Class of 2020

A resident of Bloomington since 2000, Sridhar ‘Sri’ Bandela enjoys the quiet nature of town life, which resonates with his personality. He enjoys an occasional drive out of town with family and friends – to keep the adrenalin rush in check.  He finds his escape and enjoys time at the gym, hiking during warmer months, listening to a mixed genre of music, occasional reading and spending time with close friends and family. Sri has had the opportunity to travel and work in India, Europe and the U.S., and has an open and globally inclusive mindset that appreciates the culturally diverse world we live in. As a Project Management Professional, he focuses on relationships based on trust, and participating with teams to deliver value. He strongly believes in giving back to the community in the simple ways that each one of us can. He passionately finds opportunities in activities he is engaged in, to learn and grow – both personally and professionally.

Nicole Boozer was born and raised in Normal, Illinois, and loves the area so much she found her way back after law school.  Figuring out the “why” behind life’s many questions drives her, and she is always willing to consider another point of view or a new approach to an answer.  Caring, kind, and intelligent, Nicole focuses on using her strengths to help those around her achieve their goals and is always available with a sympathetic ear or a helping hand.  When not at work putting her law degree to good use (but not as a lawyer!), Nicole spends time with her husband, Chuck, playing video and board games and watching scary movies.  She is passionate about expanding her culinary horizons by learning to cook other cuisines.  From vindaloo to pad see ew, cooking up favorites new and old to share with loved ones is one of her favorite pastimes.

Christy Borders is a teacher at heart and by training.  She taught deaf/hard of hearing students for several years before moving on to teaching in higher education.  Christy transitioned from teaching college students to higher education administration several years ago.  Her passion for teacher education continues to drive her work and dedication to higher education and state advocacy work.  When not working, advocating, or conducting research, she is likely be found with her family.  Her husband and she have 3 wonderful children who keep them busy learning new things.  In their highly creative household, you can find a multitude of instruments and art supplies as well as several games to play.  Christy recently participated in a leadership initiative with her university and at Harvard Graduate School of Education.  She looks forward to continuing to find ways to help her new department grow into the top leaders in teacher education.

A true blue Illinoisan, Jenny Crones, has lived in northern, southern, and central Illinois.  They enjoy learning new things and taking on challenges. Jenny works at Heartland Community College and is happy to support students through their work as the Assistant Director of Tutoring Services.  They stay busy in their role at HCC; everyday Jenny works to facilitate students’ success by overseeing the tutoring program at HCC, which spans three campuses and includes online tutoring support. Jenny is always looking to collaborate and ensure Heartland Community College is doing its best to empower students. Jenny brings fun into education and uses it to engage with people. In their free time, you can find Jenny gardening or researching plants. One thing that you may not guess about Jenny is that whenever possible they are listening to rap music.

Ravi Duvvuri is a friendly and positive person who appreciates the need for cynicism and occasional misanthrophy.  Ravi is driven by curiosity and a need for understanding, whether that is the nature of the world we live in or the differences between the people living here.  He loves travel, exploring, and adventure, from diving into new places and cultures, or just getting lost in the wild beauty of nature.  He loves to read, watch movies, and indulge his nerdy tendencies.  He likes the idea of gardening and sometimes has something to show for it.  Ravi loves spending time with his two favorite people in the world, his awesome and immensely powerful wife Suchi and his cute and deviously evil dog Kirby.

Originally from Missouri, Cheryl Fogler came to Bloomington for a wedding 24 years ago, fell in love with the community, and decided to make Bloomington/Normal her home. She and her husband live life to the fullest with their three “almost adult” sons and look forward to new adventures as near empty nesters. Cheryl has never known a stranger as her zest for life and gregarious personality make her a friend to all. Traveling, attending music festivals, and watching collegiate sports are a few activities Cheryl enjoys. As a seasoned working mother, Cheryl is passionate about helping other working mothers succeed and find balance. Her thesis research on working women at the turn of the twentieth century inspired her to advocate for working mothers and their children.

