Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Press Releases

Millikin University's Chemistry Department is giving back to the community by providing research opportunities for economically disadvantaged local high school chemistry students.

Through the American Chemical Society's (ACS) Project SEED Summer Research Program, three high school chemistry students are participating in research activities alongside Millikin chemistry undergraduates and faculty in the Leighty-Tabor Science Center from June 8 to Aug. 7, 2015.



In April, the ACS Project SEED Summer Research Program awarded Millikin University $7,000 in fellowship funds, along with $500 from the Decatur-Springfield ACS Chapter. The students receive a fellowship award of $2,500 for their work.

Students Alison Harris of Eisenhower High School, Perri Grimes of Eisenhower High School and Precious Dixon of Douglas MacArthur High School in Decatur, Ill., were selected for the program.

"I think this opportunity can be life-changing for the students," said Dr. Anne Rammelsberg, Millikin associate professor of chemistry. "The program provides the students a better understanding of research and Performance Learning."

Alison Harris added, "Science is what I'm looking into for college and when I first heard about the program I thought it would be an exciting experience. I'm looking at animal science or environmental science in the future, and this experience will help."



For eight weeks, the students are studying hollow nanoparticles, specifically bunches of silver atoms coated with clumps of gold atoms, to see if they can one day be injected into tumors to destroy cancer from the inside out without harming healthy tissue.

Millikin students working on the project with the high school students include Peter Piers, a senior chemistry major from Schaumburg, Ill., and Aaron Fleming, a senior biology major from Lovington, Ill.

Dr. Rammelsberg noted, "Basically the students are looking for a new cancer chemotherapeutic methodology. They're looking at which hollow gold nanoparticle-liposome composite works at certain temperatures."

To be eligible for the Project SEED Program, students must meet specific academic and family income requirements, and demonstrate the potential to work in a chemical laboratory. Students entering their junior or senior year in high school and who have completed at least one high school chemistry course were eligible to apply. 



"I want to improve in chemistry and I hope this experience will help," said Precious Dixon. "Being able to work in a lab and work with advanced technology is a great opportunity. Hopefully, this is something I want to do long-term." 

When asked what the students will take from the experience, Dr. Rammelsberg says, "That chemistry might be something they may want to major in. I'm very impressed with the students and I think this is an opportunity to show how Performance Learning expands beyond the undergraduate level."

Click here to read more about the Project SEED Program and the research activities in an article from the Herald & Review.
In an exciting and educational endeavor, Millikin University's Bronze Man Books has collaborated with author David Jameson, owner of ArchiTech Gallery of Architectural Art in Chicago, Ill., to publish "Everyday Modern: The Industrial Design of Alfonso Iannelli."

In conjunction with the new publication, Millikin University's Art Department has designed an exhibition of the groundbreaking industrial designs of the Iannelli Studios.

Alfonso Iannelli is most famous for his sculptural work commissioned by architect Frank Lloyd Wright for the Midway Gardens project in Chicago in 1914. Iannelli Studios maintained a long and illustrious business in industrial design throughout the 1930s, 40s and 50s, including contract design work for the Mueller Company in Decatur, Ill.

The exhibition will include original drawings, documents, blue prints, photographs and objects related to the industrial designs of the Iannelli Studios for companies such as Oster, Parker Pens and Wahl Eversharp. These unique artifacts are loaned from major Chicago collections.

The exhibit and book will debut on Saturday, Aug. 29, at Millikin University's Perkinson Art Gallery in Kirkland Fine Arts Center; the event, starting at 3 p.m., is free and open to the public. The exhibit will be available to travel to other venues and solicitations.

For questions regarding the book release or to reserve the exhibit for future dates, please contact Ed Walker, Millikin associate professor of art, at ewalker@millikin.edu.

Millikin Art Department and Bronze Man Books students were actively engaged in the editing, design and production process for both the book and the exhibit. Students have worked closely with Professor Walker and Dr. Randy Brooks, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences at Millikin, as well as Millikin alumnus Eric O'Malley '94. O'Malley has been instrumental in securing the connection with David Jameson as well as other collectors of Iannelli's work in the Chicago area.

"Making the connections for an Iannelli book and exhibition came naturally to me once I saw the relationship between Decatur's Mueller Company and Iannelli," said Walker. "The opportunity to collaborate with Millikin alumnus Eric O'Malley and our student-owned publishing company, Bronze Man Books, is a great example of Performance Learning."

