paid internships at Mattoon High School for the BIONIC (Believe It Or Not I Care) Mentoring Program, Dr. Larson shares Jessica provided “individual, family and group counseling to her clients.” Further, she “helped her students with interpersonal concerns, academic issues, career exploration and college information,” all while demonstrating a great deal of “empathy and understanding” to the students’ individual situations. Jessica furthered her work with students at the college level through her Graduate Assistant position with the EIU Freshman Connection mentorship program, a new initiative to assist first generation, underrepresented, low-income, at-risk freshman. As supervisor of the program, she hired and trained 35 mentors, led small leadership groups, oversaw data collection, created yearlong curriculum, all while managing 250 student participants.

In addition to her commendable role as a student and student leader, Jessica also has found time to serve the EIU campus and community. Jessica has served as the 2022-2023 Graduate Student Dean, as the student representative on the College of Education Curriculum Committee, represented EIU’s New Student Freshman Orientation/Open House. Impressively, Jessica has also presented at two state conferences, four local conference and co-authored four grants, including a $15,000 grant for the Freshman Connection Program.

Jacob Mueller

Jacob Mueller, '23, Master of Science in College Student Affairs

It seems Jacob Mueller’s choice to pursue a Master’s degree in College Student Affairs is well-suited for both his academic aptitude and his ability to, as Nathan Wehr, Director of the office of leadership and Engagement states, ‘authentically connect with students and meet them where they are.’

Describing Jacob Mueller’s performance as a graduate assistant in the Office of Leadership and Engagement and an Associate Resident Director in the Greek Court housing complex, Dr. Dianne Timm, Professor, Counseling and Higher Education, states, “Many of the students see him as a full professional while he is still in a graduate assistantship.” Timm continued in her assessment, adding Jacob is adept in his abilities to work “with them [Greek organizations] during challenging times … to help maintain accountability as well as provide educational support and challenge,”, and to “develop and cultivate leaders in these organizations, mentoring many to think about their future in optimistic ways.” Reaffirming these statements, Jacob recently received the Graduate Assistant of the Year award through the Division of Student Affairs recognition Awards.

Jacob’s scholarly abilities are also impressive. Working with his thesis advisor, Dr. Jon Coleman, Instructor, Jacob has researched faculty perceptions of student athletes. According to Dr. Coleman, the research has “some fascinating differences in how faculty consider the work, commitment and motivation of female athletes as compared to their male peers.” Excitedly, Jacob will share this research at the Association of College Personnel Administrators (ACPA) National Conference in New Orleans (March 2023).

Ruby Oboro-Offerie

Ruby Oboro-Offerie, '23, Master of Science in Human Services Program Administration

“She set high standards for herself and then took the necessary actions to achieve those goals and standards, both academically and in her services activities,” stated Dr. Jeanne R. Lord, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Department of Human Services, in her nomination of Ms. Oboro-Offerie. This summation is easily evidenced when reviewing Ruby’s extensive educational and community engagement activities. Earning her B.A. in Political Studies in Kumasi, Ghana, and a M.A. in Comparative Social Research in Moscow, Russia, Ruby came to EIU to purse her second Master’s degree in human services. While at EIU, Ruby has “demonstrated a depth of insight into issues in human development and family studies with a particular interest in women’s studies and advocating for individuals who are disadvantaged,” states Jill Bowers, Ph.D., Interim Associate Dean, College of Health and Human Services. Dr. Bowers shares Ruby has “published her research in the Women’s Studies International Forum and is working on three other research publications, and has served as a manuscript reviewer for the Gender, Place and Culture Journal.” Additionally, Ruby has presented her work at several conferences including the Illinois Council on Family Relations, EIU Student Research and Creativity Conference, and the EIU Graduate Exposition. With an article published in the 2022 Women’s Studies International Forum, 92, Ruby is currently has two articles under review, and a research manuscript in progress. Planning to go even further with her education, Ruby recently received acceptance to the doctoral degree program at the University of Oregon, and is awaiting offers from other Universities.

While working as a graduate assistant in the Child and Family Life Education Center, Ruby’s services activities include serving on the Graduate Student Advisory Council as an Executive Vice President, and as an active member of the Department of Human Services Student Ambassadors RSO which works to represent the department at campus and local events.

Samantha Phillips

Samantha Phillips, '23, Master of Science in Education in Curriculum and Instruction

“How long has she worked here?” That was a question fielded by Dr. Dawn VanGunten, Professor, Teaching, Learning and Foundations, after Samantha Phillips presented to a group of educational professionals just three weeks into the start of her educational journey here at EIU. Dr. VanGunten, who had assessed after meeting Samantha that she her, “…ability to listen and communicate her questions and concerns showed she had very strong critical thinking skills as well as being responsible and motivated,” found these initial impressions to hold true throughout Samantha’s graduate studies. Working with Dr. VanGunten to review a new State program, Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading standards (CRTL) and create a path for implementation, Samantha worked to create professional development modules for the College of Education faculty along with in-person presentations. The work ultimately led to the development of Samantha’s thesis entitled, An Exploration of Middle School Teachers’ Utilization of Culturally Responsive Teaching. Ms. Phillips presented her findings at the College of Education Research Fair, the EIU Research Conference, and the Illinois Association of Teacher Education Conference. Ultimately, the study was submitted for publication in the Journal of Midwest Educational Researcher.

Paired with Ms. Phillips admirable educational path, Dr. Daniel Carter, Associate Professor, Graduate Coordinator, states Samantha’s fulfilment of her “…graduate assistantship duties has been excellent and impressive.” Dr. Carter continues by stating Samantha’s “…service to the profession, our college and the department is superior.” Ms. Phillips also served on the Teaching, Learning and Foundations’ Graduate Committee, the Council on Teacher Education (COTE), the Textbook Rental Service Committee, and the Graduate Student Advisory Council (GSAC).


2022 Hamand Scholars

Lindsey Carlson

Lindsey Carlson, '22, Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics

Health and wellness dominate Lindsey Carlson’s life and her academic studies. An accomplished and award-winning student athlete, she applies her passion for healthy living in her research and in her graduate assistantship. As a GA for the Health Education Resource Center, Lindsey served as the Health Communication and Marketing Coordinator. In addition to her duties for that role she accepted the offer to mentor students in a professional writing course where she assisted them in producing health-related posters, blog posts, and other health education and writing related tasks. She also volunteered to mentor undergraduate students interested in pursuing graduate studies in nutrition and dietetics through the Graduate Network for Undergraduates.  Lindsey’s research includes the effect of nutrition education on adolescent consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and cooling methods for athletes in hot temperatures. She partnered with a fellow nutrition and dietetics student to develop a program about prope r hydration that incorporates goal setting, monitoring, follow up, and evaluation for the track and field athletes. Along with her excellence in scholarship, during her graduate studies she has also distinguished herself as one of the most outstanding student athletes in the history of Eastern Illinois University. She is the 2021 Ohio Valley Conference’s Women’s Cross Country champion and was named the OVC Athlete of the Year; she is a member of the NCAA All-Midwest Cross Country Region, and is a two-time school record holder in track and field. Her accomplishments in Track and Cross Country are so impressive given that she is a relative newcomer to competitive running. As an EIU undergraduate student, she competed on the women’s soccer team, and was named to the 2017 All-OVC team. She has been recognized by the USA NCAA Track and Field Association as well. Lindsey is a member of the Graduate Student Advisory Council, the Collegiate and Professional Sports Dietetic Association, and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 