This spring, Jill Hanson-Murray ran her first marathon.  While running, she hit the proverbial “wall” and thought about quitting a few times.  However, despite the mental and physical fatigue, she kept going.  Jill is that person.  Once she says she will do something, it will happen.  Jill puts that perseverance to work every day as an advocate for children in foster care. Outside the office, Jill remains committed to children’s causes through volunteering as an Educational Surrogate Parent (ESP) for the State of Illinois. If you challenge her to music trivia, she will likely win.  She is an avid reader, and is always looking to discuss a great book over coffee or drinks.  Jill lives the “sweaty life” and will probably recruit you to join her for a run outside, regardless of the season!

Luminiţa Hartle introduces herself as “Lumi”. Born and raised in Romania, she has called America her home since 2005. She is friendly, caring, and hard working. Lumi is passionate about working with young children with disabilities and their families, and teaching future early childhood special educators. She loves meeting new people and learning about new perspectives and cultures. In her spare time, she enjoys walking with her dog, gardening, traveling, and spending time with family. Lumi is excited to further develop her leadership skills and is looking forward to her MCLP journey.

Jason Heissler was born and raised in Bloomington-Normal and his love of math inspired him to become an actuary. While he approaches life with a healthy dose of logic, he continues working on his touchy-feely side at the request of his wife. Jason’s three children still live in the B/N area, while his two stepchildren are grown and moved away. He frequently travels with his wife – mostly in the U.S., but they occasionally fly across the pond to visit his stepdaughter in Europe. Jason enjoys volleyball, trivia, fast cars and trying new foods. He gets satisfaction from helping and mentoring others and does so through his involvement with Midwest Food Bank, CPCU and Toastmasters. Jason is excited to learn about other areas he can affect through the MCLP program.

Grace Hendricks was born and raised in the Bloomington/Normal area. She graduated from Illinois State University and began working the one place she always swore she would not, an insurance company.  Although the decision surprised many, she is extremely happy with the culture and community of the company. She is always ready to learn something new and to step-up and face any challenge life or work may throw at her.  In her free time, she chooses to spend quality time with her family and her fur babies.  Some of her hobbies include expanding her cooking skills, reading new books and blogs, and gardening. She lives her life by following her favorite motto: “treat others as you want to be treated”.

After twenty-five years in public service, Jen Ho embraces her MCLP journey as part of reinventing herself and retooling for a future that involves being a contributor to her community.  It is a leap of faith to take the road less travelled, but at the end of this one wonderful life that we have, a more fulfilled life is one that elevates the community. As part of her journey thus far, she found joy in contributing to programs that build the resiliency of youth and older adults and the rebuilding of lives with Habitat for Humanity. She likes to learn new skills and challenge herself with new experiences. This island girl from the Malaysian part of North Borneo is excited for the journey ahead.

After being born and raised in Bloomington-Normal, Tawnya Isaacson moved to Texas and lived there for 20 years while she raised her family. She has 2 wonderful children and 1 granddaughter, who is absolutely adorable. Tawnya came back to Bloomington-Normal to begin her journey to becoming a nurse. She is currently a full-time student at Heartland Community College. At Heartland, Tawnya is an active participant of the Project RISE program and is a Peer Mentor. She has always had a passion for helping others and a passion for teaching. She has been a Girl Scout leader, a Cub Scout leader, and a Children’s Handbell Director. Tawnya enjoys all things music and is a flute player.

Enthusiastic about everything, Sara Keene’s life goal is to be a polymath, which is someone who has a wide range of knowledge. She is passionate about her garden and finds enjoyment in baking. For the last 14 years, Sara has been busy raising two daughters. Her degree in renewable energy reinforces her passion for the environment. Sara grew up in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago and moved to Bloomington in 2012, with her family.  One of her fondest memories thus far, was taking her family on a Disney vacation she won in an essay contest. Her love for volunteering and her desire to help others continues to encourage Sara to do more for her community. She makes the most out of every experience and enjoys it as if it was on her bucket list. As a hardcore foodie, Sara is willing to try anything once.

