One on one with Braylen Morgan ’18

braylenmorganBraylen Morgan ’18 (communications with electronic media concentration) already has two positions lined up following graduation as he pursues a career in the broadcasting industry.

Q. What’s next after graduation?

A. For now, I just accepted a full time position with Fox 59 as Master Control Operator, and a part-time position with Emmis Communications as Promotions Assistant. I plan to stay in Indianapolis after graduation to gain more experience in the field, and then I will be moving out of the Midwest to pursue a career in the TV and Entertainment industry.

Q. How did your experiences at UIndy prepare you for your career?

A. Coming in as a freshman, ProEdge has always been there for me throughout my whole collegiate career. I worked for them my first year at UIndy and right off the bat they helped me build professional skills that I will always be able to utilize. Not only that, they helped me learn how to build my resume and make it stand out.

ResLife has also been a major part of my time here. They have helped me to become a better leader with being an RA/GVA for the past three years. Without them I wouldn’t have built the lifelong relationships that I have here at UIndy. Being an RA taught me how to professionally deal with difficult situations and how to really manage my time. I can’t thank ResLife enough for what they have done for me and I will miss them all so much.

Lastly, the Communication Department has prepared and helped me gain the experience that I will need post-graduation. Thanks to them I was able to get a position in the TV industry. Not a lot of schools let you get such hands-on experience at such an early time in college. My last year here I was able to become the Director of Production for the TV Department, which was a rewarding responsibility in many ways whether it’s becoming a leader, teacher, and continuing to learn anything I can in our field.

Slideshow: Meet the Class of 2018!

Q. Has there been anyone at UIndy who has mentored or helped you?

A. People that have helped me: I have to thank Anthony Jackson who will be graduating with his master’s this upcoming graduation. He was one of the first people to make me love UIndy. He was my RA in Cory Bretz my first year, and was always so encouraging to get me engaged with campus life. He was also the one that pushed for me to become an RA and I can’t thank him enough and am happy to call him one of my best friends.

Thanks should also be given to Timeshia Keys and Ayla Wilder for being two strong figures/mentors/bosses I’ve looked up to during my time here. They’ve helped me in ways they probably don’t even know about. Thank you to Dr. Koehn of the Communication Department for always pushing me and believing in me more than I believe in myself. Thank you to my class, UIndy, friends, for always being so supportive and keeping me on track while being here.

Q. Any advice for incoming freshmen?

A. Do as much as you can and take as many opportunities that you can handle. Get involved early! Have fun, don’t take everything too seriously. Be able to accept and adapt to change. You may find that you no longer want to do what you thought with your career or major and that is okay! Get a supportive friend group that can keep you sane when things get hectic. Get to know UIndy faculty. GO TO PRO EDGE.

One of the most important pieces of advice I can give would be to please, please, please, take care of your mental health. Take me time and don’t over stress about school. Definitely get to know your RAs and use them as a resource!

Tosin Salau ’18: Making connections

TosinTosin Salau ’18 (international relations and political science) will provide the benediction for the May 5, 2018, Commencement Ceremony at the University of Indianapolis. An international student from Nigeria, Salau was involved in several campus organizations and professional opportunities that prepared her for the next steps in her career.

Q. What are your plans after graduation?

A. After graduation, I plan to work for a year and later further my studies by getting a master’s degree in international relations.

Q. How did your program help prepare you for the next steps in your career?

A. Since my majors – international relations and political science – are closely related, the program has helped me in taking crucial steps towards my future career plans. Participating in the annual Midwest Model United Nations and European Union conference enhanced my diplomacy, communication and teamwork skills. Model simulations built my experience in foreign policy which further increased my interests in global affairs. The annual Midwest Political Science Conference enabled me build on my ability to examine and present my research work to professionals in the field. The department also regularly advertises job opportunities and internships that are available around the country which helped me score an internship in Indianapolis.

