USF Student’s Photography Appears on NBC’s Today Show

Jaclyn Duske's photograph of country singer Josh Turner

Joliet, Ill. – Being able to gain real world experience by photographing one of your favorite musicians in concert is rewarding. Learning that those photographs were used during that musician’s appearance on NBC’s Today Show with Hoda & Jenna is unforgettable.

For University of St. Francis sophomore Jaclyn Duske, the itch to explore photography began back when she was in 7th grade.

“My grandfather was a photographer and actually gave me my first camera – a little Nikon CoolPix – in 7th grade. I enjoyed art and drawing, but I started taking classes in high school. I stuck with it and it looks like it is now paying off,” Duske said.

It is certainly paying off. Duske, who is double-majoring in photography and graphic design, is already gaining valuable and memorable experiences as a student in USF’s Art & Design Department. With the help of professor Michael “Chester” Alamo-Costello, MFA, Duske arranged for an opportunity to photograph country music star Dwight Yoakam in concert last August at the Rialto Square Theatre in Joliet, Ill.

“I did one concert at the Rialto at the end of August, right before the first day of classes. Professor Alamo-Costello has arranged student shoots at Joliet and Chicago music venues since the start of The COMP Magazine (the USF Art & Design Department’s nonprofit art, design and culture magazine) in 2013. He reached out to Valerie Devine, executive director of the Rialto. He indicated he had a student interested in concert photography. He asked if I would be able to come in and photograph the upcoming Dwight Yoakam, and she said ‘yes’. I got a press pass and had to sign a media release. Per the terms of that release, I was only able to take photographs during three songs and could use only three pictures to accompany a story I wrote for The COMP,” Duske said.

From that single experience, Duske was immediately hooked. A few months later, she attended a photography workshop with the photographer for country singer Luke Combs. Then when she saw that country music star Josh Turner was scheduled for a late November concert at the Rialto, she contacted Devine with hopes of photographing that show.

“I love country music and saw that Josh Turner was coming to the Rialto in November, so I reached out to see if I could shoot that show. Thankfully, I was able to and I received a press pass. There was no media release this time around, but I was told that Josh Turner’s management team wanted to use some of my photos afterwards. So, I shot the show and sent my photos to his management team, who loved them and asked for permission to use them for promotional purposes,” Duske said.

Two days later, the Turner’s management team sent an email to Duske with two screenshots of her photos used on NBC’s Today.

Understandably, Duske was pleasantly surprised.

“It was absolutely crazy. I just couldn’t believe it. I was working on a class project with my friends when I found out and said, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m on the Today Show!’”, she said.

Duske said that she continues to keep in contact with Turner’s management team with aspirations of photographing future shows. She also photographs home athletic contests for the USF Fighting Saints. These experiences are important, as Duske’s plans following graduation in two years involve a career in professional photography, either as a concert or touring artist photographer or a sports photographer.

When she is not behind the camera or in class, Duske volunteers at Victory Reigns Therapeutic Riding Center in Peotone, Ill., four to five days each week.

“I started volunteering at Victory Reigns seven years ago. We work with children and adults with disabilities and at-risk youth. I absolutely love it. I love horses and have been riding since I was 8. It’s something I have always been passionate about,” Duske said.

Duske took notice of USF when she learned of its annual high school art show from her high school art teacher. While participating in the show, Duske toured the university’s art facility and soon placed USF atop her list of prospective schools. But it wasn’t until she received what she calls “a sign” that she knew she was meant to be at USF.

“When I toured the main campus, the first place they took us was the chapel. When we were leaving the chapel, I saw hanging on the wall a framed panel of wood with praying hands burned into it. I knew immediately that it was one of my grandfather’s works. I told my mom I knew it was his and I knew it was a sign that USF was the place I was supposed to be,” she said.

After talking with her grandfather, Duske learned that it was, indeed, one of his works that he had given to one of the Sisters of Saint Francis of Mary Immaculate, USF’s Sister sponsors, years back.

As she begins the second half of her sophomore year, Duske is enjoying her USF experience.

“It has been such a good experience. I never thought that I would have access to the number of opportunities I have had at USF to date. I can’t wait to see what’s next,” she said.

: :

The University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves close to 4,000 students nationwide and offers undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 52,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit stfrancis.edu.

University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose.

# # #

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn

Enjoy Christmas at the Motherhouse with USF

Joliet, Ill. – The University of St. Francis (USF) Music & Performing Arts Department presents Christmas at the Motherhouse: From Darkness to Light at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 3 and Saturday, Dec. 4 in St. Joseph Chapel in the Motherhouse on the main USF campus in Joliet (520 Plainfield Road). USF’s own Claritas Master Chorale and Schola Cantorum will join forces to sing traditional works by J.S. Bach, Holst, and newer works by Susan Labarr and others. 

