11/21/2013 5:35 PM
It's a rarity for undergraduates to perform original musicals at any academic institution. Millikin University's Department of Theatre & Dance has taken the rarity to new heights this fall with its new performance, "String." Audiences will witness the first full production of this musical that was first developed through Millikin University's New Musicals Workshop in January 2011.
Millikin University's New Musicals Workshop is a program that offers students and faculty opportunities to collaborate with professional writing teams as they develop new musicals intended for commercial production. The collaboration provides students with a valuable first-hand look into the process of developing and rehearsing a new musical from the ground up.
"String" is a myth story about the three Greek Fates in the modern city responsible for measuring the threads of human life. It focuses on a workaholic Greek god, Atropos, the oldest and most severe fate, who gets tangled up with a security guard in the basement of the tallest building in the world. One mistake leads to another – a lost pair of scissors, a kiss, a stolen string - and soon Atropos is breaking her own rules to offer "forever" to an ordinary man. It's a diverse ensemble musical about sisters, offices, and love. "String" music and lyrics are written by Adam Gwon and book by Sarah Hammond. The choreography is led by Millikin alumna Britt-Marie Sivertsen '10.
"In 2010 we contacted playwright Adam Gwon about doing a workshop and he said he had been working on a project with Sarah Hammond," said Lori Bales, director of "String" and Millikin associate professor of theatre and dance. "We received a draft of the story in January 2011 and worked on it as part of Millikin's New Musicals Workshop. The story has had a great trajectory because it's hard for young writers to get this kind of development."
Adam Gwon is an award-winning composer and lyricist. He was named one of "50 to Watch" by The Dramatist magazine. His honors include the Fred Ebb Award for excellence in musical theater songwriting, the ASCAP Harold Adamson Award, and the MAC John Wallowitch Award.
Sarah Hammond is the author of "Green Girl," "Kudzu," "The Extinction of Felix Garden," and "House on Stilts." Her honors include the Heideman Award (Actors Theatre of Louisville), two MacDowell Colony Fellowships, a residency at the Royal National Theatre in London, and commissions from South Coast Repertory Theatre and Broadway Across America.
Gwon came to Millikin in late October to work with the cast on new songs and scenes. Sarah Hammond also worked with the cast in early November.
"Sarah and I came to Millikin in January 2011 for the New Musicals Workshop without a finished draft of the story," said Gwon. "We spent that time writing the rest of the draft and since then we have done two readings. This production at Millikin is our first incarnation in which everything is up on its feet. It's really exciting to see everything come together and musically it's been exciting because I wrote the show with a large ensemble in mind, and the ensemble is used in a number of ways. It's very satisfying to hear the music as I imagined it."
The show features 17 student cast members including Sean Doherty, a senior musical theatre major from Hampshire, Ill., who saw the New Musicals Workshop of "String" as a first year student.
"You have to make your best judgment of what the writers are intending for the show," said Doherty. "The New Musicals program at Millikin is fantastic and being in a workshop environment is so fast and it's great because you learn so much in such a short period of time. One of my favorite parts about 'String' is that everyone takes away something different about the show. It's a universal show that is really funny and can be very moving."
Anastasia Arnold, a senior musical theatre major from Huntley, Ill., says "It's really great that Millikin is able to do this type of production because not many schools can, and it's an incredible opportunity to be a part of the collaborative process. The challenging aspect is that we might have a change in a scene or a song that we have to work on right away – it's good practice. It's an amazing opportunity to be able to work with new and up-and-coming writers, and this is something that will definitely help with our careers."
Bales added, "The story is completely original, but it's really about the fall. The story talks about how life is wiped clean and how the characters have to adjust. The production is very touching and sad, and the story highlights three sisters who together must learn what's important. It's a beautiful show."
For more information on Millikin's Department of Theatre & Dance, visit www.millikin.edu/theatre
11/14/2013 6:39 PM
Millikin University marketing undergrads are currently developing a unique marketing campaign for a local business as part of Millikin's Advertising & Promotional Strategies course. The campaign is being created for Dove, Inc., a coalition of religious organizations and volunteers that coordinate efforts to address unmet human needs and social injustices. The project is led by Dr. Carrie Trimble, Millikin assistant professor of marketing.
