The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

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Celebrating WHAM at EIU

To honor the achievements made by women in American history, the month of March is designated Women’s History Month. 

Here at Eastern, there have been hundreds if not thousands of women who have left their mark on the school whether it be students, staff or community members. 

Groniger Arena is home to one female employee who is an asset to the campus. 

Cynthia Almon, the assistant athletic director for academic services, began her professional career at Eastern 29 years ago.

Cynthia Almon, assistant athletic director for academic services, working at her desk in the Lantz Arena. (Jacob Hamm)

She knew she wanted to work with college students while getting her master’s degree in a college personnel program.  

Almon understands the unique struggles of being an athlete and a student at the same time. In high school, she ran cross country and track and was on the swim team. 

To Almon, women’s history month is important. 

“Being a woman and being a leader, we should recognize women as leaders and support them,” Almon said. 

She described how it was challenging when she first entered the field, working with mostly male coaches at the time. However, she overcame these challenges. 

“It was hard, but through time I gained the respect by working hard and having a good work ethic and making sure I was communicating and following up,” Almon said. 

She said she enjoys working with male and female coaches equally. 

When she is not working, Almon likes to spend her free time practicing her skills playing the drums. She picked up the hobby during the pandemic, being taught by her fiancé. She and her fiancé mostly play for fun but do occasionally put out drum covers of songs. 

“During some stressful times in the last four years, I’ll just go to my drum room and play, and the stress goes away,” Almon said. 

She plans to retire at the end of the semester. 

Across campus in Buzzard Hall is where WEIU News Director Kelly Goodwin has been able to use the skills she learned from her mentor to better her career and the students she mentors.

Senior radio and audio production major Aidan Grady (left) and WEIU News Director Kelly Goodwin (right) discuss the preliminary details for an upcoming story. (Alexis Moore-Jones)

Goodwin’s career at WEIU began with a road trip after high school. 

Her friend asked if she wanted to tag along to view a college. 

“Lo and behold, we were traveling to Eastern Illinois University in Charleston,” said Goodwin. 

It was there she met her news director and mentor Susan Kaufman and got a firsthand look at the world of radio and tv. 

Goodwin spent all four years of college at WEIU working on and off camera mastering her craft. But it was with the help of her mentor that she became who she is today. 

“She made me a better person, and she made me appreciate journalism a lot more, getting facts right, what good stories to tell and pressing me to go out of my comfort zone.” 

Goodwin was excelling in broadcast journalism, but by senior year she wasn’t sure if it was the right path for her. Unsure of what to do, she turned to her mentor who told her she had to stay passionate and stick with it. 

After a tight game of tug of war between her and Kaufman, Goodwin gave in. With Kaufman’s help, Goodwin landed her first job out of college working for a newsroom in Terre Haute, Indiana. 

Working her way up from “glorified secretary,” as she described it, to news director, Goodwin made a name for herself and stayed for 10 years. 

Eventually, she found herself back in the place where it all began, Eastern Illinois University, not as a student but as a news director and mentor like Kaufman herself. 

Goodwin may not be out on the scene talking to people and telling stories like she used to, but she gets to mentor the youth who do, which means just as much to her. 

She credits her teachings and philosophy to Kaufman. 

“I credit her for a lot of the things that I practice and preach and do today,” Goodwin said. “She’s always in the back of my mind like well, this is what Sue would do, or this is how she would handle it.” 

Driven by her passion for teaching, author and associate professor of teacher education Alexis Jones made history with her latest book and her ability to shape the minds of students and teachers alike.

Alexis Jones posing for a headshot. (Submitted)

Jones spent 12 years as an elementary school teacher before doing grant work and working with district administration, then deciding to return to school. 

After receiving her doctorate degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Jones was ready to get back into the classroom and start teaching. She landed her dream job teaching at Eastern. 

“Eastern started as a normal school, like as a teaching school preparing teachers. That was sort of its history,” she said. “I really think that that sort of has stayed at the heart of what Eastern does and what Eastern values, and I love that.”  

Teaching students between K-12 and higher education has taught Jones the importance of human relations among students and teachers. With this mindset, Jones wrote her book titled “Teaching is a Human Interaction: How Thoughtful Educators Respond, are Responsive, and Take Responsibility.” 

“If you’re going to be a responsive and responsible teacher, you really want to think about how you interact with students, young or old, in a really caring and kind way,” Jones said. “And so, you need to think about your relationship with them.” 

During quarantine, Jones was left with time to read about the issues of care, responsivity and relational ethics in teaching. Many of the books she read on the topic gave the impression that if teachers did five or six specific steps, they would be the best teacher ever, but Jones does not believe that it is that simple. 

“We’re human beings, and as human beings, we have moods and backgrounds and beliefs and biases and all of those things,” Jones said. “So, I wanted to try to focus in on what this meant for, not just teachers who were in K-12 classrooms but also those of us who are trying to prepare teachers for those classrooms.” 

She believes women’s history month is important because it places the contributions women have made to society on a pedestal to keep from being overlooked. 

“While I would hope someday we can work women’s history seamlessly into our school curricula and conversations, this month is a wonderful reminder of powerful people who fought and still fight for gender equity,” she said. 

  

Alexis Moore-Jones and Jacob Hamm can be reached at 581-2812. 

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About the Contributors
Alexis Moore-Jones, Feature Reporter
Alexis Moore-Jones is a senior broadcast journalism major. This is her first year at The News.
Jacob Hamm, Reporter
Jacob Hamm is a junior journalism major and can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].

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