UIndy hosts 5th annual Hoops and Heroes basketball benefit game

.pngThe University of Indianapolis will host the 5th annual Hoops and Heroes event in Nicoson Hall on October 6. Basketball teams from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and the Indianapolis Fire Department will go head-to-head in the charity basketball game, benefitting The Julian Center. Mayor Joe Hogsett will be in attendance during the event.

Doors open at 5 p.m. for pre-game activities until 6 p.m. Tip-off is at 6:15 p.m. Pre-game fun includes:

  • An appearance by former Pacers player and contestant on Survivor, Scot Pollard
  • Jr. Pacers and Jr. Fever skills challenge hosted by the Indiana Pacers and Indiana Fever
  • Opportunities to meet and greet the Pacemates and Fever Inferno Hip-Hop Squad
  • Presentation of the flags by the Indianapolis Fire Department’s Honor Guard
  • The chance to meet mascots, including McGruff, Boomer, and Freddy Fever

Raffle items are available to win, and halftime entertainment is provided by Boomer and the High-Flying Power Pack Dunk Squad.

Hoops and Heroes is free to attend and open to the public. Free parking is available. To learn more, click here.

All proceeds from the event will support the counseling, workplace readiness, legal and housing assistance, and family programs at The Julian Center.

Event sponsors include Hathaway Strategies; Kroger; Pacers Sports & Entertainment; University of Indianapolis; Barnes & Thornburg LLP; Black & Veatch; Herman & Kittle Properties, Inc.; Central Security & Communications; Gregory & Appel Insurance; Arcadis; Citizens Energy Group; Defenders; Katz, Sapper & Miller; Molly Maid; Oneview; and TCC.

Indianapolis Public Library commissions letterpress work by UIndy art & design students

PrintinginIndyPtITwo graduate students in the University of Indianapolis art & design program recently produced a commissioned letterpress work for the Indianapolis Public Library.

Auna Winters ’20 (M.A.), ’18 (art & design, printmaking concentration) and Kalia Daily ’20 (M.A.), ’18 (studio art major, art history minor, painting and printmaking concentrations) created a promotional poster for IPL’s letterpress event series, which showcases the history and community of printing in Indianapolis.

Amy Griffin, the special collections librarian at the Indianapolis Public Library, approached Katherine Fries, assistant professor of art & design and director of UIndy’s printmaking program, about a commission. The library is partnering with Indiana Humanities to host the events, which include a tour of UIndy’s Hullaboo Press printmaking studio, 2-4 p.m. Oct. 13.

“Amy was interested in having a letterpress poster to advertise and commemorate these events, and Katherine recommended the project to Kalia and me as grad students. We were thrilled!” Winters said. PrintinginIndyPtII

The series title is “Then and Now: Printing in Indy.” The students said they were inspired by the title to showcase older, more historic elements with more contemporary ones, showing how letterpress has prevailed and evolved over time. They proposed several ideas, and the Indianapolis Public Library followed the students’ suggestion to create a two-print commemorative set.

“It was so exciting to work on, especially since all of the events we featured are events that either we are involved in, or highlight the contributions of people we consider our letterpress family,” Winter said.

Auna Winters, left, and Kalia Daily

Auna Winters, left, and Kalia Daily

The series is made possible through a grant from Indiana Humanities in cooperation with the National Endowment for the Humanities and by Friends of the Library through gifts to The Indianapolis Public Library Foundation.

Related events at the Central Library include an exhibition of David Peat’s letterpress collection, Oct. 1, 2018-Jan. 31, 2019.  (Note: Work by David Peat’s father, Wilbur D. Peat, a longtime Indianapolis-based artist and curator, is on display at the Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center through Oct. 5).

See more IPL events here.


Wilbur D. Peat exhibition explores work of longtime Indianapolis arts influencer

wilburpeatWilbur D. Peat, an art administrator who spent his life promoting art in Indiana and recognizing Hoosier artists, was a gifted artist in his own right. A new exhibition at the University of Indianapolis Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center Gallery celebrates Peat’s legacy with “Wilbur D. Peat: An Indianapolis Icon,” a collection of rare works on display through Oct. 5, 2018.