Austin Eichhorn

Austin Eichhorn, '22, Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Using her skills gained as a graduate student clinician, Austin Eichhorn incorporates her passion for mental health awareness into her leadership positions on campus. In her service as president of Chi Sigma Iota, the discipline’s honors organization, she provided advocacy for her fellow students and delivered high quality programming such as a self-care workshop. Her support of the Graduate Student Advisory Council included researching the purchase of an online app to assist graduate students in meditation and relaxation techniques. Beyond campus, Austin worked to make an impact on the community where she serves her internship, developing a curriculum for an adolescent group to use within the school system. Initially designed to work with adolescent girls, after meeting with the school social worker and principal she determined a need for a coed group and adjusted her curriculum to execute an effective group where adolescents learned communication and coping strategies to improve overall mental health. This group was such a success, it is being continued into the spring semesters with an increased number of participants to gain maximum benefit. Austin’s graduate research involves the practice of self-care as a protective factor against vicarious trauma and burnout among counselors-in-training, for which she and her faculty mentor, Dr. Angela Yoder, received a College of Education grant. She is a member of the executive board of the Graduate Student Advisory Council, president of Chi Sigma Iota, and a Paul Ward Scholar.  

Angelique Elser

Angelique Elser, '22, Master of Science in Human Services

Combining her scholarship with her community service, Angelique Elser works to promote social services to the local community. In her capacity as president of the Charleston Carnegie Library board of directors she is launching a project to connect library patrons to community resources, such as mental health counseling, public assistance, and drug and alcohol counseling. She served as an executive assistant to the Charleston Area Chamber of Commerce. As an advisory member for CCAR Industries in Charleston, she also teamed with a fellow Human Services student to organize a fundraiser for the group. Angelique has also served international populations; she served at a British nursery school in Alexandria, Egypt and as a host for a foreign exchange student from Brazil through the Rotary Club. In addition to her volunteer service in the Charleston and International communities, she has provided service in the EIU community as she serves as an advisor with TRIO and works for the tutoring center at Gregg Technology through her graduate assistant role with the Office of Inclusion and Academic Engagement.  

Shelby Freeman

Shelby Freeman, '22, Master of Science in Communication Disorders and Sciences

Transitioning her undergraduate departmental honor’s thesis research to her graduate studies earned Shelby Freeman the opportunity to present at national conference. She and her faculty mentors developed a survey exploring foster parents’ knowledge and experiences related to developmental trauma for which she was invited to present at the American Speech-Language Hearing Association annual convention in Washington D.C. Shelby volunteers as a mentor in the Students with Autism Transitional Education Program (STEP), working with groups of students on the Autism spectrum to support their study skills. She provided individualized mentorship on a weekly basis to one specific student, helping the client to stabilize emotions and create an environment in which the client was able to successfully learn the communication skills needed to fully participate in academic and social environments. Shelby is a member of the National Student Speech-Language-Hearing Association (NSSLHA), a student chapter of the national professional organization for speech language pathology and audiology and has served as the chapter’s vice president. She is a recipient of the Frances Meyer Hampton graduate scholarship.

Brooke Gibson

Brooke Gibson, '22, Master of Science in College Student Affairs

Brooke Gibson’s graduate assistantship duties for the Office of Student Accountability and Support included addressing student needs within the EIU COVID-19 pandemic support system. Her work helped to inform her thesis research on the experience of isolation and quarantine among graduate students. Her research has led to opportunities to present her findings regarding the sense of belonging that students have had toward the institution during this historic time period. She presented at the Midwest First Year Conference, the National Conference on First Year Experience and Students in Transition, and was invited to present at the International American College Personnel Association Convention.  She earned two Williams Travel Grants in support of her research presentations. As president of the Graduate Student Advisory Council, an elected position, she worked to bring professional development opportunities to graduate students and focused on building community among graduate students with events and activities. Brooke is a member of the National Orientation Directors Association, the American College Personnel Association, and serves as a committee member on EIU’s Comprehensive Tutoring Center and the Housing Training Initiative. She also co-taught EIU 1111, the university’s freshman foundations course. 

Ashlee Robinson

Ashlee Robinson, '22, Master of Science in Education in Curriculum and Instruction

As a research assistant Ashlee Robinson collected and analyzed data for the case study, Making the Most of Preservice Teacher Read-Alouds. She wrote the abstract for the paper, which has been submitted to the peer-reviewed journal, “Action in Teacher Education.”   Presenting the research at the Association of Teacher Educator’s (ATE) annual conference earned her a Williams Travel Grant and a Graduate School Research/Creative Activity Grant. Ashlee serves on her academic department’s curriculum committee and on the Graduate Student Advisory Council. She has been a special friend for Special Olympic athletes for the past three years, and was a ministry leader for Immanuel Lutheran Campus Ministry. Ashlee is also a GSAC scholarship recipient. 

2021 Hamand Scholars

Sophie Cieslicki

Sophie Cieslicki, '21, Master of Science in College Student Affairs

An alumna of Marquette University, Sophie Cieslicki, earned a bachelor’s in physics in 2019 before coming to EIU for the graduate program in College Student Affairs. Described by her mentors and supervisors as a calm and steady leader, Sophie served as a graduate assistant in the Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteerism where she developed programming and service opportunities for students under the challenges of a pandemic. She organized a women’s empowerment conference and a civic engagement program series that addressed such issues as voter registration efforts.  Facing the challenges imposed by COVID-19 restrictions for volunteers to be on site at local nonprofits, she devised a schedule to focus on a different nonprofit each month to host unique drives for support. She also personally volunteered weekly at the local food pantry.  Sophie’s thesis research, titled, “Female Student Service Member’s Experiences with Higher Education and Military Transition”, was accepted for presentation at the National Association of Student Personnel Association (NASPA) Virtual Symposium on Military-Connected Students. She shared her research findings with over 300 student affairs professionals dedicated to serving this population. Her mentor, Dr. Jon Coleman, writes of her research topic, “recognizing a population with very little research, Sophie has added a unique perspective to the literature and provided those working in higher education with new information about how institutions can improve the support for these students.”  Sophie also served on the College Student Affairs Recruitment committee for two years. This committee coordinates the graduate recruitment and selection for the CSA program each. This year she served as co-chair planning every part of the virtual CSA days, a very different experience due to the pandemic, but her coordination, organizational, leadership and communication skills led to a successful event. Her mentor Dr. Dianne Timm, writes of her leadership on the committee, “she was supportive and encouraging to her committee as they brainstormed, organized and delivered their tasks. She was the steady force we needed guiding our group this year.” 