Q. What campus groups you were involved in? How did these activities enhance your experience at UIndy?

A. Throughout my time at UIndy, I was involved in various groups such as being an Equity and Inclusion ambassador as well as a Presidential Ambassador on campus. These groups enabled me to work closely with advisors on coordinating school events and promoting the positive image of the University. Through the Office of Equity and Inclusion, I worked with other students in organizing on-campus discussions relating to current events happening both locally and globally.

Other groups included the Muslim Student Union, Interfaith and the African Student Association which allowed me devote time to create a more diverse and inclusive campus at the university by bringing together and facilitating discussions between students of different backgrounds.

Q. Have there been any faculty, staff or students who mentored you during your UIndy career?

A. Dr. [Jyotika] Saksena in the International Relations department was my most influential mentor throughout my stay at UIndy. Dr. Saksena helped me go through the program requirements of the degree as well as explore various career options by always keeping me up to date with new job or internship postings. She never relented in pushing me to put myself out to try new things by telling me about her own experiences thus far.

D’ana Downing from the Professional Edge Center helped me navigate my career goals and interests by inspiring me to channel my career towards the areas I’m passionate about. She did this by going through different job applications with me and advising me on how to go forward with them.

Slideshow: Meet the Class of 2018!

One on one with Uella Rodriguez ’18

Uella450Uella Rodriguez ’18 (history major, art history and anthropology minor) will pursue a master’s degree in museum studies and history at Tufts University after graduating from the University of Indianapolis in May 2018.

Q. What internships did you participate in that were related to your major? 

A. I have been a Digitization & Media Intern at the Air Zoo Aerospace & Science Museum, an Exhibits Intern at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, and a Collections Intern at the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site. These experiences combined with my academic program have helped me to develop my professional skills in every way. I didn’t have much professional experience when I first came to UIndy, and I had no idea how I was supposed to go about establishing myself in my desired field. Each internship taught me something different about the museum field in addition to how to navigate the professional world.

Q. Were you involved in any extracurricular activities as a student?

A. I have been involved in ARCHAIC, Keys Club, Janus Club, The National Society of Leadership and Success, and Phi Alpha Theta. These organizations made my college experience much more enjoyable. I met alot of amazing people, and I learned a lot of different things from each experience.

Q. Were there any faculty, staff or fellow students who helped you during your time as a student at UIndy?

A. There have been so many people who have helped me in some way as I have been a student here at UIndy. Nicole Martinez-LeGrand was extremely helpful in my early undergraduate years in terms of professional advice. She has a background in museums studies, and for a long time was my only resource in that area. She also first told me about the internship program at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, which was the most amazing internship experience I have had.

In addition to that, Dr. Ted Frantz had also been really helpful since he helped connect me with my internship at the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site. In terms of faculty, every single professor I have had here at UIndy has helped me develop and improve myself academically. I’ve been really lucky to have really great professors here at UIndy.

Slideshow: Meet the Class of 2018!

Q.  Would you recommend UIndy to prospective high school students?

A. I would definitely recommend UIndy to prospective high school students. I think many students will find that UIndy is a diverse and accepting community that also offers an environment where students be self-exploratory and can intellectually thrive.

My advice to incoming freshmen is that they should take advantage of every opportunity and experience that they get presented with during their time at college. Open yourself up to new experiences in all areas of your life. If a club sounds like it would be fun, then join! If you have always wanted to travel, look into a semester abroad or a spring term trip! Does a class outside your major look interesting? Then take it if you can! You’d be surprised what experiences come in handy as you get older, especially when you start job hunting. There is no such thing as worthless knowledge, so gather as much as you can while you can.

Leadership Recognition Banquet honors dozens of UIndy students

The University of Indianapolis held the Annual Leadership Recognition Banquet on Sunday, April 22, 2018. The event recognizes the outstanding work of all Greyhounds over the past academic year and celebrates the accomplishments of student leaders, student organizations and athletic teams.

