News and Events

Tue, 11/06/2012

Wei-Hsin Chang, of Taiwan, has been awarded a $3,000 scholarship sponsored by BP.

Wei-Hsin is a first year master’s student studying bioenergy, part of the Illinois Professional Science Master’s (PSM) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Previously a patent engineer and then an analyst for a biotechnology start-up, Wei-Hsin became interested in bioenergy after reviewing alternative energy technologies. That initial research changed her opinion about bioenergy and developed into a quest to study bioenergy technologies, policy implications, environmental issues, and energy independence. 

“For me, the best way to engage is to go to the frontline – the American bioenergy industry. Studying bioenergy at the University of Illinois is the first step to equip myself with the fundamental knowledge,” Wei-Hsin noted.

This is the second year that BP has sponsored a scholarship for a bioenergy student in the Illinois PSM.

The Illinois PSM combines science disciplines with business.  Graduates assume roles at the intersection of science and business such as technical sales, laboratory manager, sales engineer, product development, and regulatory affairs officer.  Business coverage is built around the themes of leadership and teams, management and marketing, project and process management, finance, and regulatory policy.  The non-thesis program is designed to be completed in 16-months of full-time study on the Urbana-Champaign campus and includes an internship.

For more information about the Illinois PSM, including areas of study and admissions, visit

Contacts:  Kevin Sightler, Illinois PSM director,, (217) 265-5363; Natalie Bosecker,, (217) 244-9273.

Wed, 09/12/2012

Grant Hansen, Illinois PSM plant biology student, was awarded the 2012 Outstanding Volunteer Service Award. 

The award, given by the U of I's Office of Volunteer Programs, recongizes Grant's dedication to market research and small business consulting through the East Central Illinois chapter of SCORE, national volunteer organization supported by the US Small Business Administration.

Grant was nominated for the honor by his SCORE mentor, Dr. Mel DeGeeter, who also attended the awards ceremony (see photo).

Congratulations, Grant!

Thu, 07/19/2012
The Illinois PSM has created a new course as part of its business curriculum:  Science and Regulatory Policy.
The course was created through the efforts of many people, including people from industry to ensure the applied relevance of the course. 
At the conclusion of the course, students will be equipped with issue-spotting and problem-solving tools necessary for product development, product approval, or in advocacy work involving the interface of science with policy.
Jody Endres, faculty member in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, will lead the course.  Prof. Endres’s interdisciplinary research focuses on the nexus between environmental, agricultural, and energy policy from legal, political, sociological, and economic perspectives.  Her current work encompasses U.S., European, Brazilian and other international arenas.
All Illinois PSM students take the course in the fall semester of their second year of study.  For registration information, visit the Illinois PSM’s Current Students webpage.
For additional information on the Illinois PSM, visit us on the web at, email us at, or call (217) 265-5363
Mon, 05/21/2012

The Illinois PSM Advisory Board was created to help assure the workplace relevance of the PSM's business curriculum and professional activities.  The Board also offers strategic planning counsel to help assure the long-term success of the program and to enhance the program's industry connections.

The Board was created in 2009 -- the year the first Illinois PSM students enrolled -- and currently has 10 members.  The Board meets face-to-face two times per year, with Board members actively engaged year-round with with Illinois faculty and staff.

The Board had a successful spring meeting in Champaign on May 11.  Board members met with students, faculty, and staff on matters such as recruiting, internships, industry seminars, and career services.

Illinois PSM Advisory Board Members

     Andrew Dahlem, Chair
     Vice President
     Eli Lilly and Company

     Peter Bell
     Senior Director Research and Development
     Thermo Fisher Scientific

     Dave Dilley
     Sr. Executive Vice President and General Manager
     LI-COR Biosciences

     Keith A. Garleb
     Pediatric Research and Development

     Barbara Goodman
     Senior Vice President
     PROPEL, iBIO Institute

     Dan Kittle
     Vice President
     Research and Development
     Dow AgroSciences LLC

     Stig Lanesskog
     Associate Dean
     College of Business
     University of Illinois

     Mark Matlock
     Sr. Vice President Research
     Archer Daniels Midland Company

     Bob Randle
     Vice President Business Development
     Genera Energy LLC

     Keith Schafer
     Barilla America Inc.

Fri, 02/24/2012

On February 14th, students from undergraduate science majors came to the professional science master’s (PSM) workshop primed to learn about these new MS degrees.

The students quickly seized the small group discussions, led by five graduate students in the Illinois PSM, digging for answers to their questions. 

Facilitating conversations were Illinois PSM students

  • Molly Czopek (food science and human nutrition),
  • Miranda Morgan (plant biology),
  • Patrick Grady (bioenergy),
  • Casey Cheng (technical systems management), and
  • Lu Yu (agricultural production). 

The graduate students shared their background and their goals that originally sealed their choice of the Illinois PSM.  Attendees, in turn, probed PSM students for information about

  • internships,
  • successful search strategies,
  • expectations for the business courses, and
  • ties to industry through PSM’s seminars and workshops. 

Overall, a dynamic and wide ranging conversation!

Join our next discussion:  If you’re in or near Champaign-Urbana, the next PSM workshop is on

April 4th, 2012
4:00 – 5:20 pm
G46 Foreign Language Building

For more information, contact plant biology program coordinator Joan Huber at or (217) 333-5498.



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