An American born in China, Peat trained as an artist at the Cleveland School of Art and became director at the Akron Art Institute before moving to Indianapolis, where he became the architect of some of the city’s most prized arts institutions and societies.

“Starting in 1929, Peat was a significant and influential figure on the Indianapolis art scene for the ensuing 36 years. Hired as the director of the Herron Art Museum, he laid the foundation for the current Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields,” explained Mark Ruschman, exhibition organizer and adjunct instructor.

Katherine Fries, exhibition organizer and assistant professor of art & design, explained that Wilbur Peat’s son David is a letterpress printer and collector, and longtime supporter of the University of Indianapolis arts programs. Fries noticed some remarkable paintings during a visit to David Peat’s home. When he revealed that his father was the artist who had painted them, and explained his father’s role in the Indianapolis arts community, the idea for an exhibition was born.

“He was a remarkable man who was involved in a lot of different activities,” Fries said, noting Wilbur Peat’s work as an author, expert and leader of the artistic life and heritage for the city and state. Wilbur Peat was a prolific writer, popular lecturer and talented artist.

“Peat’s book, ‘Pioneer Painters of Indiana,’ published in 1954 by the Art Association of Indianapolis, chronicles the origins and exploits of the early Indiana artists and is considered a seminal work on the subject. It proved be to an invaluable resource for my 2016 ‘200 Years of Indiana Art’ exhibition, marking Indiana’s bicentennial at the Indiana State Museum,” said Ruschman, who serves as the Indiana State Museum’s fine arts curator.

Fries noted that some of the most prized works in the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s collection by Rembrandt and Monet were the result of Peat’s efforts. Peat’s work also had an impact on the development of the Indiana Historical Society, Hoosier Salon and various public artwork projects.

“Wilbur D. Peat: An Indianapolis Icon” is a retrospective that covers Peat’s work from adolescence (around 1910) through his very last painting, made possible by the Peat family who are generously loaning the rare works to the University of Indianapolis during the exhibition.

“Most of it has not been seen by the public. He did it for pure enjoyment, for the sake of making art,” Fries said.

The work of Wilbur D. Peat will be on display at the Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center Gallery through Oct. 5, 2018, with a gallery reception 4-6 p.m., Sept. 24 and special Gallery Talk at 4:45 p.m. The gallery is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays.

The letterpress collection of David Peat will be featured in an exhibition at the Indianapolis Public Library starting Oct. 1, 2018. More info.

“Little free pantries” expand Southside wellness initiative

Volunteers installed two "Little Pantries" near the University of Indianapolis campus in July 2018.

Volunteers installed two “Little Pantries” near the University of Indianapolis campus in July 2018.

Two food pantries near the University of Indianapolis campus will build community by encouraging donations and by providing residents with easy access to free food and other essentials. The “little free pantries,” funded by an INHP Early Action Grant Fund through the SoIndy Health & Wellness Action Team, are renovated newspaper distribution boxes that contain donated non-perishable items and toiletries. Community members are encouraged to “take what you need, give what you can.”

Project managers say while the pantries themselves may be small, they can make a big difference for families. According to 2015 data, nearly 32 percent of residents in the SoIndy geographic area are living in poverty.

“This project is a perfect example of the community coming together with our assets and resources to address a local need,” said Michelle Strahl Salinas, South Indy Quality of Life Plan director.  

The SoIndy Little Pantries, located in University Heights and Bean Creek neighborhoods are the latest example of the ongoing partnership between the University of Indianapolis and Community Health Network to increase access to health- and wellness-related opportunities for Indianapolis Southside residents. Additional partners in the pantry project include the South Indy Quality of Life Plan’s Health & Wellness Action Team, Purdue Extension and the Garfield Park Art Center.

The partnership brought volunteers together to create the UIndy and CHNw Community Garden (Serve 360°) at 4002 Otterbein Street (near the University Heights United Methodist Church) earlier this year, providing nutritious produce for residents in the University Heights and Carson Heights neighborhoods. The SoIndy Little Pantries offer free staples such as rice and pasta to supplement the fresh vegetables from the garden, which are also available to residents at no cost.

