The Society Board consists of twelve members elected for three year terms. From its ranks the Board elects four officers—Chairperson, Vice-Chair, Treasurer, and Secretary. Any member of the Society may put forth their name for service on the Board. The Nominating Committee of the Board develops the slate of candidates, and presents them to the membership for approval.
Mark earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in Biology/Molecular Biology from Beloit College and the University of Iowa. Over the past 35 years he has taught Biology and Chemistry plus the occasional Physical Anthropology course at Springfield College in Illinois; worked in various areas at Levi, Ray & Shoup, Inc.; and served on the Boards of several artistic, cultural, and educational organizations in central Illinois. Recently retired, he is working harder than ever on other interests—among them genealogy, early methods of photography, designing publications, and reading. Mark and his wife Cheryl, retired from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, live in Springfield.
Born and raised in Illinois, Reneé is pleased to apply her knowledge of nonprofit management to the efforts of the ISMS in her second term on the Board of Directors. Currently, she is a Library Assistant at the Hayner Genealogy and Local History Library in Alton, an independent consultant on nonprofit management and, an active United Way volunteer. Reneé’s background includes work in arts organization and museums; training and teaching; and, visiting museums across the globe.
As an educator and archaeologist, I believe strongly in the Illinois State Museum’s educational and research mission and its importance to Illinois and the Springfield community. Supporting that mission has been among my highest priorities since I came to Illinois as Assistant Professor in Anthropology at the University of Illinois’ Springfield campus in 2000 and was appointed as adjunct Research Associate at the ISM. My connection with the ISM has been an important resource for me in developing my archaeological research and has enriched educational opportunities for UIS students. Over the years, I have connected UIS students with the ISM through undergraduate and graduate student research projects, internships, curator guest lectures in my classes, and regular class field trips to the Research and Collection Center, the exhibit museum in Springfield, and Dickson Mounds Museum. My students and I have particularly benefited from the ISM’s distinguished record of interdisciplinary research and educational outreach in anthropology, geology, and ecology/life sciences. I participate regularly in the ISM’s Brown Bag lecture series and evening public lectures. I would welcome the opportunity to support the ISM and to continue developing connections between the ISM and UIS through service on the Society Board.
Bryan is currently employed at the Illinois Department of Human Services, Bureau of Policy Development, as the Manager of Research and Reporting. Previously, he has worked in healthcare for 30 years in various administrative capacities. As a resident of Springfield for over 37 years, he has served on various community and professional boards striving to enhance the services offered by these organizations. Bryan earned a B.S. degree from the University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh and an MBA degree from the University of Illinois – Springfield.
While I’m currently in-house counsel for Horace Mann, the bulk of my legal career has been spent serving the people of Illinois by working for various State of Illinois agencies. The last role I worked in at the State was as procurement counsel for the Illinois Department of Central Management Services. I was in that role when the Illinois State Museum System lost its funding and was forced to close the doors of the various museums. It was a sad day for the State of Illinois. I am also a mom of four girls (ranging in age from 11 to 3). We have frequented the State museum located in Springfield on several occasions. My children enjoy the museum and it gives them the opportunity to learn about the history and culture of the State of Illinois. We find it to be a wonderful and valuable addition to the Springfield community. I assume the other State museums are similarly important to the communities in which they are nearby. I believe it’s important that the State museums are managed in such a way that they can remain open for years to come - with or without full State funding. In addition, as I have gotten older, I have begun to realize how important it is to give back to the community and to be involved. By doing this, not only can I help to make my community a better place, but I will be setting an example for my daughters. A seat on the board of the Illinois State Museum Society sounds like a wonderful place to start. I would love to bring my unique set of experiences to the board to help ensure the longevity of the Illinois State Museum System.
Abraham Lincoln once stated that “The highest art is always the most religious, and the greatest artist is always a devout person”. From an early age, I knew my commitment to human services and the arts would be a driving force to help others in my community improve their quality of life and to better live the life they desired. My passion for the Arts stems from its innate ability to inspire me and others in the most creative and loving way. In diverse moments of my professional and personal life, the arts and cultural community has always facilitated my ability to tap into our shared universe of creative energy.
I remember organizing arts and cultural field trips and events for families and children in the Harlem community in New York City. I discovered early, as a volunteer in community-based organizations and in collaboration with faith-based organizations, that the arts have always had healing ingredients that challenged norms and allowed city dwellers of all ages and backgrounds to escape the concrete. From museums to Off-Broadway plays, father-daughter dances, waltz classes, jazz-fest to youth choirs, I have prided myself in organizing non-traditional, diverse and thought-provoking excursions. As the former Director of the REACH Workshop Program in Buffalo, NY. I fostered character development in the youth we served, through the infusion of culturally relevant exhibitions and educational programs.
As a career professional in Human Resources for close to a decade, I decided to make two major seismic shifts in my life. I moved into academia and I took up residency in a place where I had not grown up and to which I had no attachments. Despite these changes there is still one constant that remains and that is my passion for the arts. The State of Illinois is engulfed with rich history from slaves fighting for freedom by traveling on the Underground Railroad, historic sites build by Frank Lloyd Wright, and the first African American President of the United States, Barak Obama. In it’s efforts, Illinois State Museum has been one of the driving forces to preserve the cultural history of Illinois and life-long learning programs that educates residents or visitors to learn the contributions the people have made not only to the State but to the world.
My aspirations to be considered for membership for the Board at the Illinois State Museum, stems from deep and abiding respect for the institution’s goals and history. I hope to contribute my love for programming and the arts to the Institution. As a new resident of Illinois, I have the ambition to develop new and retain current relationships with people of all walks of life to help support the institution’s cultural education and charitable initiatives to preserve the history of the State of Illinois. I am confident that given the opportunity to join the Illinois State Museum Board, I am willing to complete my assign task as well as assist in other projects to fulfill and exceed the mission of the institution. In addition, I am adaptable to my work environment, diligent, creative, and open-minded and I have a willingness to learn. I believe the aforementioned characteristics would be a great asset to your Board.
Jo Nast received her MA in Anthropology with concentrations in Museum Studies, Art and Anthropology, and Material Culture. She is retired and spent over 15 years in Research Development Administration. In this role she served as Research Project Specialist in the Office of Research Development and Administration at SIUC and Director of the University's Undergraduate Research Program, and prior to that as Executive Director of Development and Research at John A. Logan College. Before entering research development, she was Curator of History at the University Museum at SIUC and began her career as Director of Educational Services at the former Illinois State Historical Library in Springfield.
Christine Yasuko Todd, MD FACP FHM received her undergraduate degree in English Language and Literature from The University of Chicago, her MD from Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, and did her residency and chief residency at the University Hospitals of the Case Western Reserve and Louis Stokes VAMC. She has been a faculty member at SIUSOM in the departments of Internal Medicine and Medical Humanities, and currently chairs the department of Medical Humanities as well as leading the Wellness Pillar of the Center for Human and Organizational Development at SIUSOM.