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 with your campus news.

University of Indianapolis students to present ADHD research at HERA Conference

Two University of Indianapolis students will present research at the 2018 Humanities Education and Research Association (HERA) Conference in Chicago in March. Rachael Walter ’21 (exploratory) and David Kurz ’18 (sport management) will deliver the first interdisciplinary student presentation by University undergraduates at the conference.

Rachael Walter

Rachael Walter

“Multilingualism and ADHD – A Humanistic Approach of Investigation” explores the question of whether or not bilingualism or multilingualism offers any benefit for people diagnosed with ADHD.

Gerburg Garmann, dean of the University’s interdisciplinary studies program, noted the significance of the achievement as the University cultivates undergraduate research opportunities.  


David Kurz

“After having UIndy faculty at the HERA conference in the past, it’s a great step forward to have UIndy undergraduates present there for the first time,” said Garmann, who also will attend the conference.

“It was obviously a great honor for Rachael, Dr. Garmann and me to represent UIndy. In addition, it puts us into a pressure position to perform at our best,” Kurz said. 

Walter said she is excited for the opportunity to participate in the conference and to study research that can potentially change people’s lives. She also credits Garmann with encouraging her and providing opportunities to explore research interests.

“Interdisciplinary studies are really important because you learn to make connections and everything that you do in life can be done more efficiently,” Walter said.

Both Walter and Kurz are enrolled in Garmann’s multilingual class, where they became interested in the cognitive benefits of multilingualism.

It not only works against symptoms of Alzheimer’s, but also improves memory performance and attentional control. Individuals who grow up speaking or learn two or more languages have a longer attention span, better focus and different ways on approaching problems,” Kurz said.

Both Kurz and Walter appreciate the perspective that interdisciplinary studies offers.

“It is important to see things in a holistic way and to be able to combine subjects. It not only gives more information but also different perspectives about a topic. This can be used in everyday life situations and in the workplace, because it makes it easier to determine decisions and helps with judgment,” Kurz said.

Learn more about interdisciplinary studies at the University of Indianapolis here.

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

Undergrad research experience prepares Honors College students for IU School of Medicine

Two seniors from the Ron & Laura Strain Honors College will pursue medical degrees at the Indiana University School of Medicine in fall 2018. Lauren Bryant ’18 (biology and psychology) plans to focus on child and adolescent psychiatry, and Casey Wendorff ’18 (biology major, chemistry minor, pre-med concentration) will concentrate on sports medicine, specializing in the knee, foot and ankle.

Bryant and Wendorff recently presented research posters at the National Collegiate Honors Council conference in Atlanta, Georgia. Both students point to unique research opportunities gained by participating in Honors College that set the stage for their success.

“Honors College challenges you and sets you apart from other students because it shows that you are not afraid to push yourself to the next level,” Wendorff said.

“The competition is fierce for those coveted post-graduate positions at medical, vet, and graduate schools,” said Kevin Gribbins, assistant professor of biology and Honors project advisor to both students. Gribbins said UIndy’s emphasis on pre-professional training and research launched Bryant and Wendorff to the top of the list at the institutions they applied to.

Bryant appreciated Gribbins’ focus on showing students how to use their academic research as leverage during the medical school application process.

“He talked to me about how I can market that wherever I choose to go,” she said.

Lauren Bryant and Casey Wendorff took part in a study abroad trip to the Galapagos Islands.

Lauren Bryant and Casey Wendorff took part in a study abroad trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands with Profs. Gribbins and Stemke.

As the number of student applications rise for medical and graduate schools, Gribbins said institutions look for experiences that set applicants apart. UIndy’s Department of Biology, in tandem with Honors College, provides a way for students like Bryant and Wendorff to distinguish themselves through a graduate school-caliber research program for undergraduates.

“Lauren and Casey are great examples of that work. They not only have the grades and the MCAT scores but they have research credentials and peer-reviewed publications that make them stand out among other applicants for medical school,” Gribbins said.

Both students highlighted the opportunities they had at UIndy to develop and highlight the skills they will apply during their medical careers.

