Tomorrow’s leaders explore international affairs with former Senator Lugar

More than 400 high school students from across Indiana soaked in valuable insight on the most pressing issues of our time during a special presentation by former Sen. Richard G. Lugar, who hosted an annual leadership symposium at the University of Indianapolis.

More than 60 Hoosier counties were represented at the 41st annual Richard G. Lugar Symposium for Tomorrow’s Leaders, hosted in December 2017 by the Lugar Academy at the University. The tradition allows select high school students to hear from one of the most distinguished minds on policy and domestic and global affairs.

“I look forward to this event each year because I am able to interact with students interested in leadership and making a difference,” said Lugar, a Distinguished Trustee at the University. “These are some of the next great leaders in Indiana and perhaps the country.”

“I hope to help spark the thought that would lead to them running for office or taking some public office for service one day,” Lugar added.

Julia Garrard, a senior from Lebanon High School, was honored by Lugar as this year’s recipient of the Richard G. Lugar Distinguished Student Leadership Award. The $1,000 award recognizes one Indiana high school senior each year for leadership and community service activities.

From partisan politics and climate change to trade agreements and immigration, Lugar provided insight on many of the hot-button issues facing society today. He agreed partisanship continues to be a major stumbling block to the legislative progress, but he said this is not a new phenomenon: The difference today is the power of special interests overshadowing the constituencies of elected officials.

Lugar often mentioned the work of the Lugar Center, a think tank group that issues the Bipartisan Index each year to rank Congress members on how often they work across party lines.

The 85-year-old Lugar, who served for 36 years in the U.S. Senate (including as a leader on the Committee on Foreign Affairs), led a spirited Q and A session, touching on many topics important to young people. Among his messages: Manmade climate change is real. International trade is critical for international relations. DACA children should be protected. North Korea is an extreme danger to the world.

President Robert L. Manuel praised Lugar for his continued commitment to the next generation of leaders and to the University. Lugar is a former professor of political science and holds a honorary degree from the University of Indianapolis.

December 2017 graduation: Josie Seach

josieseachJosie Seach is continuing a family tradition by attending the University of Indianapolis, with a major in literary studies and a minor in computer science. Her mother and grandmother both graduated from the University, and Josie will follow in their footsteps in December 2017. We talked with her about her plans after graduation and how her campus experiences (including her work with the University’s Marketing & Communications Department) prepared her to take the next step.

Q. What’s next after graduation?

A. I’m particularly interested in using digital marketing tools to assist nonprofits, especially those related to the arts, technology, and literacy. Long-term, I hope to either continue on this path or obtain a Master of Library and Information Science or Master’s in Human-Computer Interaction and find work that allows me to help with others’ literacy, both traditional verbal literacy and information/technology literacy.

Q. I heard that you will get some recognition from Etchings magazine! Could you tell me a little more about that?

A. Yes, I submitted three poems, and all three were selected for publication. This is my first time being published anywhere, and also my first time getting into Etchings. I’ve submitted art and other pieces in the past that were not selected. I had hoped to get into the magazine before graduating, and I’m glad to have gotten the chance to see that wish through. I wrote and refined the poems with the help of a workshop class, and it’s fulfilling to see that work recognized.

Q. Tell me about your experience working in the UIndy communications and marketing department.

A. Working for this department has given me the insight and tools I’ll need to succeed in other marketing or writing jobs, and I now feel confident in applying for these sorts of positions, not only because of the wonderful opportunity to work in marketing, but also because of the numerous other opportunities I’ve had, like editing for Etchings and tutoring in the Writing Lab. I was able to attend an academic conference and present one of my literary research papers. Another class gave me the freedom to research something I believe could be used practically—I studied an informal, online community of librarians, and used this precedent to launch research on ways a library might be able to utilize social media to reach and assist patrons.

