Crowdfunding campaign seeks to honor well-known poet, editor

Jon Tribble, a poet, editor, mentor, and friend to many, passed away in 2019. Now, the Department of English at SIU hopes to endow a scholarship in his memory.

For 22 years, Tribble served as the editor of the Crab Orchard Poetry series, published by Southern Illinois University Press. In that time, as in his capacity as managing editor of The Crab Orchard Review, Tribble played an unparalleled role in bringing hundreds of American literary voices into more prominent view.

“Jon Tribble was one of the first and best editors for creating an inclusive space in American publishing,” said Camille Dungy, author and winner of the 2010 Crab Orchard Open Competition Award. “Many of the nation’s top writers, including women writers and BIPOC writers, got their starts because of Jon’s active, dedicated, and continuous efforts to build a more diverse and equitable writing world.”

Tribble received the 2003 Artist Fellowship Award in Poetry from the Illinois Arts Council, and his poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. At SIU, he taught creative writing and literature, and directed undergraduate and graduate students in internships and independent study in editing and literary publishing for the Department of English.

“The editorial work that Jon Tribble did for the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry at SIU Press was little short of heroic. Scratch that; it was heroic,” said author Dan Albergotti. “He built that series into a powerhouse in the world of contemporary American poetry.”

By visiting salukifunder.siu.edu/tribble and making a gift of any size, donors can help the scholarship reach the $25,000 plateau, which would create an endowed fund. That would allow a $1,000 scholarship to be granted to one poet every year in perpetuity.

Donors may also send a check made payable to: SIU Foundation, Jon Tribble Memorial Endowment, 1235 Douglas Drive, Carbondale, IL 62901.

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Professor-student bond inspires memorial scholarship

Hagy donates $10K to honor memory of John Jones

Black and white photo of John Jones.

Image of John Jones.

By Jeff Wilson

When John Jones entered his first class with professor Brad Hagy he made an immediate impression.

“He sat in the front row,” said Hagy, a senior lecturer of Information Sciences and Technology at SIU. “He was a model student and was going to do anything to further his future.”

Jones, who worked in IT for the SIU Foundation, passed away suddenly on Tuesday, April 27, 2021.  In Jones’ memory, Hagy donated $10,000 to establish the John E. Jones Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship will benefit non-traditional students who are majoring in Information Technology (ITEC).

The 37-year-old Jones was one semester away from earning his bachelor’s degree in information technology. He made straight A’s and was on the Dean’s List every semester.

“I want to promote what John loved,” Hagy said. “He was working to better his life. I want to help students like John.”

Jones had started his college career in 2002, but he left school after his father passed away. He returned to SIU more than 14 years later determined to get his degree. In an email to Hagy after the Spring 2020 semester, Jones shared his appreciation.

“The one thing that we all lose is time, and there is not a way to get that back,” Jones said in the email. “So, in my journey, I was fortunate enough to meet people at SIU that reminded me of myself as a young man fresh out of high school living carefree and people that are willing to help anyone who gives their time to learn. Mr. Hagy you have made this transition from working full-time to full-time student one of the best experiences I have ever had.”

Reading that message, in which Jones goes on to express his hopes for the future, Hagy can’t help but become a bit choked up.

“John understood time,” he said. “He knew he had lost time, but he was still willing to go back and get his degree. In that email, he was speaking from his heart and for his future.”

Hagy spoke at Jones’ memorial service and has remained close to Jones family, to the point that Jones’ mother gifted a pair of blue and white Air Jordan from his shoe collection that matched the color of Jones’ motorcycle. They were both members of the Carbondale Eagles 2569 Eagle Riders motorcycle club that has an annual charity ride for the Southern Illinois Special Olympics.

“Those shoes are now on the shelf in my office,” Hagy said. “He wasn’t just a student. He was a great person, a friend.”

John Jones, 1983-2021

Born and raised in Carbondale, Jones exceled in math and information technology. More than anything, Jones is remembered as a family man.

He is survived by his son, Jerald Cameron Jones; and fiancé, Tamara Buchannan-Boens; and her sons, Christopher Buchannan, Warren Eanes, and Dominique Boens. He is also survived by his mother, Debra Johnson-Jones; sister, Raven-Iman Jones; grandmother, Barbara Sanders; and a host of aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Jones enjoyed participating in American Poolplayers Association competitions, riding his motorcycle with his fellow Eagle Riders, shooting targets at the gun range, and working on and building computer/robotics systems.