Tickets are free of charge. To reserve your tickets, please email kjimenez@stfrancis.edu.  Due to COVID restrictions, tickets are limited to four per party and will be available only on a first-come, first-served basis.  Proof of COVID vaccination or a negative COVID test from within 72 hours of the event will be required for entry to the performance.

: :

The University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves close to 4,000 students nationwide and offers undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 52,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit stfrancis.edu.

University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose.

# # #

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn

USF’s Jaskowiak Releases Studio Album with Filikso and Ortega

Friendship album cover

Joliet, Ill. – True friendship can be an endeavor of love, heart, passion, perseverance and timing. Friendship, the new album by USF digital audio recording arts instructor Jeff Jaskowiak and his trio-mates Joe Filisko and Larry Ortega, fits that definition, as well.

Friendship, available now on CD and as a digital download at jaskomusic.com and jaskomusic.bandcamp.com, is a collection of songs drawn from the past five decades. The thirteen-track, 70-minute album opens with the energetic “Rejoice”, which sets the tone for a diverse collection of songs that showcase the talents of each band member while also telling musical stories about Jaskowiak’s life experiences. Some of the album’s tracks such as “Song for the Princess” and “Even in Their Sleep” (the album’s oldest song) reflect themes of love and faith, while other tracks including “Big Skies, Majestic Lands” and “Bisbee Rain” pay homage to Jaskowiak’s travels to Arizona and New Mexico.

Jaskowiak provided all guitar and bass work for the album, along with the vocals for the album’s only song with lyrics, “Delight”. Filisko provided all harmonica work and Ortega provided drums and percussion. Together, the trio produces a style Jaskowiak refers to as “thrashing acoustic”.

“Our style is very rhythmic and very responsive. On each track, you can hear the conversational energy as the individual instruments work together and off each other. The idea is simple: revere the groove. There is something inherent with good music. When we hear it, we can’t help but start moving to it.” Jaskowiak said.

Some parts of Friendship were recorded in the 1990s and from 2000 to 2007, but the process was paused as Jaskowiak focused on his priorities as an instructor and as a student (he earned a master’s degree in music technology from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis in 2015). The recording process resumed in 2016 and concluded in 2020, followed by the mixing and mastering of the album in 2021.

About Jasko’, Filisko and Ortega

As the new album’s title, Friendship, indicates, these three real-life friends and music contemporaries reflects a true respect that each member has for one another.

“I met Joe at Joliet Junior College in 1984 as a guitar student and he has been a dear, encouraging and steadfast friend since. He is a melodic force, performing melodies and solos with power, grace and bronco agility. This album shows the wide breath of possibilities of the harmonica in colors, textures, orchestrations, ferocity and beauty, like no other harmonica album ever recorded,” Jaskowiak said.

Jaskowiak has shared a friendship with Ortega since the late 1970s.

“Larry has been a life-long friend since 1979. He is a drummer and percussionist extraordinaire, and it was an honor and a joy to work on this project with a giant in the rhythm and creative music world. He has blessed this recording with unbelievable performances with the strength and elegance of Shadowfax, driving creative, responsive, rhythmic energy and nuance making it a listening pleasure every time,” Jaskowiak said.

As for himself, his first studio album serves as a capstone project for studies that began when he was just 10 years old.

“I started playing guitar with my cousins and friends when I was ten and have been bitten since then. I was extremely lucky to study with Mick Goodrick, Gary Burton and Pat Methney at the Jamey Aebersold Jazz clinics in my late high school and early college years. These teachers shined the lights and pointed to the paths that my understanding of and ability to develop chops. Some of my compositional inspirations are Michael Hedges, Antoine Dufour, Joe Satriani, Vicente Amigo, Broce Cockburn, Sting, Jaco Pastorius, Michael Manring, Louis Johnson, Victor Wotten and Bill Coleman to name a few. As you can see my love is for guitar and bass, especially acoustic guitars, and great composers. These are ineffable mentors to stand on the shoulders of,” he said.

On Thursday, Nov. 18, at 8 p.m. CST, Jaskowiak and Ortega will be guests on the Music & Conversation webinar hosted by Filisko and Eric Noden for a conversation about Friendship. Visit jaskomusic.com to register for a free ticket.

Jaskowiak’s Career at USF

Jaskowiak began his USF career in 1996 as an adjunct instructor and became a full-time instructor and administrator in 2010. In 2009, Jaskowiak created USF’s Digital Audio Recording Arts program that began as a concentration that grew to become its own major in 2015 (Jaskowiak also led the build out of the USF recording studio during the summers of 2010 and 2011). Through the program, Jaskowiak is able to share his expertise as a recording engineer, artist, guitar instructor and music industry consultant.