Beverlyn Ellazar

Beverlyn Ellazar, '21, Master of Science in Human Services Program Administration

A native of the Philippines and a new U.S. citizen, Beverlyn Ellazar worked toward an associate’s in nursing in the Philippines before earning her bachelor’s in family and consumer sciences from EIU. Working full-time at Swann Special Care Center while earning her master’s degree and holding a graduate assistantship, Beverlyn was instrumental in the development of an online sexual harassment webinar for the Child and Family Life Education Center, which is housed in the department of Human Services and Community Leadership. This project required her to identify and research sexual harassment and the legal requirements of a training program, research the most effective method of dissemination, and prepare the webinar. She also worked with her faculty mentor Dr. Jill Bowers to develop an online divorce/co-parenting education program. Beverlyn’s graduate research project focuses on better understanding caregivers’ perceptions of health and wellness, examining the relationship between those perceptions and how they facilitate health and wellness for individuals with disabilities. As co-advisor of the Human Services and Community Leadership Ambassadors, she led both undergraduate and graduate students in department and community service efforts. She also presented at, and helped publicize, the Spring 2021 Child and Family Life Education Center Speaker Series and organized virtual recruitment nights with local high schools. In Fall 2020 she worked on a project involving fundraising for adolescents who were pregnant. Faculty mentor, Dr. Jill Bowers writes, “in addition to her service and scholarship, Ms. Ellazar models qualities of an exemplary leader. Her personal demeanor is kind and authentic, and she displays an incredible work ethic, including organizational, time management, and communication skills.”

Katelyn Fuller-Svarz

Katelyn Fuller-Svarz, '21, Master of Science in Chemistry

An outstanding student researcher and scholar, Katleynn Fuller-Svarz earned her bachelor’s in chemistry from EIU and entered the graduate program in Chemistry/Option in Biochemistry under the accelerated program where she started earning graduate hours as an undergraduate student. Katelynn investigates the functions of a medically significant protein known as Glutamate Carboxypeptidase II (GCPII) using the model organism C. elegans (roundworm) and molecular diagnostic tools. In humans, GCPII is involved in the development of several diseases such as cancer and stroke and Katelynn plans to extrapolate her research findings about GCPII to understand these disease developments in humans.  Katelyn received the department’s Biochemistry Award, the award is given to a student majoring in Chemistry at EIU who excels in the biochemistry sequence and shows interest and promise in the field. She wrote a science grant to the Illinois State Academy of Sciences (ISAS) and received one of four research grants awarded for 2021, and also earned a Graduate School Research/Creative Activity grant. Katelynn presented her research at the 2021 Annual ISAS Meeting, and is preparing a manuscript with hopes to submit it for publication by the time she graduates at the end of summer 2021. She served as a research mentor for local high school students, using her scientific knowledge to inspire young students to become future scientists. Katelyn also served as the secretary on EIU’s chapter of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and as a student representative on the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Curriculum Committee. Katelynn’s faculty mentor writes, “Katelynn works extremely hard with limited facilities to effectively carry out her research. Her perseverance and dedication to research has been outstanding.”

Max Smith

Max Smith, '21, Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Serving as a volunteer mentor for the Salvation Army After-School Program, while an undergraduate at EIU, inspired Max Smith’s research and activities as a graduate student in the School Counseling program.  With EIU’s new Freshman Connection Mentorship Program, Max worked extensively with mentors, mentees and the entire implementation team. He created curriculum, interviewed prospective mentors and mentees, and developed and led the leadership training for all mentors. Max also focused on mentoring in his graduate research project, titled, “B.I.O.N.I.C. (Believe it or Not, I Care): The Effects of Peer Mentoring in a Midwestern High School,” which he presented the results of at state and local conferences. As part of that project he was responsible for the Grief Team, co-led leadership enrichment groups, and coordinated a mentor training, which ultimately helped create a positive culture within the high school. Max’s faculty mentor, Dr. Rebecca Tadlock-Marlo, noted that Max “faces challenges head on, with confidence, and assurance that he can continue to make a difference in the world of others.” Max served on the Council on Graduate Studies awards committee, the Counseling and Higher Education’s Recruitment Team, and earned the Mary Cralley Vaupel Memorial Award, a Paul Ward Memorial Scholarship, and a Williams Travel Grant.

Cheyenne Warman-Neal

Cheyenne Warman-Neal, '21, Master of Science in Education in Curriculum and Instruction

A full-time family and consumer science teacher at Urbana High School, Cheyenne Warman-Neal combined her professional focus of food and education into two EIU graduate degrees while she works toward a Master of Science in Curriculum and Instruction and a Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics, Option in Nutrition Education.  Cheyenne earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in food science and human nutrition. She taught family and consumer sciences at Charleston High School before teaching in Urbana. Her graduate thesis is titled, “Investigation of the Implementation of Competency-Based Education in Central Illinois” and she presented some her initial findings at the Illinois Association of Teacher Education Conference as a lead presenter. Her thesis chair, Dr. Sham’ah Md-Yunus, writes, “Cheyenne embodies the qualities of an exceptional scholar who will continue to make a huge impact in the field of education.”  Cheyenne holds memberships with the National and Illinois Education Association, the Association of Food Technologies, is a founding member of the Food Product Development Club, and the graduate student representative on EIU’s Committee for University Planning and Budgeting.

2020 Hamand Scholars

Nathan Crews

Nathan Crews, '20, Master of Arts in English

A former youth minister, Nathan Crews brings his experience and skills as a mentor to his graduate assistantship in the English department’s Writing Center, where he counsels undergraduate and graduate students in effective composition. Nathan has served as an ambassador for the Center by speaking to many groups on campus, including international students and newly-admitted undergraduate students. When EIU’s graduate program in Technology requested partnering with the  English department to deliver content in a course, Nathan led the effort to prepare content, covering topics from plagiarism to revision and editing to APA.  His strengths as a writer and researcher are evident in his thesis subject, the cultural biography of Lowney Turner Handy and her founding of the Handy Writer’s Colony in Nathan’s hometown of Marshall, IL. This research resulted in a presentation at the Allerton English Articulation Conference and the department’s English Studies Conference. His thesis adviser, Dr. Jad Smith, writes, “By conducting research at the Norris L. Brookens Library at the University of Illinois-Springfield, which houses the archives of the Colony, Nathan intends to examine how Handy’s biography and the quirky culture of the Colony intersected, and sometimes clashed, with the local culture of Marshall and Midwestern values at large. Nathan’s novel approach to Handy’s life and the Colony promises to produce a study of both regional interest and of scholarly value.” Nathan’s service to the department includes serving as president of the English Graduate Student Organization and as a student representative on the Graduate Studies Committee. Active in his community, he serves as a District Board Trustee for the Marshall Public Library, in which capacity he has contributed to development projects and oversight of the library, helping to ensure its continued success as an educational resource for the community. Nathan is also a member of the Marshall Historical Commission, an organization focused on preserving local landmarks and promoting tourism in the area. Additionally, Nathan has been an active member of  EIU’s Rural Schools Initiative. One of Nathan’s faculty mentors, Dr. Melisssa Ames, writes, “It is worth noting that Nathan is a passionate advocate for rural education (as demonstrated by his active engagement with EIU’s Rural Schools Pipeline Program) and has already made plans to return to teach in his hometown. He is a terrific role model, a gifted teacher, and an inquisitive scholar.”

