Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Press Releases
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.

Millikin University hosted its annual Fall Family Weekend on Sept. 19-21. The annual experience gave students the opportunity to show their families the Millikin campus, and offered families a chance to connect with the university through various events and activities.

Many events took place throughout the weekend including an outdoor movie on the Miller Quad, a UCB Street Festival featuring live music entertainment, athletic events, and a children's play featuring Millikin theatre students.

The weekend concluded with the School of Music's annual Collage Concert, a UCB Game Show in Richards Treat University Center, and Fall Family Brunch.

"Fall Family Weekend is a great time for families to come back to campus after Move-In Day and see how proficient their student has become over the past month," said Molly Berry, Millikin director of Inclusion and Student Engagement. "It was a great opportunity for the students to show how much they've learned and transitioned. We had great attendance and positive feedback."

Click here for WAND-TV's recap of Fall Family Weekend.

First Week at Millikin University is an integral part of the college experience for first-year students. Many activities take place throughout the week to help students become acclimated and immersed in their new Millikin home before regular classes begin.

One of the important activities that took place during this year's First Week program was the Class of 2018 Day of Action held Aug. 22-23. Day of Action is Millikin's opportunity to give back to the Decatur community by sending students into the neighborhoods for service opportunities.

This year, Millikin combined with the United Way's Day of Action to perform services at 25 different sites including the Decatur Fire Department, Dennis Lab School Garden, Good Samaritan Inn, and Easter Seals of Central Illinois.

Click here to read the Herald & Review's recap of Day of Action.

First-year students at Millikin University will get a jump start on their college experience during Millikin's 2014 First Week program held Aug. 19-24, 2014.

The week of activities is designed to help students become acclimated and immersed in their new Millikin home before regular classes begin on Monday, Aug. 25. First Week activities begin with Move-In Day on Tuesday, Aug. 19 and continue through Sunday, Aug. 24.

An integral part of the First Week experience is the University Seminar course. University Seminar is intended to be a unique learning opportunity for first-year students entering Millikin University. The seminar introduces students to college-level academic inquiry by focusing on two key skills: critical and ethical reasoning, and reflection.

In addition, University Seminar blends theory and practice by engaging students in service learning and by addressing specific student success topics. The seminar also provides an opportunity for first-year students to make important connections with faculty members and First-Year Experience Mentors.

A highlight of the week's activities will be the Class of 2018 Day of Action. This year's Day of Action will take place on Friday, Aug. 22 and Saturday, Aug. 23, from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. each day.

Day of Action is Millikin's opportunity to give back to the Decatur community by sending students into the neighborhoods for service opportunities. This year, Millikin will be combining with the United Way's Day of Action to perform services at 21 different sites including the Decatur Fire Department, Dennis Elementary Lab School, Tanglewood Village, and Easter Seals of Central Illinois.

The week concludes with Opening Convocation on Aug. 24 at 7:30 p.m. in Kirkland Fine Arts Center, where Millikin faculty and students, new and old, gather to celebrate the beginning of the academic year. The program will feature Millikin faculty and student speakers.

For more information on First Week, contact the Millikin Office of Inclusion and Student Engagement at 217.424.6335. For a full list of First Week activities, visit
The Tri-Beta National Biological Honor Society hosts a Biennial National Convention to provide students and faculty members a chance to share current research and discuss scientific topics. Millikin biology students from the Iota Epsilon Chapter presented their posters of research during this year's convention held at Gannon University in Erie, Pa., from June 4-8.

Students Ashley Fulk, a senior biology allied health track major from Altamont, Ill., Morgan Kincheloe, a junior biology major from Lincoln, Ill., and Kendra Peterson, a senior biology major from Batavia, Ill., were among top biology students from universities across the nation that presented their work. Kendra Peterson received the 2nd Place John C. Johnson Award for her presentation in the Ecology Division.

"Although Beta Beta Beta was founded in 1922, Millikin University has only had a chapter (Iota Epsilon) since 2011," said Dr. Travis Wilcoxen, Millikin assistant professor of biology. "In that short time, we have fully embraced the mission of Beta Beta Beta and our student success at the national convention is evidence of that."

Kendra Peterson presented her work on soy bean responses to herbivory and simulated herbivory, while Morgan Kincheloe presented her work on blood parameters in raptor rehabilitation; both students competed in the Ecology Division. Ashley Fulk presented her work on the effects of stress during development on chorus frog antioxidant levels at metamorphosis. Fulk competed in the Cellular and Developmental Biology Division.

"In the long run, it was a great opportunity to present my research on a national level because it helps me prepare for graduate school," said Fulk. "It was great to see all the different types of research projects that are being conducted by students."

It was the first time that Fulk presented her work while Morgan had only presented her research once before at Millikin's Celebrations of Scholarship.

