IMSA Playlist

We know and acknowledge that this pandemic has been overwhelming for many people. It has challenged each of us and our families in ways that we could have never imagined. Thank you for showing up each day for IMSA and our students. We want to help each other feel uplifted and inspired. One of the ways to uplift ourselves and each other is through music. Let’s not just survive – give it our best shot to be resolved to thrive!

If you do not have a YouTube Premium account, there will be ads in between the songs. Also, some lyrical and/or video content may contain words, language or images that may be considered offensive. IMSA does not endorse the material in this collection.

Song Name and Artist How does each song you are submitting reflect you, or push you through a moment?
“High Hopes” by Panic at the Disco “It brings back good memories.”
“JB’s Monorail” by The JB’s
“Symphony of Brotherhood” by Miri Ben-Ari ft Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK)
“Summer Madness (Extended Mix)” by Kool & The Gang
“Stutter” by Elastica “What the song is about makes me giggle. It’s quite cheeky, to be honest. But it’s more the music, the beat the sound of it that perks me up. I love the lead singer’s voice and it’s a very energetic beat.”
“Lovely Day” by Bill Withers “This song always reminds me to smile!”
– submitted by Stacey Slaughter
“All Will be Well” by The Gabe Dixon Band “‘All will be well’ is my mantra; when the going gets tough (and it always does) I pause, and I try to focus my energy on the things that I can control. I allow myself the opportunity to feel what I feel (mad, sad, frustrated, annoyed, etc.) but I try not to dwell on or linger in those feelings for too long. This song always makes me feel better. The piano is beautiful; the melody is catchy. Coupled with a few nice, long, deep breaths, this song truly can be therapeutic!”
– submitted by Christine Moskalik
“A Day in the Life” by The Beatles
“Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” by The Beatles
“Shotgun” by George Ezra
“They have different topics, and A Day in the Life has some questionable influences, but they all make me feel better. One of my earliest memories, when my family lived in Randall West Apartments, was walking to the pool with my siblings and friends singing “I wanna hold your hand”. At that time, WLS was THE rock and roll radio station, and the Beatles were always being played.”
– submitted by Tom Meyer
“I Can See Clearly Now” by Johnny Nash “The song takes me back to one of the best theatrical experiences in my life (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Bridge Theatre, London, 2019), and it just creates this springy atmosphere of hope.”
– submitted by Irina Zaykovskaya
“Ooh Child” by Nina Simone
“Get Back Up Again” by Anna Kendrick
“I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack
“1 and 2 because they are in fact about pushing through and keeping outside voices quiet, they are about inner strength and self worth. 3 because it is about the wonder of the little things, it is about recognizing the beauty in the world and all there is to live for. It’s about getting outside of yourself and embarrassing the beauty around you.”
– submitted by Nadia Miskowiec
“Wide Open” by The Chemical Brothers Ft. Beck “This song is a beautifully distracting ear-worm; the video is so cool, too. The lyrics resonate with me because there have been times in my life where I have lost track of who I am which can be sad and scary; in these moments I realize parts of me and my values are changing/evolving, and that’s OK. As long as I ‘slow me down’ when I’m ‘getting away from me’ (myself), I am reminded to become ‘wide open’ and allow new experiences to help reshape who I am and discover my (new/improved) self again. The bottom line: this song reminds me to be patient and gentle with myself, but also has a fun and upbeat sound (a reminder that there can be joy and fun moments even during our individual struggles, as long as we are open to seeing them).”
– submitted by Christine Moskalik
“Brother, Seasons, Who Am I” by NeedtoBreathe “One of the main things that has given me the strength and the encouragement to surthrive this crazy year has been my Faith and knowing I am not alone or going through this by myself. I have my wife, family, friends and ultimately my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. “Who Am I” is a reminder to me that no matter what a mess I am or what a mess I’m going through there is a God who loves me.”
– submitted by Steve Dutcher
“A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri “I see the video of my son in my head watching over two of his kiddos while they were taking a bath and his youngest in his arms while he is singing and swaying to keep him happy. It melts my heart!”
– submitted by Julie May
“The Battle” by Hans Zimmer “Upbeat, forceful rhythms keep you awake and give you energy.”
– submitted by Micah Fogel
“Treat People with Kindness” by Harry Styles
“This is Me” by The Greatest Showman Soundtrack
“A Head Full of Dreams” by Coldplay
– submitted by Suzi Leigh
“Zoom” by The Commodores “One of my many favorites from the 70’s! Makes me wanna tap my toes, snap my fingers, clap my hands and sway away.”
– submitted by Tamara Newquist
“From Now On” from The Greatest Showman “It gets me up and dancing around the kitchen; very uplifting.”
– submitted by Leslie
“Let’s Work Together” by Dwight Yoakum “It IS about working together to support our students. As Bob Houston said when we retired: “Be Kind to Each Other” as we work.”
– submitted by Rich Busby
“Back in Flesh” by Wall of Voodoo
“Hole in the Ice” by Neil Finn
“The Wheel and the Maypole” by XTC
For the Wall of Voodoo song: ‘who doesn’t feel this way at times?’ For the Neil Finn song: ‘Musically and lyrically one of the greats by a long -time but lesser known musician’. For the XTC song: ‘What an underrated band. Just listen to the lyrics…’
– submitted by Nicole Ross
“For the Cool in You” by Babyface Reminds me to keep my composure.”
– submitted by Willie M. Mayes Sr.
“Here Comes the Sun” by The Beatles
“Imagine” by John Lennon
“Viva La Vida” by Coldplay
“It gets me up and dancing around the kitchen; very uplifting.”
– submitted by Rich Schultz

