WIU Alumna, Employee, Wins Top Prize at Illinois State Fair

StateFair_01Western Illinois University graduate and office manager Deb Lutz, of Good Hope, has mixed art and geometry into a project that won first prize in the digital imagery division at the Illinois State Fair.

Lutz received her bachelor’s degree in law enforcement and justice administration from Western in 1984 and a second bachelor’s degree in graphic communication in 2005. She is currently the office manager in the WIU Department of Geography.

Lutz’s winning artistic piece is a fractal, which is a representation of a geometric math equation. Fractals are often endlessly repeating patterns, which vary according to a set formula. The winning project is titled “Swirlfrost” and this is the first time she entered one of her pieces in the Illinois State Fair.

“A fractal is a pattern that reveals greater complexity as it is enlarged and is a computer-generated image that graphically represents the behavior of a mathematical equation,” Lutz said.
Fractals are actually geometric figures, just like rectangles, circles and squares, but much of fractal geometry represents a particular symmetry of scale, called self-similarity, which can visually model natural phenomenon like coastlines, ferns, ice crystals, snowflakes and mountains.

Using a computer program to generate the images from a variety of equations, the fractals are considered “math equations expressed in form and color.” Once rendered from the generator, she can then make adjustments in Photoshop.

Lutz has copyrighted more than 200 fractals and loves the fact they are “infinitely varied and never get boring.”
“I brag about them without shame because I feel as if all I’ve done is take a photograph of an extremely beautiful natural phenomenon that’s ‘out there’ but unknown,” she said. “All I’ve done is stumble across the exact equation that each image represents. I love bringing them to the world at large and feel they belong as artworks so wish to present them as such.”

More of her work can be seen at http://www.facebook.com/deblutzfractals. She will also be exhibiting in the upcoming “Perspectives” show at the West Central Illinois Art Center in downtown Macomb and one of her pieces has been accepted to the national juried show, “64 Arts,” at the Buchanan Center in Monmouth.

Lutz is also one of the artists chosen for “Rocky on Parade,” a project that will result in numerous fiberglass “Rocky” mascot dogs being artistically decorated and placed around Macomb.

LEJA professor makes global connections

Dennis Bowman, Professor | WIU School of Law Enforcement and Justice Administration

Dennis Bowman, a professor in WIU's School of Law Enforcement and Justice Administration, was recently featured in an article by Dave Bakke in the State Journal-Register

Dr. Dennis W. Bowman, a professor in Western Illinois University’s reputed School of Law Enforcement and Justice Administration (LEJA), served for more than 29 years as a state law enforcement officer and commander in the Illinois State Police. These days, he helps prepare WIU LEJA students/future law enforcement officials for their careers in the wide array of criminal justice occupations.

Dr. Bowman also spends time traveling the globe, lecturing in China, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Afghanistan. In a recent State Journal-Register article, “Life as college professor not always placid,” Dave Bakke notes, as a result of Dr. Bowman’s travels, the School of LEJA “has made connections with law enforcement organizations in each of the countries where [he] has traveled.”

Read more about Dr. Bowman’s work across the globe–which includes treks to: Russia to speak about immigration policy; China, where he spoke to the Zheijang Police College in Hangzhou about police and media relations; and Kazakhstan to attend a meeting of the Central Asian Regional Intelligence Coordinating Committee, where he discussed “leadership, critical incident management, and interaction with the news media”–at www.sj-r.com/top-stories/x1622886203/Dave-Bakke-Life-as-college-professor-not-always-placid.

Learn more about Dr. Bowman’s work on his WIU faculty page at www.wiu.edu/coehs/leja/faculty_staff/bowman.php.

History faculty talks U.S. Army doctrine at Fort Leavenworth

Walter Kretchik, author of "U.S. Army Doctrine: From the American Revolution to the War on Terror," talks to Command and General Staff College faculty about the "last war" Nov. 10

WIU History Associate Professor Walter Kretchik, author of "U.S. Army Doctrine: From the American Revolution to the War on Terror," talks to Command and General Staff College faculty about the "last war" Nov. 10

In September, Western Illinois University Department of History Associate Professor Walter Kretchik published the book, “U.S. Army Doctrine: From the American Revolution to the War on Terror.” According to the information included in the book’s front flap, Kretchik’s book is “the first comprehensive history of Army doctrine,” and “fully explores the principles that have shaped the Army’s approach to warfare”:

From the American Revolution to the global war on terror, U.S. Army doctrine has evolved to regulate the chaos of armed conflict by providing an intellectual basis for organizing, training, equipping, and operating the military. Walter E. Kretchik analyzes the service’s keystone doctrine over three centuries to reveal that the army’s leadership is more forward thinking and adaptive than has been generally believed.