“My undergrad work provided me with the critical foundation of the principles, techniques and trends that I will learn and apply in medical school,” Wendorff said. “Also, the knowledge and applications that I learned through classes in chemistry, physics, psychology and biology set me up to perform exceptionally well on the MCAT, which was key in being admitted to medical school.”

Bryant appreciates the atmosphere of healthy competition that offers students the chance to excel. “All of the professors are very much into showcasing all of our researchers,” Bryant said.

Personalized mentorship formed a key aspect of the UIndy experience for Bryant and Wendorff. In addition to research opportunities and academic support throughout their undergraduate studies, those relationships led to letters of recommendation crucial to the application process.

Dr. Gribbins was very instrumental in helping me achieve my goals as he worked with me during research,” said Wendorff, who received an athletic scholarship during his senior year for cross country and track.

“My coaches, Kathy Casey and Brad Robinson, both instilled a hard work ethic in me,” he added.

“When I hit a snag, I always had a professor or advisor, someone reaching out their hand. I didn’t even have to go find them. Someone was already saying if you need me, here’s how to find me,” Bryant said.

Doug Stemke, associate professor of biology and Bryant’s pre-med advisor, was another mentor.

Lauren is the type of person you want your physician to be. She is bright, always well-prepared, friendly, communicates well and leaves no stone unturned. She’s always improving herself,” Stemke said.

Just as students benefit from UIndy’s teacher-student ratio, faculty take pride in student accomplishments.

“The greatest part for me is the opportunity to work with such amazing students in an atmosphere where we get to know our students as more than students, and we can advise them more closely to make sure they reach their very best as an undergraduate and that they have every opportunity to succeed once they leave UIndy. I think that is what we do very well in the biology department at UIndy!” Gribbins said.

New book by University of Indianapolis professor explores legacy of Oliver P. Morton

mortonJames Fuller, professor of history at the University of Indianapolis, offers a bold reinterpretation of Indiana’s Civil War governor, Oliver P. Morton, in a new book.

“Oliver P. Morton and the Politics of the Civil War and Reconstruction,” the first full biography of Morton to be published in over a century, provides new insight into Indiana’s most important political leader of the 19th century.

About a dozen people gathered at the Morton Monument on the east steps of the Indiana Statehouse in mid-November to launch the book. Stephen E. Towne of IUPUI introduced Fuller, who spoke briefly, then read a section from the book. Fuller then presented a copy of the biography to the office of current Indiana governor, Eric Holcomb. Daniel Miller, a University of Indianapolis student who worked on Governor’s campaign in 2016, accepted the book on behalf of the governor.

On Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017, 1:30-3:00 p.m., Fuller will be at the Morton House in Centerville, Indiana, for a reading and book signing

“At a time when the Civil War is once again a political issue amid calls to remove Confederate monuments across the country, this book serves as a reminder of Indiana’s role in that pivotal era in the nation’s history and explains why Oliver P. Morton still stands as a fitting symbol of the part that the Hoosier state played in saving the nation from rebellion,” Fuller said.

Most readers know Morton as the state’s Civil War governor and for his efforts to recruit and supply the soldiers and help the Union win the war. “But not all of them are familiar with the high drama that his leadership involved,” Fuller said.

some-of-those-who-came-for-book-launchFuller explained that Morton virtually ran the state as a dictator for 22 months in the middle of the war after the Democrats tried to thwart the Union war effort in Indiana. Morton was the target of assassins and helped the military investigate traitors on the home front.

Following the Civil War, Morton became the U.S. senator from Indiana and a national leader of the Radical Republicans during Reconstruction. Fuller notes Morton came close to winning the Republican nomination for the presidency in 1876, then helped settle that disputed election in favor of his friend Rutherford B. Hayes.

Readers will find parallels and connections to modern politics in Fuller’s book, ranging from issues including the use of government power, economic policy, terrorism, the surveillance state and the violation of civil liberties.

Morton also called for abolishing or reforming the Electoral College.

