2016 Silver Circle winner Michelle Adams
Since 1966, the Silver Circle Award has been presented to some of UIC’s best teachers. Winners, who are honored at their college commencements, receive $500 and their names join a long list of distinguished colleagues. But what makes the award especially meaningful is its selection committee: the graduating seniors.
A meeting inquiring about furthering her education at UIC led to a new career in teaching for Michelle Adams.
Adams, an instructor in kinesiology and nutrition, had spent nearly 15 years in health club management and was interested in returning to school to continue work on her Ph.D. She spoke with Randal Stone, coordinator of educational programs in the department of kinesiology and nutrition, seeking guidance on how difficult it would be to juggle working full time and the rigors of studying.
In a follow-up telephone conversation, Stone said he was searching for a new kinesiology instructor and asked Adams if she would be interested in leading a classroom of students instead of being one. She said yes and put her further studies on hold.
“I feel like I am doing what I was meant to do,” Adams said.
Adams is one of the more than one million Americans living with Type 1 diabetes, a condition where the pancreas can no longer produce insulin. To manage the disease, Adams has always maintained an active and healthy lifestyle. She played numerous sports while growing up in Blue Island and received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in kinesiology from Urbana-Champaign.
The daughter of a nurse, Adams initially was interested in pursuing a medical degree. But she found the study of human movement more appealing. Following graduation, she became a certified personal trainer and entered corporate America.
In addition to health club management, Adams has spent time working with individuals with diabetes through patient and health care provider education. Her goal is to continue searching for ways to help individuals with diabetes control their illness. But her first priority is to help her students graduate from UIC.
“I love mentoring young people and I feel like I’m making an impact on someone’s life,” she said.