Stephanie Whitaker is an alumna from University of Illinois Circle Campus earning a BA in Political Science (LAS) and a Masters of Public Administration (CUPPA). An employee of UIC since 1993, she was previously Special Assistant to the Associate Chancellor for Development. Currently in the Department of Political Science, Mrs. Whitaker serves as the Coordinator for Undergraduate and Development Programs. She has won both the UIC Award of Merit and the Chancellor’s Academic Professional Excellence awards.
A born and bred Chicagoan she has a passion for culture and young people. Over the past 30 years she has engaged young people at all levels, educationally, through sports, mentorship and tutoring programs. She has developed enrichment programs and partnered with local agencies to help students achieve and become their best selves.
The mother of two sons, she started a chapter of Boys-To-Men a mentoring and etiquette program to help boys, within the community she lived in at the time, see role models and learn about possible career choices. She did fundraising and sought grants to pay for cultural outings to expose the young people to experiences outside of their communities.
Mrs. Whitaker partnered with the local Park District in River Forest to start a sports/mentorship program– the NetMasters. The NetMasters was a program open to all boys from 4th – 8th grade whose families were looking for afterschool homework space and a place for guys to play basketball. “We recruited coaches, referees, and tutoring/homework volunteers. My kids loved to be in the gym and I saw a need for other families who needed a safe space for their boys.” The program grew into a 4th-8th grade sports and school support program open to both boys and girls. “I ran this program while still holding down a full-time job, being a full-time mom, and a wife.”
In addition to the student support and programming she is involved in for her department, Mrs. Whitaker is involved with several initiatives here on campus including the Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of Blacks (which she previously Co-chaired), the Provost Diversity Advisory Committee, the Black Alumni Advisory Council (BAAC), and COLLABORATE. “I believe it is through my service that I build strategic relationships and I am more spiritually fulfilled. Even when there are roadblocks, I find a way to get things done. I enjoy being part of the discussion and solution on issues of equity and parity. Sometimes it’s an exhausting process, but I don’t know how to give up.”