“Inspire You” illustrates bond between students and campus mentors
A recent Professional Edge Center event allowed students to recognize some faculty and staff members who have mentored them to success, highlighting the close relationships that exist in the University of Indianapolis community.
The “Inspire You” event saw several students honoring people who have had a significant impact on their lives. Twelve outstanding nominees were honored at the Skyline Club in Indianapolis, with Dr. Katherine Welch (’93) as guest speaker. Dr. Welch is one of the University’s 2017 honorary degree recipients for her work at Relentless, a global health organization committed to caring for and treating exploited and marginalized populations across Asia.
She acknowledged the influence of Joe Burnell, associate professor of chemistry, whose encouragement inspired her to become a doctor.
“Professors such as Joe Burnell could see more potential in me than I could see in myself at that time and they did not hesitate to say so and actively developed that. For that I will be ever grateful,” Welch said.
Her story was one example of the strong bond formed between students and University employees. While some students recognized family or other influences, several chose to honor University mentors who provided them with unique insight and guidance when they needed that support the most.
Among faculty and staff being honored were Rev. Arionne Williams, campus chaplain, Paul Berns, associate adjunct faculty in music, Brad Neal, assistant professor of chemistry, Stephen Jones, athletic trainer, Ted Frantz, professor of history and political science, Nancy Steffel, professor of teacher education and director of elementary education, and Giles Davis, assistant track and field coach.
- Dierra Barlow explained how Rev. Arionne Williams helped her achieve a better understanding of herself: “She asked me why I could not be who I truly was. I had never before realized that being me was okay.”
- Elizabeth Behrends nominated Stephen Jones, her athletic trainer at the University. Jones encouraged her as she considered switching majors. Behrends made the switch from nursing to business, and couldn’t be happier. She credits Jones with helping her make the choice.
“It’s so hard these days to find someone who inspires you because so many people are following paths that are set up for them. Thankfully I met someone who has taught me how to conquer the pressure and taught me to follow my heart,” said Behrends.
- Daniel Buergler honored Ted Frantz, professor of history and political science, for Frantz’s inspirational work in the classroom as well as directing the Institute for Civic Leadership & Mayoral Archives.
- Camille Edwards is receiving her master’s degree in public health, and praised her assistant track and field coach, Giles Davis, for his inspirational passion for the sport and relentless dedication to his athletes.
“My career goal is to develop programs to address health disparities, especially within the minority communities. It is the acts of Coach Davis, and his constant giving, that has led me to believe this is a great career path for me,” said Edwards.
- Logan Fox honored his music instructor Paul Berns, who he says facilitated his growth as a musician and performer and encouraged him during challenging times.
- Molly Wolfe nominated Nancy Steffel, director of the elementary education program, for Steffel’s support and guidance. “Not only has she challenged me in ways I didn’t know I could be challenged, but she has exposed me to opportunities I would have never had otherwise,” said Wolfe.
- Brad Neal, assistant professor of chemistry, was honored by Jonah Meier, who called Neal a “phenomenal person and instructor” who provided valuable assistance as he decided to pursue physical therapy.
“The thing that sets Brad apart is his genuine care and attention in students’ lives. In my time of feeling lost and worried, he reached out a hand to help me out,” said Meier.
Students who honored friends or relatives included Connor Burton, Morgan Gadient, Summer Jarnagin, Paige Stansell and Jacob Whatley.