IMSA Work/Stay at Home Selfies

Whether you are working from home, or staying at home, enjoy these selfies taken by your colleagues and their tips for staying positive and productive during this time of isolation.  We are one QuaranTeam!  Stay home. Stay strong. Stay well.

Dr. Torres and Van Gogh
President and CEO

I'm learning that back-to-back Zoom meetings are draining! I'm beginning to go out of the house and walk around the block between meetings. I tried to do push-ups between meetings, but after one set, I'm reconsidering this idea! At night, Isabel, my wife, and I veg a little and watch TV; actually, the TV watches us as we fall asleep in front of it!

About the picture: I had to bribe our cat, Van Gogh, from his daily nap under our bed to get this photo. I love the commute to my office and that if I don't comb my hair, I can wear a hat and that if I don't shave every day, it doesn't show up on Zoom that clearly!

Bud and His Smoker

Chief Operations Officer

A necessary part of my workday includes regular 10 minute breaks away from all mental stimulation as this is a way I recharge my batteries. The selfie shows where I take these breaks now. Who needs a windowless office when you have this! I frequently have some surprise guests show up, mostly not human.

While I have never seen the Brady Bunch show... with all these Zoom meetings I feel like I am living the Brady Bunch dream. Beyond breaking up the day with my recharge times, I also take a long walk of 2 to 3 miles daily, rain or snow or shine. After the work day ends, I do a lot of smoking and grilling and have late night binged a few netflix shows... always a good escape from reality. As I try to do every day of my life, I stay positive and know that we will get through this and we all will be stronger at the end of it, likely in ways we never imagined.

Be safe.

Katie Berger

Chief Student Affairs Officer

I set up an "office" that I enjoy and feel comfortable working in, but have realized that if I stay in this space all day, I start to experience back pain and like many of you, find back to back Zoom meetings to be draining! I've started to have more phone conversations for quick questions and updates instead of Zoom meetings so I can walk while talking and have adapted to moving to various locations in my house throughout the day.

Like many of my colleagues, I've also adjusted to having my two littlest co-workers around more often. I haven't had to report them to HR yet, but we shall see what the next month brings 🙂 Eliza (3 years old) and Bennett (10.5 months) are becoming very comfortable with video chats and are pictured here enjoying a Zoom meeting with my extended family!

Alexis and Axel Rose

Chief Strategic Partnerships and Initiatives Officer

This work from home opportunity was unexpected. I have worked from home before, but not in a quarantined situation. So, I am learning a lot. I am addressing this situation as an... OPPORTUNITY. To stay positive and energized, I am drinking my Daily Harvest smoothie every morning and meditating before starting my work day.

This little guy... Axel Rose tends to jump in my Zoom meetings sometimes to show me a little love. Also, face timing with my little 5 year old niece at nighttime who gives me the inside scoop of what her little brother and sister are doing and not doing recharges me for the next day.

And, oh yeah... I did binge watch Tiger King on Netflix last Saturday.

I have learned to take it one day at a time, to be thankful for what I do have, and to give myself and others the grace that we all may need right now.

Comfort Akwaji-Anderson

Principal & Chief Academic Officer

During this time of being at home, I am spending a lot of time on Zoom, as we all are, collaborating with colleagues on several tasks, goals and projects. I am increasingly full of gratitude, positive and try to be optimistic in order to filter out some of the constant barrage of bad or discouraging news out there. I know that despite these difficult times, brighter days are ahead even though I am not sure when those will come.

