On June 19, the annual meeting of the Illinois State University Alumni Association was held in a hybrid format. At the annual meeting, active alumni voted to approve the election of four new board members and the re-election of board members Scott Preston ’10, Liz Garcia ’91, Susan Nelson-Brown ’78, and Leah Walton ’88, M.S. ’92.
Meet the new board members
Karyn L. Aguirre earned a bachelor’s degree in communications in 1986 from Illinois State. As a student, Aguirre was involved with the Black Student Union, the NAACP, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., and the National Pan-Hellenic Council. She also interned in the Office of Student Affairs as well as worked for TV-10 and WZND as an on-air personality.
Aguirre works as a social worker for Chicago Public Schools impacting the lives of many children and their families. She also holds several certifications in school social work and was most recently elected by the National Association of Social Workers Illinois Chapter as an Illinois delegate for the National Association of Social Workers delegate assembly. Outside of work, Aguirre is heavily involved with Illinois State’s Black Colleagues Association holding several positions, including immediate past president. She is also an active member of her sorority Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. and its alumnae chapter, serving currently as the co-chair for her chapter’s policies and procedures committee and regional delta international development facilitator. Aguirre is also a 2020 Steve and Sandi Adams Legacy Hall of Fame inductee.
Julia Durnell received a bachelor’s in 2019 in history from Illinois State and is currently working toward a master’s in college student personnel administration.
Durnell works as a graduate assistant of residential life for University Housing Services earning several awards recognizing her work and will be interning this summer with Housing’s facilities unit.
During her undergraduate years, Durnell was a member of the Big Red Marching Machine and served as a section leader. Durnell also worked for the Division of Student Affairs as an office assistant and social media assistant. As an alum, Durnell sits on the Alumni Association’s RED committee.
Daniel Jackson earned a bachelor’s in 2018 from the College of Education in elementary education. Jackson works for Arthur Dixon Elementary as a second-grade teacher for Chicago Public Schools. Jackson uses his passions to educate outside of work as the director of education for Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc.-Epsilon Chi Sigma. Jackson also is an ambassador for Teach Chicago Tomorrow and a scholar of Illinois for the Golden Apple Foundation.
As a student, Jackson was vice president of Golden Apple Scholars, education chairman for Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc., a member of the NAACP, and a resident assistant, and served on the Umoja Black graduation celebration committee as well as became involved with the Black Colleagues Association
His involvement with Black Colleagues Association continued after graduation as he serves as membership chair. Jackson also has been a presenter for Illinois State’s Culturally Responsive Campus Community and the College of Education’s Future Teacher Conference.
Matthew Rillie earned a bachelor’s in 2015 focusing on sociology and women’s and gender studies. As a student, Rillie was heavily involved on campus serving in various executive roles including president for ISU Pride, advocating for programming and resources for LGBTQ+ students, serving as lead coordinator for Leaders of Social Change, and working for the Student Involvement Center and Braden.
Following graduation, Rillie created and implemented a youth mentorship program for a nonprofit in Madison, Wisconsin. In 2017, Rillie started at Columbia College in Chicago, working in student support and engagement for student diversity and inclusion. Rillie also advises the Columbia Pride and Trans Student Union. Rillie is also actively involved with the Illinois State LGBTQA+ Alumni Network and the Illinois State Chicago Young Alumni Network, having served as the civic engagement chair.