2024 - Southwestern Illinois College

Women’s History Month

During the month of March, we observe Women’s History Month to celebrate the remarkable achievements of women, today and throughout history. At SWIC, we not only recognize the contributions of women who help lead the way and inspire, but also acknowledge their diverse interests and passions. Thank you to all the women, past and present, at SWIC, whose dedication and hard work has helped make Southwestern Illinois College your first choice!

Jill Baudendistel, Student Services Coordinator – Reading a captivating book is my favorite way to relax.

Laura Vahlkamp, Associate Director of Recruitment & Outreach – My top hobbies are: Physical Fitness (boxing, strength training), Food (love to bake and eat snacks), going on adventures with my teenagers, traveling, coffee, wine.

Brandi Brown-Harris, College Inclusion & Outreach Coordinator – I enjoy roller skating. I also spending time with my Bichon Frise, Penny Lane and watching my favorite shows on TLC and The Food Network channel.

Melissa Epps – MPH, RPh, Adjunct Pharmacy Technician Program Coordinator – Wreath making has been a cherished hobby of mine for quite some time, I love it!

Danielle Chambers, Chief Student Services Officer – My hobbies include helping others, cherishing moments with family, and eating!

Katie Dawson, Director of Financial Aid, Veteran Services & Student Employment – I love being involved in the Belleville community! My family and I shop and eat local as much as possible and never miss a parade or festival on Main Street.

Kourtny Shaw, Director of Marketing – My primary focus and passion outside of work is being a mom.

Alicia Johnson, Career and Employment Specialist – Besides spending time with my beloved service dog, my favorite way to pass time is to read.

Bethanie Garcia, Admissions Coordinator – Collecting and decorating my office with plants. Being surrounded by plants brings me a sense of joy and enhances my productivity.

Elizabeth Alvarez, RN Program Coordinator – Puzzles are my favorite way to relax but I also love reading and camping!

Vicki Channer, Administrative Assistant – Athletics – I love maintaining a healthy lifestyle through regular exercise.

Annjanee Jones, Director of Advising, Enrollment, & Records – I enjoy spending my free time gardening.

Paula Haniszewski, Director of the William and Florence Schmidt Art Center – I love hanging with my husband and two girls, art, real estate, and reading.

Mindy Schubert, Events Specialist – In my spare time I enjoy making quilts for my kids.

Jami Houston, Director of Student Success Programs – Getting my Ed.D from the University of Illinois and Illini basketball!

Myki Rhodes, Director of Student Finance – In my free time, I’m all about roller skating!

Liz Jennings, Associate Director – Foundation – I’ve been getting into tennis lately. It’s been really fun picking up a new hobby!

Casey Robacker, Internal Communications Specialist – I love collecting figurines and decorating my office with them. It’s awesome to see them around every day, brings a little extra joy to my space!

Samantha Rogers, Librarian – I like to travel and explore. 2022 took me to the Island of Hvar. 2023 the Isle of Skye. This summer I will be looking for wild ponies along the coast of Exmoor.

Sarah Samples, Associate Director of Marketing – Hiking is the best! The fact that my entire family enjoys it adds an extra layer of enjoyment to the experience.

Dean’s List – Fall 2023

The following is a list of full- and part-time students on the Southwestern Illinois College Dean’s List for the Fall 2023 Semester.

This list includes full-time students who completed 12 or more semester credits during the semester and part-time students who completed six or more semester credits during the semester while maintaining a 3.5 or higher-grade point average.

The students’ names are listed alphabetically by last name.

Dean’s List – Fall 2023

For more information, contact SWIC Enrollment Services at 618-235-2700, ext. 5455 or 866-942-SWIC (7942), ext. 5455.

New Attitude

Man and woman studying a paper.

Want to know how I made tests go from soul-crushing failures to exciting puzzles I wanted to solve?  Well let me tell you a little story.  It was summer, and I recall everyone talked about vacation.

This was back in the day, and I was excited to take classes. Well, not always, in all honesty. But after I learned some cool things about mindset and perspective, the way I looked at things changed dramatically.

