Seven SIU students earn Diversifying Higher Education Faculty fellowships – SIU News

December 21, 2021

Seven SIU students earn Diversifying Higher Education Faculty fellowships

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Several Southern Illinois University Carbondale graduate students have been chosen for the highly competitive Diversifying Higher Education Faculty in Illinois Program, a fellowship program designed to increase the number of minority full-time tenure track faculty and staff at higher education institutions in the state.

The seven Salukis selected are: Evelyn Aden, Dakota Rose Discepolo, Quianya Enge, Steven Gear, Jeffrey Payne, Olivia Slater and Daniel VanOverbeke.

State diversity program

Established in 2004 by the Illinois General Assembly, the program is open to any Illinois graduate student who is a member of an underrepresented group. The program dovetails with the Illinois Board of Higher Education’s strategic plan, “A Thriving Illinois: Higher Education Paths to Equity, Sustainability and Growth.” After an extensive application process, the IBHE selected 47 new fellowship recipients and 56 continuing students.

Fellowship recipients receive a tuition waiver and monthly stipend. The fellows enjoy networking and conference opportunities as they prepare for careers in higher education. They agree to seek positions in Illinois higher education institutions, governing boards or education-related positions in a state agency after completing their graduate education.

Paul Frazier, vice chancellor for diversity, equity and inclusion, said having seven graduate students selected for the fellowship program speaks to the quality of SIU’s programs.

“The DFI program is a wonderful initiative by the Illinois Board of Higher Education to keep its best and brightest students in academia within the state of Illinois after they complete their graduate education,” Frazier said. “We are very proud to have these seven fellows representing SIU and are looking forward to seeing their continuing positive impact in higher education for many years to come.”

New SIU fellows

 Aden, of Carbondale, Illinois, is a first-year MBA student who is already a double alumna of the university, having earned her master’s degree in professional media and media management studies and her bachelor’s degree in art history at SIU. She has been involved in Photogenesis, a registered student organization, as well as Professional Photographers of America while a student. Aden is a photographer, videographer and graphic artist.  Her goal is to work in an Illinois university or college that will allow her to continue to explore her multi-faceted creative pursuits and help others find theirs while also continuing to build her business.

 Discepolo, a first-year doctoral student in animal science from Chicago, is a double SIU alumna with a master’s degree in animal science and a bachelor’s degree in animal science with a focus on pre-veterinary science. She has been involved in a variety of research projects during her undergraduate career due to her involvement with the McNair Scholars Program, through which she participated in various projects including the Student Research and Creative Activities Forum and the Illinois Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation program.

She was also president of the Native American Student registered student organization …….


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