Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Press Releases
Nearly two weeks into his summer mission trip overseas to South Africa, Millikin University student Jared Rixstine recognized the importance of not only sharing knowledge but pursuing it.

Rixstine, a senior music performance and political science double major from Washington, Ill., recently spent three weeks in June traveling abroad to the village of Hammanskraal, South Africa, where he worked with Bethesda Outreach Ministries. Bethesda's mission is to help local churches in meeting the needs of orphan children.

"A mission trip has always been something that I wanted to do and I wanted to dedicate myself to serving a community," said Rixstine. "Bethesda Outreach provided the opportunity for me to teach at their school and be a mentor to the orphans. It was perfect timing for me to be a part of the experience."

In addition to teaching at the local school, Rixstine provided music lessons, tutored students and helped with maintenance around the village.

Rixstine added, "I had two main goals while I was in South Africa. First, to serve and help everyone there including the orphans, house parents and maintenance workers – help them all have an easier time. My second goal was to grow stronger in my faith. Both of my goals were obtained and it was an incredible experience throughout the whole process."

In terms of tutoring, Rixstine worked with students in grades 4-10 helping them study social science, history, geography and math. During the music lessons, Rixstine taught the students how to read music and play a variety of instruments.

"They were fascinated by music, not only piano and guitar, but the concept of music," said Rixstine. "I was able to teach the students a couple of songs that they wanted to learn. One of the older students only wanted to learn a couple of contemporary Christian songs and John Legend's 'All of Me.' We learned all those songs and we held a couple of jam sessions."

Rixstine also taught 3rd and 4th grade classes, which had as many as 20 students in each class.

"I think Millikin, in general, prepared me for being able to teach by giving me the opportunities my first year to work in programs such as Homework Hangout," Rixstine noted.

When asked about his maintenance duties, Rixstine says, "We worked in the garden, cleaned fire pits and changed light bulbs all around campus. It was a good time to do a wide variety of things that I had been prepared to do for years."

To reflect back on his journey and accomplishments, Rixstine started a blog where he wrote entries every day while in South Africa. The title of the blog was "Jared Journeys." His entries included details about his work with the students and his service to the village.

"The experience gave me a perspective on poverty, which was life-changing," said Rixstine. "Another thing I learned is that when you go out on a limb for something you truly believe in, it strengthens your faith and strengthens your ability to share that with other people."
Millikin University student Bradley May, a senior graphic design major from Rockford, Ill., is helping with changes and new exhibits at the Macon Country History Museum.

Starting as an intern in 2013, May has helped the museum develop a new logo, website and Facebook page, all in preparation for the Macon County Historical Society's 100th anniversary next year.

The museum recently held its grand reopening on June 20 featuring a new exhibit dedicated to Abraham Lincoln, the Civil War and Decatur's Grand Army of the Republic.

May, along with Millikin graduate and professional photographer Tyler Kelly '15, started Culturati Creative in 2015. Culturati Creative provides design and marketing services to help elevate brands and businesses.

Click here to read more about May's work with the Macon County History Museum in an article from the Herald & Review.

Millikin University undergraduate Paige Ehrat has had a passion for politics, even as a communication major. A junior from Shobonier, Ill., Ehrat understood the importance of gaining hands-on work experiences that would help benefit her career after Millikin. She took advantage of a great opportunity by spending the spring semester serving an academic internship in the Decatur office of Illinois State Senator Chapin Rose, 51st District.

"My experience working for the Senator was very rewarding because not only did I receive experience, but I was also able to learn more about what was going on in the Illinois General Assembly," said Ehrat.

Ehrat first met Senator Rose during the fall semester on Millikin's campus when he made an appearance in one of her courses entitled "State and Local Government." Ehrat began her internship in January 2015.

As part of her responsibilities, Ehrat would review e-mails from constituents expressing their opinions or concerns about a particular bill that was getting voted on. Recently, Ehrat had the opportunity to be Senator Rose's Page for the day at the State Capitol Complex in Springfield, Ill. Senator Pages are able to participate in lawmaking and the legislative process first-hand on Capitol Hill.

"Our office regularly hosts college age interns who are interested in public policy," Rose said. "This year, I was lucky to host Ms. Ehrat for an academic internship out of our Decatur office. At the end of each semester, we invite the interns to come to Springfield to observe the legislature in session. Paige did a great job in our office this spring, and I hope she enjoyed her trip to the capitol. She is very bright, asks a lot of good questions, and her Millikin education is preparing her well for her anticipated degree in communication."