The exhibit will be available from Aug. 24 through Oct. 24, 2015.

"My passion for architecture and design has its roots from my time as a student at Millikin University," said Eric O'Malley. "It seems only fitting that the idea for the publication, 'Everyday Modern: The Industrial Design of Alfonso Iannelli,' and its accompanying exhibit of original artworks was born out of a visit back to my alma mater in 2013. I feel extremely lucky to be able to work with my mentor, Edwin Walker, and Bronze Man Books, to give something back to the place where my passion for this material was born."

Bronze Man Books is a student-owned and operated press that was established in spring 2006. It is located on Millikin University's campus in Decatur, Ill. For more information, please call 217.424.6264 or visit bronzemanbooks.com.

Millikin's Art Department is an ideal facility that offers excellent opportunities for students to grow and develop their artistic talents. For more information, visit millikin.edu/art.
The International Urban Wildlife Conference provides a venue for researchers, practitioners and students to share the latest research on the ecology and management of urban wildlife. This year's conference, held May 17-20 at the Lincoln Park Zoo's Urban Wildlife Institute in Chicago, Ill., featured nearly 300 presenters, including scientists from Nigeria, Germany, Australia and Canada, as well as the United States.

Among the presenters were recent Millikin University graduate Elizabeth Wrobel, and Millikin faculty members Dr. David Horn, associate professor of biology, and Dr. Travis Wilcoxen, assistant professor of biology.

Wrobel, a James Millikin Scholar (JMS) who graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biology on May 17, presented her research, conducted at the Illinois Raptor Center, entitled, "Direct and indirect effects of human activities on disease, toxicology, and injury of birds of prey."

"I really enjoyed being able to give a talk on both my Millikin undergraduate research project and the other projects being carried out by my lab mates," said Wrobel. "One interesting thing to note was that there was only one other presentation at the conference about birds of prey. I think this really showcases the uniqueness of the type of research that Millikin students get to do."

In August 2015, Wrobel will begin a research assistantship for a Ph.D. program in the Department of Poultry Science at the University of Georgia's College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

"I have been anticipating going to graduate school since my freshman year at Millikin," said Wrobel. "I believe that my education at Millikin, specifically the research opportunities I have received, have more than prepared me for the academic challenges that I will encounter as a graduate student."

Dr. Wilcoxen added, "Elizabeth's presentation at the International Urban Wildlife Conference epitomizes Performance Learning at Millikin. Not only did she present the components of the raptor research that were part of her own Millikin undergraduate research, she also combined the findings of other students into a single, cohesive story about raptor ecology in urban settings."

Dr. Horn and Dr. Wilcoxen were each invited to speak at the conference on anthropogenic food. Both provided separate discussions about different aspects of their wild bird feeding research.

Dr. Wilcoxen's discussion was entitled, "A community-level assessment of the impacts of anthropogenic food on the health of free-living birds." Dr. Horn's talk was entitled "The effects of supplemental feeding on forest bird populations in central Illinois." Current Millikin students and graduates were co-authors of both research projects.

"Through participation in the conference, we were able to demonstrate that Millikin's faculty and students are completing ecological research that has great value on an international scale," said Dr. Wilcoxen. "We had a number of positive interactions with other scientists that are likely to lead to future collaborations."

Initially organized in 1986 by Lowell Adams as the National Symposium on Urban Wildlife, the International Urban Wildlife Conference has been held under various titles and sponsors over the years. The history of the conference reflects the growing interest and relevance of wildlife in urban areas.

The conference also focuses on reducing human-wildlife conflict, planning wildlife-friendly cities, and developing strategies for effective outreach and education.

Dr. Wilcoxen noted, "I know from the immediate feedback we received from other professionals in attendance that the work we presented offered new perspectives, and sparked new ideas on both bird feeding research and research into the ecology of birds of prey."

Millikin University, in partnership with Decatur Memorial Hospital (DMH) and Zevacor Molecular, will add a Clinical Nuclear Science Program beginning in fall 2015.

The program will provide upper-level biology, chemistry and physics majors at Millikin University with another pathway from being a science student to developing a science career. The program will include formal course work, internships and Performance Learning experiences working with 16 and 70 MeV cyclotrons, and assisting with nuclear medicine programs at both Zevacor Molecular and Decatur Memorial Hospital.

