Faculty mentors inspire history grad to pursue Stanford doctorate

Lauren Judd, UIndy undergraduate and master's degree holder, is headed to Stanford to pursue her PhD in History. She poses for photos in the Krannert Memorial Library on Wednesday, May 24, 2017. (Photo: D. Todd Moore, University of Indianapolis)

Lauren Judd ’17 (Photo: D. Todd Moore, University of Indianapolis)

Lauren Judd ‘17 (M.A., history) was delighted to find one-on-one mentorship at the University of Indianapolis that allowed her to customize her field of study and pursue unique, hands-on work opportunities.

Lauren Judd first came to the University of Indianapolis knowing she’d have to get used to the academic spotlight. At Arizona State University, she had blended in with hundreds of students in larger classes.

“I’m not someone who likes to raise my hand and talk in class. I didn’t feel like I needed a lot of one-on-one attention,” she explained, adding that her UIndy instructors quickly put her at ease in the classroom.

“The professors wanted to challenge you, so it wasn’t easy, but they also wanted to create a comfortable enough environment that you felt safe stretching and growing. It was never intimidating. They’re just committed to helping you succeed,” she added.

Looking back to May 2017, Judd now credits that personal attention to her success in landing a full-ride scholarship as a doctoral student at Stanford University, ranked among the top five in the U.S. News & Report’s Best Colleges. Today, she’s excited to explore her future because of the encouragement of mentors such as UIndy faculty members Jim Williams and Ted Frantz. Rather than discouraging her from pursuing her interest in medieval history, Frantz and Williams fueled her passions and supported her interests with new opportunities.

“They were aware that my focus was a little bit different. They didn’t want to force me to research the same things the other students were interested in,” Judd said.

Judd’s thesis, “Crossing Boundaries: Female Saints, Heretics and Ecclesiastical Authority in Late Medieval Europe,” focuses on women’s spirituality in the Late Middle Ages and the factors that led to some women being labeled as heretics as the church sought to reinforce its authority.

“Dr. Williams [executive director of the Ron and Laura Strain Honors College] was very invested in helping me do what I wanted to do. When it came time to do my thesis, he coached me through the whole thing,” Judd said. “I had a lot of one-on-one attention from him that I wouldn’t have had if I had gone to a larger school.”

Williams, associate professor of history, added: “Like all our master’s students, Lauren was exposed to a broad curriculum that grew her appreciation of different periods of history, but she also had a particular interest for medieval history.” said Williams.  

Judd had the opportunity to attend the Midwest Medieval History Conference, which sparked her passion for the subject as she saw the diversity of interesting work available to medieval scholars.

“Several months later, after she completed her master’s thesis, she realized she could contribute to that work, too,” Williams said.

Frantz, professor of history and director of the Institute for Civic Leadership & Mayoral Archives, suggested Judd take a position working with the University archivist, Mark Vopelak. She also helped to organize the Richard M. Fairbanks Symposium on Civic Leadership at the University of Indianapolis, hosted by the Institute. Her work included curating an online exhibit on public art and producing podcasts.

The goal, Frantz said, is to provide students with a wide variety of experiences to help them discover their natural aptitudes. In the end, it was those transformative experiences that led her to continue her education at Stanford University.

“I’m simply thrilled that UIndy helped nurture this remarkable talent,” Frantz said. “Teaching and working with Lauren was a joy. She is a gifted writer, a tireless worker and someone who is willing to go the extra mile. Getting to work with her, and see her develop throughout her time here, was a treasure.”

As her time at UIndy neared its end, Judd said her mentors gently nudged her toward pursuing graduate school. She learned later those relationships (and letters of recommendation) played a significant role in her being accepted to Stanford, along with her academic success.

As she embarks on this next chapter in her journey, Judd says she always will appreciate those people and programs at UIndy that helped shape her future. The next generation of students should embrace similar opportunities, she said.

“My mentors will be building on things I love about this program. They are invested in your success,” she said.




Students win awards at 2017 Model United Nations Summit

A team of 15 students from the University of Indianapolis won several awards recently during the Model United Nations Summit competition.

The Model UN is a simulation exercise organized by the Indiana Consortium for International Programs. Several universities from Indiana and Kentucky participated this year at the summit, which was hosted Nov. 9-11 at Indiana University Southeast in New Albany, Ind.

Summit participants competed in two separate groups. Topics discussed included North Korea, nuclear weapons and missile delivery systems, Syrian and Yemen conflicts and climate change as a global security issue. The participating UIndy students major in international relations and/or political science.

