Celebrating LAS

Nikos Varelas Distinguished Professor Lecture


Nikos Varelas. Photo by Matthew Kaplan

Students, faculty, and staff, as well as colleagues from the scientific community, gathered on March 31, 2015 to honor physicist Nikos Varelas as he joined the ranks of LAS Distinguished Professors. Varelas, who lectured on “Unlocking the Secret Code of the Cosmos,” is noted for his distinguished contributions to the field of experimental particle physics, particularly to the study of quantum chromodynamics at high energies.

Varelas was a key collaborator with the international team of scientists who discovered the Higgs boson, the subatomic particle that gives mass to matter. He was named a UIC University Scholar in 2013 and in 2012 received both the Outstanding Faculty and Faculty Service awards from LAS, and a UIC teaching award in 2006. He is a senior fellow of the Large Hadron Collider Physics Center at Fermilab and was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2013. In addition to his research and teaching duties, Varelas also serves as the College’s Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.


LAS undergraduates achieve success at the Student Research Forum


2015 SRF winners with Chancellor Amiridis (back row fourth from left) and Vice Chancellor Dutta (front row third from left).

On April 2, 2015, faculty, friends, family, and alumni gathered at the UIC Forum as young UIC scholars presented their projects at the 2015 Student Research Forum. Alumni, faculty, and staff served as volunteer judges for the UIC undergraduate and graduate student presenters. Congratulations to LAS award winners, as follows:


Mallery Lutey, anthropology major, took first place for “Children and Childhood in Prehistoric Peru: A Mortuary Analysis of Infants and Children at Estuquina.” Faculty advisor: Sloan Williams.

Business/Computer Science/ Mathematics

Michael Perlman, mathematics, statistics, and computer science major, took first place for “The F-signature of Pairs and Signature Function.” Faculty advisor: Kevin Tucker.

Engineering/Physical Sciences

Abdullah Adil, chemistry major, took first place for “Cathode Materials for Rechargeable Magnesium Batteries.” Faculty advisor: Jordi Cabana.

Life Sciences

Navika Shukla, biochemistry and molecular genetics major, took first place for “The Identification of MG-160 as a Novel Target of Polysialylation.” Faculty advisor: Karen Colley.

Social Sciences

Psychology majors swept the social science category. Rhiday Pandy took first place for “Adaptive Memory: Consistent and Inconsistent Predictions”; faculty advisor, Eric Leshikar. Olivia Santiago took second place for “Change Through BUILDing”; faculty advisor, Omar Jamil. Laura Cuevas took third place for “Adenosine 2A Receptor Agonist Treatment Alleviates a Cognitive Flexibility Deficit and Stereotyped Behavior in a Mouse Model of Autism”; faculty advisor, Michael Ragozzino.

Sustainability Competition

Palak Patel, Spanish major, took first place for “Consequences of Environmental Racism in Low-income Neighborhoods of Chicago.” Faculty advisor: Diana Gonzalez-Cameron. 



From left: Rick Gislason, Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost, Dean Astrida Orle Tantillo, LAS Board members Patricia Hausknost (BA ‘74), and Roger Germann (BA ‘91).

Alumnus Roger Germann hosts Board of Visitors Reception

On April 16, 2015, LAS alumnus and Board of Visitors member Roger Germann hosted the Board of Visitors reception the evening before the Board’s biannual meeting. The reception took place at the Caribbean Reef Rotunda at the Shedd Aquarium, where Germann is the Executive Vice President of External Affairs, Communications and Public Relations.


Sheryl Underwood

Alumna Sheryl Underwood returns to campus to extol an LAS education

On September 9, 2015, LAS alumna Sheryl Underwood visited the campus and talked with students, faculty, staff, and alumni about her LAS education and her career path. Underwood graduated from UIC with a BA in Communication and Theatre. Since her time at UIC, she has built an extraordinary career as an in-demand entertainer, a celebrated comedian, and an entrepreneur. She is currently the co-host of “The Talk,” CBS’ daytime Emmy Award-nominated talk show that examines contemporary events and issues. During her inspiring and energetic talk, Underwood emphasized how her liberal arts education gave her the foundation and the confidence to chart her own path and to create her own opportunities. She said, “Because someone told me I could do it here at this school, I really believed I could do it.” Underwood went on to note that a liberal arts and sciences education helps you “think your way out of anything…and talk your way out of anything, too.”



Maria Hinojosa

2015 LAS Commencement

Thousands of family members and friends filled the UIC Pavilion on May 10, 2015 to celebrate the achievements of LAS graduates as they transitioned from “students” to “alumni” and prepared to begin their next chapters.

Members of the 2015 senior class voted for their most outstanding teachers and UIC Silver Circle Excellence in Teaching Awards were bestowed on the following LAS faculty: Mark Canuel, professor of English; John Ireland, associate professor of French and Francophone studies; Paul Malchow, associate professor of Biological Sciences; Karina Reyes, associate professor of Psychology; Andrew Tillotson, clinical assistant professor of Physics; and Katherine Zinsser, assistant professor of Psychology.

LAS bestowed the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters to Maria Hinojosa, award-winning news anchor and reporter. Hinojosa, who was recognized for her journalistic efforts on issues of immigration and economically challenged communities, provided the commencement keynote address.

Hinojosa is the anchor and executive producer of National Public Radio’s Latino USA and the executive producer and host for the PBS show America by the Numbers with Maria Hinojosa.

She is the founder and President of the Futuro Media Group, a nonprofit organization that provides multi-platform, community-based journalism that showcases the diversity of the American experience. Hinojosa has won numerous awards for her work including four Emmys; the John Chancellor Award for Excellence in Journalism; the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for Reporting on the Disadvantaged; the Studs Terkel Community Media Award; and the Edward R. Murrow Award from the Overseas Press Club. The author of two memoirs, Hinojosa is currently the Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Chair of Latin American and Latino Studies at DePaul University in Chicago and a Global Post ‘Voces’ columnist.


Dean’s Welcome Reception

On Sunday, August 23, 2015, Dean Astrida Orle Tantillo welcomed LAS freshmen to campus with a reception at Student Center East. LAS academic advisors, associate deans, faculty, and staff members greeted new students and their families and answered questions about all things LAS. Students received LAS t-shirts, bags, notepads, and more while enjoying food and drink with their peers.


Chancellor Michael Amiridis (right) talks with LAS students.


Dean’s Welcome Reception