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Alma Market

We are excited to announce the development of Alma Marker, an online store where visitors can shop Illini-owned businesses and support their favorite local Urbana-Champaign retailers from the comfort of home. 

Click here to become a vendor. 

Tarleton: Food industry professional, ACES alum pays it forward as a mentor

It’s 6 a.m., and Nick Tarleton is on a bus with 20 or so university students. They’ve just left Oak Brook, Illinois, and they’re headed to their first stop of the day on their behind-the-scenes tour of the food and beverage processing industry in the Chicago area.

Tarleton calls out, “What are you most excited to see today?” Inevitably, someone answers back, “How do you have so much energy?!”

It’s not part of Tarleton’s job to be on that bus with the students—he’s a volunteer. He does it because he believes in paying it forward, something that grew in him as a student in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) at the University of Illinois.

Today, Tarleton works as a supervisor of U.S. supply chain management for the McDonald’s Corporation. While his work in the food industry may be one of his greatest passions, mentoring young people and introducing them to opportunities comes in a close second.

Also high on Tarleton’s list is his love for U of I and the College of ACES, and connecting people back to his alma mater.

Read more on ACES News.

ACES Family Academies 2022

We are excited to bring back ACES Family Academies for the Summer of 2022! We will provide more information as it become available. Please continue to check our website and social medias for updates. With any questions or concerns please contact us

Alumna with resilience mentality serves as diversity, inclusion, thought partner

URBANA, Ill. - Doris Houston’s experience growing up in Chicago, and the influence of her family, “planted the seeds” of her passion for equity, diversity and inclusion, a passion that would take her from a legislative internship to championing diversity at the university level.

Houston, an alumna of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at University of Illinois, was raised in a culture of people standing up for rights and being on the forefront of social justice. She explains that her mother, for example, was part of a group that boycotted a local grocery store for selling sub-standard food in African American communities.

Houston received her bachelor’s in social work from the U of I and later returned to complete her master’s and doctoral degrees in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS). She recently began her role at Illinois State University as the assistant to the president for diversity and inclusion.

Meaning and impact have followed Houston throughout her career.

Read Doris' full story on the College of ACES News page.


The College of ACES Alumni Association is excited to introduce a new ACES Alumni Association board member! Welcome, Amanda!

Amanda Taylor

Extension Director

Amanda Taylor, Ed.M., serves as the assistant director of field operations for Extension and Outreach in the College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois.  In this role, Amanda provides strategic support in the development and implementation of policies and procedures for Illinois Extension.  She leads the organizational training needs for the organization and oversees the volunteer management, risk management, onboarding, and the mentoring program. 

Amanda has a master’s degree in education and a Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural communications both from the University of Illinois.  Prior to her taking this position, she served as a 4-H Youth Development Educator and County Director with Purdue Extension. 

Amanda lives in Monticello, Ill., with her husband and three daughters.  She enjoys attending their numerous activities, serving as both a softball coach and 4-H leader.  She enjoys time in her garden and volunteering for numerous local organizations in her community.

The College of ACES Alumni Association is excited to introduce a new ACES Alumni Association board member! Welcome, Duane!

Duane Noland

District 5 Director

Duane Noland is the President and Chief Executive Officer for the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives based in Springfield.  The association represents 29 electric cooperatives and six telephone cooperatives. Duane’s family has been a member of Shelby Electric Cooperative since 1938 and he is the fourth president of the association, since formed in 1942.

He previously represented the citizens of central Illinois serving four terms in the Illinois House of Representatives and two terms in the Illinois Senate, retiring as Assistant Majority Leader. An active civic and agricultural leader, Duane served on the board of directors for Millikin University and Decatur Memorial Hospital and is a director of The Community Foundation of Macon County.

Duane and his wife Tina are members of the First Christian Church of Decatur. They have three children and seven grandchildren and are the seventh generation to reside on the centennial family farm in Macon and Christian counties.

The College of ACES Alumni Association is excited to introduce a new ACES Alumni Association board member! Welcome, Michael!

Michael Strauss


Mr. Strauss joined the Law Office of Gary L. Schlesinger in March, 2006, and he became a partner on September 1, 2010, when Schlesinger & Strauss, LLC, was formed.  Michael has practiced only family law since being admitted to the Illinois Bar.  He has handled family law cases in seven counties in the state of Illinois.  Michael also serves as a mediator and as a Child Representative or Guardian Ad Litem. Michael has served as an elected board member of A Safe Place – an organization dedicated to helping victims of domestic violence in Northern Illinois – and was recently elected vice president of the organization.