After his planned graduation, the SIU Foundation was set to make Jones a full-time member of the IT staff.

“We thought the world of John,” said Matt Kupec, CEO of the SIU Foundation. “He was liked by all. His words and his actions were always consistent. Everyone at the Foundation was deeply saddened by his untimely passing. Professor Hagy’s inspiring gift is a testament to their connection and the impact they had on one another.”

To make a gift to the John E. Jones Memorial Scholarship, visit salukifunder.siu.edu/johnjones.

Pictured left to right: Brad Hagy and Matt Kupec

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Meet Senior Taylor Hartke

Taylor Hartke, a Teutopolis, Illinois native, is a senior majoring in Agricultural Communications. Hartke is the recipient of the 2021-2022 College of Agricultural Sciences Leadership Scholarship. In earlier years, Hartke received the  School of Agricultural Sciences Leadership Scholarship.

What do you enjoy most about being an SIU student?
I enjoy the opportunities SIU strives to provide its students. Regardless of your interest, major, or career path, there are opportunities to gain valuable experiences both inside and out of the classroom. SIU, its faculty, and staff are committed to supporting students and providing them with the necessary tools to be successful both now as well as after graduation.

Why did you choose the major that you did?
Growing up, I had the privilege of being raised on my family’s diversified grain and livestock farm. This immediate involvement in the agricultural industry allowed me to develop a deep passion and appreciation for agriculture. Through various leadership roles in organizations like 4-H and FFA, I built upon the foundation of being raised in agriculture and discovered my passion to communicate about it. Collectively a variety of experiences and opportunities have led me to be pursuing a degree in Agricultural Communications with the ultimate goal of serving the farm, the farmer, and the consumers. I plan on utilizing my knowledge from being raised in production agriculture to bridge the gap that lies between producers and consumers by generating consumer trust and cultivating understanding.

How would you describe your favorite(s) professors/staff/admin at your college?
Committed. I’m very grateful for the commitment they have to my success both inside and outside of their classroom. Regardless of the time of day or how busy their schedule is, they make time for me, and they value my perspective as a student.

Did you benefit from a scholarship? If so, how?
I am extremely grateful for the financial support I have been gifted. The generosity of donors has provided me with some of the most amazing experiences to learn and explore a variety of opportunities. Their generosity has lessened the financial burden that paying for college can be ultimately providing me with ample time to focus on academics while maintaining high levels of involvement across campus and in my community.

Are you involved in any student organizations and, if so, in what capacity?
I am grateful for the involvement I have been able to have across our campus through a variety of student organizations as well as employment opportunities. I am currently serving as President of Sigma Alpha Sorority, which is a professional agricultural sorority, as well as President of our Collegiate Farm Bureau Chapter, Financial Chair of Agricultural Student Council, an Agbassador, a Saluki Ambassador, and a member of the Agriculture Education Club, ATA, and Collegiate FFA. I also serve on the national scale as an Agriculture Future of America Student Ambassador.

What would you say to encourage donors to give back to SIU?
Your donation is an investment. You have the power to invest in the next generation of leaders across a variety of professions and industries. I am extremely humbled to have received such support and know that it serves as encouragement going forward as I strive to make a difference in the lives of others as I know that I will encounter challenges. Regardless of if you personally know a student or not, you become an integral role in their success both educationally and beyond.

What is a fun fact about you that you would like to share?
For my siblings and me, being part of the Saluki family started prior to stepping foot on campus as students. We were raised rooting on SIU and our frequent visits started at homecoming in 1999. My siblings and I, a set of quadruplets, were 5 months old and our mom marched as an Alumni of the Marching Salukis. My parents, David & Korrie Hartke, are both proud SIU Alumni. My mom received her degree in Radio/Television and my dad in Animal Science.

They, in fact, met at SIU!

Although my brother, Dustin, decided trade school would prepare him best, my brothers Alex and Garrett, as well as myself are all Salukis. Alex graduated in May 2021 with his degree in Agribusiness Economics and Garrett and I are seniors. Garrett is a Crop, Soil, and Environmental Management major, and I am an Agricultural Communications student. All three of us have worked in different capacities on campus while also being highly involved in a variety of RSO’s. In fact, a large majority of my aunts, uncles, and cousins have chosen SIU to pursue their education as well.

