Speech and Debate team wins big at State Championship

The University of Indianapolis Speech and Debate Team won big at the Indiana Forensics Association (IFA) State Championship in February 2018 at Ball State University.  Three members of the team earned the honor of being named a state champion, and the team as a whole earned top honors throughout the tournament. The Greyhounds finished third in the overall team award sweepstakes category.

The UIndy Speech and Debate Team is a nationally ranked community that competes in events to enhance student’s communication, research and public speaking skills. Stephanie Wideman, assistant professor of communication, is the team director.


From left to right: Sierra Roberts, Vanessa Hickman, Ryan Jordan-Wright, Craig Chigadza, Melanie Moore, Taylor Woods, India Graves, Shayla Cabalan, Roci Contreras, Kaylee Blum, Hilary Bauer

“Our success at the state competition is reflective of the student’s hard work and dedication to honing their personal skills as well as representing the university well,” Wideman said.

Taylor Woods ’22 (communication) earned the title of State Champion in Novice Poetry Interpretation. “I joined the Speech and Debate Team as a freshman without any prior experience in the field,” Woods said. “I’ve grown so much since being on the team, which has helped me in a variety of areas in my life.”

Craig Chigadza ’22 (psychology) earned the title of State Champion in Novice Extemporaneous Speaking. “Being part of the speech and debate team here at UIndy has been life changing,” he said. “Not only am I developing an important skill in public speaking and critical thinking, but I am gifted a family away from home and a group of young men and women who are seeking to make an impact by addressing vital global issues.”

Hilary Bauer ’22 (studio art and political science) earned the title of State Champion in Novice Impromptu Speaking. “I was beyond thrilled to represent UIndy at the state championship,” she said. “The university provides us with the materials and opportunity to succeed at this level. I’m grateful for the support we receive as a team.”

See a full list of team results below.

Congratulations to all Greyhounds who competed: Sierra Roberts, Vanessa Hickman, Ryan Jordan-Wright, Craig Chigadza, Melanie Moore, Taylor Woods, India Graves, Shayla Cabalan, Roci Contreras, Kaylee Blum and Hilary Bauer

The team will travel to two national tournaments in March to finish out the competitive season.

IFA State Championship results:

  • Novice Impromptu– State Champion Hilary Bauer, 6th place Craig Chigadza
  • Novice Extemporaneous– State Champion- Craig Anesu Chigadza, 3rd Place Hilary Bauer
  • Novice Poetry– State Champion Taylor Woods
  • Varsity Persuasion– 2nd Place Shayla Cabalan, 6th place Vanessa Hickman, 7th place Melanie Moore
  • Novice Persuasion– 6th place Craig Chigadza
  • Varsity Poetry– 2nd place Roci Contreras, 6th place India Graves
  • Varsity After Dinner Speaking– 3rd place Vanessa Hickman, 5th place Shayla Cabalan, 6th place India Graves
  • Varsity Prose– 5th place India Graves, 6th place Kaylee Blum
  • Novice Prose– 3rd place Taylor Woods
  • Varsity Extemporaneous– 7th place Melanie Moore
  • Varsity Informative– 5th place Kaylee Blum
  • Program Oral Interpretation– 5th place Kaylee Blum
  • Duo Interpretation– 6th place Taylor Woods and Craig Chigadza




University of Indianapolis partners with IU McKinney School of Law for new scholar program

IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law's Inlow Hall

IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law’s Inlow Hall

INDIANAPOLIS – The University of Indianapolis has partnered with the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law to create the University of Indianapolis Law Scholar. Each year, one student or alumnus will be nominated for the award and will receive: (1) a minimum half-tuition scholarship throughout their studies at IU McKinney; and (2) a guaranteed experiential learning opportunity of either an externship in the Indianapolis Bar or a research assistantship at IU McKinney.  Candidates who meet established minimum eligibility requirements will be considered for the award, which will be selected by the University of Indianapolis Law Scholar Committee. The first Law Scholar will be awarded for Academic Year 2018-19.

“The University of Indianapolis is proud to partner with the IU McKinney School of Law to provide another pathway for our students to achieve their personal and professional goals,” said President Robert Manuel. “Many of these graduates will go on to leadership roles across Indiana, which continues our tradition of impact on our local and regional economy.”