Ajit Kolekar moved from India to the United States in 1999 and since then has lived in Bloomington/Normal working as an Information Technology Professional. He is a continuous learner and has received several designations and certifications since graduating in 2009 from ISU with an MBA. Personal and professional development is very important to him and he is always looking for developmental opportunities. He believes in giving back and has volunteered for PMI’s and CPCU Society’s Central IL chapters for several years. Recently, he completed Money Mentors training and is looking forward to provide financial mentoring to people in need. He is very cognizant about work-life balance. He enjoys spending time with his wife and twin daughters, and together they enjoy traveling to new places. Servant Leadership is very important to him and he believes that in order to be a good leader, you have to be a good human being first.

Ashley Love is a kind and loyal introvert with an adventurous side and an independent spirit.  She was born and raised in Bloomington, where she is now raising her three children.  She loves a challenge and her mind is always searching for a solution.  Ashley incorporates her passion for figuring things out into her two favorite hobbies -jigsaw puzzles and board games.  She is a life-long learner and personal accountability is especially important to her.  She believes a little kindness can go a long way and helping others is key to living a fulfilling life.  She has a witty sense of humor, knows not to take herself too seriously, and is always willing to have a conversation about her curly hair.

Patrick Lubala comes to you as a young man from Republic Democratic of Congo. Patrick arrived in the United States in 2003 in pursuit of a better education and better employment. He is a husband to his wonderful and serving wife Regina and the father of a big family of 6. Patrick is a hard-working man who also helps his Congolese Community by offering them different services and assistances to acclimate themselves into American society. Outside of work and busy activities, Patrick likes to go fishing with his family, watch basketball, visit friends and travel. Patrick also has a vision to own a farm business one day and an organization that will help the Congolese community by helping them integrate into America. One of Patrick’s dreams is to be able to bring his all family here to America. With the help of God and his Wife, Patrick plans to train the rest the family to open a family business.

Exceptionally talented in all that she sets her mind to do, Regina Lubala, born in Chicago, considers herself a “Bloomingtonite”!  Regina is passionate about serving God and taking care of her husband and 6 rambunctious children.  You can hear her singing, “I love the Lord and I won’t take it back, He has been so good to me”! Her passions lie in fishing, gardening, anything crafty and photography. She takes great joy in teaching students of all ages any subject matter. Entertaining friends and family with food and laughs also keeps her spirits lifted. Regina takes pride in working hard to gain her masters in Reading Education from Illinois State University.  After all the “hurdles” she has had to jump through, she has defeated many odds thus giving her the drive to energize others to reach their goals. Regina has a strong desire to learn, grow and continuously improve her skills to be successful and to pass along strong spiritual, educational and the love of family values to others.

RJ McCracken is a person who puts others before himself and is loyal and compassionate to a fault. He takes pride in everything he does and will do anything to help bring happiness to those around him. Charismatic and well spoken, all in the room feel his presence. His current focus and passion lie in the community in which he lives. Find him at the city council meetings speaking on issues that impact the community, or meeting with community leaders to discuss ways in which to improve the lives of Bloomington’s residents. RJ looks forward to beginning a career in local politics and serving the people that he loves and live beside him.

Born in New Jersey and raised in Arizona, Keith Moldovan has called Bloomington, Illinois his home since 2001.  His parents often traveled, family in tow, and instilled a sense of learning & adventure within their 5 children. Keith continues this as he travels nationally and internationally with his wife and 3 children.  Each year, he welcomes people from all over the world into his home as they pass through Bloomington-Normal.  He draws his strengths from laughing and listening to stories with his family and friends, new and old, and is often found sharing international dishes he and his wife have learned to prepare.  He has a passion for learning about people and their cultures, gardening and cooking, science and technology.

