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.

Community partners, UIndy students honored at Community Campus Forum

forum5The Center for Service-Learning and Community Engagement held the Community Campus Forum on April 25, 2018, to honor community agency partners, along with faculty, staff and students, for the many ways they engaged in service, learning and teaching throughout this academic year.

Following an expo where students presented their service-learning projects to attendees, the Center hosted a luncheon and presented the Student Service-Learning and Outstanding Community Partner of the Year Awards.

“The Community Campus Forum not only acknowledges the remarkable achievements of University of Indianapolis students and community partners in the area of service-learning, but also highlights the University’s critical mission to teach students lifelong skills of engagement that contribute to the quality of life in our neighborhoods,” said Stephen Kolison, Jr, University of Indianapolis provost.

Honorees were as follows:

Service-Learning Graduate Student of the Year

Marlena Muszak ’18 (M.A. in applied sociology)

Service-Learning Undergraduate Student of the Year

Samantha Beckwith ’18 (marketing)

Justin Jones ’18 (supply chain and operations)

Nicholas Southwood ’18 (marketing)

Mallory Walker ’18 (marketing)

Community Partner of the Year

Tim Evans
Alvie Lindsay
Indianapolis Star

Deborah Strickler
Southern Indiana Rehabilitation Hospital

Marcos Hashimoto,  associate professor of entrepreneurship in the School of Business, nominated four undergraduate students who received the Service-Learning Undergraduate Student of the Year Award.

“These students helped the #shesinvisible cause during my Marketing Simulation class as their applied project for the course. During the whole semester they interacted with the social entrepreneur Tina Polk to improve all the marketing material for the organization, including flyers, web page, social media posts and event organization,” Hahimoto said.

Jim Pennell, professor of sociology, nominated Marlena Muszak, an international student from Poland. Pennell outlined Muszak’s work with the Burmese American Community Institute, including fundraising, grant-writing and support for BACI’s Upward College Program.

“Marlena has represented UIndy well in her commitment to service, and she is a shining example of our university’s commitment to engaging international students in transformative ways,” Pennell said.

Pennell acknowledged Marianna Foulkrod, director of the Center for Service-Learning and Engagement, “for her continuing leadership in engaging students and faculty with our community and vice versa.”

Jeanne Criswell, director of the journalism program, thanked Tim Evans and Alvie Lindsay of The Indianapolis Star, who collaborated with her students for the newly conceived Investigative Reporting course on an investigative story about the Mayor’s Action Center that was published by the newspaper under the students’ bylines.

“Alvie and Tim served all semester as excellent editors, role models and mentors for this project while their day jobs as professional journalists never let up. They went above and beyond the call of duty in their commitment to the course,” Criswell said.

Lindsay, who accepted the award on behalf of Tim Evans, said he was humbled and honored by the recognition. “I want to thank UIndy for having the journalism program and for understanding the need and value of this work. One of the things we wanted to impart on the students in class is that you do have the opportunity to make a difference,” he said.

Julie Gahimer, professor of physical therapy nominated Deborah Strickler of the Southern Indiana Rehabilitation Hospital, for creating valuable opportunities for University of Indianapolis students at an annual summer camp for stroke survivors.

“We couldn’t have done it without the help of physical therapy students for the last 14 or 15 years. They make a big difference,” Strickler said.

2nd Annual Trumpet Conference brings musical learning opportunities to students, community

The University of Indianapolis hosted its Second Annual Trumpet Conference in March 2018 in conjunction with the International Trumpet Guild. Headliners included Doc Severinsen, legendary trumpeter from “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson,” international soloist Rex Richardson, and several other clinicians.

“Our second annual 2018 UIndy-ITG Trumpet Your Way Conference was a wonderful success in every way, bringing individuals ranging in ages from 12 to 90 to campus,” said Brenda Clark, Department of Music chair.

The University of Indianapolis is the state affiliate chapter of the International Trumpet Guild and serves to represent trumpet players of all ages and abilities throughout Indiana and beyond.

Read NUVO’s review of the Trumpet Conference here.

“Our headliners presented a day of clinics and finished the day with a concert in Christel Dehaan Fine Arts Center that blew the roof off!” said Larry Powell, adjunct faculty member and chair of the conference planning committee.

Doc Severinsen, American jazz legend

Thanks for sharing your talents and experience with students, fac/staff and the community, Doc!