“I am delighted by our partnership with the University of Indianapolis,” said IU McKinney Dean Andrew R. Klein. “I’m confident the graduates who attend IU McKinney through this partnership will go on to do wonderful things that will make both schools incredibly proud.”

Dr. David Root, assistant professor of political science and pre-law advisor, initiated and established the partnership, which was formed in 2017.

“The University of Indianapolis Law Scholar offers our students a significant opportunity for success when they become law students at IU McKinney and, later, lawyers, community leaders, and professionals in a wide range of fields,” said Dr. Root, an alumni of IU McKinney (2006). “It provides them with a first step towards launching a successful and rewarding career in the law or wherever their legal education might take them.”

About the program

Starting in Academic Year 2018-19, one University of Indianapolis student or alumnus will be selected each year as the University of Indianapolis Law Scholar and will receive at least a half-tuition scholarship throughout law school as well as a guaranteed experiential learning opportunity. The experiential learning opportunity consists of either an externship in the Indianapolis Bar for academic credit or a paid research assistantship at IU McKinney, either of which begin after completion of the first year of studies.

Additionally, the University of Indianapolis Law Scholar is expected to serve as a visible and active liaison between IU McKinney and the University of Indianapolis, demonstrating strong leadership during campus visits, recruiting efforts, and other joint measures undertaken by the two schools. The program is  designed to assist students financially and experientially when they matriculate to IU McKinney and to encourage students to consider IU McKinney for their legal studies.

Eligible candidates must have completed an application to IU McKinney by March 1 of the year in which they are applying to law school as well as complete their award application by the same date.  The University of Indianapolis Law Scholar Committee will then select and submit its nomination to IU McKinney by April 1.  The awardee will be notified shortly thereafter.

For more information about the University of Indianapolis Law Scholar, please contact Dr. Root at rootd@uindy.edu.


Educational psychologist makes global impact with “Just World” research

Kendra Thomas during her PSY 245 lecture class.

Kendra Thomas during her PSY 245 lecture class.

INDIANAPOLIS – When a child gets into trouble at school, a number of factors could be at play. For educational psychologist Kendra Thomas, a student’s perception of fairness is a factor that could be the key to understanding some adolescent behavior.

Thomas, assistant professor of psychology, focuses on social psychology theories such as Just World belief and systems justification theory. Her research, conducted in Brazil, Kenya and the United States, involves adolescents and how their beliefs about fairness can shape their worldview and school experience.

The data from her research can have several applications, from school discipline policies and cultural differences to understanding how different communities perceive the role of law enforcement.

“If I anticipate a level of fairness, I might be more motivated to work hard, but I also might be more motivated to blame the victim because I assume they must’ve received what they deserved,” Thomas explained.

Systems justification theory supports the idea that people tend to justify the systems they’re living in, and the more people are encompassed in the system, the more they might feel the need to justify it.

“I’m really interested with people’s interpretation of fairness and how that interpretation could drive their behavior,” said Thomas, who recently published research in Social Justice Research and Psychological Reports.

Psychology professor Kendra Thomas during her PSY (psychology) 245 lecture class in HEAL 407 on Monday, February 12, 2018. Pix taken for a story on her. (Photo: D. Todd Moore, University of Indianapolis)

Thomas’ current research involves middle school students, their assumptions about fairness and their well-being. Her goal is not about determining if those rules are fair, but rather how students’ perceptions of fairness affects their behavior and well-being.

“The student who says that the rules aren’t fair is also more likely to report disrespecting the teacher, or to report being bullied or to say they don’t do their homework. Those are the kinds of relationships I look for in the data,” Thomas explained.

Her findings can help educators and parents address behavioral problems and provide a window into how students’ worldviews are being shaped through the context they grow up in.

“We could sit down with a group of teachers and parents and say, ‘I know that you think the rules are fair, but the student does not. So how do we communicate it so that not only is it fair but the student feels heard? That perception is going to influence their lived experience and what rules they choose to buy into and what rules they reject out of rebellion,” Thomas said.

Learn more about UIndy’s psychology programs here.

