Everything should be
as simple as possible,
but not simpler ~
Albert Einstein

Object Lessons

Illinois Alumni April 2011

When I walk into Billie Jean Theide’s metalsmithing class, I seem to have time-warped to the 1950s.

High, wooden desks reminiscent of architects’ drafting tables fill the second-floor classroom. Gooseneck lamps provide an ambient glow. Radiators clank and hiss. We are warm within the walls of an old brick building, tucked amid greenhouses in a quiet corner of campus.

Unsilent Night

Illinois Alumni magazine December 2010

Want to be serenaded with “I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas” at 2 a.m.? No problem. “Come All Ye Faithful” … in Latin? Coming right up. It’s all in a day and night’s work for Snyder Hall’s Dial-A-Carol volunteers, who satisfy callers’ desires for Christmas carols, common and obscure, for one week every year.

Lois Duncan

NCTE Council Chronicle November 2010

Lois Duncan is one of those rare creatures who knew from a very young age what she wanted to do.

“I was born wanting to be a writer,” she says. “I started composing rhymed verse as soon as I could talk. I submitted my first story to a magazine when I was ten.”

The Human Condition

Illinois Alumni Magazine September 2010

Before you meet her, the credentials of Virginia Dominguez may intimidate you.

Physician, Educate Thyself

Illinois Alumni June 2010

The bioengineer wants to develop a cure for blistering skin disease, and the neuroscience student believes her understanding of how zebra finches learn songs could help combat degenerative neurological ailments. The biochemist dreams of applying her knowledge of the molecular foundation of the immune system to help fight infectious disease. The philosopher hopes to play an important role in teaching medical ethics and even guiding policy.

Carl Woese and the Three Flavors of Life

Muse: the magazine of life, the universe, and pie throwing June 2010

You may not have heard of Carl Woese, but his discovery shook the very roots of biology. At a time when scientists believed all life on Earth could be divided into two categories, Woese (rhymes with “rose”) discovered a third. He persevered in the face of strong opposition, and ultimately triumphed. In the process, he opened our eyes to the vastness and diversity of the world of microbes.

Nancy Pearl

NCTE Council Chronicle March 2010

The words “librarian” and “celebrity” are not often used in the same sentence, but in the case of Nancy Pearl, it happens often. Not only has Pearl, a librarian by training, written three books, she is a regular guest on National Public Radio and hosts a Seattle television show. To top it all off, she was the inspiration for a librarian action figure and is quoted on one of the Starbucks coffee cups.*

Teacher Advocacy: Teachers Speaking Up

NCTE Council Chronicle January 2010

Teachers don’t typically enter their profession for political reasons — such as education their political representatives on literacy issues or influencing national policy. Nevertheless, numerous teachers accomplish these very aims every April as part of NCTE’s Literacy Education Advocacy Day (www.ncte.org/action/advocacyday).

A Community of Poets

Illinois Alumni January 2010

Janice Harrington’s recent success as a poet, author and college professor is deeply rooted in her more than two decades as children’s librarian and storyteller, where her work fostered a powerful ear for vivid rhythm and imagery.

What Lies Beneath

Illinois Alumni January 2010

If Michael B. Johnson ‘88 ENG were a Pixar movie character he would be Sully, the large, furry, green-with-blue-spots star of Monsters, Inc. Like Sully (voiced by actor John Goodman), Johnson’s voice is deep and resonant; he is a hail-fellow-well-met; modest in an “aw-shucks-just-doing-my-job” way; and he is all about giving credit to others.


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