Secret Lives Of Southeast Faculty & Staff


Story / Rachel Holdmeyer
Photography / Jeganaath Mudaliar

 

THE COMPETITIVE EDGE-UCATOR

Twenty-six. That’s the total number of medals Dr. Diana Rogers-Adkinson, dean of the College of Education, has earned in the past five years competing locally, regionally and nationally in 50, 60, 100 and 200 meter sprints.

Rogers-Adkinson was inspired to run after attending her children’s track and field meets. Sprinting seemed like something fun, so she gave it a try and soon discovered she had talent. The sport gives her a healthy place to put her competitive drive, and she continues to be motivated by her success.

Rogers-Adkinson favors the 60- and 100- meter dashes because she excels at those the most. Proud of her ability to get off the blocks, she currently runs the 100 in 17 seconds; her best time for the 60 is a very impressive 10 seconds flat.

Whenever she gets the chance, she will continue to compete in sprinting, hopefully adding to her already significant medal count.

 

THE “SPIRITED” MARKETING PROFESSOR

The stories of the dead can only be shared by the living. In Carbondale, Illinois, their stories are told by one of Southeast’s marketing professors, Dr. Scott Thorne.

Every October, Thorne talks conversion of a different kind than what’s discussed in his marketing classes as he makes believers of those who attend his Friday and Saturday night walking tours of haunted places. Spilling the secrets of buildings such as the train depot, public library and, one of his personal favorites, the Hundley House.

“The Hundley House is the site of the most famous unsolved murder in Carbondale history,” he says, explaining the story behind the house and why it’s so fascinating. In 1928, the Hundleys were murdered in the house. Their son was tried for the crime, but a lack of evidence could not bring conviction. Now the house can’t seem to rest; there are reports of lights turning on and off, electronics acting haywire and more.”

Thorne has followed his fascination to other states and even witnessed a potentially paranormal orange ball of light called the Hornet Spook Light along the Devil’s Promenade in Oklahoma. No matter the location, nearly every bizarre phenomenon and haunted site has a legend behind it, and with every legend comes a new story for Thorne to tell.

 

THE PIG-FRIENDLY ASSISTANT REGISTRAR

At 220 pounds and an estimated 130 pounds, there’s nothing mini about Ryan’s two Juliana mixes. Three-year-old Flash is larger than his two-year-old brother, Ziggy (pictured), who still has some growing to do.

After a day at the office, Assistant Registrar Ryan Heslinga returns home to a couple atypical companions. He and his wife, Amanda, own two “pet-size” pigs: Flash Gourdan and Ziggy Stardust.

Heslinga has always loved pigs, valuing them for their intelligence, cuteness and, perhaps surprisingly, their cleanliness. The smartest domestic animals and among the most intelligent species in the world, Ziggy and Flash both know their names and come when called. Heslinga taught Flash to squeak on command in exchange for cheerios; a regrettable decision as he began squeaking all over the house wanting more. Perhaps Flash is a little too smart.

At home, the pigs share their own room and are spoiled by air conditioning, cozy blankets and fluffy dog pillows. Whether they realize it or not, Ziggy and Flash are living the good life.

 

THE “AMPED-UP” PSYCHOLOGY PROFESSOR

Since the age of 10, Psychology Professor Jeremy Heider has been playing the guitar and loving hard rock and heavy metal music. As Heider transitioned into his teen years, he had a far greater appreciation for the artistry.

“When I was 16, I got into what I would call my first serious band,” Heider says. “We would load up an old Chevy cargo van and drive all over the Midwest.”

Seeking opportunities to play, the northern Illinois-based band would venture to other areas of the state or to out-of-state locations. They made it as far west as South Dakota and as far east as Ohio, performing mostly original music for small audiences at bars and clubs.

“One night there’d be 20 people there listening to you and on another night there might be two or three hundred,” Heider recalls. Once, at a festival in Cleveland, he played for a crowd of an estimated 1,000 people.

“Even playing in front of a couple hundred people at a bar or a club of some kind was really, really exciting and exhilarating,” explains Heider.

Though his band days are behind him and today he “performs” before much smaller audiences in his psychology classes, Heider hasn’t hung up the guitar for good. He still plays the instrument and uninhibitedly enjoys the adrenaline-fueled music.

 

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