IDHS Grant Leads to Two New CRSS Success Program Cohorts

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Joliet, Ill. 鈥 Thanks to another grant from the , the Certified Recovery Support Specialist (CRSS) Success program at the University of St. Francis (USF) will continue to provide full tuition and wrap-around supports for students who complete its high-quality, recovery support training and supervised practical experience. 听

USF鈥檚 CRSS program, which launched in fall 2022 with an initial cohort of 19 students, will welcome two new cohorts this coming academic year (up to 20 students each in fall 2024 and spring 2025). The program trains individuals with lived experience of mental health or co-occurring mental health and substance use recovery to leverage their experience to support others facing these challenges. Tuition is free for accepted applicants through June 2025 through the support of over $1.14 million in state grant funding from the IDHS Division of Mental Health.

“Students who have successfully completed the CRSS Success Program at USF have been gainfully employed in the field of behavioral health in a variety of settings, including substance use treatment, community mental health, and other non-profit settings. Training experience both in the classroom and the field practicum prepares students to share their lived experience in a way that promotes hope and change in those they serve, advocates for diverse and marginalized populations, assists in increased access to care/treatment, and reduces stigma around mental health, substance use, and co-occurring disorders,” said Patricia Ferdon, MSW, LCSW, CCTP, CRSS Teaching Instructor and Internship Coordinator.

For more information on the program, including how to apply for fall registration, visit stfrancis.edu/crss or contact Marcia Van Natta, MHS, BA, CADC, CODP II, CRSS Project Director and Instructor at mvannatta@stfrancis.edu or 815-740-3779. Student applications for the fall 2024 cohort are due by Friday, August 2, 2024. Applications received after this date will be added to a wait list for the spring 2025 semester.

About the CRSS Program

The CRSS program, now in its third year, is housed within the USF Psychology department along with USF鈥檚 Substance Abuse Counseling (SAC) program. The SAC program, an addiction treatment program, received full accreditation from the Illinois Certification Board (ICB) in November 2015. In 2023, USF was awarded a $125,000 subgrant through ICB鈥檚 Certified Alcohol and other Drug Counselor (CADC) Workforce Expansion Program to provide tuition and wraparound supports to students in the SAC program working towards CADC certification. USF鈥檚 CADC program is modeled after its successful CRSS Success program; both of these grants provide financial support to USF students as they work towards CRSS or CADC certification.

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The University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves close to 3,300 students nationwide and offers undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 53,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit stfrancis.edu.

University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose.

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Professor Wittke-Thompson and Five Students Publish Scientific Research Article

Dr. Jackie Wittke-Thompson

Joliet, Ill. 鈥 Dr. Jackie Wittke-Thompson, Professor of Biology at the University of St. Francis (USF), and five USF biology majors including Sarah Piane, Victoria Akinwotu Adewale, Alexis Fragoso, Mason Craig, and Genesys Haro, recently had a scientific research article published in microPublication Biology.

The students鈥 data collection efforts helped to identify the location of a point mutation in the genome in a fruit fly mutant. Data was collected in Fall 2021 in Dr. Wittke-Thompson’s BIOL151 Beginning Investigative Experiences in Biology course, and was a collaboration with four other universities as part of the Fly-CURE program, of which Dr. Wittke-Thompson is a member.

鈥淯SF first-year biology majors helped to identify the location of a point mutation in the genome in a fruit fly mutant – using genetic crosses, PCR, and DNA sequencing. The mutation identified is located in the GstE14 gene, which is involved in the regulation of tissue growth,鈥 said Dr. Wittke-Thompson.

Read 鈥淕enetic Mapping and Phenotypic Analysis of GstE14E.4.1 on Eye and Antennae Development in Drosophila melanogaster鈥, which was originally published on April 13, 2024, at .

For more information on Dr. Wittke-Thompson, including links to her other published scientific research articles, visit stfrancis.edu/jacqueline-wittke-thompson.

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The University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves close to 3,300 students nationwide and offers undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 53,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit stfrancis.edu.

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USF 2024 Art & Design Senior Thesis Exhibition Now Open

2024 Art & Design Senior Thesis exhibitors

Photo caption: Exhibiting artists for USF鈥檚 2024 Art & Design Senior Thesis Exhibition include (left to right) Mazi Niezgoda, Jaclyn Duske, Meghan Grilli, Alvaro Robles, Stephanie Behland and Vada Arndt.

