HARRISBURG, IL (KFVS) - As part of Southeastern Illinois College's "Pizza and Politics" series, social science chair invited former Illinois State Senator Duane Noland to speak to a group of 65 students.
Accompanying Noland was legislative aide and former SIC alumna Dana Hooven.
Hooven shared some of her trying times with students. In 2007, she was diagnosed with rare medical condition, an inoperable tumor located at the base of her brain. Despite receiving a less than positive prognosis, Hooven decided to fight. She later qualified for a medical trial that helped to reduce the size of her tumor and ultimately saved her life.
A mother of two, Hooven later returned to Southeastern Illinois College as a non-traditional student where she enrolled in the vet technician program. After joining the Model Illinois Government team and winning numerous awards, Hooven changed her major to political science. She helped lead the Model Illinois Government team to three consecutive championships before her graduation in 2017.
Hooven told the gathered students that everything happens for a reason.
"Always listen to your heart, follow your passion, and get involved," said Hooven.
She is currently serving as a legislative aide for State Senator Dale Fowler, where she deals with public policy, constituent service and runs the Senator's Harrisburg office.
Former State Senator Duane Noland encouraged students to ask themselves what more can they do for their community.
"Anyone can get involved and you should get involved," said Noland. "Participation matters."
Noland is the president and chief executive officer for the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives based in Springfield.
The association represents 24 electric cooperatives including Southeastern Illinois Electric Cooperative here in Southern Illinois. He previously represented the citizens of central Illinois serving four terms in the Illinois House of Representatives and also served two terms in the Illinois Senate, retiring as Assistant Majority Leader.
For more information on the "Pizza and Politics" series or MIG, contact Matt Lees at 618-252-5400 ext. 2216 or firstname.lastname@example.org.