Tessa Hanlon

Tessa Hanlon, '20, Master of Science in School Counseling

Tessa Hanlon’s strong writing skills, clinical skills, and research interests led the Department of Counseling and Higher Education to nominate her for a Presidential Graduate Assistantship, which she was selected to receive. Her research in play therapy resulted in a co-authored manuscript, Helping Teachers Experience and Utilize the Power of Play, which has been submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed, internationally-circulated publication. She has presented her research at state and institutional-level conferences and has been awarded two grants. Tessa serves as the Student Dean for the Graduate School, secretary for Chi Sigma Iota, and as a mentor for undergraduates with the TRiO and GN4U programs. One of Tessa’s faculty mentors, Dr. Angela Yoder,  writes, “she is a phenomenal instructor for EIU” teaching an educational psychology course where she received extremely high rankings from her students. Chosen as a school counseling intern at Mattoon High School, Tessa provides counseling for families and students and serves on the grief team. Dr. Catherine Polydore writes that Tessa exhibits “an openness to learning, intellectual acuity, and an overall positive and empathetic nature.”  At EIU she received the Paul Ward Scholarship, Williams Travel Grant, Student Impact Grant, and the College of Education Telefund Award. Tessa will begin doctoral studies at the University of North Texas where she will assist with their Center for Play Therapy, an internationally recognized hub for research and information in the field of play therapy.

Doug Michaels

Douglas Michaels, '20, Master of Science in College Student Affairs

Doug Michaels’s extraordinary work ethic led him to successfully carry out his myriad duties as a graduate assistant for the New Student Programs Office and also complete and defend his thesis in record time. Doug’s research on the  female student veteran experience of transitioning to college required him to work with students at institutions around the country, a task that took additional time and energy and a great deal of effort to complete. He was accepted to present his research at the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators Symposium on Student Veteran and Military Connected Students in Seattle, Washington. The American College Personnel Association – International conference also invited him to present. Doug and his mentors are working to develop a publishable paper from his research and plan to submit to a nationally recognized journal. Doug’s service to both the university and his community include president of the College Student Personnel Association, volunteering at the local animal shelter, preparing meals for community agencies, and helping with the One-Stop Community Christmas efforts.

Amanda Newmes

Amanda Newmes, '20, Master of Science in Education in Curriculum and Instruction

A 2019 Golden Apple recipient and five-time ACES Award winner, Amanda Newmes teaches science at Belvidere North High School. Amanda’s thesis project garnered funding from a College of Educational Development Grant and also support from her school district. Her research titled, The Effectiveness of Personalized Competency-Based Education on Student Engagement at the Secondary Level, won a Graduate School Master’s Thesis Award of Excellence for her college and has been submitted to the International Academic Forum Journal of Education. The Children Research Network in Japan has expressed interest in her study and its findings. Amanda worked closely with her district’s Innovation Team to develop Health Career Pathways and Endorsements and has been actively involved with training for teachers with KIDS, offering workshops for educators interested in adopting blended learning. She attended the National Blended Conference Rhode Island with the superintendents and administrators of District #100 in 2019. Amanda serves as adviser to the Green Club, an environmental- awareness group, and also to the Health Careers Club. Her thesis adviser, Sham’ah Md-Yunus writes that Amanda “embodies the qualities of an exceptional scholar who will continue to make a huge impact in education.”

2019 Hamand Scholars

Razak Dwomoh

Razak Dwomoh, '19, Master of Science in Education in Elementary Education

An emerging scholar and former teacher from Ghana, Razak Dwomoh’s research  holds the potential to positively impact Ghanaian curricula and pedagogy. He is working on a manuscript of his master’s thesis titled, The Development and Implications of Social Studies and History Curricula in Ghana, for publication with the Journal of International Social Studies. Razak has presented his thesis at the Illinois Council for Social Studies and together with his mentor, Dr. John Bickford, has submitted a historical inquiry with a local teacher to The History Teacher, a prestigious history education journal. His research has been supported by grants and earned him a Williams Travel Grant to present at the 2019 History-Social Sciences Teacher Symposium. Dr. Bickford wrote that Razak’s research and scholarship, “is both relevant and novel as I can find no comparable study that has been or is currently being conducted.”  Razak’s campus engagement at EIU has included service to the Association of International Students as its vice president, member of the Graduate Student Advisory Council, committee member of the Graduate School Research/Creative Activity Grants, graduate student representative to the Library Advisory Board, and a graduate mentor for the Graduate Network for Undergraduates. He has served the local community volunteering to teach English with the Newman Catholic Center Amigos and Friends Program and has also volunteered with the Charleston Food Pantry. Gaining admission to several doctoral programs, Razak accepted Purdue University’s offer of the Frederick N. Andrews Fellowship which he will start this summer. 

Kyle Ritten

Kyle Ritten, '19, Master of Science in School Counseling

Kyle Ritten’s strong writing skills, clinical skills, and research interests led the Department of Counseling and Higher Education to nominate him for the Provost’s Research Graduate Assistantship, which he was selected to receive. Kyle’s research projects, The Power of Peer Relations: Addressing High School Students’ Grief and Loss and Altruism, Commitment, and Leadership in High School Mentors: Five Year Follow-up have resulted in presentations at two state conferences, four local conferences, five grant proposals, and the potential for two articles. He has earned a Williams Travel Grant and a Graduate School Research/Creative Activity Grant supporting his research. Interning with a mentoring program at Mattoon High School, Kyle has provided individual, family, and group counseling to his clients. Additionally, he has helped his students with interpersonal concerns, academic issues, career exploration and college information. He has also created developmental projects in the hopes of not only improving the school, but also with the intention of impacting a larger number of students. Kyle is the secretary and an active member in Epsilon Iota Upsilon’s chapter of the counseling honors society. As such, he takes time out of his weekly schedule to participate in the chapter events, volunteer opportunities, and community support drives. One of his mentors, Dr. Rebecca Tadlock-Marlo wrote, “Kyle is an individual who conceptualizes a need and seeks to fill that void, be it in society, in academia, on campus, or with his peers.”

Sahan Shrestha

Sahan Shrestha, '19, Master of Arts in Economics

Working as the executive secretary for the Nepal Horticulture Society before coming to EIU, Sahan Shrestha’s organizational skills were honed as he assisted in producing the organization’s first international conference in Kathmandu. Those skills have served him well as he collected and analyzed data from the past 100 years from over 200 countries for his thesis, Income Inequality and Survival of Political Leadership. His work is under consideration for two publications in respectable peer-reviewed journals. Sahan’s production of a substantial research paper for one of his courses involved analyzing data through the use of advanced econometric techniques, was accepted for presentation, and earned him a Williams Travel Grant and a King-Mertz Award of Excellence in his college. Sahan serves this year as the graduate student representative to the Council on Graduate Studies, has tutored economics students, served on the Graduate Student Advisory Council, and was vice president of the Economics Club where he organized a seminar with an alumnus who presented to current students. Dr. Mukti Upadhyay commented of the significance of this seminar for students by writing that the program was “an eye-opener for many students in terms of how economics can be used to provide solutions to problems faced by businesses and other organizations.”

