Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Press Releases
Millikin University student-attorneys and delegates were recognized for their efforts at the 37th annual Model Illinois Government (MIG) simulation held Feb. 26 – March 1 at the State Capital Complex in Springfield, Ill.

Each spring semester, students from around the state of Illinois participate in the Model Illinois Government simulation. Nearly 300 students from over 20 colleges and universities participated in this year's simulation. 

The MIG Moot Court competition included teams of two attorneys arguing cases before a panel of student-justices and legal professionals. Teams were scored on the basis of presentation and knowledge of the case facts. Millikin University brought five teams to this year's competition with teams advancing to the quarter-final round, semi-final round, and a newly configured four-team final round. 



In addition to the students who participated as attorneys, three Millikin students participated as student-justices: Kara Anderson, a senior philosophy major from Danville, Ill., Kiana Holmes, a junior sociology major from Elgin, Ill., and Rob Spurling, a senior philosophy major from Taylorville, Ill. The student-justices demonstrated mastery of the case files by firing a continuous volley of questions at the attorneys.

"Our students worked extremely hard in advance of and during the competition to produce and then deliver sophisticated legal arguments," said Dr. Robert Money, Millikin professor of philosophy. "The results speak for themselves. It is an honor to work with such bright and motivated students." 

Millikin student-attorney Courtney Burress, a junior philosophy major from Marseilles, Ill., was elected to serve as Chief Justice of the Model Illinois Government Moot Court competition for 2015-2016. Burress will be on the Model Illinois Government Executive Board for the upcoming year.



"This was my first year participating in the competition and the experience was absolutely incredible," said Burress. "Listening to other schools compete and talking to actual lawyers, professors of law, and students from other schools who have the same aspirations as me thoroughly showcased to me that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life."

Millikin students who participated in the competition included: Taylor Lindemann, a first-year theatre major from Oak Lawn, Ill., John Tasch, a sophomore philosophy major from Roselle, Ill., Joshua Rose, a senior philosophy major from Saint Jacob, Ill., Taylor Godwin, a junior political science major from Hillsboro, Ill., Nick Roberson, a senior political science major from East Troy, Wis., Alex Brase, a junior mathematics major from Decatur, Ill., Hannah Serbe, a sophomore philosophy major from Decatur, Ill., Victoria Jackson, a senior psychology major from Chicago, and McKensie Meadows, a junior philosophy major from Decatur, Ill.

Burress added, "I learned a lot about myself as a person and a scholar during Moot Court. I learned a lot about the skills I possess and the skills I need to work on that will help me in my educational pursuits at Millikin and in law school."


MIG LEGISLATURE


In addition to the Moot Court competition, the MIG simulation featured a Legislature Simulation where students are assigned political parties and districts and placed in committees of their particular interests. The legislators simulated the legislative processes in the actual committee rooms and chambers of the Capitol building.

Millikin University brought 10 delegates to this year's MIG Legislature Simulation. Aaron Thomas, a junior political science major from Orland Park, Ill., was re-elected to the executive board, this time as the Attorney General of Model Illinois Government. As Attorney General, Thomas will be in charge of original legislation for the simulation, as well as running the MIG Journal.

"Working at the Capital has always been a great learning experience," said Thomas. "I think Model Illinois Government is a perfect example of what students need in terms of getting involved with politics, and understanding what it means to get bills passed that affect our everyday lives." 



Students Courtney Woelfel, a sophomore political science major from Jerseyville, Ill., and Abby Beaty, a junior political science major from Nokomis, Ill., submitted original legislation to the simulation and their original legislation was debated in committee.

"I was incredibly impressed with the poise and confidence of our students, both in committee action and in floor debate," said Amber Lusvardi, Millikin lecturer of political science. "Their ability to speak passionately and in-depth on a range of government issues was inspiring to me as their faculty advisor."



