College of Education & Human Services

Destined for Success

Faculty, academic advisors, Student Advisory Board, classmates, staff, internships and practicum supervisors, student organization advisors, and Alumni Advisory Board are investing their time, expertise, energy, and resources into creating a meaningful university experience for you. Through these sources and student surveys, you shared with us a list of resources that you need to succeed -- and we've been busy putting them into place.

  • Student Retention Fund to provide support when a small amount of money stands between you and graduation
  • Holistic wellness support to help you identify, experience, and impement resources for navigating a complex world today and in the future as as you continue in professions that serve and help others
  • Professional growth programming to develop practical skills for leadership, career path planning, and organizational mangement
  • Community gatherings to connect with your undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral student peers
With your determination and our resources,
success is the only option in the College of Education & Human Services!

 Click the Play arrow below to see this week's highlights! 


Student Spotlights

 Azalea Phinita HeadshotAs a young female sports reporter, Azalea Phinata is carving out her own career path and providing mentorship to others along the way. And, it’s already having an impact – she is engaged in two research projects during her Fulbright-funded studies at WIU, was named as 1 of 5 finalists for the IBS awards, and provides guidance for sports broadcasting students through her graduate assistantship.

Azalea’s academic research topics are inspired by her experiences. While working for CNN Indonesia (currently on temporary leave while studying at WIU through the Fulbright program), Phinata encountered stereotypes based on her age and gender and so she wanted to learn more about how women are viewed as professionals and how professionals view female athletes. Her first research project with Professor Park, Sport Management graduate program faculty, focuses on public perception of female sports broadcasters in South Korea. The second research project, conducted with Professor Sonkeng, also Sport Management graduate program faculty, focuses on the gender perspectives of reporters writing about female athletes during the recent Olympics in Japan.

While Azalea conducts her graduate research, she is also honing her craft as a sports journalist and helping others do the same. Her teaching assistantship in sports broadcasting focuses on promoting WIU athletics with ESPN and provides a seasoned resource for undergraduate broadcasting students who are learning about production, newcasting, equipment, etc. She is especially passionate about helping underrepresented groups explore the profession, “We need more women in the field of sports. There are plenty of roles and career paths in this industry, and women need to hear and see that there is a place for them.” Phinata herself was 1 of 5 individual nominees this spring for the annual Intercollegiate Broadcasting System (IBS) Media Awards, representing WIU and Sports Management program in the category Best Sports Report: "WIU Esports - Leatherneck Insider". Each award, each research project, and each broadcast bring Azalea Phinata closer to her professional and mentorship goal of working with the academic and broadcasting aspects of intercollegiate athletic programs.


Tessie Morton photoGraduating from Warsaw High School (IL) in 2000, Tessie Morton was uncertain of her next steps. She tested the waters at a local community college, moved to Arizona, worked her way up to a managerial position – yet nothing quite fit and in Spring 2021 it was time for a realignment. Her inquisitiveness about environment & community health and memories of growing up on the WIU campus as a child (her parents lived in family housing with Tessie and her sister while they pursued their degrees) lead her to the public health degree at WIU. “It’s ok to hit the pause button and ok to go to school at any time – it doesn’t have to be in the traditional path of going to college right after high school. You’ll know when it is your time and it will be more meaningful.” While going back to school was a huge change – and uncomfortable at times – by the end of her first health science class at WIU, Tessie knew she was on the right track. “I felt a sense of calm and comfort; it’s what I should be doing.

Carving out a new path is part of Tessie’s family tradition that the women have been doing for generations. Tessie, enrolling as a full-time student 21 years after high school, was preceded by her sister, Class of 2010 with a History degree, mother who attended WIU and living on campus as a parent graduating with a major in Law Enforcement & Justice Administration in 1989, and grandmother, Native American and a daughter of migrant workers, who graduated as a Social Work major in 2002 after raising her own children.

Tessie’s research passion was sparked by a personal experience living with her family at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune located in Jacksonville, North Carolina. From the 1950s through the 1980s, people living or working in the U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, were potentially exposed to drinking water contaminated with industrial solvents, benzene, and other chemicals as reported by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs ( ) resulting in a wide-range of health conditions including

  • Adult leukemia
  • Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes
  • Bladder cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
  • Parkinson's disease

In her health sciences classes like grant writing and research methods, Tessie has had the opportunity to apply academic and professional skills to her passion topic – a great start to her future master’s degree thesis!

Success Tips 

Each week, semester, and year gives you an opportunity to refine your academic skills as you make the most of your WIU experience. Keep what works. Replace what doesn't. Be open to trying something new. Check out the Success Tips from fellow students in the College of Education & Human Services for a bit of inspiration.

  • Hold yourself accountable and focus on how you want people to remember you 5 years from now rather than get distracted by the little or temporary things. (Jon'a Levi, '24)

  • If you stay prepared, you never have to get ready. (Jason Baker, '23)
  • My planner controls my life - I’m busy and forget things so using a planner helps me schedule time for studying, work, friends and family. Knowing what is on the agenda for the week helps me makes sure the priorities can be taken care of and don't slip away. (Jareca Jones, '21)

  • Our physical and mental hygiene is so tied together -- and we are seeing that as a society now. Figure out what refreshes your mind and soul and work that into your routine so that it becomes as natural as breathing. (Kwyn Townsend Riley, '22)
  • The amount of time and effort you invest need to match the size of your goals. (Madison Darrow, '21)
  • The first priority is school -- that's why you are in college -- so don't be afraid to pause your involvement in a student organization. That club will still be there waiting for you when you are ready. (Jon'a Levi, '24)

  • College pushes you and challenges you -- that is the only way to grow as an academic, professional, and human being. Sometimes growth is unconfortable, and not everyday is a good day -- but there is something good in every day. Find it and hold it close! (Paul Frost, '22)
  • You don’t need an answer right away for what your future is going to be! (Jon'a Levi, '24)

  • Find your people -- the people who see you and affirm you, the people that lift you up and hold you accountable to your dreams, passion, and ambition. That doesn't mean that they tell you what you want to hear! (Kwyn Townsend Riley, '22)
  • There are no bad decisions. As long as you are growing, moving toward your goals and improving your life, your making good decisions. (Jon'a Levi, '24)

  • Surrounding yourself with people who motivate and push you. (Madison Darrow, '21)
  • Your success is tied into giving back to the community - get involved! (Kwyn Townsend Riley, '22)

  • Being rich in people will always bypass being rich in money. Building relationships and networks is important! (Jason Baker, '23)
  • Time management is essential! Learn to use a planner or Google calendar. (Jon'a Levi, '24)
  • Don’t procrastinate! I learned this lesson when attending community college. Classes can quickly get away from you and it's much easier to spend a little bit of time studying everyday than to tackle a backlog of reading and writing from the past week or two. (Jareca Jones, '21)
  • Classes, study time, down time, activities -- got to keep them all in check and not let one or two take over your life! (Jon'a Levi, '24)


Upcoming Events

May 9-13: Final Week


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