Gurinder Hohl, who directs the partnership between the University of Indianapolis and Community Health Network, said the SoIndy Health & Wellness Action Team, which operates as part of the South Indy Quality of Life Plan, has played a significant role in developing and implementing solutions to address the various food insecurity-related issues identified in the needs assessment conducted from fall 2014 to spring 2016. Hohl, along with Amie Wojytna, assistant professor of kinesiology, and Rob Campbell, Director of Business Operations at Community Health Network, and Anye Carson, senior public health student at UIndy, secured in-kind support for projects such as the community garden.

“The concept of the community garden, as well as the little pantry, is based on the principles of placemaking. By beautification and infrastructure bolstering, the community develops pride, and this results in future investments to enhance the quality of living,” Hohl explained.

Salinas, who also manages the Garfield Park Farmers Market, said the combined garden and pantry projects are the next evolution of the South Indy Quality of Life Plan to address health and wellness – and residents are taking notice.

“Neighbors are starting to ask questions about how the garden works, so there is some anticipation growing,” she said.

The Community Garden provided the theme for the Center for Aging & Community’s Grand Camp in June, which brought grandparents and children together to learn about gardening and other activities. It will also be featured in the 2018 Harvest Ride on September 8, during which cyclists will stop at six gardens to learn about the impact of community gardens on surrounding communities.

Volunteers, including University of Indianapolis students, will manage the SoIndy Little Pantries, which were designed and painted by summer art camp students at the Garfield Park Art Center.

UIndy alum’s opera project pays tribute to veterans on national stage

SSG Hilgert speaking to cast members of "The Falling and the Rising."

SSG Hilgert produced “The Falling and the Rising.”

Joining the Army might sound like an unusual route to become an opera producer, but for Staff Sergeant Ben Hilgert ’04 (music), it turned out to be the opportunity of a lifetime.

Eight years ago, SSG Hilgert made the decision to serve in the United States Army Field Band, the touring “musical ambassadors” for the U.S. Army. With more than 70 members, the Field Band performs more than 400 concerts a year and travels thousands of miles to perform in the U.S. and abroad.

“It’s a really fantastic opportunity to move people. As artists we look for ways we can express our artistic intentions. By far the biggest impact I could have ever imagined is singing for millions of people every year representing something so much bigger than the sum of its parts,” Hilgert said.

The band and its affiliated groups perform mainly for civilians – contrary to the misconception that military service members are the only audience, Hilgert said.

“Pretty much everybody thinks we perform for service members and tour bases. We actually do very little of that,” he explained. “Our mission is to engage the American public to bridge the civilian-military gap.”

Fewer than 10 percent of the U.S. adult population have served in the Armed Forces, according to Pew Research Center. “A big concern among military leadership is that American citizens are at great risk of becoming out of touch with what it means to serve in the Armed Forces,” Hilgert said.

Following his graduation from the music program at the University of Indianapolis, SSG Hilgert brought his passion for opera to the Soldiers’ Chorus, a vocal complement of the U.S. Army Field Band, with performances ranging from opera to musical theatre. He produced opera scenes for several years, including concerts at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. But he felt compelled to do something more – and when a new commander challenged him to align his work more closely with the band’s mission, he was ready.

After attending an opera conference, SSG Hilgert realized the U.S. Army Field Band was in a prime position to reach new audiences – people who enjoy operas, but who may not know much about the Army. Bringing the Army story to the American public and honoring veterans was Hilgert’s inspiration for producing the opera, “The Falling and the Rising,” based on interviews with dozens of Army veterans.

"The Falling and the Rising"

“The Falling and the Rising”

“We’ve got an opportunity to tell the Army’s story, literally – that’s why I proposed the project,” he explained. His goal? “Find soldiers’ stories, turn them into an opera, collaborate with opera companies and make this something that is bigger than our organization.”

SSG Hilgert worked with librettist Jerre Dye and composer Zach Redler to interview 36 soldiers, including some at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, the Old Guard at Arlington National Cemetery and U.S. Cyber Command at Fort Meade.