I have established and have been working hard to maintain a rhythm and routine for each day. These include keeping a daily schedule (e.g., starting my day with morning yoga), exercising (quick walk in the middle of the day), spending time with my husband Tim and hanging out with our 13 week-old bundle-of-energy, Prince. He is a Golden Doodle.

In addition, on a weekly basis, I am challenging myself to think about some practical things I can do to support others around me, especially my daughter, who works in New York, as well as my brother and mother in Dallas.

Traci and Her Work Space

Chief Human Resources Officer and Chief Equity Officer

I feel very grateful to have a safe place with all of my needs met in which to shelter in place. I don't take that for granted. I love my new workspace.

One of the best ways I take care of myself during these strange and stressful times is to make sure my blinds are open so that the sunlight streams in. If you've seen the HR Office at IMSA, then you know there is no natural light to be found. So I am loving working with the natural light -- it's invigorating.

About a week after we started working remotely, I posted on Facebook that I needed to practice social distancing from my refrigerator! I was using food (especially those carbs) to master anxiety. I'm pivoting from that, mainly by reminding myself that I will have to eventually return to the office, and I need to be able to still fit in my work clothes. Or, you'll see me in a lot of black yoga pants!

Hope you all are doing well and staying safe!

Storm Robinson

Chief Innovation and Education Officer

Things I have learned... I should have bought Zoom stock three weeks ago (smile) and I, like Katie, throw rule books out of the window!

I have an office inside with multiple monitors and computers. To break it up, I go outside and enjoy the sun and good weather.

Rick Palmer

Coordinator of Athletics and Co-Curricular

I am enjoying the sunlight of my new workstation and learning how to operate the Zoom platform like everyone else. I have been enjoying watching the replays of the 2016 World Series and enjoying some beverages as we go along. I feel very grateful for a great, supportive and encouraging IMSA community that I am privileged to work at. It has been amazing how everyone at IMSA has come together to make this unfortunate series of events run smoothly for the students, faculty and staff.

Rich Busby

Director, Project Management Office

Tips: Be flexible about household rules since kids are home. You can see the “tent” behind me. My kids created their own private space in the living room where I setup my laptop.

Christine Moskalik

Curriculum and Professional Development Specialist

I got to work outside today (Friday, April 3) since the weather was so nice and I was quite productive! My best advice is to take things one step (or one day) at a time. One of my prior mentors said “you’ll get somewhere going 1-mile per hour but you’ll get nowhere going 0-mph”. If I’m feeling overwhelmed and feel tempted to procrastinate, I just focus on one small, quick task to complete and that usually propels me back into a solid mindset with better productivity! At the end of each day, I recharge by going outside to play with the kids or walk the dogs. I love that my family and I are being more active and being together more often during this time!

Steve Dutcher

Windows System Administrator

Working from home on a beautiful day.

My wife Star, who is a teacher working from home as well, and I take walks everyday and have spent time slowing down and enjoying more time together.

Laurie Craig

Office of Institutional Research

Feeling grateful for having what I need, the ability to be in a sun-lit work space and for the awesome support of the IMSA community. Wow, IMSA, way to turn lemons into lemonade. Thank you!

My tips: Enjoy open windows or outdoor spaces. Breathe! Listen to the birds, take walks, and be open to finding surprises, like these deer in our yard!

Hannah Anderson

Institutional Research Associate

I am approaching this quarantine situation with an open mind. This work from home opportunity has provided me time to reflect upon my work and refocus on my priorities. I shared a quote by Dave Hollis on Facebook recently that said, "In the rush to return to normal, use this time to consider which parts of normal are worth rushing back to." This continues to be in the back of my mind as we navigate through these uncharted waters.

On a positive note, the shortened commute allows me to get 8 hours of sleep a night which makes for a more productive work day. The flexible work time also allows me to start my day earlier before my two little co-workers, Levi (3 1/2 years old) and Rylee (16 months), report in for the day. When I'm in need of a refresh, I step away from the window and into the sunshine for a quick walk around the block with my little co-workers. At the end of the work day, our family enjoys time together with a home cooked meal and conversation around the dinner table.

Working from home may be a temporary change, but the memories we create will be with us forever. Remember this time and cherish these moments while we can.