As my attitude evolved; I found I was no longer working, but excited to challenge myself and solve little mysteries in learning.

This whole transformation was due to the research of Stanford University psychologist and author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success Carole Dweck. Her work led to the idea that mindset (beliefs) are more important than talent or intelligence in determining a person’s success. Dweck wrote that a fixed mindset limits the individual, while a growth mindset encourages, well, growth and change.

Dweck explained:

A fixed mindset is the belief that intelligence and talents are fixed traits that created success – not effort. The fixed mindset creates an internal monologue focused on judging. If it’s hard for me, I must be a loser.

Growth mindset: The belief that the most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work. They constantly monitor what’s going on without judging. Always asking, How can I improve?

The steps below spell out how to make the change.

Steps to Turn a Fixed Mindset to a Growth Mindset

Step1. Learn to hear your fixed mindset “voice.”

When you hit a setback or face criticism, the fixed mindset voice creates self-doubt. Identify negative thoughts and the message.

Step 2. Recognize that you have a choice.

It is your choice how you interpret setbacks and challenges. You can interpret them as signs that you are permanently lacking, or as a signal that it’s time to try new strategies, consider advice, and increase efforts.

Step 3. As you face challenges, setbacks, and criticism, respond to your fixed mindset voice with a growth mindset voice.

Step 4. Take the growth mindset action.

Over time, which voice you follow becomes pretty much your choice. Practice hearing both voices, and practice acting on the growth mindset. See how you can make it work for you. All it takes is some practice to turn your limiting language into supporting, encouraging self-messages.


Dweck, Carole. “Mindsets.” Image, (2019) creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/

Growth mindset brain image.  Retrieved 23 May, 2024, from  www.flickr.com/photos/paulapiccard/43058632290

Take the Time Management Tiger by the Tale

I’ve been spreading the word about time management for a long time, and I wondered how students – such as peer tutors in the Success Center – scheduled their assignments and study time.

“Time Management is great when you use it,” English peer tutor Haley D. laughed wryly. 

She said it starts with keeping her planner up to date.

“Having a timeline helps you think about what’s important instead of nitpicking the little things.”

Peter B-F agrees. He is also an English peer tutor, but instead of a physical planner, Peter uses the Reminder app that came on his iPhone.

“It’s too easy to forget assignments without it,” he said.

Here’s what the Apple website posted about the Reminder app:

Use Reminders on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch

With the Reminders app on iOS 13 or later and iPadOS, you can create reminders with subtasks and attachments, and set alerts based on time and location. You can ask Siri to schedule a reminder for you on your iOS device or your Apple Watch.

If you have an android phone, Google has a Reminders app that works in a similar way:

Beautiful and easy to use interface, minimum of clicks, try it and you will like it! 

Enter reminders directly in the list row at one click or voice input
Quickly create, delete, transfer and search reminders
Lists of reminders, tasks, shopping, missed calls, birthdays and more

“Time management can make you healthier,” Peter added, “because you can get more sleep.”

For those new to time management, it is about planning for the day and week which includes planning for enough sleep each night.

“It also causes less stress,” Haley said. And she’s right. A lack of time management routines often causes anxiety as the student rushes to complete assignments by deadline. College is hard enough without inviting problems.

To get started, click here to access the Success Center’s handout Strategies for Time Management

First, add all assignments and due dates in your planner or online calendar. Then to figure out when to study, fill out a time management grid (the last page of the Strategies for Time Management handout.)

If you need accountability or have other academic concerns, make an appointment for Success Coaching. Success Coaching is free and offers support with time management and other behaviors that affect learning such as test anxiety, memorization, or mindset.

The two tutors differ in their approach to time management and they complete assignments in different ways as well, but it works for them. Haley likes finishing as much of her work as she can as soon as it’s assigned. Peter spreads his work out over the week.

Whether you’re like Haley or Peter doesn’t matter as long as you have a system that works for you.  If you are struggling with time management, call or stop by the Success Center and schedule an appointment for Success Coaching.