“He was a political leader in a time of extreme polarization, when Americans were deeply divided and feared that the other side in politics was out to destroy the country. This led to fierce partisanship and dirty politics,” Fuller said.

Learn more.

“The Materiality of Ghosts” explores fascination with haunted places

A new interdisciplinary collaboration at the University of Indianapolis explores popular fascination with spirits and ghosts and why certain places develop a reputation for being “haunted.”

The project is called “The Materiality of Ghosts” and represents the fusion of archaeology and experience design to engage in a variety of projects, including a survey of the former location of the legendary House of Blue Lights at Skiles Test Park in Indianapolis. Christopher Moore, associate professor and chair of anthropology, and Samantha Meigs, associate professor of history and director of the University’s Experience Design program, are leading the project, which was made possible through an InQuery Grant from the University of Indianapolis.

Our goal is to better understand the ways in which objects and places get incorporated into or provide the basis for legends and stories of the paranormal. The Skiles Test investigations are just one part of this broader investigation,” said Moore.

Students will study stories and data for recurring patterns, origins and future evolution, as well as surveys of real-life locations to discover, collect and archive artifacts, Meigs said.

The project aims to show students from various disciplines how their areas of study can help connect the past to the present – and in the process, become more relevant to the public. The popularity of history-themed topics on television – ranging from family heirlooms to haunted house history – speaks to the fascination with personal history and local folklore. Investigators hope to overcome the stereotype of history as boring or irrelevant and demonstrate how academics can capitalize on existing interests.

In September, University of Indianapolis students completed an archaeological survey of a portion of Skiles Test Park. They found artifacts and evidence, including the pet cemetery and the ruins of several buildings. The ultimate goal is to create a database of haunted objects and tools used to engage ghosts and spirits.

That’s just the beginning. The group also will visit with spiritualists, survey popular ghost-hunting television shows, participate in a ghost hunt and engage the public in conversations about so-called haunted sites to better understand how the past comes alive in the present.

The final results of the research will be published as part of the University of Indianapolis Material Culture Lab’s Technical Reports series and will be submitted to the Indiana DNR Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology for review.

UIndy students engage with past through hands-on fieldwork

From the Texas borderlands to ancient Rome to back home in Indiana, University of Indianapolis students continue to unearth history, gain valuable field experience and make a global impact. baumslanding

Students participating in the University’s archaeological field school spent the summer excavating the Baum’s Landing site near Delphi in Carroll County, Ind. The group, working under the guidance of Dr. Christopher Moore, associate professor and chair of anthropology, studied early pioneer life in Indiana.

The field school immerses students in archaeology 40+ hours a week with a focus on excavation techniques as well as teamwork, critical thinking, community outreach and project design. The initiative also connects the community with Indiana history by opening the dig to residents, including local middle school students.

“We hope to develop a better understanding of how the Baums (who lived on the site from approximately 1820 to 1850) and their contemporaries established a new community identity as Hoosiers,” Moore said.

A Carroll County native, Moore founded the Wildcat Archaeological Research Project (WARP) in 2009 to investigate archaeology in Carroll County and surrounding areas, including Baum’s Landing. Among the goals for the excavation, Moore said, is learning details about the daily life, status and wealth of the pioneer family.

For the students, the experience provides intellectual and professional growth opportunities, including the development of leadership and supervision skills on everything from paperwork to excavation.

“This year’s field crew is exceptional. Over the last eight weeks, all of them have grown considerably, both in their knowledge and skills of archaeology and in their confidence,” Moore said.

Kaylee Blum

Kaylee Blum ’19

“The experience that I have gained from this project has helped me with my personal growth and my development as an archaeologist,” said archaeology student Kaylee Blum ’19, who has participated in several student digs. “There’s so much more to archaeology than I anticipated, but my time at UIndy has definitely been worth it. The hands-on experience that I have gained just as an undergraduate has been amazing beyond words.”

