Kellogg Writers Series goes virtual for 20-21 season

The Kellogg Writers Series at the University of Indianapolis announced the 2020-21 season featuring a robust line-up of virtual events with regional and national writers of fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry. The Series kicks off with a fiction reading by Patricia Henley, National Book Award Finalist and New Yorker Fiction Prize Finalist, on Sept. 23, 2020, for Indiana Writers Spotlight Night.

Melissa Febos, LAMBDA Literary and Publishing Triangle Awards finalist, will be featured in a creative nonfiction reading Oct. 27. Walt Whitman Award winner Emily Skaja will read poetry on Nov. 19 to end the fall series. 

For spring 2021, Victoria Chang, winner of the Pushcart Prize and Poetry Society of America’s Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award, will read poetry on Feb. 18. Pushcart Prize winner Alison C. Rollins will provide a poetry reading on April 7, 2021. (See details below.)  

“I’m amazed and humbled by the visiting authors the Kellogg Writers Series is virtually bringing to UIndy, the greater Indianapolis community and the Zoomiverse this season,” said organizer Barney Haney, assistant professor of English. “Creating a platform for diverse and marginalized voices at UIndy has been a central part of our mission and being online this semester means we get to dramatically expand our platform’s reach.”

Rebecca McKanna, assistant professor of English and Kellogg Writers Series organizer, said the online format provides new ways to engage participants.

Rather than a normal reading, in the Zoom format, authors will be in conversation with one another or doing craft talks about issues they’re interested in,” McKanna explained. “Attendees will still have the opportunity to ask authors questions, but we hope the new format will keep all the spontaneity people loved from our regular KWS programming and update it for this new medium.”

Visit events.uindy.edu for Zoom links to each event.

Kellogg Writers Series 2020-2021 Season

Fall 2020

Patricia Henley_photo courtesy of Haywire Books

Patricia Henley


Fiction Reading with Patricia Henley
Indiana Writers Spotlight Night
Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020
7:30-8:30 p.m.
Zoom (online) 

National Book Award Finalist
The New Yorker Fiction Prize Finalist

Patricia Henley’s first novel, Hummingbird House, was a finalist for The National Book Award and The New Yorker Fiction Prize. Filmmaker John Sayles called Hummingbird House  “. . . deeply felt. . . a heartbreaking book.” Her second novel, In the River Sweet, was a Borders Original Voices selection. In addition, she is the author of two chapbooks of poetry, four short story collections, a stage play, and numerous essays. Her first book of stories, Friday Night at Silver Star, was the winner of the Montana First Book Award. Her other story collections include The Secret of Cartwheels, Worship of the Common Heart, New & Selected Stories, and Other Heartbreaks. In November 2019 Haywire Books published a 20th anniversary edition of Hummingbird House. Patricia lives in Maryland. 

“It is impossible to read Hummingbird House without thinking of Hemingway.”—Indianapolis Star

The writer Melissa Febos (USA), New York, New York, June 19, 2020. Photograph © Beowulf Sheehan

Melissa Febos Photograph © Beowulf Sheehan

Creative Nonfiction Reading with Melissa Febos
Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020
7:30-8:30 p.m.
Zoom (online)

LAMBDA Literary Award finalist
Publishing Triangle Award finalist
Indie Next Pick
Best Book of 2017 by Book Riot, Esquire, Refinery 29, The Cut, Bustle, Medium, The Brooklyn Rail, Largehearted Boy, Salon, The Rumpus, and others. 

“Abandon Me is an assemblage of lyric essays as intellectually sophisticated as they are emotionally stirring; a series of unflinching reflections and honest accounts of transformation that Febos refuses to let pass without scrutiny…Febos complicates the human desire for connection with explorations in philosophy, psychology, and accounts of historical repression that seduce readers into inhabiting her myths while resisting sentimentality by dismantling the fictions with deft intellectual probing reminiscent of the work of Maggie Nelson.” —BOMB Magazine

“Bold…mesmerizing…the sheer fearlessness of the narrative is captivating.” —The New Yorker

Emily Skaja

Emily Skaja

Poetry Reading with Emily Skaja
Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020
7:30-8:30 p.m.
Zoom (online)

Walt Whitman Award Winner

Walt Whitman Award judge Joy Harjo writes: “BRUTE, though a collection of singular poems, is essentially one long elegiac howl for the end of a relationship. It never lets up—this living—even when the world as we knew it is crushed. So what do we do with the brokenness? We document it, as Emily Skaja has done in BRUTE. We sing of the brokenness as we emerge from it. We sing the holy objects, the white moths that fly from our mouths, and we stand with the new, wet earth that has been created with our terrible songs.”