 

Meet Freshman Lexi Mueller

Lexi Mueller, a Valmeyer, Illinois native, is a freshman majoring in Agricultural Education. She received the Chancellor Scholarship, the Harrisonville Telephone Company/Henry W. Gentsch Memorial Scholarship and the Thomas Stitt Scholarship.

Why did you choose the major that you did?
My father and uncle both have degrees in Agricultural Education. Growing up on a rural small farm, I knew I wanted a career in agriculture. When I joined the Valmeyer FFA, the experiences that I had helped me find the specific aspect of agriculture I wanted to be involved in, which is education. I was also elected as the 2020-2021 Illinois FFA State President and seeing the behind-the-scenes of Agricultural Education made me want to give back to my future students and my community.

What do you enjoy most so far about your college?
In the agriculture department at SIU, I’ve found in my short time here that the professors, staff, and administration truly care about us as individuals instead of as a number. Our agriculture faculty go out of their way to ensure that we as students have the most opportunities and strive to learn who we are and our stories to better serve us as students.

Are you involved in any student organizations and, if so, in what capacity?
I am just beginning to look at joining student organizations here on campus. I am interested, however, in joining Ag Ed Club, Collegiate FFA, Collegiate Farm Bureau, and Sigma Alpha. I look forward to seeing what these organizations can teach me.

Did you benefit from a scholarship? If so, how?
I greatly benefited from scholarships here at SIU and from local sources at home. Here at SIU, I was honored to receive the Chancellor Scholarship, Harrisonville Telephone Company Scholarship, and the Thomas Stitt Scholarship. With the support of generous donors, I am able to attend school here for the academics and experience without the financial worry that a typical college student has. Without the support of scholarships, I don’t know if I’d be here at SIU.

What would you say to encourage donors to give back to SIU?
To donors, I would first like to say thank you for even considering giving to SIU. I am firsthand an individual who can obtain a college education because of generous donors. I encourage you to look at the stories of individual students who benefit and ask yourself if you want to be a part of something that is so much bigger than yourself. I am a farm kid from a small village in Illinois and because of outside support, I am able to make a name for myself. I am one of thousands of students here at SIU who can further their education to ultimately give back to our communities. A donation means so much to us students and we would forever be grateful for your support in us.

What is a fun fact about you that you would like to share?
I was born and raised on a grain and livestock farm. My family raises sheep, chickens, pigs, goats, horses, rabbits, corn, soybeans, rye, wheat, and pumpkins. I managed our family’s 8-12 acre pumpkin patch for four years before coming to school here.

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SIU Credit Union donates $500K to SIU’s Touch of Nature

Chancellor Austin Lane discusses the impact of the $500,000 donation made by SIU Credit Union to construct an event center at Touch of Nature Environmental Center.

SIU Foundation Media Services

CARBONDALE – The SIU Credit Union presented a $500,000 check to SIU’s Touch of Nature Environmental Center at an event Thursday morning in the office of SIU Chancellor Austin Lane.

“Touch of Nature is a pride and joy of SIU. We have our own oasis right there,” Chancellor Lane said. “This partnership with SIU Credit Union is magnificent. This gift will provide the credit union with great visibility among our students and the community.”

The funds will be used to build the SIU Credit Union Event Center at Touch of Nature, which is located at 1206 Touch of Nature Road in Makanda, just a few miles from campus.

“The opportunity to give back to our community and to help it grow was a proposition that couldn’t be passed up. The Touch of Nature Event Center will showcase more of the beauty and fun of Southern Illinois, and we liked being able to help make a project like this happen,” said Mike Lantrip, CEO of SIU Credit Union. “SIU is the economic engine of our region, and this facility can be instrumental in helping our tourism industry. Similar projects have been proven in other regions to be a quality-of-life enhancement and have a great impact on the local economy. We don’t see why this can’t have the same impact on our area.”

The SIU Credit Union has a long history of supporting the university, including major donations during the annual SIU Day of Giving. In recent years, the credit union has supported SIU’s New Student Programs, Saluki Food Pantry, and Touch of Nature.

“We have had a great partnership with SIU Credit Union over the years,” said JD Tanner, director of Touch of Nature Environmental Center. “This gift speaks volumes about how they value the quality of our environment and community.”

Touch of Nature is a full-service outdoor education center that serves SIU, the region, and the nation. It provides opportunities for team building, environmental education, zip lining, rock climbing, canoeing, kayaking, overnight camps, and more. Nationally recognized for its therapeutic recreation camp, Camp Little Giant, Touch of Nature has provided camps and programs for people with disabilities since 1952. Touch of Nature is an ACA-accredited facility, a National Environmental Education Landmark, and soon to be home to an IMBA -designed Mountain Bike Park.

