Interview with Erin Reitz, Class of 1982, 1985, 1989, and 1994


Erin Reitz



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Oral history interview with Illinois State University alum Erin Reitz, Class of 1982, 1985, 1989, and 1994. The interview was conducted by Milner Library student employee Ayushi Shukla on June 13, 2023.

Born at Mennonite Hospital in Bloomington and raised in McLean County, Reitz attended Normal Community High School for only two years before graduating early. Initially drawn to the engineering program at the University of Illinois, family circumstances led her to ISU, where professors Arthur Paddock and Steven Cox sparked her interest in criminal justice sciences. Having been arrested multiple times for wearing clothing congruent with her gender identity, she had no interest in going into law enforcement but thought she could use the degree in a treatment capacity.

After earning a bachelor’s and master’s degree in criminal justice plus a BSN and MBA, Reitz ventured into entrepreneurship, founding her own nursing agency, Advanced Midwest Nursing Placement. She enjoyed over a decade of success in her business before electing to pursue a PhD in nursing administration at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Eventually, her academic journey led her back to ISU, though she initially turned down a position as an adjunct instructor because it would leave her with no time for research. After a change in administration, she was finally recruited into a research position in the Mennonite College of Nursing. As of 2023, she currently provides clinical nursing instruction at OSF HealthCare. Her research specialization revolves around nursing workforce issues, particularly in the context of the persistent nurse shortage and LGBTQ+ healthcare disparities.

Reitz remains committed to advocating for LGBTQ+ rights and healthcare access through her involvement with Prairie Pride Coalition and Howard Brown Health. She describes her work with the Gender Expansive Resource Center at the Unitarian-Universalist Church of Bloomington Normal and putting on a yearly Transgender Resource Fair. In her estimation, trans people’s access to gender affirming care has improved since she first came out, but the medical community still has a long way to go towards education and acceptance.

Interview Date



  • Introduction; Reitz’s background and decision to attend ISU: 00:00-03:00
  • Additional degrees; entrepreneurship: 03:00-06:18
  • PhD at University of Illinois at Chicago: 06:18-10:50
  • Being recruited back to ISU as a faculty member: 10:50-13:23
  • Research interests: 13:23-14:41
  • Relationships with Mennonite College of Nursing and OSF HealthCare: 14:14-17:05
  • Classroom anecdote; teaching experiences: 17:05-19:49
  • Proudest accomplishments: 19:49-21:01
  • Volunteer work with Prairie Pride Coalition and Howard Brown Health: 21:01-26:44
  • Barriers to medical care for transgender people: 26:44-30:07
  • Hopes for Illinois: 30:07-31:38
  • Conclusion: 31:38-32:46

Interview with Erin Reitz, Class of 1982, 1985, 1989, and 1994