Angie Richardson

Supervisor, Information Resource Center

I think we should all try to do little things to make the best out of this situation. Try not to sweat over things we can't control. It's not easy but I try. I like working from different areas at home. Monday, I worked from my living room office that my hubs set up for me, yesterday and today I'm working from my patio with my laptop, cell phone and a smoothie. I also try to communicate with my crew via e-mail or text on a regular basis; setting up Zoom meetings when necessary. Micromanaging is not my style, but trusting we're all doing the best we can to get the job done is.

Also, take a few moments to step away from the computer. It'll help you feel better throughout the day and you won't feel like you're on punishment! I pray for IMSA daily and hope we all stay well.

Katelyn Lancaster

Senior Communications Specialist

Think of one thing you are grateful for each day. Move your body. Remember: Not forever, just for now, be kind, and stay home!

Kimberly Carrao

Executive Director of Business and Financial Operations

Home office for me, is my kitchen table. I have things setup so that I can easily make the table longer during office hours, but then close it back up when I am done for the day. I have been conscious of storing work things away when I am done for the day as well, to keep work life and home life separate. And I am trying to keep the same general work schedule that I kept when commuting every day, including taking a midday break to get in a quick workout. Working remotely is challenging for my team, but we are adapting and trying to be as creative as possible. I am appreciative and proud of each one of them. Like everyone else, ZOOM is a new daily routine, and I can not get the theme song of the 70s show "Zoom" out of my head ("Come on and Zoom Zoom Zooma Zoom....") Those of you who grew up in the 70s will know what I mean. If not take a break and look it up on YouTube.

I am blessed by all of the natural light, windows I can open and the opportunity to actually experience spring blooming outside my window. That includes lots of birds. I've seen cardinals, blue-jays and the cute guys in the picture. They bring Mathew 6: 26-27 to mind, "Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet our Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?". I am encouraged seeing how everyone is reaching out to help those around them and overall just being kinder. These things remind me to stay hopeful through this worldwide epidemic and to believe we will come out of this time stronger and better as a nation and as global citizens.

About the photo: Me, Roxie the dog and the lovely Josephine, my youngest child, who is finishing her first year at Illinois Wesleyan via Zoom U.

Dana Ginnett

Associate Director of Student Affairs, Chief Hearing Officer

My tips and tricks to successfully working remotely include lots of sticky notes, coffee and sweatpants. I couldn't get through the day without all three.

Stay healthy, IMSA. I miss you all.

John Kendall

Resident Counselor

I am working as an RC remotely from Indiana with my family. Hello from the Hoosier State. I have big tips from working from home. These tips help because RCs always work from home because IMSA is our home. First, make sure to have a comfortable chair. If you don't have a desk chair at home, get a set cushion that supports you. Mine, I got from the seasonal section while getting groceries. Second, make sure to blink and if need be look away from your screen. Computer vision syndrome can cause your vision to get blurry. If you find your eyes are dry, take time to blink and if need be, get some quality eye drops. Moving forward, make sure you have a nice smelling work area. I made a homemade air-freshener with baking soda, essential oils, paper, and a jar. Now my workspace smells of sweet orange and eucalyptus. Finally, take a break, listen to music, get a podcast going and relax. You got this.

Thanks for working so hard!

IMSA Sophomore and Parents

This video put a smile on our family's faces if you haven't seen it hope you and the QuaranTeam and enjoy it as well. Feel free to pass it along, they have a kitten visit too.

Toni Peterson

Senior Administrative Assistant, Human Resources

My home office has a window and I've positioned the desk as close as I can for maximum exposure! My shepherd, Titan, is also very curious about socializing through zoom. What's helped me at home is to keep a normal schedule.

Ralph Flickinger

Manager, ITS Special Projects

I am remembering nature and fishing trips of the past, ready for the future!

Tami Armstrong

Executive Director, Public Affairs & Development

I'm a big believer in the power of positivity. Thanks to Zoom, I'm able to punctuate my day with face-to-face interactions with my team and colleagues which brings me joy.

Having three teenagers at home allows for quiet and productive mornings (which sometimes stretch into the afternoon depending on how late they were up playing Fortnite). In the late afternoon, we go fishing on the paddle boat in our backyard pond, ride four-wheelers or walk in the wooded trails with the deer.

Most evenings include a trip to the grocery store - man these kids can eat!

Tatum Glas

Graphic Designer

I encourage everyone to listen to music that makes you happy, give yourself and others grace, be silly, be kind, enjoy the nice weather when you can and take deep breaths!

My husband and I, along with my coworkers Mason (8), Millie (3) and our hairiest family member Stanley (10), are enjoying walks around the neighborhood every day.