The time he spent talking to soldiers “were three of the most moving days of my life. They reshaped my perspective on the Army, service, and being an ambassador for soldiers,” he said.

His first interviewee was a young veteran recovering from a traumatic brain injury that had stolen his memories of high school and his ability to speak, which he was working to regain. Despite his tremendous challenges, SSG Hilgert said the veteran had an impressive perspective on life.

“He shared with us this beautiful story of service, recovery and resilience. Just one of many jaw-dropping, inspiring stories we were privileged to hear,” he explained.

SSG Hilgert performing in 2012 in Wheeling, West Virginia. Photo courtesy U.S. Army Field Band.

SSG Hilgert performing in 2012 in Wheeling, West Virginia. Photo courtesy U.S. Army Field Band.

That story helped to form the central theme of “The Falling and the Rising,” which has been received enthusiastically across the country since a world premiere at Texas Christian University in April. Other productions include Seattle Opera, San Diego Opera, Arizona Opera, Opera Memphis, and Seagle Music Colony.

SSG Hilgert credits his musical education at UIndy with helping him pass the audition for the U.S. Army Field Band and setting him up with career opportunities.

“I would not have [my current job] if I had not carried [Professor of Music] Paul Krasnovsky’s choral experience with me and his work ethic – the diligence he approaches every piece with. It set the tone for how I approach music,” Hilgert said.

“As a singer I’d be nowhere without my voice teachers. Steve Enzinger and Kathy Hacker both put me on a great path forward. They gave me a solid foundation of technique and nurtured my curiosity for the human voice. They have a special place in my journey.”

He also appreciates the mentorship he received from Charlotte Templin, professor of English, who helped him with his junior recital.

“She gave me the time and really was an early mentor, somebody who opened a door that I didn’t even know was there. It makes you aware of possibilities greater than you understood,” Hilgert said.

Upcoming performances of “The Falling and the Rising”
Seagle Music Colony in upstate New York is next to perform “The Falling and the Rising.” Their production is scheduled to tour the state in September and October. The US Army Field Band is planning on a performance sponsored by Opera Memphis in New York City in conjunction with the Opera America New Works Forum in January 2019. Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins University has a production scheduled for February in Baltimore. Opera Memphis will have its own production in April in Memphis, Tenn.

Follow the U.S. Army Field Band here.

Written by Sara Galer, University of Indianapolis senior communications specialist. Send your story ideas to newsdesk@uindy.edu.

Service dog training program builds community connections for UIndy professor

Kathy Martin, left, with Koontz and one of her physical therapy clients.

Kathy Martin, left, with Koontz and one of her physical therapy clients.

Helping people with disabilities live a better life is the goal of many physical therapists. Kathy Martin, professor in the Krannert School of Physical Therapy, has found a unique way to enhance that mission by training service dogs.

Martin, who has served in several leadership roles within the Krannert School of Physical Therapy since joining the University of Indianapolis in 1999, started volunteering in 2017 to “furlough” service dogs in training through the Indiana Canine Assistant Network (ICAN). Since then, she has furloughed five dogs, with another canine due to arrive in August.

The ICAN program works with inmates at three Indiana prisons (Pendleton, CIF and Indiana Women’s Prison) to train the dogs. Because a dog cannot be fully prepared for service in prison, they go on “furloughs” with a trained ICAN volunteer like Martin. She works with each dog for up to four weeks at a time in a real world environment. She then sends a detailed report back to ICAN.

“One key part of the furlougher’s job is to help the dog learn how to be invisible in public. Another significant part of what I do is public education, both about ICAN specifically and how to interact with a service dog in general,” Martin explained.

Once the dog completes training successfully, ICAN places the canine with a client, who could be a child or an adult living with a disability.

As a dog lover who lost her own pup in 2016, Martin said ICAN’s furlough program made perfect sense. Although it can be an intense four weeks, the short time frame allows Martin flexibility. She not only enjoys spending time with the canines-in-training, but also talking about ICAN’s mission and the positive impact on clients as well as their inmate handlers, who learn communication skills, patience and empathy.

