Staff Bios

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Jyotsna Kapur, Ph.D., Director, University Honors Program, is a Professor of Cinema and Media Studies, who is cross-appointed with Sociology.  Her research and teaching interests include:  Marxist-feminist theory of media arts and culture; the politics of labor, class, race, and sexuality in neoliberalism;  History and theory of the documentary idea; Third Cinema; and Global children's media culture.  She is the author of The Politics of Time and Youth in Brand India: Bargaining with Capital (2013); Coining for Capital:  Movies, Marketing, and the Transformation of Childhood (2005); and with Keith Wagner, Neoliberalism and Global Cinema:  Capital, Culture and Marxist Critique (2012).  She is currently working on 19th century rethinking of the relationship between art, technology, and mass production relating it to the emerging thinking, including Marx's, of the concept of species-being and its relationship to the artistic impulse.  Awards include a Fulbright Teaching fellowship and a NEH Summer fellowship.  She deeply values education as a a means for self-realization for the individual student and society as a whole. CV

Melinda Yeomans, Ph.D., Associate Director, University Honors Program, is the receipient of SIUC's Distinguished University Honors Teaching Fellow for 2016-2017 and the Campus Mentor Award for 2018.  Her educational background in interdisciplinary humanities and interest in global citizenship, teaching excellence, and intercultural communication are the foundations of her mentoring in the Honors Program.   Currently she serves as Education Chair for the United Nations Association of Carbondale, and as the SIU Fulbright Program Advisor. She has been invited to speak locally and nationally on topics of teaching excellence, inclusion, culturally responsive teaching, and progressive education. She has developed and taught courses for the University Honors Program, Communication Studies, the College of Education, the Department of English, The Center for Teaching Excellence, and Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies. As Associate Director of the University Honors Program, she serves in many roles, including assessment, outreach, and UHP leadership development. She has served as Provost Assessment Fellow and is the advisor of three Registered Student Organizations including the United Nations Association RSO, For Kids' Sake, and the Honors Assembly. She has developed and led a course for the UHP Global Seminar series entitled "Global Citizenry & the New Cuba" (as reported by KFVS-12).

David Milley, Assistant Director, University Honors Program joined the Honors team mid-fall semester 2014, coming from the Bluegrass of central Kentucky.  He is a native of Massachusetts, with a B.A. in English from Gordon College and a M.Ed. in Educational Administration and Counseling from Rhode Island College.  David has been highly affiliated with students in campus activities, co-curricular life, leadership development, orientation, residence life, student government and organizations at six colleges in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Iowa and Kentucky, along with academic support, personal enrichment and wellness teaching with middle school students in Kentucky.  He has had an active civic engagement “career” focusing on child and youth advocacy in community, educational, human services, recreational, spiritual and youth program settings in Mount Vernon IA, North Adams, MA and Berea, KY.

Elizabeth Donoghue, Assistant Director, University Honors Program serves as a student mentor and works on new initiatives and programming. She is passionate about the transformational role of education and loves working with and encouraging students to cultivate and take advantage of all the opportunities available during their collegiate years.  Elizabeth holds a BA in Theater and a Master’s degree in Communication Studies from SIU Carbondale.  She is active in a number of community organizations, including the local Sierra Club chapter (Shawnee Group) where she serves on the Executive Board; and has been a WDBX community radio volunteer for over a decade where she produces and hosts a weekly talk show focusing on environmental issues from a local to global perspective.  In her spare-time she enjoys exploring the beauty and nature of Southern Illinois, seeing movies and spending time with her daughter. She plays music (bass and guitar) and is currently working on a recording project. She also loves playing Catan and takes her weekly game night very seriously.

Alexaundra (Lexy) Baird, Office Support Specialist, University Honors Program was a student at SIU and an Honors Program member from 2014-2018. Throughout her college career, she was involved heavily in service through RSO’s like Students Today Leaders Forever (STLF), Wellness P.E.E.R.S., the United Nations Association RSO, and was an intern for two years at the non-profit For Kids’ Sake. Having an Honors mentor helped her achieve the goal of studying abroad in Hyderabad, India for Fall 2017 where she studied food and gender. She graduated with an Honors Certificate, Summa cum Laude, and obtained her B.A. in Anthropology with a minor in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies in May 2018. In September 2018, Lexy joined the UHP staff and is in the process of completing a Sustainability Certificate through the SIU Graduate School.  She hopes to pursue her Master’s degree in Food Studies in the future.  

“It’s one of the best opportunities to be able to work for a program that helped me so much. I’m lucky to be a part in students’ lives through the UHP and want to help students experience how great the UHP is!”