CLASS OF 2018
For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith, Romans 12:3.
Maria Basalay was born in Lima, Peru and moved to the United States on August 1986, becoming a proud American Citizen in 2003. She lived in Enid, Oklahoma for 13 years and work as a volunteer for the Health Department, reaching and helping those in need of free medical services. Maria was got involved with the Hispanic Community of Enid, organizing events to raise funds for education. She taught in a Montessori School for 13 years and has the strong conviction that any child, given the right tools to learn, will excel, regardless of their background or economic status. Maria is very passionate about social justice and is certain, that every human being, regardless of race, religion, sexual preference, or origin, deserves to be treated equally and have the same opportunities to obtain health coverage, a roof over their heads and enough income to provide for their families.
Abbey Bok was born and raised in Bloomington, IL then went to University of Iowa. During college she went to Panama to direct a day camp at Ft. Garrison and fell in love with traveling and learning about other cultures. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Design shortly thereafter then moved to Chicago. She worked in various positions in the Advertising/Marketing/PR Industries for the next several years. In 2004 she launched a creative outsourcing agency. Living in a virtual world, she was able to live in many different places over the years; stateside and abroad. Most recently she lived in Antigua, Guatemala where she first learned Spanish 15 years prior during her first visit to the country. She is active in volunteering at non-profits and has served on several Boards of Directors. She recently returned to the Bloomington-Normal area to be closer to family, and began working at Country Financial as an IT Project Manager. She is adventurous, outgoing, and caring. Her interests include traveling, cycling (RAGBRAI), Jiu Jitsu, gardening, spending time with friends and family, and trying new things. She is looking forward to connecting with more people in the community and is excited to be a part of the MCLP.
Barbara Bouboutsis is an enthusiastic, high-energy woman who moved to McLean County from her native Chicago almost 3 years ago. For nearly a dozen years she has been with Country Financial finding talent to fill career openings across the country. She brings a passion around diversity and inclusion with a multicultural lens to her work. Her approach to problem solving is creative and innovate. At heart, Barbara is an artist and enjoys writing music, painting, photographing nature, performance, and singing. Most of her adult life she was the lead singer of at least one band at any given time in Chicago. Deep down Barbara feels the arts could play an integral part easing many of our societal woos. For much of the ‘90s she was in social work helping individuals prepare for employment. She worked with youth in the prisons, individuals getting off of welfare, and people with disabilities.
Crystal Bricker was born and raised in Bloomington/Normal. She married her high school sweetheart Ben and they have 3 amazing children-Madison (14), Alex (12), and Samantha (11). Her family is a source of strength and support. She graduated with her BSN from Illinois State University in 2010. Since then she has found a passion for teaching and just graduated with her Master’s degree in nursing education. She has an outgoing personality and easily engages with those around her. She loves her family, being a nurse, coffee, crochet, reading, and sitting in the sunshine. Those around her know she also loves hockey. She and her family are avid Chicago Blackhawks fans and enjoy watching games together. She is excited to grow as a leader and be involved in her community.
Hailing from Southern Illinois, Troy Clark left the white squirrels and corn fields to move to, well, more corn fields and college. After a many years working in restaurants and bars, he eventually found himself putting his talent (and bachelors degree) for the pen and pretty pictures to work as an editor, writer, and graphic designer. While he’s moved on from journalism, Troy continues to feed the beast with a constant feed of news stories and snippets, from local, state and national politics to the latest tech toys. A jack of many creative trades and master of few, Troy also has spent time on the stage, behind the current and in the director’s seat in a variety of community theater productions. Recently, he’s found a renewed interest in local civic, social and economic issues, and is currently looking for way to move from local observer to activist.
Karyl K. Carlson is a native Detroiter who has been a performing musician since she was 5 years old. Her youthful music education nurtured her spark for teaching, learning, and exploring unique performance opportunities. Her late father, when asked where she went to college would respond “The Big Ten!” Karyl’s interest in secondary education developed fully during twelve years of public school teaching in Miami, Florida. Her collegiate teaching career, fueled by a passion for mentoring students to discover and realize their potential, began at Central Washington University as Director of Choral Activities. She has been on the Illinois State University faculty for 14 years where she conducts the ISU Concert Choir, Madrigal Singers, and teaches graduate conducting. She serves her professional organization, the American Choral Directors Association as Central Region President-Elect. Karyl enjoys family and friends, and has wide interests including video production, gardening, and being walked by her two rescue dogs, Koko and Kiefer.
