Prairie Stars on the Move: Dre Duvendack


For many students, the University of Illinois Springfield becomes a second home and the friends they make become a second family. For these reasons, some students choose to remain involved with the university and its students. Dre Duvendack is one of these people who wishes to give students the same opportunities given to her.

Dre’s involvement at the school began when she started her undergrad. While an undergrad, she served as a resident assistant, president of club volleyball, and was a member of the Leadership for Life volunteer group. She received a variety of awards and leadership roles in these positions before graduating with a bachelor’s degree in communication with a minor in management.

She continued at UIS and pursued a Master of Communication degree. While pursuing this degree, she served as the Graduate Assistant for the Gender and Sexuality Student Services. In this role, she organized many events that are still held on campus and maintained others that have become campus traditions. She also continued in her role as president/coach of the volleyball team until her graduation in spring of 2019 and now volunteer coaches on the side.

Now that she has graduated, Dre has found a way to have separate professions that combine to fit her skillset perfectly and allows her to maintain connections to the university. After spending her summer moving her family business to the Springfield area for her to take over the day-to-day operations, she got an additional job with Hope as the Onboarding Specialist…

She is the first face that many new employees see on the first day and her job is to help new hires transition into the environment at Hope. Often when employees start a new job, they are left to get acclimated on their own without much guidance. Dre’s position as Onboarding Specialist and skills learned at UIS allow her to make the transition as smooth as possible for new hires.

Her other position gives her a direct connection with the campus of UIS. She currently teaches as an adjunct instructor for the Communication department. Her communication degree and status as a UIS alumni make her a perfect fit to teach two sections of oral communication. Her teaching philosophy is based on giving students skills that will be useful to them in the future. She aims to teach in an interesting, impactful way and encourages students to speak on topics that interest them and benefit their career goals. By bringing students’ passions forward, she allows students to grow to their full potential.

When Dre was younger, her dream job was to work in Human Relations. As she went through college, she fell in love with the idea of teaching too. Through two of her jobs, she is able to do both of her dreams and is loving every second of it. She credits UIS with making her a well-rounded individual. She says that the college gave her the tools she needed to succeed in a variety of fields; HR, teaching, and running a small business. Because UIS gave her so much, she spends much of her time ensuring current students get the same support that she got when she was a student. She hopes to use herself as a way to multiply the preparation given to her and spread that to as many people as possible. Dre will always be a prairie star at heart and she looks forward to continuing her time giving back to the place that molded her into the person she is today.