“The Student Leadership Recognition banquet is one of my favorite events of the year. It allows us to recognize the incredible accomplishments of our student leaders and celebrate the unbelievable ways that students make a difference across campus,” said Kory Vitangeli, Vice President for Student & Campus Affairs and Dean of Students.

“I am so proud of our student leaders both inside and outside of the classroom and those who are also a part of athletic teams. I especially want to thank those students who are graduating for all they have given to UIndy. They have left a legacy that will impact us for many years to come!” Vitangeli added.

Accomplishments and recognition of those students graduating were celebrated and this Senior tribute video was shown:

The following students, faculty and staff constitute this year’s honorees:

Advisors of the Year:
Jeffrey Barnes, advisor to UIndy PRIDE
David Styers-Barnett, advisor to Sigma Zeta and chair of the Department of Chemistry

The Advisor of the Year Award is given to a full-time faculty or staff member who has served a registered student organization for the entire academic year in a supportive and positive manner. Presented by the Office of Student Affairs.

Emerging Leader of the Year:
Brad Moon

The Emerging Leader of the Year Award is given to an individual in their freshman or sophomore year. The student selected for this honor will best exemplify student leadership through the impact they have made to campus life.  This individual must clearly display that they are a great role model, they impact the lives of others, and demonstrate a great deal of leadership potential. Presented by the Office of Student Affairs.

Outstanding Student Leader of the Year:
Stephen Cox

The Outstanding Student Leader Award recognizes a student in a leadership role (RSO, RA, OL, Chapel Steward, etc.) who has excelled in their position during the year and has made a significant contribution to campus life at UIndy during the year. Presented by the Office of Student Affairs.

Outstanding Student Volunteer:
Ellen Hodson

The outstanding student volunteer award is designed to recognize a UIndy student who has selflessly volunteered in the community. Nominees should not only have shown a dedication to service, but also demonstrated a commitment to leadership that inspires others to engage in service. Presented by Volunteer Services.

RA Programmer of the Year: 
Skyla Baird

Awarded annually to the Student Staff member, selected by residents, as the individual who has most successfully programmed for their assigned living area over the course of the academic year. Presented by Residence Life.

Registered Student Organization of the Year:
Crimsonettes Dance Team

The Registered Student Organization of the Year Award is presented to an organization that has exceeded the expectations inherent in their stated purpose and function through membership, philanthropy efforts, and/or event planning. Presented by the Office of Student Affairs.

Residential Community of the Year:
Central Hall

Awarded annually to the Residential Community that has the highest level of student engagement. Presented by Residence Life.

Student Employees of the Year:
Zoe Berg
Jessica Munoz-Sainz

Nominated by supervisors across campus, this award recognizes the student staff(ers) who contribute significantly towards the forward movement of their respective office/department. Presented by the Professional Edge Center.

Inclusion & Equity Trailblazer Award: 
Better Together
Black Student Association

Athletic Commitment to Service Award:
UIndy Softball Team

Bridge Scholar Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement:
Thy Kieu
Zachari Lynch
Meaghan Owens
Jazmine Rivera

Edge Award:
Ashlea Alley
Mikayla DeLay
Erin Webb
Peisen Zhang

Presidential Ambassadors:
Sulaiman Alsaif, Lauren Bryant, Davis Christy, Alexis Dobrynski, Jesshica Elfin, Lyndsy Elsinger, Nehal Gajjar, Vishakha Hiremath, Kirby Jones, Madi Kovacs, Shelby Lannan, Julie Larson, Ben Lawson, Kaushal Patil, Kiersten Reed, Kiara Richardson, LaWan Rollins, Emily Sands, Nicole Schath, Tosin Seu, Maria Villegas, Austin Wagner, Molly Wolfe

First Year Leadership Experience:
Claire Cantrell, Craig Chigadza, Brooke Green, Dario Huber, Catherine Jameson, Andrea Jimenez, Alexandra Nickerson, Karsyn Powell, Madison Schueler, Megan Standish, Caitlin Staples, Alysssa Tapy, Karlye Vonderwall