Last week, the Fort Leavenworth Lamp posted a piece by Melissa Bower about the Nov. 10 talk Kretchik presented to the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth.

Read the piece, “Doctrine expert talks to CGSC?staff, faculty,” at www.ftleavenworthlamp.com/community/x1944402493/Doctrine-expert-talks-to-CGSC-staff-faculty

Learn more about Dr. Kretchik’s work via his faculty page on WIU’s website at www.wiu.edu/cas/history/kretchik.php

WIU professor’s research featured in local agricultural news section

A story about the pennycress research of Western Illinois University agriculture Professor Win Phippen was recently featured in a GateHouse News Service publication, “Former’s Forecast.”

See the section at http://shopping.galesburg.com/SS/Page.aspx?ptype=SS_TILE&secid=110791&pagenum=1&facing=false, and read the story at http://bit.ly/vtCe3S

Former Leatherneck named a U.S. Marshal

It’s one thing for the president of your company to give you a nod. But it’s another when it’s the president of the United States of America!

William C. Sibert, who graduated from Western in 1983, was one of three men nominated by President Obama on July 21 to become a white-house-sealU.S. Marshal.

According to a news release from White House’s Office of the Press Secretary, Sibert, a detective with the Warrant/Fugitive Division of the St. Louis (MO) Police Department, is now a nominee for United States Marshal for the Eastern District of Missouri.

“Throughout their careers these individuals have shown a deep commitment to public service,” said President Obama. “I appreciate their continued willingness to serve and protect the American people.”

When he was a student at Western, Sibert earned a B.A. in sociology and was a member of the Leatherneck football team from 1976-1978. For more about the nomination, and Sibert’s career in law enforcement since his graduation from Western, read the full announcement here.

‘Beyond the Bell Tower’ in the News

Tip ‘o the hat to these student writers!

Thanks so much to Lauren Finkler and Samantha Pollock for their interest in the launch of Beyond the Bell Tower.

Lauren’s feature on this new blog was the lead story in a recent issue of the Western Courier. Samantha works as a student blogger for Western’s Alumni Association. You can read her entry about the new blog here!

Kudos to these writers, and keep up the good work!

History of Hero Street lives on (and has a descendant at WIU)!

Hero Street USA

Hero Street USA

Marc Wilson, author of the new book “Hero Street, U.S.A.: The Story of Little Mexico’s Fallen Soldiers,” spoke on campus Wed., Oct. 7–and brought with him an interesting companion.

Wilson, a former reporter and Associated Press executive now living in the Quad Cities area, researched the dramatic story of the “Little Mexico” neighborhood in Silvis, IL, which contributed 78 soldiers to the U.S. military during World War II and Korea, giving it the highest per-capita casualty rate of any street in the entire country. The neighborhood, established by immigrants from Guanajauto, Mexico, was officially renamed “Hero Street” in 1971.

But Wilson’s companion for the day could also be considered an expert on the topic: Tanilo “Tony” Sandoval, surviving younger brother of two of the eight soldiers from the block who were killed in action. As Wilson detailed his research, Sandoval provided his childhood memories about each of the eight soldiers killed in action.

Wilson, former owner of a newspaper in Montana, became interested in the story after hearing about it from a newspaper publisher in the Quad Cities.

“Many people in the Quad Cities still know nothing, or very little, about Hero Street,” he said.

Chronicling the prejudice, poverty, and other adversity the residents of Little Mexico had to deal with, especially during the Depression, Wilson pointed out that many of the veterans who gave their life for their country were never recognized as United States citizens, even being blackballed from the local VFW.

Their first-generation parents, unable to speak English, weren’t eligible to receive federal aid during the Depression due to their status as “aliens.” In fact, the street later recognized with the official “Hero Street” name was one of the last in the city to be paved, he said.

“These were ‘invisible’ people in many ways,” Wilson said.

At the end of the presentation, Sandoval shared with the audience the fact that, despite the poverty and prejudice he and his brothers experienced growing up, many from the younger generations of the Hero Street neighborhood, and in his family, have gone on to successful professional positions after earning an education.

Johnathon Sandoval, WIU sophomore

Johnathon Sandoval, WIU sophomore

And what could have been a better note to end on than this?:

Before the author and his guest speaker greeted audience members, Wilson explained they’d need to leave a bit early.

“We’re going to go try to catch the rest of the soccer game,” Wilson said. Sandoval’s grandson, Johnathan Sandoval, is a sophomore and Leatherneck soccer player at WIU.

Read more about the book and the story behind Hero Street in the University Relations news release and on the University Archives blog.