Millikin students who participated in the Legislature Simulation included: Paige Ehrat, a junior communication major from Shobonier, Ill., Jessica Bird, a senior political science major from Chicago, Karen Padilla, a first-year political science major from Chicago, Colten Watrous, a first-year political science major from Decatur, Ill., Jenny Zima, a junior political science major from Greenfield, Wis., Taylor Morthland, a senior political science major from Decatur, Ill., and Kate Wrigley, a junior political science major from Decatur, Ill.

For more information on Model Illinois Government, visit modelillinoisgovernment.org.
The Millikin University Institute for Science Entrepreneurship, a signature program of Millikin's Center for Entrepreneurship, will continue its 2014-2015 Speaker Series on Tuesday, March 17, 2015 with keynote speaker Tim Eckels, vice president for community benefit, public policy and advocacy at Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS).

The presentation will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the East Room of Lower Richards Treat University Center on Millikin's campus; the event is free and open to the public.

Tim Eckels will discuss how the Affordable Care Act and actions by private purchasers are driving significant changes in the way healthcare is organized and delivered. Eckels will describe the impact of these reforms on physician practices and hospitals like St. Mary's in Decatur, Ill., which is part of Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS). The presentation will also cover how systems like HSHS have been leading many of these changes in anticipation of reform.

Tim Eckels leads the legislative advocacy efforts of Hospital Sisters Health System's 14 hospitals and multiple physician groups in Illinois and Wisconsin. He also analyzes federal and state policies to determine HSHS positions and to inform system-wide strategies. Included in his role is the support of HSHS delivery system innovations through a grant-seeking program. Eckels also oversees community benefit for the system, which is the set of hospital outreach activities that are designed to improve access and enhance the overall health of communities.

Prior to joining HSHS in 2009, Eckels served as vice president for public policy at Trinity Health, a multi-hospital system based in Novi, Mich. Between 1992 and 2002 Eckels served in Washington, D.C. for the Catholic Health Association as senior vice president for planning and policy development and as director of public policy. His career also includes health policy consulting with The Lewin Group of Washington, D.C.

Eckels holds a master's degree in city planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Mass., and a Bachelor of Arts from Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H.

The speaker series focuses on science entrepreneurship and how an increased emphasis on entrepreneurship can spark job creation and societal well-being. Throughout the academic year, executives from science ventures will be discussing particular aspects of their business. In addition, business leaders will be discussing broader topics of interest.

The Institute for Science Entrepreneurship was originally funded by a Millikin University Performance Learning Enhancement Grant in December 2012. Since that time, the institute has received funding from the Andreas Foundation, Coleman Foundation, 300 Below Inc., a private foundation and anonymous donors to develop the 2014-2015 Speaker Series and other institute programming.

Formed by Dr. David Horn, Dr. George Bennett, professor of chemistry, and Dr. Casey Watson, associate professor of physics and astronomy, the Institute for Science Entrepreneurship connects external clients with faculty and students of Millikin to provide high quality services to science companies and private practices.

In addition to the speaker series, the Institute for Science Entrepreneurship has recently garnered several accomplishments including external funding from Caterpillar Decatur to support a new course entitled "Introduction to Science Entrepreneurship," external funding and a collaboration between 300 Below Inc. and Millikin University, and a collaboration with the Community Foundation of Macon County to host a discussion on poverty.

The Institute for Science Entrepreneurship also offers Performance Learning opportunities for students through its new Science Entrepreneurship Research Fellow Program. The program matches student interest with needs of private practices and companies in the health and natural sciences.

For more information on the speaker series or the Millikin Institute for Science Entrepreneurship, call 217.424.6392 or visit millikin.edu/InstituteForScienceEntrepreneurship.
The Millikin University Institute for Science Entrepreneurship, a signature program of Millikin's Center for Entrepreneurship, will continue its 2014-2015 Speaker Series on Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015 with keynote speaker Mark D. Schweitzer, managing director of intermodal and international freight at Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM).

The presentation will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the East Room of Lower Richards Treat University Center on Millikin's campus; the event is free and open to the public.