“Dogs feed my soul and I need to be around a dog every once in a while,” Martin said. “I also got involved because as a physical therapist, I have personally seen the life-changing work these dogs do.”

Martin provided the example of a kindergartner with cerebral palsy who was unable to sit on the floor at circle time with the other children. In his wheelchair, he was two feet above the other students. His first service dog, which was trained to prop up the boy as he sat on the floor, changed all that.

“With his dog, this boy was able to join his peers on the floor at circle time. As a physical therapist, no matter how good I am, I was never going to be able to give this child the independence and ability to join his friends that the service dog gave him,” she said.

Martin said she has found synergy between training service dogs and her professional work as a pediatric physical therapist, where her goal is to help a child and the family maximize the child’s potential. As a physical therapy educator, I also get to help my students understand the role of service dog for their future patients.

“Sometimes I accomplish that with the actual therapy I do with the child, or it may come through what I teach the parents/caregivers to do. Helping to train a service dog to assist someone with a disability is very similar. It is providing the tools a person needs to be more engaged in life,” she explained.

Martin worked with Koontz for several weeks in 2018.

Martin worked with Koontz for several weeks in 2018.

Martin’s most recent furlough was a dog named Koontz, who is now back with his handler at the Indiana Women’s Prison. Named for the Howard County Deputy Carl Koontz who was killed in the line of duty in 2016, Martin said training Koontz was a unique experience.

“It is very special to have the Koontz name attached to an ongoing effort to serve and protect. Of all the dogs I have had, Koontz was the hardest to say goodbye to. He is calm, confident, and focused. He just loves to work and works very hard to get it right. From my detective friend who knew Carl, she said he was the same way. Koontz will be an amazing service dog and will totally change someone’s life. I felt honored to get to be along for the part of the journey!” Martin said.

Learn more about ICAN

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

Hounds play host to Riley & Andrew Luck #ChangeThePlay Camp

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck held his Change The Play camp in conjunction with Riley Children's Health at Key Stadium. (Photo: Todd Moore)

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck held his Change The Play camp in conjunction with Riley Children’s Health at Key Stadium. (Photo: Todd Moore)

INDIANAPOLIS – Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health and the Indianapolis Colts’ Andrew Luck descended on Key Stadium Wednesday morning, for their annual Change The Play camp.

“Being able to work and have fun with these kids while also encouraging them to lead a healthy lifestyle was such a fulfilling experience,” Katie Voelz, SAAC President and UIndy volleyball student-athlete said. “Andrew Luck has established an incredible movement with the Change The Play camps and I am truly honored to be a part of it.”

UIndy student-athletes volunteer alongside Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck for Riley Children's Health Change the Play camp. UIndy Athletics

Posted by University of Indianapolis on Wednesday, June 27, 2018

With the help of Indianapolis Colts Quarterback Andrew Luck, Riley hosts several camps throughout Indiana throughout the summer. The camps encourage kids be active, and also to have fun while learning to make good choices when it comes to food, exercise and their well being. In addition to Luck and Riley staff, Greyhound student-athletes from volleyball, football, wrestling, cross country, women’s basketball, women’s soccer, softball and baseball served as camp counselors, leading two large groups of local children through various activities and fun exercises.  Camp stations included yoga, football catching, ladder running and a nutrition sorting activity among others.

“A big part of being a college student-athlete is giving back to our community,” SAAC Vice President Alex Algee of UIndy football said. “I always looked up to older kids when I was around these kids’ age, so it is important to me to be someone they can look up to and have a good time with. Giving the kids a healthy outlook on life is important at an early stage so that it becomes habit for them and they can live a healthy lifestyle.”

The UIndy site was one of three Change The Play camps this summer, with events also held in Evansville and Fort Wayne. This is the third year that UIndy Athletics has supported the event through student-athlete volunteers, and the first year the Greyhounds have played host to the event.