Q. Was there anyone at UIndy who mentored you?

A. My department has gone above and beyond helping me succeed. Every professor has been so supportive, even before I declared a major in the English department. I want to especially thank Dr. (Chad) Martin and Dr. (Jennifer) Camden for working with me to form a plan when I realized that a class I needed to graduate conflicted with a class for my minor, as well as when I later realized that I needed to add a class to fulfill an elective requirement. Had they not been so generous with their assistance, I would have needed to wait another semester to graduate.

Q. Looking back on your time at UIndy, do you have any advice for incoming freshmen?

A. I think a lot of freshmen worry about their futures when they begin college, especially those who haven’t decided on a major yet. There’s a debate on whether to pick something lucrative or to pick something you love; I feel there doesn’t need to be a mutual exclusion there. Pick something you’re good at and interested in, and there will be ways to apply what you learn. Give yourself time to figure out your strengths, play those strengths up, and work with the University to find opportunities to apply your skills and education.

 

Read about other 2017 December graduates.

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Meet the December 2017 graduates!

About 150 students will walk in the first formal winter commencement ceremony on Saturday, December 16 in Ransburg Auditorium. Indiana Rep. Andre Carson will deliver the keynote speech and the program will be streamed online at uindy.edu/graduation.

Click on the photos below to learn about some of the December graduates, and what’s next for each of them.

December 2017 Graduation: Meet Jason Marshall

jasonmarshallChances are you’ve seen Jason Marshall ’17 (political science, legal studies minor, pre-law concentration) around campus. He’s president of Indianapolis Student Government and the Pre-Law Student Association (as well as precinct committeeman for Spiceland’s second district–his hometown!)

Q. What groups or activities have you been involved in on campus?

A. I have participated as a Greyhound Ambassador for the Admissions Office, a member of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, served two years as Indianapolis Student Government president and created the Pre-Law Student Association, where I have served for two years as president. Not only have these experiences been fun, but being involved on campus helped me to understand what my passions are and have helped me develop a true sense of service. Being the student body president has given me the opportunity to give back to a school that has offered so much to me, and I hope what I have done benefits current and future Greyhounds!

Q. Could you talk about your internships and how they helped you develop your professional skills?

A. I began my first internship as a freshman with the Marion County Democratic Party, where I gained valuable office and professional skills in communication and programming. Following that internship, I began to work with Hannah News Service Midwest as a senior intern tracking legislation at the Indiana Statehouse and gained fundamental skills and knowledge in the workings of the state government and working with clients in a professional manner. This past summer I interned in Washington, D.C., for Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) where I gained knowledge in federal government and valuable skills in research and writing.

Q. What are your plans after graduation?

A. Following graduation, I will be an office manager for Hannah News Service during session at the Statehouse and will then continue my education in fall 2018 at Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law.

Q. Is there anyone at UIndy who influenced or helped you during your academic career?

A. The faculty and staff are great mentors and always supportive of the students. [Dean of Students] Kory Vitangeli and President [Rob] Manuel work diligently for the students, and they have been awesome in supporting student government and the student body. Dr. David Root (political science) and Dr. Laura Wilson (political science) are incredible professors with fun classes and are always ready to help students.

Q. Why would you recommend the political science program?

A. The political science department is by far an excellent program, and I highly recommend the program to anyone interested in any form of government. The professors are personable and always ready to assist students with classwork, but also to find internships and careers that fit the students.

Q. What would your advice be to incoming freshmen?

A. My advice to any incoming freshman is to become involved on campus and in the city. The friendships, skills and networks you gain early on will become so vital in anything you pursue. Getting involved is a fun way to spend your time outside of class doing something you enjoy! Also, get your readings done!

Q. Final thoughts before graduation?

A. UIndy has been an incredible school for me, both intellectually and socially. I feel, as I leave, that I am well prepared to pursue my goals, and UIndy has put me in a position to do so.

 

Read about other 2017 December graduates.

