Draft 1

Lauren Broderick came to the University of Illinois as an uncertain freshman thinking she wanted to major in music education. However she was not sure this was the path she was meant to take. This all changed after meeting an 8 year old at Illinthon’s annual Miracle Family Tailgate in 2016.

Illinithon is a 12-hour long dance marathon at the University of Illinois every spring to raise money for children and families that are involved with Children’s Miracle Network,  particularly St. John’s Children Hospital located in Springfield, IL. The organization raises funds year round to donate to the cause.

-tighten this up

Broderick formed a connection with Levi after playing spending time with him throughout the day. They played Spikeball together and discussed school and what they wanted to be when they grew up. Throughout the day Levi wanted Broderick to follow him and go wherever he went.

-show it and let the drama come out, add connection at end build up to it

At the tailgate someone wanted to interview Levi and he refused to sit still. Broderick was able to make Levi more comfortable and told told him she would sit with him and help him through the interview.

-why did someone want to interview him

Broderick talked with the rest of Levi’s family and they told her their story and she was able to relate to some of their experiences with her own. From then on Broderick and Levi have been best friends. They keep in contact with one another through Facebook where Levi’s mother and Broderick are Facebook friends. This allows Broderick to see updates on how Levi is doing and communicate with him as well. Levi’s mother will write messages on Broderick’s page from Levi and she will do the same back.

-find out conditions of his life

When looking at colleges Broderick originally applied planning to pursue a career in Child Life. However, once at Illinois she decided to study Choral Music Education. Throughout her first semester she was overwhelmed with her major and was questioning if it was the right career track for her. Meeting Levi made Broderick realize what type of difference she could make helping children.

Broderick is now a Human Development and Family Studies major and plans to be a Certified Life Specialist and hopes to work with kids like Levi. She said that Levi has taught her many different things, “…but above all, Levi has taught me that we are all stronger than we believe. Levi is truly one of the most resilient kids I’ve ever met; and he made me realize that if he can go through all that he does, and keep smiling through it all, then I can too.”

Next steps:

-Talk to Levi’s mother? Find out about his condition/disease

-talk to Levi

-has this relationship been important, what do they do, what does he think about Lauren Broderick

-went some place to help this kid and he ended up helping her

-try to broaden this

-what is a certified life specialist, how you can become involved

A glimpse into the rise of UIUC E-sports


The University of Illinois isn’t often thought of when the topic of great sports schools it brought up, but that soon may be changing with the rise in popularity of E-Sports, also known as competitive video gaming. Helping lead the two of the university’s e-sports teams to national prestige is  Jack Moore, a graduate student studying Mechanical Engineering.  Moore has been captains of two different E-sports teams, the Overwatch team, and PUBG team, with each becoming top teams nationally under his guidance.

Jack introduction to E-Sports was in Fall of 2016 when he was recruited to the schools first Overwatch team. He was promoted to captain when the manager at the time saw him take charge during most practices, though the team had a rocky start.

“The first semester, we didn’t take the team too seriously. The team was very fun, but we didn’t practice very often and couldn’t really stand up to any of the better teams around the country.” Moore recounted.

It wasn’t until the next semester when the entire previous team, except Moore, was scrapped and re-made did they achieve real success. Under Moore’s leadership and a team crafted around a star player, UIUC’s Overwatch team quickly rose through the ranks.

Illinois’ E-Sports success doesn’t stop there either, Moore recently created a new team playing a different game, PUBG, that won the collegiate league this semester. Our League of Legends team, a game whose professional World Tournament was viewed by nearly 5 million people, was number one for Big Ten schools.

Nearly all of our E-Sports teams are considered top in their respective leagues, and yet despite all the success, Illini E-sports has not seen the support one might suspect. The university does not officially recognize any E-Sports team outside of their RSO status, and thus the teams receive no University funding. It’s a fact Moore wasn’t quick to ignore.

Whether the university changes it’s policy to recognize these teams won’t really affect Moore, however, as he graduates this semester. He does leave, however, after leaving quite the legacy behind.



  • The section about his Overwatch teams rise to success
    • Audio Quote 2
    • Written Quote 1
  • A section about his current team’s success
    • Written Quote
  • A section on E-Sports in College in general
    • Audio Quote
  • Closing  quote


A Summer Internship to Remember

San Diego didn’t need a classic Ron Burgandy one-liner to bring it popularity, the city already had many attractive attributes about it, and to one student on campus, the one thing that attracted her was the zoo.

-Throw away this intro paragraph-

-Don’t tell she’s unique, show that she’s unique-

Kathryn Storey is a senior at Illinois studying Reproductive Biology. She is in a sorority, a member of Love Your Melon, the treasurer for Illini Wildlife Conservation Club, and she does research on male infertility at Vet Med on campus. But Kat is not just another student with a list of RSOs, this summer she got the chance to do what very few students in the country get to do.

This past summer, Storey one of 14 students selected to participate in the San Diego Zoo Institue for Conservation Research Fellowship. To narrow things down even further, she was of only two to be selected to participate in the reproductive sciences sector of the fellowship.