Amber Webb

Amber Webb, '19, Master of Science in College Student Affairs

Amber Webb’s commitment to her research, titled, Kids, Spouses, School, Oh My! The Non-Traditional Student Experience, has resulted in ten conference presentations, including at the national American College Personnel Association’s conference in Boston. Her dedication to student success has led her to volunteer for the events produced with EIU’s Making Excellence Inclusive’s RISE conference and in many other campus organizations. She has held leadership positions in several of these organizations, serving as president of the Graduate Student Advisory Council, co-founder of the EIU Cares Health and Wellness fair, mentor for TRiO, and the Graduate Network for Undergraduates, as well as service to the College Student Affairs Days. She also maintains involvement in professional organizations such as Kappa Omicron Nu Honor Society, College Student Personnel Association, Illinois National Academic Advising Association and the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators.  Amber’s research and service have earned her a Williams Travel Grant, the Lela Cox Schaaf College Student Affairs Fund Award, and she placed third in the ACPA Case Study Competition. Her mentor Dr. Catherine Polydore wrote that Amber “has demonstrated superior abilities as a scholar, student, and leader.”

2018 Hamand Scholars

Monica Burney

Monica Burney, '18, Master of Arts in History

Monica Burney’s graduate research promises to make an important contribution to the scholarship on internationalism and feminism in the interwar period. Examining the role of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) in the League of Nations’ policies regarding displaced, deported, and stateless persons, hers will be the first work to examine the WILPF’s work in advocating for those who were displaced as a result of the post-World War I peace settlements and subsequent interwar conflicts.  She presented her work at the James Jones Symposium on the History of War here at EIU, and will present another version at the International Graduate Historical Studies Conference at Central Michigan University. An unusual accomplishment for a graduate student in the field of history, she has co-authored with Dr. Bonnie Laughlin-Schultz an entry in the NAWSA Suffrage Database and published an article in the study journal Historia. As a presidential graduate assistant Monica assisted in the development of a role-playing game, Reacting to the Past (RTTP), for use in world history classes. Her deep understanding of RTTP pedagogy led to an invitation to co-present the games she and her mentor, Dr. Sace Elder, had developed at the EIU Making Excellence Inclusive Conference. An active member of EIU’s Making Excellence Inclusive committee, Monica has participated in the committee’s First Generation campaign by attending open houses and other events as a first-generation university student. She also co-organized a session at the EIUnity conference in which students shared how gender and race discrimination, stereotype threats, disability, economic adversity, and the like affect their experiences in the classroom. Monica plans to pursue another graduate degree is library sciences with aspirations to work in an academic library.

Briana Hendrickson

Briana Hendrickson, '18, Master of Arts in English

A successful high school English teacher, Briana Hendrickson brings her professional expertise to EIU’s Writing Center. As a tutor in the Writing Center, Briana has provided effective individualized guidance to dozens of undergraduate and graduate students at every stage of the writing process. She has taken on additional responsibilities to serve her students like developing handouts to guide students using the updated MLA citation system. She and a partner also designed and facilitated four hour-long presentations for the graduate program in Technology, covering topics ranging from plagiarism to revision and editing to APA citation.  In her work with the Eastern Illinois Writing project she attended a national workshop for scholars and teachers of young adult literature and gave a well-received paper on literature pedagogy at the Newberry Library. Her thesis project – a sophisticated look at representations of mental health issues in young adult literature – brings together literary scholarship, social justice theory, and pedagogy in an original and productive way. One of Briana’s faculty mentors, Dr. Fern Kory, a professor of English with a long career in young adult literature states, “I must say that it is deeply comforting to know that the future of this field is in such good hands.” Briana plans to enter a Ph.D. program in Teacher Education.

Jessica Kim

Jessica Kim, '18, Master of Science in School Counseling

With a passion for serving her community, Jessi Kim volunteers as an advisor at the Covenant Fellowship Church, is an active member of the Korean American Youth Ministry, and is a volunteer for the International Student Connections (ISC) program at the University of Illinois. Jessi’s research project titled, “B.I.O.N.I.C. (Believe it or not I care): Empowering Young Leaders to Compassionately Reach Students, Families, and the Community” has been accepted for presentation at Illinois’ state conference as well as two colleges. She has an intricate role in the mentoring program that has been implemented at Mattoon High School and has co-led leadership enrichment groups, overseen the entire Grief Team and has helped out with the freshman mentoring program during lunch and assisted in data collection. Jessi won a College of Education and Professional Studies research student grant and the graduate student research and creative activity grant to assist in presenting and disseminating her research findings at several conferences during her graduate work. She has also been the recipient of the Paul Ward Scholarship and the Dean Diane Jackman Scholarship for Certificate of Achievement. One of Jessi’s faculty mentors, Dr. Rebecca Tadlock-Marlo, writes, “Jessi faces challenges head-on with confidence and assurance that she can continue to make a difference in the world of others.”

Paul Higgerson

Paul Higgerson, '18, Master of Science in College Student Affairs

Paul Higgerson,  Masters Candidate in College Student Affairs Paul Higgerson’s graduate research and service has focused on the student veteran experience of transitioning to college, an issue he can identify with being a student veteran himself.  To conduct his research he worked with directors of Veteran Support Services at two different Midwest institutions.  He was invited to present this research at the National Association of Student Personnel  Administrators (NASPA) and was also invited to present at NASPA’s Symposium on Military Connected Students . Additionally, he presented at the Mid-Western Educational Research Conference and the Midwest First Year Conference. His research has been submitted to an open-reviewed international journal, Directions, under the American College Personnel Association.  Paul shares his expertise with EIU’s Military Student Assistant Center initially as an intern and continues to assist that office under an independent study. His faculty mentor, Dr. Dianne Timm, writes, “what Paul has created for this office at EIU is something that a full-time professional would normally need a year or two to accomplish, but because of his passion for working with this population he has already made it a place students go to seek resources.”  As vice president of the Student Personnel Association (COSPA), he often led his fellow group members in service projects.  As a member of the Veterans organization he is often found volunteering with various agencies to coordinate programs like the Veteran’s Day and 9/11 programs.  Paul’s supervisor for his graduate assistantship in the Student Success Center, Cindy Boyer, writes, “It has been a privilege to have been afforded the opportunity to work closely with such an exceptional man.  He is truly what is best in our profession

 Owura Kuffour

Owura Kuffour, '18, Master of Arts in Political Science

Alongside Owura Kuffuor’s academic success is his commitment to service and social justice. Owura has been very active with the Newman Center, where he serves as the president of the Students for Peace and Justice, and as the campus ambassador to Catholic Relief Services. His service to the EIU Students for Peace and Justice included his efforts in fall 2017 to promote the “Hear My Story” documentary on people coming to the United States to pursue the American dream.  Owura’s participation in these activities—including working on issues like homelessness and refugee resettlement—integrate well with his academic and research interests. He entered his graduate program with an established research record, with two coauthored publications in the International Journal of Humanities and Social Studies and Asian Journal of Social Science and Management. He presented his research on the role of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) at the Illinois Political Science Association annual meeting, and on the Arab Spring in Sub-Saharan Africa at the Midwest Political Science Association and at both the Illinois Political Science Association and the ISA-Midwest.  Owura has a clear research agenda on Sub-Saharan Africa, and is currently working on his thesis, which he intends to finish this summer.  Owura’s graduate honors at EIU include the Frances Meyer Hampton Scholarship, the Annie Weller Scholarship, and the Distinguished International Student for the Political Science department.  Owura plans to continue his graduate studies and is applying to Ph.D. programs.

