The Division of Student Affairs is excited to recognize five outstanding young alumni as the recipients of the 2017 Redbird Proud Young Alumni Award.
The award recognizes young alumni who demonstrate great pride in Illinois State University, as well as extend what they learned through their experience in Student Affairs with others. Recipients of this honor live the values of Student Affairs—integrity, compassion, creativity, diversity, and relationships. All honorees were recognized at this year’s Alumni Day Luncheon on October 20 during Homecoming.
Olivia Butts ’14 developed a passion for working with students as a graduate student in Campus Recreation. After graduation, Butts’ passion guided her to become a professor for the Illinois State Kinesiology and Recreation Department. Her dedication to students goes beyond the classroom, encouraging her students to engage in out of the classroom experiences. She models this behavior through involvement with Black Lives Matters of Bloomington/Normal and serving as a trip advisor for Alterative Breaks.
As a graduate student working in Campus Recreation, Kirk Fallon ’14 developed his passion for recreation and working with college students. Taking the skills he learned at Illinois State to a new campus, now serving as the Director of the Student Recreation Center at Red Rocks Community College, Fallon has been recognized for his leadership and knowledge. He continues to share his Redbird story with others and inspire a new group of students to follow their passion into a recreation career.
As a member of SGA, Student Trustee Zach Koutsky ’06 developed a passion for civic engagement at Illinois State, and was fortunate to turn it into a career, developing public policy since his graduation. Currently serving as the Legislative and Political Director for the Local 881 United Food and Commercial Workers, Koutsky worked to pass a landmark paid sick leave law in Chicago and Cook County, helping over 900,000 workers. He also led the labor division of the Just Democracy Coalition, which made Illinois the 9th state to enact Automatic Voter Registration, thus enfranchising over 1 million of our fellow citizens. Koutsky continues to share his Redbird pride in his community and with current students when he visits campus to speak to aspiring public servants.
As a student leader in the University Program Board, a Preview Guide and participant of LeaderShape Katie Pratt ’10 developed skills she now uses to serve the Bloomington/Normal and Illinois State University communities. Pratt strives to create a better community for all, at work and in the local community, by giving her time and talents to a variety of organizations including Green Top Grocery, For a Better Tomorrow, the League of Women Voters, and the Multicultural Leadership Program.
The experiences Patrick Ryan ’05, ’07 had in numerous student leadership positions prepared him to support high school students in the college selection process as a guidance counselor at Marist High School. Over 230 students from his school have become Redbirds since he started in his position! Just as he did as a Redbird, Ryan goes above and beyond in his career by serving as the President of the faculty association and coaching the cross country team. He is also an active member of his community and serves on his condominium association board.
All of our recipients are excellent examples of Redbirds living out the values of Student Affairs after graduation. To find out more about the Redbird Proud Young Alumni Award, and how you can be involved as an alum with the Division of Student Affairs, visit our Alumni and Friends website.