During research conducted in Brazil and Kenya, Thomas found that students who perceive their school and community as fair also were more likely to buy into the school rules.

The University’s psychology program offers undergraduate students a research practicum featuring one-on-one sessions with faculty throughout the semester. Thomas has worked with several students on this basis, including Karli LaGrotte ’18, who presented her research, “Belief in a Just World Among Brazilian Adolescents: Differences Across Age, Race and Religion,” during Scholar’s Day in April 2017.

Courtney Shepherd ’18 also worked with Thomas on undergraduate research. Shepherd plans to pursue a master’s degree in gerontology and to work with the elderly population.

“Dr. Thomas taught me each step of the research process and allowed me to be actively involved in data processing. She provided me with constructive criticism so I could be better in the research process,” said Shepherd.

Thomas has also advised graduate and doctoral students, including Erin Hoolihan ’20 (PsyD, clinical psychology). Hoolihan’s dissertation investigates the potential socioeconomic and racial differences that exist in the connection between perceptions of justice, social capital and well-being.     

“Dr. Thomas has always made my research a priority, and it is a wonderful experience to have an advisor who cares as much about my research as I do,” Hoolihan said.

Written by Sara Galer, Senior Communications Specialist, University of Indianapolis. Contact newsdesk@uindy.edu with your campus news.

Engineering students make a splash with Design Spine projects

Engineering students designed a "water wagon" for Citizens Energy as part of the Design Spine curriculum.

Engineering students designed a “water wagon” for Citizens Energy as part of the Design Spine curriculum.

INDIANAPOLIS – Engineering students at the University of Indianapolis recently presented innovative designs to clients as part of a collaborative project at the R.B. Annis School of Engineering.

Regional companies like Easterseals Crossroads and Citizens Energy Group are benefiting from the collaboration that taps into students’ expertise, from product design to testing and implementation.

The reception from clients and other people who have observed our students is that they are doing a phenomenal job. Many people can’t believe they are just sophomores,” said José Sanchez, director of the Engineering program at the University of Indianapolis.

The engineering program at the R.B. Annis School of Engineering centers on the Design Spine curriculum, a unique program structure that provides students with valuable networking and skill-building opportunities. Students form interdisciplinary teams — including software, mechanical and industrial concentrations — and work collectively to tackle a singular problem. They face real-life projects and challenges starting their sophomore year, with each problem requiring them to apply industry standards, project management, research, entrepreneurship and leadership skills to find solutions.

Three student teams participated in Design Spine projects during the 2017-18 academic year and recently presented their projects to clients. The Design Spine curriculum follows the Design for Six Sigma customer-oriented development process, recognized by businesses worldwide, which reinforces the concepts of customer focus and “designing it right the first time” to avoid expensive consequences later. Students are challenged to identify metrics such as quality, delivery, cost and optimization of designs.

Learn more about the R.B. Annis School of Engineering Design Spine experience.

Another team designed an assistive auto cutter for Easterseals Crossroads.

Another team designed an assistive auto cutter for Easterseals Crossroads.

Students designed an assistive auto-cutter for Easterseals Crossroads and a water wagon for Citizens Energy Group. Another project was a custom orthosis for the University’s School of Occupational Therapy.

David Olawale, assistant professor of engineering, emphasized the interdisciplinary approach and gave credit to faculty across campus for coordinating the student teams.

“This can be challenging,” Olawale explained, “It’s easy to put something on paper, but it’s harder to make it a reality and make sure it works.”

Kinsey West ’20 (industrial & systems engineering) worked on the water wagon for Citizens Energy, which is a fully functional mini-model of a water distribution system to be used at events where clean water is not always readily available. West said it was challenging to start a project with nothing but a handout — and carry it through to the building and testing phase.

“I’ve learned countless lessons throughout this project, but the biggest one is that things don’t always go as you had planned. You have to revise and keep moving forward,” West said.

Allison Zwickl ’20 (software engineering) worked on the custom wrist orthosis project, with the goal of reducing the surface area while still maintaining support for the patient’s wrist. She said trial and error played a strong role in the testing phase.

“Every time our design failed, we just added a little more plastic so that our final product would have the least amount of thermoplastic possible,” Zwickl said.