Ehrat added, "I was able to see first-hand how the General Assembly works day to day. A few other senators had Pages with them for the day too – it was nice to see so many members of the General Assembly excited to get the youth of our state excited about learning more about politics."

Senator Rose received a bachelor's degree in political science with an emphasis in economics from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. After graduation, Rose attended the University of Illinois College of Law. Before being elected to the legislature, Rose served as a senior assistant state's attorney in Champaign County where he prosecuted felony crimes.

Prior to becoming a member of the Illinois Senate in 2013, Rose served in the Illinois House of Representatives from 2003 until 2013.

When reflecting back on the internship experience, Ehrat said, "Some of the best Performance Learning experiences are through internships. Because of this internship, I know just how important communication majors are in the U.S. I'm very excited knowing that, possibly in the future, I can combine my public relations skills with my love of politics and make a career of it."
Millikin University men's basketball coaches and players hosted a community-based basketball skills camp for children at the Decatur Indoor Sports Center (DISC) March 21-22.

Matt Nadelhoffer, Millikin head men's basketball coach, says the program thrives on making an impact in the community by hosting several camps for children and older students each year.

Millikin will be holding additional basketball camps in June, July and August. Click here to read the Herald & Review's recap of the skills camp.
Millikin University students took part in several service projects throughout the local community as part of Millikin's alternative spring break, March 10-13. The alternative spring break activities were organized through Millikin University's Career Center and AmeriCorps VISTA.

Students engaged in a different activity each day, such as helping serve food to Decatur residents at Northeast Community Fund, organizing and serving food at the AMELCA Food Pantry, cleaning the inside of the James Millikin Homestead, and helping set-up for a MobilePack at St. Paul's Lutheran Church for Feed My Starving Children.

Click here to read the Herald & Review's article on the service work Millikin students engaged in during this year's alternative spring break.

The Decaturian, Millikin University's student newspaper, was honored at the Illinois College Press Association (ICPA) annual convention held Feb. 20-21 in Chicago. The Decaturian received third place honors for General Excellence in the division for non-dailies with a circulation of less than 4,000.

Comments from reviewers of The Decaturian included, "This is a newspaper staff that is shooting for excellence and is well on its way. The stories certainly catered to the audience and covered a wide range of issues. The newspaper has a solid design and good overall reporting."

The General Excellence Award is based on a random pull of papers, using three specific dates over the course of the past year. The third place finish was Millikin's highest finish since 2002 when the paper finished first. Millikin received honorable mention honors in 2007.

"I'm extremely proud of the students," said Dr. Scott Lambert, Decaturian faculty advisor and Millikin professor of English. "They've worked hard and it's nice to see the students earn recognition for their efforts."

The ICPA honors the best college newspapers in the state of Illinois. Over 30 daily and weekly college newspapers competed at this year's convention. Entries from spring and fall 2014 were recognized.

"This is a huge achievement for our staff," said Morgan Ewald, Decaturian editor and a senior English writing major from Mount Carmel, Ill. "We have been actively working for the past three years to improve our paper, and winning this award has shown us that our hard work is paying off."

Receiving second place honors for Feature Photo was Xin Zhao, a senior studio art major from Oreana, Ill.

Ewald added, "I am extremely proud of The Decaturian staff members. They have all worked very hard to help achieve the goals of improving the newspaper. I think we have a product that we can be proud of, and winning third place in General Excellence is really encouraging to the staff to keep going."

The Decaturian was established in 1903 and is published during the academic year by students of Millikin University. For more information on The Decaturian, visit decaturian.com.

Millikin University art students were awarded top honors at the 15th Annual Self Employment in the Arts (SEA) Conference held Feb. 20-21 in Lisle, Ill. Each year, the Self Employment in the Arts Conference solicits submissions from participating colleges and universities for the annual SEA Juried Art Show. Millikin students received three of the six awards from this year's show.

The SEA Juried Art Show featured 79 submissions from 28 college artists representing 11 institutions. This year's Competition Juror was BettyAnn Mocek, professor of art at Concordia University in Chicago. Mocek teaches Drawing, Printmaking, Two-Dimensional Basic Studio and Advanced Internships and Independent Studies in various media. She is also the gallery director of Concordia's Ferguson Art Gallery where she has curated over 90 exhibitions during her tenure.