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December 2017 Graduation: Meet Annie Barton

anniebartonAnnie Barton ’17 (M.A., educational leadership) ’13 (elementary education) is a special education teacher at Christel House Academy South who is using her qualifications to advance her teaching career. With her master’s degree, she plans to work as an instructional coach, assistant principal and one day lead as principal of a school in the Indianapolis area.  

Q. What made you decide to enroll in the University of Indianapolis’ educational leadership program? 

A. I decided to enroll for the Education Leadership Program (iLEAD) because I knew that the level of preparation I would receive would be top-notch. The structured experiences have given me the opportunities to grow in my own school and visit other schools as well. The number of relationships built during this process have been outstanding and greatly increased the size of my professional network. Through the projects and assignments I have had a chance to shadow and perform leadership tasks in my own building. I can confidently take on a new role as a school leader.

Q. Describe your work experience since obtaining your bachelor’s degree in elementary education.

A. The opportunities I had as an undergraduate helped me to work a maternity leave in Warren Township immediately following graduation. I was hired on at Christel House Academy South to work their summer school program that following June. Near the end of summer school, I was offered a position as the K-3 special education teacher. Currently, I still work as the K-3 special education teacher in addition to serving as lead teacher for the kindergarten and first grade teachers. I was able to implement my coursework consistently at CHA, from analyzing data and creating a long-term plan to increase student achievement to providing professional development on special education.     

Q. What specific skills in this program will help you achieve your future career goals?

A. In this program, we gain experience with educational laws, working with school finance, using data to inform school goals, professional development and leadership – all the pieces we need to be a successful school leader are provided during the course of the five semesters.

Q. Were there any faculty, staff or students at the University who made a strong impression on you or helped you along the way?

A. This program has a great structure where we completed fieldwork activities for each semester coordinated by [iLEAD Field Coordinator] Lynn Wheeler (assistant professor of teacher education). We consistently had her support throughout the entire program and built extremely strong relationships. My fellow cohort members were talking just last night about how it was a bittersweet feeling to complete our final fieldwork conference calls this semester.

Q. Would you recommend this program to prospective students?

A. I would absolutely recommend this program. This program will push you to become a better version of yourself. You will leave accomplishing projects and work that you could not imagine doing on day one. The curriculum and teachers are consistently updated to ensure they are producing graduates prepared to what real life leading expects. I am so thankful for my time at UIndy.

Q. Overall, would you recommend the University of Indianapolis?

A. UIndy is a fantastic place to be. It is a tight-knit community that is always working to be ahead of the game. The professors are supportive and the relationships you build are long-lasting. It seems I have focused on relationships a lot, but they are so powerful when looking forward in life and your career. To this day, I am welcomed back on campus with open arms. Forever a Greyhound!

 

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December 2017 Graduation: Meet Giauna Neville

img_5820Giauna Neville has loved music since the sixth grade when she started playing clarinet and saxophone. Since enrolling at the University of Indianapolis, she has found a way to expand her musical talents and chart a career path for herself.

This December, she will graduate from the University of Indianapolis with a bachelor’s degree in music education, with a primary focus on percussion and a secondary focus on piano. Neville  plans to attend graduate school next year for jazz studies, and credits the University for growing her diverse musical background into a budding career doing what she loves.

“UIndy prepared me well for this career path because I participated in jazz groups while I was on campus. I developed more of a passion for jazz and drumming, so I officially decided to take my studies even further.”

She credits specific faculty members with serving important roles in her growth as a musician and preparation for her career.

“My faculty advisor, Dr. Rebecca Sorley, and my private teacher, Paul Berns, changed my life and how I am as a musician,” she explained. “They pushed me at times when I wanted to give up and they are the reason I am where I am today! I thank them both from the bottom of my heart.”

More than 50 student organizations exist at the University. Giauna said the Black Student Association (BSA) and National Association for Music Education (NAfME) helped her become closer to her peers, teachers and other music educators in the state.

“BSA helped me keep up with current events and provided opportunities that were non-music related,” she said. “Being involved with NAfME was nice because I could talk to others who were going through the same process as me.”