Michael has presented multiple times at the Lake County Family Law annual conference as well as to speak each year at the annual Illinois College of Law Student/Alumni conference on issues of family law and small law firm practice.  Michael was one of the co-editors of the Lake County legal publication, The Docket. Michael has also been elected to the Illinois State Bar Association Assembly and was appointed by the Illinois State Bar Association to the Family Law Section Counsel and the Child Law Section Counsel. Michael is one of the authors of the Illinois maintenance statute and has testified two times in 2018 before the House of Representative Committee in Springfield. In 2020, Michael testifed before an Illinois Senate committee on another bill he co-wrote regarding therapy.  Attorney Michael Strauss is also a member of the AACFL Advisory Board for Illinois. The American Academy for Certified Financial Litigators mission is to improve the efficiency of the court system, and to help the general public identify attorneys dedicated to integrating financial skills into the practice of law for their benefit.

Attorney Strauss was named a Rising Star in the area of Family Law by Super Lawyers Magazine in 2014 – 2017, a designation reserved for the top 2.5% of all Illinois attorneys under 40 and recently, Michael was awarded the distinction of Super Lawyers in 2018 – 2022, an honor reserved for only 5% of attorneys in Illinois. Chicago Daily Law Bulletin/Chicago Lawyer Magazine recognized Michael as one of the most talented up and coming young lawyers in Illinois, with his selection to the 40 Under Forty 2014 list. Michael is one of only two attorneys selected in Lake County, IL by the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin 40 Under Forty.  Michael has also been honored with the Oustanding Achievement Award for Extraordinary Contributions to the Community of Lake County (2018), Access to Justice Award (2018), The Wayne Flanigan Award (2020), and the Illinois State Bar Association's Richard H. Teas Award for Legislative Support.

The College of ACES Alumni Association is excited to introduce a new ACES Alumni Association board member! Welcome, Molly!

Molly Messner

Young Alumni Director-Chicago

Molly Messner is the Manager of External Manufacturing Procurement (Frozen) at The Kraft Heinz Company in Chicago, Illinois. Prior to this role she was a Buyer for Packaging Procurement at Kraft Heinz. During her time at Kraft Heinz, Molly has led engagement events through Kraft Heinz’s business resource groups, as well as social events supporting team morale. She is one of the most senior and longest tenure staff members on her team which allows her to be a resource to her team members. 

Since graduating from the College of ACES in 2016, Molly has stayed very connected with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the College of ACES alumni community. She was a member of the University’s DC Alumni chapter during her time living in Washington DC.  This allowed her to network with peers and create new friendships. She has also stayed connected to the College of ACES since graduation through participation in speaking to students in ACE341, a Career Exploration Course. 

Before working at Kraft Heinz, Molly worked at Lidl as a Buyer for Dairy Procurement and for Commercial Lynks, a commodity brokerage firm, as Sales Support. Molly stays involved outside of work through her role as a Kraft Heinz UIUC Undergraduate Recruiting Team Member. She also spends her free time teaching cooking classes with Kitchen Possible and fostering animals with Chicago-land animal shelters.

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Alumni Spotlight: Rachel Janovsky

When she began her studies at the University of Illinois, Rachel Janovsky would not have pictured herself working for an international aircraft manufacturing company. A 2018 graduate of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences (NRES), Janovsky has been able to leverage her College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) degree to ensure the health and safety of employees at Honda.

Janovsky started working at Honda’s automotive plant as a Safety Compliance Analyst. She created safety management plans, ensured the working environment was safe for assembly line workers, and prevented injuries through OSHA compliance. Janovsky later worked as the plant ergonomist. Discussing her time in the automotive industry, Janovsky points out that having traditional training in ACES sciences labs allowed her to better understand lab techniques and very essential safety methods.

Janovsky’s decision to choose NRES as a major was motivated by her goal of wanting to impact the world, while obtaining a hands-on education. In NRES, she learned ways to prevent natural disasters and help the environment. At Illinois, she was a James Scholar, member of Phi Sigma Sigma, served on the Panhellenic Council, and assisted on a research project with Dr. Eric Larson focused on the language in invasive species research papers. Janovsky published her research and won an award for her research poster she presented at Explore ACES.  Students interested in experiences like Janovsky’s can learn more on the NRES section of the ACES website.

