In the news: Archeology & Forensics Team

Dr. Krista Latham and the student team from UIndy’s Archeology & Forensics Laboratory are subjects of the cover story in the latest NUVO Newsweekly.

nuvo coverIn an extensive piece headlined “Immigration: A journey of death,” NUVO News Editor Amber Stearns (a UIndy alum) wrote about the team’s humanitarian work over the past two years: Two trips to southern Texas to exhume remains, and further work in the campus lab, in hopes of identifying undocumented migrants who died after crossing the border, typically of thirst or exposure.

“Not only do people deserve dignity in death, but someone out there is missing them,” Latham says in the interview. The story also features fellow anthropologist Wendy Vogt of IUPUI, a colleague who has traced the difficult path of refugees from Central America to the United States.

This week’s NUVO is available at locations throughout the city, and the story can be read online here.

In related news, The Weather Channel and Telemundo recently collaborated on a one-hour investigative report, “The Real Death Valley,” which mentions the Texas project and includes comments from Dr. Latham. The program can be seen here, and the UIndy material appears around the 21:00 mark.

The UIndy team’s blog documenting this summer’s work is still viewable at

The UIndy Archeology & Forensics Team at work in Texas, June 2014 (UIndy/Guy Housewright photo)

The UIndy forensics team in Texas, June 2014 — photo by Guy Housewright

Men’s basketball starts season with streak

After opening the season with a 6-0 winning streak, the UIndy men’s basketball team debuted at No. 16 this week in the NABC/Division II coaches poll.



Senior forward/center Joe Lawson averaged 25 points and 8 rebounds in last weekend’s victories over Tiffin and Central State, earning Player of the Week honors from the Great Lakes Valley Conference.

The Greyhounds begin conference play Saturday night, traveling to Rensselaer to face Saint Joseph’s College. Find more info on the team at the  Athletics website.

The women’s basketball team (1-3) faces a busy week on the road, with its first GLVC game tonight at Saint Joseph’s, followed by Cedarville on Saturday and an exhibition game against D-I Indiana State on Sunday. Learn more about them here.

New service course teaches culture and more

Vakunta course 1UIndy students Hannah Hornsby, center, and Hannah Gayhart, right, work with children at Laurelwood Apartments through a new service-learning course.

“Is this obtuse?” asks 11-year-old Angel, pointing to her math homework from IPS School 65.

UIndy junior Hunter Hamm patiently explains the various types of angles to Angel and her classmate DeLawrence. It’s one of many small, unexpected lessons he’s been teaching this year to kids at Laurelwood Apartments.

“How can I present this information in a way that they can understand?” he muses later. “It’s a different culture.”

Indeed, this low-income public housing complex in Indianapolis is a world away from Hamm’s small-town upbringing in Franklin, and that creates ample opportunity for learning and personal growth – on both sides.

“When a child is having a bad day, you recognize it,” he says. “You give them the option, if they want to talk about it.”



A biology major with a minor in French, Hamm is among a dozen UIndy students taking part in a unique service-learning lab course that debuted this fall. LANG 300, or Languages Without Borders, is the brainchild of  Dr. Peter Vakunta, assistant professor of French and chair of the Department of Modern Languages.

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Faculty Forum explores TB and Christmas Seals



Professor Stephen Nawrocki is perhaps best known for his work in forensic anthropology, but he’ll reveal a different interest during this month’s Faculty Forum.

“The Scourge of Tuberculosis and the Christmas Seal Campaign” is the topic of Nawrocki’s presentation at noon Wednesday in the Trustees Dining Room of Schwitzer Student Center. Refreshments will be served, and bag lunches are welcome.

The talk will explore the National Tuberculosis Association’s innovative fundraising venture, Christmas Seals, which supported public education and mobile X-ray testing that helped nearly eradicate the deadly disease by the 1970s.

“My presentation will trace the design, distribution, associated publicity, and cultural significance of these humble little pieces of colorful paper,” he says.

Students to present service work Wednesday

UIndy’s “Education for Service” philosophy will be on full display Wednesday during the semiannual Celebration of Service in Schwitzer Student Center.

More than 70 students representing 22 courses and student organizations will share their stories of volunteerism and service-learning – from local projects to international efforts – during the Student Service Expo from 11 a.m. to noon in the Schwitzer Atrium.

From noon to 1 p.m., UIndy Hall A will host presentations by Dr. Gerburg Garmann, assistant dean of Interdisciplinary Studies & Service-Learning; Carina Grainey and UIndy grad Laura McGaughey of College Mentors for Kids; and Betsy Knott, director of Career & Community Integration for UIndy’s Professional Edge Center.

The Celebration of Service is presented by the Center for Service-Learning & Community Engagement, in partnership with Interdisciplinary Programs and the Office of Student Affairs. L/P credit will be offered, and students attending also can enter a drawing for a bookstore gift card.

Precautions in place to guard against disease

With Ebola and other infectious diseases still in the news as the holiday travel season begins, UIndy is assuring students, faculty and staff that all recommended measures and precautions are in place to guard against possible outbreaks and respond to any such concerns arising in the campus community.