Both students said that dealing with setbacks taught them a valuable lesson.

“Failure is necessary in order to succeed. Every time we failed in creating a new design, we were able to use that knowledge to create a new design – which is what ultimately helped us create the design we presented to our sponsor,” Zwickl said.

Written by Sara Galer, Senior Communications Specialist, University of Indianapolis. Contact newsdesk@uindy.edu with your campus news.

University of Indianapolis statement regarding the death of Nicholas Dworet

Statement from University of Indianapolis President Robert L. Manuel regarding the death of Nicholas Dworet in Florida on Feb. 14, 2018.

Dear UIndy colleagues,

I am deeply saddened to share with you that we just received notification that Nicholas Dworet, who would have become a member of our University of Indianapolis family as an entering freshman this fall, died in the shootings yesterday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Nick’s death is a reminder that we are connected to the larger world, and when tragedy hits in places around the world, it oftentimes affects us at home. Today, and in the coming days, I hope you will hold Nick, his family, all of the victims, as well as the Parkland community and first responders in your prayers.

Nick was a recruited athlete to our swim team. Coach Jason Hite, Vice President Sue Willey and I have been in contact with the Dworet family and will continue to offer support in the coming days.

Nick’s death also reminds us of the far-reaching impact of these national acts of violence. We will find ways in the coming days to help Nick’s family — and I hope our Greyhound family can come together to engage the questions raised by these shootings and ensure that our community continues to be a safe place for all of our students, faculty and staff.

Dr. Robert L. Manuel
University president

Artist-in-Residence Drew Petersen creates unique learning opportunities for piano students

Drew Petersen master piano class - February 14, 2018. (Photo: D. Todd Moore, University of Indianapolis)

Drew Petersen master piano class – February 14, 2018. (Photo: D. Todd Moore, University of Indianapolis)

INDIANAPOLIS – Music students at the University of Indianapolis are reaping the benefits of a new artist-in-residence program that connects them with unique learning experiences and a global professional network.

Drew Petersen, 2017 American Pianists Awards winner, Christel DeHaan fellow and University of Indianapolis artist-in-residence, has held masterclasses, private coachings, lectures and performances as part of the partnership between the American Pianists Association and the University.

Petersen returns this week to offer another masterclass for students and the community on Wednesday, Feb. 14, followed by a solo repertoire and concerto collaboration with the University of Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra on Friday, Feb. 16 (sponsored by Katz, Sapper & Miller. Register here.)

These experiences have the power to inspire students in ways that can serve as a catalyst for significant growth in their musicianship and career aspirations,” said Brenda Clark, Department of Music chair.

Learn more about the University of Indianapolis Department of Music programs.

Drew Petersen master piano class with UIndy students at CDFAC on the Ruth Lilly Perfomance Hall stage on Wednesday, February 14, 2018. (Photo: D. Todd Moore, University of Indianapolis)

The public is invited to observe Petersen’s next masterclass, scheduled from 5-7 p.m. on Wednesday at the Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center (Ruth Lilly Performance Hall). No registration is required.

A cum laude graduate of Harvard University in social sciences, Petersen pursued undergraduate and graduate studies in music at the Juilliard School. He also has been a prizewinner in major international competitions and has been profiled in the New York Times, New York Magazine and the documentary Just Normal.

Petersen said interacting with the talented music students on campus has been one of the biggest rewards of his new connection to the University.

“Whenever I interact with the students and faculty, I am reminded that each day at UIndy is an opportunity to explore great music together and examine and innovate the best ways we can share it with the community. I’ve been having a great time, and I look forward to all that lies ahead,” Petersen said.

Drew Petersen master piano class with UIndy students at CDFAC on the Ruth Lilly Perfomance Hall stage on Wednesday, February 14, 2018. (Photo: D. Todd Moore, University of Indianapolis)

Students also have enjoyed Petersen’s mentorship. During her masterclass with Petersen, Carrie Atkinson ’18 (music – piano) was inspired by his remarkable playing technique and personable approach.

“Drew brought an excitement to the music that was inspiring to see as well as some wonderful insights to the music that reinforced what my teachers had already been instructing me in,” Atkinson said.