"The convention was a very interesting experience," said Kendra Peterson. "We were able to meet many different students from all over the nation and see their research. Presenting my research in such a place was exciting because of the competition format. It's astounding to believe that my research was good enough to get an award."

For Peterson, the 2nd Place Johnson Award adds to a 3rd Place Poster Award she received at the Tri-Beta District Convention back in March 2014. Peterson also received a 3rd Place Award at the 2014 Millikin University Celebrations of Scholarship Poster Symposium, and a 2nd Place Oral Presentation Award at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Illinois State Academy of Science in April.

Dr. Wilcoxen added, "Students from 28 universities participated in this national convention, and all students presenting were among the top biology students at their respective universities. Kendra Peterson's receipt of a 2nd Place Johnson Award, combined with presentations from Ashley Fulk and Morgan Kincheloe, shows that Millikin University is an excellent university for undergraduate research in biology."

When asked about what she learned at the convention, Peterson said, "To effectively communicate my ideas to other students and professors who had never heard my research. This was a challenge that I learned a lot from and will help me when I have to present different research. The faculty at Millikin have given me a lot of support and assistance with my research, which made all of my success possible. I would not have been able to present on a national stage, or even have hopes of winning an award, without their continued support of my projects."

Tri-Beta is a society for students, particularly undergraduates, dedicated to improving the understanding and appreciation of biological study and extending boundaries of human knowledge through scientific research. Since its founding in 1922, more than 200,000 persons have been accepted into lifetime membership, and more than 670 chapters have been established throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. For more information on Tri-Beta, visit

The Millikin University Delta Epsilon Chapter of Sigma Lambda Beta (SLB) International Fraternity Inc. officially celebrated its charter status on May 8 in Shilling Hall on Millikin's campus. SLB became a colony on Millikin University's campus in December 2011 and received chapter status in February 2014. The members of the Millikin Chapter were honored during a ceremony hosted by Millikin University President Dr. Patrick E. White.

"It's such a great accomplishment," said recent Millikin graduate and former Delta Epsilon President, Trey Williams '14. "I've been a part of this since we became a colony and being the only one to witness the entire transition is special. One of my goals as president was for us to receive chapter status and the support we received for this recognition has been great."

The Millikin Chapter was one of the first five chapters to be welcomed by Sigma Lambda Beta during the spring semester. The Millikin SLB Colony has made a strong impression on campus by outreaching to different student groups, and fostering strong relations among the councils at Millikin.

When asked about the goals of the fraternity, Williams says, "To raise our grade point average and to market ourselves more – we want to make sure that the Millikin campus knows who we are. We also want to have more philanthropy events and work with organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters."

An international fraternity established on brotherhood, scholarship, cultural awareness and community service, Sigma Lambda Beta is known for the phrase: "opportunity for wisdom, wisdom for culture." Their mission is to nurture and further a dynamic, values-based environment which utilizes its historically Latino-based fraternity as a catalyst to better serve the needs and wants of all people.

"We want to make an impact through programming and emphasize the four pillars of the fraternity," said Phillip Lopez, a junior music performance major from Avon, Ill., and current president of the Delta Epsilon Chapter. "We also want to make an impact with first-year students and help them understand the importance of Greek Life on campus."

Founded on April 4, 1986 at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa, Sigma Lambda Beta is committed to create and expand multicultural leadership, promote academic excellence, advance cultural awareness and service while influencing its mission amongst all dedicated collegiate men worldwide. The fraternity has grown to over 100 collegiate entities spanning across 29 states from coast to coast. Sigma Lambda Beta is historically the largest Latino Fraternal Greek Lettered intercollegiate fraternity in the United States.

Williams added, "From a future standpoint, I hope to see our charter go out to other schools, hold informational events, and get them interested in establishing their own colonies. We want to be the forefront of our region."

For more information on Sigma Lambda Beta, visit
Millikin University is pleased to announce the winners of the 21st annual Undergraduate Research Poster Symposium held during Millikin's 2014 Celebrations of Scholarship.

The annual Poster Symposium provides students with an opportunity to share their scholarly work, and in the process increase campus and community awareness of the variety of scholarly activities conducted by students and faculty. In addition, the Poster Symposium is an excellent means of introducing and encouraging students to explore and participate in research opportunities at Millikin.

Participation in the poster symposium is open to all Millikin students, regardless of major or class rank. The requirement to enter is a letter from a faculty sponsor certifying a poster submission as B or better grade work. The poster presentation may consist of scholarly work completed in regularly scheduled courses, seminars, independent study, directed study, internships, SURF, Leighty Scholars, or James Millikin Scholars projects.

Scholarly work is not limited to one format; rather it includes activities as diverse as performance art, literary expositions and critiques, commentary on creative artistic displays, as well as traditional formal experiments resulting in data.

Students participating in the poster symposium are eligible for cash awards provided by the Phi Kappa Phi Honors Society and the Judith & G. Richard Locke Poster Awards.

