Advisory Council

The Illinois Regional Advisory Council is composed of a group of advisors that provide support and guidance to the Regional Coordinator. These advisors provide feedback based on their varying lengths of experience with Phi Theta Kappa and support the continuous improvement of the Illinois Region.

Amybeth Mauer

Amybeth is an advisor of the Rho Kappa chapter at Elgin Community College.

Jill Wright

Jill is an advisor of the Upsilon Mu chapter at Illinois Central College. As a liberal arts major at a private four-year university, she become involved in an English Honor Society. Her gratitude for her English Honor Society Advisor continues today. She realized that the advisor made the Honor Society possible. Jill advises because of the students and the opportunities for students. Her community college career began in 1998, and the opportunities for her have been many and endless. (They range from faculty to college administrator to 6 Sigma Black Belt.) This pathway includes Phi Theta Kappa advisement.

“Students are my favorite part of Phi Theta Kappa! Watching leaders lead and watching students engage in events that they plan according to the Hallmarks of Phi Theta Kappa demonstrates growth in future leaders. Students decide their level of involvement in Phi Theta Kappa, and their level of engagement generally grows after they participate in one activity.”

Lori Garrett

Lori is an advisor of the Alpha Psi Eta chapter at Parkland College in Champaign. Lori is also the co-advisor of the Illinois Regional Alumni Association. Lori was a biology major at the University of Illinois and received both her B.S. and M.S. there–she’s a townie from Urbana–just seemed the thing to do. Having focused on anatomy, she became a teacher by accident (needed a job–they had one), teaching Human Gross Anatomy to 120 first year medical students at the U of I College of Medicine. While there, she started teaching part-time at both Danville Area Community College and Parkland College. This is when she fell in love with the college experience and the students they serve. Next Lori worked for roughly five years at Human Kinetics Publishing, still teaching part-time. She is now a published author and she continues to do freelance publishing work. She became a full-time instructor at DACC in 1994 and moved to Parkland College full-time in 2009, where she is course co-coordinator for the anatomy/physiology program. Lori became a Phi Theta Kappa advisor in January of 2001 and has had the pleasure of being a Faculty Scholar at the International Honors Institute many times, as well as having served for a few years on the Honors Program Council, the group that determines the Honors Study Topic every two years.

“I am constantly amazed at the seemingly endless opportunities Phi Theta Kappa provides for both personal and professional growth, not only for the members but also for advisors. The speakers at International and Regional meetings are experts and often top scholars in their fields whom we would never have seen in person otherwise, and they challenge us all to be more broad-minded and to view the world from many different perspectives. But my real joy comes from working with the students, watching them gain confidence and skills, exploring hard questions and so often accomplishing feats they would previously have thought impossible. Seeing the students grow, mature, and forming deep friendships—obvious in the members of I.R.A.A—and watching them bloom through collaboration with others from all backgrounds, all sharing the notion that smart is cool, is magic for me. And working with these phenomenally talented individuals gives me tremendous hope for our future. So many of our members are innovators, entrepreneurs, and problem-solvers with incredible resolve and aptitude. Phi Theta Kappa opens doors for them to dream big and change the world. I can’t wait to see where they take us!”

Lara Roemer

Central District
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Lara is an advisor of the Chi Kappa chapter at Carl Sandburg College. She earned two Bachelor’s degrees (one in Political Science and one in History) from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale and her Master’s Degree in Political Studies from the University of Illinois- Springfield. Currently, she is an Instructor of Political Science and History at Carl Sandburg College. In addition to her role as a Phi Theta Kappa advisor at Carl Sandburg College, she is also the advisor to both the college’s Gay Straight Alliance and Model Illinois Government team.

“My favorite part of Phi Theta Kappa is its ability to bring together so many different people for the purposes of uplifting one another. As an advisor I am always thrilled when students who would not normally have met or interacted end up together, working on common projects which ultimately leads them to supporting one another in other ways as well.“

Heidi Boring

Northern District
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Heidi is an advisor of the Chi Upsilon chapter at McHenry County College. She began her college education at College of Lake County (CLC), a community college in Grayslake, IL. As a student at CLC, she became a member of Phi Theta Kappa and worked as a mathematics tutor. She continued to work as a tutor until earning a part-time job teaching at CLC. Heidi completed her Bachelor’s degree with majors in mathematics and education at Lake Forest College, and earned her Master of Arts in Mathematics Education at DePaul University. She began teaching full-time at McHenry County College (MCC) in Crystal Lake in 2009.

“My favorite part about Phi Theta Kappa is the students I have the privilege to work with. These students are dedicated, motivated, and creative. It is wonderful to watch these students develop leadership skills and friendships through Phi Theta Kappa.”

Cassandra Powell

North Eastern District
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Cassandra did not graduate from high school, so in her early 20’s, she returned to school to earn her GED. Then she became a student at the City Colleges of Chicago and earned two Associate degrees – the second one with Honors. After earning her Associates degrees, she worked for ten years as a corporate manager, director, then senior director before returning back to school to earn her Bachelors degree.

Cassandra had a dream, since she was seven years old, of becoming a Linguist. A lofty idea for a seven year old girl from the wrong side of the tracks; nevertheless, this was her heart’s desire. So, after a successful business career, she earned her Master’s degree in Linguistics with a 4.0 GPA and a Master’s degree in Communications & Training with a 3.92 GPA, and switched careers to teaching.

Cassandra has been a full time faculty member at Richard J. Daley College in Chicago since August 2011. In addition, since 2014, she has been the campus’ Phi Theta Kappa advisor and the Director of the Richard J Daley Honors College.

“My favorite part of Phi Theta Kappa is fulfilling the four hallmarks. Phi Theta Kappa and its members truly exemplify leadership, fellowship, scholarship, and service. I am so proud to be a part of this extraordinary organization that has done so much for community college students across the U.S. Yes, the four hallmarks are my favorite part of Phi Theta Kappa.”

Adrienne Barkley

Southern District
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Adrienne has an Associate of Arts from John A. Logan College (and is a member of Phi Theta Kappa). She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in anthropology and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. Adrienne has worked at John A. Logan College since 2000, and is currently the Director of Student Activities and Cultural Events.

“My favorite part of Phi Theta Kappa is the boost in excellence that happens to everyone who gets involved with it. I’ve seen student after student be transformed through their experiences with Phi Theta Kappa. All of the regional and headquarters staff I’ve interacted with have been friendly and professional. I’ve come up to the next level of excellence in every part of my job since becoming a Phi Theta Kappa advisor. Each person I know through this organization contributes to the culture of excellence that is Phi Theta Kappa.”