Stuart Ball, a senior studio art major from Carmel, Ind., was awarded Best of Show for his work, and Jessica Brooks, a junior studio art major from Decatur, Ill., received a Juror's Choice Award and the People's Choice Award.

"The SEA Conference is a great experience for any budding artist," said Brooks. "Each year I learn more about what my future might hold through the experience of others on a similar path. The conference also provides many chances for connections with other artists or people in the art world. Being able to exhibit your work is a great experience for students to see what a 'real' art show might be like in their future. This is the perfect trial run for future ventures in the art world."

Stuart Ball added, "How someone presents artwork is key. After framing and matting my art, it gave my work a stronger more professional quality. This recognition has given me confidence in myself and has pushed me to pursue graduate school in the future."

In addition to exhibiting artwork, students attended sessions and panel discussions on topics including: Financial Literacy, Utilizing Social Media, Steps to Starting an Artistic Business and Networking.

"For the art student, the significance of not only having artwork accepted into a juried competition, but then winning an award signals an important aspect of professional success and also represents significance in that the student has succeeded in engaging with the third-party stakeholder, one of the hallmarks of Performance Learning," said Lyle Salmi, chair of Millikin University's Art Department. "The fact that Millikin art students regularly do so also suggests that they are being prepared for a life of personal meaning and professional success."

Millikin University was well-represented at the SEA Conference with 20 students and eight faculty members in attendance. Students from Blue Connection, Millikin's student-run art gallery, and Pipe Dreams Studio Theatre, a student-run theatre company on Millikin's campus presented.

Blue Connection student presenters included: Basia Brown, a senior human services major from Chicago, Nicole Edgecombe, a junior art therapy major from Decatur, Ill., and Angie Fassett, a senior art major from Bloomington, Ill.

Pipe Dreams Studio Theatre student presenters included: Tyler Hixson, a senior theatre major from Monticello, Ill., Matija Ilic, a first-year international student from Cuprija, Serbia, Dana Jones, a senior theatre major from Chicago, and Blanca Hernandez, a senior theatre major from Chicago.

Millikin University's Arts and Entrepreneurship Program is designed to help artists gain the knowledge needed to be successful entrepreneurs. Through the Arts and Entrepreneurship Program, students are actively learning what it takes to start, run, and maintain their own business venture through opportunity recognition and capitalizing on those opportunities. Click here for more information on Millikin University's Arts and Entrepreneurship Program.

SEA is a program geared towards helping emerging visual, performing, literary, and media artists gain the resources and connections they need to be successful self-employed artists. Programming includes conferences, workshops, panel discussions, webinars, competitions and more. For more information on Self Employment in the Arts, visit selfemploymentinthearts.com.
Millikin University's Honors Program presents the 2014 Blue Docs Rock Film Festival on Friday, Dec. 12, 2014, beginning at 6 p.m. in Albert Taylor Theatre, Shilling Hall, on Millikin University's campus. The festival is free and open to the public.

The Blue Docs Rock Film Festival is the culminating event for Millikin's honors seminar course on documentary filmmaking. Seven Millikin students, who worked in two film crews, took on the roles of director, cinematographer, audio/sound, publicist and editor. The students spent the first half of the course watching and analyzing a variety of documentaries while also formulating documentary ideas and researching their topics. The second half of the course was focused on fine tuning pre-production, production, and post-production of their documentaries.

The festival will begin at 6 p.m. with a pre-screening reception. An introduction ceremony will begin at 6:30 p.m. followed by the screening of two student mini-documentaries from the honors seminar course. A discussion will be held at 7:15 p.m. followed by a formal closing at 7:45 p.m.

"The honors seminar course on documentary filmmaking engages students in Performance Learning," said Ngozi Onuora, Millikin assistant professor of Education. "Millikin students spend the first few weeks of class studying documentaries. Then they work in film crews to select a topic, research it, film it, and edit their video. The course provides excellent examples of collaboration, communication, critical thinking, technology integration, and creativity."

The order of the documentaries will be as follows.

"Activism Loading"

"Activism Loading" compares modern day activism (e.g. Ice Bucket Challenges) to historical forms of activism to explore the question: Is social media activism really activism?

Director: Alexandria Bieber, a sophomore music education – vocal major from South Elgin, Ill.
Assistant Director and Publicist: Emily Wheeler, a sophomore music performance – voice major from Chatham, Ill.
Cinematographer: Grace Piper, a sophomore theatre major from Palm Springs, Calif.
Editor/Sound: Grey Taxon, a sophomore commercial music major from Plainfield, Ill.