Kelly Lofgren

Director of Admissions

I've been enjoying much about working from home including my short commute, a sunny office, unlimited coffee and having my best buddy, Cooper, by my side! Other times I'm also sharing my workspace with my daughter, reading under my desk by my feet, and my husband on a Zoom chat across from me. It can get loud, but when the house starts to feel like it's shrinking, I head out the front door for a walk around the block. The fresh air and the moment of solitude reminds me to be grateful that I live in a big house, with my healthy family that I love, and that I still get to do meaningful work while staying safe. If I get the work done that needs to get done each day (even if at 9 o-clock at night when the house quiets down), I share in my daughter's excitement for what she's e-learning, and I get 20 minutes of exercise, then the day is a big win!

Dr. Janice Krouse

Mathematics Faculty

Thanks for your efforts!

Megan Scherer

Coordinator, Statewide Student Initiatives

I've been enjoying working from home with my two cats, Simba and Calliope, and my dog, Ollie. They like to visit while I'm working and sit in my lap to keep me company. Simba particularly likes chasing my computer mouse. I'm most of all loving having windows to look out of! After work, I've been doing a lot of yoga to recharge and refocus. Make sure you are taking care of yourself during this difficult time! I miss all the students at IMSA very much but I'm glad to still have ALLIES meetings! Feel free to join us at any meeting, held on Wednesdays at 3, even if you haven't been before for a fun time!

Dr. Anita White

Promise Program Director and Science Faculty

My wonderful husband painted and setup my office for me this winter. It has really helped with all of the Zoom meetings. Although I miss dropping in to meet with co-workers and all of the activity in The Hub, I do enjoy working in my many IMSA t-shirts and sweat pants!

Ethan Castro

1504 D Wing Resident Counselor

I may not be able to go anywhere right now, but my LEGO collection still allows me to do some worldly traveling! Stay safe out there!

Ethan Castro

Science Faculty

Quarantine isn't easy with three kids, but at least it's never boring!

Kajal Jalan

IT HelpDesk Support Engineer

My mantra is to wake up early and utilize that time to do some yoga and meditation. The most important advice is to plan your day ahead, stay cool and create memories, take lots of photographs and just enjoy the moment. Find time each day to slow down, be silent and reflect on what you're grateful for. Try some new recipes or reinvent some old recipes and stay fit!

Bill McGrail

Producer/Media Director

Finding hope in the great outdoors by the grill! Stay strong, safe and well!

Kelly Remijan

Professional Development & Curriculum Specialist

If you have little ones at home, like me, a schedule and a good teammate, my husband, is truly key!

Cathleen Cunz

Administrative Assistant, SIR

I try to keep my work zone in areas of my house that are away from everyday life. I have also increased my yoga time and go outside a few times a day.

Scott Kreiter

Senior Development Manager

Joyce Symoniak

Fine Arts Faculty

I am pictured here with a very dear friend who is a nurse in LA. I just sent it to her to remind her of better times and that better times will return.

Ann travels all over the U.S. as a nurse, helping where she is needed most.

Beverly Lee

Assistant to the Executive Director of Development

I'm livin' the dream!! Miss you all.

Cythia Hamilton

Grants & Corporate Foundation Manager

Working from home has been a very short commute. When I need to take a break from sitting or from Zoom meetings I head for a walk around my neighborhood. I also have been finding working out at home with apps has also helped. The one thing my husband and I have done is schedule Skype or Zoom meetings with family and friends every weekend. It's a great way to stay in touch and have some laughs! Not pictured my co-worker Milo, he's sleeping on the job.

Amy Woods

Coordinator of Campus Activities

My advice for working/staying home is to find time to get outside. I find spending time with my family in the sunshine keeps me from getting stir-crazy.

Julie May

IRC Administrative Assistant

I had to wake my office manager, Macie. She was sleeping on the job.

Well, staying positive is a challenge. Some days are better than others. I know self-isolating is for the greater good so I'm doing what needs to be done. I miss my grandkids though so much! That's the hardest part. We are all in this together!

Chris Kornsey

Executive Director of Facilities and Capital Planning

Stay safe and stay home.

Rest assured that IMSA will still be there when this is over. Facilities staff continue to collect mail, receive packages and complete maintenance. Our staff have developed routines to sanitize and disinfect the academy so essential functions can continue.

My three boys and I stay home so my wife, Courtney, and her colleagues have a safe chance in this fight.

Christine Loos

Instructional Program Assistant in Mathematics

Nothing like some home-cooked kitchen table Trigonometry help!