Mark D. Schweitzer was appointed managing director of intermodal and international container freight in 2008. Prior to this position, Schweitzer advanced through various ADM management responsibilities within grain merchandising, North America oilseed processing, North American warehousing, oilseed and energy risk management. With more than 20 years of risk management and customer relations experience, Schweitzer's areas of adeptness include transportation logistics, inventory management, and vendor negotiations that allow him to be instrumental in helping guide and create cost-effective solutions for the transformation of businesses supply chains.

Schweitzer earned his bachelor's degree from The Ohio State University, Master of Business Administration from Indiana Wesleyan University and executive management development from Harvard.

Schweitzer will discuss how all trade of wealth and productive labor involves transportation, whether it is the movement of goods or the movement of people to and from their homes, jobs, and places where they shop. Today, complex trade is impossible without modern, mechanized transportation, and such transportation is provided by the Midwest Inland Port. In addition, Bruce Stoddard will comment on Parke Inc.'s decision to expand and the influence the Midwest Inland Port had on this decision.

The speaker series focuses on science entrepreneurship and how an increased emphasis on entrepreneurship can spark job creation and societal well-being. Throughout the academic year, executives from science ventures will be discussing particular aspects of their business. In addition, business leaders will be discussing broader topics of interest.

The Institute for Science Entrepreneurship was originally funded by a Millikin University Performance Learning Enhancement Grant in December 2012. Since that time, the institute has received funding from the Andreas Foundation, Coleman Foundation, 300 Below Inc., a private foundation and anonymous donors to develop the 2014-2015 Speaker Series and other institute programming.

Formed by Dr. David Horn, Dr. George Bennett, professor of chemistry, and Dr. Casey Watson, associate professor of physics and astronomy, the Institute for Science Entrepreneurship connects external clients with faculty and students of Millikin to provide high quality services to science companies and private practices.

In addition to the speaker series, the Institute for Science Entrepreneurship has recently garnered several accomplishments including external funding from Caterpillar Decatur to support a new course entitled "Introduction to Science Entrepreneurship," external funding and a collaboration between 300 Below Inc. and Millikin University, and a collaboration with the Community Foundation of Macon County to host a convening on poverty.

The Institute for Science Entrepreneurship also offers Performance Learning opportunities for students through its new Science Entrepreneurship Research Fellow Program. The program matches student interest with needs of private practices and companies in the health and natural sciences.

For more information on the speaker series or the Millikin Institute for Science Entrepreneurship call 217.424.6392 or visit millikin.edu/InstituteForScienceEntrepreneurship.

The Millikin University Institute for Science Entrepreneurship, a signature program of Millikin's Center for Entrepreneurship, will continue its 2014-2015 Speaker Series during the spring semester starting on Jan. 29, 2015. The speaker series focuses on science entrepreneurship and how an increased emphasis on entrepreneurship can spark job creation and societal well-being.

Throughout the academic year, executives from science ventures will be discussing particular aspects of their business. In addition, business leaders will be discussing broader topics of interest.

The Institute for Science Entrepreneurship was originally funded by a Millikin University Performance Learning Enhancement Grant in December 2012. Since that time, the institute has received funding from the Andreas Foundation, Coleman Foundation, 300 Below Inc., a private foundation and anonymous donors to develop the 2014-2015 Speaker Series and other institute programming.

Dr. David Horn, Millikin associate professor of biology and one of the founders of the institute, says, "The spring speaker series will feature well-known speakers affiliated with companies in our community that are having national and international impacts. Our speakers will be discussing initiatives that will play an important role in the growth of Decatur such as the Midwest Inland Port. We will learn more about Akorn Pharmaceuticals' Decatur facility, the future of health care, and Zevacor Molecular's building of the only commercial 70 MeV Cyclotrone dedicated to medical use in the United States."

