Volunteerism lays groundwork for teaching career

Erika Hoffman leads tripYou never know when saying ‘yes’ to a volunteer opportunity on a whim can help determine what you’ll do with the rest of your life.

Erika Hoffmann ‘21 (elementary education, with concentrations in mild intervention and reading) started volunteering at Creekside Elementary School in 2016, when she was a senior at Franklin Community High School.

At the time, she had no intention of becoming a teacher, but after a few months working with the kids, she discovered how much she enjoyed helping them learn and grow.

I was at Creekside every single day for a few hours,” she said. “One of my main goals in life is to help others, and I realized that the classroom is where I am most comfortable and where I feel like I am changing lives.”

Follow the UIndy School of Education on Facebook

“It’s those little moments when a kid has been struggling with something and then you explain it in a different way and their face just lights up because they finally understand it – that’s when I know I’m doing something right.”

When Hoffman transitioned to the University of Indianapolis, her previous volunteer experience and strong relationships at Creekside continued to pay off: she was invited by Sarah Records, a first grade teacher at Creekside, to come back and see how the beginning of the year works from a teacher’s standpoint.

“Student teachers usually come into a classroom that is already running, rules are in place, and expectations are set,” Records said. “You don’t get to see how all of that is created or built, so for her to be with me on day one and see how those routines are established was really good for her.”

Hoffman is in the classroom with Records about three days each week, leading small group instructions, pulling kids for remedial help, aiding in testing sessions, and building relationships with the kids.

“I’m only a freshman and have taken just a few elementary education classes,” she said. “I truly feel that I have gained most of my knowledge and experience from being in Creekside on a regular basis. The hands-on experience is giving me the best opportunity to learn.”

Hoffman’s networking skills are also creating new opportunities for partnerships between the University’s School of Education and local schools. At Hoffman’s suggestion, Records brought a group of 105 first-graders to campus for a tour in April 2018.

Hoffman tripKids from Records’ class leapt off the school bus and threw themselves into Hoffman’s arms, vying for her attention and shouting excitedly while she tried to instill order on the squirming mass of students.

The kids were divided into three groups, each led by education students, including Hoffman. They visited the Krannert Memorial Library, the Schwitzer Student Center, and an elementary education class, where they participated in an activity with future educators and gave their opinions of what makes a good teacher.

“Getting children acquainted with the idea of attending college gives them a goal and something to look forward to after high school. It gives them a ‘when I go to college’ not ‘if I go to college’ mentality,” Hoffman said.

IMG_1681 (1)Records says she’s already started thinking about how to make the trip even better next year.

“Given what I saw from the students selected to lead us, and with the interaction and communication I have had with [UIndy faculty], I would love to continue working with UIndy and its education department.”

She’s also excited to continue mentoring Hoffman toward a career as a teacher.

“Erika has such a big heart and really cares about the kids both in and out of the classroom.  These skills are the basis of being a good teacher – investing in kids, building relationships, and nurturing them to be better versions of themselves.  I have no doubt that Erika will make a great teacher one day!”

Learn more about School of Education programs at the University of Indianapolis.


BSA Celebration of Success embraces values of community and scholarship

BSACelebration700The cheers reverberated through Ruth Lilly Performance Hall even before students’ names were called at the Black Student Association’s 2018 Celebration of Success. The mood was jubilant at the second annual Celebration, one of several Senior Week events designed to highlight the achievements of outstanding graduates.

The Black Student Association’s Celebration of Success is an opportunity for the student organization to gather and rally around graduating African-American and African descent students to recognize their great accomplishment,” explained Jennifer Smith, Special Assistant to the President, Black Student Association advisor and Celebration organizer.

Participation is open to all self-identified African and African-American University of Indianapolis undergraduate and graduate students who will earn their degrees in 2018. All participants received a Kente stole featuring a handwoven Ghanaian design to commemorate their graduation.

Follow @UIndyBSA on Twitter.