As part of the program, Millikin University will introduce two new courses: Clinical Nuclear Science I, with focus on physics and chemistry, and Clinical Nuclear Science II, with focus on biology. Zevacor Molecular and Decatur Memorial Hospital will provide Millikin students, who are enrolled in the courses, with on-site, short-term practicums and other learning experiences.

Zevacor Molecular in Noblesville, Ind., will provide funding for a research fellowship in summer 2016, including a $3,000 stipend and a $2,000 housing allowance. Decatur Memorial Hospital will also provide a summer research fellowship, including a $3,000 stipend. Millikin University will provide housing for the student during that summer.

"The Clinical Nuclear Science Program at Millikin University is a unique opportunity for students to help achieve successful science careers," said Dr. David Horn, Millikin associate professor of biology. "By partnering with Decatur Memorial Hospital and Zevacor Molecular, Millikin students will gain a wide range of experiences from the production of nuclear isotopes to examining their use in patients."

Click here to read more about the Clinical Nuclear Science Program in an article from the Herald & Review.
Traditional literature is advancing, due in part to technology, and Dr. Tony Magagna, Millikin University assistant professor of English, is researching ways to study literature with the use of new media.

Recently awarded Millikin's Teaching Excellence Award and the Warren G. Hardy Distinguished Professorship in English, Dr. Magagna is developing a new course tentatively called "Hybrid Literatures" to be held this fall as part of a two-year project to create new ways to study English literature.

Dr. Magagna will conduct research on ways media and technology influence literature, and how literature will be defined in the 21st century.

Dr. Jeffery Aper, Millikin provost, says, "Dr. Magagna gets a great response from students, but his colleagues also respond to him very positively because he always has good ideas and insights."

Dr. Magagna will divide his research into three parts: literature that takes on the digital age as a subject matter; new forms of narrative that utilize new media and technology to tell stories; and ways people can teach or study both new literature and traditional literature using new media tools.

Click here to read a story from the Herald & Review that highlights Dr. Magagna's research efforts.

Millikin University has announced a new partnership with Decatur Memorial Hospital (DMH) and Zevacor Molecular to create a Clinical Nuclear Science Program at Millikin University beginning in fall 2015.

The program will provide upper-level biology, chemistry and physics majors at Millikin University with another pathway from being a science student to developing a science career. The program will include formal course work, internships and Performance Learning experiences working with 16 and 70 MeV cyclotrons, and assisting with nuclear medicine programs at both Zevacor Molecular and Decatur Memorial Hospital.

As part of the program, Millikin University will introduce two new courses: Clinical Nuclear Science I, with focus on physics and chemistry, and Clinical Nuclear Science II, with focus on biology. Zevacor Molecular and Decatur Memorial Hospital will provide Millikin students, who are enrolled in the courses, with on-site, short-term practicums and other learning experiences.

In addition, Zevacor Molecular in Noblesville, Ind., will provide funding for a research fellowship in summer 2016, including a $3,000 stipend and a $2,000 housing allowance. Decatur Memorial Hospital will also provide a summer research fellowship, including a $3,000 stipend. Millikin University will provide housing for the student during that summer.

"The Clinical Nuclear Science Program at Millikin University is a unique opportunity for students to help achieve successful science careers," said Dr. David Horn, Millikin associate professor of biology. "By partnering with Decatur Memorial Hospital and Zevacor Molecular, Millikin students will gain a wide range of experiences from the production of nuclear isotopes to examining their use in patients."

The development of a Clinical Nuclear Science Program will be a distinctive feature of the natural and health science programs at Millikin University that complements Millikin's mission of integrating theory and practice through Performance Learning. The partnership will help develop the next generation of scientists and healthcare providers and introduce students to the important field of clinical nuclear science. For more information on the program, call 217.424.6392 or e-mail dhorn@millikin.edu.

Dr. Horn added, "As Illinois Health and Science continues to forge a path as a national leader in nuclear medicine, we look forward to strengthening our partnership and expanding the Performance Learning opportunities Millikin's Clinical Nuclear Science Program can provide."