"Last fall, a Board representative for Dove, Inc. reached out to me and said Dove realized it needed help with marketing," said Trimble. "Dove needed help with branding because the people in the community know Dove as a place where they have a shelter for victims of domestic violence, but Dove also runs several other programs."
This current project comes at the heels of marketing research Trimble's Marketing Research course completed for Dove last spring. Millikin students developed a survey to see if people knew of the other programs that Dove runs outside the shelter.
"Using that research, students this fall are charged with developing a marketing/communications campaign for Dove," said Trimble. "The project is broken up into five pieces. The first piece is that the students write a client brief that highlights their objectives for the campaign, identifies their target market, identifies why their target market would care about the major benefit of volunteering, and then concludes with a creative strategy statement for the whole campaign."
The Millikin students have also been asked to redesign the front page of Dove's newsletter, develop a social media strategy for Dove, produce a video that can be shared virally, and design a fundraising event that ties into the use of Indiegogo, an international crowdfunding site where anyone can raise money for things such as music, charity, and small businesses.
"It's great that we are getting to work with an actual company," said Ellie Ehrat, a senior accounting major from Shobonier, Ill. "It's also great that we are able to use our imagination and be creative when it comes to developing this campaign. I always wanted the opportunity to work with a company and the fact that we are doing something to help a local business is something that students don't get at another school."
Trimble added, "We are trying to get a lot of social media involved but we are also trying to get Dove to think about ways of communicating with people. It's measureable and the students will be graded on how the client will respond to how well they think these efforts can actually help them reach their objectives if they are implemented."
The class contains 23 students with six individual groups working on the Dove, Inc. project. Dove, Inc. Board of Directors and Marketing representatives will hear project proposals from the Millikin students during finals week and will provide feedback.
Trimble added, "The students are in fact competing against each other and will see each other pitch campaigns to Dove, so all will see the work that they do."
Amanda Podeschi, director of development in the Millikin Alumni & Development Office and member of the Dove, Inc. Board of Directors says, "The project is all about finding a fresh perspective on Dove's marketing needs and it's a great learning opportunity for Millikin students. We're definitely going into this with the idea that one of the group's ideas or a part of the idea could be utilized here in the near future for our marketing efforts."
"Dove is a company that brings people together to help those less fortunate in the community," said Emily Kissel, a senior communication major from Bloomington, Ill. "Dove has so many programs so it's a challenge to come up with a marketing campaign that showcases all of them because they are all equally important. I'm taking away so much from this project and I'll be able to apply these experiences after I graduate."
When asked about the student's learning experiences from this project Trimble says, "In general, I want the students to understand the creative elements that are put together and it's about meeting a specific set of objectives. As always, we want them to be working in groups, working well in groups, and having that hands-on experience of working with a client."
Trimble added, "This class in particular challenges the students in terms of being creative and making connections. It's an excellent stretch for them that I think really mirrors what's going to be part of their job in the professional world. It goes back to being able to really communicate an idea and be persuasive in communication."
10/31/2013 4:31 PM
The opportunity for history undergraduates to present their research in a professional setting is unique. However, three Millikin history students were granted that rare opportunity during the 15th Annual Conference on Illinois History held Sept. 26-27 in Springfield, Ill.
Students Kayla Samuelson, a senior history major from Onarga, Ill., John Billimack, a senior history major from Champaign, Ill., and Maxwell Couch, a senior history major from Bolingbrook, Ill. offered their original research to audiences of scholars and non-professional historians for feedback during the conference.
"It is unique for a history department to take undergraduates to a conference and have them present their work," said Dr. Dan Monroe, Millikin associate professor of history. "If you look at these conferences, typically the people that are presenting are graduate students or professors so this is an exceptional example of performance learning."
The Conference on Illinois History is the state's largest meeting devoted to the history of the Prairie State. This year's conference included 23 paper sessions that featured topics such as politics, Abraham Lincoln, Latino history, and the Civil War; seven workshops; and two roundtable discussions.
"The students wrote history papers in our classes using original sources such as newspapers, letters, diaries and standard works of history such as biographies," said Monroe. "The papers were at such a level that we took them to this regional conference and had them presented. They worked in the class and took that work out into the wider world to present."