The spring 2015 Science Entrepreneurship Speaker Series is as follows:

Steve Coventry, Vice President and General Manager, Decatur Operations, Akorn Pharmaceuticals

Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015
7:30 p.m., Lower Richards Treat University Center

Mark Schweitzer, Managing Director of Intermodal and International Freight, Archer Daniels Midland Company

Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015
7:30 p.m., Lower Richards Treat University Center

Tim Eckels, Vice President of Community Benefit, Public Policy and Advocacy, Hospital Sisters Health System

Tuesday, March 17, 2015
7:30 p.m., Lower Richards Treat University Center

Ken Smithmier, President and CEO, Illinois Health & Science

Thursday, April 30, 2015
7:30 p.m., Lower Richards Treat University Center

Formed by Dr. David Horn, Dr. George Bennett, professor of chemistry, and Dr. Casey Watson, associate professor of physics and astronomy, the Institute for Science Entrepreneurship connects external clients with faculty and students of Millikin to provide high quality services to science companies and private practices.

In addition to the speaker series, the Institute for Science Entrepreneurship has recently garnered several accomplishments including external funding from Caterpillar Decatur to support a new course entitled "Introduction to Science Entrepreneurship," external funding and a collaboration between 300 Below Inc. and Millikin University, and a collaboration with the Community Foundation of Macon County to host a convening on poverty.

The Institute for Science Entrepreneurship also offers Performance Learning opportunities for students through its new Science Entrepreneurship Research Fellow Program. The program matches student interest with needs of private practices and companies in the health and natural sciences.

For more information on the speaker series or the Millikin Institute for Science Entrepreneurship, call 217.424.6392 or visit millikin.edu/InstituteForScienceEntrepreneurship.

Millikin University's student chapter of the American Chemical Society (ACS) received a Green Chemistry Award for its events and activities conducted during the 2013-2014 academic year. The Millikin chapter has received a Green Chemistry Award in 11 of the last 13 years.

The ACS Green Chemistry Institute recognized 97 chapters that successfully engaged in three or more green chemistry activities. These chapters will be honored at the 249th ACS National Meeting and Exposition in Denver, Colo., in March 2015.

"Today's students will be tomorrow's leaders in practicing safer, cleaner, and cheaper chemistry," said Dr. George Bennett, Millikin professor of chemistry. "This award demonstrates that Millikin students are already leading their undergraduate peers toward chemistry that is more environmentally, economically, and socially responsible."

Millikin's student chapter hosted a variety of activities during the 2013-2014 academic year. As part of those activities, the chapter brought in guest speakers to discuss why chemistry is important and to share research. The Millikin chapter also made several visits to schools and libraries to present live chemistry demonstrations.

The current officers of Millikin University's ACS student chapter are as follows.

President: Emily Talbott, a junior biology major from Champaign, Ill.
Vice President: Sarah Hickey, a senior biology major from Highland, Ill.
Secretary: Olivia Waszczuk, a senior biology major from Roselle, Ill.
Treasurer: Joel Bagah-Kognagba, a junior biology major from Merrillville, Ind.
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Timothy Guasco, Millikin assistant professor of chemistry

"We are excited to continue on our green chemistry tradition, and we are thrilled to have won this award 11 times out of the 13 years it has been given," said Emily Talbott. "We will continue to share the knowledge of green chemistry and spread the fact that chemistry can be fun and exciting."

With more than 161,000 members, the American Chemical Society is the world's largest scientific society and one of the world's leading sources of authoritative scientific information. A nonprofit organization, chartered by Congress, ACS is at the forefront of the evolving worldwide chemical enterprise and the premier professional home for chemists, chemical engineers and related professions around the globe.

The Society publishes numerous scientific journals and databases, convenes major research conferences and provides educational, science policy and career programs in chemistry.

For more information on the American Chemical Society, visit acs.org.