Spring 2021

Victoria Chang Photo: Margaret Molloy

Victoria Chang
Photo: Margaret Molloy

Poetry Reading with Victoria Chang
Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021
7:30-8:30 p.m.
Location: TBD

Pushcart Prize
Poetry Society of America’s Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award

After her mother died, poet Victoria Chang refused to write elegies. Rather, she distilled her grief during a feverish two weeks by writing scores of poetic obituaries for all she lost in the world. In Obit, Chang writes of “the way memory gets up after someone has died and starts walking.” These poems reinvent the form of newspaper obituary to both name what has died (“civility,” “language,” “the future,” “Mother’s blue dress”) and the cultural impact of death on the living. Whereas elegy attempts to immortalize the dead, an obituary expresses loss, and the love for the dead becomes a conduit for self-expression. In this unflinching and lyrical book, Chang meets her grief and creates a powerful testament for the living.

Chang’s books include OBIT, Barbie Chang, The Boss, Salvinia Molesta, and Circle. Her children’s picture book, Is Mommy?, was illustrated by Marla Frazee and published by Beach Lane Books/Simon & Schuster. It was named a New York Times Notable Book. Her middle grade novel, Love Love will be published by Sterling Publishing in 2020. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Sustainable Arts Foundation Award, the Poetry Society of America’s Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award, a Pushcart Prize, and a MacDowell Colony Fellowship. She lives in Los Angeles and is the program chair of Antioch’s Low-Residency MFA Program.

Alison C. Rollins Photo: Maya Ayanna Darasaw

Alison C. Rollins
Photo: Maya Ayanna Darasaw

Poetry Reading with Alison C. Rollins
Thursday, April. 7, 2021
7:30-8:30 p.m.
Location: TBD 

Pushcart Prize Winner

Alison C. Rollins holds a Bachelor of Science (summa cum laude & phi beta kappa) in Psychology from Howard University and a Master of Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Born and raised in St. Louis city, she currently works as the Lead Teaching and Learning Librarian for Colorado College. She also serves as faculty for Pacific Northwest College of Art’s Low-Residency MFA. Her poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, New England Review, The New York Times Magazine, The Poetry Review, and elsewhere. A Cave Canem and Callaloo fellow, she is also a 2016 recipient of the Poetry Foundation’s Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship. Rollins has most recently been awarded support from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and is a recipient of a 2019 National Endowment for the Arts Literature fellowship as well as a 2018 Rona Jaffe Writers’ Award. A 2020 Pushcart Prize winner, her debut poetry collection Library of Small Catastrophes (Copper Canyon Press) is out now! 

“Like sunflowers turning towards the sun, readers will turn to this astounding poet.” —Booklist, (Starred Review)

“The range of Rollins’ poetic skill is remarkable. The result is a collection of poetry which is magnificently crafted, readable, and crucially important.”—New York Journal of Books

 

FIVE REASONS TO REGISTER FOR COMMUNIVERSITY 2020

CAS_20_Communiversity_Digital_1_Email

Agatha Christie’s first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, was published in 1920 and launched the career of one of her most famous sleuths, Hercule Poirot. Join us to celebrate the 100th anniversary of a novel that originated as a dare from the author’s sister. 

Communiversity is a free, online class that runs through the fall semester, from the week of August 24 to the week of November 30. Students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the general public are invited to participate. 

Here are five reasons to sign up:

  1. Return to the virtual classroom to read and discuss a classic novel. The course will be moderated by Jennifer Camden, Beverley J. Pitts Distinguished Professor of the Ron and Laura Strain Honors College and Associate Chair and Professor of English.

  2. It has a book club feel. You’ll read just one chapter a week, and the course is “credit/no credit,” so you can spend as much or as little time on the class as you would like.

  3. It’s free!

  4. It’s a page-turner. A poisoning in a locked room, a missing will, and a piece of paper saved from the embers of a fireplace that may hold the key to solving the mystery…Christie’s novel is a classic with plenty of red herrings. Pit your wits against Hercule Poirot and Inspector Japp to see if you can guess “whodunit.”

  5. Several guest lectures will further enrich your experience. Join virtual conversations in September, October, and November to hear UIndy faculty explore subthemes from the novel. The lectures are free to attend and open to the general public. 