2017 Hamand Scholars

Michael Bradley

Michael Bradley, '17, Master of Arts in History

Presentation and publication of his research dominates Michael Bradley’s graduate career. Michael has published an article on 18th-century transported convicts in Historia, is co-authoring a paper on African American migration with Dr. Charles Foy for submission to the Illinois State Historical Society, wrote an entry for the Encyclopedia of the Atlantic World, and has begun to outline an article for the Maryland Historical Magazine. Michael has presented at leading conferences including the North American Conference of British Studies and the 2016 Virginia Forum. The only graduate student to ever be selected to present at the EIU History Department Colloquium, he co-presented with Dr. Foy on African Americans in Coles County. His research of the local community has garnered invitations to present at the Coles County Historical Society, the Daughters of the American Revolution, and at EIU’s own History Career Day and the History and Social Science Teaching Conference. Dr. Sace Elder writes of his thesis research, “Michael’s research demonstrates that in the 18th century, transported convicts developed lasting communities in the regions to which they were transported, a highly original finding that holds significance for early US historians as well as experts in penology.”  His mentor, Dr. Foy writes, “Michael’s project smartly fills a hole in the historiography of coerced labor and migration to British American colonies and the social history of criminality across the Atlantic.” Michael is also pursuing teacher certification at EIU in preparation for his doctoral studies, all while holding full-time employment as a police officer for Villa Grove.

Heather Lamb

Heather Lamb, '17, Master of Arts in English

Described as a “gifted researcher” and “inveterate reader”, Heather Lamb shares her knowledge and skills in  her duties as a writing consultant in the EIU Writing Center. Heather’s research exploring the intersection of science and mathematics with literature has led to presentations at the English Graduate Student Research Colloquium, an honor that goes to only one student per year, the Victorians Institute Conference, and at the Central Illinois Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference. Dr. Jad Smith writes about Heather’s presentation, “Her well-attended presentation offered a new avenue for reading Hawthorne’s House of the Seven Gables.”  Her research earned a Booth Library Award for Excellence in Student Research, an English Studies Writing Award, and a Williams Travel Grant. Working with another graduate assistant in the Writing Center, Heather helped create content for a graduate course in the School of Technology at their request. Dr. Randall Beebe, graduate coordinator for the English program writes, “Heather has the intellectual acumen, the focus, and polish not just to succeed in her goal of pursuing a Ph.D. in English, but to be an outstanding scholar and contributor to the humanities.”

Sheldon Aaron

Sheldon Aaron, '17, Master of Science in Clinical Counseling

Service and outreach define Sheldon Aaron’s graduate career at EIU. Sheldon volunteers as an adviser at Unity Gospel Ministry, is chapter president for Chi Sigma Iota, a graduate honors society, and participated in the CSI Charleston Community Fundraiser, and EIU MLK, Jr. Day of Service.  Sheldon joined Dr. Heidi Larson’s research team and played a vital role in implementing and successfully completing a project titled, B.I.O.N.I.C. : The Effects of Peer Mentoring in a Midwestern High School. In that role he co-led leadership enrichment groups, oversaw the lunch mentoring program, and assisted in data collection. He has written up the findings of that data and co-authored an article submitted to the Journal of Counseling in Illinois. His mentor, Dr. Heidi Larson writes, “Sheldon has accumulated a significant and varied number of academic, clinical, research and professional experiences, for which he has acquired a very high level of proficiency and maturity for a young professional.”  Sheldon’s committee service at EIU includes Admission and New Student Interview Committee, Selection and Interview Committee, and the department’s New Student Orientation Committee.  He is the recipient of the Paul Ward Scholarship, a Graduate School Research/Creative Activity Grant, and a Williams Travel Grant.

Jaclyn Pickowitz

Jaclyn Pickowitz, '17, Master of Science in School Counseling

Social justice and a passion for advocacy drive Jaclyn Pickowitz’s graduate research and scholarship. Her community outreach includes volunteering with Effingham Momentum, CASA of Effingham County, and the Effingham Mentoring Program. Jacki’s research in play therapy has resulted in presentations at the Illinois Association for Play Therapy and the Illinois School Counseling Association, and has produced a manuscript under review for publication. Her work as the coordinator for the freshman mentoring program at Mattoon High School contributed to increased leadership skills and retention for those students. Her mentor Dr. Rebecca Tadlock-Marlo writes, “ Jacki is an individual who conceptualizes a need and seeks to fill that void, be it in society, in academia, on campus, or with her peers.” She is the recipient of the Paul Ward Scholarship, a Graduate School Research/Creative Activity Grant, and a Williams Travel Grant.

 Saleim Nuhu

Ahmed Salim Nuhu, '17, Master of Science in Economics

Improving socioeconomic conditions serves as motivation for Salim Nuhu's research. His research on maternal healthcare in Ghana required analyzing a sample of over 4,000 households and examined the effects of enrollment in the National Health Insurance Scheme on utilization of maternal health services and the likelihood of survival for newborns. His subsequent paper is under review for publication with the Development Journal of the South, a professional journal on economic and social development. He also has articles published in the Journal of Sustainable Finance and Investment and the Journal of Economic and Social Thought. His mentor, Dr. Mukti Upadhyay, writes of Salim's research, "His paper was as highly rigorous in analysis of data as it was meticulous in modelling or research design." Salim's work resulted in an invitation to WIDER, a United Nations institute in Finland. His presentation at the Midwest Conference on Asian Affairs in 2016 received the Best Paper on South Asia Award. Salim applies his skills to benefit the EIU community by working with Dr. Eric Davidson as the lead author of the 2016 Illinois CORE Report on Alcohol and Drug Use among College Students. As the Student Affairs Assessment Coordinator for EIU, he consults with the vice president for student affairs' staff on data collection as well as report writing. In 2016 he mentored high school and middle school students by providing an international perspective on leadership issues for the Junior National Young Leaders Conference in Washington, D.C. Salim earned the College of Sciences Graduate Student Investigator Award, a Booth Library Award Excellent in Student Research and Creativity Activity, the Karbassioon Graduate Scholarship for Economics, a Williams Travel Grant, and the King-Mertz Award of Excellence for the College of Sciences.