UIndy students can take part in numerous volunteer archaeological lab and field experiences starting in their freshman year, and applied, hands-on training is integrated into many archeology and anthropology courses. A public field archaeology event will be held at Skiles Test park in Indianapolis Sept. 16-17 and an archaeological field school is planned for next summer on Sapelo Island, Georgia.

“Students can get exposed to the challenges of real-world situations alongside the ideal scenarios that they read about in textbooks. This means that most students have some basic understanding of and practical skills in archaeological fieldwork before they start field school,” Moore added.


Global impact
Beyond Borders Team
Along with that real-life experience comes the opportunity to witness the community impact. Krista Latham, associate professor of biology and anthropology, leads a student forensic team comprised of biology majors on projects including the identification of individuals who died in the Texas borderlands, as well as assisting law enforcement during local crime scene investigations.

Latham’s work has gained national attention to the humanitarian crisis happening on the U.S. southern border. (Read more about the project here.) Latham and her team work to uncover remains from unmarked grave sites and identify the bodies of those who have died while making the journey to the United States. This year, four graduate students traveled to Texas with Latham to participate in the project, marking the sixth trip.

Graduate student Leann Rizor ’18 (human biology with focus in forensic anthropology) said the fieldwork has helped her to gain an appreciation of the magnitude of the crisis.

“I learned so much regarding the intricacies of the politics surrounding the crisis, and I have used this knowledge to talk about the crisis in a very informed way and to spread awareness,” said Rizor, who earned her bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the University in 2014.

International research opportunities

Jessica Gregory (center) and Jessica Chevrolet (left) in Chieti, Italy at the University Museum (Photo: Chris Schmidt)

Jessica Gregory (center) and Jessica Chevrolet (left) in Chieti, Italy at the University Museum (Photo: Chris Schmidt)

Research opportunities for UIndy students extend to the international arena. Chris Schmidt, professor of anthropology, worked with two UIndy graduate students in Italy this summer on his study of Herculaneum, an ancient Roman city destroyed when Mt. Vesuvius erupted in the year A.D. 79. Schmidt has been conducting research for several years at the site, focusing on what inhabitants ate, their ancestry and the way they died.

Schmidt was honored earlier this year with the 2017 Indiana Archaeology Award, along with Johnson County Commissioner Brian Baird and Johnson County attorney Kathleen Hash, for leading the Middle of the Road Grave project, which involved several UIndy students – including some graduate alumni who returned to participate. The goal of the project was to record, recover and reinter the seven individuals who were buried in the median of County Road 400 South.

“It is definitely a case where one person is being acknowledged for the others,” Schmidt said of the award. “It’s an award for the process and UIndy should be proud of that high level of professionalism.”

The site’s role in local folklore and regional history generated strong media interest, creating additional pressure on the excavation team. Nancy Kerlin Barnett and six others were buried at the site, which bears a historic marker commemorating their lives. While the topic of dealing with human remains is a sensitive one, Schmidt said by the end of the project, researchers had gained the respect of local residents.

“It was the best excavation experience I’ve ever had as a professional and working with the students, the state, the county and the museum,” he said.  “People know they can count on us to do it right.”

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

UIndy sends largest faculty delegation to service learning symposium

Transforming communities through service learning was the focus of this year’s 7th International Symposium on Service Learning, held at the National University of Ireland in Galway. The University of Indianapolis co-hosted the event with NUI Galway and Stellenbosch University (South Africa). screen-shot-2017-07-11-at-1-00-36-pm

UIndy had the largest faculty delegation attending the symposium, and several faculty members presented research on the impact of service learning and community engagement. Marianna Foulkrod, director of Service Learning & Community Engagement, served as co-chair.
Read more

Research events highlight UIndy-Community Health Network partnership

The University of Indianapolis held the first annual Health Pavilion Scholarship Day in May to showcase research conducted by students and faculty in the health sciences disciplines. Held in tandem with the Community Health Network Research Symposium on campus, the events highlighted the growing partnership between the University of Indianapolis and Community Health Network.

