SIC students urged to follow their passion during politics series
A group of 65 Southeastern Illinois College (SIC) students recently received an inside look into the world of politics by taking part in the college's Pizza and Politics series.
Legislative aide and alumna Dana Hooven and retired state Senate assistant majority leader Duane Noland shared experiences with students after receiving invites from Matt Lees, SIC’s chair of the social science division, according to a college press release.
Hooven passionately lectured students about overcoming obstacles and the need to be resilient, urging them to "[a]lways listen to your heart, follow your passion, and get involved."
In 2007, she was diagnosed with an inoperable tumor at the base of her brain. After treatment, Hooven, a mom of two, returned to SIC, enrolling in the veterinary technology program and changing her major to political science, the release said. She now is a legislative aide for state Sen. Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg), working in the area of public policy.
“Dana is clearly a fighter,” Lees said, according to the release. “There are not many that can match her determination and sheer will to succeed.”
The same can be said of Noland, who was a mentor to Lees. He is now [resident and CEO of the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives, an organization representing 24 electric cooperatives including SouthEastern Illinois Electric Cooperative in southern Illinois.
Noland also served four terms in the Illinois House of Representatives and two terms in the Illinois Senate.
“(SIC) has generated so many elected officials, staffers, along with its award winning Model Illinois Government team,” he said, according to the release. “That is impressive.”