“All these fellowships were under the Institue,” Storey revealed. “There was a total of seven of us… but they were all in different sectors and the second girl that came to reproductive sciences came in June, but she was working under a different mentor.”

Days off in Chicago or St. Louis differ quite a bit from those in San Diego, California; especially when you work for one the most renowned zoo’s in the world. Kathryn’s on-days work featured transplanting avian reproductive organs and her off-days were spent leisurely enjoying the San Diego summer weather in the park.

-Show that the San Diego is special, don’t tell us-

When asked why she chose Illinois 4 short years ago, Storey answered, “Definitely the people and the connections, because U of I provides a ton of resources for its students to get out in the world and do things, which is really cool.”

And Kathryn Storey has a reason to be grateful for connections, her involvement with the SDZI wouldn’t have been possible without her hearing it talked about at one of her Wildlife Conservation club’s meetings.

-Talk more about what the Wildlife Conservation club-

“My first plan of action was to go to Dr. Barr on campus, she’s really well known for reproductive biology within animal sciences and she honestly knows everyone,” Storey explained, “so she wrote my letter of recommendation.”

Storey hopes to attend graduate school after graduation in May, although she doesn’t know where.

-Get more emotion and more specific examples of this science. Get more of the human side of science-

Fraternity member fights sexual assault from the inside

Recently, the news has been full of cases condemning fraternities for a multitude of reasons. These organizations are frequently accused of facilitating rape culture, abusing women, and causing harm to themselves and others. Sam Braganca, a junior in political science, is hoping to change some of that culture from the inside out.

Braganca, 20, is a member of Psi Upsilon fraternity, and has been since his freshman year. He loves fraternity life, social events, and spending time with his brothers. But in his spare time, he is also a FYCARE facilitator.

FYCARE, or First Year Campus Acquaintance Rape Education, is an interactive workshop that educates all incoming freshman at the school about how to help survivors of sexual assault, how to spot signs of it, how to help, and many other topics related to sexual assault on campus. Braganca sees his involvement in the program as a way to help change some of the darker parts of fraternity culture.

“By facilitating, I have been trained to spot signs of sexual assault and know how to talk to victims and perpetrators. I think I can help keep more people safe, especially out of frat houses and in bars where many assaults happen. This is a huge part of the reason I wanted to facilitate.”

Braganca explains that not only fraternity houses should be under fire. He says many of his female friends and people he has met through the FYCARE program have dealt with similar issues at bars. These social spots on campus are home to copious amounts of alcohol and many young people, not all of who have good intentions.

“FYCARE says that 1 in 5 women will experience sexual assault in their time on campus, but having talked to a lot of people, I think that number is closer to 1 in 3 or 1 in 4. This is a serious problem that we need to do something about,” says Braganca.

Braganca became a facilitator after  a close friend was sexually assaulted his freshman year.

“It made me angry that no one had done anything to stop it or help. That’s when I knew it was something I wanted to be able to help other people in that situation with, and being in a fraternity I also saw it as a good way to educate others.”

He explains that this year, there are 3 FYCARE facilitators in his fraternity alone. He also says he is seeing a lot more fraternity involvement in the program.

“I think people are taking notice of these problems, and (fraternity) houses want to do something to help, and keep people that are going to their houses safe.”



Profile Proposal

Update: Since Tuesday I have confirmed the ability to interview John “Sea Cucumber” Moore. He was the Captain of the Overwatch team when they were top 4 in the nation last year. He started out as a player, moved to captain and event coordinator for IlliniGaming, and now is focused solely on the PUBG team. He is also a Grad student in MC Engineering, so he somehow finds time to balance all of that. I think his time on the team when it was at the top of the league could really be interesting, how he balanced time, why he felt it worth putting so much time it, and why he inevitably decided to leave the team. He has agreed to do an over-the-internet interview, but scheduling has been tough, so likely sometime this weekend or next week.

Im still going with the e-sports angle, and have a potential interviewee. He is the coach of a previous e-sports team that won last year, and has recently moved to play another game. He said he is potentially interested in an interview, but I’m still in talking with him and need to set it up.

E-sports is a big up-and-coming thing, with numbers of viewers for these types of events growing in the millions these previous years. So college level  groups in this category are no longer simple one day  a week clubs and require real training, coaching, and managing, so a coach in this could really provide and insight to the stresses and the trials of coaching such a team.

Profile Ideas

1. Story Idea: Interview the University of Illinois president of IlliniThon, Mariell Demertzis. IlliniThon is a fundraiser for St. Johns Children’s Hospital in Springfield, Illinois. It is a 12-hour Dance Marathon run by students at the university and held every spring. Demertzis started her freshman year as an IllinThon member, then became a member of the  Executive Board her sophomore year, was appointed as Vice President her junior year, and now as a senior is serving as the President for IlliniThon 2018. Demertzis says her favorite thing about IlliniThon is, “Supporting the kids as well as finding a way to connect our campus’s students to these amazing families.”
– Find out what she has changed since becoming president
-How does she try to get students involved

Update:  I talked to Marielle and asked if a member of IlliniThon and one of the kids keep in touch with one another and have formed a relationship.  She said she knows a girl with a great story and told me she will put me in contact with her.