Resident Assistant of the Year:
Schuylar Casto

Mindy Owens Outstanding Junior Leaders:
Natalie Benson, Taylor Carpenter, Nikolaus Clark, Grace Kinsey, Erin Pool, Sydney Reynolds, Zechariah Saenz

Strain Outstanding Seniors:
Jabree Bond-Flournoy, Lauren Bryant, Schuylar Casto, Stephen Cox, Caleb Gabler, Nehal Gajjar, Emily Hiland-Freck, Juliana Rohrmoser, Emily Sands, Molly Wolfe

Rachel Gravens ’18: A heart for community

Rachel Gravens '18

Rachel Gravens ’18

Rachel Gravens ’18 is a double major in anthropology of health, and studio art with a concentration in ceramics. Her minor is environmental sustainability. She completed internships with Big Car Collaborative and Mad Farmers Collective, and traveled to Texas as part of the cultural anthropology team that accompanied the University of Indianapolis Forensics Team for the Beyond Borders project.

Q. What are your plans after graduation?

A. I plan to work in the nonprofit sector with organizations that promote the arts for community building and development. I am also interested in the food system and would love to be involved with organizations in that sphere as well. Eventually I plan to enroll in a graduate program. During this time I would like to continue to work and develop as a ceramics artist, and I hope to one day have my own studio and be able to teach classes.

Q. How did your work on the Beyond Borders project help prepare you for your future career?

A. My time in Texas and the subsequent research, analysis, and presentations had a number of positive effects on my academic development. This was my first experience “in the field” as an anthropology student. I got to experience traveling to another place, observing and participating with a number of groups and organizations, taking jottings, and writing up field notes at the end of each day. I loved the whole process and it has further established my love for anthropology and what we do. I also enjoyed coding the notes and forming a poster to present to different audiences. It was exciting to share my experience and what I learned, as well as demonstrate the value of anthropological work to other students, faculty, and UIndy donors.

In addition, the trip had very personal impact on me, as I saw firsthand the reality of mass migrant deaths at our border. I was convinced of the fact that this is a humanitarian crisis and that real change must take place. This requires raising awareness so that people are cognizant of this tragedy and inspired to take action. My experience in south Texas motivates me to share what I know and encourage others to educate themselves about the reality of the situation.

As a double major with a minor, I have been able to take a wide variety of classes that have each shaped my college experience and who I am. Art has pushed me to work hard, problem solve, think creatively, believe in my abilities, and take pride in my craftsmanship and accomplishments. In anthropology I have grown in my ability to think critically and to see and evaluate the world in new ways. Anthropology has also helped be to develop as a writer and speaker. Environmental sustainability has incorporated my love for nature in my studies, and helped me to draw connections between our human actions and our environment. All of these skills and lessons will be carried with me into my professional life and continue to help me grow and be successful.  

Slideshow: Meet the Class of 2018!

Q. Were you involved in any extracurricular activities as a student?

A. My freshman year I participated in intramural volleyball and it was a great way to make friends and take a break from school work. I was also very active in Circle K, which is a volunteer group on campus. I was also a member of the Art and Design Student Association (ADSA). I was very active in my junior year and helped to plan and run events. The art department is full of wonderful people with a lot of great ideas, and I loved being able to work with them to make exciting things happen on campus.

My junior year I was an intern at Big Car Collaborative, an art and place-making organization in the Garfield Park neighborhood. Working with such fun and creative people who use art as a tool for development and community building in their neighborhood is part of what has inspired me to work with similar nonprofits in my career. More recently, I was an intern for the Mad Farmers Collective. I helped with the day-to-day tasks on the farm and learned about the operations of an urban farm working to improve their community. Because of my love for the outdoors, gardening, and the food system I really enjoyed this opportunity and learned so much. In addition I have been a tutor in the Math Lab on campus, assisting students with introductory math courses and statistics.