Richard Ratliff, professor of music, said Petersen’s fall 2017 performance on campus demonstrated the kind of grace under pressure that he encourages in his students.

“After our week with Drew, students approached the remainder of the semester with energy and enthusiasm. Students now realize that such mastery is a step-by-step process,” Ratliff explained.

Cole Snapp ’18 (music – piano, composition concentration) had a private lesson and a masterclass with Petersen and found both experiences to be motivational.

“Having an amazingly proficient pianist like Drew coach me was extremely valuable. He was able to bring things to my attention that I would not have otherwise thought. In a Zoltan Kodàly piece I was working on, he asked me to play the climactic section louder and louder until I was literally throwing my whole weight into the keys,” Snapp said.

“Since Drew is not much older than our students, his command in public presentation really made an impact. His expertise in a wide variety of repertoire — from the 18th century to the present — was apparent to everyone as he worked with students and spoke insightfully about the music he performs and is planning to record,” Ratliff said.

Atkinson said she’s grateful for the partnership between the APA and the University.

“I think that it is so enriching to get to work with musicians of his calibre. Drew is one of the top pianists on the scene right now, and getting to work with him was a very valuable and fresh experience. The best part, for me, was seeing how excited he got about the music,” she said.

Written by Sara Galer, Senior Communications Specialist, University of Indianapolis. Contact newsdesk@uindy.edu with your campus news.

Olympic connections abound at the University of Indianapolis

The University of Indianapolis celebrates Olympic connections as the 2018 Games get underway in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Here’s a look at UIndy Olympians past and present.

Sotia Neophytou

Sotia Neophytou

Sotia Neophytou ’20 (business management) is a member of the women’s swim team and an Olympian who competed in the 2016 Rio Summer Games. She was the only female Cypriot to represent her country, swimming 1:02.83 in her heat for the 100 butterfly.

Dalton Herendeen ’15 competed for Team USA Paralympics men’s swimming in the London Games in 2012 and in Rio 2016 (achieving fourth overall in Rio).

Photo shows Olympian Dick Nalley, who competed in the 1980 Lake Placid Games.

Photo shows Olympian Dick Nalley, who competed in the 1980 Lake Placid Games.

Dick Nalley ’77, a football and track standout for the Greyhounds in the 1970s, competed in the 1980 Winter Games in Lake Placid, finishing fifth overall in the two-man bobsled. Nalley, who became a firefighter with the Indianapolis Fire Department, won the bench press gold medal at the Calgary World Police and Fire Games and the silver medal at the Sweden World Police and Fire Games. He was also eight-time Indiana State Bench Press champion. He passed away in 2002.

Randy Heisler 86, finished 17th in the discus in the 1988 Summer Games in Seoul, South Korea. Heisler was a track and field letter winner from 1981 through 1984, a three-time NCAA Division II National Champion and All-American from 1982 to 1984 and an NCAA Division II record holder. He was honored as University of Indianapolis Outstanding Male Athlete in 1984 and represented the United States 13 times in international competitions. He was one of the top throwers in the country for many years in the 1980s and 1990s, including the U.S. World Championship team in 1987.

Orel Oral

Orel Oral

Orel Oral ’04 represented his native Turkey in the 2000 and 2004 Summer Games, swimming in the 200-meter individual medley. Oral was a seven-time national champion for the Greyhounds in the early aughts. He is a seven-time NCAA Division II national champion and was named Swimmer of the Year in Turkey in 2003 and 2004.

Matt Royer ‘11, Greyhound throws coach, qualified for the 2012 U.S. Olympics Trials in the hammer throw, but did not make it to the Olympics. He was a three-time All-American for the Greyhounds.

Ned Shannon, the Greyhounds’ head athletic trainer, works with the University’s 23 sports and as an instructor in the athletic training curriculum. He is an approved clinical instructor in the Athletic Training Education Department and the main athletic trainer for football and wrestling. Shannon has participated as a volunteer athletic trainer for the 2005 and 2006 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, 2001 World Fire and Police Games, 1998 USOC athletic trainer for the Goodwill Games in New York City, volunteer athletic trainer at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and in that same year participated as a staff athletic trainer at Games of the XXVI Olympiad in Atlanta, Georgia.