Kayla Samuelson presented her paper titled "The Experiences of One 1960s-Era Decatur Minister." The paper is based on the controversy surrounding Westminster Church's Reverend Emil Hattoon and his efforts to register African-Americans to vote in Hattiesburg, Miss. in 1964. Kayla's presentation was part of the "Civil Rights Stories" concurrent session during the conference.
"The questions I received during the conference were very interesting because the audience wanted me to explain about the trends and how they fit with the times," said Samuelson. "My experience presenting at this conference says a lot about how Millikin professors are willing to work with students who are interested in presenting. Going to a conference that brings out questions about one's research helps any undergraduate prepare for graduate school or grow in terms of becoming a researcher."
Samuelson is currently working with Dr. Brian Mullgardt, Millikin assistant professor of history, to try to get her research published in the Illinois Herald-Journal by December 2013. She will be attending graduate school following graduation from Millikin.
Samuelson added, "I think any research experience given to an undergrad is a great opportunity. The fact that Millikin faculty took me under its wing when I had this interest my freshman year is outstanding."
John Billimack and Maxwell Couch presented their research as part of the "Illinois Civil War Generals" concurrent session. Billimack's paper was titled "Grierson's Raid," a project based on 1863 Union colonel Benjamin H. Grierson who was chosen for a mission to lead three regiments of horsemen and a battery of artillery through the state of Mississippi. Couch's paper was titled "General John A. Logan," a paper based on the Civil War General who became one of Illinois' most powerful Senators.
"I enjoyed performing the research – the thesis on my paper was how General Logan changed from a democrat to a republican during the Civil War," said Couch. "It was interesting to be a part of the conference because we were the only undergrads there. It was great because we received feedback on how we could improve our research."
John Billimack added, "It was a fantastic experience, and I was very privileged to have been given such an opportunity through Millikin's history department."
Couch will look to acquire an internship at a museum after graduating from Millikin and then attend graduate school. Billimack will also be attending graduate school following graduation from Millikin.
Monroe added, "The fact that they went out into the professional world and got validation from other professors and historians for their research is huge. It gives them a sense of confidence and it's important for them especially for getting into graduate school. This experience gives them an introduction to the profession – you do research, write papers, and then you present them to your colleagues in a conference forum and they respond to your findings. It's a process where everyone learns."
10/28/2013 5:16 PM
Emanuel Paz-Pérez, a Millikin University senior biology major from Miami, Fla., was granted an extraordinary opportunity this summer as he was chosen to participate in the New Biology Fellows Program held at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
The program offers undergraduate students, especially those in underrepresented minority groups, academic and experiential opportunities in quantitative biology and informatics. The program is supported, in part, by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and its Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program.
"Primarily, I was able to do graduate-level research even though I'm currently an undergraduate,” said Paz-Pérez. "Having the opportunity to perform the research and to include this experience on my resume will definitely help in terms of my future."
The National Science Foundation funds a large number of research opportunities for undergraduate students through its REU Sites program. An REU Site consists of a group of approximately 10 undergraduates who work in the research programs of the host institution. Each student is associated with a specific research project, where he/she works closely with the faculty and other researchers. The title of Emanuel's research project was "Discovering the SbGl15 gene sequence within juvenile leaves expressing Glossiness in Sorghum bicolor." Emanuel worked under the supervision of Dr. Patrick Brown, assistant professor of plant genetics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
"I learned a lot about sequencing, genes, and looking for a specific gene within a genome of sorghum bicolor," said Paz-Pérez. "Being able to do my own research was quite the experience and now I can take that experience and show other doctors what I can do as well as what I want to do."
The objectives of Emanuel's research included designing overlapping primer pairs to amplify an entire specific gene sequence, amplify and sequence the products of the primers, and to learn to use genetic tools, protocols, and software to find sequences within a genome.
At the end of the summer, participants of the New Biology Fellows Program presented their research results in the form of posters and oral presentations at the Illinois Summer Research Symposium in Champaign, Ill., held July 25-26. Among the 150 participants that participated, Emanuel was selected as an Honorable Mention for Young Researcher of the Year.
"I was able to attend Emanuel's poster and slide presentations at the symposium in Champaign in late July, and he did an excellent job of explaining his research to me and many others," said Dr. Ray Boehmer, Millikin associate professor of education. "Attending the symposium gave me an opportunity to see and meet some of the other participants in this excellent undergraduate summer research program. Most of the participants were of underrepresented groups in the sciences. The organizers and funders of the program obviously saw a need to focus on these students in an effort to encourage and support them in their career paths."
