Six student candidates for Chancellor Search Committee announced at ISS meeting

By Ali Braboy

The six student nominations for the Chancellor Search Committee were announced Wednesday at the Illinois Student Senate meeting.

Each candidate was given 3 minutes to speak, followed by a 5 minute question and answer session. While giving the presentations to ISS, only the nominee speaking was allowed in the room.

ISS will appoint one graduate student, one undergraduate student and one at-large student, said Matt Hill, student senate vice president-external, in an email.

Hill said the nominees completed applications, and Sarah Hochman, Marissa Roberson and Titus Potter, who are part of the Academic Senate’s Committee on Committees, reviewed the applications.

The candidates

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Kaylee Barron | Graduate in Education

Barron said she earned her undergraduate degree at the University, and wants to give back to the campus. She said working at the University allows her to see all aspects of the student body. Her background is in higher education and human resources.

She said she would love to be a recruiter and get people jobs. Barron said she would love to be able to do the same for the chancellor’s position and choose the person thatmakes changes to the campus.

Samantha Blumenthal | Junior in Education

Outside of the classroom, Blumenthal said she worked as the vice president of student engagement for Student Alumni Ambassadors, creating inclusive and well rounded experiences that appealed to all students.

“When I was a student in the Chicago Public School system, I was less than engaged. I did not believe in the system and I did not trust the leaders who were in charge, Blumenthal said. “But When I came to U. of I., something changed, and I did get involved.”

She said she was inspired by her educators and the leaders shaping her education. She said leadership has the power to inspire and motivate individuals to be active participants in the community.

Tommy Justison | Freshman in ACES

Justison said his experience for the committee can’t be summed up solely based on his academic year. He worked with his family’s farm in south central Illinois which gave him experiences multinationally and across Illinois. Justison said in his job on the farm, he managed capital assets, making sure funds were allocated correctly. He was also incorporated in the hirings and dismissals of employees of the farm from a young age.

“Being a farmer, the most important thing for us is seeing and being a part of something greater than ourselves,” he said. “It can be kind of parallel to picking the chancellor for the University of Illinois.”

Sam LeRoy | Sophomore in Business

LeRoy said although there is no one right form, the next chancellor should be someone capable of expanding the University’s research profile. Additionally, he believes the next chancellor should work to improve academic quality in the 21st century and adapt to the needs of technology. LeRoy said the chancellor should improve the lives of those on campus and should secure the state funding needed for the University to operate.

He said the campus needs someone who will listen to them, take their concerns into consideration and be able to create solutions students, faculty, staff and alumni can all get behind. He said if selected, his number one task will be to listen.

“I think that I know what our University needs,” LeRoy said. “But I don’t know that I do.”

Peter Schmidt | Junior in Engineering

Schmidt said he has never been one to stand back when someone needs help. He was encouraged to apply for the committee because of while growing up, he looked up to his mother who is a two time graduate of the University, and he saw the impact her education had on her life. Schmidt said the decision on who leads this institution will play a significant role in shaping the future of the University.

He said his experiences on and off campus have given him the tools to represent the students of the University.

“I have a passion to change the lives of others,” Schmidt said.

Jasmine Stallworth | Graduate student in Education

Stallworth is currently a member of the Higher Education Student Association; she serves as a liaison between the board and the general population. In past and current experiences, she said she interacts with others and which helped her develop her people skills.

She said her philosophy in life is experience is the best teacher.

“I’ve had a lot of experience as far as leadership goes with others and being able to make good judgment,” Stallworth said.


Hill said from Oct. 13-19 any student can be nominated to the search committee. On Oct. 20, senators will vote three students to the committee through an online ballot. The undergraduate and graduate student with the most votes will be chosen, and the next student with the most amount of votes — graduate or undergraduate — will be chosen.