The Millikin University Institute for Science Entrepreneurship, a signature program of Millikin's Center for Entrepreneurship, will host a Speaker Series during the 2014-2015 academic year. The speaker series focuses on science entrepreneurship and how an increased emphasis on entrepreneurship can fuel economic growth and social well-being.

Throughout the academic year, executives from science ventures will be discussing particular aspects of their business. In addition, business leaders will be discussing broader topics of interest.

Formed by Dr. David Horn, associate professor of biology, Dr. George Bennett, professor of chemistry, and Dr. Casey Watson, associate professor of physics & astronomy, the Institute for Science Entrepreneurship serves as a bridge between external clients and faculty and students of Millikin to provide high quality services to science companies and private practices.

The Institute for Science Entrepreneurship was originally funded by a Millikin University Performance Learning Enhancement Grant in December 2012. Since that time, the institute has received funding from the Andreas Foundation, Coleman Foundation, a private foundation and an anonymous donor to develop the 2014-2015 Speaker Series.

Dr. Horn says, "This year's speaker series promises to be an excellent one with nationally-known speakers exploring a wide range of topics from 'Chasing the American Dream' to 'The Power of Big Data.' The series will also explore international business, and patterns among entrepreneurship, inequality, and inflation."

In addition to the speaker series, the Institute for Science Entrepreneurship has recently garnered several accomplishments including external funding from Caterpillar Decatur to support a new course titled "Introduction to Science Entrepreneurship," a collaboration between 300 Below Inc., Harcros Chemicals, and Millikin University, a collaboration with the Community Foundation of Macon County to host a convening on poverty, and the establishment of a "Science Entrepreneurship Research Fellow Program" for Millikin students.

Dr. Horn added, "The Institute for Science Entrepreneurship offers students Performance Learning opportunities through its new Science Entrepreneurship Research Fellow Program. The program will pair student interest with needs of companies and private practices in the health and natural sciences." If your company or practice has an opportunity available for a science student, contact the Institute for Science Entrepreneurship at 217.424.6392.

The Fall 2014 Millikin Science Entrepreneurship Speaker Series is as follows:

Thursday, Sept. 18

Rick Moore, Facility Manager, Caterpillar Decatur


7:30 p.m., Lower Richards Treat University Center
Topic: At the helm of global enterprise: Caterpillar's business environment on an international stage.

Thursday, Oct. 2

Al Naqvi, Executive Vice President & CFO, Illinois Health and Science

7:30 p.m., Lower Richards Treat University Center
Topic: The power of big data to transform our world.

Thursday, Oct. 23

Mark Rank, Herbert S. Hadley Professor of Social Welfare, Washington University

7:30 p.m., Lower Richards Treat University Center
Topic: Chasing the American Dream.

Thursday, Nov. 20

Bill O'Grady, Chief Market Strategist, Confluence Investment Management

7:30 p.m., Lower Richards Treat University Center
Topic: Entrepreneurship, inequality and inflation.

For more information on the speaker series or the Millikin Institute for Science Entrepreneurship, contact Dr. David Horn at 217.424.6392, via e-mail at dhorn@millikin.edu or visit millikin.edu/InstituteForScienceEntrepreneurship.


Millikin University's 89.5 WJMU "The Quad" has garnered two finalist nominations for the 2014 Intercollegiate Broadcasting System (IBS) Awards. WJMU received a nomination for "Best Radio Drama" for its production of the 75th anniversary of "War of the Worlds," and a nomination for "Best Spot News." The winners will be announced during the 74th Annual IBS Conference held March 7-9, 2014 in New York City, N.Y.

"It's fantastic to see Millikin recognized on a national level for elements of our performance learning platform," said Sam Meister, Millikin lecturer of communication and WJMU station manager. "Student broadcasters at WJMU have an opportunity to gain professional experience, but also to work on projects that are completely different from what they might be doing at commercial stations. College radio gives them a forum in which to both work creatively and build a professional production portfolio."

