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Forensics Union
Forensics UnionIllinois State University is home to a nationally recognized forensics team with 10 national team championships and over 80 individual titles in its history.[Read More]
Lambda Pi EtaLambda Pi Eta
Lambda Pi Eta LogoLambda Pi Eta is a National Honor Society, with over 400 active chapters at four-year colleges and universities worldwide. LPH was founded in 1985 at the University of Arkansas. It became affiliated with the National Communication Association (NCA) in 1988 and the association's official undergraduate honor society in July 1995. NCA is one of the primary professional organizations for communication. Lambda Pi Eta members understand the importance of communication in the world and strive to develop communication skills through knowledge and practice. [Read More]
PRSSAPRSSA
PRSSA LogoThe Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) is the foremost organization for students interested in public relations and communications. We seek to advance the public relations profession by nurturing generations of future professionals. We advocate rigorous academic standards for public relations education, the highest ethical principles and diversity in the profession.[Read More]
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ISU to host fall biomathematics conference

When one hears “Illinois State University,” biomathematics is not the first thought that comes to mind. However, the hard work of one professor and his colleagues has made ISU an emerging national force in the field.

The graduate program’s scholarly journal, Letters in Biomathematics, is recognized internationally, and as a result, ISU has been chosen to host the International Symposium on Biomathematics and Ecology: Education and Research (BEER) Oct. 9–11.

Letters in Biomathematics, as Professor of Mathematics Olcay Akman explained, is a “free open-access peer-reviewed publication that accepts articles in research, education, and book and software reviews.” Akman is currently the editor-in-chief of the journal.

Last year, Akman developed the idea for the consortium named Intercollegiate Biomathematics Alliance (IBA). ISU is one of the few universities nationwide that offer a graduate program in biomathematics.

Akman explained the concept of the consortium and the benefits students will receive.

“The Intercollegiate Biomathematics Alliance for Scholarship, Teaching and Advanced Research Development is a consortium of academic institutions as a platform for collaboration of researchers, educators and scientists, centered at ISU,” Akman said. “We provide a wide range of expertise and interests in biomathematics and related areas to students as well as mathematics and biology educators. Students and faculty from member institutions can get together at multiple locations for research activities.”

Biomathematics is composed of mathematics, computer science and natural science. Graduates from the program have the chance to work in a wide variety of fields in science and have many research opportunities to pursue.

For years, Akman collaborated with professors from many universities to present BEER. What first emerged as a “one-room small conference in 2008 with ten speakers” quickly became “the second largest Biomathematics Conference in the world.”

Akman later turned to BEER colleagues Tim Comar of Benedictine University and Dan Hrozencik of Chicago State University to form IBA.

With the success of Letters in Biomathematics, Akman has begun collaborating with Professor of Biology Diane Byers on an undergraduate journal. Titled, Spora, Greek for “sowing” or “seeds,” the publication satisfies another urgent need brought up by undergraduate student presentations at BEER conferences, Akman says.

Aside from the recognition ISU will receive with the upcoming conference, Akman describes how beneficial it will be for students and their futures as well.

“This conference will provide easy access to all ISU students and faculty who have any interest in biomathematics to get acquainted with the field and explore opportunities to expand their fields of study,” Akman said. “Our Master’s students in biomathematics will be making contacts for jobs or Ph.D. studies, and we will be recruiting future students. As we attract more students to our program, we will be able to hire new biomathematics faculty.”

For more information, visit the ISU BEER website at About.IllinoisState.edu/BioMath/BEER/ or contact Akman at oakman@ilstu.edu.

First hackathon hosted at ISU

The first annual RedbirdHacks was held this past weekend on Illinois State University’s campus in the Center for the Visual Arts, according to the Pantagraph.

The hackathon hosted 100 of the brightest technical minds from a dozen colleges and universities. Students formed teams of four to create news apps, websites, software or hardware to win prizes and earn points in a national competition.

The teams were given 36 hours to complete whatever task they had chosen. The competition could be entered with an idea, but all coding had to be done during the hackathon.

The projects were judged based on creativity, technical difficulty and usefulness. The competition did not have an admission fee. However, sponsors such as Mirus Research, State Farm, Trustwave, the George and Martha Means Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and the ISU School of Information Technology helped fund the competition.

Sponsors attended a closing ceremony on Sunday with presentations by each of the teams.

Students were allowed to bring Ethernet cables, laptops and phones along with pillows, blankets and sleeping bags.

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Communication Spotlight
Reversing the toxic talk of political discussions article thumbnailReversing the toxic talk of political discussions. Political discussions in the United States have been hijacked, said Professor of Communication Joseph Zompetti, who discusses solutions for taking the conversation back in his new book. [Read the rest]

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