Emory Davis III is a one of a kind individual. He was born in St Louis MO, raised in Bloomington/Normal IL and cultured in Atlanta, GA. He is a social butterfly and seems to know someone wherever he goes. He is currently attending Heartland Community College reeducating himself in the fields of Business Management and Web Development. He is involved with multiple programs at Heartland Community College including Project Rise, Phi Theta Kappa, Student Government, and the Male Empowerment Network. He loves to travel and is an avid motorcyclist and dart player. He has previously been involved with a local chapter of a motorcycle group called the Guardians of the Children that advocate for abused children and teens. He has also mentored with the local chapter of the 100 Black Men of Central IL. Emory Davis is looking forward to taking his involvement with the community to the next level with what he will learn in the Multicultural Leadership Program class of 2018.
Julia (Julie) Emig grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and still dreams of sunsets over Grand Lake. After graduating from Teachers College in New York City, Julie began her career as a high school teacher in Boston. Most of her students were immigrants from Central America, and Julie developed a passion for literacy education (her students called her “the poetry lady”). After completing a doctorate at Boston University, she worked as a teacher educator and administrator in school districts across the country. Six years ago, Julie returned to the Midwest and realized that home is where the heart is. While she continues to be passionate about public education, she is equally devoted to service leadership and the power of what is possible when communities work together. She resides in Bloomington with her spouse, Mary, and their effervescent daughter, Charlotte. Julie can often be found in her garden, communing with friends, or working to inspire others.
Chad Fisher was born and raised in Bloomington, Illinois and his lived in the area his entire life. He attended the University of Illinois and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Political Science. Chad is married and has two dogs that he loves to spoil. He also has a passion for traveling, which has provided him the opportunity to experience many different cultures around the world. These experiences have directly led to Chad’s desire to become more involved within his own community. Chad enjoys spending time volunteering at organizations including local animal shelters and the Special Olympics. Chad is also an avid sports fan and spends much of his free time watching, playing, or coaching some sort of athletic activity. Chad is looking forward to his MCLP journey, and is excited at the prospect of becoming a better leader through personal growth.
Shrima Karthik Gopalakrishnan is a self-driven individual who strives to better herself each day, as she is a firm believer in continual improvement. The adversities she faced in her life has made her a strong person and helped her to learn to take ownership of her life. She believes that if you are honest, hardworking and aspire to achieve your goals, the entire universe conspires to make it happen. She is extremely passionate about educating underprivileged kids and runs a self-funded educational charity called BODHI (to educate) and has plans to convert her charity into a school that offers free education. She tries to focus more on the positive aspects of people that she meets and never regret her decisions. Shrimakarthik loves to work out, run races, hike and engage in intellectual conversations. Her positive outlook towards life allows her to live life to the fullest. She wants to share her experience with others and desires to become a motivational speaker.
Lucas Hellmer is patient, ambitious, optimistic and very dedicated. He is a native of Central Illinois and has lived in Bloomington-Normal for the last 18 years, which he just realized is half his life. Lucas received a bachelor’s degree and MBA from Illinois State University, where he met his wife. He is analytical, enjoys learning new things, and is not afraid to get his hands dirty, whether working on his house, car, or garden. He loves playing baseball and softball but couldn’t tell you who plays professionally. Lucas also enjoys playing with his daughter and two cocker spaniels. Lucas lives by his own motto, “Aim not for what you are, but for what you could be”.
Anitha Jayaram was born in a vibrant city in the southern part of India known for its textile industry and renowned educational institutions. She moved to Bloomington along with her husband, following his career in Information technology. She is currently working as a Business Analyst at Illinois State University. She is goal-driven, ambitious, hardworking, energetic and always looking for challenges to overcome, so she could create a better version of herself, both personally and professionally.
She is generous by nature, and with her inherent need to help others, she never hesitates to help anyone around her when need arises. Stemming from personal experience, she is always looking for avenues to improve the lives of specially abled children and families supporting those children.
Devoted mother of two boys, she is very interested in cooking and often enjoys cooking for her family and friends. Apart from making the world’s best Masala Dosa (as claimed by her son), she also enjoys reading, traveling, and collecting eclectic items to decorate her home. As a person who embraces positivity and enthusiasm in life, she is very excited about MCLP and hopes to practice and pursue the principles of Servant leadership in her community.
Born and raised in Chicago, IL, Barbara Little moved to Bloomington- Normal just four days after graduating from the University of Illinois- Chicago. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with double minors in Sociology and Criminal Justice. While she is a firm believer of setting the bar high, she also believes that a little compassion and kindness goes a long way. One of her mottos comes from the quote of Dr. Maya Angelou: “I can be changed by what happens to me, but I refuse to be reduced by it.” When she is not busy exhibiting dedication, hard work, and strong work ethics as an Insurance Business Analyst for State Farm, you can often find her at a movie theater near you. Barbara is also a dedicated member of Union Missionary Baptist Church and looks forward to being more involved in helping the community.
