The Decaturian is Millikin's student-run newspaper. The opinions reflected may not be those of Millikin as an institution.

The Decaturian

The Decaturian is Millikin's student-run newspaper. The opinions reflected may not be those of Millikin as an institution.

The Decaturian

The Decaturian is Millikin's student-run newspaper. The opinions reflected may not be those of Millikin as an institution.

The Decaturian

Welcome to the Dark Side, Maddie


If you ask graduating senior Maddie Cummins how many friends she has at college, she would tell you that she doesn’t have that many.

“I just don’t go to parties,” Cummins said.

However, if you ask a room full of senior English majors to raise their hand if they are friends with Cummins, multiple hands will fly into the air.

“She doesn’t realize how much people like her, and how many people like her,” Cristina Borunda, Senior Journalism major, said.

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Borunda and Cummins shared a room with each other at the 2024 Illinois College Press Association Conference this year.

“I feel like we get to see glimpses of her personality,” Borunda said.

Cummins came to Millikin as a Psychology major, however, she switched to English halfway through her freshman year.

“The middle of my freshman year in the English department I got an email from Dr. Magagna welcoming me to the dark side,” Cummins said.

The dark side suited her. She is quiet in class, but her writing demands attention. Her voice will not be heard echoing through a hallway, but it does echo through campus.

Cummins has written numerous pieces for the Decaturian, but her favorite is the first one she ever wrote: A Novel Legacy.

“I really enjoyed interviewing the store, the people who are in charge of the store, and learning about the history of the book barn,” Cummins said, “and it was terrifying.”

Dr. Scott Lambert, the adviser for the Decaturian, didn’t meet Cummins until her junior year at Millikin. When he saw a new name on his roster, he grew curious and asked Dr. Magagna.

“[Magagna] said she is a really, really talented young lady who was painfully shy,” Lambert said.

Lambert often finds himself inquiring about upperclassmen students who are entering his class for the first time. When he heard about Cummins’ shyness, he decided that he had a job to do.

“For the last two years, I have watched Maddie grow from a painfully shy young lady to an extremely competent professional writer,” Lambert said.

Looking back, Lambert wishes he would have had more time with Cummins.

“COVID took a lot of people who you would think would be in my classes away from them,” Lambert said, “They may not have known, they may not have whatever, but there was a whole class of students that I think missed a year or up to two years of the (journalism) experience.”

Lambert’s teaching style involves a lot of talking, something Maddie was not comfortable with.

In Cummins’ first class with Lambert, she was surprised to see him walk into class in a Hawaiian button-down shirt.

“I was like, ‘How have I never seen this man on campus before?’” Cummins said.

It wasn’t until he started talking that Cummins realized what exactly she had signed up for.

“He started talking, this booming voice,” Cummins said, “I was like, ‘Oh, I’m in trouble.’ ‘Why did I take this course?’ And I felt like I was going to regret it.”

Despite her initial concerns about Lambert, she grew to love his classes. Oftentimes, Cummins can be seen sitting in on classes of his that she didn’t have the hours in her schedule to sign up for.

This is the kind of dedication that makes Maddie Maddie though. She is always there, quietly, but she is there. Initially, she would be hard to miss in a crowd of people if you didn’t know to look for her.

However, if you put her writing next to anyone else’s, you would assume she was easy to find in a crowd.

Cummins has enjoyed studying the ‘Dark Side’ so much that she is planning on attending graduate school in 2025. At this time, she plans to study creative non-fiction.

“I think about taking some of Lambert’s classes and Dr. Bates’ classes has really opened up different opportunities and perspectives on writing, and storytelling. More of the creative side of things,” Cummins said, “That’s not just confined to like, fantasy or poetry would be really interesting to delve deeper into.”

For her time and dedication at Millikin, Cummins will graduate with department honors and University honors. For her time and dedication at the Decaturian, Cummins will graduate as the writer everyone looked up to.

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About the Contributor
Carin Houser
Carin Houser, News Editor
Carin served as the the Editor-In-Chief of the Decaturian June 2022 thru December 2023. She studies Journalism here at Millikin University. Outside of work and school, Carin is a triathlete who aspires to successfully complete an Iron Man competition. Carin's service dog Ata makes it easy to spot Carin on campus. Ata is a saluki who has been Carin's service dog since June of 2019. Carin is set to graduate with the class of 2024. 2021 Illinois College Press Association Awards: 1st Place - Spot News Photo 2nd Place - Sports Page Design 3rd Place - Multi Media Reporting 3rd Place - Online News Site 2022 Illinois College Press Association Awards: 2nd Place - Editorial 2nd Place - Spot News Photo 3rd Place - Sports Page Design Honorable Mention - Website Design

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