Story by Jackie Paquette, Associate AD for Student Support & Community Engagement

Multidisciplinary Symposium highlights collaboration with Community Health Network

IMG_2055More than 300 Community Health Network  health professionals and University of Indianapolis students and faculty attended the 3rd Annual Multidisciplinary Symposium to share research and presentations on the latest healthcare trends.

The symposium highlighted the partnership between the University and Community Health Network, and showcases research and scholarly efforts by University faculty and Community clinicians. This year’s agenda included more than 75 oral presentations and poster sessions.

Keynote speaker Sue Skochelak MD, MPH, the Vice President of Medical Education at the American Medical Association, shared insight regarding what’s on the horizon for medical education and the role of multidisciplinary competency-based learning in ensuring that students are supported through their learning journey and developing skills to meet the needs of the patients.

UIN_0036Kathy Zoppi, senior vice president and chief academics officer at Community, noted the growth of the symposium from 100 participants attending the first event three years ago to 300 attendees in 2018.

“As part of the partnership, we want to stimulate cross-institution collaborative projects,” Zoppi explained. The event serves an important role in providing a space for Community Health Network’s research and education programs to exhibit peer-reviewed scholarly activity for accreditation.

“When we first called UIndy three years ago in search of a good space to have this event, there was a gracious and rapid response from [Associate Provost of Research, Graduate Programs and Academic Partnerships] Ellen Miller of help, space and staff for our need.  It was unparalleled by other places and helped us get launched,” Zoppi added.

IMG_6735Participants from Community Health Network included physicians, pharmacists, nurses, educators, social workers, physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech therapists. University of Indianapolis research teams also participated, with some teams collaborating across organizations. Researchers not only get a chance to discuss the results of their studies, but also how to grow the partnership between the two organizations.

“I was so impressed by this event and the collaborative, inspiring scholarly work that is happening across both UIndy and Community Health Network. The range of presentations and posters outlined real-life challenges, intriguing questions, problem-solving strategies and innovative solutions across education and practice settings, which then leads to further questions to be answered.  I am excited about the possibilities for the work UIndy and Community can do through working together,” said Stephanie Kelly, dean of the College of Health Sciences.

Many ideas have blossomed from discussions about how to advance the interprofessional and team education in both organizations.  

“Our existing groups of physicians, nurses, health professionals, pharmacists, psychologists and social workers can benefit from the engagement of bright students in clinical settings who ask great questions. We also can share improvements that make a big difference for patients and families – our ultimate goal, of course!” Zoppi said.

Partnership initiatives and news

FNP_Family_Nursing_Practitioners_34315Community Health Network Foundation has received a four-year $2,564,978 award from the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to transform the delivery of primary care through enhanced undergraduate nursing education and redefined nursing practice in the primary care setting. The grant is effective July 1, 2018, and allows Community Health Network to expand an educational partnership with the University of Indianapolis School of Nursing. Learn more.

The Nursing Academy is a unique academic partnership between Community Health Network and the University of Indianapolis that offers an accelerated path for students to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. It was established to support the unprecedented demands on today’s nursing workforce. Together, the University of Indianapolis and Community Health Network are able to provide a higher standard of care to a complex and growing patient population by preparing nursing students to practice in the evolving landscape of healthcare.

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

UIndy 500 – IMS Camaro spotted on campus

CamaroA taste of the 500 Festival arrived on the University of Indianapolis campus this week in the form of a Chevrolet Camaro. The bright orange harbinger of the Indianapolis 500 is no ordinary sports car, though.

President Rob Manuel was driving one of 50 Festival Event cars to help celebrate the Month of May. Faculty, staff and students flocked to see the Camaro Hot Wheels® 50th Anniversary Edition convertible. (And no worries if anyone spotted University of Indianapolis Police Chief David Selby’s flashing lights – he was in on the stunt!)

Since the 1960s, the fleet of Camaros has been turning heads around central Indiana during the Month of May as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway gears up for the Indy 500 at the end of the month and other exciting events throughout May. The 102nd Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil is scheduled for Sunday, May 27.

“The University of Indianapolis is thrilled to be part of this long-standing tradition at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway,” said President Manuel. “We’re proud of our IMS connections and the opportunities they provide for UIndy students.”

