This Month at Illinois Wesleyan

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New semester, new year, new experiences both on campus and off ... January gave us a chance to reflect on where we’ve been, what we’ve done and what lies ahead. Here is the month at Illinois Wesleyan.

Cubs Trophy Tour

More than 500 people stopped by the Shirk Athletic Center to see the Chicago Cubs' World Series trophy that is currently touring around the country. Officially known as the Commissioner’s Trophy, the award was moved to Illinois State University after its IWU stop. The Pantagraph newspaper reported that the first fan arrived at the Shirk Center at about 8 p.m. Tuesday — 12 hours before the doors opened. (Photo by Robert Frank III ’14) 

Gospel Festival

An enduring crowd favorite, the Mount Pisgah Sunbeam Choir performs at the 27th Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., National Holiday Gospel Festival. The festival was founded by the United Community Gospel Singers and Illinois Wesleyan. (Photo by Tana Smithsakol ’18)


Announced this month, study abroad photo contest winners included the “Judges’ Choice,” a work entitled “Sombreros” by Kaitlyn O'Brien ’19. During a six-week internship in Mexico last May, O’Brien shadowed teachers and student-taught at the JFK American School of Querétaro but also had time for travel to nearby San Miguel de Allende, where the photo was taken. “Traveling to other countries and learning about other cultures helps me broaden the knowledge I have about myself and my own culture,” said O’Brien, a Hispanic Studies and secondary education double major who aspires to teach high school Spanish after graduation. “Each time I travel, I notice my Spanish improves immensely, and I enjoy learning about the accents of each Spanish-speaking country. Throughout life, and in my teaching career, I know I will meet people who come from different backgrounds, and that is why I believe it is really important to be well-rounded in my knowledge about as many Spanish-speaking countries as possible.” O’Brien’s international experience continues in February, when she begins a semester in Chile thanks, in part, to the Luis Leal Endowed Scholarship.

Colin Bonnett '19Guard Colin Bonnett ’19 had a career-high 19 points in the Titans’ valiant effort at Carroll University on Jan. 21. The men’s basketball team fell short in a comeback, losing 67-63 to the Pioneers. Head coach Ron Rose told WJBC Radio that “for the last 10 minutes of the game, I loved my team, but was disappointed in the first 30 minutes. With a heightened sense of urgency, we controlled everything the last six-seven minutes.” (Photo by Steve Frommell/D3Photography)

Vocal Jazz in New Orleans

Vocal jazz ensemble Unlicensed Syncopation traveled to New Orleans in early January for the 2017 Jazz Education Network (JEN) Conference and the JENerations Jazz Festival, where student ensembles performed for and took clinics with notable jazz artists and educators. “JEN increased my interest in vocal and instrumental jazz and has instilled a long-lasting passion for this line of music in my life,” said ensemble member Brock Taylor ’18, a biology major.

Martin Luther King Jr. Teach In

Ayrren Calhoun ’18 makes a point during a question-and-answer session at the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Teach-In in the Hansen Student Center. Opportunities for discussion historically have been an important aspect of the Teach-In’s format. (Photo by Marc Featherly)

Women's Volleyball in Costa Rica

The volleyball team took its first international trip over the winter break. The Titans played a series of three exhibition matches in Costa Rica during the trip, which also included time for sightseeing natural wonders and other activities such as zip-lining. From left are: Taylor Krueger ’20, Emily Kase ’20, Anna Clausen ’19 and Emily Steininger ’20. The NCAA allows Division III programs to travel internationally once every three years.

Glass Class

Art major Nancy Qu ’17 flameworks glass at a Carlisle CC torch as she learns how to manipulate a clear rod of glass to create sculpture. The School of Art now has a designated flameworking area — complete with a new ventilation system and lighting as well as a flameworking kiln used to heat and cool the students’ works of art in glass. The new area is a “really exciting and great place to work,” said Adjunct Assistant Professor Carmen Lozar, who teaches the course “3-Dimensional Glass.” (Photo by Robert Frank III ’14) 

Barbara Smith at MLK Teach In

Author, activist and independent scholar Barbara Smith spoke about women’s power and social justice at the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Teach-In on Jan. 16. Smith was among the first scholars to define an African American women’s literary tradition and to advance Black women’s studies and Black feminism in the United States. (Photo by Marc Featherly)

Gap and Gown

As she was measured for her graduation cap by a Herff Jones representative, theatre arts major Kristin Solodar ’17 expressed conflicting emotions about her upcoming Commencement. “I’m excited for the new opportunities [graduation will bring], but I’m not excited to live more than five minutes away from my friends,” she said. “I’m trying to make the most of my remaining time with them.” (Photo by Vi Kakares ’20)  

Gabe in Arizona

In early January, Ames Professor of Physics Gabe Spalding gave an invited talk, and Toan Le ’17 and Andy Ding ’17 presented papers at the 2017 Optics and Photonics Winter School & Workshop at the University of Arizona. “Dr. Spalding always says science is one big conversation, and attending the workshop showed me that,” said Ding. “The talks, lectures and presentations at the workshop showed me the incredibly broad field of optics and photonics, which is one of the fastest developing fields of science. The experience brought me closer into this community where people with the same interests can share ideas and research results.” (Photo by workshop participant Kelsey Leinbach, student at Oregon Institute of Technology).

Dani Strejc '20

Guard Dani Strejc ’20 garners some playing time in the team’s first-ever victory over Carroll University on Jan. 21. The team got 39 points from the bench in the Titans’ 92-56 rout. (Photo by Steve Frommell/D3Photography)

Brittany Biology

Brittany Straznickas ’17 presented a poster at the annual meeting of the Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology in New Orleans in early January. Straznickas’s work as a Bruce and Norma Criley Summer Research Fellow helped inform the research presented through her conference poster, which was entitled “Feeding on the unseen: Ingestion and assimilation of bacteriophages by Brachionus plicatilis (Rotifera)," which was co-authored by Professor of Biology William Jaeckle. Straznickas said her experience at the national conference helped her realize that there are often more questions than answers in science. After graduation, the biology major plans to work as a medical scribe for a year before applying to medical school. 

Jamie Gradishar '17 competes in the pole vault at the I-55 Triangular

Jamie Gradishar '17 competes in the pole vault at the I-55 Triangular on Jan. 21 at the Shirk Center. The men’s and women’s indoor track teams claimed five first-place finishes at the meet. (Photo by Sports Information Director Stew Salowitz '76)

Lena Kincaid ’19 (far left), Linh Le ’19, and Ngan Pham ’19 strike a pose after performing the Vietnamese Nón Lá Dance

Lena Kincaid ’19 (far left), Linh Le ’19, and Ngan Pham ’19 strike a pose after performing the Vietnamese Nón Lá Dance, which incorporates traditional palm-leaf conical hats used to shade farmers from the sun. Approximately 100 students, faculty, staff and community members enjoyed Pan-Asian foods and musical performances during the annual Lunar New Year celebration. (Photo by Vi Karakes ’20)

Ames School of Art

On a cold winter evening, the Triple Helix sculpture provides an inspiring vision in the rotunda entrance to the Ames School of Art building.