After hearing from students and alumni who had expressed interest in creating the event over the years, Smith made it her mission to make the Celebration a reality. She solicited support from internal and external resources to hold the first BSA Celebration of Success in 2017, which honored 25 students. This year, the event recognized more than twice that number of students, including undergraduate, graduate and School of Adult Learning graduates.

“This event requires significant time, commitment and funding, and I am thankful that the students see the value and continue to press forward to ensure the Celebration of Success remains a staple of the Black Student Association,” Smith said. “We hope to continue the event for years to come.”

“Jennifer not only brought the idea [for the Celebration] to the University but saw it through to fruition. It is truly something that’s worthwhile and necessary,” said Sean Huddleston, vice president of the Office of Equity & Inclusion.

BSA President Darin Sills ’19 served as master of ceremonies. Lauren Rascoe ‘14 (visual communication design and experience design) delivered the keynote address, and Jabree Bond-Flournoy ’18 (marketing) provided the Student of Success Inspirational Speech.

A four-year student athlete on the men’s basketball team, Bond-Flournoy also served as public relations executive for the BSA, a representative for the School of Business Marketing Club and a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. A student business leadership internship last summer with GEICO Insurance in Carmel, Ind. led to a job offer in the Management Development Program with the Sales Department.

“I firmly believe it takes a village to raise a family. My village at the University of Indianapolis was shaped by some of the most inspirational people on this earth,” said Bond-Flournoy, noting the guidance of on-campus mentors such as Corey Wilson and Kirk Bryans in the Professional Edge Center and his basketball coaches, including head coach Stan Gouard.

Lauren Rascoe, who serves as the Miss Black and Gold pageant coordinator for Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, shared ten life lessons with graduates. The first piece of advice on her list:

“You don’t know everything. Life has so much more to offer you and there’s so much more to discover. Take advantage of that!” she said.

Learn more about the BSA and other student organizations at the University of Indianapolis.



University of Indianapolis Commencement honors Class of 2018

INDIANAPOLIS – More than 1,600 graduates received degrees from the University of Indianapolis at Saturday’s Commencement ceremony, which also served to highlight the impact of the institution’s students, alumni and faculty across the state and world.

The University recognized Rev. Rob Fuquay, senior pastor of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, and 16-time Grammy Award winner Béla Fleck, with honorary degrees. Rev. Fuquay delivered the Commencement address to graduates and Fleck performed on the banjo in his signature improvisational style.

Have a great photo from graduation day? Share it with us! #UIndyGrad

Posted by University of Indianapolis on Saturday, May 5, 2018

“Commencement is designed to celebrate and recognize the hard work at improving lives and enhancing communities,” said University President Robert L. Manuel. “Both of these recipients have spent their careers carving new paths and inspiring others with their craft.”

President Manuel highlighted the community impact of the University’s service-learning initiatives and praised graduates for their commitment to those programs. In keeping with the University’s motto, “Education for Service,” Rev. Fuquay encouraged graduates to view their academic advancement as a springboard for giving back.

“A degree is not just for us to have a happier or more successful life. It’s about ‘what difference are we going to make in the world?’” Rev. Fuquay said.

Levi Mielke, assistant professor of chemistry in the Shaheen College of Arts & Sciences, received the 2018 Teacher of the Year Award, which honors a faculty member who has demonstrated a distinguished record of excellence and impact on student learning.

Three students were honored with the I. Lynd Esch Award, which is given each year to students with the highest scholarly achievement during their University of Indianapolis career. The award, named for a former president of the University, recognizes persistence, consistency, and dedication to academic excellence. The 2018 recipients are Annika Haynes (finance), Julie Larson (exercise science and pre-occupational therapy) and Brett Ortman (chemistry and pre-occupational therapy).

The total number of University of Indianapolis graduates for May 2018 stands at 1,650 students from 21 countries, with 1,084 undergraduates, 566 graduate and doctoral students, including 100 graduates at international partner sites.

UIndy 2018 Commencement by the numbers:

  • 1,084 undergraduates
  • 566 master’s and doctoral candidates
  • 34 states and 21 nations represented
  • 1,550 graduates from home campus
  • 100 graduates at UIndy’s international partner sites
  • Total: 1,650 graduates

About the University of Indianapolis
The University of Indianapolis, founded in 1902, is a private, liberal arts university located just a few minutes from downtown Indianapolis. The University is ranked among the top Midwest Universities by the U.S. News and World Report, with a diverse enrollment of more than 5,500 undergraduate, graduate and continuing education students. The University offers a wide variety of study areas, including 109 undergraduate degrees, more than 37 master’s degree programs and six doctoral programs. More occupational therapists, physical therapists and clinical psychologists graduate from the University each year than any other state institution. With strong programs also in engineering, business, and education, the University of Indianapolis impacts its community by living its motto, “Education for Service.”  


Class of 2018 student speakers to explore theme of connections

Kaitlyn Kendall '18

Kaitlyn Kendall ’18

The University of Indianapolis Class of 2018 has chosen its speakers for May Commencement. Kaitlyn Kendall ’18 (communication, with emphasis in electronic media) and Annie DeRolf ’18 (doctorate of occupational therapy) will focus on making connections in their remarks.

“I am absolutely thrilled that I was chosen to speak on behalf of the undergraduate student body,” Kendall said. “This has always been a dream of mine and the fact that I actually am getting to do this still seems unreal.”

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

“I am incredibly honored to have been nominated and chosen by my peers to speak at Commencement. I hope that I can make the themes of connectedness, justice, and hope relevant to all areas of study,” DeRolf added.

Kendall plans to work as a television news reporter and anchor in Fort Wayne, Ind. following graduation.

“Throughout my speech I will be focusing on the journey that the students have gone through and how this journey isn’t over, but that it is just beginning. I also will be discussing how we all are now connected by one thing, and that UIndy is now a memory we all share together,” she said.

Annie DeRolf '18

Annie DeRolf ’18

DeRolf plans to promote occupational therapy’s role in providing affirmative and competent care for the transgender and gender non-conforming population. She said UIndy’s faculty consistently supported her vision for future practice.

“The program effectively taught me the foundational knowledge of occupational therapy, while slowly introducing me to clinical experiences in a way that fostered self-efficacy and competence. I was placed in a variety of clinical practice settings, including acute care, inpatient and outpatient mental health, skilled nursing facilities, and Eskenazi’s Transgender Health & Wellness Program,” DeRolf explained.

Kendall pursued internships and on-campus activities that enhanced personal relationships and helped prepare her professionally. She is president of two student chapters on campus: the National Broadcasters Society and the President of the Society of Professional Journalists, and participated in TV5, student ambassadors, theatre, and the National Society of Leadership and Success.

“Every experience that I have had at UIndy has been beneficial to my future career. My internships have been phenomenal, and they’ve given me more opportunities than I thought possible. Every professor at UIndy has helped toward my future endeavors,” Kendall said.

Both students point to faculty mentors who shaped their academic careers. DeRolf explained how Sally Wasmuth, an assistant professor of occupational therapy, helped her find her niche.

Wasmuth “was both receptive and excited regarding my desire to work with the transgender and gender non-conforming population, and she has gone above and beyond to ensure that I am able to fulfill this work,” DeRolf explained.

Kendall said her mentors in the Department of Communication made an impact on her development. Steven Koehn, assistant professor of communication, “has shown me that it is okay to take risks and to fail,” she said. “Another professor that sticks out in my mind is Prof. [Scott] Uecker. That man knows more people that I even knew existed! He alone has given me more opportunities that I can count,” Kendall added.

DeRolf, who also participated in the Student Occupational Therapy Association, said she was grateful for the assistance of faculty such as Julie Bednarski, the Master of Occupational Therapy Program Director, who helped her grow a relationship with Eskenazi Health, where she spent the semester for her doctoral capstone experience. She also thanked her research advisor, Alison Nichols.

“Because of her direction, our research group had the opportunities to present at both the national and state occupational therapy association conferences. Her dedication to our group, as well as our beloved friendship, is nothing short of appreciated,” DeRolf said.

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!

1 2 3 4 5 9