The Opportunities are Boundless at SIU College of Agricultural Sciences

SIU College of Agricultural Sciences student: Sarah Dintelmann

By Rebecca Renshaw

When Sarah Dintelmann from Belleville was asked why she chose to enroll in SIU’s College of Agricultural Sciences, she said it was one of the easiest decisions she ever had to make.

“SIU’s College of Agricultural Sciences has one of the strongest programs in the entire state of Illinois. When I visited last year, I was impressed by the number of opportunities and just how friendly the faculty were to me.”

crop, soil, and environmental management and agribusiness economics double major, Dintelmann wants to ultimately end up in agricultural research and marketing.

“I really enjoy the research aspect and am looking forward to getting as much experience as I can while doing my undergraduate studies,” she said.

Dintelmann keeps busy as a recruiter for the Agbassadors and also serves as the vice president of the agronomy society. A member of the honors program, she is also involved with the Alpha Gamma Delta international women’s fraternity. Dintelmann was the recipient of the Harold and Nora Kuehn Plant and Soil Science Scholarship.

Earlier this year, the SIU Foundation launched Forever SIU: The Campaign for Students. The three-year campaign set a $75 million fundraising goal. Most of the money received through the campaign will go toward student scholarships.

For more information about the initiatives for the College of Agricultural Sciences, visit

Childress Scholarship grows benefitting business students

James B. and Rosemary Samuel Childress

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Braden Drake had been paying his own way through Southern Illinois University Carbondale, so learning he was one of this year’s James B. and Rosemary Samuel Childress Scholarship recipients was quite a relief.

Drake, a senior accounting major from Carterville, said the scholarship was a big help in paying tuition, fees, books, apartment expenses, medical and vehicle insurance bills and other costs of living. He was also excited to learn that upon their deaths, the Carterville couple added a $2 million bequest to SIU’s scholarship fund bearing their names, allowing students to benefit even more from the scholarships in the future.

“Any time I’m able to receive a scholarship, it helps me get one step closer to covering my expenses without having to take out any student loans,” Drake said. “I really want to thank the Childresses for their donation to College of Business students and helping me be able to reach my goals.”

Drake is slated to graduate in May 2018 and plans to continue his education at SIU to obtain his master’s in accountancy with the goal of becoming a CPA and working for an accounting firm in the St. Louis, Springfield or Indianapolis areas. Upon graduating, he’ll also be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Illinois Army National Guard; he enlisted in November 2013.

James and Rosemary “Dee” Childress married as high school sweethearts before James went off to serve as an electrician’s mate with the U.S. Navy in the South Pacific during World War II. He returned to his hometown, graduated from Carterville High School and then earned his bachelor’s degree in economics at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. The couple lived in a small second-story apartment, and he worked at the Carterville Post Office to put himself through school.

While their married life began with meager means, James became a successful businessman. Over the course of his career, he went on to own or co-own various steel erection, construction and sales businesses as well as motels and nursing homes in the Midwest and south, according to Robert Howerton, a relative of the couple who served as their attorney. Hard work and wise investing grew the Childress fortune, Howerton said.

“They were unable to have children but they were very successful, very devoted to each other, very family-oriented and very generous and charitable to others,” Howerton said. “They also realized the value of a good education and wanted to do something to help other people, people who they hoped could also go on to be successful if they just had a little help.”

Thus, the Childress’ philanthropy included SIU. The couple originally endowed a scholarship at James’ college alma mater in August 1989, earmarking the funds to go each year to SIU business students who are graduates of high schools in Jackson or Williamson counties or to students who graduated from community colleges and high schools within those counties. Financial need is considered and preference goes to students who are working to help cover their college expenses. Applicants must also submit an essay. Recipients are eligible to apply for a scholarship renewal.

Receiving a Childress scholarship this semester helped Emily Kerrens of Murphysboro transfer to SIU as a junior accounting major “with a lot less stress about finances,” she said. “I’m grateful for the opportunity that this and other scholarships has given me.”

After completing her bachelor’s degree, she plans to obtain her master’s degree and become a CPA, working in the tax field.

Stephen Dickman, a junior transfer student from Marion, is a marketing major with career plans in sales. He said he’s grateful to have received a Childress scholarship this fall to help pay for his tuition and books.