Results of the first group competition included:

  • Dan Miller (political science): Third-Best Delegate
  • Brittany Motley (criminal justice and political science) and Dan Miller (political science): Third-Best Delegation, representing the United States

Results of the second group competition included:

  • Dominic Peretin (history): Second-Best Delegation, representing the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland and Third-Best Delegate
  • Tosin Salau (international relations and political science) and Mary Anne Schneider (history education): Fourth-Best Delegation, representing France

Jyotika Saksena, associate professor with the department of history and political science, helped the students prepare for the event.

“This is a very important learning tool for the students,” she explained. “They not only study important topics facing the world today but learn to see these different issues from specific perspectives. The simulation teaches students to negotiate with those of a different point of view without antagonizing them, the art of diplomacy and public speaking skills.”

Congratulations to each UIndy participant: Katie McDonald (political science and international relations), Zion Lutz (political science), Tosin Salau (international relations and political science), Mary Anne Schneider (history education), Nkechi Nnachetta (political science), Erin O’Riley (international relations and political science), Kiley Harmon (international relations and political science), Melissa Kapsalis (psychology and political science), Dominic Peretin (history), Brittany Motley (criminal justice and political science), Dan Miller (political science), Heather Reid (history and international relations), Ben Osborn (political science), Aml Alkhatib (political science), Tobiloba Olakunle (international relations and political science)


Access to women in leadership of sport is boon to UIndy sport management students


From left: Audrey Becker, Stephanie Young, Linda Paul, Joni Comstock, Kathy Sparks

As the saying goes in the real estate industry, “location, location, location” is the key to a good property investment. That same message can be applied to selecting a college for its proximity to key players in a specific field or industry. 

Students in the undergraduate and graduate Sport Management programs at the University of Indianapolis benefit from the school’s proximity to and working relationships with powerhouses in the world of athletics. Recently, the sport management programs leveraged this advantage when it hosted a Women in Leadership event in the Health Pavilion.

The second annual event brought key women leaders from the sports world to UIndy to share professional insights and offer networking opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students. The speakers included:

  •   Joni Comstock, senior vice president of championships and alliances, NCAA
  •   Audrey Becker, event and program manager, NFL Combine
  •   Stephanie Young, certified strength and conditioning coach, St. Vincent Sports Performance
  •   Linda Paul, former president and CEO, USA Diving
  •   Kathy Sparks, LAC, ATC, team leader – Sports Medicine Outreach, IU Health

“These women have made – and continue to make – an impact on the world of collegiate and professional athletics,” said Jennifer VanSickle, director of the UIndy sports management programs and associate professor of kinesiology. “Bringing them to the University of Indianapolis to share their experience is a win for our students.”

Some of the messages students heard from women on the panel included “Don’t let the barrier to success be you,” (Stephanie Young); “Let your failures be your greatest learning experiences,” (Linda Paul); and “Surround yourself with all different types of people. People with a variety of backgrounds, gender, age, and race,” (Joni Comstock).

“This event was not just another lecture,” said senior sport management major Carolyn Holt, who attended Women in Leadership last year as well. “This is a way to build connections and opportunities in the field of sport management.”

Holt has completed an internship as a team logistics intern with Indiana Swimming and will serve as an Indianapolis 500 Festival intern in Spring 2018.

The networking opportunities provided by the panel discussions helped Jessie Benner, a graduate sport management student, arrange a job shadow at the NCAA headquarters in downtown Indianapolis.

“I attended because I wanted to hear from strong women in management positions in sports,” Benner said.

“(One speaker) talked about how she used to be timid and not confident. Throughout her career, she has been able to break out of her shell. I identified with that and felt good knowing that it’s okay to start small.”

Senior sport management major Brianna Harrison encouraged students to take advantage of the networking opportunities.

“I am very interested in the empowerment of women in both the sports and the non-profit spheres,” she said. “This event is a great chance to empower yourself by networking with women who are working in the field.”

Harrison, who has completed internships with the Indianapolis Alley Cats ultimate Frisbee team and Special Olympics of Indiana, will graduate with degrees in both sport management and business management.

The next Women in Leadership event is scheduled for October 2018.

One on one with Tosin Salau

For this final day of October in International Education Month, we’re introducing you to several international students at UIndy. Tosin Salau ’18 (international relations and political science) is from Nigeria and shares her perspective. 

Tosin Salau

Tosin Salau

Q. Where are you from? Describe your travel experience.

A. “I’m from Nigeria but before coming to UIndy I had never been to the U.S. I have been to Benin, the U.K. and the United Arab Emirates.”

Q. Why did you decide to attend UIndy?

A. “The teacher-to-student ratio appealed the most to me as I’m more comfortable in a small class setting, valuing the importance of a student- teacher relationship. UIndy also offered me a scholarship which further influenced my decision to come here.”