Did you know?

Did you know you can do one single thing to reduce pain and insomnia, as well as strengthen your immune system.

But that’s not all! 

This miracle activity can also lead to healthier relationships and academic and professional success.

You don’t have to pay a fortune, starve yourself, or work your core until you have abs of steel. 

“Only a few minutes each day”

All you have to do is spend a few minutes each day sincerely expressing gratitude.

Regular gratitude practice can boost both your mental and your physical health. According to Psychology Today, “Grateful people are indeed less likely to have mental health problems like depression.” One study found that a gratitude intervention increased mental resilience in a group of older adults.  

Another study cited in Psychology Today,  suggests that spending even a few minutes engaging in a gratitude activity, such as writing a letter of gratitude to a loved one, can motivate you to make healthy food choices.

Need some ideas to get started? 

The Greater Good Center at Berkley suggests these:

  • Keep a handwritten or electronic journal of big and little joys of daily life.  Go into detail about a particular person or thing for which you’re grateful; this carries more benefits than a surface-level list of many things.
  • Write down “three good things”—identify three things that have gone well for you and write about the cause.
  • Write thank-you notes to others and give them to the recipients.
  • Think about people who have inspired you and what was significant about them.
  • Engage in “mental subtraction.” Imagine what your life would be like if some positive event had not occurred.
  • Add this twist to step up your gratitude game: At the end of each week, thank someone  you know about something specific—Thanks for being such a good listener yesterday!—and then reflect on the person’s response and their feelings.  

When we share the gratitude that we’re journaling about, according to the study, the practice becomes even more beneficial.

Feeling grateful is a skill one can develop. If you find yourself feeling tired of the stresses you’re facing, think of something that can make you feel thankful, then share that with someone.

If you want to improve your gratitude habits or work on other academic or professional goals, do not hesitate to contact a Success Coach. 

Plus, get a free gratitude journal while supplies last with a coaching appointment!

More information can be found at:

“Gratitude” reviewed by Psychology Today Staff

“How to Upgrade Your Gratitude Practice”

“Tips to Foster Gratitude”

How Do I Cultivate It?

Calm Down

With a nod to Rema and Selena Gomez, today’s topic is about what most college students need but rarely get enough of: rest and relaxation.

I will never forget waiting for Spring Break – getting wound up like a crossbow by mid-term exams and barely able to relax during break.

So, before you find yourself in a similar position, try one or more of these activities to help you calm down and enjoy not only your week off but the rest of the semester.

  1. Unplug – Press the off button and step away from your devices.
    Spend time in nature
    Read a book for pleasure
    Spend time with family and friends
    Take a warm bath with candles or create an at-home spa
  2. Practice Self-Compassion by forgiving yourself for making perceived mistakes or errors in judgement
    Catch up on sleep and create a consistent sleep routine
    Seek support if needed (Wellness Advocate Ami Lilley-Plexico; TimelyCare; mentor; or spiritual leader)
    Listen to music
    Set boundaries – take control and protect your time.
  3. Practice Mindfulness – Mindfulness means keeping a moment-by-moment non-judgmental awareness of your thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment.
    Try yoga or tai chi
    Create art or other activity that requires your total focus (i.e., cooking, gardening)
    Learn box breathing or other breathing practice
  4. Stay active – enough
    Go jogging or hiking
    Play a solo or team sport
    Take yourself out to an art fair, play, or new restaurant
  5. Get Creative
    Pick up a new skill or dance move
    Plan a staycation
    Reorganize your room or personal space; clear out clutter

Spend a proper amount of time each week taking care of yourself whether you’re in school or on break. This will help you do your best in all areas of your life.

If you want some help setting some rest and relaxation goals, call 618-235-2700 ext. 5495.

You may also use this link to make a coaching appointment:

We look forward to seeing you soon. And if you mention that you saw this blog or one of our other Success Coaching blogs, you can pick something from our collection of free gifts and prizes.