Boehmer added, "The selection of Emanuel as Honorable Mention Young Researcher of the Year is a huge tribute to his dedication and work, as well as being a big plus for Millikin University."
Paz-Pérez says he will look at selective graduate schools to attend after graduating from Millikin and that his educational experiences at Millikin have played an important role in terms of his research. In terms of his career, he hopes to become a researcher as well as a professor of biology.
"The faculty at Millikin have been very helpful and supportive with all of my research and work," said Paz-Pérez. "The learning opportunities at Millikin have also been very important in terms of my work leading up to this year."
10/18/2013 4:19 PM
Millikin University welcomed 20 visitors to campus this September from Northeast Normal University High School (NENU) based in northern China. The Chinese visitors included 15 high school students, four teachers and the High School's Principal Mr. Shi, Liang. The two-day visit was part of a partnership between the high school and Millikin University's School of Education. The visit allowed students to explore Millikin and learn about campus experiences.
"The School of Education has had this partnership with the high school since 2005," said Dr. Nancy Gaylen, director of the School of Education and associate professor of education. "We see great potential for having the students coming into college go to Millikin or to have more Millikin students who are not necessarily part of the School of Education go there. During the two-day visit we brainstormed about all the things we could do beyond what we have been doing in the School of Education."
Throughout their visit, the students went on a campus tour, listened to presentations from two NENU professors who are spending the semester at Millikin – Jessica Zhang and Nina Xuan – and enjoyed Millikin's International Month Festival in Richards Treat University Center. The students also experienced Millikin's English Language Center (ELC).
"I think it was very important for the students and teachers to come to Millikin's campus because it helps everyone understand how special this partnership is," said Florence Galy, Millikin's director of International Recruitment and Global Strategy. "This partnership has given our students and graduates plenty of opportunities to not only go abroad but have a real experience as professionals. It's not very common to have this type of partnership."
Gaylen added, "I think the principal realized during the visit that Millikin is a place where students are cared for, and he especially saw that when he visited the English Language Center. He saw that the Center has a comfortable place for the students to read books, work with computers, and he saw his students integrating right away with other international students. The principal was also very interested in the fact that we have a bridge program – meaning that if your TOEFL score isn't high enough you can use the English Language Center to improve in that area. That made an impression on him."
Along with their experiences throughout campus, the students learned all the aspects of Millikin's educational opportunities. Principal Shi also met with Millikin University President Dr. Patrick E. White and Millikin's Director of the Center for International Education Carmen Aravena.
When asked about how the partnership will continue to grow Gaylen said, "One idea that we are working on is having a culture course in the summer time at Millikin, that way the students from China can see what Millikin is like for a two or three-week span and understand the college experience. Another idea would be having Millikin faculty go to NENU for a semester to teach."
"Each year since 2005 two teachers from NENU come to Millikin for approximately two months," said Gaylen. "About every other summer, I take an immersion class of Millikin students to China and my goal with that immersion is to help the education students see that they could go there as a job after graduation. The students that have gone to China in the past have absolutely loved it."
Gaylen added, "The students were very happy to participate in the English Language Center and not just tour the campus. They were able to participate in many things."
The visit concluded with a trip to Dennis Elementary School in Decatur, Ill., as the teachers and Principal Shi observed the Chinese guest teachers in their classrooms. The Chinese students wrapped up their visit by observing Millikin fine arts classes and music ensembles.
Galy added, "There are many ways to further explore and expand this partnership. I think the students left with many things to remember about an American campus, and I think they left with a great impression about how Millikin's educational system works and what people are like on campus."
10/2/2013 10:58 AM
Millikin University's biology department offers students the opportunity each academic year to experience ecological journeys: travel courses designed to familiarize students with principles of ecology in exotic or unusual environments. Students have the opportunity to work together to carry out field investigations during their travels. Recently, four Millikin undergrads traveled to Alaska with Dr. Judy Parrish, Millikin professor of biology, to study the state's ecological aspects and to experience its high points.
"We have different ecological journeys throughout the academic year and we concentrate on ecological principles, interactions between organisms, and we spend quite a bit of time on vegetation as well as studying different animals," said Parrish. "We also try to work in 17 to 18 hours of lecture, so it's certainly an educational experience."