Betty Hart

Innovation Center Program Manager

Pause for your pets. Play hard and laugh hard - they are also good for the soul.

About the photo: Betty and the Pet Boys, Chief- Olde English Bulldog, Raiden, French Bulldog and Jojo, Boston Terrier (a.k.a. Couch Slouch)

Jeanette Clark

Circulation & Interlibrary Loan Assistant

Actually, I love being in my home. I went from March 13 to April 15 without going anywhere in a car, never ever imagined I would be doing that. My husband has done all the grocery shopping and errands, what a great guy!

It’s been interesting working from home. Usually, I am on the move circulating books, answering questions and interacting with people. It’s much quieter with very few interruptions during my work day. I actually had the thought, "somebody please interrupt me!"

So far, it hasn’t been hard keeping busy while home. I enjoy hands-on home projects and spent the first three weeks painting and updating the dining room (my new home office), kitchen and laundry room, re-covered the seats on 9 chairs, refinished 2 wooden chairs and the island in my kitchen. There are long walks, bike rides, and the renewed art of actually speaking with friends and relatives on the telephone. Also, I highly recommend that you read, read and read. I love getting lost in a good book. I like to multi-task and often listen to audiobooks while doing other things. Of course, I use the IRC’s Axis 360 app!

Not sure what the next few weeks will bring as I am pretty sure my husband is about to ban all paint, brushes and rollers from our home. All this staying at home is a bit more extreme than normal though, and I am kind of ready to flip my pillow over! Be well.

Janine Hines

Administrative Assistant, Principal's Office

Making the most of my small space and missing my IMSA community!

JaRod Tobler

Admissions Counselor

The music is key and you must have a diverse playlist.

Elaine Wu

Curriculum and Professional Development Specialist

Quarantine life thus far has involved me taking an obscene amount of pictures of my cats (Alfe and Falafel), which consequently leads to me living in denial that I've transformed into a full-on crazy cat lady.

Black & White Cat = Alfalfa (Alfie), and Brown Tabby Cat = Falafel

Wishing you and your family good health and good spirits!

Patrick Davis

Mathematics Faculty

For me, working from home means spending a lot of time at my grandma's desk. Both of my grandparents served in World War II; and my grandfather became disabled shortly after returning home; making my grandma the primary breadwinner in their house during a time when the workforce was dominated by men. I've always admired her resilience; and when she died, I inherited her desk.

It's not the biggest desk and it desperately needs to be refinished, but I feel lucky to be able to work from it everyday now. Plus, I have windows! 🙂

Dennsa Mohamed

Equity and Inclusion Program Development Specialist

I’ve learned when working from home it’s good to take breaks to keep you focused, even if it’s just 5 minutes of playtime. I’m staying positive because I have a little helper who "reps" IMSA as much as I do!!

Freddy-May AbiSamra

Resident Counselor

My tip: keep the ‘do fresh.

James Reed


Stay busy. Work from home, clean, cook, check in on friends and family (text/phone call), stay positive, read, pray and most of all be thankful and stay safe.

Cassandra Armstrong

Curriculum Writer & Professional Development Specialist

I've been enjoying all the extra time that I've been able to spend with my family, especially my 9 month-old, Carter. It's also been nice to spend more time outside on nice days, getting some projects done around the house and being able to work in a room with lots of windows!

Amber Stitziel Paraja

Executive Director, Office of Institutional Research

While staying at home, I have found that maintaining a daily schedule, staying physically active and spending time with my family have really helped me to stay positive. I start every morning by getting up and going for a walk with my husband, Carlos, and my dog, Scout. I am so committed to my daily routine that I have stuck to it even when it has snowed in mid-April, like it did this morning.

Also, I try to start and end my work day at the same time I normally do when I'm on campus. Unfortunately, I have been less successful in getting my three children, Pablo, Paloma and Diego (ages 12, 14 and 16), to see the benefits of sticking to a regular schedule, as they often roll out of bed at 8:59 a.m. to start their remote learning at 9:00 a.m. I'm hoping they will figure it out sooner or later.

Carlos, the kids and I have enjoyed playing games and watching movies on Netflix together. We also have spent more quality time cooking and eating together because the kids don't have swim practice and other extracurricular activities in the afternoon/evening. Diego will be going away to college in fall of 2021 and Paloma and Pablo will follow suit soon thereafter, so I have been very grateful for the gift of spending additional time together as a family.

Joseph Mastrocoloa

HR Specialist

Micah Fogel

Mathematics Faculty

Zoom is the bedrock of my life now.