“The goal of the Digital Audio Recording Arts program at USF is to produce musically sophisticated and sensitive professionals who have sufficient technical knowledge to excel in the technology based production industry, helping to define quality using both musical and technical criteria. Students in the program will acquire the knowledge, principles and practices of engineering methodology and creative music production techniques to permit them to adapt quickly and effectively to the rapidly changing world of music creation, production and distribution,” Jaskowiak offered.

: :

The University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves close to 4,000 students nationwide and offers undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 52,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit stfrancis.edu.

University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose.

# # #

Friendship album back cover
Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn

Dan Knapp Talks Social Work

dan knapp headshotVisiting professor Dan Knapp, Ph.D., LSW, USF’s Bachelor of Social Work program director, was recently interviewed recently by an online social work resource called “MSW Online.” Read his expert advice about pursuing a BSW (and consider USF for yours!)

What are the most important factors for students deciding on a BSW program?
Many students have a strong passion for what they want to learn in addition to how they want to apply that learning. One of the most important factors for deciding on a BSW program is to follow that passion. For example, many people who enter the helping profession have a strong desire to improve the lives of others or advance some process or policy that influences others. A social work degree effectively prepares students to become these change agents.

What kinds of hands-on or fieldwork experiences are available to your BSW students?
Students are offered very diverse opportunities. These opportunities can include, but are not limited to, experiences in healthcare (i.e., hospitals or nursing home-related), child welfare agencies, county services, schools, advocacy centers, and crisis centers to name a few. Students will have opportunities to work with a wide range of populations throughout the developmental periods (i.e., adolescents through late states of life), veterans, homelessness, people of varying cultural or racial backgrounds, and those with mental illness as examples.

Can students take electives, or customize their BSW experience?
Students are required to enroll in specific foundational courses that effectively prepare them to work with diverse populations. In addition, students have opportunities to register for additional elective courses that can provide added experiences to specific areas of social work practice.

What does it take to be successful as a BSW student?
A strong desire to learn and help others. As a part of any clinical practice, students must have a desire to improve themselves first. This means taking the time to learn and assess their strengths and talents. Then, students can apply the skills and knowledge learned to help others.

What types of jobs are BSW graduates finding?
Students are finding jobs within hospitals, nursing home facilities, advocacy centers, and activity directors for mentorship programs to name a few. Many students elect to enroll in the one-year MSW program to obtain their master’s in social work degree which effectively opens opportunities for jobs such as other areas of healthcare, schools, private practice, etc.

If you had to choose one or two books, articles, documentaries, podcasts, etc. to be included on a required reading list for social work students, what would it be?
This is a great question, and I would always recommend students to invest time into recently published materials found on the scholarly databases. For example, what is currently literature saying about people’s mental health given COVID-19 and how does this compare to prior decades? How are different cultures or racial groups being impacted? Now, if I have to truly provide one resource, I have always enjoyed the video called The Secret Life of the Brain which helps students understand the power of the brain on human functioning.

Three Instructors Earn Title of Professor Emeritus at USF

Joliet, Ill. – With the spring 2021 semester at the University of St. Francis (USF) concluding on Friday, May 7, three of the university’s faculty members have now officially earned the title of Professor Emeritus and will begin their retirement. The title of Professor Emeritus is granted by the university president (Arvid C. Johnson, Ph.D.) – with the consent of the Academic Affairs Committee of the Board of Trustees – in recognition of a faculty member’s loyalty and unique contribution to USF and commonly marks the professional retirement of the title’s recipient.

Debra Bacharz, Ph.D., held the rank of Professor of Nursing in the USF Leach College of Nursing and maintained a full-time faculty appointment at USF for 30 years. She earned her BSN from Marycrest College, her M.S. from Northern Illinois University, and her Ph.D. from Capella University.

For Bacharz, teaching for the past three decades has been a true calling.

“My teaching at USF has been my passion for the last 30 years! Through all the ups and downs – pandemic and all – it has been my joy and privilege to serve our future nurses.  The expertise, dedication and collegiality of the USF faculty and staff has added to added to that joy and privilege,” she said.

As she begins her retirement, Bacharz is already set to enjoy her newfound free time.

“I will walk on the beach more, spend as much time as possible with my family, especially my grandchildren, and maybe write an article or two,” she said.

Patricia Pascoe, M.S., held the rank of Assistant Professor with Distinguished Teaching Faculty Status in the USF College of Arts and Sciences and maintained a full-time faculty appointment at USF for 41 years. Pascoe earned her B.S. from St. Norbert College and her M.S. from Bowling Green State University.

As she reflects on her teaching experience at USF, Pascoe uses two words to describe it.