Learn more about Communiversity and sign up today! 

Register before Monday, August 24 to secure your spot. 

Jeremiah Gibbs takes additional role as pastor of St. Andrew UMC

University Chaplain Jeremiah Gibbs (2019 file photo)

University Chaplain Jeremiah Gibbs (2019 file photo)

Jeremiah Gibbs, University Chaplain and director of the Lantz Center Christian Vocations & Formation, will be appointed as pastor of St. Andrew United Methodist Church as of July 1. Gibbs will continue in his roles at the University of Indianapolis, which include assistant professor of philosophy & religion, while he serves St. Andrew UMC on a part-time basis.

St. Andrew is a congregation actively engaged in the traditions of Gospel-centered sermons, gospel music, Christian hospitality, service to the community and outreach mission work. Gibbs noted St. Andrew’s long history of serving the neighborhood to the north of the University of Indianapolis with preschool, a food pantry and events like the semi-annual neighborhood fair.

“I’m hopeful that this new connection will enable UIndy to provide an avenue for some of our students to find a place nearby to participate in church life,” Gibbs said. “I also hope that it can serve as a kind of ‘outpost’ for University initiatives to do service in that neighborhood as well.”

“We are excited that Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Gibbs has agreed and will expand his appointment to serve the congregation of St. Andrew United Methodist Church, effective July 1,” said Aleze Fulbright, Conference Superintendent of Central District. “We celebrate Dr. Gibb’s call as a pastoral leader and know he will continue to share the Good News in new and profound ways. I am equally excited about the possibilities that could emerge through Dr. Gibb’s connection with the congregation, community and the University of Indianapolis.”

Gibbs will continue to oversee the Ecumenical and Interfaith Programs office at the University of Indianapolis. In his role at the University, he takes primary responsibility for the ecumenical Christian ministry on campus. In addition to the Christian worship and related programming, he also leads the Lantz Center for Christian Vocations that includes the freshman Threshold Retreat as well as the two years of spiritual formation courses known on campus as CVOC classes.

Recently Gibbs has led the office to develop a network of community groups to address loneliness and mental health challenges that the chaplains have ministered to on campus. About 130 students joined a community group this year with book and Bible studies, exercise groups, creative groups, and service groups. Many of these groups continued in a virtual format after social distancing began. Christian ministries also continued in a virtual format with weekly online chapel services and daily video devotionals on social media.
Gibbs is a graduate of Eureka College and Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary (M.T.S. and Ph.D), and he is an Elder in the United Methodist Church.

While in seminary, Gibbs served as Youth Pastor and/or Director of Young Adult Ministries for United Methodist congregations in Wisconsin and Illinois. He has been University Chaplain and Director of the Lantz Center at UIndy since 2009. He recently released his second book, Find Your Place in God’s Mission (Foundery Books, 2020), that guides readers to discern their calling in their career. Gibbs is married to the Rev. Jenifer Stuelpe Gibbs, who is senior pastor of Castleton United Methodist Church in Indianapolis.

Deah Long ’20 wraps up undergrad career with Pacers internship

Deah Long '20 (sport management)Deah Long ‘20 (sport management with a minor in business administration) landed an internship with the Indiana Pacers during her senior year at the University of Indianapolis. 

Her responsibilities have included preparing cards for the emcees, changing CO2 tanks for the t-shirt guns, and taking the mascots/entertainment teams to and from their appearances. 

“On game days I would prepare the team line-ups and take them to the announcer to read at the beginning of the game,” she explained. “I would also have to load the tunnel with everything we would need to use for that specific game, such as t-shirt guns, Boomer’s props, and prizes or objects needed for on-court activities. I was able to network with many people with important roles and pick up new skills that I have no doubt I will use in the near future.” 

She got the opportunity after doing a job-shadow with the Pacers’ operations department, set up by one of her faculty mentors, Jennifer VanSickle, professor of sport management. 

“Deah is always willing to go above and beyond,” VanSickle said. “I was sure that if she spent some time with the supervisors there that they would be impressed with her and want to hire her as an intern. I have watched her grow in confidence, which has helped her be a better leader and be willing to offer suggestions and solutions.”  

During her time on campus, Long also completed an internship with UIndy Facilities and helped plan the 2019 Special Olympics State Youth Basketball tournament held on the UIndy campus. 

Long says the sport management program has prepared her for a career in the field by requiring students to complete at least two separate internships before graduating.