Q. Were there any faculty, staff or fellow students who helped you during your time as a student at UIndy? 

A. The Art and Design department is a very supportive network of faculty and students. The students are a great encouragement to each other and the professors pour a lot into the development and well-being of their students.

Katherine Fries has been a wonderful force in the department and I am thankful for her enthusiasm and direction during my foundational art classes at UIndy. She has also pushed to make the students more involved in the department and has helped to facilitate some great events.

Barry Barnes has been my advisor and professor in ceramics and his belief in me has been amazing. He encouraged me from the very beginning to stick with ceramics and has admired my hard work, creativity, and dedication to ceramics.

Additionally, Dr. Alyson O’Daniel has been a big influence on my college career. She’s always been willing to talk things over with me, including my options and next steps after college. Her dynamic courses have challenged me and her support has been extremely helpful. Through her courses I have come to have a much better understanding of and love for anthropology. She also invited me to be her research assistant for the migrant death project and I am so thankful for that opportunity.

One on one with senior Karli LaGrotte

Karlie LaGrotte '18 presented research during the 2017 Scholars' Day event.

Karlie LaGrotte ’18 presented research during the 2017 Scholars’ Day event.

Karli LaGrotte ’18 (psychology major, sociology minor) had her choice of where to pursue her doctorate in psychology – she was accepted into three different programs! She reflects on her time at the University of Indianapolis as she prepares to graduate.

Q. What are your plans after graduation?

A. In the fall, I will be pursuing a doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology in Chicago, Illinois.

Q. How did your academic program help you develop your professional skills?

A. Undergraduate research helped me develop skills such as critical thinking, interpersonal skills, and presentation skills.  Through undergraduate research, I learned how to talk to any type of person, whether it is a student or faculty member. I became extremely comfortable in talking with faculty which definitely helped when it was time for me to interview for graduate school.

Q. Were you involved in any extracurricular activities as a student?

A. I was a member of the women’s golf team. That experience taught me valuable skills such as hard work, discipline, selflessness, time management and excellence.

Q. Were there any faculty, staff or fellow students who helped you during your time as a student at UIndy?

Dr. Kendra Thomas: I participated in undergraduate research with her and she helped me develop important skills such as critical thinking, interpersonal skills and presentation skills.

Dr. Amanda Miller: I took two sociology courses with her and through her classes, I developed a love for sociology.  She is a role model for me and someone I respect greatly.

Dr. Mixalis Poulakis: I took my first ever course at UIndy with him, so he has helped me since day one.  He is a great mentor, always offering advice and being there for me.

Q. Would you recommend UIndy to prospective high school students?  

A. Yes, I would because of the excellent faculty.  I will miss them once I graduate. My advice to incoming freshmen would be to take advantage of opportunities and focus on developing relationships with faculty.  The faculty are so welcoming and helpful. University of Indianapolis is lucky to have such great faculty!

Q. Any other big takeaways or observations as you approach graduation?

A. I very much enjoyed my academic experience at this school.  It has been so rewarding and I have met wonderful students and faculty!

A University first: Kalia Daily ’18

Kalia DailyIn May 2018, Kalia Daily will be the first student to graduate with a concentration in printmaking from the studio art program. (She also has a concentration in painting and a minor in art history.)

“When I first came to UIndy, I must admit I was not confident in my abilities as an artist. Through the instruction of many of my professors, specifically Jim Viewegh and Katherine Fries, I was able to see my work grow and mature in ways that I never imagined,” she said.

The studio art program is designed so that all art students start at the beginning, learning the basics.

“I was introduced to artistic ideas that helped me see my work more critically, thus making it easier to pinpoint areas I needed to work in most,” Daily explained. “I was able to build upon those technical lessons to then enter into a realm where you can achieve certain conceptual ideals.”

