A Message from the Dean

Dear Colleagues,

As we complete another semester and the year draws to a close, we congratulate all of our students who graduated this past weekend! As always, it was a wonderful ceremony.

Our student spotlight highlights one of our December graduates. Monica Berviller is a STELLAR Student and is president of the SIUE Biology Club. For the past year and a half, she has been working in the lab of Kurt Schulz, PhD, professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, to conduct research on plant physiology. Berviller received her bachelor’s degree in biological sciences and a minor in mathematics and will begin graduate school at SIUE in the spring. Congratulations, Monica, on becoming one of our newest alumnae!

Monica joins our thriving alumni/ae. As the development coordinator for Junior Chamber International (JCI), alumna Diana Sussman Tockstein (’19) is already putting her Bachelor of Arts in International Studies to good use. She wears many hats at JCI, including running a small nonprofit within JCI called the Global Youth Empowerment Fund. In November, Sussman Tockstein and her colleagues hosted the annual JCI World Congress in Tallinn, Estonia, bringing together 5,000 JCI members from 100 countries for trainings in the areas of personal development, digital innovation and sustainability.

Our faculty continue to be nationally and internationally recognized. Corey Ragsdale, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology, has been selected as one of 15 scholars from the United States, Europe and Africa to join the Coalition for Archaeological Synthesis (CfAS) on human migration. Ragsdale will serve as the sole bioarchaeologist and biological anthropologist for one of the committee’s three projects, which will examine the effects of migration on human securities, such as food security, of both migrant and receiving populations.

International scholars are drawn to our campus to work with our colleagues. The Department of Applied Communication Studies is hosting a visiting scholar this school year: Guosong Shao, PhD, associate dean of the College of Media and Communication at Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Shao will be working with SIUE Professor of Health Communication Min Liu, PhD, to conduct a comparative and interdisciplinary study on political communication between China and the U.S. Additionally, he will explore opportunities for future collaboration between his institution and SIUE’s Department of Applied Communication Studies.

For a public institution of higher education, there are few things more important than community engagement. The Department of Sociology is partnering with the Village of Washington Park and local educator Derissa Davis to develop a community garden. The Tiny Children’s Garden will serve as a gathering place where residents can grow their own fruits and vegetables and children can learn how to become gardeners. Students in three sociology classes and one construction management class have been working with Davis to bring her vision to life by hosting clean up days, seeking community input, publicizing the project within the community, fundraising and developing building plans.

I hope everyone enjoys a peaceful and joyful Holiday season with family and friends. Best wishes for the new year and all that it will bring! Until we meet again in 2020, here’s This Month in CAS!

Best wishes,


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