Local Rev. Rob Fuquay and Grammy-winning musician Bela Fleck to receive honorary degrees

Dear Campus Community,

Although we have just begun our term, the University already is looking forward to recognizing inspiring leaders through honorary degrees at our May Commencement ceremony. Our honorary degrees are awarded to individuals who are innovators, leaders in their crafts and who embody the mission of our University. This year, I am pleased to announce that we will continue this storied tradition by awarding degrees that celebrate our United Methodist Church heritage and our commitment to arts and culture.

Rob Fuquay

Rev. Rob Fuquay

The University Committee on Honorary Degrees this year selected two worthy recipients. We will honor Rev. Rob Fuquay, who serves as the senior pastor of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church – one of Indianapolis’ largest congregations with more than 6,000 members. We also will honor Béla Fleck, a 16-time Grammy Award winner commonly described as the world’s best banjo player. Both individuals have spent their careers carving new paths and inspiring others with their talents.

Rev. Fuquay is considered a leader in spiritual thought and guidance and has authored several books and course guides on religious topics. As the fifth senior pastor appointed at St. Luke’s, he holds a strong position of influence and leadership in the UMC. He regularly shares his vision of bringing religion and inspiration to the entire community, not just his congregation. Throughout his career, Fuquay has served various congregations with his gifts of strong preaching, leadership development and visioning. Fuquay, who will deliver the keynote address at Commencement, has lived in Indianapolis since 2011 with his wife and three daughters.

The University of Indianapolis traces its roots in the United Methodist Church (UMC) back to its founding in 1902. The United Brethren of Christ first purchased 8 acres of property in the heart of the University Heights neighborhood to establish a college. Indiana Central University opened its doors upon the completion of Good Hall, and the University tradition of academic excellence officially began. The institution became Indiana Central College in 1921. By the late 1960s, the Evangelical United Brethren and Methodist churches merged, and the University of Indianapolis (officially named in 1986) has been part of the UMC since. The University continues to welcome diverse students, faculty and staff to campus, just as Fuquay supports the UMC mission as a welcoming church for all.

Equally important in the University’s growth as a top-tier liberal arts institution is the long, successful history of excellence in music and the arts. The tradition of cultural impact in the city and region cannot be overstated. It is a proud story of growth and partnership, both with the surrounding arts community and the University Heights neighborhood. The campus is home to one of the best performance facilities in the area, the Ruth Lilly Performance Hall in the Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center. Behind this rise to prominence is the University’s history of embracing all forms of music and art and inspiring students to pursue their unique interests.

Béla Fleck (photo courtesy Jim McGuire)

Béla Fleck (photo courtesy Jim McGuire)

Béla Fleck continues this tradition by building his career through many diverse influences in all genres of music. He pairs the traditional banjo sounds of bluegrass and country with the improvisational freedoms of jazz and the more modern jam-band movement. He has played all over the globe and collaborated with artists such as Sam Bush, Chick Corea, Branford Marsalis, Victor Wooten, Dave Matthews and many more. The result of these influences is a unique sound and brand of music: his music.

He is lauded as both a solo artist and as part of successful groups such as New Grass Revival and Béla Fleck and the Flecktones. Throughout his career, Fleck has reinvented the image and sound of the banjo. Fleck has the honor of being nominated in more Grammy categories than any other musician, a testament to his love of music and courage to continually push the musical envelope. His music denies definition and embodies the possibilities of true artistic expression–something held sacred at the University of Indianapolis. Fleck will perform a song on the banjo at the May 5 Commencement.

Commencement provides the University community an opportunity to celebrate the hard work and achievements of graduates and the passionate staff and faculty who helped them reach this milestone. I look forward to celebrating this year with our entire community and to welcoming Rev. Rob Fuquay and Mr. Béla Fleck to campus.


President Rob Manuel

Business students lead the way for Straight Answer Saturday Feb. 10

INDIANAPOLIS – The Student Business Leadership Academy (SBLA) at the University of Indianapolis is spearheading a community event designed to help Indianapolis residents with free legal and financial questions.

sasStraight Answer Saturday, held in the Schwitzer Student Center on the University of Indianapolis campus from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Feb. 10, 2018, is a free event that allows the general public to meet with attorneys and financial planners in one-on-one consultations. Professionals can answer questions about wills, power of attorney, saving for retirement, debt, taxes and more. Pre-register here.