Millikin President Dr. Patrick White noted, "This new initiative is a result of many months of discussions and site visits, and I want to thank Ken Smithmier, president and chief executive officer of Illinois Health and Science, for his leadership and collaboration on this important project. We are convinced that a clinical nuclear science program involving Zevacor Molecular, Decatur Memorial Hospital and Millikin University will provide significant value to our science students, our respective organizations and our city."

Zevacor Molecular is a healthcare firm that was started by Illinois Health and Science (IHS) in 2013 for the production and distribution of radiopharmaceuticals important in nuclear medicine imaging. For more information, visit zevacor.com.

Decatur Memorial Hospital (DMH), located in Decatur, Ill., is a 300 bed, not-for-profit, community hospital that has been providing medical care since 1916 for the residents of central Illinois. Today, DMH has nearly 2,300 dedicated employees and 300 physicians. DMH encompasses 11 state-of-the-art centers of excellence. DMH has been recognized four consecutive years as a 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospital from Truven Health Analytics. For more information, visit dmhcares.com.

Millikin University is a private, comprehensive university with a diverse student population of approximately 2,200 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.

The Clinical Nuclear Science Program is part of Millikin's Institute for Science Entrepreneurship. The institute's mission is to connect Millikin University, its students, and the greater community to opportunities for personal, professional, and organizational advancement through science entrepreneurship. More information is available at millikin.edu/scienceentrepreneurship.

The American Chemical Society (ACS) Project SEED summer research program has awarded Millikin University $7,000 in fellowship funds. The award, along with $500 from the Decatur-Springfield ACS Chapter, will allow three economically disadvantaged local high school chemistry students to participate in research activities alongside Millikin chemistry undergraduates and faculty starting in June 2015.

Established in 1968, the ACS Project SEED summer research program opens new doors for economically disadvantaged students to experience what it's like to be a chemist. The program provides opportunities for students who lack exposure to scientific careers to spend a summer conducting hands-on research with a scientist in academic, industry, and government research laboratories. Students receive a fellowship award for their efforts and a chance to receive a SEED college scholarship.

To be eligible for the Project SEED program, students must meet specific academic and family income requirements, and demonstrate the potential to work in a chemical laboratory. Students entering their junior or senior year in high school and who have completed at least one high school chemistry course are eligible to apply.

"Part of the reason why the ACS national society funds the Project SEED program is to try to get bright students into chemistry and give them opportunities for Performance Learning," said Dr. Anne Rammelsberg, Millikin associate professor of chemistry. "Project SEED has a very good success rate of getting students into science and helping them earn financial aid."

Millikin University will be offering Project SEED Summer Program I. For eight weeks, students will conduct research in chemistry or a related field, supervised by a scientist mentor, and will receive a fellowship award of $2,500.

Student applications are due by June 1. For more information regarding Project SEED at Millikin University, contact the Chemistry Department at Millikin University at 217.424.3949, or by e-mail at arammelsberg@millikin.edu.

"I think this program can be life-changing for students," said Dr. Rammelsberg. "This is an opportunity for Millikin to build community relations, and showcase Performance Learning and show how it expands beyond the undergraduate level."

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.

For more information on the ACS Project SEED program, visit acs.org/projectseed.
The Millikin University Institute for Science Entrepreneurship, a signature program of Millikin's Center for Entrepreneurship, will continue its 2014-2015 Speaker Series on Thursday, April 30, with keynote speaker Ken Smithmier, president and chief executive officer of Illinois Health and Science (IHS).

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.

As part of his presentation, Smithmier will explain how Decatur Memorial Hospital (DMH) launched a business that will help address healthcare needs around the world.

Smithmier has been with Illinois Health and Science since 1993. IHS is the parent corporation of a number of companies including: Decatur Memorial Hospital, a 2000 employee organization including an owned physician multispecialty group, two imaging centers, and two surgery centers. DMH has frequently been cited by government and private organizations for high levels of performance in a variety of quality measurements including being named a Top 50 Heart Hospital for the fourth year in a row.

IHS also includes Zevacor Molecular, an Indianapolis-based firm started by IHS in 2013 for the production and distribution of radiopharmaceuticals important in nuclear medicine imaging. In fall 2015, Zevacor will install a 70 MeV cyclotron which will be the world's largest privately owned cyclotron devoted to medical isotopes.