Posted by University of Indianapolis Arts on Thursday, March 22, 2018

The University of Indianapolis Department of Music actively cultivates opportunities for students and the broader community to gain access to experiential learning with master musicians. Along with the Trumpet Conference, which brought students in touch with expertise of Doc Severinsen and Rex Richardson, the Department of Music has hosted American Pianists Association Award Winner Drew Petersen, who is the University’s Christel DeHaan fellow and artist-in-residence. The Tuskegee University Choir concert at Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center brought the legendary group to campus in April 2018.

The Indiana Wind Symphony served as the accompanying ensemble for the trumpet solos of Doc Severinsen, Rex Richardson and Larry Powell.

The two-day event Trumpet Your Way featured artists Doc Severinsen, Rex Richardson and more!

Posted by University of Indianapolis Arts on Monday, March 19, 2018

“We strived to make the other pieces somewhat trumpet-centric while giving good balance for the audience,” said Charles Conrad, Indiana Wind Symphony music director. “The marches were ‘Trumpets of Victory’ by Hoosier composer Fred Jewell and the only handiwork written by famed trumpet designer Vincent Bach.”

Clark noted the 40-percent increase in attendance over the first Trumpet Conference in 2017, and the widespread popularity of the event across the Midwest. Ed Engledow, who attended the conference with his 12-year-old grandson, was one of those fans.

“At the age of 78, I now realize that it is indeed possible to still be playing at the age of 90 (Doc) — if I am also willing to practice three or four hours a day!” Engledow joked. His grandson, Patrick, was thrilled to meet Doc Severinsen and get a photo with the living legend.

“This event was a perfect example of UIndy’s motto of ‘Education for Service,’ providing hands-on masterclasses benefitting players of all levels, offering mentoring opportunities for our students as well as conference attendees,” Clark said.

“The culminating evening performance which featured internationally-known solo artists Rex Richardson, Doc Severinsen, and UIndy’s Larry Powell, with the Indiana Wind Symphony, was a great example of the Department of Music’s commitment to collaboration, but more importantly our rich tradition of excellence. These experiences serve to inspire our students as they pursue successful careers in music,” she added.

Plans are already in the works for conferences in 2019 and 2020. Jens Lindemann will be the headliner for 2019. Click here for updates.

Navigating for a new millennium: Commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient Rev. Rob Fuquay

Rev. Rob Fuquay

Rev. Rob Fuquay

Reverend Rob Fuquay knew he wanted to join the ministry from a young age. As a senior in high school in North Carolina, he encountered Duke Seminary students who volunteered at his church and made a lasting impact on his career choice.

“I remember having this tug to consider doing with my life what these guys do, and my pastor helped me understand that this might be a call to ministry that I was sensing,” Fuquay said.

Rev. Fuquay now leads the 6,000-member St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Indianapolis, and on May 5, he will receive an honorary degree from the University of Indianapolis in recognition of his work as a rising thought leader in the church’s mission. Rev. Fuquay also will provide the Commencement address.

Watch a live stream of the Commencement ceremony at 11 a.m., May 5, 2018 on

“I was very surprised and deeply honored, not just for the degree itself but also for the connection to the University of Indianapolis. I have such high regard for UIndy and the standards and work of the school. To have a connection to them is very rewarding to me,” Fuquay said.

As the author of several books and course guides on religious topics – including a racing-themed series called “Take the Flag” – Fuquay aims to bring people into the church who might not otherwise participate. Building and maintaining that community is an integral part of his work.

Related: University of Indianapolis to recognize master musician Béla Fleck with honorary degree

“It’s about the formation of a community that helps people develop socially and spiritually, and provides support systems that we need in life,” he explained.

Rev. Fuquay has served both small, rural churches and large congregations. He is the fifth senior pastor appointed at St. Luke’s.

“You’d think there’s very little those [smaller] churches could have in common with St. Luke’s in Indianapolis, which is a mega church. Yet the people dynamics are the same everywhere,” he explained. “It’s just being able to manage those same issues at a larger level.”

While Rev. Fuquay knew his call was to be a local church pastor, his college chaplain pointed out that ministry could take him in many different directions. Fuquay described it as learning one’s “call within a call.”

“It has been an unfolding, almost evolving sense of how God wants to use me. It’s not been a clear path that I know this is where I’m going, but sort of a step by step discerning my own gifts,” he explained.

