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Laker Nation News

Lake Land College alumna finds success in agriculture

Posted on November 23, 2020

Lake Land College alumna Layna Bond recently accepted a position as location manager and livestock specialist at Hueber Feed, LLC in Roanoke. Bond also recently took on the role of president for the Illinois Club Pig Association. In this role, she is responsible for organizing fundraisers, working hand in hand with junior members and board members and organizing all ICPA jackpot shows.

Photo of Layna Bond
Location Manager and Livestock Specialist Layna Bond

“In a life full of uncertainty, I believe everything happens at the perfect time, and for me this position checked all the boxes I wanted in a dream job,” Bond said. “Usually your first job out of college isn’t your dream job, but I am very fortunate with the position I hold now.”

As a fourth-generation agriculturist from Galatia, Bond has a diverse livestock operation background primarily focused on beef cattle and show pigs.

Bond grew up showing cattle nationwide and pigs competitively at the state level. While attending Lake Land College, Bond was a member of the livestock judging team and a student ambassador.

After completing an associate degree at Lake Land, Bond earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science Oklahoma State University, where she was a member of the 2017 National Champion Livestock Judging Team and the 2017 Reserve Champion National Meat Evaluation Team.

Bond had several internships in the livestock industry, some of which included the National Junior Swine Association, National Western Stock Show, Oklahoma Youth Expo, Illinois Bred and the American Chianina Association.

Currently finishing a master’s degree in animal science at Kansas State University, Bond said she knew she would face challenges as a woman in agriculture but that women also play a vital role for the industry to succeed.

“All of us involved in agriculture realize it takes a team to be successful, and that is what I love the most,” Bond said. “Both women and men have important parts in our industry to continue the success.”

Having recently had the opportunity to judge swine showmanship at the Kansas State Fair, Bond said it was not only an experience that she will never forget and will forever be thankful for, but she also discovered she was the first female to judge at the Kansas State Fair.

“To me that was incredible,” Bond said. “Being a strong-willed female in agriculture has been challenging, but it has most certainly prepared me for a position like this. If we want to see good in the industry we have to be the good. The future generation is counting on us to be the role models we wanted to see at their age.”

In attributing her success, Bond said no matter where she goes Lake Land College will always hold a special place in her heart.

“I remember hearing my aunts talk about their experience at Lake Land and knowing it was a place I would call my home one day,” Bond said. “Lake Land cares about you and gives you a home away from home. The transition from a small high school to Lake Land was a breeze for me. I felt that my teachers cared about my success in school and my involvement in other school activities.”

Bond said she feels the most important advice for anyone is to be the role model one wanted as a child.

“It costs nothing to be kind and to be a good friend,” Bond said. “Everything happens for a reason, and you just have to trust the process. Never give up because you are worried about failing.”


Interested in agriculture? Click here to check out our agriculture area of study!

Lake Land College welcomes new interim vice president for student services

Posted on November 20, 2020

The Lake Land College Board of Trustees appointed Valerie Lynch, Pana, as the interim vice president for student services at the October board of trustees meeting.

Lynch will be leading the comprehensive student services program including admissions and records, financial aid and veteran services, counseling services, student conduct and judicial affairs, career services, health services, international student services, student life, intercollegiate athletics, intramural, TRIO programs, tutoring and testing and marketing and public relations.

As an academic support faculty member, Lynch previously served as the director of student life and is a member of the Student Services Leadership Team (SSLT). She began her career at Lake Land College in 2006 in the TRIO Destination College program, transitioning to director of student life in 2011. She also brings experience as an elementary and special education teacher.

“I’m excited to have the opportunity to work with the amazing staff in Student Services who do such great work for our students,” Lynch said. “I am honored, as a Lake Land alumna, to have the opportunity to serve our students in this position of leadership.”

Lynch is a Lake Land College graduate who transferred to Eastern Illinois University to earn a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. She went on to obtain a master’s degree in student affairs and higher education from Indiana State University and is currently pursuing a doctorate of education in higher education leadership at Maryville University in St. Louis.

“Valerie’s knowledge and experience will be great assets to her new role,” Lake Land College President Josh Bullock said. “I am certain her leadership and capability will continue to provide strong direction and organization to the many areas of student services.”