The university follows guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Indiana Department of Health in regard to evaluating and treating patients, as well as the use and disposal of protective equipment. We also are monitoring CDC guidelines for student health centers, which are posted  here.

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‘Christmas Celebration’ concerts Dec. 5 and 7

UIndy-holiday-concert-webA rich tradition of holiday song will be explored Dec. 5 and 7 when the University of Indianapolis Department of Music stages its popular annual Christmas Celebration concerts.

Performances will take place at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 5, and 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 7, in Ruth Lilly Performance Hall of UIndy’s Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center, 1400 E. Hanna Ave.

The program will feature a range of seasonal religious and secular music, from medieval and Renaissance-era selections to classic European carols and American standards, including “The First Noel,” “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” “Sleigh Ride” and “O Holy Night.”

Appearing will be:

  • Concert Choir, conducted by Professor Paul Krasnovsky and accompanied by faculty organist Marko Petricic, with student soloists Abigail House, Natalie Covert and Elisabeth Kleinsmith;
  • Schola chamber vocal ensemble;
  • Women’s Chorus, accompanied by faculty pianist Gregory Martin;
  • Symphonic Wind Ensemble, under the direction of Assistant Professor Vu Nguyen;
  • Chamber Orchestra, under the direction of Assistant Professor Austin Hartman and featuring faculty mezzo-soprano Mitzi Westra;
  • and Handbell Choir, under the direction of instructor Peter Nichols, performing as a 30-minute prelude to the concert.

Admission is free for UIndy students, faculty and staff, $10 for the general public and $6 for seniors and non-UIndy students with ID. Reservations and more information are available at or (317) 788-3251.

Lawrence teen earns Lugar leadership award



Lawrence North High School student Edric Zeng has been chosen to receive the 2014 Richard G. Lugar Distinguished Student Leadership Award, presented annually to an Indiana high school senior by the Lugar Academy at the University of Indianapolis.

Former Senator Lugar, a distinguished professor of political science and international relations at UIndy, will present the award to Zeng on Dec. 6 during the 38th annual Lugar Symposium for Tomorrow’s Leaders at the university. Founded in 1977, the event gives top high school juniors from around the state – as many as three per school – an opportunity to hear a keynote address on world events from Lugar and explore pressing public issues through expert-led small-group discussions.

Zeng, the son of Hyeonsook Lee of Indianapolis and William Zeng of China, was among the hundreds of Indiana students who attended last year’s symposium and were invited to apply for the leadership award, which includes a $1,000 cash prize. The recipient must have a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA and demonstrate leadership skill and a commitment to serving others.

This year’s recipient far exceeds those requirements. One of the top students in his class, Zeng is student body president and has been president of his class since freshman year. He is a varsity swimmer and a member of the speech team, National Honor Society, Hispanic Honor Society and National Technical Honor Society. He also volunteers at Community North Hospital and serves as president of Lawrence North’s Key Club, distinguishing himself through his leadership of service projects including blood drives and the stocking of the school’s food pantry.

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Student pianist wins statewide competition



UIndy senior Kevin Ellenberger came away with one of the top honors at the Music Teachers National Association State Performance Competitions, held Saturday at Ball State University.

Ellenberger’s 30-minute performance of selections by C.P.E. Bach, Kodaly, Messiaen and Shostakovich won the piano category in the Collegiate/Young Artist division for ages 19-26. The piano performance and finance major from New Palestine will proceed to MTNA’s East-Central Division competition in January at Lawrence University in Wisconsin, on his way (hopefully) to the national finals in March in Las Vegas.

Another UIndy student, junior James Loughery, earned honorable mention in the same category of Saturday’s competition with his performance of J.S. Bach, Liszt, Debussy, Poulenc and Michael Schelle.

Pastors, author to discuss same-sex marriage

What does the Bible really say about same-sex marriage? Eighty United Methodist Church pastors have registered for a Dec. 3 conference at UIndy to discuss that very question, and the morning keynote presentation is open to the campus community and the public.

The topic is undoubtedly controversial, says event organizer Michael Cartwright, dean of Ecumenical & Interfaith Programs at UIndy and himself an ordained UMC elder. That’s why he titled the conference Can We Talk? The Bible and Same-Sex Marriage, hoping to spark a positive dialogue that looks beyond easy answers.

“You don’t have to agree with one another, but you can learn from the conversation,” Cartwright says.



The open session from 10 to 11:20 a.m. in McCleary Chapel will feature Mark Achtemeier, a Presbyterian minister and author of The Bible’s Yes to Same-Sex Marriage: An Evangelical’s Change of Heart. Achtemeier’s presentation will be followed by brief responses from Cartwright and colleague Perry Kea, both associate professors in UIndy’s Department of Philosophy & Religion, reflecting their scholarly perspectives. Attendees who are not registered for the overall conference will be welcome to remain in the chapel afterward for further discussion.

The conference will continue with lunch, an afternoon panel discussion and other activities for registered participants. The conference is at capacity, and registration is closed.

More information is available from Dr. Cartwright at

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