The four students that accompanied Dr. Parrish on the Alaskan trip were Dexter Bunch, a senior biology major from Cerro Gordo, Ill., Brett Ketza, a senior biology secondary teaching major from Sugar Grove, Ill., Dylan Ross, a senior biology major from Urbana, Ill., and Alyson Kramer, a junior communications major from Woodridge, Ill.
The group spent close to three weeks in late July hiking and camping in Alaska. The group also hiked on glaciers and up mountains and watched animals such as bears, moose, and eagles. The students worked on specific projects such as comparing plankton near the beach to plankton out in Resurrection Bay, comparing photosynthetic rates of leaves at different positions on fireweed plants, and comparing anthocyanin contents in young and older leaves.
"This trip was a really interesting way to learn about the ecology of a place unfamiliar to what we are normally used to," said Ross. "The field exams were a great way to reinforce what Dr. Parrish wanted us to know. My project was on the anthocyanin content in fireweed, a plant that is common throughout Alaska. I collected data to see what area of the plant produced the highest anthocyanin content based solely from the leaves. Being able to see the organisms up close really helped me understand their adaptations."
Along with their studies, the group also explored Hatcher Pass, a Muskox farm, and the Iditarod Headquarters in the Matanuska Valley. They also visited the Native Heritage Center in Anchorage and the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward, and spent five days in Denali National Park.
Alyson Kramer added, "This trip was an eye-opener to what our own country can provide for us. The days were filled with hiking, animal watching and different culture experiences. We were lucky enough to see many native animals and plants in full swing while we were there. Our group was small which also made the trip a more personal experience because we helped each other out with coursework."
When asked about his experience, Brett Ketza added "One of the greatest experiences of my life was being able to walk across a glacier during the trip, and we also got a really great perspective of Alaska during our guided tours. The project I worked on was a comparison of different types and amounts of plankton we got from the open ocean compared to the coast. We compared similarities and differences, and we also tried to determine why those similarities and differences exist."
Ketza added, "One of the things I really enjoyed about the trip was the hands-on field experiences – we interacted with everything there and learned about everything while it was there in your hands. I want to become a biology teacher and this experience is the same approach I would like to take with a class in the future. This is the type of trip that shows students what they can do by being out there in the field."
Throughout the experience in Alaska, the Millikin students had to reflect on the impact of the trip in a journal. The students shared their observations in their journals every day, and also wrote three intriguing questions and shared their top three learning experiences.
"I thought it was interesting to reflect on the trip," said Ketza. "The more I realized that not only was the trip educating us on biology, ecology, and the Alaskan culture, I realized it showed us how little we needed to get by each day. It was very eye-opening."
Dr. Parrish added, "I think the students' first-hand observations as well as their manipulation of things during the trip were important. Before we left for the trip the students were supposed to put together a list of goals, so it's always interesting to see if their goals were met by the end of the trip."
9/6/2013 12:37 PM
U.S. Embassy internships are rare opportunities for undergrads to make a difference in international affairs, and for Katie Mulderink, a senior business management, international business, and Spanish triple major from Crete, Ill., this type of opportunity was something she would never forget. Mulderink's pursuit of a career in Foreign Service took an important step forward as she spent the summer as an intern at the U.S. Embassy in Santiago, Chile. Mulderink worked in the U.S. Commercial Service Department which promotes the export of U.S. goods and services, and protects U.S. business interests in Chile.
"I always wanted to obtain an internship abroad but I was not familiar with how to begin," said Mulderink. "Millikin International Business Professor Dr. Mark Munoz advised me to contact the Senior Commercial Officer through the U.S. Embassy – Santiago, Chile website. After a two month application process I was confirmed as an official intern and had to report in May."
Mulderink acted as the assistant to the commercial specialists in the U.S. Commercial Service Department which helped expand her knowledge on international trade.
"The commercial specialists deliver customized business solutions to ensure that U.S. businesses compete and win in the local marketplace," said Mulderink. "My daily responsibilities included conducting market research, creating business plans, counseling U.S. Chilean clients, participating in local trade shows, creating industry overviews, translating, editing reports and scheduling meetings."