Lake Land College Foundation celebrates virtual donor event

Posted on November 13, 2020

At the virtual 2020 Lake Land College Foundation Donor Celebration and Annual Meeting, the Foundation celebrated 50 years of service to students and the Lake Land College community.

The Foundation continues to grow since its inception, with close to $13 million in total net assets, including $3.6 million in unrestricted gifts. Throughout the past 15 years, the Foundation has awarded more than $5 million in scholarships, with more than $500,000 in scholarships going to more than 440 students this academic year.

“The Foundation extends congratulations and gratitude to all of the award recipients as well as the many other members of the community who continue to offer their support,” Executive Director for College Advancement Christina Donsbach said.

The Foundation welcomed new board members Denise Bence from Shelbyville, Amanda Martin from Paris and Blake Pierce from Mattoon as well as thanked outgoing board members Robert Pancoast from Shelbyville, Alan Fedrigon from Shelbyville and Chad Thompson from Effingham.

The virtual event also introduced the community to the newly completed Foundation & Alumni Center. As well as providing a central location for the college development staff, the center will serve as a space for future Foundation and alumni events.

The Foundation board bestowed several awards via the virtual event, including the Crystal Swan award, the Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser award, the Outstanding Philanthropic Organization award and the Outstanding Philanthropist award.

The Crystal Swan award was created in 1993 to recognize Foundation Board members who have gone above and beyond in their leadership and service to the Foundation during their tenure. The 2020 Crystal Swan recipient, Michael Bohannon from Charleston, is a Lake Land College alumnus. Bohannon has served two terms as a board member, and served as President from 2017-2019 as well as serving on several committees.

The Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser award is bestowed upon an individual who has given time and talent on behalf of Lake Land College students in securing private funding.  This year’s recipient, Ann Bacon from Charleston, served the Foundation board from 1999 to 2011, including time as vice president and president.  During her time as President, the Foundation saw unprecedented record fundraising revenues. Bacon was the 2001 Crystal Swan recipient, and she and husband, Terry, have 14 consecutive years of giving to the Foundation.

The Outstanding Philanthropic Organization award is awarded to corporations, small businesses, industry, community organizations, and private foundations who have demonstrated commitment to Lake Land College students’ educational experience by by providing financial support through a pattern of reoccurring gifts and pledges. This year, the Foundation recognized John Deere and Co. as the 2020 Outstanding Philanthropy Organization. John Deere has supported scholarships, gifts of equipment, a classroom naming, events support, and ultimately their support helped establish the John Deere Tech Program at Lake Land College.

The Outstanding Philanthropist award is bestowed upon individuals who have demonstrated dedication to Lake Land College students’ educational experience by providing sustaining financial support through lifetime contributions, pledges or planned gifts and service to the College and the community. This year’s recipients of the Outstanding Philanthropist Award, Bob and Joyce Adcock from Assumption, created an endowed scholarship in agriculture to help students like their own children and grandchildren, who graduated from the Lake Land College agriculture program.

To learn more about the Foundation and the many services it provides, visit lakelandcollege.edu/foundation or look for Lake Land College Foundation & Alumni on social media.

To watch the virtual meeting visit www.lakelandcollege.edu/foundation/.

Lake Land College Foundation scholarship applications open

Posted on November 12, 2020

The 2021-2022 Lake Land College Foundation scholarship application is available now. Applications for the 2021-2022 academic year are due Feb. 1 at 11:59 p.m.

Students graduating from high school, adults who are enrolling at Lake Land College and current students are encouraged to apply.  Students who received a Lake Land College Foundation Scholarship for the current academic year and wish to be considered for a 2021-2022 award must reapply.

To apply, students will need to complete a Laker profile and Intent to Enroll at lakelandcollege.edu/enroll. The student will then receive a welcome packet via mail containing a student ID number and password to access the Laker Hub. Within the Laker Hub, the student can locate the scholarship application button to access and complete the application. New students are advised to allow two weeks for this process.

Applicants will be considered for all foundation scholarships for which they qualify by submitting just one application. Applications will not be accepted after the deadline.

Each year, the Foundation awards students more than $500,000 worth of scholarships in a range of amounts up to $5,000.