Dee Childress passed away in July 2015 and her husband died the following May. Both were 90 at the times of their deaths, and they had given untold amounts through the years to charitable causes, particularly education, civic, health, historical and relief organizations. Their final wish was to offer a helping hand to even more young people, so they added a $2 million gift to SIU’s James B. and Rosemary S. Childress Scholarship endowment. SIU Foundation officials estimate the fund will now generate about $80,000 annually that can be awarded to SIU business students.

“We know scholarships make a difference in the lives of our students,” said SIU Chancellor Carlo Montemagno.  “We at the university witness that every day. The Childresses felt that impact while they were living. Seeing how scholarships affected students meant a great deal to them. Their bequest to the Childress Endowment will help students in the College of Business in an even more significant way for years to come. Those students and SIU are most appreciative of the Childress’ generosity.”


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Cybersecurity program booming

SIU Cyber Security Dawgs

A growing number of attacks on computer networks worldwide has increased demand for university graduates with expertise in cyberdefense and cybersecurity, areas that barely existed just a decade ago.

This call comes as no surprise, as cyber criminals now show increasing new levels of ambition and sophistication – from multimillion-dollar bank heists to overt attempts at disrupting large networks that support production efforts for critical utilities.

SIU has responded to this demand by offering a specialization in cybersecurity through its School of Information Systems and Applied Technologies, and students typically have jobs lined up before they graduate because of high demand.

A point of pride for the program is the Security Dawgs cyberdefense team, a student organization that gives students hands-on experience through participation in cyberdefense and cybersecurity competitions. The team consistently earns first- or second-place honors in the state’s annual college cyberdefense competitions.

Despite these strengths, the program is in need of financial support to help educate tomorrow’s cybersecurity experts and industry leaders, according to Tom Imboden, associate professor of information systems technologies.

“Investments in equipment and opportunities will keep SIU students in the forefront of the industry,” he said. “For example, we received a grant a few years ago to acquire a remote-access solution that allows SIU to host virtual machines with curriculum content. This gives our students all of the software needed to provide an environment where students can complete lab exercises for the information technology courses they are enrolled in.”

Upkeep to the servers is essential, but costly.

“Our servers are now five years old and need to be upgraded,” Imboden said. “New servers cost around $6,000 each, and they come with an annual fee of $3,000.”

The Security Dawgs also need support getting to, and participating in, competitions.

“Typically, the team has only three weeks’ notice informing them they are invited to compete in the state or regional competitions,” Imboden said. “Ensuring that we have transportation and lodging for 10 students is a challenge. These competitions help put SIU, the program and our students on the map.”

To learn more about the information technologies program, visit To learn more about the needs of the College of Applied Sciences and Arts, visit


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Scholarships nurture healthy appetite for success

SIU College of Agriculture student Lindsey Eigsti

By Jeff Wilson

Lindsey Eigsti has a plan.

The senior from Shelbyville is majoring in human nutrition and dietetics. She’s applying to graduate school. She wants to become a dietitian and work to improve people’s health.

“Preventative health care is so important,” Eigsti said. “I want to tackle huge health problems and promote positive change.”

Eigsti is a legacy student. A handful of her family members attended SIU. So, when she received a full-tuition scholarship to become a Saluki, she was ecstatic.

“(The scholarship) opened a lot of doors for me. It made coming to SIU more feasible,” she said “I fell in love with campus.”

Before receiving her scholarship, junior college was a likely route. She expressed her gratitude toward the philanthropists who are willing to lend students a helping hand.

“Donations change people’s lives,” she said. “It’s so nice to have people out there who make education more accessible. Any amount can help.”

She has also received three other scholarships, which have allowed her to focus on academics and other opportunities. She works as an undergraduate intern with University Housing’s nutrition team. The group offers counseling to students with dietary issues and focuses on promoting healthy eating habits on campus.

When she’s not studying or working, she prefers to be outdoors. As someone who enjoys hiking, fishing and camping, Eigsti said she’s enjoyed her time in Southern Illinois.

Human nutrition and dietetics is a growing program within the College of Agricultural Sciences. It lends itself to careers in a number of fields, including public health, business, education, marketing, restaurants, fitness and more.

SIU’s program has been a near perfect fit for Eigsti.

“The professors are awesome. I’ve really been able to build relationships with them,” she said. “They make the program feel like it’s tailored to me.”

For more information about College of Agricultural Sciences fundraising goals, visit

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