UIndy students show research posters in the atrium of the Health Pavilion as part of the first annual Health Pavilion Scholarship Day hosted by the Health Science Colleges on Friday, May 19, 2017. The event was followed by the Second Annual Multidisciplinary Scholarly Activity Symposium held by Community Health Network with UIndy partnership support. Chad Priest, RN, JD, Chief Executive Officer of he American Red Cross of Indiana Region, is the speaker delivering a keynote on "The Healthcare Professionals of the Future" in Schwitzer following the luncheon. (Photo: D. Todd Moore, University of Indianapolis)

More than 20 faculty and students showcased their research experiences  at the Scholarship Day event held in the morning, which was hosted by all of the disciplines within the Health Pavilion. In the afternoon, keynote speakers Chad Priest and Ileana Ponce-Gonzalez of Community Health Network addressed issues surrounding the health care professions at the Community Health Network Research Symposium.

Read more

UIndy forensics crew returns to Texas for migrant identification initiative

For the past four years, a forensics team from the University of Indianapolis has traveled to Texas to exhume and conduct forensic analyses on the remains of migrants who died making the treacherous journey into the United States. forensicscrew

The group not only carefully digs and recovers the remains from unmarked gravesites, but it also works with Texas State University on identification of the bodies. The initiative highlights a humanitarian crisis as bodies continue to be found in small counties with no resources to identify them, said Krista Latham, an associate professor of biology who leads the group.

Latham traveled this month with four graduate students to Texas to analyze the dead and work to recover additional remains from unmarked gravesites. This is the sixth trip Latham has led to the area.

“Students are immersed in a humanitarian crisis where people are dying in mass disaster numbers due to the environment and exposure while crossing our southern border. It provides them with invaluable humanitarian and global citizenship experience. They learn about the complexities of border policies and the realities of thousands of people who are not as privileged as themselves in terms of the expectation of freedom from personal violence,” Latham said.

UIndy graduate student Leann Rizor

UIndy graduate student Leann Rizor

During the first week of the trip, the University team will work with Dr. Kate Spradley of Texas State University on the analysis of unidentified individuals exhumed from Sacred Heart Cemetery in Brooks County, Texas, during the 2013, 2014 and 2017 archeological field seasons. The following week, the forensic crew will then volunteer in Starr County, Texas, to locate and exhume the remains of undocumented migrants who died after crossing the border and were buried in pauper’s graves without identification.

Latham’s work has received local and national media coverage and most recently was the focus of an interactive New York Times report. The group will be documenting their activities in the Beyond Borders blog.

With the U.S. Border Patrol reporting more than 6,000 deaths during illegal border crossings between October 2000 and September 2016, Latham said her work serves a crucial need to identify those who perished on the journey.

“There is a need for forensic experts to identify these individuals and provide their families with information on their fate,” Latham explained. “The dead are mostly South Americans that are fleeing systematic violence that is unimaginable to most people living in the US. We are volunteering a very specialized skill set to counties that have been overwhelmed with deaths that are in mass disaster numbers.”

“In the process, we are also able to bring awareness to the crisis at the border and work to promote social responsibility and humanitarianism as a response to the migrant death crisis,” Latham added.

The project provides numerous opportunities for Latham’s students as they apply their classroom skills in a real-world setting, including scientific skills honed in the University’s human biology program such as skeletal analysis, photography and archeology. Even more importantly, Latham said, students develop an understanding of the complex social, cultural and political realities involved in the work.

Haley Rock, a graduate student in human biology and field expert, is one of the graduate students in the group. She appreciates the experiential learning aspect of the project that allows her to gain a better understanding of human osteology and forensic anthropology.

“This humanitarian work is important to me because it allows me to take part in reuniting family members with their lost loved ones, as well as bring to light the unjust treatment individuals may have faced in their lives,” she said.

“I hope to gain a broader cultural perspective and understanding of the migrant situation that is currently going on in South Texas. Being in the midst of the humanitarian crisis that is occurring in Texas will likely impact me in a way that I cannot even begin to predict,” graduate student Erica Cantor said.