He said that applies to every profession, not just the ministry – and that’s a theme he will explore during his Commencement address.

“Don’t get so worried about charting the map, but simply follow the compass. Those coordinates can change on any given day,” Rev. Fuquay said, pointing out that values need to remain constant amid a rapidly changing world. “Rather than worrying about where life is going to take you, focus on who you want to be.”

For graduates, Fuquay said an important aspect of developing lifelong values is “understanding that our education and our degree is not just for us. It’s about what difference are we going to make in the world? God wants to use all of us in a way that makes a lasting impact on this world that will make a difference in people’s lives after we’re gone.”

University of Indianapolis to recognize master musician Béla Fleck with honorary degree

Photo by Alan Messer

Photo by Alan Messer

Béla Fleck, a 16-time Grammy Award winner and world-renowned banjo player, will be recognized with an honorary degree at the University of Indianapolis Commencement on May 5, 2018. Fleck will perform a selection from his extensive repertoire during the Commencement ceremony.

Watch a live stream of the Commencement ceremony at 11 a.m., May 5, 2018 on

Taking the road less traveled comes naturally to Fleck. He has made his name innovating musical styles for the banjo, often defying categorization as he expertly blends various traditions to create his own unique sound. He said this approach to music allows him a certain artistic freedom.

“It’s kind of like being able to speak several languages. Everything you learn informs everything you know,” Fleck said.

Related: Local Rev. Fuquay and Grammy-winning musician Béla Fleck to receive honorary degrees at May Commencement

Fleck became interested in the banjo while watching The Beverly Hillbillies as a boy, and later pursued lessons on his own when he realized his school, New York City’s High School of Music and Art, didn’t offer a banjo elective. He started performing in his first bands as a teenager.

New York’s musical melting pot formed a crucible for Fleck to develop his style of borrowing from different genres. After seeing musicians such as Chick Corea and Stanley Clarke perform, he was inspired to experiment with rock and jazz on the banjo. A series of impressive projects soon followed, with Fleck eventually joining New Grass Revival, a progressive bluegrass band, and later forming Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, along with numerous solo projects.

“Through his unique perspective of transcending musical genres, Bela Fleck’s work connects cultures and enhances communities in a profound way. As an honorary degree recipient, Bela reflects the University’s mission and deep tradition as a community-first institution that welcomes diverse thought and influences to advance its vision through arts and sciences,” said President Robert L. Manuel.

Related: Navigating for a new millennium: Commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient Rev. Rob Fuquay

Fleck said the musical community has continued to mentor and support his work, and he gives back in return.

“I am proud to have friends who also serve as teachers and sources of inspiration who are on top of the worlds of bluegrass, jazz and world music. I attempt to do the same for the folks I meet, and I look forward to doing more,” Fleck said.

Fleck and his wife and musical partner, Abigail Washburn, donate the proceeds of their merchandise to local nonprofits as they tour throughout the world.

“This outreach engages us with all the communities we perform in and allows us to give something concrete back,” Fleck explained.

For graduates looking to make their mark, Fleck said it’s a matter of balancing the goal of “being the best in your field and being the best person you can be.”

“I have experienced being considered the best at what I do, and I have worked hard for it. The easiest way to be the best is to find an area that is not glutted with people doing the same thing. Look for an area that you love but one that is not overrun, and find a way to make your contribution,” he said.

Fleck said he was thrilled to learn of the honorary degree from the University of Indianapolis.

“And my Mom is even happier – she wanted me to go to college!” he said.


University of Indianapolis hosts Indiana State Math Contest April 28

INDIANAPOLIS – With calculators in hand, dozens of middle and high school students will compete in the Indiana State Math Contest on the University of Indianapolis campus Saturday, April 28, 2018. Students will take exams in the morning, followed by lunch in the Health Pavilion and an awards ceremony at noon. The Department of Mathematical Sciences and the School of Education are co-hosting the event.

The University of Indianapolis, which is hosting the annual contest for the first time, is one of 12 host sites throughout the state. The Indiana Council of Teachers of Mathematics organizes the contest, which has been approved by the Division of School Activities and the Indiana Association of School Principals. Students from Hamilton Southeastern High School, Fishers High School and Roncalli High School will be participating at the University of Indianapolis host site.

The tests focus on mathematical problem-solving, including pre-algebra, algebra, geometry and comprehensive. The contest is open to any middle school, junior or senior high school student in the State of Indiana.