“The most significant way UIndy has had an impact on me would be the connections I have been able to make that led to amazing opportunities,” said Long. “Sport management is something that cannot be fully taught in a classroom, but with real-world experience.”

Following graduation, Long will be attending graduate school at UIndy.

“My time at UIndy has been amazing and I am glad I chose to attend this university. I will forever cherish the memories, friendships, and connections I have made during my time here,” she said.

Her advice for incoming freshmen: 

“Take your courses seriously in the beginning. Many students come into college with the mindset that since it is only their first year, they have enough time to “focus on fun” and save the academics for later. While it is possible to bring your grades up, fixing your GPA will prove to be extremely difficult. The goal is to balance your social life with your academics!”

 

Through Their Eyes: an interdisciplinary study of local refugees

Through Their Eyes Exhibit - Feb 2020

“Through Their Eyes: Health and Social Integration of Congolese Refugee Women in Indianapolis” was on exhibit at the University of Indianapolis in early 2020

University of Indianapolis faculty, students and community partners collaborated on a research study to better understand how Congolese refugees were settling in Indianapolis. 

The project was co-led by Jyotika Saksena, associate professor and graduate director of the international relations program in the Department of History and Political Science, and made possible by two different partnerships. 

For years, UIndy students have completed internships with Exodus Refugee Inc., a refugee resettlement agency in Indianapolis. Cole Varga ‘10 (MA, international relations) was one of those interns during his time at UIndy, eventually becoming the Executive Director of Exodus Refugee Inc. in 2016.

Saksena has served on the Exodus Board of Directors since 2014. She struck up a conversation with Shannon McMorrow, who was an assistant professor of public health at UIndy at the time. McMorrow had used photovoice methodology to examine vulnerable populations such as young girls of color. This discussion led to the pair envisioning and applying for an interdisciplinary grant, and later a state-funded grant from the Indiana Minority Health Coalition, to use photovoice methodology to understand the perception of health and integration among refugees living in Indianapolis. 

Saksena, McMorrow, and students from the public health and international relations programs worked closely with community partner Exodus Refugee Inc. to shape the goals, approach, and outcomes of the project. 

“Our community partner selected the refugee population that they needed the most information on,” explained Saksena. “The Congolese were a newly arriving population in the city, with very little pre-existing community to provide social support. We decided to focus on women because they are an understudied population. The purpose of the project was to understand how refugees were settling in Indianapolis and their perception toward health and healthcare.” 

Sixteen Congolese women who had been in the country for two years or less participated in the 2016 study. Each person was asked to take photographs of anything that made them feel happy or sad and explain why. 

A follow-up study with the same women was conducted in 2019 to see if their lives had improved. They were given the same request: to take pictures of anything that made them feel happy or sad. 

In early 2020, photographs taken by the refugees were highlighted at “Through Their Eyes: Health and Social Integration of Congolese Refugee Women in Indianapolis,” an exhibit at the University of Indianapolis. Accompanying captions explained why they took each photograph. Some examples are included below.

“Each image was a reflection of their perception of life in America,” Saksena said. 

UIndy students helped during various stages of the research process, including downloading and sharing photographs, taking notes during the focus groups and transcribing recordings of data collected. The research, co-authored by Saksena and McMorrow, has been published in the Journal of International Migration and IntegrationSAGE Publicationsand Community-Academic Partnership in Research and Public Health

Saksena said the most significant finding was that emphasis on early self-sufficiency in the US negatively affects refugees’ focus on language acquisition, which in turn impacts other aspects of the integration, including access to well-paid jobs, health, and affordable housing. 

“Our study also revealed that cultural differences, like child-rearing norms, can exacerbate the challenges of integration, particularly for women due to their traditional family roles, negatively affecting their ability to become self-reliant. Social and cultural support is crucial for building resilience and improving the integration process for the refugees,” Saksena said.

Learn more about the international relations program at UIndy

Pack the House amped up the celebration in 2020

Greyhounds filled Nicoson Hall in support of the UIndy Women’s and Men’s basketball teams as they competed against the Truman State University Bulldogs for a conference matchup on Saturday, February 15.

Women’s tip-off was at 1 p.m. and the men’s team tip-off was at 3 p.m. for a back-to-back showdown. In addition to cheering on the basketball teams, UIndy celebrated all fall athletes for their record-breaking 2019 seasons.

