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EIU Media Relations

Three EIU students selected for prestigious $12-15K DFI Fellowship


[Colin Roberts contributed to this article]

(Charleston, IL) –Three Eastern Illinois University College of Education graduate students have earned distinctions as recipients of the prestigious Diversifying Higher Education Faculty in Illinois (DFI) Fellowship.

EIU students receiving this award include Emmanuel Ayiku, Chanell Hall, and Kiona Webber. Ayiku, of Chicago, Hall, of Evergreen Park, and Webber, of Peoria, all are enrolled in EIU’s graduate program in College Student Affairs.

“Eastern Illinois University has a rich history with the DFI program,” said EIU’s dean of The Graduate School Dr. Ryan Hendrickson. “We’ve seen several of our students earn the honor in the past, but having three of our students receive such a significant award during a single academic year is a monumental accomplishment. It’s unquestionably a recognition of the quality of EIU’s programs, and a wonderful acknowledgment of the work EIU continues to do to celebrate diversity on our campus and throughout the landscape of Illinois academia.”

According to the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) 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.

DFI Fellow recipients like Ayiku, Hall and Webber 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.

For more information about EIU, or to learn more about its growing assortment of programs and services, visit the university’s website at, or call EIU’s public information office at (217) 581-7400.



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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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