She wants potential students to know that, regardless of your major, University faculty make you think outside the box.

“From the top-notch programs to the faculty in them, you will be challenged in all your classes,” she said.

“UIndy went above and beyond my expectations! I got to experience the full ‘college experience’ and so much more. It was a lot of hard work, but it was all worth it in the end!”

 

Read about other 2017 December graduates.

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December 2017 Graduation: Meet Kyleigh Randolph-Hernandez

Kyleigh Randolph HernandezKyleigh Randolph-Hernandez is a music education student at the University of Indianapolis who will graduate December 2017. Kyleigh has a choral focus and voice is her primary instrument, although she’s also taken piano lessons. We sat down with Kyleigh to learn about her experience on campus and how the University helped her prepare for the next steps in her career.

Q. What are your plans after graduation?

A. I’m currently searching for a job teaching music at local schools. I feel very prepared for whatever teaching job I am ultimately offered thanks to my preparation at UIndy. I was constantly in the public school classroom throughout my college years and because of that I feel confident in my teaching skills. I greatly appreciate my time at UIndy and everything my professors did to ensure I was prepared for the job field.

Q. What made you choose the University’s music program?

A. I chose UIndy’s music program because it was close to home, because it has some great professors and it is accredited while some other local universities are not.

Q. What would you want a potential student to know about the Department of Music?

A. I would like prospective students to know UIndy is a very welcoming environment. There are people from all over the world and who practice all kinds of religions. That’s one of the things I love most about UIndy! For potential music students, I would like them to know that a music degree, especially music education, is a lot of work because the professors really push you to be your absolute best. However, it is 100 percent worth it. I learned so much in my four years of classes and gained some very valuable experience in my field that I would not have gotten from other universities.

Q. What is a favorite memory from your time on campus?

A. My favorite memory was my senior recital. It felt great to be up on stage doing what I love.

Q. Has your college experience lived up to your expectations?

A. UIndy has far exceeded my expectations. The professors are so kind and they genuinely want you to succeed. They don’t mind getting you into gear or lending a listening ear if that’s what you need. After graduation, I plan on still being in contact with my professors and getting together for coffee.

Q. Who at UIndy – faculty, staff, students – have influenced or helped you along the way?

A. Dr. Mitzi Westra was my private voice professor. She became a great mentor for me and frequently opened her office to me when I was feeling stressed and just needed to talk. I learned a lot from her, including techniques I will be using with my future students. Dr. Brenda Clark is the chair of the music department and has a focus on music education. She kept me on track throughout my college years and encouraged me to not settle for “good enough.”

Q. Were you involved in any extracurricular activities ? If so, what were they and how did they enhance your experience?

A. I was involved in NAfME, (National Association for Music Education), the UIndy choirs, and the opera at UIndy. These groups allowed me to take on leadership roles as I was president and section leader in the choirs and I received many professional development opportunities from my involvement in NAfME.

 

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December 2017 Graduation: Meet Delmar Oropeza

delmaroropezaDelmar Oropeza ’17 (biology, chemistry minor, pre-pharmacy concentration), was one of two Ron & Laura Strain Honors College students who received a research grant along with her co-researcher Sierra Corbin from the Sigma Zeta National Honor Society to conduct and present research at the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) Conference in Atlanta. She is graduating in December.

Q. Congrats on your research grant from Sigma Zeta National Honor Society! What are your thoughts about receiving the grant?

A. I was pleased and thankful that Sigma Zeta was willing to fund our research. This grant meant that [co-researcher] Sierra [Corbin] and I would not have to fund our project. It was interesting to hear what professors and other students thought about our research. Most of them seemed really interested, especially because of the involvement of food.

Q. Could you briefly describe your research? What inspired you to pursue this topic?

A. We wanted to determine a procedure that could test the genotype of individuals for a portion of the gene that contains a marker for the taste preference of cilantro. We wanted to test if the way individuals perceive the taste of cilantro is genetic or not. Sierra and I enjoyed taking genetics with Dr. [Sandy] Davis (associate professor of biology), so we worked with her on our capstone/honors project. She gave us the idea, which caught our attention.