“This is an exciting way for UIndy to be involved in the greater mathematical community in Indiana,” said Livia Hummel, interim associate chair and associate professor of mathematics.

Learn about the mathematical sciences program at the University of Indianapolis.

Clayton Roan, mathematics instructor, was keen to bring this type of event to the University to increase the department’s community engagement.

“We’re excited to host this competition to celebrate and showcase students with academic talents in mathematics from these schools,” Roan said. “We’re also excited to expose them to our campus, to interact with them and their math team sponsors, and to provide an experience that may inspire students to consider UIndy as a college choice and/or a career in the mathematical sciences,” Roan said.

Hummel added, “With the groundwork Dr. Roan has laid this year, we hope to be able to attract additional students from other schools in coming years.”

The top three students in each category will be honored with certificates during the noon ceremony. Students scoring 75% or better receive scholar certificates. The top scorers from all sites combined are recognized by the Indiana Council of Teachers of Mathematics at a Final Awards Ceremony at 1:00 p.m., June 15th, 2018, in the Atrium of the Indiana Statehouse.

New community garden project at University of Indianapolis enhances healthy options for neighborhood

Community gardenWith gloves and shovels in hand, volunteers got to work on a community garden on the University of Indianapolis campus, with the goal of bringing access to fresh produce to the surrounding neighborhood. The UIndy and CHNw Community Garden (Serve360°) project is part of an ongoing partnership between the University of Indianapolis and Community Health Network to provide health- and wellness-related opportunities to the Indianapolis southside.

The garden is located on the west side of the United Methodist Church at 4002 Otterbein Ave. From 1 to 5 p.m. on Friday, April 20, volunteers from the University of Indianapolis, Community Hospital South, Purdue Extension and South Indy Quality of Life Plan cleaned nine raised garden beds, glued the bed’s cement blocks, shoveled and spread dirt, pulled weeds, and did some planting. 

“We know that social determinants, like a lack of access to nutritious food, can affect overall health and well-being,” said Priscilla Keith, Executive Director of Community Benefit for Community Health Network. “We are proud to work with our partners at UIndy to offer this pilot program which will not only provide access to fresh and affordable food; but educate students and those living in neighborhoods around the UIndy campus how to start and maintain their own gardens.  Our goal is to find ways to reach beyond our sites of care to impact the health and the quality of life of the communities we serve.”

Gurinder Hohl, who directs the partnership between the University of Indianapolis and Community Health Network, said the project is highly focused on meeting community needs, including a planning committee that involves local residents. Hohl said food grown in the community garden will be available to community members and gardeners at no cost. While University of Indianapolis students will manage the garden for the first year, Hohl said community members are encouraged to take on leadership roles as the garden becomes a focal point for the neighborhood.

“The location of this garden was chosen based on its proximity to the proposed Red Line station on Shelby Street. The more you decrease access-related issues, the more people will get involved,” Hohl said.

Project planners hope to expand activities to include a farmer’s market, cooking classes, health assessments, musical performances and art displays.

“It’s about placemaking where you try to create opportunities for neighbors to mingle and have access and options related to food and health that they would not otherwise have,” Hohl explained.

The University and Community Hospital South are working in collaboration with the South Indy Quality of Life (QOL) Plan on the garden project, which ties into the Plan’s Health & Wellness initiative (and is one of 173 action steps identified by the Plan to create thriving households and healthy communities in eight neighborhoods on the Indianapolis southside). Michelle Strahl Salinas with the South Indy Quality of Life Plan explained that the Health & Wellness action team aims to bring healthier food options to residents, and to make sure they are accessible, affordable and locally sourced.

“The University of Indianapolis has been very intentional about working with the neighborhoods around the University. We believe that having UIndy as a lead and collaborating partner on our action teams brings us a knowledge base and diversity that we would not have otherwise,” said Salinas, who added that the QOL plan depends on volunteer and partner-led projects like the community garden.

Rhapsody in Blue: April 26

Rebecca SorleyProfessor of Music Rebecca Sorley will be featured along with the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, conducted by Vu Nguyen, in George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” on Thursday, April 26th at 7:30 p.m. Also on the program is the UIndy Chamber Orchestra led by Ariel Rudikov.