Joliet, Ill. 鈥 The community is invited to enjoy the artwork of University of St. Francis (USF) seniors as part of the current exhibition at the USF Art Gallery. The 2024 Art & Design Senior Thesis exhibition, which runs through May 31, 2024, highlights work selected from the thesis projects of graduating seniors majoring in Studio Art, Photography, Graphic Design, and Art Education. The exhibition serves as a culmination of their undergraduate experience, celebrating their growth as artists and their commitment to the rigorous process of artistic production. The Senior Thesis exhibition is a testament to the dedication and creativity of the graduating seniors, who have demonstrated their ability to contribute meaningfully to the discourse of contemporary art.

The USF Art Gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Tuesday through Thursday and is located 25 E. Van Buren Street in downtown Joliet. For more information on the exhibition or the gallery, contact USF Art Gallery Director Jennifer Moore at jmoore@stfrancis.edu or visit stfrancis.edu/artgallery/.

About the Exhibiting Artists

Vada Arndt – Vada has fallen in love with the landscape and environment all around her. From familiar and nostalgic scenes, to commentary on her family鈥檚 long lineage in the Midwest, Vada has been creating artwork (whether consciously or not) depicting scenes familiar or directly pulled from twenty-something years鈥 worth of observation and admiration.

Vada works mostly in oils, but is also interested in using mediums which most effectively evoke the desired goal of a piece. Vada loves to see what is present around her as if seeing it for the first time, to realize how amazing it all is. The main goal for this project was to challenge herself to share what she sees in a way that allows others a glimpse of the stunning beauty in the ordinary.

Stephanie Behland – Stephanie is a talented Graphic Design major whose journey into the world of graphic design began in high school when she reluctantly enrolled in a computer arts class. This newfound passion led her to switch majors from elementary education to graphic design.

Currently, Stephanie is honing her skills through a marketing internship at USF, where she has also worked on design projects for various companies and organizations. Some of her notable clients include South Side XP Volleyball Club, the USF Dance Team, and Blue Taco Restaurant.

When Stephanie is not immersed in the world of design, you can find her dancing or exploring new travel destinations.

Jaclyn Duske – Jaclyn works with both photography and graphic design. While she loves experimenting with many forms of photography, she has found her passion in sport and concert photography. Jaclyn has had her work shown on The Today Show, KTLA, Country Now Magazine, and countless local newspapers. For her senior thesis, Jaclyn is showcasing both her sport and concert photography and design with images, graphic design pieces, screen prints, book designs, and her own concert merchandise designs.

Meghan Grilli – Meghan is a K-12 Visual Arts Educator major. Her thesis project, Little Miss Lilly, is a book series that she has written and illustrated based on real-life experiences. The stories follow Lilly, a young girl of an unspecified age, through her adventures of spending time with animals. The books aim to inform children of how to care for these various animals while maintaining a light-hearted atmosphere. Meghan鈥檚 goal is to extend the series from animals and incorporate educational themes that enlighten young readers on basic visual arts ideas and concepts. The set-up that Meghan has created within the USF Gallery is meant to replicate a young child鈥檚 reading area, much like one would see in real-time as a child were truly reading the stories.

Mazi Niezgoda – Mazi鈥檚 journey with graphic design started when she graduated from Plainfield Central High School. While trying to decide what she was going to do with the rest of her life, she began interning at a wedding photography company where they suggested she take a photography and photoshop course. This led Mazi on a path that fostered her love of graphic design. Mazi received her associate in graphic design at Joliet Junior College and continued her education as a graphic design major at USF.

When Mazi isn鈥檛 working on her numerous photography and graphic design projects, you can find her attending rock concerts throughout the summer.

Alvaro Robles – Alvaro aims to innovate and inspire with his art. He has a strong work ethic and takes pride in doing his absolute best. He is always ready for a challenge and seeks to learn new lessons whenever possible. Alvaro does not like to contain himself to one skillset, as he enjoys venturing into different areas of fine art. His style is very detailed and intense. He incorporates his life into his work. Each big project is a piece of his artistic timeline.

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The University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves close to 3,300 students nationwide and offers undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 53,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit stfrancis.edu.

University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose.

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Joliet Symphony Orchestra Announces Final Concert of 2023-2024 Season

Rejoice!

Joliet, Ill. – The Joliet Symphony Orchestra (JSO) is pleased to announce the final concert set of its 2023-2024 Season with Artistic Director & Conductor, Dr. Sean Paul Mills, leading a program of works by Louis Joseph Ferdinand Herold, Johann Nepomuk Hummel, and Antonin Dvorak, and featuring trumpet soloist Gilmar Cavalcante.