“We have sponsored and helped with a number of camps, events and other programs at this unique facility, and this seemed like a perfect fit to continue and grow in that capacity,” Lantrip said. “Mountain biking is growing in popularity, and we thought helping establish a facility such as this would be an asset to all parties involved. In addition to being a family-friendly destination, it will also help with student, faculty, and executive recruitment, bolster an already-strong forestry program within SIU, and cultivate our growing tourism identity. These are all things that will help our region, our members, and our local businesses prosper.”

From left: Mark Dynis, SIU Credit Union vice president of marketing, Sara Bond, SIU Foundation director of development, JD Tanner, Touch of Nature Environmental Center director, Kim Babington, SIU Credit Union vice president of community outreach, Mike Lantrip, SIU Credit Union CEO, Chancellor Austin Lane, Leah Weil, SIU Credit Union marketing assistant, and Matt Kupec, SIU Foundation CEO, pose for a photo with the $500,000 check the credit union donated to Touch of Nature Environmental Center.

Extended Campus offers multitude of opportunities

By Rebecca Renshaw

Jamie Newton, a senior majoring in elementary education, has always been a good student. Now, she’s nearly ready to transition from student to teacher, and she says SIU’s Extended Campus program has had a lot to do with her preparation.

“I am very grateful to be in the elementary education program at the SIU Rend Lake Extended Campus,” she said. “I have had the chance to get to know my professors on a personal level. It is very apparent that these professors are invested in our success in the program.”

Newton, a recipient of the Lida Lisenby Taylor Future Educator Scholarship, looks forward to teaching first or second grade after she graduates.

“I’ve always had a love of school and learning. SIU has provided me with the tools and confidence so I can be a good educator,” she said. “Spending time at my clinical sites has reinforced my belief that teaching is what I was meant to do.”

Expansive offerings, lasting connections

Featuring countless online courses and off-campus locations across Illinois, in nine other states, and at numerous military sites, SIU’s Extended Campus brings the Saluki experience to the student.

“We help bridge the physical gap between Carbondale and students around the globe,” said Julie Dunston, interim executive director of Extended Campus. “There are Salukis everywhere, and that doesn’t only refer to alumni. We have SIU students  taking classes from coast to coast.”

Having students on campus is an important factor in the college experience, but modern universities have put an emphasis on maintaining a strong off-campus reputation. That connection is something that has struck Newton about her experience.

“There are 18 students in the program including myself. This program has given me an opportunity to create lifelong friendships with my peers,” she said.

 

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Saluki Women Lead: Featuring Julie Staley ‘88

Julie Staley visits WSIU TV’s studio where she worked as a student.

Julie Staley ’88 brings her passion and positivity to giving back to her alma mater.

Growing up in central Illinois, Staley had always heard great things about Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s radio and television department. Discovering at an early age her talents of singing and performing, it was a natural fit that Staley came to SIU for a degree in mass communications with a minor in musical theater. Staley flourished in the department, received several awards, and was chosen as the Broadcast Student of the Year during her undergraduate studies.

“Every time I return to campus, I get emotional remembering all of the dreams I had and how SIU set me up for a successful career. Before I had graduated, I studied abroad at the BBC and ITV in Great Britain and had internships with KSDK, an NBC station in St. Louis, and CNN,” she said. “The department also helped me start my career with KSDK as a news reporter. I knew I was going down the right career path and SIU’s radio and television program was there to help me every step of the way.”

Staley went on to receive an MS Summa Cum Laude from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in mass communications and is a doctoral student in public administration at the University of Illinois at Springfield. Staley owns Spencer Films LLC, is president of Spencer Theatre Company and the Staley Museum, and is a director for the Staley Family Foundation.

Staley has recently teamed with alumnae Dawn Korte and Dr. Marsha Ryan to form an SIU Women’s Leadership Council.

“Since I have been given so much opportunity in life, I want to give back as much as I can. I want to help organize a way to help other women succeed as I have in life,” she said. “Great things happen when women support women. There is a ripple effect when leaders teach potential leaders what they have learned along the way.”

The SIU Women’s Leadership Council was established in 2020 and is a network of alumnae, parents and friends who are committed to creating a culture of women-driven philanthropy at SIU. Council members contribute their time, energy, resources, and expertise serving on university boards and championing SIU in their home regions. Embodying a legacy of leadership, the council collectively funds women’s initiatives and scholarships on campus.