Prior to her internship, Mulderink's first experience abroad began with a Millikin University Spanish immersion course to Chile during her sophomore year. She also studied in Murcia, Spain during the spring semester of her junior year. Throughout her time in Europe she traveled to 15 different countries and developed new communication skills and a heightened sense of global community.
"When I obtained my internship in Chile I acclimated to the culture and country easier than expected,” said Mulderink. "My previous travels helped me to communicate better in Chile and it helped me become more flexible, adaptable, and intuitive. I was able to adjust quite easily because of my previous experiences and my passion for discovering new cultures."
One of Mulderink's favorite experiences during the internship was working with the Florida Trade Mission. The State of Florida Department of Transportation wanted to provide a safe transportation system that ensured the mobility of people and goods, enhancing economic prosperity, and preserving the quality of the environment and communities. Mulderink was able to attend all the meetings and receptions held for Florida Governor Rick Scott whom she was able to personally meet.
When asked how this experience will play a role in her professional career after Millikin Mulderink said she hopes that her "professional approach and an efficient work style will continue after Millikin." She has solidified her interest to pursue a career in Foreign Service work with an international company in a metropolitan city utilizing both business and Spanish degrees.
Mulderink did face some challenges during her time in Chile such as adjusting to the language, but her interactions with coworkers and professors were helpful and she received plenty of great advice for her future.
"I did not realize it at first but when I returned home from studying abroad in Murcia, Spain, I developed a greater self-confidence, independence, and self-reliance," said Mulderink. "When I returned home from Chile, I gained a different view of international affairs, from politics to economics to social issues. I returned with a new appreciation for the U.S. because I was able to understand our culture on a deeper level."
Mulderink added, "I am grateful I was able to intern with the U.S. Embassy in Santiago, Chile. A career in Foreign Service provides the most interesting work in the world and opportunities that few jobs can rival. This internship was by far the most challenging, exciting, and rewarding. Not only did I gain specialized knowledge and experience in international business, but it created a passion to work in Foreign Service."
Carmen Aravena, director of Millikin University's Center for International Education, says "the Center for International Education takes great pride in offering our students programs abroad in various countries around the world. We send students to places such as Argentina, Chile, China, Dominican Republic, England, France, Ireland, Mexico, Spain, Taiwan, and Thailand. Katie was a student who really took advantage of our programs and truly lived and breathed the study abroad experience."
Aravena added, "Studying abroad ignites educational drive in college students and will undoubtedly lead to new academic interests all while instilling a new dedication to career and life achievement. For Katie, studying in Spain was never going to be the end of her international experiences, and I'm proud that it inspired her to get involved with International Affairs. These international experiences left a lasting impact on her view of the world, and it is my hope that more students will reach out and take advantage of the international opportunities waiting at their fingertips."
8/28/2013 4:40 PM
Millikin University Professor of International Business Dr. Mark Munoz has published a new book titled "Handbook on the Geopolitics of Business." The book focuses on the importance of geopolitical understanding in the management of the contemporary corporation. The book features original contributions from numerous experts across the world and offers important implications for both the academic and corporate communities.
"One thing that is very exciting about this book is that it's pioneering," said Munoz. "Geopolitics is known as the convergence of geography, economics and politics and how it impacts events specifically in other parts of the world. What makes this book unique is that this is the first time geopolitics has been studied in the context of its implications to business."
The "Handbook on the Geopolitics of Business" provides a solid foundation for both understanding and responding to recent changes and trends in global economics, politics, and business. Several topics are featured throughout the book including the shifting nature of international trade, economic growth in emerging economies, voluntary sustainability codes, management in international corporations, organization of mega-events, entrepreneurship and geopolitical risk, and investment law and firm behavior.
"For this book, I assembled experts from all over the world – from industrialized countries and emerging nations – to try to get a sense of how they think geopolitics can impact business," said Munoz. "The book offers significant value to corporations because many firms are seeing the interconnections between international events and business performance. The book is timely given the numerous geopolitical challenges that are shaping our world today. It's the only book out there that covers this topic."
The book thoroughly describes three transformations that have been evident throughout the course of corporate evolution: local to global, inner to outer, and private to social. The local to global transformation illustrates how many business enterprises significantly expanded their reach. The inner to outer transformation describes how companies have started to see the benefits of alliances and creative partnerships. The private to social transformation shows how corporations have started to see the value of uplifting their image and relationships.