2016 Hamand Scholars

Clinton Brown

Clinton Brown, '16, Master of Arts in Communication Studies

As a researcher of interpersonal communication and sexual orientation, Communication Studies graduate student Clinton Brown has rapidly immersed himself into his scholarly community. Clinton currently has two articles under review at highly-regarded journals, the Journal of Homosexuality and Communication Studies.  In addition, Clinton has presented his research at the annual meetings of the Popular Culture Association and the American Culture Association, and has served as a panelist at five additional conferences.  His research skills, both quantitative and qualitative, have allowed him to speak with an array of scholarly and practitioner audiences. Professor Elizabeth Gill, Clinton’s professor and thesis advisor, noted that in her time at EIU teaching and mentoring students, “Clinton is by far the best student I have worked with.” Clinton has also contributed broadly to Eastern Illinois University through his participation on the Graduate Student Advisory Council, as the student representative for the Graduate School’s Williams Travel Grant selection committee, and has served as a board member for the Illinois Communication and Theatre Organization. His community service extends through his work as a teacher at the local homeless shelter in Mattoon PADS. Clinton will continue with his studies in the Ph.D. program at Purdue University in the fall of 2016.

Myro Cox

Myro Cox, '16, Master of Science in Clinical Counseling

Much like an outstanding faculty member, Myro has an impressive and expansive record of achievement in the areas of teaching, research and service.  Myro’s research interests focus primarily on Basic Counseling Skills and alleviating test anxiety in children and adolescents. Her various research interests have resulted in an impressive research record, which includes seven different conference presentations. As a graduate assistant in the Department of Counseling and Student Development, Myro also is a course instructor for an undergraduate Educational Psychology course. Her teaching evaluations are uniformly impressive, which demonstrates her skills as both a burgeoning scholar and instructor. As a member of the university community, Myro’s contributions are similarly vast. She serves as the student representative to the Council on Graduate Studies, where she also served on the Research Grants Award Committee. She is a recipient of the Williams Travel Grant, the Mary Cralley Vaupel Memorial Award, the Paul Ward Memorial Scholarship, and the College of Education and Professional Studies Development Grant. In addition, she has provided advocacy on behalf of the Children’s Advocacy Center.

Carl Favata

Carl Favata, '16, Master of Science in Biological Sciences

With research focusing on anthropogenic impacts and the restoration efforts of Kickapoo Creek and the physiology of fish, Carl has accumulated an impressive record in the graduate program in Biological Sciences. As a member of the Fisheries and Aquatic Research Team, Carl’s research skills and advanced technical skills have added significantly to the Team’s research efforts. He has presented his research in a number of professional venues, including the Illinois Association of American Fisheries, the national meeting of the Association of American Fisheries, and at the Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology Annual Meeting. He has also received the Graduate School’s Williams Travel Grant and the Graduate School’s Research and Creative Activity Grant. Carl’s nominators for this distinction also consistently noted that he interacts well and extensively with undergraduate students, both as a teaching assistant and as a mentor. In addition, Carl has been an active participant in his department through his membership in the Biological Sciences Graduate Student Association.

Ryan Kalinoski

Ryan Kalinoski, '16, Master of Science in Biological Sciences/Sustainable Energy

As a dual-degree master’s candidate in Biological Sciences and Sustainable Energy, Ryan’s research is demonstrating great breadth and promise. His research focuses on the efficacy of white rot fungus on plant biomass, with findings that have important implications in the fields of bioenergy and bioproject energy. His co-authored research papers have been published in the journals Oecologia and Ecosphere. Most recently he and his co-authors have had a manuscript accepted for publication in the Journal of Visualized Experiments. Along with his research abilities, Ryan has demonstrated leadership skills as the project leader for the People, Plan and Prosperity Student Design Competition, which is a grant funded by the Environmental Protection Agency. Ryan has also served as a teaching assistant in Biological Sciences Department, and received the distinguished Presidential Graduate Research Assistantship for this academic year. Moreover, he has presented five different professional research presentations, including most recently at the European Biomass Conference and Exhibition in Vienna, Austria.

 Katie Lyons

Katie Lyons, '16, Master of Science in School Counseling

Described as “action research” by Professor Rebecca Tadlock-Marlo, Katie’s research is aimed at improving the quality of high school students’ lives. Among her scholarly ambitions as a graduate student in School Counseling, Katie is interested in the experiences of high school students. Through her research, she has helped implement a number of new counseling programs at Arcola High School. Her research has led her to write and win a grant, which has been utilized in this school. She has presented her research on four different occasions, including at state and local conferences, as well as at her field’s national conference, the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision. Professor Rebecca Tadlock-Marlo notes that “Katie is by far the strongest quantitate student-researcher with whom I have worked.” Professor Catherine Polydore adds that Katie has “a brilliant mind, and personal and professional integrity.” Her research skills have resulted in a co-authored publication in the Journal of Family Therapy, with another manuscript currently under review. She is the recipient of a Williams Travel Grant, and the Paul Ward Memorial Scholarship. Apart from her research achievements, Katie is also active in Sigma Chi Ota, Counseling’s honor society, and is a student representative on the Council on Teacher Education (COTE).  On campus, she has been a strong advocate of the American Disabilities Act.


2015 Hamand Scholars

Alyssa Swan

Terri Coleman, '15, Master of Arts in English

Exemplifying student scholarship, research, and service, Terri’s scholarship and creative writing has resulted in two peer-reviewed publications during her time at EIU with the promise of four more possible publications. She has presented at six national conferences as well as participated in many campus and departmental presentations. Terri has won travel grants, essay contests, and was selected twice to speak at the English department’s annual Graduate Research Colloquium. Terri was the recipient of a Provost’s Research Assistantship through which she supervised a team to design and implement a program to educate university students about rape culture on campus, a product that is now, according to Dr. Jeanne Ludlow, Coordinator, Women’s Resource Center, “part of the standard community education curriculum at the local rape crisis center.” Terri’s mentors describe her as gifted, diverse, and rigorous in her scholarly accomplishments.  Her thesis adviser wrote, “Ms. Coleman investigates the traumatic impact of Katrina through the literature produced in its wake. With great passion and scholarly rigor, she explores Katrina literature for what it says about American identity, socioeconmomic reality, and race relations. Ms. Coleman has demonstrated to me her absolute commitment to producing politically salient scholarship.”

Working as an active consultant in the Writing Center and also as a Writing Fellow with Dr. Debra Reid in the History Department, Terri has mentored traditional students and students at risk. While at EIU she has served on the Graduate Student Advisory Council and the Black Graduate Student Association and also reached out to off-campus communities as well, bringing her experience, academic expertise, and eagerness to serve her community to such groups as SACIS, (Sexual Assault Counseling and Information Services.) Terri earned bachelors’ of arts degrees in history and English at Southern University at New Orleans.

Vaskar Nepal

Deborah German, '15, Master of Science in School Counseling

Deborah epitomizes the engaged student, serving her community and the campus through service, teaching,  and scholarship. Her scholarship at EIU has resulted in one publication and one research project with the intent of publication at the end of the semester. She has completed two state presentations, five local presentations, and four in-service presentations for local educators. She earned travel awards, research/creative activity awards, and two College of Education Telefund grants. Deborah has been a leading member in the department’s development of a freshman mentoring team and led the graduate student research team on a study examining Counselor Training and Development. She has served on several committees including as a graduate student representative on the panel for the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, the New Student Orientation Committee, and the Selection Committee for New Counseling Graduate Students. Deborah implemented and maintained the Transfer Team as part of the research team project titled, “B.I.O.N.I.C.”, a mentoring program changing students’ lives and the school culture at Mattoon High School. As the team leader she collected data, conducted monthly meetings with mentors and teachers, hosted monthly luncheons for the 34 new transfer students and their mentors, paired the transfer students with their mentors, and oversaw that the mentor helped to acclimate the new transfer student to the high school by shadowing them for two days. One of Deborah’s mentors writes, “In Deb I see flexibility, a willingness to grow and learn, and an eagerness to make a difference; all qualities that are crucial for success as a counselor.” In her home community of Champaign, she is active in volunteering for the elderly. Deborah earned a bachelor of arts degree in psychology and Spanish from the University of Illinois.