Q. How did your research experience – and Honors College in general – prepare you for the next steps in your career?

A. The research experience allowed me to expand my learning and communicative capabilities. There was a lot of reading and interpretation of papers that took place, which allowed me to expand my analytical intakes. We presented our research several times during the course of the project, and this helped me develop my public speaking skills. 

Q. What are your plans after graduation?

A. I plan to go to pharmacy school. I just submitted my pharmacy school applications to Purdue and Ferris State University. 

Q. Were you involved in any extracurricular activities as a student? If so, what were they and how did they enhance your experience?

A. I was involved with Chemistry Club, Sigma Zeta, Biology Club, Pre-Professional Club, College Mentors and I currently have a part-time job as a pharmacy technician at Wal-Mart Pharmacy. These activities enhanced my abilities to balance school, clubs and work. I think being in multiple associations and organizations has made me into a better student as well as a better organizer and manager of time in my daily life.  

Q. Were there any faculty, staff or fellow students who helped you during your time as a student?

A. There have been numerous professors and students who have helped guide my education. I would like to thank Dr. [Sandy] Davis, Dr. [Jim] Williams, Dr. [Kevin] Gribbins, Dr. [Doug] Stemke, Dr. [Marc] Milne, and Sierra Corbin for encouragement and advice during my years at the University of Indianapolis. Professors have served as advisors and mentors with not only schoolwork, but life-long decisions and career options as well. 

Q. Why would you recommend UIndy to prospective high school students?

A. I would recommend UIndy because the small classroom setting gives students the opportunity to know their professors. My advice to incoming freshmen is to not get overwhelmed during the first semester. And if such thing does happen, talk to your professors because they care about your education as much as you do. 

Q. Any other big takeaways or observations as you approach graduation?

A. I am super excited to graduate. I am ready for the next step, and now I am just anxiously waiting to start learning in depth about my future career!

 

Read about other 2017 December graduates.

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December 2017 Graduation: Meet Sierra Corbin

sierracorbinSierra Corbin ’17 (biology major, chemistry minor) talks about her experience in the Ron & Laura Strain Honors College. She and co-researcher Delmar Oropeza ’17 received a research grant from the Sigma Zeta National Honor Society to conduct and present research at the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) Conference in Atlanta. Once she graduates in December, she plans to enter a physician assistant program.

Q. How did the Sigma Zeta grant assist in your research?

A. I was thankful about receiving the grant, because it paid for a lot of materials we needed to order for our project. The experience presenting at the conference was beneficial. We received feedback from judges so that we could improve our skills of presenting scientific research. It was also quite interesting to see what other students around the United States study.

Q. Could you briefly describe your research?

A. Our research analyzed the DNA of individuals that liked and disliked cilantro. Using the information and the procedure Delmar and I conducted, I wrote a laboratory procedure for undergraduate level students to use in genetics courses.

Q. How did your research experience – and Honors College in general – prepare you for the next steps in your career?

A. The research and presentation experience prepared me for learning how to explain to others who may not have as much knowledge about a particular topic, what is happening in a given situation. When I become a physician assistant, I am sure I will need to explain to patients what an illness may be, what caused it and how to treat it. If I do not end up going to graduate school to become physician assistant, I probably will go into research of some kind. Completing undergraduate research allowed me to become familiarized with the equipment and techniques I would need in my future.

Q. Were you involved in any extracurricular activities as a student?

A. I participated in UIndy for Riley and worked off campus, which took up a lot of my free time. Learning the skill of time management was essential and helped me become well rounded. Working also helped me get many of the clinical hours that physician assistant programs require.