Lauren Bryant ’18 (biology & psychology) is one of 33 women representing the 500 Festival Princess Program for 2018, a group that set a 60-year program record for the highest cumulative GPA. The Honors College graduate and Greenfield native will attend Indiana University School of Medicine in the fall.

Another Greyhound alumna, Madi Kovacs ‘18 (psychology & pre-occupational therapy) represented the 500 Festival Princess Program in 2017. Her role, which involved conducting outreach programs with children, connected to Kovacs’ long-term career goal of becoming a pediatric occupational therapist.

In May 2017, as downtown Indianapolis welcomed thousands of race fans, the talent of Katherine Fries, art faculty at the University, was showcased on the Indianapolis ArtsGarden. Fries was one of five local artists commissioned to create signs for the Month of May, connecting the city’s thriving arts culture with the historic racing event.




Related: Greyhound alum Adam Henze, official poet of the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500, recites his winning entry

University of Indianapolis health and physical education major recognized at national convention

Cassidy Bruner, left, with Cassie Brooks (Brownsburg Middle School) and Alyssa Jackson (Zionsville) 

Cassidy Bruner, left, with Cassie Brooks (Brownsburg Middle School) and Alyssa Jackson (Zionsville)

Ask almost any elementary school kid what his or her favorite class is and a likely answer will be “gym.” But today’s physical education teachers will tell you their jobs are about a lot more than fun and games. That is what Cassidy Bruner ’19 has learned as she has pursued a health and physical education (HPE) major. Bruner’s academic efforts have paid off, earning her an award as a Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE) Major of the Year.  Bruner received her award at the SHAPE America National Convention in Nashville, Tennessee in spring 2018.

The SHAPE America Major of the Year award celebrates outstanding undergraduate students in the fields of health, physical education, recreation and dance.

Roberta Sipe, the University’s HPE program coordinator, nominated Bruner for the honor.

“Cassidy is a strong young woman who never shies away from an opportunity to instruct students,” Sipe said.

Screen Shot 2018-04-23 at 4.58.18 PMIn fact, a full year before she was scheduled to begin her student teaching, Bruner was hired to work two days each week as the physical education teacher for Southport Presbyterian Church’s Welcome Place Childcare Center. She had been working at the center as a caregiver. Now, in addition to her childcare duties, Bruner spends nearly 15 hours each week as the school’s physical education teacher. In that role, Bruner is responsible for creating and implementing PE curriculum while teaching best practices.

“Teaching PE as a college student while still working on my major is a huge opportunity for me,” Bruner said. “I feel like I have a head start for when I start my future job, especially when it comes to classroom and behavior management. This experience has been a really great ‘trial run’ for me to get my first-year jitters out, even though I’m not even done with my third year of school yet.”

In addition to her work at Welcome Place, Bruner is a member of the University’s Kinesiology Club, is active in the Indiana chapter of SHAPE, and has volunteered for the annual Indiana State Special Olympics basketball tournament, which takes place at UIndy each spring. She maintains a 3.7 grade point average.

“Cassidy thinks on her feet,” Sipe said. “Nothing ever rattles her, even when last-minute changes take place.”

Bruner wasn’t even rattled by concerns about pursuing a career in physical education.

“I started off my time at UIndy as an elementary education major,” Bruner explained. “In my ED 100 class, every school we went to, I found myself wanting to go to the PE classes. My gut kept telling me I should lean towards PE, but the voices around me kept reminding me of budget cuts and ‘PE teachers don’t make as much as school teachers.’ But I followed my heart and switched my major and I have absolutely fallen in love with teaching health and physical education.”

Bruner believes it’s important for children to have dedicated health and PE teachers because kids spend too much time on sedentary activities. Bruner said a dedicated PE teacher can show them how to learn to enjoy being active, which can lead children to live a less sedentary and healthier lifestyle.

Bruner plans to graduate from the University of Indianapolis in May 2019.

Learn more about the Health and Physical Education Program at the University of Indianapolis.

Written by Amy Magan, communications manager for the Center for Aging & Community and the College of Health Sciences.

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