Throughout the past 15 years, the Foundation has awarded more than $5 million in scholarships, with close to $530,000 in scholarships going to more than 440 students this academic year.

For additional information, contact scholarships@lakelandcollege.edu.

Lake Land College welcomes new dean of workforce solutions and community education

Posted on

The Lake Land College Board of Trustees approved the appointment of Chris Strohl as the dean of workforce solutions and community education at the November board of trustees meeting.

Strohl, Neoga, currently serves as the director of adult and alternative education at Lake Land College. She began her career at Lake Land College in 2000 and has held numerous positions related to workforce development, including as the secretary to the associate dean of workforce development, workforce development specialist and director of community outreach.

“Chris’s skill set and experience align very well with the position’s responsibilities,” Lake Land College President Josh Bullock said. “I am certain she will maximize the potential for new community partnerships with the opening of the new Workforce Development Center on campus.”

“I am very excited to make the transition from director to dean,” Strohl said. “I look forward to working with internal and external stakeholders to find a pathway for students and meet the needs of local employers.  Lake Land College is a great asset in our communities and I want to continue collaborating and finding new and innovative ways to serve our local workforce and communities.”

Strohl has an associate degree from Lake Land College, a bachelor’s degree from Eastern Illinois University and a master’s degree from the University of Illinois at Springfield.

Strohl will begin her official duties on November 16, 2020.

Five Lake Land College alumni accepted into Distinguished Alumni Society

Posted on November 2, 2020

The Distinguished Alumni Society recognizes alumni who have utilized the Lake Land College experience to make an imprint on their profession or community. A Lake Land College alumnus is anyone who has graduated from Lake Land College or has taken classes. This year, the Alumni Board inducted Cheryl Beam, Patrick Drees, Bobbi Kinkelaar, Brad Tammen and Clay Zwilling into the Distinguished Alumni Society.

Cheryl Beam

Cheryl Beam, director of nursing programs/nursing instructor at Lake Land College, graduated from the practical nursing program in 1988. Since assuming her position as director of nursing programs, Beam has increased the size of the nursing programs by 20%, added a track for licensed practical nurses (LPN) to earn an associate degree in nurse (ADN) at the Kluthe Center in Effingham and initiated computerized testing and remediation for nursing students. Under her leadership, passage rates of both programs’ graduates on the state board exam exceeded state and national averages. In the fall of 2019, Lake Land College’s nursing programs were ranked three out of 63 programs in the state for NCLEX exam pass rate and affordability.

Patrick Drees

Patrick Drees graduated from Lake Land College in 1994 with an associate degree in elementary education. As principal at Teutopolis Junior High since 2010, Drees promotes an environment in which students from a variety of backgrounds and challenges can thrive and become active in the school. He knows all of the students because he interacts with them each day. He can be seen at numerous sporting events cheering on the athletes or leading cheers with the student body.

Bobbi Kinkelaar

Bobbi Beckman Kinkelaar graduated from Lake Land College with an associate degree in pre-nursing in 1995. Kinkelaar is now the chief nursing officer at HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital and St. Francis Hospital, Litchfield. Through her many different roles in leadership, Kinkelaar has become an ambassador for St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital and the community. Kinkelaar is known for going out of her way to ensure students have a positive and valuable clinical experience.

Brad Tammen

Brad Tammen graduated in 1987 after a successful athletic career in baseball at Lake Land College which had earned him the Lakers’ 1987 MVP title. After spending time in the front offices of professional baseball major league affiliates in Oklahoma City, Salt Lake City and Nashville, Tammen spent four years in marketing for IMG at Middle Tennessee State University before accepting a position with the Great Lakes Loons, a Class A Affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers. He now does consulting work for collegiate sports.

Clay Zwilling

Clay Zwilling served as a student ambassador, a member of the Postsecondary Agriculture Student Organization and a member of the Livestock Judging Team before graduating from Lake Land College in 2011. In his role as chief executive officer for the National Swine Registry since March 2019, Clay oversees the day to day operations of the Duroc, Hampshire, Landrace and Yorkshire breed registries whose membership comprise the world’s largest purebred swine organization.