Slideshow: Meet the Class of 2018!

She also said it was useful to learn how to operate the University’s new Vandercook Press because of its popularity in the printmaking world.

“It can produce quality work in little time, so it was important for me to learn how to operate a press that is so common in other print shops.”

Learn how UIndy art students, including Kalia Daily, received real-life client experience by collaborating with the Department of Theatre

"Happy Place" by Kalia Daily

“Happy Place” by Kalia Daily

Daily is a student employee in the print studio, an Art & Design Student Academy Club Leader, and a leader and mentor to upper and underclassmen alike.

“I am tremendously proud of what we call the ‘founding printers’ of the department,” said Katherine Fries, art & design professor. “Kalia and her peers have really brought this program to life. Their hard work, spirit, and dedication have seen the program through the first years of growth and for that they will always be part of the print program and Hullabaloo Press.”

Graduation can be a bittersweet moment, marking the end of one chapter and the start of another, but Fries sees it differently.  

“This is one of the many reasons I love UIndy: because students like Kalia come here and make wonderful things happen on our campus! Commencement is a magnificent time to look back at what was achieved and look forward to what still can be,” she said.

After graduating, Daily plans to enroll in the University’s Masters of Arts program, continue building her portfolio and pursue a Masters in Fine Arts Degree later in her career.

"Senses" by Kalia Daily

“Senses” by Kalia Daily

“Without the introduction and attention from the art & design faculty and staff, I would not be the artist I am today and I am forever grateful for their guidance and expertise.”

See Daily’s senior exhibition April 16 – 20 in the Student Gallery, Schwitzer 011.


Next stop: Yale for Mara Hofstetter ’18

Mara400Before Mara Hofstetter ’18 heads to Yale University in the fall, she’ll be working at Eli Lilly during the summer for an internship. A double major in chemistry and mathematics, Hofstetter will pursue a Ph.D. in chemistry with a focus in chemical biology at Yale. Hailing from Ascona, Switzerland, Hofstetter was also a student-athlete on the Greyhounds women’s tennis team. In this interview, she spoke about the factors that contributed to her success at the University of Indianapolis.

How did your extracurricular activities enhance your UIndy experience?

“My time on the tennis team helped me stay organized, since my day would be pretty full with a double major and practice. It especially helped me to grow as a person. [Women’s Tennis Head] Coach [Malik] Tabet and my teammates always supported me and challenged me to improve in all what I do. This helped and will help to manage difficult situations that I will encounter in the future.”

Who were some of your mentors?

“Dr. [Krysi] Leganza, my mathematics professor, Dr. [Levi] Mielke, and Dr. [Kathy] Stickney, both chemistry teachers, have contributed the most to my time at the University of Indianapolis. Dr. Leganza always had an open door, not only for mathematical difficulties but also for personal issues. She helped me to make the right decision to what university I should go to for my graduate studies and what factors are important to take into consideration when choosing your future graduate school.”

“Dr. Mielke and Dr. Stickney enabled me to build my knowledge to be a well-rounded person. Dr. Mielke is a great teacher who supports you in everything. He is currently my supervisor in my research in chemistry about glyphosate. Dr. Stickney helped in organizing my great time here at the University of Indianapolis and most important, she helped me finding an internship position last summer, which allowed me to get experience outside the classroom.”

“Coach Tabet and my teammates, especially Chloe Weihs, helped me to grow as a person and embrace challenges in life. To never give up and fight for what you want. They pushed me when I could not anymore, they supported me, this helped me to never give up when facing a problem.”

“Lastly, Nils Hoffacker, a student here at UIndy and my boyfriend, had the greatest impact on my life and success. He helped me all my four years in college, he supported me, he believed in me, and he enabled me to reach my dreams to go to an Ivy League graduate school. His influence and positivism were very crucial. I think everyone needs someone who supports you no matter what.”

Slideshow: Meet the Class of 2018!

Why would you recommend UIndy?