Katie Montague was born in Storm Lake, Iowa.  Her family moved to Central Illinois when she was little to be closer to family.  She attended Illinois State University and started working at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center when she graduated.  Bloomington/Normal was a great place to settle down and have a family.  She married her high school sweetheart, Richard; has a daughter, Elaina; and son, Carson. They recently moved to Mackinaw and love living in the woods out in the country.  She enjoys working in her yard perfecting the landscaping, watching her kids play sports, and creating memories with family. Traveling and experiencing new things gives her a fresh sense of life.  Life is too short not to experience new things.  Being a leader has always been something that has come naturally to Katie as she always pushes to have her team/family succeed and try new concepts.

Juliana Nelson is a proud graduate of Illinois State University.  She has resided in Bloomington for 37 years.  She is family-oriented and very close with her husband of 2 years, 4 adult children, and 6 grandchildren.  Family is everything to her. She is passionate about Illinois State University, the current students, and alumni. She thrives on building long-lasting relationships within the Illinois State Community and graduates.  During basketball season, Juliana will be at Redbird Arena watching Redbird Basketball.  When she is not planning logistics for events and event execution, you will find her working on landscaping with her husband Dave or playing with her grandchildren. Juliana is always positive and looking for the positive in everyone.  Juliana believes that “Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success”. She is excited to have this opportunity with MCLP to give back to her community.

Four words describe Sharon F. Peoples – Faith, Family, Friends and Purpose.  She tries to live her life by her mother’s words – “true success is not measured by the size of your bank account but by the lives you touch”. She works hard at work every day and strives to reach the highest professional levels, yet she knows her job is a resource to help fulfill her life’s purpose.  Sharon grew up in a family that was always helping others and has been active in the community most of her life.  She diligently works to build her faith, so she is not held hostage by fear.  Sharon loves laughing and spending time with family and friends. Raised in Chicago, Sharon lived in Houston for 10 years and currently resides in Bloomington.  She loves her rich culture, teaching it to others and sharing the interconnectivity and beauty of all cultures.

Stephanie Stone is a Bloomington/Normal local with a B.A. in social and criminal justice. The passion behind her degree was to become an advocate for minors in the criminal justice system. However, she found herself in the world of global employee assistance program (EAP) services, where she coordinates mental health services for corporate and individual customers. Stephanie is proud to contribute to the support people receive in their most trying times. In another life, she was likely a chef. She loves to cook and appreciates trying recipes from different parts of the world, which is an interest her husband shares. Stephanie enjoys spending time with friends and all the dogs, live music, creating arts/crafts, and tending to her houseplants. Stephanie is excited to take part in MCLP and looks forward to using her time, energy, and skills in giving back to her community.

Tanaporn “Gig” Supanichrattana was born and raised in Chachoengsao, a small province, in Thailand. Her family and friends call her “Gig”. She graduated from university in Bangkok and left home to attend graduate school at Illinois State University. With a warm welcoming environment and amazing people, she called Bloomington-Normal her second home. Shortly after graduating, she began her career at Illinois State. Gig is always excited about learning and trying new things. She is energetic, hard-working, and loves to help others any way she can. In her spare time, she likes to cook and spend time with family and friends. She strives to be better in what she does every single day, and to always look for new opportunities to improve herself and inspire others.

Thomas Truong was born in Saint Paul, MN but he grew up in Muskogee, OK. He grew up in a diverse home with a Vietnamese father and Cherokee mother. After high school, he wanted to serve his country and joined the United State Marines Corps Infantry as a mortarman. He has completed two tours in Iraq. After serving four years in the Marines, 2005 – 2009, Thomas decided to pursue his degree at Illinois State University. While in school, he met his wife and started his life here in Bloomington-Normal. They now have two children and consider Bloomington-Normal their home. In his spare time, he enjoys giving back and volunteering with the local Special Olympics and St. Jude programs. Thomas also enjoys spending time with his family and friends, shooting firearms, and working out.