The fun began with a pre-game block party at 11:30 a.m. in Ruth Lilly Health & Fitness Center with tasty snacks, inflatables, life-size Jenga, face painting, and a guest appearance by UIndy’s Live Mascot, Grady.

Back this year was the chance for one lucky student to take a half-court shot for a chance at free tuition for one semester. Students could also enter to win Billie Eilish concert tickets, which were given away during the men’s basketball game.

A post-game celebration at UIndy’s neighbor, Books & Brews at 3308 Shelby St., followed, featuring live band Shift Bit Duo. 

Go Hounds!

2020 Black History Month events continue

(Anita Thomas keynote). Second annual Legacy of Excellence dinner in UIndy Hall on Thursday, February 28, 2019. The program was sponsored by the Black Student Association and Campus Program Board. (Photo: D. Todd Moore, University of Indianapolis)

The University of Indianapolis celebrates Black History Month 2020 this February, including spirit week, a poetry slam, and a formal dinner. Organized by the Black Student Association, events throughout the month are designed to increase awareness of the  achievements of African-Americans and their pivotal role in United States history.

Schedule of events:

1. Spirit Week 2/3/20-2/7/20
Monday: Rep your class (freshmen wear red, sophomores black, juniors green, seniors yellow)
Tuesday: T-Shirt Tuesday (black history shirt)
Wednesday: Dress for Success (Business Professional/Business Casual dress)
Thursday: Throwback Thursday (90’s/80’s dress)
Friday: For the Culture (cultural dress day)

2. Poetry Slam 2/11/20 Uindy Hall A 8pm-10pm: a night for anyone to express themselves through any form of poetry.

3.Movie Monday 2/17/20 Uindy Hall A 8pm-10pm: showcase a movie in remembrance of black history.

4. Black History Trivia Night 2/19/20 Uindy Hall B/C 8pm-9:30pm: trivia night with black history questions.

5. Legacy of Excellence Dinner 2/26/20 Uindy Hall A 6pm-8:30pm: an elegant dinner to celebrate the entirety of black history month as well as the students and staff at the school who identify as African American or of African decent. Many RSO’s come like Project Regalia, SOL, and more.All are welcome!

Seventh Annual Fairbanks Symposium at the University of Indianapolis explores women in civic leadership 

 

Fairbanks Symposium 2020 graphic

As the nation marks the centennial of women’s suffrage, the Seventh Annual Richard M. Fairbanks Symposium on Civic Leadership, hosted by the University of Indianapolis on March 6, will explore the impact of women in civic leadership both regionally and across the country.

“At the Crossroads: Women in Civic Leadership” features top female leaders from Indianapolis and also includes keynote speaker Jennifer Lawless, Commonwealth Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia and author of “It Still Takes a Candidate: Why Women Don’t Run for Office” and “Women on the Run: Gender, Media, and Political Campaigns in a Polarized Era.” The symposium is open to the public and registration is required. The $10 event fee includes a buffet lunch. Students may register at no charge and must produce a current university ID card upon entry. Register here.

Moderators for the symposium’s panel discussions include Laura Wilson, University of Indianapolis assistant professor of political science, and Anne Hathaway, President of Hathaway Strategies and Director of the Richard G. Lugar Excellence in Public Service Series. Wilson is a frequent contributor to regional and national news media on political matters. Hathaway is a 2013 Indiana Commission for Women Torchbearer Award recipient who has devoted her career to advocating for women seeking or serving in office.

The annual symposium, organized by the University of Indianapolis Institute for Civic Leadership & Mayoral Archives in partnership with Indiana Humanities, is made possible through the generous support of the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation. This year’s event brings together women from the corporate, political and nonprofit worlds to delve into achievements made and the milestones yet to be reached.

“The 100th anniversary of women winning the right to vote seems an appropriate time to take stock of the current state of women in civic leadership in Indiana and across the nation,” said Keira Amstutz, president and CEO of Indiana Humanities. “It gives us an opportunity to reflect on the courage, perseverance and organized activism it took to bring change, and we are pleased to play a role in providing an opportunity for assessment and reflection.”

“While Hoosier women have provided strong and often unacknowledged leadership in a number of sectors, the political realm is ripe with ample opportunities for improvement. Drawing on lessons from the past to inform the present and better the future, we hope the symposium will empower current and future generations of women to seek civic leadership roles,” said Edward Frantz, professor of history and symposium organizer.