“My teaching experience at USF can be summarized as one of passion and growth. The passion was for my discipline and our wonderful students. Growth in my discipline was being able to develop a comprehensive human anatomy program, which uses cadavers for teaching and provides students with the unique experience of cadaver dissection. I have fond memories of the two years I spent in Albuquerque with the PA program and I am proud to have been a part of its establishment. A large part of my success at USF stems from my loving and supportive family,” she said.

Pascoe added that her fondest memories center around the experiences she shared with her students.

“My fondest memories of teaching at USF involve working shoulder to shoulder with my students, both as lab assistants and in my dissection class. These students have touched my life. I am especially proud of the students who went on to do graduate work in anatomy and those who found successful niches in healthcare,” she said.

While she knows that many projects await her, Pascoe begins her retirement awaiting the guidance of her heart.

“I am intentionally planning to do nothing until my heart leads me in a new direction. I have many projects that need my attention, but I am going to take some time to “be comforted by the sweet territory of silence,” Pascoe said.

Anthony Zordan, CPA, DBA, held the rank of (full) Professor in the USF College of Business and Health Administration and maintained a full-time faculty appointment at USF for 38 years. Zordan earned his BSC and MBA at DePaul University, and earned his DBA from Nova Southeastern University.

As Zordan reflects on his teaching experience at USF, he places a high level of importance on connecting with his students.

“I tried to motivate students to do two things: to ‘get it’; to understand the material, and to see their work as a vocation and calling. I also tried to motivate them by letting them know I loved them by taking an interest, showing I cared, getting to class early and staying late, by going to some of their sporting events, wearing a tie. It sounds corny, but that’s why I wore a tie,” he said.

Now that his retirement has begun, Zordan already has a variety of plans for his new journey.

“My only commitment as of today is to start giving piano lessons to the 6 year old son of one of my nieces, although I’ve never given lessons. I also plan to learn Spanish and am starting with signing up for a class at USF this fall,” he said.

“Ultimately, I want to be open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, and I think he is leading me in the direction of  continuing with the work of the Wheeler Grant to help students and maybe even businesses see their work as vocation, along with helping seniors navigate Social Security and Medicare, and helping the chronically unemployed,” Zordan added.

: :

The University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves close to 4,000 students nationwide and offers undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 51,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit stfrancis.edu.

University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose.

# # #

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn

USF Faculty Members Promoted to Professor

Joliet, Ill. – The University of St. Francis (USF) recently announced that two faculty members from the USF College of Arts and Sciences – Debra Workman, Ph.D., and Jacqueline Wittke-Thompson, Ph.D. – were promoted to the rank of full Professor. The rank, which is formally approved by the University President based on the recommendation of the Provost and the Rank, Promotion and Tenure Committee, officially begins with the start of the fall 2021 semester at USF.

“The rank of full Professor is earned with ten years or more of full-time teaching experience at a four-year college or university and a record of accomplishment that demonstrates sustained excellence in teaching, scholarship and service. At the University of St. Francis, Professors are outstanding teachers in their fields and leaders in the broad academic arena,” said Beth Roth, Ph.D., USF Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs.

Debra Workman, Ph.D., teaches history in the USF College of Arts and Sciences. She earned both her B.A. and her M.A. in history from the University of Missouri-St. Louis, and earned her Ph.D. in modern European history from the University of Kansas. Workman has taught at USF since 2007.

“Receiving a promotion to full professor is the realization of a goal of many years.  It is gratifying to know that I have spent my career at the most exciting place I’ve ever found – the University – as I have been able to share my love and appreciation of history with my students.  Today they are teaching or working in all levels of education, and some are working in business, politics, and law. It is a pleasure to follow their careers and I am excited to continue mentoring students. I also look forward to adding new knowledge in my research field, with the recent acceptance of an article,” Workman said.

Jacqueline Wittke-Thompson, Ph.D., teaches biology in the USF College of Arts and Sciences. Wittke-Thompson earned her B.S. in biology from Loyola University in Chicago, and then earned her Ph.D. in human genetics from The University of Chicago. She has taught at USF since 2010.

“This promotion is recognition of the last 20 years of hard work and overcoming many challenges – from being only 21 years old when starting a PhD program at one of the best universities in the world and as a first-generation student, to having my children while in graduate school and as a post-doc, to being hired at USF first as a Visiting Assistant Professor and then a tenure-track Assistant Professor, and having to consistently learn new scientific methods to construct a successful research program. This is an acknowledgement of my continuing contributions to USF in the areas of teaching biology, research with undergraduates in genetics and genomics, service on numerous committees and within the scientific community, and my leadership as a department chair.  This promotion also helps to increase the number of Professors that are women at USF, as Professors who are women and especially in science disciplines continue to be in the minority across the country,” Wittke-Thompson said.

: :

The University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves close to 4,000 students nationwide and offers undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 51,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit stfrancis.edu.

University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose.

# # #

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn