Featured Archives - 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.

Thomas Mulherin named to the SWIC Foundation Board

Thomas Mulherin, Senior Vice President in Investments with Stifel Financial, has been named to the Southwestern Illinois College Foundation Board. As a member of the board, Mulherin will support the Foundation’s efforts to secure gifts for special educational and cultural activities that are not part of the college budget.

Within his newly appointed role, Mulherin brings decades of financial experience to the Foundation Board. Not only is he currently the Senior Vice President in Investments with Stifel Financial, but Mulherin has spent 25 years working specifically as a Retail Investment Advisor. He specializes in helping clients achieve their financial goals through financial planning and portfolio management.

In addition to his financial career, Mulherin furthered his experiences by serving on St. John’s Lutheran School Board of Education, along with being the President of said board. Currently, Mulherin serves on the St. John’s Lutheran Church Estate Committee. Alongside serving on community boards, Mulherin is a supporter of the local charity, Joshua’s Great Things. This charity raises money to fund pediatric brain cancer research as well as helping families with basic needs while taking care of a child in treatment.

Mulherin was born and raised in the Waterloo and Red Bud area, where he now resides with his wife and children. And given Mulherin’s background and experience within the local community, he is thrilled to be able to serve on SWIC’s Foundation Board where he can continue to help those around him.

Dr. Elizabeth Johns named to the SWIC Foundation Board

Dr. Elizabeth Johns, DNP, AGACNP-BC, PM-BC, Nurse Practitioner and Assistant Professor of Nursing at Maryville University, has been named to the Southwestern Illinois College Foundation Board. As a member of the board, Dr. Johns will support the Foundation’s efforts to secure gifts for special educational and cultural activities that are not part of the college budget.

In her new role, Dr. Johns brings decades of clinical and higher education experience to the Foundation Board. She has been serving her community in a myriad of ways through healthcare. Not only is Dr. Johns an Assistant Professor and Coordinator of the Adult Gerontological Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Program at Maryville University in St. Louis, Missouri, but she also currently practices as an Inpatient Oncology/Hematology Nurse Practitioner at Washington University Siteman Cancer Center in Shiloh.

Dr. Johns is an alumnus of SWIC, having completed two years of her undergraduate work before transferring to Deaconess College of Nursing to pursue her Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Dr. Johns received her Adult/Geriatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner degree from St. Louis University and went on to Maryville University to receive her Doctorate in Nursing Practice.

Given her chosen field, Dr. Johns is thrilled to be able to serve on the Foundation Board and continue to make a positive impact on the local community.

foundation board

SWIC’s Annual Plant Sale is here!

Dig out your gardening tools – it’s spring! The SWIC Horticulture program is selling reasonably priced plants, including vegetable plants, tropicals, perennials, annuals, and herbs. All plants at the sale were grown over the winter by SWIC students!

You can get your green thumbs (and fingers) on these plants at the annual Plant Sale April 20 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and April 21-22 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the SWIC Belleville Campus, 2500 Carlyle Ave. The sale will be held in the greenhouse, located on the southeast corner of campus behind the baseball fields.

“The SWIC Plant Sale is possible thanks to the hard work and dedication of our Horticulture students,” said SWIC Horticulture Program Coordinator Kurt Range. “The annual Plant Sale is a great way for our students to see their work come to life.”

Cash, credit, and checks will be accepted at the sale. Proceeds benefit the Horticulture program.

For more information about the plant sale contact Kurt Range at 618-235-2700, ext. 5135 or kurt.range@swic.edu.

The Screening of The Final 19

Southwestern Illinois College’s Veteran Services will host a screening event for the documentary, The Final 19.

The film follows the harrowing true story of Sergeant Dan Hefel and his journey as one of the final 19 prisoners of war to return from Vietnam. The film depicts his 1143 days spent in captivity, while also touching on life after the Vietnam War. In addition, this year marks the 50th anniversary of the end of the war.

The event will be hosted March 30 at SWIC’s Belleville Campus, in the Main Complex Theatre. Listed below is the schedule for the screening and panel discussion of The Final 19 with Sergeant Dan Hefel.

  • Meet and Greet with Sergeant Dan Hefel and Director Tim Breitbach.
  • 11 a.m. – Screening “A” and Q&A
  • 1 p.m. – Veteran Discussion Panel
  • 2 p.m. – Screening “B” and Q&A

“Hosting an event such as the screening of The Final 19 helps bring the community together,” said Veteran Services Coordinator Dan Nagel. “SWIC is honored to be a place where veterans can feel both seen and heard.”

SWIC has over 1500 enrolled Veterans as part of the GI Bill.

For more details about the screening of The Final 19, please contact Veteran Services Coordinator Dan Nagel at daniel.nagel@swic.edu

SWIC wins 1st in Mastercam Wildest Parts competition

SWIC Precision Machining Instructor, David Berry recently placed 1st in the Mastercam Wildest Parts competition!

Wildest Parts is a global event sponsored by Mastercam that gives both students and professionals opportunities to learn skills and earn prizes through CAD/CAM.

Within the Professional division, David Berry placed first among all of the participants! For his submission, Berry designed and created a desk piece, featuring a 12 blade, large wheel, compressor design. The part took a total of 2 weeks to fully create. One week was spent programming the parts and the next was spent proofing the program on the machine.

When creating a part from a blank piece of material, the machine needs about 10 hours to finish the project. Yet, despite the many hours spent on the part, Berry noted that the process helped broaden his knowledge of CAD when creating something with a multi-axis.

For more information on the Precision Machining Technology program, click here.

High school students cook up success in culinary competition

Local high school students showcased their chopping, grating, sautéing, baking and other culinary arts skills in the Platinum Chef Competition held at the Southwestern Illinois College Sam Wolf Granite City Campus recently.

Teams from six area high schools competed in culinary arts challenges to create unique dishes from a variety of ingredients. The annual competition is co-sponsored by SWIC and Madison County Career and Technical Education System.

“This event really lets students exercise their skills and creativity,” said SWIC Culinary Arts and Food Management Program Coordinator Leisa Brockman. “We’re proud to offer local students the chance to show off what they have learned in high school culinary classes.”

SWIC Culinary Arts faculty judged the students’ work on the taste and appearance of the food, sanitation and students’ ability to explain their dishes.  

The winners were:

  • Best of Competition, First Place: East St. Louis High School
  • Best of Competition, Second Place: Granite High School
  • Best of Competition, Third Place: Highland High School
  • Best Test Score: East St. Louis High School
  • Best Utility/Support Team: East St. Louis High School
  • Best Table Presentation: Civic Memorial High School in Bethalto
  • Best Appetizer: East St. Louis High School
  • Best Salad: Granite City High School
  • Best Entrée: East St. Louis High School
  • Best Dessert: Highland High School
  • Best Oral Presentation of Dishes: East St. Louis High School
  • Overall Competition MVP: Antonio Polk, East St. Louis High School
  • Team MVP for Belleville CAVE: Thomas Piotrowski
  • Team MVP for Civic Memorial: Olivia Enke
  • Team MVP for East St. Louis: A’maya Chapman
  • Team MVP for Edwardsville: Addie Vaughan
  • Team MVP for Granite City: Sakinah Amatullah-Martin
  • Team MVP for Highland: Fay Wilson

      For more information on the Platinum Chef Competition or for information on the SWIC Culinary Arts and Food Management program, call Brockman at 618-797-7323 or visit swic.edu/culinary.

Photo: Students from the East St. Louis Senior High School Platinum Chef team won Best of Competition and numerous other awards.

SWIC Men’s Basketball Coach Harrington to join St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame

After 44 years of coaching, Jay Harrington’s hard work has paid off once again. The Southwestern Illinois College men’s basketball coach has been invited to join the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame.    

Harrington has an 869-507 record at the college. His overall collegiate coaching record stands at 952-549. On top of being inducted into the NJCAA Hall of Fame in 2002, Harrington has also coached three USA Basketball teams and won numerous Region 24 and GRAC Coach of the Year awards.

“This award would not have happened without the continuous support of my family and team,” said Harrington. “I feel extremely fortunate to have been able to live out my passion here at SWIC for so many years. Being inducted into the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame truly is an honor.”

Harrington joined SWIC as the men’s basketball coach in 1979. He also served as the college’s athletic director from 1980-2015.

Harrington and his wife, Patti Woods Harrington, live in Waterloo. He has three daughters: Christina, Megan, and Morgan and five grandchildren.

The induction ceremony will be held in February to officially commemorate Harrington’s achievement.

For additional information regarding the Blue Storm 2022-2023 schedule, visit swic.edu/athletics.

Tamburitzans to bring international cultures to the stage Nov. 19

One of the world’s finest, longest-running live musical variety stage shows of its kind returns to Metro East Saturday, November 19th.

The Tamburitzans will return for the popular Southwestern Illinois College Foundation annual student scholarship fundraiser. The internationally renowned troupe performs at the Edwardsville High School Performance Theater stage, 6161 Center Grove Road in Edwardsville, at 7 p.m. The doors open at 6:15 p.m.

The talented young artists, from Duquesne University, clad in elaborate costumes, will celebrate and share international cultural heritages through the universal languages of music and dance.

For more than 30 years, individuals from both Illinois and Missouri have enjoyed this group’s annual performance. Show proceeds benefit the John N. and Diana Bellcoff Memorial Tamburitzans scholarships for students attending the SWIC Sam Wolf Granite City Campus.

Founded in 1937, the Tamburitzans got their name from a stringed folk instrument called the tamburitza that is predominant in the music of Balkan cultures. The troupe is based in Pittsburgh, Penn., but dazzles both domestic and international audiences with its traveling performances.

Tickets are $20 for adults and must be purchased in advance.
For tickets, call Norma Bellcoff at 618-978-1522. For credit card purchases visit Thankyou.swic.edu or call 618-235-2700, ext. 5518.