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The College of Applied Science and Technology (CAST) at Illinois State University is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. This series, CAST 50×50, is designed to highlight 50 faculty, staff, students, alumni, and organizations within CAST that make the college special. These notable people will tell you that every day in CAST is a great day to be a Redbird.

#CAST50 brings you Olivia Butts, M.S. ’15, a professor in the School of Kinesiology and Recreation (KNR) and the 2017 Commitment to Diversity Outstanding faculty member.

Tell us about yourself.

I’m from Wisconsin (a huge Packers fan) and I received my undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh and came to ISU for my master’s degree. I’ve been here for four years now—two as a student and two as a professor.

Professor Olivia Butts

What is something neat you do in the classroom?

One way I like to interact with students is through social media. For some of my classes we use a class hashtag via Twitter to stay connected and share articles/thoughts/ideas outside of class. Feel free to follow me and see what we are up to @profobutts.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I like to play outside. Some of my favorite activities are kayaking and hiking. I play volleyball and basketball with some friends as well! Fun fact, my team was actually the ISU CoRec Intramural champs this year.

What is your favorite part about being a Redbird?

My favorite thing about being a Redbird is the school spirit! I had a great experience as a student here at ISU and I’m lucky I get to stick around as a professor. My favorite activity is Festival ISU. I think that getting involved on campus is so important so it’s really neat to see all the groups and RSOs on campus on the quad promoting what they love!

“There are so many really exciting and fun ways to be a part of the campus community here (at Illinois State).”—Olivia Butts

If you were not a KNR professor, what would you be doing?

Tough question! My undergraduate major was international studies and Spanish, so maybe something in that area?

What is the most interesting experience or most memorable moment you’ve had because of your career?

I’ve had some really great moments here at ISU. I really love working with the Dean of Students Office and have done a couple Leaders of Social Change (LOSC) trips, and a couple Alternative Break trips with students through the Leadership and Community Connections office. This past January, I participated in the LOSC trip that traveled to Detroit, Michigan, to focus on social justice issues. It was great experience and I loved having the opportunity to learn more about our students and their passions.

It’s a beautiful summer day in Bloomington-Normal. What do you decide to do for the day?

I would head to Uptown Normal, grab lunch or a coffee, and head to Comlara Park to hike or kayak.

What advice do you give to a #FutureRedbird considering Illinois State?

I would tell future students to get involved, not just in their major, but across campus. There are so many really exciting and fun ways to be a part of the campus community here.