“UIndy gives you everything you need to have to succeed. The small classes allow you to have instructors who follow you closely and allow you to build a relationship with them because they care for you to succeed. The atmosphere on campus is just great. It allows you to find a new home with a lot of friends and faculty who will influence your life in a great way.”

One on one with Juliana Rohrmoser

A visual communication design major, Juliana Rohrmoser ’18 recently took home three Indiana Collegiate Press Association state-level journalism awards for her work at The Reflector and The Reflector Online, including:

  • Best Sports Photo, First Place, “Football Keeps Breaking Records”
  • Best Sports Photo, Second Place, “Football Ends Historic Season with Playoff Loss”
  • Best Informational Graphic, Second Place, “Travel Ban Impacts UIndy Community”

JulianaawardsRohrmoser, who is an international student from Costa Rica, is a familiar face at the Department of Integrated Marketing & Communications (IMC), where she is a student worker assisting in graphics creation, social media management and digital content. She was honored as international student speaker at the annual Celebration of Flags in October 2017. Rohrmoser will pursue an internship with Cook Medical for the summer and has applied for graduate school. 

Q: What’s your hometown? What kind of travel experience did you have before coming to UIndy?

I am an international student from San Jose, Costa Rica. Before coming to UIndy I had visited the U.S several times. I’ve been to Florida, New York, and I played soccer at a tournament in Minnesota during high school and participated in a dance competition in Chicago as well. I’ve also traveled to South Africa, Zambia, Brazil, Panama, Mexico, France and Italy.

Q. Why did you decide to attend UIndy?

I decided to apply to UIndy because my dad had previously been to Indianapolis and loved the city. I found UIndy and really liked that the campus wasn’t too big or too small. When I looked into my major I was drawn to the way the curriculum was set up. I would have the opportunity to take drawing, painting and communication classes while working on graphic design as well.

Q. What has your UIndy experience been like so far? How would you describe the international culture at UIndy?

My experience at UIndy has been nothing short of amazing. I have met some fellow students, faculty and staff that have been very welcoming and who have helped me succeed in every project I take on. The UIndy community really appreciates international culture, not just because it’s “cool” that we’re from a different country but everyone really understands the value of having different cultures present on campus. It’s great to have events like the Celebration of the Flags, cultural presentations and even foreign language classes that bring the community together.

Slideshow: Meet the Class of 2018!

Q. What is your advice for domestic students who might not have much experience with other cultures?

I think in order for every UIndy student to make the most out of their educational experience, they have to engage with an international student. Even if it’s by being in the same group in a class, you’d be amazed to see the different perspective an international student can give you. From giving examples of how something is done in their home country to adding points of interest with facts about a different demographic, I know students and professors appreciate seeing cultural diversity.

Q. What do you think students on campus can do to understand the international perspective?

I think domestic students should try and understand what an international student goes through. They are away from their families and their homes. Basically everything that they were used to growing up is different when they’re here. What would you do if you couldn’t reach your parents in a situation where you really needed their help? Doing your insurance paperwork, paying bills without guidance and – oh my goodness – tax season!

Q. What activities are you involved in outside the classroom?

Outside of the classroom, I currently hold two on-campus jobs and one internship. I have been a student worker for IMC (UIndy Integrated Marketing & Communications) for almost two years and this opportunity has given me outside of the classroom experience in the field that I would like to go into after graduation. I also am the art director for The Reflector, our student newspaper at UIndy. I have also worked for the football team, the Writing Lab and the Professional Edge Center. I also have an internship at Raybourn Group International, an association management company located in the north side of Indianapolis. I have worked there since May of this year. I also participate in the UIndy Connectors program, regularly attend sports events and community service opportunities on- and off-campus. All of these experiences have contributed to making me a well-rounded student. I have made some great connections that have helped me during these past three years and will definitely be an important part of finding a job in the U.S. after graduation, which is my goal.