Both Latham and her team acknowledge the challenges of the project, which include working in the South Texas heat, as well as processing their emotions as they work to ease families’ pain in the midst of an untold humanitarian crisis.

“These students are not only learning scientific skills they could never learn in a classroom, but they are being empowered by their actions to promote a sense of common humanity. They are applying their liberal arts and sciences training towards the social responsibility of humanitarianism as a crisis response,” Latham said.

Follow the team’s updates here.

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

UIndy May trips send students around the globe


El Camino de Santiago, Spain

From Spain to Costa Rica, University of Indianapolis students are traveling the globe this month on experiential learning trips guided by faculty. Students will be visiting destinations in Europe, including France, England, Scotland, Germany, Spain, Czech Republic, and Austria, along with visits to less traveled corners of the world, including Ecuador, Cuba, Costa Rica, Ghana, Haiti and the Galapagos Islands. Another group is traveling to Japan. 

The trips serve to expand the education of University students by opening them up to new cultures and international experiences, which can have a profound impact on their future lives.

A group of students, including 13 members of the Ron & Laura Strain Honors College, is embarking on a walking pilgrimage along El Camino de Santiago across northern Spain to the Tomb and Cathedral of St. James. The group is led by University Chaplain Jeremiah Gibbs, Jim Williams, associate professor of history and Honors College executive director, along with Frank Bates, assistant professor in the Krannert School of Physical Therapy and Kelly Miller, director of the Student Counseling Center.

The journey will take the group 21 days as they walk through 100 towns and villages in Spain, including Leon, Astorga, Ponferada, Compostela and Madrid. They will have the opportunity to interact with Spanish villagers and some of the 250,000 annual pilgrims from around the world.

“This is an amazing opportunity for our students, to take a Spring Term trip together with funding support from the Strain Honors College.  Some of them are setting out on this journey as a formation of their spirituality, like pilgrims have been doing since the Middle Ages; some are going for the deep culture, history and language exposure they’ll find in Northern Spain; others are looking forward to the adventure and the physical challenge,” said Williams.

UIndy students are following the footsteps of Christians who have been making the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela for 1,200 years.  “My hope and dream is that all of them will be profoundly transformed by the time we arrive in Santiago de Compostela, some 165 miles after we take that first step together,” Williams added.

Julie Kiefer, the University’s study abroad director, notes that Spring Term trips continue to grow in popularity as students take advantage of experiential learning in a foreign country. worldmap_springterm

“Any major can study abroad, and there are so many programs to choose from. The May trips allow students to get a taste of life overseas, and some of them go on to participate in semester or year-abroad programs,” Kiefer said.

Jennifer Camden, associate professor of English, will lead a group of 18 students through Edinburgh, Scotland’s historic sites, Loch Ness, the Isle of Skye and the Highlands, York and London.

Kyoko Amano, professor of English, will guide a group of students on a trip through Japan. That includes a visit to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, Hiroshima Castle, the National Peace Memorial Hall and lectures.

Jodie Ferise, assistant professor of business administration, is taking students to Ghana for the sixth time since 2011. Past projects have included opening a kindergarten and junior high school, a computer lab and several libraries. This year’s project will fund the construction of a school in the village of Papaase, Ghana, thanks to a generous donor.

Becca Cartledge is continuing her tradition of leading nursing students on a trip to Haiti. Follow their progress here.

Other trips include:

  • Costa Rica, led by Julie Kiefer, the University’s study abroad director
  • Ecuador, led by Kathleen Hetzler and Shannon Moore, assistant professors of nursing
  • France and Spain, led by Peter Vakunta, assistant professor of French and Francophone Studies
  • England and Austria, led by Sharon Parr, associate professor of music
  • Germany, Czech Republic and Austria, led by Milind Thakar, associate professor of international relations, and Paul Levesque, assistant professor of German
  • Cuba, led by Terrence Harewood, associate professor of teacher education
  • Galapagos, led by Douglas Stemke, associate professor of biology, with Sandra Davis, associate professor of biology and Kevin Gribbins, assistant professor of biology

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

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