2014 Winners:

Judith & G. Richard Locke & Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi 1st Place Award for Research:

Lindsay Baxter, a senior biology major from Rockton, Ill.

Title: Synthesis and application of gold cantharidin-containing liposome nanoparticles for use in breast cancer treatment

Judith & G. Richard Locke 1st Place Awards for Scholarship:

Olivia Hays, a senior chemistry major from Argenta, Ill.

Title: Effects of varying the amount of polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) on the sizes of iron (II, III) oxide hollow nanoparticles

David Leimbach, a senior biology allied health track major from Decatur, Ill.

Title: Observed effects of warm season perennial grass agriculture on resident mammal species

Judith & G. Richard Locke 2nd Place Awards for Scholarship:

Kendra Peterson, a junior biology major from Batavia, Ill.

Title: Learning behavior using route selection in the jumping spider 'Phiddipus Audax'

Remmi Baker, a senior physics major from Decatur, Ill.

Title: Accelerated Coagulation: Designing an intravenous hemostat treatment with homing capabilities

Chelsea Hadsall, a senior applied mathematics major from Macomb, Ill.

Title: Synthesis and characterization of novel high-nitrogen content energetic materials

Brian Kane, a senior chemistry major from Chatham, Ill.

Title: Examination of the factors associated with the intrinsic instability of hollow gold nanoshells

Additional 2nd Place Award recipients include Spencer Hudson, a senior biology major from Wilmington, Del., and Drake Mellot, a senior chemistry major from Sterling, Ill.

Judith & G. Richard Locke 3rd Place Awards for Scholarship:

Mariah Schoonover, a senior biology major from Pana, Ill.
Andy Baldwin, a senior commercial music major from Decatur, Ill.
Kendra Peterson, a junior biology major from Batavia, Ill.
Markesha Davis, a senior biology major from Decatur, Ill.
Josh Monroe, a senior physics major from Rantoul, Ill.
Jessica Davison, a senior chemistry major from Huntley, Ill.

Florence Nightingale Nursing Research Awards:

1st Place Awards – Whitney Ropp, a graduate student in the nurse anesthetist program from Decatur, Ill., Catherine Tomlovich, a senior nursing major from Maroa, Ill., and Brianne Hamell, a senior nursing major from Mount Auburn, Ill.

2nd Place Awards – Kyle Floyd, a graduate student in the nurse anesthetist program from Maroa, Ill., Andrea Thompson, a senior nursing major from Decatur, Ill., and Esther Peasah, a senior nursing major from Decatur, Ill.

For more information on Millikin University's annual Undergraduate Research Poster Symposium, visit

Millikin University undergrad Jared Rixstine, a sophomore music performance major from Washington, Ill., has been awarded a James G. Stemler Study Abroad Scholarship in the amount of $1,000 for the 2014-2015 academic year. James G. Stemler Study Abroad Scholarships are awarded to members of Alpha Lambda Delta (ALD) National Honor Society who are pursuing a for-credit study abroad program during the coming academic year.

"It is an understatement to say that I was surprised," said Rixstine. "When I applied for a scholarship that I knew would have many applicants, I did not expect to be selected as one of the winners."

Rixstine will be participating in Millikin's Summer Immersion course in Germany from May 20 - June 3, 2014. The course tours several cities including Berlin, Hamburg, Dresden, Cologne, and Weimar. The course covers German Romanticism and how it influenced philosophy, literature, painting and music in German-speaking countries beginning in the late 18th century and continuing through the early 19th century. Rixstine says he chose the course for its fine arts concept.

"The program will help me with my career - one of the topics covered is how various arts can feed off of each other and use one another as inspiration," said Rixstine. "These sorts of synergies are shaping the future of industry in the fine arts and having exposure to the concept early is extremely valuable to me. This program appealed to me on a personal level. Being of German heritage, I have always wanted to visit and see the place where my family began."

During the 2014 James G. Stemler Study Abroad Scholarship competition, the national selection committee reviewed more than 200 applicants submitted by 230 Chapters. Alpha Lambda Delta awarded 20 scholarships to outstanding undergraduate members to support their educational opportunities as part of study abroad programs.

The awards are named in honor of Dr. James G. Stemler, who served the National Council of ALD for more than 14 years. In addition to his dedicated service on the Council, Dr. Stemler was an active chapter advisor at the University of Portland in Portland, Ore., and has been a proponent and promoter of international study.

When asked about his expectations for studying abroad, Rixstine says, "I want to experience, absorb and reflect on Germany's culture and through the course content, enhance my personal, professional, and academic life. I hope to achieve a wonderful experience that is life-changing and sets me up even more strongly for a successful career."

Alpha Lambda Delta is a national honor society that recognizes and encourages academic excellence among first-year students. For more information on Alpha Lambda Delta and the James G. Stemler Study Abroad Scholarship program, visit
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Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Millikin University - Decatur, IL