Meet the Team

Meet the Explore ACES Steering Committee!

We are proud of our outstanding students serving on the Explore ACES Steering Committee and we are excited to announce the 2018-2019 members! The Committee plays a huge role in developing and planning Explore ACES to ensure a positive experience for every person who attends.

Christy Allen

Christy is a second-year committee member from Arthur, IL. The senior studying Agricultural Communications is extremely active in the College of ACES, as a member of the Student Advancement Committee, Collegiate Farm Bureau, ACES Council, Illini Agricultural Communication of Tomorrow, and Agricultural Future of Tomorrow. She is also involved with Illini Pride and is a member of the 4-H House Cooperative Sorority. Her advice to students on why they should choose ACES is:

“You’ll find a family and earn a degree that is widely respected. This truly is your launching pad to wherever you want to go.”


Eva Bacon

A first year committee member from Charleston, IL, Eva is currently a junior pursuing a degree in Dietetics. Eva is the Social Outreach Chair for the Student Dietetic Association, a JBT Team Leader, and an Undergraduate Research Assistant in the N-R Lab in FSHN. Eva describes her love for the College of ACES as:

“After three years in college, I have learned many useful lessons, but one of the most profound lessons I have learned is the importance of being surrounded by a community of people who are for you and truly want to help you succeed. To me, that is what the College of ACES is built on; faculty, staff, and fellow students who genuinely want to see everyone thrive and that is why I love the College of ACES.”


Zach Becker

Zach is a sophomore from Amboy, IL pursuing a major in Agricultural and Consumer Economics. He is an active member of the FarmHouse Fraternity, Alpha Zeta Morrow, as well as Collegiate Farm Bureau. His best piece of advice for future students considering Illinois is:

The amount of opportunities Illinois and the College of ACES can provide you will exceed almost all other universities. There are countless study abroad trips, registered student organizations, and research projects for students to participate in.”

Jerry Brockett

Jerry, a senior in Agricultural Leadership & Science Education from Greenup, IL, is a third year Explore ACES Steering Committee Member. On campus Jerry is involved in FarmHouse Fraternity, Collegiate Farm Bureau, Horticulture Club, Agricultural Education Club, Phi Eta Sigma, and Order of Omega. As a senior, Jerry leaves this advice with future students of why you should choose Illinois:

You will get an experience like no other. The staff is first class, I felt valued and a welcome part to any experience, and there are so many outside opportunities and events to make yourself a greater part of the college and campus.”

Harley Carlson

Harley is currently a senior majoring in Agricultural Science Education. The Altona, IL native is a third- year Explore ACES Steering Committee Member. On campus she is a member of the 4-H House Cooperative Sorority, an Alpha Tau Alpha National Officer, College of ACES Recruiter, 212 Conference Facilitator, as well as the Agricultural Education Club President. She describes her favorite class experience as:

“My favorite class was Dr. Korte’s 420 class.  In this class we were required to go into classrooms to observe, interact, and teach students.  Our class time was spent discussing the struggles and successes we had trying to figure out how to teach.  This was the class that made my entire college experience worth it. It was that class that told me I was right where I was supposed be!”

Vanessa Gould

Vanessa is a junior from Elburn, IL majoring in Agricultural Science Education. In addition to the Explore ACES Steering Committee, she is also a member of the ACES Student Advancement Committee, Agricultural Education Club, College Diabetes NEtwork, adn serves as the ACES Council SAC Representative. Vanessa details what she loves about the College of ACES below:

“I love that it’s a community that truly pushes you to be your best. Not only do they challenge you within your field, major, and concentration, but they encourage you to gain various different experiences to become a more well-rounded person and student. They invest in you individually and offer so many opportunities to develop yourself academically, personally, and professionally-you can tell they really want you to succeed.”

Laine Honegger

Laine is a junior majoring in Agricultural and Consumer Economics from Forest, IL. As a second-year committee member, Laine is serving as Co-Director of Explore ACES. On campus, Laine is involved in 4-H House Cooperative Sorority, North American Marketing Association (NAMA), Dairy Club, and Collegiate Farm Bureau.

Andrew Johnson

Andrew is a junior majoring in Agricultural and Consumer Economics with a minor in Spanish. The second-year Committee Member from Mahomet, IL serves as the Vice Chair of Advancement for the ACES Student Advancement Committee, President of Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity, and is a member of the Orange Krush and Block I. When asked about why he enjoys the College of ACES, Andrew had this to say:

“I love the College of ACES because of all of the opportunities that exist within it.  From professional or academic meetings to social events, the College does an excellent job of providing a welcoming and inviting experience for all students to make the most of their four years in ACES.”

Emily Martin

Emily, a junior in Agricultural and Consumer Economics from Mason City, IL, is a first-year committee member. On campus, Emily is involved in ACES Student Advancement Committee, Agricultural Accounting Club, ACE Club, and the Campus Honors Program. Emily is also a Division I Athlete on the University of Illinois Swimming and Diving Team. She describes her love for the College of ACES as:

“The thing that I love the most about the College of ACES is that it is like a family. The massive student population of the University of Illinois in total can be extremely overwhelming, especially to incoming freshmen. Yet, ACES is an extremely close-knit College where everyone is rooting for your success. I love my ACES family!”