To learn more about our Women’s Leadership Council or to join this initiative, please contact SIU Foundation’s Development Officers, Steph Taylor (stephaniet@foundation.siu.edu) or Cindy Walker (cindyw@foundation.siu.edu).

‘SIU Changed my Life’

Dr. R. Lawrence Hatchett isn’t an SIU alumnus, but he’s most certainly a Saluki.

Raised in the historically black coal mining town of Colp, he attended University School, which was located in Pulliam Hall. It wasn’t easy for a child growing up during a time of racial division, but SIU made him feel right at home.

“SIU changed my life. Walking through campus on my way to class in third grade was like a dream world,” Dr. Hatchett said. “There was a feeling of utopia, and I never felt so accepted, so loved and appreciated, and it meant everything to me, and it still does even to this day.”

It’s that connection that brought Dr. Hatchett to SIU with the following pledge – $100,000 over four years to establish the Phoenix Cannabis Production Scholarship within the School of Agricultural Sciences. The scholarship, named after his son, Phoenix, will be available to African-American and Hispanic students.

“It was this campus, this university and my childhood experience that changed my life at a very critical time. I want the university and the caring people there to offer this same tremendous opportunity to improve the lives of talented young people by adding to the well-needed diversity in the cannabis industry,” he said.

Over time, Dr. Hatchett said he hopes to develop externships and create an endowment for the program.

Beyond his $100,000 commitment, Dr. Hatchett provided an additional $6,000 to fund the development of facilities in the School of Agricultural Sciences building to support the cannabis program. The upgrades will help improve research opportunities. “This is really important for us,” said Karen Jones, faculty coordinator for Plant, Soil and Agricultural Systems. “This financial support helps us stay modern and gives students the opportunity to work with plants.”

Even though recreational cannabis only became legal to sell in Illinois at the start of 2020, SIU has been working toward having a program in place for years.

“Our goal is to help the people of Southern Illinois to explore this new, emerging career path,” Jones said. “Any time you start a new initiative, getting started is one of the biggest hurdles.”

Once Dr. Hatchett became familiar with Karen Jones and the School of Agricultural Sciences, he knew SIU was the right place for his investment.

“You never realize how much talent there is in a department until you look,” he said. “We are hoping to develop a footprint in the industry and highlight the talent we have.”

After attending Marquette University on a full basketball scholarship, Dr. Hatchett completed his medical school education at the University of Chicago and completed his internship and residency training at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He eventually finished his fellowship at Boston Children’s Hospital through Harvard Medical School.

A well-known urologist, Dr. Hatchett founded Southern Illinois Urology in Herrin in 2003. He has also spent time as a speaker for Pfizer pharmaceuticals, being featured both nationally and internationally.

“My path into the cannabis industry was atypical,” he said. “My mother, who was around 90 years old, was seeking pain relief alternatives, so I began researching cannabis.”

Once Illinois legalized recreational cannabis use, Dr. Hatchett became majority owner of Cannabliss Depot. “Medical cannabis helps with PTSD, seizure disorders, pain relief, and it has some anti-cancer applications,” he said. “It also helps with drug addiction if someone is hooked on opioids.”

According to Dr. Hatchett, doctors share the responsibility when it comes to solving these issues.

“We should be part of the solution and play a role in the future of cannabis,” he said. “We should allow research and prepare for the expansion of its use. I, personally, never used cannabis in my life, but I think it can help people.”

Challenges will arise, but Dr. Hatchett said he believes it’s possible to figure out all the legal details.

“I see the negative. We’re not promoting it for the young,” he said. “This is about responsible, adult use. We hope people will use good judgment.”

SIU Foundation provides Fermentation Science Institute funding

Grant will advance research, partnerships

Interior image of McLafferty Annex.

SIU FOUNDATION MEDIA SERVICES

CARBONDALE – The integration of research and innovation into the educational mission of SIU is major goal of the university and the Fermentation Science Institute (FSI) located in the McLafferty Annex exemplifies this focus.  The FSI provides an umbrella for the support and development of programs (educational, research and outreach) involving all aspects of fermentation science, and serves as a support structure to spur and foster regional industries involving fermentation.

In its role as an accelerator, the SIU Foundation is committed to advance the efforts of the FSI and has agreed to provide a grant of $1.1 million to allow for further development of the infrastructure within the McLafferty Annex.  This new infrastructure will accelerate the expansion of the activities of the FSI into important new and exciting areas.

“There is groundbreaking research and student development happening within the walls of the McLafferty Annex,” said Matt Kupec, CEO of the SIU Foundation. “Our Board of Directors recognizes the opportunity and views this as a major step toward fulfilling the potential of the program.”

The opportunity

As part of its planned expansion and in response to a request for information issued by SIU, Chicago-based Ravinia Brewing Company plans to locate a production facility within the McLafferty Annex. This lease will not only generate revenue to support the academic program, but also provide world-class training for students by allowing on-site access to large-scale production and packaging equipment not currently available in southern Illinois. In addition, Ravinia intends to provide contract brewing and packaging services to regional breweries which will provide growth and economic development opportunities in southern Illinois.

To advance the goals of the FSI and accommodate the brewery, as well as other facilities, within the McLafferty Annex, the building needs critical infrastructure upgrades. The funding provided by the Foundation will allow the FSI to move forward to develop the facility to house the Faye Minor MaGill teaching kitchen and sensory laboratory, and pilot facilities for brewing, distilling, and cheesemaking

“Making these infrastructure upgrades to the building is the next important step to fully realizing the FSI program’s potential. We will soon have a vertically integrated hub of interdisciplinary research and training opportunities in the areas of fermentation and value-added agriculture,” said Matt McCarroll, director of the FSI. This facility will provide training opportunities for SIU students and support new businesses across the region and state. This project will enhance the FSI’s curriculum and put SIU in a position to become a national leader in the field.” McCarroll said.

The impact

This project uniquely positions SIU as a leader in the growing field of fermentation science.

Businesses have already taken interest in partnering with the FSI and the infrastructure provided by this gift will serve as a catalyst stimulating more opportunities for partnerships and R&D engagements with the corporate world, resulting in significant revenue generation through leases, grants and contracts.

“Repurposing the McLafferty Annex presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Nestled between the University Farms and the heart of campus, the vertically integrated pilot facilities will provide state-of-the-art training and R&D opportunities in the production of fermented foods, beverages, and value-added agriculture not replicated elsewhere,” McCarroll said. “The support of the SIU Foundation comes at a critical time and fast-tracks the university to seize these opportunities.”

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Media Contact: Rebecca Renshaw, rebeccar@foundation.siu.edu

Meet Scholarship Recipient Vernecelyn Allen

Having a clear vision of what we want to accomplish early in life is rare. Vernecelyn Allen is a remarkable exception. Allen graduated this year with a Bachelor of Science in Aviation Management and an Associate of Applied Sciences in Aviation Flight.

“Thanks to my mother, I was exposed to different career opportunities through summer camps. I received great experiences during those times that taught me about areas like technology and theater, but the one that intrigued me the most is aviation,” said Allen.

In high school, the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals (OBAP) invited Allen to attend a camp in Delaware where she received flight hours, learned about aviation, flew air simulators, and visited control towers.

“OBAP really nurtured my love for flying. Aviation is not largely populated by black pilots, so they really served as mentors for me and encouraged me in aviation,” she said.

In her senior year of high school, Allen attended an SIU college fair. She learned about their aviation management and flight program. Allen later visited SIU during an open house and was impressed by its aviation program and the many scholarships that were available.

Allen applied to eight other universities in addition to SIU; however, it was being awarded the Chancellor’s Scholarship that helped her choose SIU.

“Aviation flight fees can run up to $25,000 above the cost of a regular tuition in a single year, and the SIU aviation department offered opportunities to students to apply for aid. Receiving the Chancellor’s Scholarship and other aviation scholarships really helped along with the African-American Achievement Scholarship,” she said.

Allen says she is thankful that the scholarships have allowed her to minimize her educational financial burden.

“I would definitely be more stressed out if I had to face a larger loan balance after I graduate. Funding makes such a difference in our lives. It could mean the difference between living out or giving up a dream. I am so grateful to the people and organizations who have found it important to create scholarships so that students can empower themselves to continue to pursue education,” she said.

Upon graduation, Allen hopes to become a flight instructor at SIU. Her ultimate goal is to return to her hometown of Memphis and fly for Federal Express. She would also like to be an officer in the Air National Guard.

“Someday, I want to focus on giving back to groups underrepresented in the industry. I think scholarships would empower more to attain the education they desire, and to reach beyond the stars.”