Marti Shirley

Mathematics Faculty

We are balancing our time, scheduling the same work time so we can relax together. Working side by side, at times he chimes in on my classes, and the students are always excited to see him. I am walking 5+ miles a day (even in this snow) and my son is taking bike rides. We have learned a lot of new board games, completed puzzles and he is becoming quite a cook!

We are grateful for this time together, having video chats with friends far away and learning new skills. (My son has picked up the guitar and the ukulele.) Life is slower right now, and having more time for family is a precious gift!

Tom Steyer

Computer Science Faculty

I stay sane by:
1. Walking my puppy every day.
2. Training my puppy. (Would have had to wait for summer to do this before!)
3. Skyping most nights with my daughter in Rochester, MN.
4. Making time for house work, cooking, and playing games with family

Thanks to the first responders for all they do to keep Aurora safe!

Laura Kopff

Science Faculty

How many "coworkers" can you find? These gals are really lazing around on the job!

Connie James-Jenkin

Electronic Resources, Reference, and Collection Development Librarian

Yankee supervises me while I work.

Erin Micklo

English Faculty

Long walks are keeping me sane, as well as hanging out with my husband and kids watching Netflix, playing games and listening to podcasts. My daughter and I are re-reading Little Women together! We are adding a puppy to our family at the end of the month, so we’ve been watching puppy training videos to prepare for that too. I’m missing seeing my students in person, but am grateful for Zoom!

Dr. Adrienne Coleman

Director of Equity and Inclusion

Welcome to my home office! This is my space where I typically come to read, learn and reflect. And now it's my official IMSA workspace... and yes, Ive been able to get a lot of work done. While I miss seeing my family in Chicago, I'm actually embracing the time at home to self-reflect and focus on my physical and spiritual well-being. Shout out to my wonderful pet, Dora, who is keeping me company!

Sue Fricano

Sue Fricano
IN2 Center Coordinator

My daughter, Samantha, got home safely from her study abroad in Spain, just as they closed the border. 🙂 Staying positive by appreciating this time with my family.

Dawn Waller

MetroEast Field Office Coordinator

My family and I have been making many home-cooked meals and desserts, so I’ve been eating more than usual. 😟

I make sure that I exercise 30 minutes a day. When the weather is nice, I walk down to the mailbox, which is 1 mile round trip. Otherwise, I’m on the elliptical watching a great video. 😊

Anthony Stuckey

Network Engineer

This photo was taken on the balcony of my condo looking northwest towards the IMSA campus.

It's a nice place to work and relax and enjoy all the variations of spring weather.

Quintin Backstrom


Working and e-learning. Staying quarantined to keep this one and all others safe.

Tanya Flowers

HelpDesk Level Associate 1

I stay positive by playing games with my family and baking. Tips on working from home: getup, get dressed and have breakfast just like you're going out. It makes you feel better.

Leah Kind

English Faculty

I feel fortunate to have the luxury to work from home during these trying times. Trying to stay busy with new cooking attempts, reading, and long runs!
I love the chance to have class discussions and see my students via Zoom.

Stay inside and stay safe! Thank you first responders and essential workers. ❤

Leah Kind

College & Academic Counselor

It took time during week #1 to adjust to working from home. Without a designated work space, a son who is also working remotely, a high school son who is e-learning and a third son home from college (who likes to play his drums... a lot🤣), things felt a bit chaotic.

Week #2 came and I realized I really missed my stand up desk. That’s when I spotted the never used cat tower! Taking the top level off, I’ve now got an almost perfect stand up desk! And a window! 😀 Of course, Misty, has now decided she does like the tower, so she works right alongside me.

Now in week #4, I’ve mastered Zoom, found a routine that includes daily stress reducing walks to our lake in Glen Ellyn and realized that too much news doesn’t help in a pandemic. I now feel settled having a routine, taking walks, listening to music, playing board games with my family. Keeping a sense of humor is what has helped most. 😊

Takeisha Rheams

School Counselor

During these times, l do my best to stay creative, productive and flexible in every aspect of my life. I also think it helps to stay in the here and now, versus worrying about what's to come.

Gwen Seeley-Joosse

Director of Statewide Student Initiatives

The whole family (husband, college-age daughter and oldest daughter) are working and learning from home. While being in such close quarters 24/7 does present some challenges, I'm trying to relish this unexpected time together. I've set up my home office in a corner of the living room with great natural light and a view to the bird (squirrel!) feeder, which helps me feel more connected with the outside world. I'm frequently joined by my dogs, Teddy and Bodie, and my oldest daughter's dog, Leo. They make great office mates!

