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University of Illinois to host 'See Your Soldier' event

James E. Kloeppel, Physical Sciences Editor
217-244-1073; kloeppel@uiuc.edu

6/13/2006

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The University of Illinois will use advanced videoconferencing technology to connect Illinois families with loved ones who are stationed in Iraq. On July 11 and 12, family members can visit one of several sites in Illinois for live, interactive 30-minute videoconferencing sessions in which they can see and talk with their soldiers stationed at either Camp Al Asad (Air Force) or Camp Taji/Cooke (Army) in Iraq.

The “See your Soldier” event is being led by the National Center for Supercomputing Applications and the University of Illinois Extension. The videoconferencing equipment and satellite connection in Iraq is provided by the Freedom Calls Foundation.

“We are pleased to be able to share this videoconferencing technology to connect families with their soldiers,” said Nancy Komlanc, director of education at NCSA’s Technology Research, Education and Commercialization Center, and coordinator for the videoconferencing sessions. “The soldiers and their families are an inspiration to us.”

Illinois sites where family members can participate in the videoconferences:

• The NCSA Building on campus, 1205 W. Clark St., Urbana

• Rockford Extension Center, 417 Ware Ave, Suite102, Rockford

• Northwest Regional Extension Office, 4550 Kennedy Drive, Suite 1, East Moline

• Springfield Extension Center, Illinois State Fairgrounds, Building #30, Springfield

• Whiteside County Extension Center, 100 E. Knox St., Morrison

• Southern Regional Extension Office, 4202 Williamson Place, Suite 2, Mount Vernon

• Macomb Extension Center, 480 S. Deer Road, Macomb

• Carbondale Extension Center, 148 E. Pleasant Hill Road, Suite 106, Carbondale

Family members can register and find more details online. Registration is on a first come, first served basis and will close on June 28 (Wednesday).

This is the second time NCSA has used its videoconferencing technology to help bridge the distance between Illinois and Iraq. In December 2005, several dozen family members were able to see and speak with soldiers at Camp Taji and Camp Al-Asad by means of real-time videoconferencing at the NCSA Building.

Editor’s note: To reach Nancy Komlanc, call 217-244-6572; e-mail: nkomlanc@uiuc.edu