IRAA blog, Illinois Regional Alumni Association

Illinois Alumni Association Regional Blog

All the latest information, news and stories to inspire and inform the Illinois alumni members

Recap of June Convention

As we all get back into our new summer routines, we reminisce on our Phi Theta Kappa Weekend memories. What a weekend! We happily and warmly welcomed Dr. Lynn Tincher-Ladner to our convention!

Friday night started out with some fun Improv with Steve Schroeder. Followed by our IRAA meeting that was recorded and posted on Facebook live. We had a good turnout of IRAA members for the business meeting and were able to accomplish a lot. A preview of some goals of IRAA is to work on becoming a 5 Star Alumni Association similar to what the chapters do for their stars, but more details on that to come! After going through the business meeting, IRAA had a social to catch up with old friends.

Starting off Saturday, we got to hear some great speakers on a variety of topics. We had the privilege to hear from DePaul Professor and co-founder of Second Shift, Levi Baer. Mr. Baer discussed his childhood struggles and how he has overcome life’s struggles and now uses his enjoyment for board games to help companies such as Groupon and The Chicago Public Library with some team building exercises. Mr. Robb Telfer from The Field Museum has quite the variety in his resume from poetry author and organizer, being in a slew of shows and is a habitat restorer! We also had 2 rounds of Educational Forums presented by members, Advisors and IRAA members.

Throughout the weekend, Lori Garrett and Steve Schroeder facilitated “mock chapters” and assigned students into groups to help members walk through an accelerated version of the Honors in Action process from start to finish. Each “chapter” was given a theme, they conducted research and formed a project. At the closing session on Sunday, each “chapter” was given a few minutes to present their project.

IRAA held a Town Hall meeting and had an open discussion forum after watching short clips that we will post on Facebook for you to see. Each clip was based off an Honors in Action theme and had questions to help engage the audience and provide room for discussion. Many good points were made and helped open the doors of curiosity in others.

The Awards Gala was full of awards for Chapter Projects, officer teams, advisors, and individual awards. And while everyone was looking so stylish, IRAA held a photo booth for any members that wanted to a professional headshot done. IRAA also raffled off a painting by Katrina Case-Soper with the proceeds going to the Golden Opportunity scholarship at Headquarters. The winner of the beautiful painting was IRAA member/ECC Advisor, Ali-Reza Kashani!!

This weekend also included the installation of a new Regional Officer team and a new Regional Coordinator.

The 2018-2019 Regional Team:

President - John Kladis, Moraine Valley Community College
Northern VP – Annalyse Taccola, Joliet Junior College
Northeastern VP – Jessica Twyman, College of Lake County
Southern VP – Charlotte Lewis, John A. Logan College
Central VP – Emily Grumish, Parkland College
Regional Coordinator - Adrienne Barkley Giffin, John A. Logan College

Congratulations to the new Regional team and Regional Coordinator!!! And a huge Thank You to Susan LaMore and the 2017-2018 Regional team!!

Sunday morning, we inducted 7 new IRAA members and installed our newly elected IRAA Board. We welcomed the newly elected District Representatives: Ray Buchanan, Jr from the North, Ross Merel from the Northeast, Malinda Mullet from the Central, and Tori Ladd from the South. Our Public Relations Secretary, April Milanowski, was appointed for a second term. She will be helping to keep the region up to date. The energetic Christina Boyce has moved from the Vice President position into the President’s spot and is ready to take IRAA to the next level! Our secretary, Nicole Holm, and Kevin Braden as Treasurer, are elected on the opposite years of Public Relations Secretary. We have an open spot remaining for appointment of the Vice President which is a one-year term before becoming President. Please reach out to the board for any concerns, questions or information you have to help the region and Phi Theta Kappa. Email us at

July 14th is our Summer Social from 1pm to 4pm at 4 locations across the state. The summer social is open to all PTK members, Alumni, advisors, IRAA members and families. Any costs will be on your own.

Here are the locations:

Southeast – SI Bowl, Carterville, IL
Southwest – City Museum, St. Louis, MO
Central – Western Bowl, Champaign, IL
North – Putter’s Peak Mini Golf, Addison, IL

We hope to see you at one of these locations next month!

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