WJMU's programming features shows that focus on sports, music and news as well as international programming that highlights Spanish, Hindi cinema and anime culture. Another element the station offers is the ability to play vinyl records on the air and feature music from bands that made radio relevant in society today. The station currently operates in lower Richards Treat University Center (RTUC) on Millikin University's campus.

"I've been at WJMU for the past three and a half years and have worked incredibly hard to improve Millikin's radio station as much as possible," said Ben Murrow, a senior communication major and WJMU program director, from Wheaton, Ill. "As a small college radio station, our disc jockeys have the freedom to produce creative and unique content." 


(Photo is not of a current student)

Intercollegiate Broadcasting System, Inc., is a not-for-profit education association and foundation that serves not-for-profit education affiliated high school radio, college radio and community stations and streaming/webcasters. The organization has over 1,000 radio, television, and webcasting station members. The 74th Annual IBS Conference will feature over 150 speakers and 1,000 attendees from around the world. For more information on IBS, visit www.collegebroadcasters.us.

Murrow added, "As a leader within this organization, I am extremely proud, not only of our staff for coming together and paying tribute to a famous production like 'War of the Worlds,' but for our efforts being recognized on a national scale among the best of the best in college radio."

For more information on WJMU, visit www.millikin.edu/wjmu.

Millikin University is a private, comprehensive university with a diverse student population of approximately 2,300 undergraduate and graduate students. A Millikin education features "performance learning," a unique learning approach offering students the chance to build the confidence to succeed before and after graduation. Students choose from more than 50 majors from the College of Fine Arts, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Professional Studies and Tabor School of Business. Millikin is located on a 75-acre residential campus in Decatur, Ill. Last year, 98 percent of Millikin graduates gained employment or admission into professional/graduate school within six months of graduation. More information is available at www.millikin.edu.

Millikin University undergrads engaged in global citizenship by participating at the 24th annual American Model United Nations (AMUN) Collegiate Conference, held Nov. 23-26 in Chicago. During the conference, students from around the country and globally experienced realistic simulations of the United Nations.

Millikin students acted as delegates for the country of France, and took part in creating resolutions to solve world problems such as food security, biological weapons, and natural disaster relief. Millikin was awarded for "Exceptional Representation of France" during the Historical Security Council 1956 simulation. The simulation addressed key international security concerns and world events beginning June 18, 1956.

"It was a fantastic experience for the students because it gave them an opportunity to solve world problems," said Dr. Bobbi Gentry, Millikin assistant professor of political science. "This year, we represented France which gave us more power than in previous years because France is a permanent five country. We had a lot of influence this year and that was helpful for our students to see how much power a permanent five country can have."

American Model United Nations is a non-profit, educational organization that provides students with the most professionally run simulation of the United Nations available. AMUN strives to combine educational quality with highly realistic simulations of the United Nations to give students an unparalleled Model UN learning experience.

"The conference is meant to be an educational experience so many of the schools that come to the conference are usually taking it as a class or sometimes a club, it depends on the institution," said Dr. Gentry. "The beginning of the conference is highlighted by deciding which issues the students are going to address. What made this year different was that we had representation on the Security Council, which meant we had veto power over any decisions that were made."

Students at the 2013 AMUN Conference wrote position papers describing how their assigned country would work to solve an issue. Students then worked on developing resolutions similar to how the United Nations itself would create. Students also worked on caucusing with other students from around the world to develop ideas for resolutions. After working on these resolutions the students presented their results to the body of the conference, and engaged in points of inquiry.

"To the best of our ability, the goal was to find one or two resolutions that solve the issues," said Aaron Thomas, a junior political science major from South Elgin, Ill. "There was more work this year because we were representing France and I believe we brought our A-game in terms of preparation."

As President of Millikin's AMUN club, Thomas felt it was important for the students to feel comfortable while speaking. "Being able to elaborate on any ideas that they were trying to put forth and feel comfortable speaking in front of hundreds of people was key," said Thomas.

