Jennifer Follis gave Lyanne Alfaro a jolt of confidence.
"To date, her science journalism class is one of my favorites of all time,” Alfaro says. “It’s the reason I picked up an environmental science minor and also the reason I could realistically see myself covering a field which is typically less common for women — business. She gave me the confidence to go forth into the world and cover everything from features to breakthrough research.”
Christopher Benson taught her that nothing matters more than ethics.
“Not only was he a professor. He was a scholar, author and more. He taught me a lot about journalism ethics and how to be thoughtful before taking on any coverage. Crucial skills I use today.
“He also was a role model in how we can be multi-dimensional professionals. Now, by day I do coverage at Nasdaq, but also write for myself, for my newsletter followers and freelance too. Because, why not? You can, indeed, do it all. Professor Benson did.”
Brant Houston introduced her to the investigative side of journalism.
“We learned about scraping, responsibly reporting and paying attention to details. He also vouched for his students, and gave us incredible opportunities to report in depth in Urbana-Champaign.”
And Ronnie Kann provided her with whatever she needed at the time — a shoulder, an ear, a home away from home.
“Affectionately known as La Doña at La Casa Latina on the UIUC campus, she very sadly passed away due to ALS in 2016. But she was more than a mentor; she was an anchor and someone I could come to when I needed academic or personal advice.
“Being away from home and in a campus town wasn’t always the easiest, but Ronnie provided a sense of home and Latinx pride that I could always count on. She oversaw cozy networking events for students and impeccable programming for anyone wanting to learn about Latino culture, research and literature.”