Beth Marsh is a transplant to Bloomington/Normal, originally from the Chicago suburbs. She stayed in the area after meeting her (now) husband while attending Illinois State University where she obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Science Education. They have two wonderful children that they would like to be more social-minded than spoiled. Beth is a supervisor in Billing at COUNTRY Financial, where she’s worked for 10 years. She has a passion for learning and has collected several professional designations during her career. Beth considers herself empathetic, creative, and funny. Beth enjoys playing card/board games, shopping, and reading. She also enjoys traveling – with a focus on visiting all 50 states and all major league ballparks – go Cubs! Above all, she values time spent with her family.
Sandra L. Osorio is a proud daughter of Colombian immigrants. Born in Chicago, but raised in a south suburb. Sandra moved to Champaign-Urbana to attend University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she graduated with a bachelor’s, master’s Ph.D., all in education. Her own personal narrative growing up as a bilingual (Spanish-English) child is what fueled her passion to work with children as a bilingual educator for over 10 years and now train future teachers at Illinois State University, including those becoming bilingual or English as a second language teachers. Sandra is selfless and compassionate educator whose most important role is that as a mother to her three children (Ages, 12, 10 and 4). Sandra enjoys traveling with loved ones. She has traveled to over 10 different countries in Central and South America as well as Europe. Sandra is excited to further development her leadership skills and become a better servant leader.
Hari Rebba is a highly ambitious, motivated leader. He holds degree in B.Tech in Electronics Engineering and Post Graduation Diploma in Software Engineering. He is in Bloomington since 2004. Hari is a 4-H leader, since 5 years in Robotics as a coach and mentor and he is also a Judge for Robotics competitions. He started a Robotics Club at Grove Elementary School with 4-H. He is a HAM Radio operator and is actively involved as a volunteer serving the community in CIRC(Central Illinois Radio Club). He was a net controller during Lathur earthquake and flood relief operations in India and saved many lives. Hari is a committed leader in community organizations like Telugu Association of Bloomington-Normal (TAB), MCIA (McLean County Indian Association), TANA (Telugu Association of North America) and core member of ‘Spandana Foundation’. He volunteered for Sewa Food Drive since 4 years and distributed to local charities. Hari is blessed with a wonderful family, wife defined by her patience, and an only son who keeps him busy. His son, Dhruv Rebba is youngest Ham Radio License holder in the world from Indian origin. It is proclaimed by the ‘City of Bloomington’ and twice in ‘Limca Book of Records’. Hari believes in ‘Unity in Diversity’.
A native of Illinois, Cecilia Ruffin loves the Bloomington-Normal community where she has spent most of her life. Possessing an engaging smiles and personality, Cecilia has an authentic passion for community service. She is a graduate of Liberty University where she received a master’s degree in both Pastoral Counseling and Human Services Counseling. A loving wife, mother, sister, and aunt are a few of her attributes, but her blessed role is grandmother. Cecilia exhibits a heart for community involvement, which is demonstrated by her role as a Mclean County Jail Volunteer. Her Christian faith is the impetus that fuels her mission to be a beacon of hope and encourage and motivate others in the pursuit of their dreams. She loves serving at her local church, cooking for family gatherings, reading, and shopping for deals. Cecilia wholeheartedly believes in the philosophy that your greatest defeat can manifest your greatest victory!
Raegan Rinchiuso is always on the go. When she’s not traveling, she keeps busy riding one of her bicycles on the area country roads or spending time with family and friends. Seeking out adventure is her passion, whether it’s going zip lining, attempting her first mountain bike stunt or taking the controls during a flying lesson. As a graduate of the University of Missouri, she is a diehard Mizzou sports fan and eagerly awaits the Tigers’ return to glory in basketball and football. Raegan has a degree in journalism with an emphasis in advertising from Mizzou and an MBA from Illinois State University. She puts both degrees to good use as the Coordinator of Marketing at Heartland Community College and has a side gig as a columnist for the El Paso Journal. Raegan enjoys photography, running, competing in triathlons, and spending time near the ocean.
Born and raised in a small state, Goa on the west coast of India, Madhura Shenoy migrated to Bloomington-Normal sixteen years ago. She enjoys meeting people and the learning opportunities these interactions provide. She is confident in her beliefs while respecting the diverse perspectives of others. She is all about self-improvement as well as helping others improve and reach their goals.
