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EIU Media Relations

EIU’s Courtney Walton Selected for Prestigious $12K DFI Fellowship


Eastern Illinois University graduate student Courtney Walton, of Wheaton, will receive $12,000 as part of a prestigious Diversifying Higher Education Faculty in Illinois (DFI) Fellowship on her way to becoming an educator in the State of Illinois.

Eastern Illinois University graduate student Courtney Walton recently learned she would be the recipient of a prestigious 2018-19 Diversifying Higher Education Faculty in Illinois (DFI) Fellowship. As a new DFI Fellow, Walton, of Wheaton, will receive $12,000 to assist her in pursuing her goals to become an educator in the State of Illinois.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for me to be selected for the Diversifying Faculty in Illinois Fellowship” Walton said. “EIU has been instrumental in pushing me to become a better educator with the many opportunities and support they provide.”

According to the Illinois Board of Higher Education website, DFI is a statutorily authorized program that directly addresses educational disparities in educational attainment by race, ethnicity, income and region. The goal of DFI is to increase the number of minority full-time tenure track faculty and staff at Illinois’ two- and four-year public and private colleges and universities by providing financial assistance to students with demonstrated financial need to assist them in completing graduate degree programs.

“Ms. Walton’s recent award is a wonderful distinction for her and for the quality of our programs at Eastern Illinois University,” said EIU’s dean of The Graduate School Dr. Ryan Hendrickson. “This is the second year in a row that an EIU graduate student has earned this honor, and it continues to speak to Ms. Walton’s ambition and achievements as well as to the University’s commitment to diversity on campus and in Illinois academia.”

DFI Fellow recipients like Walton are strongly encouraged to actively seek and accept full-time employment in the education sector in the State of Illinois for a period at least equal to the number of years they spent as a DFI Fellow. In addition, program administrators work with higher education institutions like EIU to offer workshops and pursue other outreach opportunities that meet the goals and objectives of the initiative.

“I can’t wait to begin my career here in Illinois, where EIU works with future educators every day in support of the state’s broader commitment to education,” Walton added. “Like EIU, I am excited to create innovative, viable pathways to success for all of Illinois’ future learners and educational leaders.”



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Media Relations
Josh Reinhart, Public Information Coordinator

2142 Old Main
Eastern Illinois University
600 Lincoln Ave.
Charleston, IL 61920
Fax: 217-581-8444

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