"Going into that environment, you get an idea of what the actual United Nations is like," said Nick Truog, a sophomore political science major from West Milwaukee, Wis. "You have to be socially sound in order to enjoy and participate at the conference."

In terms of preparation for the conference, the students researched on the structure of the United Nations and parliamentary procedure. The students also performed extensive research on France, and also studied the country's stance on certain issues and the statements the country provided on those issues.

"I think what students take away from this experience is the power of interaction in solving world problems," said Dr. Gentry. "It's about how well the students know the other people in the committee, how do they connect with them, and how do they address problems and concerns. It gets back to politics which is words and meanings."

In reference to other aspects of the conference, Gentry said, "This experience was also an educational opportunity for students in the Historical Security Council, a council where students are given the context of what was happening in 1956 or 1994. It puts students in that context and provides them an opportunity to change history."

Millikin University will be representing Argentina at next year's AMUN Conference.

"There are three things that I think Millikin does to help prep the students for this experience," said Dr. Gentry. "The first is public speaking and voicing your country's opinion. The second factor is writing and the third is performance learning. Students are role playing and it's the kind of performance piece that brings everything together. In the end, it's all about democratic citizenship in a global environment – students living that."

Thomas added, "I think Model United Nations should be a premier organization at Millikin. I think winning an award helps Millikin's brand and helps the students realize that they can achieve more when it comes to this type of organization. Now that we have taken the next step, we just have to continue building."
Three Millikin University biology students were awarded research grants from the Beta Beta Beta (TriBeta) National Biological Honor Society for their efforts in wild bird research.

Elizabeth Wrobel, a junior biology major from Tinley Park, Ill., was awarded a $520 research grant. Sarah Plants, a senior biology major from Pana, Ill., received a $300 research grant, and Spencer Hudson, a junior biology major from Wilmington, Del., received a $500 research grant.

"We have a general program at Millikin where students perform research on bird health and bird physiology," said Dr. Travis Wilcoxen, Millikin assistant professor of biology. "Millikin began its TriBeta Chapter in 2011, so we've had two full years in which Millikin students have been a part of this organization. TriBeta has a national grant program that funds undergraduate student projects. The undergrads have to write a two-page proposal that tells the entire story of their project."

Elizabeth Wrobel's research investigates the prevalence of avian pox and conjunctivitis in wild populations of songbirds and birds of prey. Her research includes comparing particular sites that have had bird feeders in the last two years and studying how the overall health of birds in those areas is being impacted by certain diseases.

"It's an honor to receive the grant," said Wrobel. "I will be using the grant to purchase equipment for our lab and to help analyze data. To be just starting this research and being awarded a grant like this is something not many people receive."



Sarah Plants' research project examines the health costs of wild birds surviving a natural West Nile Virus infection. Plants' research also focuses on the physiological effects of songbirds around the Decatur area.

"I was ecstatic when I was told about the grant," said Plants. "We are going to use the grant money to perform another West Nile antibody test. This will provide us more samples so we can develop a good thesis."

Spencer Hudson's research investigates the relationship between blue plumage coloration and individual quality in Indigo Buntings, a small seed-eating bird whose habitats are farmland and brush areas.

"To say the least, it made my day knowing that this grant will help with the research," said Hudson. "I couldn't imagine being able to have an opportunity to do this type of research elsewhere. It's great that I'm able to pursue research that I'm interested in and receive the type of experience that will prepare me for graduate school."



TriBeta 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.

Wilcoxen added, "This funding will definitely help in taking the student's research to the next level. Effectively, not only does this improve the recognition of the student's research but it improves the quality of science that we can do at Millikin, and that's the most exciting part about it. These recognitions say a lot about the student's ability to use their basic knowledge of biology they gained from Millikin to contribute more than just a lab project. It's a synthesis of what they are learning in the classroom and taking it to the next level to drive science."

For more information on TriBeta, visit www.tri-beta.org.
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Millikin University - Decatur, IL
 
Millikin University - Decatur, IL