Madhura enjoys spending time with family, listening to music and traveling to new places.
She is a strong believer in John C. Maxwell’s quote “Leadership is not about titles, positions or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another”. She is very passionate about giving back to the community and looks forward to making connections with other leaders in MCLP.
Terrence N. Smith is married to Anne Smith with two-step children through the marriage, Megan and Darius. He has been married for 5 years as of October 2017. He is a reasonably healthy person, who is a self-classified vegetarian, because he only restricts meat from his diet. Everything else is fair game. He loves to exercise and stay in good shape. He owns a long distance racing bike, and has entered a bicycle race. He has also participated in a Half Marathon. He hopes to participate in these types of events regularly while traveling to other cities. He enjoys reading science fiction and self-improvement books. He usually reads while exercising or while on vacation. He enjoys seeing live theatrical plays. His favorite theatre was Cooklin’s Barn II Dinner Theatre in Goodfield IL, before it closed. He spends time with his Godchildren weekly, and takes yearly trips just for them.
Stephen J. Stapleton is a Registered Nurse originally from the Chicago land area before moving to Normal, IL. Spending the majority of his nursing career in the emergency department of a Level 1 Trauma Center, he has witnessed humanity at its best and worst. A self-described life-long learner, he earned his doctoral degree and began teaching at Illinois State University in 2010. Steve is an advocate for emergency nursing and volunteers with the Emergency Nurses Association at the state and national levels. He enjoys music, having taken piano, organ, flute, and clarinet lessons. One of the many highlights in his life was traveling to Italy with his Chicago church choir where he shook Pope John Paul II’s hand during a papal audience in St. Peter’s Square! He is excited to begin the MCLP program and looking forward to meeting many new friends while simultaneously discovering multiple leadership opportunities within the Bloomington-Normal community.
Angel Terrell is friendly, easy going and a joy to work with as she brings her love of learning, curiosity and wittiness to anything she touches. Having grown up in a small rural community she appreciates a simple laid-back life style and yet enjoys the benefits of big city living. She has a desire to serve and help others be a better version of themselves. She is the Program Coordinator at Illinois Soybean Association where her talent for project management and organization provide a successful experience for soybean farmers serving on the board. Angel is an accomplished speaker and past board member of the Sunrise Speakers Toastmasters Club. She is a budding photographer and her photos have been featured on the Allerton Park & Retreat Center’s social media channels. In her spare time Angel enjoys being in nature, tending to her flower gardens and perfecting her craft creator extraordinary skills.
Born and raised in Bloomington-Normal, Stephanie Turrentine is city girl living in a small town. Stephanie is an old soul with an adventurous spirit, and is constantly seeking knowledge (no matter how trivial), growth and laughter. She is a 90’s kid with a passion for helping others and crocheting cute baby blankets. Stephanie graduated from the University of Missouri with a BA in Psychology, and has spent the last 4 years working in the social services field, with children who have experienced severe trauma and cannot be maintain in the home. Stephanie plans to attend grad school in the fall of 2018, where she plans to earn her MSW and continue doing trauma work with both children and adults.
Patricia Valente has been a Spanish Bilingual teacher for 13 years. She has taught for the Waukegan #60 School District, Barrington #220 School District and Mclean County Unit # 5 School District. Before graduating with a Bachelors of Science degree from ISU in Education she graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University with a degree in Theater. While teaching the Chicago suburbs she received a Masters in Reading from Benedictine University. After seven years Patricia moved back to Bloomington-Normal to raise her family. While teaching in Unit #5 she went back to ISU to get her Masters in Administration and Education. In 2016, she began working as an instructional assistant professor in the Teaching and Learning Department at ISU. She actively serves the Hispanic Community as Education Chair on Conexiones Latina of McLean County and Co-Pastor of a Hispanic church called La Viña de Bloomington-Normal.
Alexis Shpall Wolstein, MSIS, is an alumni of the University of Texas at Austin’s School of Information, and a librarian at Illinois State University. Growing up in diverse communities in Southern California and El Paso, Texas, Alexis started volunteering for civil rights and women’s causes at an early age. Since moving to Normal five years ago, her work has focused on diversity in higher education, teaching information literacy, and trans-inclusive intersectional feminism. She tried out being a barista, a radio deejay, a park ranger, and a bookseller before landing on librarianship – it seems to fit. A self-described research nerd, Alexis loves finding the history and context around stories – whether it be the life stories of the people she meets, the history behind her new favorite book, or the meaning behind a new meme. She loves iced coffee, her husband, her short dog and her giant cat.