Event details

Gershwin’s “Rhapsody,” originally composed for piano and jazz band, premiered in 1924 with the composer as the piano soloist.  The work blends classical elements in a jazz style and has become a standard in the piano repertoire with accompaniments arranged for orchestra, jazz band, wind quintet and even brass choir.

Dr. Sorley first performed the piece as a junior in high school with her school band.  She looks forward to the opportunity of presenting it this season not only with the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, but also on April 22nd at 4:00 p.m. with the Indianapolis Brass Choir at First Baptist Church of Mooresville.

Theatre department presents “I and You” by Lauren Gunderson

“I and this mystery, here we stand.”

The University of Indianapolis Department of Theatre presents “I and You,” written by Lauren Gunderson and inspired by Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, April 20-28 in the Studio Theatre.

IMG_4756   IMG_0779

While the play has been done at Phoenix Theatre in recent years, the UIndy production will have a new spin. Director James Leagre contacted the playwright to request a gender change for one of the two main characters. Gunderson granted the request, and as a result, the upcoming production is being billed as “two casts, two stories, too good to miss.”

Thirteen students are directly involved in the production process: four student cast members, a student assistant director, a student stage manager, a student lighting design, a student sound design and a student costume design, plus four backstage crew. Another 15-20 students are involved in preparing all the elements of the show.

“Expect to be taken on an interesting, powerful, and heartfelt journey of discovery on how we are all connected and compatible beyond our understanding,” Leagre said.

Purchase tickets.

Journalist Dawn Paley shines light on Mexico’s “disappeared” with April 12 lecture

Dawn Paley

Dawn Paley

An internationally-acclaimed journalist will speak at the University of Indianapolis in April about community-led efforts in Mexico to locate the bodies of disappeared citizens. Dawn Paley will present “Grassroots Searches for the Disappeared in Mexico” at 6:00 p.m., April 12, UIndy Hall B in the Schwitzer Student Center. The event is free and open to the public.

Since the disappearance of 43 students in Guerrero, Mexico, in September 2014, family and community-led groups have begun to carry out land searches for the bodies of disappeared people in areas throughout the country. In this talk, Paley explores the crisis of enforced disappearance in Mexico and takes a detailed look at how one group of family members of the disappeared in the northern state of Coahuila has organized to carry out searches.

Dawn Paley is the author of “Drug War Capitalism,” which traces the “Drug War” story from Latin America to U.S. boardrooms and political offices. Paley, who is based in Vancouver, Canada, has written for magazines and newspapers including the The Guardian, Vancouver Sun, The Globe and Mail, BC Business Magazine, The Nation, The Dominion, Ms. Magazine, The Tyee, the Georgia Straight, Briarpatch, NACLA Reports, This Magazine, Canadian Dimension, Counterpunch, The Vue Weekly, Watershed Sentinel and Upside Down World. She is currently a doctoral student at the Autonomous University of Puebla in Mexico.

This event is being organized by the student members of FOUND (Forensics at UIndy). Krista Latham, director of the University of Indianapolis Human Identification Center and associate professor of biology, is their faculty advisor. Paley contributed a chapter to Latham’s most recent book, The Sociopolitics of Migrant Death and Repatriation, co-edited with Alyson O’Daniel, assistant professor of anthropology. Latham said the talk will be a fascinating look into forensic science, social justice, Latin American issues, journalism and more.

“The topic is not only interesting and relevant, but Dawn is a young person, a woman and a student. It really shows how you can use your education to do amazing things,” Latham said.

Four years after 43 students from a teacher’s college were forcibly disappeared in the Mexican state of Guerrero, there are no clear answers as to why security forces attacked and detained the students or where their bodies may be located, Latham explained.

While Paley’s talk will focus on this particular instance of forced disappearance, Latham said it’s important to understand that such incidents are not rare in global populations.

“Forced disappearances are on the rise globally as governments try to avoid accountability for their actions,” Latham explained. “In the United States, this crisis unfolds along the southern border as thousands are disappeared as they try to make their way from Latin America to the U.S.”

Latham leads a team of graduate students to the Texas borderlands every year to identify the remains of people who died crossing the border so that their families can be notified. She sees many parallels between Paley’s work and her own – as citizens step into the role of investigators and activists when authorities won’t act.

“Not only does it focus on disappearing and silencing voices, but it also focuses on ways in which science can be considered an act of rebellion,” Latham said.

Read more about Dawn Paley.

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