Pictured with Gwen: Teddy (left) and Bodie (right)

Valentina Sorescu

Mathematics Faculty

Stay positive, find time to self-reflect, stay grounded and keep learning!

Minerva Ratsamy

Senior Administrative Assistant

This experience has been very humbling. I pray, exercise and appreciate EVERYTHING and EVERYONE everyday!

Marcos Beltran

Area Coordinator

Make sure to keep your battlestations clean and clear to maximize productivity!

Kevin Kusy

School Counselor


Erin Ryan

Area Coordinator

My tips are to:

  • create a schedule for yourself that helps you to keep moving forward (ex: morning routines, prayer, task lists, work, maintenance of your home and body)

  • create a playlist for how you want to feel for the day.

I am spending my time working remotely, staying in contact with family and friends through Google Duo, singing, graduate school work and reading.

Thank you first responders!

Amy Keck

Learning Strategies Coordinator

Take breaks, get outside, and connect "live" with colleagues and students to hear how everyone is doing, as much as possible.

Grant Bell

Makerspace Coordinator

  • Don't stay cooped up!

  • Get some fresh air!

  • Make sure you have plenty of snacks!

  • Do small exercises or workouts while you are working (or watching TV).

  • Don't worry about trying new things or learning a new skill! Just getting through a pandemic is a pretty great thing!

Dottie Krett

Facilities Coordinator

Nice to see everyone. My office is my dining room table with wonderful windows. It has been so nice working and seeing the sun. I've tried to keep a normal schedule which keeps me productive, taking breaks outdoors.

I miss seeing everyone. Stay safe and well!

Steve Zant

Assistant Director of Human Resources.

My name is Steve Zant and I’m the Assistant Director of Human Resources. I’ve been at IMSA for 23 years now! Through all of those years, I seen a lot happen at IMSA and I think this definitely is in my top 5 most memorable and impactful situations. A few of the things that help me manage my quarantine routine:

  • My family: My wife, Jayna, a School Social worker; my 18 year-old son, Owen, is a college freshman; my 17 year-old step-son, Bryce, is a junior in high school; and my 13 year-old son,
    Braeden, is an 8th grader. We try to eat at least one sit down meal together where we check in on the how each other is feeling, the progress of e-learning for that day, and something that made them laugh that day.

  • My pets: Twinkie, the Golden Retriever, has a bed by my desk; Felix, the black cat, jumps up and sits on my keyboard for some love; Lilly Muffin, our black and white cat, just lurks in the
    background. All are super loving!

  • I try to take a daily walk with Jayna and Twinkie.

  • I try to maintain as regular and consistent a schedule as possible.

  • Clean and organize: I love myself a clean and organized office and house! Enough said.

  • Give grace: When I experience frustration or stress, I try to take a step back and remind myself that everyone is doing the best they can with where they’re at.

Be well and stay safe!

Joseph Marshall

World Language Faculty

An office full of sunshine, aromatherapy and plants help keep me going. Thank you QuaranTeam for this great initiative and all our first responders! We appreciate what you do.

Kevin Broy

Producer/Media Director

I love spending more time with my wonderful wife. Special thanks and shout out to the teachers, first responders, nurses, grocery clerks and all essential people. Being a former EMT/Firefighter, my heart goes out to them. Coming from a teaching family, my heart goes out to all teachers. But we are very lucky to have the best here at IMSA! We are all here for each other and our students. I love that after supporting Zoom all day, Bill and I get to relax with each other on Zoom. #IMSAStrong.

Matthew McCutcheon

Mathematics Faculty

While I have a family of wonderful humans, this family joined us just few days ago a few feet from my makeshift office space. Fun!

Andrea K Stuiber

Assistant Director of Residence Life, LEAD Program Coordinator

There are two nice things about working from home. One, is waking up and being able to make as much coffee as I want with my espresso maker. Two, is having this little guy, Deebo, to snuggle with while on zoom calls. He can’t seem to stay away and usually sits on my desk as I’m typing and having meetings throughout the day.

Melissa Tolla

Dr. Melissa Tolla
Science Faculty

What can a chemist do in order to stay busy and relax at home? Many things! However, my favorite way to relax is to pick up my flute and make some music. Many scientists have also had a musical "career". One of these is Francis Poulenc. Take a minute to find some more scientist/musicians and then listen to their music while you take a walk and enjoy the signs of spring.