The University has partnered with  the Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson’s Office, the Indiana State Bar Association and the Financial Planners Association of Greater Indiana to host the event. Representatives from the following agencies will also be available: Social Security Administration, Indiana Better Business Bureau, Indiana Legal Services, US Department of Housing and Urban Development, Senior Medicare Patrol, AARP, Indiana Alzheimer Disease Center, CollegeChoice 529 and Indiana Department of Child Services.

“No judgment. No sales pitches. Just straight answers. That’s our goal for Straight Answer Saturday,” said Lawson. “My office created this event to ensure the citizens of Indiana can get legal and financial help in a stress-free environment, free of charge.”

Alex Yurack

Alex Yurack

As project manager for Straight Answer Saturday, SBLA Vice President Alex Yurack ’20 (finance) has gained valuable professional skills. Yurack was responsible for room set-up, food, security, parking and managing a large group of freshman business students to volunteer at the event.

“SBLA has been great for me because I have matured and grown comfortable in a business environment. Learning how to conduct myself in a business professional while I am still in college is a great thing. It’s better to learn that now than to start once I have graduated,” Yurack said.

Learn more about UIndy School of Business programs.

Kelly Griese, senior investor education coordinator for the Indiana Secretary of State, said the University has provided much more than a venue for Straight Answer Saturday.

“The School of Business brings so much more to the table. SBLA members are young professionals, and their work is exceptional. I can’t say enough great things about UIndy’s support of Straight Answer Saturday and how professional and driven these students are,” Griese said.

Matt Will, professor of finance, acts as an advisor to the SBLA. He emphasized the benefits for students as they gain real-life experience in event planning and project management, as well as providing Indianapolis residents with access to free professional advice.

“We do this in part because it is education for service. It’s for the community around the university and all over the city. It’s also a great networking opportunity for our students to meet FPA or Bar Association members,” Will said.

Shelby Winner

Shelby Winner

Mentorship is a key part of the process, from faculty and industry professionals to fellow students. SBLA President Shelby Winner ’19 (accounting), ’20 (MBA) guided Yurack through the planning process. She appreciates the guidance she received from faculty.

“Dr. Will has been a great mentor through this program. He truly wants what is best for his students, and through SBLA he has given his students the opportunity to learn how to be successful through real-life experiences,” Winner said.


UIndy professor: 5 things to know about women’s heart health

anne_mejia_downs_0220Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States, according to The Heart Foundation.

During Women’s Heart Week in February, Anne Mejia-Downs, associate professor with the University of Indianapolis Krannert School of Physical Therapy, shares five things to know about women’s heart health:

1. Women are usually more concerned about cancer, especially breast cancer. However, more women are affected by and die from heart disease than any kind of cancer. That’s why “Go Red For Women Day” is Feb 2nd – to remind women that heart disease is not just a man’s disease. In addition, many of the habits that will help to reduce your risk of heart disease also decrease the risk for cancer, so you get a “two for one.” Stop smoking, maintain a healthy weight, and get physically active to decrease your risk of both conditions.

2. African-American women have higher rates of heart disease and death from heart disease than Caucasian women do, so it’s especially important for these women to take steps to lower their risk.

3. Estrogen is thought to lower the risk of heart disease in women, so more men get heart disease at younger ages. But after menopause, women “catch up” to men, and even overtake them. In fact, more older women die of heart disease than men. At age 45, one out of nine women have heart disease, but at age 65, it increases greatly to one in three women.

4. The “typical signs of a heart attack” that are so often portrayed in the media (pain in the middle of the chest and pain radiating down the left arm) may not be typical for women. Women may feel breathlessness, stomach pain, exhaustion, and/or back pain. So don’t dismiss symptoms that make you feel something is wrong.

5. Many factors that increase the risk of heart disease are actually riskier for women than men, including smoking, diabetes, depression and anxiety, and low HDL (the healthy type of cholesterol).

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