One of her favorite parts about attending the College of ACES was the small class sizes and strong community that she formed with her peers over the four years while pursuing her degree. “My time in ACES allowed me to have more one-on-one time with professors, which led me to learn the concepts better,” she says.

Janovsky recently started a safety role at Honda Aircraft Company.  In her new role, she develops trainings and policies, ensures OSHA compliance, serves on the emergency responder team, evaluates new chemicals, and assists with injury preventative programs. Just as NRES provided her hands-on experiences impacting the world, Honda is affording her the same opportunity.

When asked to give advice for a young professional, Janovsky responded, “Five-year plans are a good starting point, but your career is going to lead you to places that you never imagined.”

She stresses the importance of taking advantage of opportunities when they are present. She also points out being a recent graduate provides you the unique chance to work or live somewhere you might not have considered previously.

In her free time, Janovsky likes to cook and has been able to develop her culinary skills during the pandemic.

Alumni Spotlight: Nora Rasure

With a bachelor’s degree in forestry and a love for adventure, Nora Rasure’s life and career have been nothing short of exciting. Rasure enjoyed a successful 40-year career with the US Forest Service and is now retired and living in Sisters, Oregon. While she was able to create amazing memories during her career, she was also able to make a difference by caring for public land and serving people.

Growing up, Rasure spent a lot of time outdoors and fell in love with nature. She joined 4-H, where she participated in several conservation, wildlife, and biology programs. However, the biggest influence on her passion was a week-long forestry camp in Wisconsin where she learned about all aspects of forest management and became completely enamored. These interests led her to the University of Illinois, where she received her bachelor’s of science Forestry.

Rasure fondly remembers her time in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES). She appreciated the diverse education she received here. It allowed her to have a forester background, but still pursue other interests within forestry because of her broad education. She was active in the Illini Foresters student organization, serving as the chairperson.

Reflecting on her time in ACES, her favorite part was the relationships. The small cohorts of the forestry program allowed her to make lifelong connections. The faculty also left an impression on her. They took a personal interest in students and cared about helping them reach their next goals, which she appreciated immensely, she recalls. That continues today. Learn more on the ACES future students page.

After graduation, Rasure started her career in the US Forest Service. She began supervising eight teens in Nevada. Her career, eventually, took her all over the US and in all different directions. She recently wrapped up her time as the regional forester in the Intermountain region. Her leadership role was significant. The region included 32 million acres, 12 national forests, and 3,000 employees. She had a wide range of responsibilities and decisions to make, and she interacted with people and nature on all levels.

Rasure says her career was “built over time.” She took advantage of opportunities that came her way to try new things and take on more leadership. “It’s not always comfortable or easy, but you just go with it,” said Rasure, who always felt that excitement and interest outweighed nerves and uncertainty.

Rasure’s career and journey have certainly brought her joy. Not only did she live in seven states, each special for their own reason, and travel all over the US, her job allowed an abundance of fun activities. She skied, went snowmobiling, river rafted, took horseback riding trail trips, and even rode a fat-tire bicycle – all while on the clock.

“Overall, my job gave me a lot of fulfillment,” she said.

Rasure will surely continue to find joy and adventure during her retirement. While the pandemic ruined her plans to travel more, she looks forward to doing that again. She also plans to spend more time with family and friends, as well as train her new golden retriever puppy. She’s been looking after herself physically with yoga and walking, but also mentally, as she is taking the time to learn about something new that interests her: holistic nutrition. Of course, she will stay engaged with her passion for the national forests. She joined the National Association of Forest Service Retirees, and is serving on its board. Overall, Rasure plans to take life at her own pace.

As for ACES students, “Be adventurous and explore different opportunities,” Rasure advises. “Don’t think you’ve got it all figured out, or that you have to have it all figured out. It’s a journey. It’s about trying new opportunities, exploring different paths, being open to possibilities, and finding things that bring you joy.”

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Join the 4-H Alumni Association

Were you a member of 4-H?  The University of Illinois Extension, Illinois 4-H, and the Illinois 4-H Foundation invite you to join the newly formed Illinois 4-H Alumni Association. A free life-time membership is available online . We hope your 4-H memories bring a smile to your face. We're creating memories daily with today's 4-H members.

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Online social networking is a great tool to stay in tought with alumni and friends from the College of ACES! We want to stay connected to you! We post regular updates about activities, alumni profiles, on campus happenings, etc. Stay connected with us!

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