"Millikin is what you make it."
Millikin University senior criminal justice major and Carbondale (Ill.) native Eva Anthony did not intend on attending college in her home state, let alone a small private institution like Millikin. Now four years later, she has made waves throughout her time on campus because of leadership and Performance Learning opportunities.
Anthony began her journey at Millikin as a computer science major but found herself enrolling in a few criminal justice courses based on her interests. After finally changing her major to criminal justice later in her college career, she began to feel as though she had found her passion.
Anthony said, "I like the idea of helping people in domestic violence situations and getting kids out of bad areas, so just having those classes I was in I was like 'yeah, this is where I'm supposed to be.'"
Despite being a relatively new major at Millikin, Anthony is confident the Millikin Criminal Justice program has developed into one of the best of its kind. "We have better opportunities and more raw conversations in my personal opinion," she said.
Anthony attributes the success of the program to the director of Millikin University's Criminal Justice Department and director of the Macon County Teen Justice Program, Dr. Keyria Rodgers. When asked what made Rodgers stand out Anthony said, "She doesn't sugarcoat it. She gives you the raw experience and I love it."
Throughout her time at Millikin, Anthony has been able to explore real world criminal justice opportunities alongside Professor Rodgers. She was able to intern with Rodgers through a restorative justice circle and gained networking opportunities that will benefit her far after graduation.
"I feel like the networking we have as students and the raw experiences has really prepare us," Anthony said about her preparedness for post-grad life.
Not only is Anthony enhancing her Millikin experience through her major, but she is also impacting the campus community by serving as an EDGE mentor, membership chair for Sister Circle and president of Black Student Union.
"They have helped me to meet people I would not have met if I wasn't in those positions …They push me to be the best leader I can be," Anthony said.
This year, Anthony has played a large role in the planning of Millikin's Black History Month celebration and programming.
Black History Month gives, not only the campus community, but the Decatur (Ill.) community a time where some of the more difficult conversations that need to be had can be discussed in a safe environment that fosters growth and development.
"I love when people from outside communities come and we can have those conversations that we don't normally get to have in the class settings. I just love that it's giving us a bridge," Anthony said.
This year, Anthony is excited to work alongside Tonya Hines, director of the Long-Vanderburg Scholarship Program at Millikin and associate director of Campus Life for Engagement & Leadership, to help bring artists like Paul Branton '95 and the Chris Greene Quartet to campus to celebrate Black History Month.
When asked to describe Millikin, Anthony used one word … "evolving."
"From when I got here four years ago, you can definitely see the changing in Millikin and how they're trying to be better and trying to have those tough conversations," Anthony said. "I just love the fact that Millikin is changing everything and trying to be a better university."
Anthony has a positive outlook on the changes Millikin is addressing when it comes to inclusivity. She is playing a big part in the process through her leadership roles and the programming she is helping to bring to campus.
She emphasizes to current and incoming students the importance of making their own Millikin experience.
"Millikin is what you make it. It's not surface level. If you see it as 'that's how everybody is supposed to see it,' it's really not for you … If you give Millikin a chance, and you join the organizations and you meet new people, it's going to be a really great experience."
After graduation Anthony plans to pursue her master's and doctoral degrees and hopes to pursue a career in domestic violence with a concentration on children. She hopes to "help children get out of those bad situations and give them a second chance."