Vaskar Nepal

Mark Rheaume, '15, Master of Arts in Music

Sharing his talent and scholarship as a musician, composer, and organizer makes Mark Rheaume an integral member of EIU’s musical community. Mark has written numerous large-ensemble works, such as, the ballet “The Earth without Water” and Symphony No.1, “Symposium” for seven soloists. His separate concert presentation of “Symposium”, a series of works based on Plato’s Symposium featured seven soloists, piano accompaniment, and a  pre-recital lecture by EIU philosophy professor Dr. Gary Aylesworth. He is the winner of the James K. Johnson Creative Writing Award 2014, a Finalist for the Graham R. Lewis Memorial Poetry Award, 2014, and is an enthusiast of composer Erik Satie. He organized an audio installation of Satie’s “Vexations”, which included 840 continuous performances of the work over 18 hours, on a MIDI-acoustic piano. Mark has won two concert competitions, and is the Lead Trombone in the EIU Jazz Ensemble, and Principle Trombonist with the EIU Symphony Orchestra and the EIU Wind Symphony. As a graduate assistant Mark developed a new system for the department’s instrument locker organization process. Mark has been a leader in community outreach projects with the department’s studio ensemble, The Eastern Crossbones. They have performed on the Ballenger Teacher Center’s Children’s Story Time Programs at Booth Library, Carl Sandburg Fine Arts Big Day in Charleston, and at elementary and junior high schools in Westville, Illinois, where Mark performed as a soloist and storyteller in the “Tale of the Two Terrible Trombones.”  The Eastern Crossbones were invited to perform at the International Trombone Festival in Columbus, Georgia, and Mark’s two performances received many commendations and according to Mark’s mentors, “served to burnish the musical reputation of the music and academic programs at EIU.” His playing also contributed to the group’s invitation to perform at the 2015 Illinois Music Educator’s Conference. Regarding Mark’s compositional accomplishments, one of Mark’s mentors writes, “I must point out the growing conviction, maturity, and artistic individuality in Mr. Rheaume’s compositional voice.”  Mark earned his bachelor of arts in music performance from EIU, his master’s thesis is,  “Characteristics of a Modern Ballet: The Adoption of Sonic Vocabulary and Textual Treatment in The Earth Without Water”

2014 Hamand Scholars

Alyssa Swan

Alyssa Swan, '14, Master of Science in Clinical Counseling

Alyssa completed her bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology from Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, IL. During her graduate studies at EIU, she completed 6 peer-reviewed publications that will be appearing in the Journal of Counseling in Illinois, International Journal of Play Therapy, Professional School Counseling, Eastern Illinois Journal, and Perspectives for Supervisors in Training. She completed 14 presentations of papers or posters. She earned multiple awards including the Williams Travel Grant, Graduate School Research Grant, Betty Wright Downing Scholarship, Mary Cralley Vaupel Award, and Knights Templar Award. Her leadership commitments include Mentor for the Graduate Network for Undergraduates, Chi Sigma Iiota Honor Society, and service to the Graduate Admissions Interview Team. Her faculty mentor was Dr. Angela Yoder.

Vaskar Nepal

Vaskar Nepal KC, '14, Master of Science in Biological Sciences

Vaskar completed a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from Eastern Illinois University and Tribhuban University in Nepal. During his graduate studies at EIU he co-authored 4 peer-reviewed publications that are currently under review in the Native Plans Journal and Restoration Ecology. He completed multiple peer-reviewed presentations including presentation to the Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference and Annual Meeting of the American Fisheries Society. He is the recipient of multiple awards including Williams Travel Grants, Graduate School Research Grants, Fenske Memorial Award, and Anderson Scholarship. He is active in 5 discipline societies including the American Fisheries Society, the Illinois Fisheries Society, and the Phi Sigma Biological Sciences Honorary Society. His faculty mentor was Dr. Rob Colombo.

2013 Hamand Scholars

sharon kim

Sharon Kim, '13, Master of Science in School Counseling

 Sharon completed a bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of Illinois. During her graduate studies at EIU she published a peer-reviewed article, co-authored four grants, completed three peer-reviewed presentations, and served as a participant in two experimental studies. Contributions and leadership to five EIU committees are examples that highlight her extensive service record. Her faculty mentor was Dr. Heidi Larsen.

jessica mcdonald

Jessica McDonald, '13, Master of Arts in Communication Studies

 Jessica completed her bachelor’s degree in communications and culture at Indiana University. During her graduate studies at EIU, she presented four peer-reviewed conference presentations, three guest lectures, and three department research presentations. She earned a Williams Travel Grant and Department Travel Grant to support her work. Leadership on the Executive Board of the Graduate Student Advisory Board and the Study Abroad Society are examples of her extensive service record. Her faculty mentor was Dr. Matthew Gill. 


cassi moody

Cassi Moody, '13, Master of Science in Biological Sciences

 Cassi completed her bachelor’s degree in biological sciences at Eastern Illinois University. During her tenure  in the graduate program she completed eight presentations at professional meetings as author or co-author. She was the recipient of the Williams Travel Grant, Graduate Student Investigator Award, the Graduate School Research Grant, and the Illinois Fisheries Society Student Research Grant. Service contributions to committees of the American Fisheries Society are among her regional and state service commitments. Her faculty mentor was Dr. Robert Colombo



2012 Hamand Scholar

anthony porreca

Anthony Porreca, '12, Master of Science in Biological Sciences

 Anthony is pursuing his doctoral studies at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.



2011 Hamand Scholars

andrew durso

Andrew Durso, '11, Master of Science in Biological Sciences


Andrew is pursuing doctoral studies at Utah State university in Logan, working with Dr. Alan Savitzky on the ecology, physiology, and behavior of toad-eating snakes. In the summer of 2012 he will teach the course, Biodiversity of Utah.

dominic morais

Dominic Morais, '11, Master of Science in Kinesiology and Sports Studies


Dominic is enrolled in the Interdisciplinary Sports Studies Ph.D. program at the University of Texas at Austin where he is studying physical culture, specifically the Iron Game. He received a William C. Powers Graduate Fellowship and recently had an article accepted in Iron Game History.

justin schuch

Justin Schuch, '11, Master of Science in College Student Affairs


Justin works full-time at Southern Illinois University Carbondale as Hall Director, overseeing Bowyer, Brown, Felts, and Steagall Halls, and advising the Residence Association on campus. He is working to obtain the needed experience before starting a terminal degree program in higher education.

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