"Life is What You Play With"

"Life is What You Play With" examines how society socializes children to play with certain toys and whether or not this socialization can impact future career decisions.

Director: Courtney Ginigeme, a sophomore athletic training major from McKinney, Texas
Cinematographer: Jonathan Rieck, a sophomore psychology major from Elgin, Ill.
Editor/Sound: Sarah Suits, a sophomore graphic design/computer art major from Loami, Ill.


Millikin University's Ethics Bowl Team took third place at the 2014 Central States Regional Ethics Bowl Competition held at Marian University in Indianapolis, Ind., on Nov. 1. By finishing third, Millikin has qualified for the National Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl held in Costa Mesa, Calif., on Feb. 19-22, 2015.

The Central States Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl (IEB) is an interdisciplinary competitive tournament where students engage in substantive ethical reasoning in a professional setting. The students were evaluated by professionals and community leaders including CEOs and senior administrators of major corporations, health care professionals, and community and not-for profit leaders.

"Each and every one of the students practiced and studied many hours per week this semester to prepare," said Dr. Michael Hartsock, Millikin assistant professor of philosophy. "They put forth this effort because they believed that ethical reasoning and Performance Learning are worth doing. None of this was externally imposed by any class or requirement. They were driven to succeed by their own commitment and desire to excel."

The competition required students to analyze and argue for an ethical judgment on 15 cases that raised significant ethical questions. During each match, teams selected, at random, one of the cases and were asked a specific ethical question concerning the selected case. Without the use of prepared notes, and only one minute to discuss, the students gave a seven minute presentation and a five minute response to the opposing team's commentary.

"During the competition, we had three matches with two cases each," said Courtney Burress, a junior philosophy/pre-law and music double major from Marseilles, Ill. "The six cases covered several issues including bioethics, feminism, medical consent, and public shaming. We all seemed to operate on the same wavelength, which is important in a group dynamic. The support we had for each other throughout the competition was key in our performance."

The students were evaluated on their clarity and coherence of their ethical argument, analysis of the ethical issues, and consideration of opposing viewpoints.

"We went into the competition with no expectations, simply wanting to test the waters and learn what to expect for next year," said Brittany Larsen, a sophomore English education major from Maple Park, Ill. "It's truly amazing that a group of students, from many different majors, were able to get to this level in a short amount of time."

Millikin students competed against 15 universities including Butler University, Indiana University, DePauw University, Northern Kentucky University, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, University of Louisville, and University of Southern Indiana. Millikin brought two teams to the competition. The second team made an excellent showing by finishing in the top 50 percent.


The following students represented Millikin at the competition.

Rob Spurling, a senior philosophy major from Taylorville, Ill.
Hannah Serbe, a sophomore biology major and ethics minor from Decatur, Ill.
Brittany Larsen, a sophomore English education major from Maple Park, Ill.
Rachel Mason, a first-year vocal performance major and entrepreneurship minor from Fishers, Ind.
Courtney Burress, a junior philosophy/pre-law and music double major from Marseilles, Ill.
Kara Anderson, a senior English education and philosophy double major from Danville, Ill.
Glynis Baillies, a sophomore English writing major from Chicago, Ill.
Olivia Barnec, a sophomore music education – vocal major from Algonquin, Ill.
Alex Brase, a sophomore mathematics major and finance minor from Decatur, Ill.
Elaine Ortyl, a sophomore musical theatre major from Zionsville, Ind.

Dr. Hartsock added, "The annual national conference is one of, if not the largest international interdisciplinary conference for professional and applied ethics. This is an amazing opportunity for Millikin students to engage in Performance Learning on an international stage."

Brittany Larsen added, "I'm excited to see what nationals holds and to represent Millikin, and show the true value of Performance Learning."
Millikin University's Student Housing Council (SHC) hosted its annual Halloween in the Halls event on Sunday, Oct. 26.

The event provided a family-friendly environment for youngsters from the local community to go trick-or-treating on the campus of Millikin University via a guided tour through campus.

Families could take "scary" or "non-scary" tour routes starting in Lower Richards Treat University Center. Tour routes were held in Mills, Hessler, Dolson, and Blackburn Halls.

The annual event has been held at Millikin University since 2009.

Click here to read the Herald & Review's recap of Halloween in the Halls.
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Millikin University - Decatur, IL
 
Millikin University - Decatur, IL