The Alumni Association extends congratulations to the newest Distinguished Alumni Society members. To stay up to date on the Alumni Association, look for Lake Land College Foundation & Alumni on social media or visit lakelandcollege.edu/alumni.

Manufacturing Month Editorial from Dr. Bullock

Posted on October 27, 2020

As the state and nation celebrate Manufacturing Month, it is interesting to know that those who pursue a career path in this industry are very satisfied with their choice. A study by The Harris Poll discovered the vast majority, 86%, of manufacturing workers are happy with their jobs and 91% are proud of their work.

This outcome is good news for the Lake Land College district, where manufacturing is the largest employment sector according to the Data for Decision Makers study. Knowing this, Lake Land College continues to invest in programs that lead to a highly skilled workforce. A walk through the Technology wing of the West Building showcases the state-of-the-art equipment our students use on a daily basis.  The Computer Integrated Manufacturing lab alone includes CNC mills and lathes, industrial robotics, coordinate measuring machines, laser cutters, 3D printers and a bank of computers with the latest design and production software. Real-work assignments challenge students to gain the skills needed to transition from lab to workforce.

During the past few years, we have focused on building partnerships and opportunities that expose high school students to the fascinating, highly technical world of manufacturing through dual credit courses, the Effingham Regional Career Academy and Manufacturing Day celebrations throughout the district. Our goal is to open students’ eyes to the numerous career paths woven into the manufacturing industry.

The Center for Business & Industry staff have developed short-term training programs in partnership with area companies to address the need for skilled employees. The programs combine classroom learning with hands-on training in the basics of manufacturing. The Center’s state-of-the-art Manufacturing Skills Lab provides a training facility for both new and incumbent employees who seek to advance their skillset. Each year, the Center for Business & Industry works with an average of 15 companies, training about 300 current or future employees.

This fall, Lake Land College affirmed its commitment to manufacturing training by investing in a new Workforce Development Center building on campus. The facility is under construction and is on track to open in early spring. It will house the Center for Business & Industry, Adult Education, Workforce Investment and Opportunity, Pathways and Corrections Education.

We look forward to the opportunities the new facility will provide for faculty and Center for Business & Industry staff to collaborate on training initiatives and further enhance services to individuals and companies in our communities. The new Workforce Development Center, as well as the college’s 23 technology majors, provide the perfect path for individuals to enter the manufacturing field and join their peers in being highly satisfied with their career choice.

I encourage you to consider how Lake Land College can help your business or employees achieve strategic objectives. Whether the goal is to upskill current employees or create a foundational plan to increase productivity and efficiency in 2021, a partnership with Lake Land College can propel you toward success. I look forward to exploring these opportunities with you.

Lake Land College to host virtual visit information events

Posted on October 2, 2020

Lake Land College will be hosting several virtual information events throughout the fall semester. The virtual events are centered on specific topics students and families encounter in the college decision making process. Attendees will need to register for the events at lakelandcollege.edu/visit. Each of the virtual sessions will take place on Zoom and will be 30 minutes or less. Zoom meeting information will be sent to registrants via email.

The events will include five different areas of focus: Admissions Process, Financial Aid Process & Paying for College, Academic Divisions & Programs, Student Panel Q & A and Honors Experience.

The Admissions Process events will allow attendees to meet a Lake Land College admissions representative who will walk step-by-step through the admissions process and answer any questions attendees may have. A current Lake Land College student will also be available to share what it is like to be part of Laker Nation.

Admissions process events will be held on Oct. 7 at 6 p.m., Oct. 19 at 3 p.m., Nov. 4 at 6 p.m., Nov. 16 at 3 p.m. and Dec. 2 at 6 p.m.

Financial Aid Process and Paying for College events will help potential students learn about scholarships and how to apply for them, the financial aid process and paying for college.

Financial Aid Process and Paying for College events will be held on Oct. 8 at 6 p.m., Oct. 20 at 3 p.m., Nov. 5 at 6 p.m., Nov. 17 at 3 p.m. and Dec 3 at 6 p.m.

At Academic Programs and Divisions events, attendees can hear from a faculty member in their academic area of interest. Whether attendees know what they want to study or have many questions, faculty members will be available to provide information on the academic area of choice.