Q. Are there any professors, staff or students who have made your UIndy experience special?

Everyone I’ve met has made an impact on my experience, to be honest!

The Department of Art & Design has played a huge role in preparing me for jobs and internships, especially Julia Taugner. With every communications or design position I’ve held, they’ve all been impressed by my skill set.

I also have to credit IMC. I started as a student worker and now I’ve grown to become an active member of the team. This has given me opportunities to work on graphic design, learn about social media communications, event photography and even some content development for UIndy!

The Professional Edge Center has also helped me by guiding me through creating my resume, applying for internships and starting to apply for jobs after graduation. The team there is very welcoming and ready to help any student succeed and make the best of their experience.

Q. Why is an international perspective valuable in the workplace?   

International students are important to have as members of your community. They provide a different perspective, new knowledge, maybe solutions you wouldn’t think about because they’ve experienced different things. They also are a valuable member of the team because they expand people’s viewpoints. It’s so important to open your school or company to diversity. Different cultures add so much value to a community because they make people come together and learn from each other.


Audrey Cunningham reflects on 24 years leading UIndy Speech & Debate Team

Audrey Cunningham, front row, second from left, with the Speech & Debate Team in 2011.

Audrey Cunningham, front row, second from left, with the Speech & Debate Team in 2011.

The University of Indianapolis Speech & Debate team has been winning regional and national accolades for more than 30 years, thanks in large part to Audrey Cunningham, the former team director. For 24 years, Cunningham, who serves as Basic Course Director in the Department of Communication, has been coaching students to success behind the podium and beyond.

Cunningham has enjoyed helping students develop lifelong speaking and debate skills that are easily transferable to a variety of careers. The speech team is open to all majors, and the students Cunningham has coached over the years have pursued successful careers in a variety of disciplines, including public relations, broadcasting, law, school counseling and secondary education.

“We encourage different majors because it’s one of those skill sets that transcends everything,” she explained.

Cunningham noted that the most dramatic improvements tend to happen during a student’s first year.

“That freshman year, they are learning all the basics. A lot of times they can be more successful that year because there are tournaments they can compete in with other novices of the first year. They’re competing more on par,” Cunningham said.

By senior year, Cunningham said that students have acquired a broad range of speaking skills. The competitions stretch students’ skills by challenging them to compete in extemporaneous, informative and persuasive speaking, as well as prose, poetry, duo and impromptu formats. There’s even a category for after-dinner speaking. Students are required to discuss topics ranging from voter disenfranchisement to gun control.

“The more people participate, the more confident they become in their abilities,” Cunningham said.

Audrey Cunningham

Audrey Cunningham

Under Cunningham’s guidance, the team earned the University’s first team title in 1990 from the National Forensic Association (NFA). Over the years, UIndy’s team has placed several times among the top ten in the Team Sweepstakes in the NFA competition, as well as making frequent team and individual appearances in the top ten in state, regional and other national competitions. Students from UIndy’s team have also competed in an international tournament in London.

In 2013-14, Cunningham co-directed the team with Rebekah Gaidis ’03, assistant professor (and a three-year team veteran herself) who went on to serve as sole team director until 2017. Stephanie Wideman is an assistant professor and the current team director. Both Gaidis and Wideman have led the team to stellar state and regional performances.

Professor Cunningham’s dedication to the art of public speaking is an inspirational force in the Department of Communication. She ran the Speech & Debate team for over twenty years, and in that time she was able to build the team into a cornerstone of speech education at UIndy,” said Wideman.

A longtime southsider, Cunningham’s UIndy connections run deep. Her two children, Kathleen Cunningham ’11 (English) and Chris Cunningham ’09 (communication) are alumni. She also has plenty of Emerald Isle connections. Her husband, Brian, is from Ireland, and is a singer and guitarist for the Irish Airs. Audrey has served as president of the Irish Dancers of Indianapolis and emcees Indianapolis’ Irish Festival.

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