Titled 鈥淩ejoice!鈥, the JSO will be performing Louis Joseph Ferdinand Herold鈥檚 鈥淶ampa Overture鈥, Johann Nepomuk Hummel鈥檚 鈥淭rumpet Concerto in E-flat Major鈥 with trumpet soloist Gilmar Cavalcante, and Antonin Dvorak鈥檚 鈥淪ymphony No. 8 in G Major鈥 on Saturday, April 20, 2024 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, April 21, 2024 at 4 p.m. Both performances will take place in Sexton Auditorium, which is located in the Harold & Margaret Moser Performing Arts Center on the University of St. Francis (USF) campus at 500 Wilcox Street in Joliet.

A native of Brazil, Gilmar Cavalcante is an active performer, teacher, and music entrepreneur who currently resides in East Central Indiana. Cavalcante earned his Doctor of Arts degree from Ball State University (Muncie, Ind.) as well as a Master of Music Performance from Valdosta State University (Valdosta, Ga.) and a Bachelor of Music in Trumpet Performance from Federal University of Paraiba (UFPB – Jo茫o Pessoa Campus, Brazil). With experience in both classical and popular styles, he performs with the Manchester Symphony Orchestra (North Manchester, Ind.) and Anderson Symphony Orchestra (Anderson, Ind.), and teaches at both Manchester University and Anderson University.

New to the JSO this season is a series of free pre-concert discussions titled 鈥淣oteworthy.鈥 These discussions will take place 45 minutes prior to each performance and provide audience members with an opportunity to learn more about the composers, selections, orchestra, and soloists as well as ask questions and interact with the conductor and guests.

Tickets for JSO concerts are available through the JSO website at , the 麻豆传媒高清 at Moser website at stfrancis.edu/music-at-moser/, and at the door beginning one (1) hour before each performance. Ticket prices are as follows: adults, $10 each; seniors, alumni & non-USF students, $5 each; USF students (with a current ID), music educators (with a current ID), and youth (18 & under) are admitted free of charge.

Please join the JSO as it concludes this season of exploration and discovery featuring both familiar and new works for symphony orchestra.

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The University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves close to 3,300 students nationwide and offers undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 53,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit stfrancis.edu.

University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose.

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麻豆传媒高清 at Moser Series Welcomes 鈥淪oldier Songs and Voices鈥 by Phoebe Hunt

Soldier Songs and Voices

Joliet, Ill. 鈥 The University of St. Francis (USF) Music at Moser series continues in April as Joliet鈥檚 university welcomes a special night of songs written in collaboration by U.S. combat veterans and professional songwriters. 鈥淪oldier Songs and Voices鈥 by national touring musician Phoebe Hunt will be presented on Tuesday, April 16, at 7 p.m. in Sexton Auditorium. Tickets are available for $15 and may be purchased by calling 815-740-3367 or by visiting stfrancis.edu/music-at-moser. USF students are admitted free of charge with valid USF ID. It is sure to be a moving and memorable night, so share the word with family, friends and neighbors who have served!

Phoebe Hunt is a songwriting mentor at the longstanding songwriting “Reveille Retreat” for veterans at a ranch in Texas, as well as at Soldier Songs and Voices chapters in cities throughout the country. The program, which helps veterans heal from trauma by turning their experiences into song, has been featured in TED Talks and in many national media outlets. For more information on the organization, visit .

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The University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves close to 3,300 students nationwide and offers undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 53,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit stfrancis.edu.

University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose.

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USF鈥檚 Music at Moser Series Welcomes Elise Leavy on March 19

Elise Leavy event poster

Joliet, Ill. 鈥 The University of St. Francis (USF) Music at Moser Series continues on Tuesday, March 19, as USF welcomes Louisiana singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Elise Leavy to the Turk Theater. Join Leavy as she celebrates the release of her third album, A Little Longer, as part of this intimate gathering of songs and stories. The show will begin at 7 p.m. Seating is limited. General admission tickets cost $15 and may be purchased in advance by visiting /music-at-moser/ or by calling 815-740-3367. USF students with a valid ID are admitted free of charge.

About Elise Leavy

Elise Leavy grew up in the music fest communities of California, where she got the spark to pursue music and songwriting as a career. From there, she studied at the acclaimed Boston Conservatory of Music, then went to the vibrant music scene in New York City. Most recently, she has made a home base of Lafayette, Louisiana. A Little Longer, Leavy鈥檚 new album, is preceded by her first two full-length releases, The Carmel House (2022) and Home for the Summer (2018).

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The University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves close to 3,300 students nationwide and offers undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 53,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit stfrancis.edu.

University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose.

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