Academic Programs and Divisions events will be held on Oct. 13 at 3 p.m., Nov. 10 at 3 p.m. and Dec. 8 at 3 p.m.

To explore what life is really like as a Laker, the Student Q & A panels will feature students from various student organizations who will be available to answer questions about topics such as classes, majors and student involvement or internships. This will be an opportunity to ask students what they like best about Lake Land College and ask them to share tips for success.

Student Q & A Panels will be held on Oct. 15 at 3 p.m., Nov. 12 at 3 p.m. and Dec. 10 at 3 p.m.

Lake Land College also offers an Honors Experience for students. Events to learn about what encompasses the multifaceted Honors Experience and how to participate will be available on Oct. 14 at 3 p.m., Nov. 11 at 3 p.m. and Dec. 9 at 3 p.m.

These events are opportunities to learn about what Lake Land College has to offer and how those interested can go about taking advantage of the resources available. In addition to the virtual events, weekly in-person campus tours are available as well. Visit lakelandcollege.edu/visit or call 217-234-5232.

Laker Nest Bookstore featured in national magazine

Posted on September 22, 2020

The Laker Nest Bookstore at Lake Land College was one of six college stores from across the nation featured in The College Store Magazine’s 15th Annual Store Design Showcase.

Located in the Luther Student Center, the new Laker Nest Bookstore was completed in November 2019. Prior to the current store’s completion, the bookstore had occupied an originally temporary pole barn for more than 40 years.

The new space has allowed the store to both facilitate students’ class material needs and provide easy access to Laker merchandise throughout the year. Not only has the new design increased the store’s functionality, it has the potential to enhance school spirit and community support via access to Laker merchandise.

Amanda Arena, coordinator of bookstore operations, said the transition has received an extremely positive response from the Lake Land College community.

“This is likely one of the biggest changes in appearance and functionality on our campus,” Arena said. “We have had quite a few people come to check out the new store, and every time they leave really impressed.”

The Laker Nest Bookstore also has an online store stocked with plenty of Laker gear as well.

To read the feature or to shop online for Laker merchandise, visit the Laker Nest Bookstore page at lakelandcollege.edu/bookstore.

Lake Land College TRIO SSS program funded for another five-year cycle

Posted on September 21, 2020

The Lake Land College TRIO Student Support Services program staff will continuing helping students succeed for another five years. The federally-funded program recently learned that its funding was renewed for the 2020-2025 grant cycle. The program is funded to serve 160 students per year and has met that goal throughout all five years of the previous grant cycle.

TRIO Student Support Services is a program created to help students in need succeed at Lake Land College. TRIO is funded by the U.S. Department of Education to help students complete their academic goals, graduate from Lake Land College and transfer to a four-year college.

“TRIO Student Support Services is the support system to answer any questions students may have about being at Lake Land, whether that is helping them with financial aid, locating resources in the community, study help or many other things,” Amber Niebrugge, director of TRIO Student Support Services, said. “We are here to help students be successful from one semester to the next until they graduate or transfer.”

The mission of the TRIO program is to provide an environment that promotes, social and personal growth for first generation, low income, and/or students with disabilities. To accomplish this mission, TRIO provides academic, social, and cultural support, increases retention and graduation rates, assists students in the admissions process and completion of all necessary forms, develops relationships with external and internal entities to provide referrals and collaborative services and assists in developing short and long term goals for each academic semester based on students’ needs.

Counselors and advisors work with each student individually, providing and connecting students with a wide variety of support services, events and activities. TRIO provides one-on-one meetings with staff, informative workshops and access to educational, social and cultural opportunities available only to TRIO participants. All of TRIO services are free to eligible students.

To be eligible for TRIO Student Support Services, a student must be pursuing an associate degree or certificate and meet at least one of the following requirements. The student must be a first-generation college student meaning neither parent nor legal guardian graduated from a four-year institution, meet certain income requirements such as being eligible for a Pell grant or the student must be eligible for Student Accommodations at Lake Land College.

More information can be located on the Lake Land College website at lakelandcollege.edu/trio-student-support-services or by calling or texting 217-234-5456. For further questions, please contact triosss@lakelandcollege.edu.