UIC Lincoln Laureate’s many activities make a long list

Taylor Casino

Taylor Casino is the 2015 UIC Lincoln Academy Student Laureate. “I’ve really always loved the city. This is a really diverse campus, and I like trying new things and meeting people with diverse backgrounds,” she says. Photo: Roberta Dupuis-Devlin


Taylor Casino is a Lincoln Academy Student Laureate, one of 48 outstanding seniors from colleges around the state. A look at her many activities gives you an idea why.

To begin with Casino, who will be honored with other laureates May 7, is president of Student Alumni Ambassadors.

“One of the biggest things on campus that we do is Spirit Week, where we take over the second floor of Student Center East and invite student organizations to paint the windows,” she said.

Her group sponsors Hustle Up UH, a charity fundraiser in which participants race — “a lot of people choose to walk it,” she concedes — up the 28 flights of UIC’s tallest building, University Hall.

“We’re kind of a professional development organization for people of all backgrounds,” said Casino, a marketing major in the College of Business Administration. “It gives us the opportunity to hone our professional skills with people of diverse backgrounds.”

Casino was named a UIC Business Scholar, a selective four-year leadership development and training program, and she received a Chicago Future Leader award and a Business Merit scholarship.

She is a student in the Honors College and a mentor for the Ignite Program, which develops student leadership. She’s been a Student Orientation leader, helping new students enter university life. As a member of its senior staff, she organized its leadership retreat. She’s also learning Japanese.

Casino studied ballet for 12 years and belongs to two campus dance groups, EVO and Primo Dance Troupe.

EVO is affiliated with Asian American Students in Alliance and, as a blue-eyed blonde, “I really stick out on stage,” she said.

After she graduates next spring, Casino has a Plan A and a Plan B.

For the first, she has applied to teach English in Taiwan for a year. “Having studied business for four years, I want to reach out and give back and help others, while there’s still time,” she said. “I’ve talked to professors and professionals about how hard it is to find time later on.”

Plan B is to engage in content marketing. “I call it a fusion of digital marketing and journalism,” she said.

“Companies need more than products to bring attention to themselves. The idea is to write stories and take pictures and videos to bring consumers back to look at all the cool things we do besides make shoes, or other things you can do while you’re drinking Red Bull.

“Consumers go to the company’s website and see what the products are. It creates a buzz about the business.”

“Casino” is not her family’s original name. Her great-grandfather, named Cusumano, applied for a bank loan, and the banker suggested adopting a simpler name. “So I was told,” she said. “That’s the folklore.”

She is from Champaign. Why didn’t she go to school there?

“In the cornfields?” she replied. “I’ve really always loved the city. There are a lot more resources here. This is a really diverse campus, and I like trying new things and meeting people with diverse backgrounds.

“To go to a university with a lot of people like myself doesn’t really inspire. I like a good challenge.”


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