Academic Advising & Support Team
We’re all here to support you!
We've all learned and adapted this past year, transitioning to blended and online learning as we do our best to keep our Illinois and home communities safe. We understand that this hasn't always been easy, and that this new normal comes with its own additional challenges.
Our Academic and Advising Support Team is here to help. Made up of advisors, instructors, and staff, our team can help you navigate your course schedule, identify helpful resources, or just take time for a conversation to hear what you need!
Our SIB community is exactly that - a community. We are here to support your educational and career path, especially as we all continue to learn and adapt. You can contact us at any time, or consider making an appointment to see someone in the Advising Office or Career Connections. Contact Instructional Staff and Communications at the email addresses below.
Allison MusserAcademic Advisor
Education• Ph.D. in Recreation, Sport, & Tourism: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
• M.S. in Kinesiology: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
• B.S. in Kinesiology: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Best Part of My JobHelping students navigate the many and varied challenges of the college years. My favorite moment is when a student says at the end of an appointment, “I feel better now!”
InterestsSports, travelling, beach vacations, home-improvement projects, and spending time with my family.
Jessica FinkAcademic Advisor
Education• M.S in Educational Leadership - College Student Development: Oklahoma State University
• B.S. in Advertising: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Best Part of My JobWhen I am working with a student and they have that 'Ah Hah!' moment. I love helping students find their passion and what they want to do with their career.
InterestsRock climbing, hiking, biking, baseball, being a dog mom.
Christina SwansonCoordinator for the SIB Alumni Mentor Program
Education• M.A. in Education: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
• M.S. in Entomology: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
• B.S. in Biology: University of Michigan
Best Part of My JobI love when someone walks out of my (now virtual) office with a tangible next step and a contact person who can provide more clarity about their future. It makes my day to help people find direction and to have that moment of relief knowing exactly how to move forward with their careers and goals. I also really like analyzing surveys...I enjoy the hunt for patterns and especially love when I can use that information to help make a positive change.
InterestsMy twin toddler girls are the best and most time-consuming part of my life right now! I absolutely love hiking in natural areas: Allerton, Meadowbrook, the Arb, and Lake of the Woods are my favorite places around C-U. I also love board games, insects, and learning something new.
Ben CleggTeaching Assistant Professor
Education• Ph.D. in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
• B.S. in Ecology, Ethology, & Evolutionary Biology: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
RolesI am the main instructor of IB 150: Evolutionary & Organismal Biology, which serves as an introductory course to all biology majors at U of I. My main aim in this course is to allow our incoming biology majors a setting to explore their interests, provide a broad foundation in the main fields of biology, and to train them in scientific reasoning skills our graduates need to be successful in the professional world.
Best Part of My JobI thoroughly enjoy exploring our fascinating biological world with students both in class and in long conversations outside of class. Putting big concepts together and exploring deep connections between different areas of biology with students makes my job deeply enjoyable. Nothing beats seeing a spark of intrigue and understanding in my students' eyes.
InterestsHiking, fossil collecting and fossil preparation, native plant gardening, butterfly rearing, tropical fish breeding.
Lily AriasLecturer and Director of Merit Program for Integrative Biology
Education• Ph.D. in Biology - Ecology: Indiana State University
• M.S. in Biology - Ecology: Texas Tech University
• B.S. in Biology and Zoology: Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Lima, Peru
RolesIn my role as an instructor in SIB, I teach IB 104 and coordinate the labs for IB 302 and IB 104. In the Spring of 2021, I will also teach IB 202. In my role as the Director of the Merit program for SIB, I recruit students and coordinate the Merit sections for IB 150, IB 202, IB 203, and IB 204. Additionally, I also recruit students for IB 299.
Best Part of My JobWorking and interacting with students from all backgrounds. I also love developing fun, interactive, and challenging class activities where students can contribute with their opinions and where they feel free to ask questions.
InterestsI love hiking, taking pictures and learning something new about nature every time I have the chance. I also love art, especially modern art, and visit art museums in all the cities I visit.
Nick MorphewLaboratory Coordinator
Education• M.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
• B.A. in Biology: Lawrence University
RolesI am in charge of setting up and running the labs for multiple majors' and non-majors' classes. I supervise and train the graduate TAs and work with faculty to develop lab activities.
Best Part of My JobI enjoy getting to know people. I get the chance to drop-in on labs or co-teach labs once in a while, and I really like those small group interactions. I also love being apart of the IB community. It is filled with outstanding people at all levels.
InterestsI spend a lot of time with family, which includes playing sports or rough-housing with my two boys. I also coach and broadcast wrestling for Mahomet-Seymour and enjoy reading and running.
Education• M.S. in Biology - Ecology and Evolutionary Biology: University of Oregon
• M.Ed. in Curriculum and Teaching: University of Oregon
• B.S. in Biology: The University of Georgia
RolesI serve as an Instructor for the School of Integrative Biology, with a background in ecology and evolution. I teach courses in the Online Master of Science Teaching (OMST) program as well as undergraduate courses, including courses within the Merit program. Courses include IB 100, IB 203, IB 299, IB 532, and IB 535.
Best Part of My JobFacilitating students in developing their interests and self-advocacy skills as they continue on as lifelong learners.
InterestsI am a native gardening enthusiast and enjoy digging in the dirt with our two daughters. I am also an avid voter registrar!
Joanne ManasterSenior Instructor
Education• M.S. in Biology - Cell Biology: School of Life Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
• B.S. in Biology: School of Life Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
I am an instructor for the School of Integrative Biology whose passion is cell and molecular biology. I have nearly 20 years experience teaching upper level laboratory courses for the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology and the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Illinois. More than 10 years ago, I took the plunge into online teaching at the School of Integrative Biology and have never looked back.For undergraduates, currently I teach
- IB 303: Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy, laboratory portion
- IB 364 Online: Bioinformatics and Human Genome (every summer!)
- IB 108 Online: The Biology of Dinosaurs
- IB 531: Emerging Infectious Diseases
- IB 533: Human Genome and Bioinformatics
- IB 534: Evolution and Medicine
Best Part of My JobJust as students appreciate the flexibility of online teaching, so do I. I enjoy taking challenging, cutting edge concepts and finding ways to make them understandable for students by creating projects and activities that really allow them to dive into the material. It delights me to hear about student research projects and to chat about the latest books everyone is reading.
InterestsI am an enthusiastic fan of general science outreach and literacy, am active on social media, and even maintained a blog at Scientific American for several years. I love reading popular science books and am always up on the latest from great science writers.
I also enjoy travel in non-pandemic times, especially to natural areas.
Rose KeaneCommunications Coordinator
Education• M.S. in Natural Resources: North Carolina State University
• M.A. in Environmental Journalism: Michigan State University
• B.S. in Integrative Biology: University of Illinois
• A.A. in Mass Communications: AA in Sociology, Parkland College