-How has this impacted her life?

-Asking where her pre dental comes in?

-Look into history of starting IlliniThon, founder of that organization

-Connections formed between dancer and kids, lasting connections, bond between them

Behind-the-scenes of a resident advisor’s life

It’s move in-day: students rush in with carts of luggage to fill empty dorm rooms they will soon call home. Resident Advisor Itamar Allali, senior in LAS, shakes the hands of the 40 students he is responsible for for the year. The students smile and hustle by without much thought, but Allali is closely taking in the diverse personalities of his residents and preparing to be their advisor for the year.

Allali is an RA at Snyder Hall, a substance-free dorm located in the Ikenberry Commons South area. It is his last year as an undergraduate RA, making his year even more meaningful.

Allali’s motivation to become an RA began in his freshman year. Allali had lived in Scott Hall and been a part of the dorm’s hall council. He helped plan events and programs for fellow residents to participate in.

“I didn’t really connect with folks on my floor; I connected with the staff more,” Allali said. “I wanted to be able to help students connect in ways that I wasn’t able to as a freshman.”

The following year, Allali applied to be an RA in Snyder Hall. He stated that networking played a crucial role in getting hired, as his current boss had been the former supervisor of Scott Hall’s hall council.

Allali shares that his supervisor during his freshman year at Scott Hall hired him as an RA of Snyder Hall.

The residents’ active and colorful personalities are what led Allali to choose Snyder Hall. He added that even the residents who do not take part in events are friendly, which he really likes.

Allali says that he wants to be a part of continuing the friendly atmosphere in Snyder Hall.

When Allali started his job as an RA over two years ago, his main role, aside from keeping the halls safe, was to plan events. However, many residence halls around the country are implementing a new practice called the Residential Curriculum Model. It focuses on having more one-on-one interactions through routinely meetings and check-ins.

“Our role is to assess the needs [of the community] and implement things that need to be done as opposed to what it used to be, which was just to go in and plan fun events,” Allali said.

Allali stated that another duty is to keep the halls safe, whether it be by having regular bathroom checks throughout the day or taking care of problems that may come up. He added that although he enforces dorm policies, his job is not to get someone in trouble.

Allali’s job is to make sure residents feel safe and are safe.

But being an RA is not only about resolving noise complaints and busting dorm parties.

Allali said that he has encountered very serious situations, like receiving calls about residents whose lives were in danger. Although he couldn’t disclose more information due to confidentiality, he described that these situations are scary and intense.

“Over the years, I’ve dealt with it multiple times where it has come to the point that I feel more comfortable [with these situations] — which is wild — but it has definitely been the hardest part because you realize that anything could happen.”

Palestinian-American Student

“Even where I live right now, I’m considered an immigrant.”

Yaser Yaseen and his family did not have an easy road to the United States. Following the conclusion of World War II,  the United Nations faced a problem redistributing land that was (at the time) occupied by Palestinians. Today, the problem remains unresolved, and the Israeli-Palestine conflict continues to impact the lives of thousands of families with connections to the area.

Yaser says his family moved originally from Palestine, to Jordan, where he  currently holds dual citizenship in addition to the United States. However, the Yaseen family are technically considered immigrants because of border changes.

The ongoing conflict, along with the consequences it has on his family, is one of the main reasons Yaser joined Divest, a student organization which is committed to pushing the University to discontinue all investments in companies that support human rights violations throughout the world. For Yaser, a  Palestinian-American,  these human rights violations are a personal issue.

“Illegal settlements, basically right now, a lot of Israeli settlements in the west bank are breaking international law… even in the UN there was a vote to officially stop the settlements and a majority of countries voted against Isreal.”

TOPIC TO RESEARCH: Yaser was allegedly racially profiled during a police stop, plan to investigate more.

Student creates All-Star abilities program

A personal experience leads to the creation of ‘All-Star Abilities’ a program where disabled teens can engage in physical activity, and workout with a partner.

Grace Goodman is the creator of this program held in Northbrook, IL at the Jewish Community Center. She is a freshman education major at the University of Illinois who wants to teach young children.

The idea for All-Star Abilities came about when Goodman partook in a fellowship that concluded in Israel, where they had to create something that would “fill a gap in the community” and make a social impact. She said that she realized there was not a program like this and that “everyone should have the ability to partake in sports, learn how to independently exercise, and take care of their body.”

For the first year this program started, it was funded by the Jewish United Fund, so that participants could attend for free. The program was approved to run another year, but the participants will have to pay for it this go-around.

“I had to give my program to the Jewish Community Center in order to get the $100,000 grant from the Jewish United Fund,” Goodman said that leaving to attend U of I was hard because she worked on creating this program for so long, only to give it away.

The Jewish community centre owns All-Star Abilities and all of the rights to it, so Goodman could not bring the program to Champaign like she hoped.

Goodman wants to make an impact and show children that no matter what their disability may be, they can do whatever they set their mind to.

-find volunteers to talk to?

-defining moment that she wanted to become a teacher