The program includes morning and afternoon panel discussions and an INconversation with Jennifer Lawless. The schedule is as follows:

9:30 a.m.: Registration

10:15 a.m.: Panel Discussion: Women and Civic Leadership in Indianapolis Today
Moderator: Laura Wilson, University of Indianapolis assistant professor of political science
Panelists: Mel Raines, Indiana Pacers Senior VP of Facilities Operations, Pacers Sports & Entertainment; former Chief of Staff for Congresswoman Susan Brooks
Angela Smith Jones, Deputy Mayor Deputy Mayor of Economic Development at City of Indianapolis
Deborah Daniels, former U.S. Attorney and U.S. Assistant Attorney General, University of Indianapolis Board of Trustees member
Kathy Cabello, Cabello Associates, Indiana State University Board Trustee, Indy 500 Festival Board Director, Indiana Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commissioner and is past President of the National Association of Women Business Owners and the National Society of Hispanic MBAs – Indianapolis Chapter (now Prospanica).

11:30 a.m.: Buffet lunch (included with registration)

Noon: Keynote INconversation with Jennifer Lawless and Rima Shahid

Jennifer L. Lawless is the Commonwealth Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia. Prior to joining the UVA faculty, she was a Professor of Government at American University and the Director of the Women & Politics Institute. Before that, she was an assistant and then associate professor at Brown. She is author of “It Still Takes a Candidate: Why Women Don’t Run for Office” and “Women on the Run: Gender, Media, and Political Campaigns in a Polarized Era.”

Rima Shahid has served as the first Executive Director of Women4Change since 2017. Shahid is mandated to lead the implementation of Women4Change’s mission to equip and mobilize women to engage effectively in political and civic affairs in order to strengthen our democracy and to advocate for the leadership, health, safety and dignity of all women in Indiana. Before her service at Women4Change, she served as the Executive Director of the Muslim Alliance of Indiana for two years.

1:15 p.m.: Panel Discussion: Building a Pipeline for the Future
Moderator: Anne Hathaway, President, Hathaway Strategies; Director of Lugar Series
Panelists: Kristin Jones, Indianapolis City Council District 16
Adrianne Slash, Senior Instructional Designer, Community Health Network; Exchange for Urban League; Forefront Columnist, IBJ.
Amy Levander, Executive Director, Hoosier Women Forward

 

International student spotlight: Ghaida Abdelrahman ’21

The campus community celebrates International Education Month in October with a variety of performing arts, film, lectures and interactive events designed to showcase the rich benefits of intercultural exchange.

The University of Indianapolis is a ‘home away from home’ for international students from more than 55 countries, including Ghaida Abdelrahman ’21 (MA, Applied Sociology), who is a Fulbright Scholar from Palestine. 

Ghaida AbdelrahmanLearn about her path to the United States and what she found upon her arrival:

Q: How did you become a Fulbright Scholar?

A: As long as I can remember I wanted to be a Fulbrighter. In 9th grade, I applied for the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program and was the only student from my school who passed all the stages and exams to be selected. I was unable to send my official paper to finalize the procedure and since then my main goal was to be a Fulbrighter and study in the United States. I applied last year (in 2018) and the selection procedure took a whole year. It was full of stress, waiting, fear, and concern, but when I got their acceptance email on the 29th of May 2019 all those feelings turned into joy and happiness.

Q: Why did you decide to study at UIndy?

A: UIndy was one of my top choices since the very beginning. It has one of the best Applied Sociology graduate programs and staff in the United States, so it was an opportunity to learn from the best. What else would I ask for? 

Q: What’s your experience in the Applied Sociology program been like so far? 

A: I could describe my experience so far as new, great, joyful and interesting in a good way. Every day I learn new things that are expected and unexpected. Being a graduate student will open a lot of opportunities for me to be able to make a difference in my society back home as a Palestinian and as a female.

Q: What’s something you miss from home and something from the U.S. that you enjoy?

A: This may sound weird for some, but from home (besides missing my family and friends), I miss the food. My mother is the best cook ever, while I am not! I enjoy quite a lot of things in the U.S., but the most I enjoy here is freedom. I have never been that much free in moving from one place to another without being scared or jeopardized. I enjoy the feeling of doing whatever I wish, whenever I wish. It is priceless.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: I would like to continue living the dream by obtaining a Ph.D. then get back home to apply what I have learned to make my country and society better by founding a research group that cares about what social problems we are facing and focused on how we can work to solve them and enhance the lives of our communities.  