Madison Mitchell

Madison is currently a sophomore majoring in Agricultural and Consumer Economics. The Mahomet, IL native is a first-year Explore ACES Steering Committee Member. On campus, she is involved in 4-H House Cooperative Sorority, ACE Ambassadors, Collegiate Farm Bureau, and Dairy Club. Madison’s favorite class experiences have been with Professor Paul Stoddard.

“Professor Stoddard has the ability to connect with students on a personal level and offer hands-on opportunities to expand their knowledge of the agricultural industry. ACE 293 allowed me to earn credit for my internship this past summer for completing small projects for Professor Stoddard that allowed me to reflect upon what I learned in the classroom and link and it to my internship.”

Matthew Raab

Matthew is a senior studying Agricultural and Consumer Economics. Matthew is originally from St. Joseph, Illinois and is involved with the Collegiate Farm Bureau, ACES Without Borders, and the Explore ACES Steering Committee. When asked for any advice on why students should think about choosing Illinois and specifically the College of ACES, Matthew had this to say

“Choosing a college to attend after high school is a big decision and one that includes many different factors. My advice for you while you are making your college decision is to look at the quality of education you will be receiving. When I made my decision to attend the University of Illinois and join the College of ACES community I was confident that I would be learning from some of the most qualified and reputable people in their respective field.”

Stephen Riskedal

Stephen is a second year Steering Committee Member from Leland, IL. The senior studying Technical Systems Management is involved with the FarmHouse Fraternity as well as Collegiate Farm Bureau. According to Stephen, his favorite place(s) on campus revolve around sports:

“My favorite place on campus is the State Farm Center.  Basketball games are electrifying. This season will be my fourth year in Orange Krush.  I always sit in the first few rows behind the visitor bench. There is nothing on campus like it, except for maybe Stuff Huff!”

Lauren Southwood

Lauren, a senior from Astoria, IL,  is currently majoring in Human Development and Family Studies. She is a third-year member and is currently the Director of Special Events on the Explore ACES Steering Committee. On campus, Lauren is involved in Illinithon, Panhellenic Council, and 4-H House Cooperative Sorority. According to Lauren, One thing that most people don’t know about ACES is:

The Bevier Cafe has the best brussel sprouts and ranch I’ve ever had in my life. Also, Bevier Hall has a cafe. Who knew?”

Emily Vaughn

Emily, a junior in Crop Sciences is a second-year committee member from Gilman, IL. On campus, Emily is involved in Sigma Alpha Professional Agricultural Sorority, Department of Crop Sciences Student Ambassador, and Field and Furrow Club. According to Emily, one thing most people don’t know about the College of ACES is:

“As an undergraduate student, you can get lots of hands-on research experience in the field and in the lab if you connect with a professor who researches something you are interested in. Professors are more than eager to hire undergraduate research assistants.”

Oakley Whalen

Oakley is a junior from Sheridan, IL majoring in Agricultural Leadership Education. On campus, Oakley works at Campus Ink and the University of Illinois Foundation. Oakley is also involved in 4-H House Cooperative Sorority. According to Oakley, the College of ACES is her home away from home: 

“I am so grateful for the opportunities that the College of ACES has provided me with. The family atmosphere that the College of ACES generates is second to none and I can’t imagine what my college experience would be like without it.”

Laura Whipple

Laura is a sophomore majoring in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences. She is originally from Barrington, IL and is involved with The Wildlife Society, Red Bison, Beekeeping Club, University of Illinois Astronomical Society, and Alpha Zeta Morrow. Laura attended Explore ACES in high school and describes her experience as follows:

“My favorite memory from Explore ACES was the NRES department presentation my senior year of high school. A guest from a local nature center came in to speak about wildlife opportunities on campus. And she brought an owl to help out! The owl was a rescue that had been rehabilitated at the nature center. The guest speaker walked around the room, letting all of the students get a good look at the bird. It was such a cool experience getting to see wildlife in a classroom setting like that!”



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Welcome to Explore ACES!

The College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) invites you to join us at Explore ACES -a fun, interactive day to learn more about the academic and career opportunities available through ACES!

We understand that choosing a college is one of the biggest decisions you will make in your lifetime. You can only learn so much through hearing about the institution through word of mouth or testimonials. That’s why Explore ACES was created. Explore ACES is not only a day where you can see the college and what it has to offer, but experience what your future could be.

The day will include a variety of activities designed to give students an inside look at ACES and the chance to ask questions and learn about different areas of the college and university. Some of these activities include:
– Interactive, hands-on Experiences hosted by our academic departments
– Numerous interactive booths hosted by our student organizations
– Tours of the ACES Quad
– A resource fair that will include representatives available to answer questions about Study Abroad, Housing, Greek Life, Student Support, Scholarships, and more!

Imagine your future by attending Explore ACES. Find out what academic and career opportunities await you with the College of ACES! 

Registration for Explore ACES is not required, but it does assist us in preparing for the event and ensuring that we are prepared to answer your questions and address your interests!

We hope to see you there!