"I spent two years working on the book and it was a tedious process, but ultimately it led to the discovery of new knowledge," said Munoz. "Much of the information from the book will be useful in the classes I teach. I hope to teach a course based on the geopolitics of business in the near future. The book is special since it provides a truly global perspective utilizing global talent and ideas from around the world. The end product is truly international and profound."
The book also has an appeal to students and professors of international business, economics and political sciences. The volume offers a comprehensive discussion of the new global terrain and makes a strong case for the consideration of geopolitics in both the study and practice of modern day business.
"It is a thought-provoking book that places Millikin's Tabor School of Business in the forefront of geopolitics research, especially with contributions from Millikin Business Professors Dr. Anthony Liberatore and Dr. Michael Pettus," said Munoz. "Collaborating with talented colleagues made this endeavor meaningful and exciting."
For more information on the "Handbook on the Geopolitics of Business" visit www.elgaronline.com/view/9780857939746.xml
8/2/2013 3:32 PM
Millikin University students and faculty are spending the summer working on specific research projects as part of Millikin's Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program. The program teams a student with a faculty member to perform in-depth research over the summer months. The research is part of the "graduate level" opportunities undergraduates experience at Millikin.
The 2013 SURF program features several Millikin students and faculty across multiple disciplines conducting research and collaboratively building new academic ground. This summer, four SURF fellowships were granted.
Dr. Dan Monroe, associate professor of history, and Julia Hesse, a senior history major from Tinley Park, Ill., are professionally organizing and preserving political career letters, photographs, audio cassettes, awards, and other items from former United States Congressman and Millikin graduate Thomas W. Ewing '57. The intention of the project is to use the Ewing papers as an archival project for history students, giving them a unique, hands-on opportunity to work with real documents from an actual political figure who had an eventful and substantive career. Hesse has spent the summer creating short descriptions of each item as well as a master catalogue of the collection. Once the papers have been properly organized for scholarly research, they will be used as a basis for creating a memoir of Ewing's political life.
"At most schools, I would not have the chance to work on a project such as this one," said Hesse. "Many professors would not want to hand over this amount of control to an undergraduate student. Instead, at Millikin, and through the history department, I am able to create an archive with assistance from Dr. Monroe and after I am done, I will feel a sense of accomplishment that most undergraduate students will not experience until they are graduate students."
Dr. Kenneth Laundra, assistant professor of sociology, Keyria Rodgers, Millikin adjunct instructor, and Maizee Lamb, a sophomore sociology major from Greenfield, Ill., have been working on an ongoing research project between Millikin's sociology program and the State's Attorney's Office/Macon County Juvenile Justice Council (MCJJC) in Decatur, Ill. The project is an assessment of the local Teen Court program to determine its effectiveness among delinquent teens who voluntarily commit to the diversionary program instead of formal processing in the Macon County Juvenile Court system.
This summer, Lamb's responsibilities include learning how juvenile cases are filed with the court, updating existing databases with new information, creating a new database that combines information for several different current databases across local juvenile agencies, and developing a written report on the new database that summarizes the data. Her responsibilities are also part of a more thorough study on repetition rates among delinquents in Macon County as well as a more in-depth examination of youth programming in Macon County.
"I want to become a social worker, so I've really enjoyed this type of work," said Lamb. "I think the SURF program is great because I go into work every day and I learn something new. It's definitely a learning experience that I would recommend to anyone."
Dr. Paris Barnes, associate professor of chemistry, Dr. Anne Rammelsberg, associate professor of chemistry, and Lindsey Baxter, a senior biology major from Rockton, Ill., are working on a project based around cantharidin, a toxin that causes cell death and using liposomes as potential transport containers for the cantharidin. The goal of the project is to make cantharidin-containing PEGylated liposomes bond to gold nanoparticles and to test their effects on cancer cell viability.
"A couple of years ago we became interested in nanoscience and how nanoscience can be used to destroy cancer," said Barnes. "Lindsay has been working on this project for about three years and we are using gold nanoparticles that are hooked up to biological nanoparticles called liposomes. Inside of these particular balloons is a natural drug that we have chosen called cantharidin. The canthardin is a secretion from a blister beetle. This process would be our drug delivery mechanism to destroy cancer cells. We are trying to do a non-invasive treatment of cancer cells."
"The experience has been absolutely wonderful," said Baxter. "I've been working with Dr. Barnes since my freshman year and to be able to see how much this project has grown is great. The SURF program has allowed us to make so many advancements. I worked on this project last summer as part of my Leighty-Tabor Scholarship research, and this summer, we've had so much more progress, especially with being able to collaborate with all the professors."
Dr. Jennifer Schultz-Norton, assistant professor of physiology, and Travis Mansur, a junior biology major from Decatur, Ill., are developing a cost-effective enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) to test for atrazine contamination in ground and tap water samples. Since the start of 2013, Dr. Schultz-Norton has obtained weekly water samples from seven areas including Friends Creek in Friends Creek County Park, Big Creek in Mt. Zion, Lake Decatur, and the Sangamon River. The overall goal of the project is to examine the levels of contaminating atrazine in the samples and to examine the levels of other pesticides as well as other contaminants.
"I feel that I've become more confident in my work," said Mansur. "I'm more confident in my abilities to do things right since performing the research. This type of work definitely helps you get ready for the next step which for me is medical school. Undergraduates at larger schools don't often get the opportunity to do undergraduate research, but at Millikin you get to perform a lot of research."
The key aspect of the summer project for Mansur is to develop an ELISA protocol and to synthesize ELISA plates.
Mansur has also been working with Dr. Paris Barnes and Lindsay Baxter on the biological aspect of the nanoparticle project by testing the toxicity of each component and to see if the components are harmful to regular cells and cancerous cells.
Baxter added, "Millikin is amazing in the aspect of being able to do research as an undergrad. Being able to start research freshman year is unheard of at other schools and I think this will definitely help me stand out in my applications for medical school."
6/27/2013 1:46 PM
To truly understand today's global economy, it is important to experience another culture and engage in the international world. Students in Millikin University's Master of Business Administration (MBA) program experienced a global connection in May 2013 by traveling to China and studying at the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics (SUFE). As part of the international experience students took part in lectures, group projects, and cultural tours.
"The China trip is the crowning experience for everyone in the MBA program," says Dr. Anthony Liberatore, MBA program director. "You get to leave the country and see things from an outside perspective. Our students attended an intensive week-long course at SUFE."
During the week, financial experts, government officials, trade officials, and professors gave Millikin students and faculty a crash course on how to do business in China.
"What you get in a week is probably more than what you get in a year-and-a-half of working there," says Liberatore. "The perspectives in China are all fairly similar in the intellectual and business circles – they all tell the same story. China is on the move and you get to hear about that."
"It was pretty fascinating to see how things are working in China," says Jeff Birschbach, a recent MBA graduate from Decatur, Ill. "It was informative to see how China is emerging as a new developing economy in the context of our MBA program. Everyone there seemed to be motivated to be successful and to be competitive."
During a competition between Millikin MBA and SUFE MBA teams, ten groups worked on a marketing plan for TVS Italian Cookware, a company that produces aluminum cookware with non-stick coating. The groups were charged with developing a strategy to introduce the company's cookware product in China. The top two presentations from the competition were sent to TVS.
"It was really interesting to see the different perspectives and how prepared we were during the competition," says Liberatore. "It was enlightening and we had fun, and the perspectives were so different that it became very educational. We ended up with two champions, one from the United States team and one from the Chinese team."
Birschbach adds, "The trip tied everything together, from globalization to finance to business ethics to leadership. You could see all those aspects being brought together especially during the competition."
After the week in Shanghai, the MBA students and faculty spent four days in Beijing and finished the international trip by walking the Great Wall of China.
Liberatore adds, "The students learned about the real decision-making process when moving a business into the China market. They also got to see on a broad level the thinking patterns, philosophy, and perspectives in China. They learned how business leaders think about the world and that they must think strategically in order to survive. They learned about how the Chinese business system works and how their culture operates."
Birschbach adds, "This type of experience reminds you how big the world is and how much is happening outside the United States."
When asked about the student's perspective on the trip Liberatore added, "The MBA program starts with focusing on globalization and ethics, and then after going through all the business parts we bring students back up to globalization so that they can see how the world is evolving. The last thing that you get to do in the MBA program is visit China and that is certainly exhilarating."
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