Q: What advice would you have for other people considering an international education?

A: My advice would be, try to enjoy the experience as much as you can because the amount of knowledge and experience a person could get from being an international student is limitless. Be open to what you hear and see. It will be a lot different from what you learned or are used to, but take my word, it is your chance, maybe your only chance, to grow up in mind and soul. 

Are you an international student who is interested in studying at UIndy? Click to get started.

UIndy alum Kermit Berg returns for solo retrospective at Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center Gallery

Kermit Berg

Kermit Berg in Berlin

For Kermit Berg ’73, a solo retrospective exhibition at the Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center Gallery will be a true homecoming. With a reception scheduled for 3-6 p.m., Friday, Sept. 27, and the exhibition through Oct. 25, the event traces the creative evolution of a world-renowned artist who began his remarkable journey at the University of Indianapolis.

Berg, who has displayed his work at galleries in Berlin, Munich, New York, Washington, D.C., Chicago and other cities around the world, said the exhibition is an overview of his work since 2000. Curating for the event turned out to be a task which naturally prompted a certain amount of reflection.

“I’m working with the concept of fluidity within the context of a career,” Berg explained. “I’ve found it important to not produce the same five photographs (more or less) for thirty years in a row. That hasn’t made some of the exhibiting that easy in terms of building an audience that will give new work serious examination and cross bridges with me. But I’ve had the extreme good fortune of finding an enthusiastic and loyal audience.”

"Lumiere Rouge" by Kermit Berg

“Lumiere Rouge” by Kermit Berg

Along with evolving creatively throughout his career, an international perspective informs Berg’s work. While he primarily operates from his studio in San Francisco, Berg has lived all over the world—most recently in Shanghai, China, and in Berlin for many years. His life in Berlin is the subject of a documentary being filmed by Iranian-born film producer Sahand Samani.

Capturing opportunities from his surroundings in a formal, intentional way is a hallmark of Berg’s approach. His portfolio of Shanghai, for example, explores historic two- and three-story buildings from the 1900s that are in critical danger of being destroyed.

“Just being able to photograph safely at night, that was quite a new option for me,” Berg said.

Berg began experimental digital printmaking in 1985 while a guest instructor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His prints are the result of the highest technology available for fine art photography. To quote the New York critic and author Laura Gilbert, “In his sparsely populated and dramatically lit facades, métro stations, passages and interiors, Berg creates exquisite urban atmospheres.” His series featuring Tokyo, Japan, layers graphics over photographic images for a dreamlike effect. 

The dominant grouping of photographs for the retrospective will be Berg’s work from “Nuclear Family/Wohlstandstraum,” a friendship story between a German and an American during World War Two, with some of the narrative taking place in Berg’s hometown of Bremen, Indiana. Other pieces will be selections from Berg’s journey as an artist, including two pieces from his German parliament project, which he was commissioned to create for the parliament’s permanent collection.

His work, “Epilogue,” which features photographs displayed in a grid of square frames, will serve as an exhibition anchor. “Frieze,” which will be displayed in a similar format to “Epilogue,” uses 25 photographs of domestic objects from mid-20th century Germany, such as white porcelain vases, shot in monochrome.

“I’m making them look more like artifacts from Egypt in terms of the photography,” Berg said.

The opportunity to exhibit at his alma mater took Berg by surprise, but he quickly began to get inspired by the idea of exhibiting in a university setting, where his work can be used as a teaching tool. He encourages viewers to look for themes in his work.

"Eames Coffee Table" by Kermit Berg

“Eames Coffee Table” by Kermit Berg

“The great thing about it is because it’s such a nice, large space, it let me think in terms of—for the first time in a long time—looking at some of my own work,” Berg said. “Where did something from 2000 show up again in 2017? It makes perfect sense for that observation to happen in a university setting.”

Berg said his leaving the German immigrant farmland community of Bremen to attend what was then known as Indiana Central College was his “first step on a world journey of discovery.” Berg’s experience of living in an international culture in a capital city “began my progress toward understanding what inclusiveness means in everyday life and help ground me as I later lived in New York, Berlin, and recently Shanghai. And now decades later we are still learning, or failing to learn, what is demanded of us to create a just and inclusive society.”

 

Solo Gallery Show: 2019 “The Photography of Kermit Berg”
Reception: Friday, September 27, 3 – 6 p.m.
Exhibition: September 27 – October 25
Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center Gallery
Free admission

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