Smithmier has spent his entire life in healthcare starting as an 18-year-old Navy corpsman. After the service, he was a 1978 graduate of the St. Louis University Physician Assistant program and worked as a physician assistant for five years. He subsequently graduated from the University of Minnesota with a master's degree in hospital administration.

Prior to joining IHS, Smithmier held a variety of executive positions in hospitals, from small rural facilities to major teaching hospital positions at BJC Healthcare in St. Louis, Mo.

Smithmier has extensive experience throughout the healthcare industry. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Illinois Hospital Association from 1998 to 2004 and served as chairman in 2003. He is a past member of the American Hospital Association's (AHA) Regional Policy Board and has served on many AHA committees and task forces.

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 discuss particular aspects of their business. In addition, business leaders discuss 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, associate professor of biology, 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.
Millikin University biology students took top honors at the 2015 Tri-Beta National Biological Honor Society North Central District 1 Convention, held March 28 at Monmouth College in Monmouth, Ill. The convention gave students and faculty members opportunities to share current research and discuss scientific topics.

The convention featured 38 presentations (nine oral presentations and 29 posters) from students representing 11 institutions in the Midwest.

Millikin student Spencer Hudson, a senior biology major from Wilmington, Del., won the Richard G. Brooks Award for Best Oral Presentation. Senior biology majors Ashley Fulk, from Altamont, Ill., and Elizabeth Wrobel, from Tinley Park, Ill., each received John C. Johnson Awards for Best Student Poster.

Jade Becker, a senior biology major from Decatur, Ill., won a 2nd Place Poster Award, and Kendra Peterson, a senior biology major from Batavia, Ill., received an Honorable Mention Poster Award.

"The overall environment at the convention was very welcoming," said Ashley Fulk. "It was nice to be able to speak with judges and people interested in my research one-on-one."

In addition to individual accomplishments, Millikin's Tri-Beta Chapter, Iota Epsilon, won the Travel Gavel Award for bringing the most participants the greatest distance to the convention. Dr. Travis Wilcoxen, Millikin assistant professor of biology, was also named North Central District 1 Outstanding Advisor for the 2014-2015 academic year.

"It's apparent that when we are at these type of conferences, our students are prepared to present their facts and they think like scientists," said Dr. Wilcoxen. "When people look at the work from our students and compliment it, it shows the value of a Millikin education. Everyone gets an opportunity to perform real research, and I think the students gain an appreciation for doing real science before they graduate."

Spencer Hudson's presentation covered how different amounts of blue coloration in Indigo Bunting feathers relate to the health of the birds. Ashley Fulk's research covered how tadpoles respond to environmental stress and protect their skin with antioxidants, and Elizabeth Wrobel's research covered incidence of diseases in songbirds and birds of prey, as well as the health impacts of the diseases on the birds.

"I truly valued presenting my research at the Tri-Beta Convention," said Wrobel. "Through these conventions, I have the opportunity to share my research with so many people. Also, I am able to learn about other projects being completed by students from other schools, which is always interesting."

Jade Becker's research covered the impacts of elevated testosterone on growth and jumping performance in frogs, and Kendra Peterson's research covered molecular and gene responses of soy bean plants to caterpillar's consuming parts of their leaves.

Other Millikin students who presented at the convention included: Jessica Kerr, a senior biology major from Saint Johns, Fla., and Olivia Waszczuk, a senior biology major from Roselle, Ill. Kerr's presentation covered strategies for developing green techniques for plant growth on the roof of buildings. Waszczuk's poster covered strategies for using nanoparticles in breast cancer research.

Spencer Hudson added, "My experience as a member of Tri-Beta has been highlighted by the way science and people come together. I've come to realize that many of our research projects build over long periods of time in our careers, with crucial input from colleagues at meetings and key observations from other colleagues along the way. The science grows while careers grow and Tri-Beta provides that critical meeting place where one might seek out input from colleagues."

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 tri-beta.org.
Millikin University biology students are gaining valuable research experience by examining birds at the Illinois Raptor Center.

As part of their research, the students take measurements, perform diagnostic tests and test for lead poisoning.

Dr. Travis Wilcoxen, Millikin assistant professor of biology and Illinois Raptor Center board member, says the research is producing important information about birds and local ecosystems.

Click here to read the Herald & Review's article on the Illinois Raptor Center.
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Millikin University - Decatur, IL
 
Millikin University - Decatur, IL