Back on campus for the first time in almost a decade, there was one stop Deirdre O’Sullivan had to make.
“In my recent visit to C-U, I spent time with my past advisor and dissertation chair, Dr. David Strauser, who is still a professor in kinesiology and community health,” says O’Sullivan, now a Penn State associate professor of educational psychology, counseling and special education (Ph.D. '09, kinesiology and community health).
“He and his family were incredibly generous to me throughout my time at Illinois, and during my recent visit. His mentorship has had a tremendously positive impact on my life, and continues to this day.
“I have many happy memories of my time at Illinois. I think I wrote most of my dissertation at Café Kopi and Café Paradiso, and did other work there as well, including too many hours of statistics homework.
“After particularly stressful weeks of studying and feeling exhausted, I’d reward myself by buying something at Circles boutique. I still have one of my favorite dresses I bought there over 10 years ago, so although it was a splurge on my graduate assistantship salary at the time, 10 years later, it was good investment.
“One memorable night during my first year there, I saw the band Interpol play at the basketball arena, and afterwards went to Crane Alley, in Urbana, on my way home. Well, the band happened to be there, so I got to hang with the band I just saw perform.
“I remember other great shows during my time there at local venues, including with great friends Nikki and Travis, who were cohort members in my program, and who are working in academic research and medicine today.”