Q. Were there any faculty, staff or fellow students who helped you during your time as a student?

A. Dr. [Sandy] Davis (biology) helped me tremendously through this project. She helped me in learning an abundance of knowledge about genetics. Also, Dr. [Marc] Milne (biology) was an awesome mentor and professor my freshman year, encouraging me to follow the biology route I had set for myself. Dr. [Kathy] Stickney was another professor who genuinely cared about her students performance and would go above and beyond for her students. I will never forget when she stayed at school until 2:00 a.m. helping students edit a paper and learn material.

Q. Would you recommend UIndy to prospective high school students?

A. UIndy is an awesome school, and is much better than some bigger schools in professor-student ratios. I have a few friends at large universities who cannot get appropriate help when they are struggling in a class. At UIndy, the teachers genuinely care about our academic success. Some of our courses definitely are harder than they would be at other schools, but that makes us more prepared.

 

Read about other 2017 December graduates.

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Students advise Citizens Energy on steam plant efficiencies

Seven University of Indianapolis students partnered with Citizens Energy this semester to gain real-world work experience through the Partnership for Excellence in Research and Learning (PERL) initiative.

citizens_perl__7102

The PERL project creates mutually beneficial connections in Indiana communities. Students gain professional development opportunities in a collaborative environment, while businesses receive fresh insight into industry challenges. The project helps foster critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, both key areas of focus to a University of Indianapolis education.

Kirk Bryans, assistant director of business, entrepreneurship, sports management and marketing, Professional Edge Center, said programs like PERL are important to the University on a couple different levels: Students get exposure to working with professionals in the community trying to solve real world problems and find ways of doing things better. Working within a cross functional team provides students real life team building scenarios which normally doesn’t happen until you are in the midst of your first job.  

Our employer partners are experiencing the power of a University of Indianapolis education,” Bryans said. “They recognize how incredible our students really are. Each interaction is a win-win as both parties exchange information.”

The University group includes students pursuing diverse areas of study: Carsen Alber (environmental sustainability/criminal justice), Liz Behrends (information systems), Grace Buck (human biology), Casey Brock (supply chain management), Xavier Ortiz (chemistry), Kyler Nichols (accounting) and Holly Cox (chemistry/biology).

The students were tasked with identifying ways to improve efficiencies at the Perry K Steam Plant in downtown Indianapolis. The goal was to find environmentally friendly solutions that also would minimize consumer costs moving forward.

The students toured the steam plant several times, analyzed data from Citizens Energy, met with employees from the steam plant and broke into smaller task groups to achieve their goals, spending about 45 hours on the project from September to November.

In December 2017, they presented findings and recommendations to about a dozen industry experts.

Highlights included streamlining a spreadsheet used for reporting water consumption at the plant, reducing time spent on the task from two hours to about two minutes. They also evaluated methods used in the water treatment process, investigated hydro-electric generation in plant systems to offset purchased power and identified technologies to measure the inlet flow into the plant water system.

“We were thrilled to have the UIndy students engaged with our steam business,” Ann McIver, director of environmental stewardship, said. “Their independent views of our plant water system allowed them to “Challenge the Process,” one of our core leadership practices. Their recommendations may allow us to offset our cost of electricity, and their advanced spreadsheet knowledge will bring time savings to steam personnel on a routine basis.”

The experience also provided valuable insight into how a cross-functional team operates and allowed the University students to directly impact their community.

“It’s not everyday that we get to work with people from different majors to help an organization so prevalent in central Indiana,” Nichols said. “This project really taught me how to work with people that think differently than I do and how to balance my time between classes and my other obligations.”

Levi Mielke, assistant chemistry professor, supported the PERL initiative with Bryans by generating the scope and description of the project, interviewing and selecting candidates and acting as liaisons between the University and Citizens Energy.

“We successfully brought together an interdisciplinary team of students to tackle a project bigger than themselves,” Mielke said. “We have the best students at UIndy. Not only have they become content experts, but can apply their knowledge and adapt to new learning situations while providing a valuable community service.”

Watch this short video to learn more about the Professional Edge Center.

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