Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies Team

The IES team conceives, organizes and hosts all the programs and events sponsored by IES; reaches out to collaborate with the varied colleges and campus organizations to encourage entrepreneurship and to integrate entrepreneurial activities within their offerings; interfaces with off-campus organizations and external individuals to facilitate their engagement in UIC entrepreneurship; solicits sponsorship and ongoing financial support for IES; and, more!








Rod Shrader

Denton Thorne Chair in Entrepreneurship
Faculty Director

Rod Shrader is Denton Thorne Chair in Entrepreneurship, Professor of Management and Faculty Director of the Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies. He is also founder and current director of UIC’s Technology Ventures Program, which leads interdisciplinary teams of graduate students through the process of creating and launching technology-based new ventures. His highly cited, award-winning entrepreneurship research has been published in premier academic journals. His research interests include technology commercialization, innovation for sustainability, internationalization of high technology startups and the development of entrepreneurial human capital. Professor Shrader has won several prestigious awards for teaching and service and has helped launch twelve high-technology business ventures, including one “born-global” company. He earned a Ph.D. in strategic management from Georgia State University in 1996. In his free time he enjoys international travel, hiking and ethnic restaurants.

Rita Bieliauskas
Director of Operations



Birkland, Dawn - Head Shot
Dawn Birkland
Director of Student and Community Engagement

Dawn is the Director of Student and Community Engagement for the Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies.  In her role, she works to connect UIC students with entrepreneurs and professionals from the Chicago community and beyond; she also heads up the annual UIC Startup Challenge.  Prior to coming to IES, Dawn worked in student services the UIC Liautaud Graduate School of Business for seven years; before that, her professional journey began with several years working in residence life at Elmhurst College.  Dawn received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Marquette University and a Master of Education in Higher Education, Student Affairs from Loyola University Chicago.  In her free time, she enjoys cooking, reading, and spending time with her family.


Camelia Williams, Department Information Supervisor

Camelia Williams
Department Information Supervisor

Camelia Williams has contributed to diverse departments of the University of Illinois over the past 30 years. She joined the College of Business Administration  in 1997. Camelia is the receptionist and liaison for the Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies. She greets all callers and welcomes guests to IES. She is the client intake coordinator for the IL Small Business Development Center responsible for insuring that new clients are properly registered. She also assists in the day to day operations  and special events sponsored by IES and the IL SBDC at UIC. Camelia formerly served on the UIC Staff Advisory Council which is the bridge between the university administration and civil service work force and the Janice Watkins Committee which identifies and recognizes exceptional support staff for their distinguished civil service. Camelia enjoys family oriented activities, smooth jazz and is an active member of the Southside Unity Center of Christianity.