Q. What is your advice for domestic students who might not have much experience with other cultures? For example, would you recommend study abroad?

A. Education is important and it begins by listening to people that come from different places. We get a sense of trying to learn from other cultures – thereby making them feel more welcome and inclusive on campus.

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

A. By being ready to come out of their bubble or comfort zone. A simple conversation is all it takes even though most may feel shy to ask questions for fear of mentioning stereotypical things. But it’s better to ask than to assume.

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

A. I’ve had some internships mostly relating to political science, which gave me an insight to the American political system. I’m part of the interfaith scholar program as well as the Muslim student union. I’m also part of the Presidential ambassador program as well. These groups have given me a platform to advocate for inclusiveness of others on campus, which I think is very important.

Q. Why do you think an international outlook is important to employers?

A. An international outlook is important because now everyone is talking about diversity. With different and also like-minded minds together, employers benefit more in a heterogeneous environment than in a homogenous one.

Original play Mary’s Monster to debut at UIndy

The University of Indianapolis ushers in Halloween with Mary’s Monster, a new work by playwright K. T. Peterson. A staged reading will be held at 8 p.m., Oct. 31, at Ransburg Auditorium on campus, with a discussion with the playwright immediately following. Additional performance date: Nov. 7. Admission is free. 

Lauren Raker designed the promotional poster on letterpress.

The Department of Theatre commissioned the original play as part of UIndy’s Communiversity: Frankenstein program, and the project was generously funded through a Shaheen Grant from the Shaheen College of Arts & Sciences.

While the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s famous novel focuses on the story of Frankenstein, director James Leagre, assistant professor of theatre, explained that Mary’s Monster (originally referred to as The Mary Shelley Project) explores the woman behind the story – “and what we might perceive as the contributing elements of her life and how they inform and influence the Frankenstein story.”

“K.T. has written a piece that melds together the biographical world of Mary with the fictional world of the Frankenstein story. Over the summer we discussed a variety of approaches, and one consistent theme was a female-driven piece that explores issues of feminism today,” Leagre explained.

Related: Art students get real-life client experience by supporting UIndy events

Leagre said the student actors identified several themes in Peterson’s work, including how love can be a great strength or a great weakness. The piece also explores other “monsters” besides Shelley’s creature that must be tamed in order to be successful. Other themes include mental health and the idea that money alone cannot bring happiness – all ideas that still resonate today.

Learn more.

University of Indianapolis continues as catalyst for South Side development

Shelby Bowl, future home of Books & BrewsThe University of Indianapolis announced today that Books & Brews, an Indianapolis-based retailer and restaurant, will open a franchise location next to campus in Spring 2018 in the former Shelby Bowl building.

The University and Indianapolis-based developer OakBridge Properties have entered into an agreement with Books & Brews Used Bookstore and Taproom to develop the property, with construction beginning in October. The opening aligns with the University’s long-term commitment to grow the area in partnership with the surrounding community and to expand retail options for students and residents.

“The University takes great pride in being an anchor for south Indianapolis, and we understand that our growth and success would not be possible without the support and partnership of our community,” said University President Robert Manuel. “As we look to expand our campus life to our growing student population, Books & Brews stands out as a logical option to bring additional retailers to our campus and surrounding neighborhoods.”

Working with local development partners, the University has been searching for the right opportunity for the former Shelby Bowl location–one that would enhance the campus and also impact a neighborhood ripe for development but challenged with abandoned buildings and industrial properties. Books & Brews bills itself as “a place for people without a place, where all are appreciated and encouraged to be themselves.”

The new business supports the University’s commitment to its Vision 2030 Plan, which defines a strategy for University and community growth that includes more than $50 million in capital investment for the campus and surrounding area. Working with local development partner Strategic Capital Partners, the University opened Greyhound Village Apartments in 2016. The project replaced a dilapidated apartment building that had become an eyesore for the neighborhood. The project is among several projects being pursued between the University and Strategic Capital Partners to enhance the University Heights and Carson Heights neighborhoods.

“We are honored to help bring Books & Brews to UIndy,” said Will Zink of OakBridge Properties. “We know B&B will prove to be a valuable asset to both UIndy students and the larger South Side community. We’re excited to celebrate its opening.”

The University’s strategic plan coincided with a Southside Quality of Life Plan, led by the Local Initiatives Support Corp. (LISC) and facilitated by the University and other area business anchors. The plan called for a host of area improvements, including economic development and enhancements to nearby neighborhoods.

As developers continue to see the growth and success of recent investments, Manuel is confident it will spark additional economic development in the area.

Books & Brews
Books & Brews is Indiana’s fastest growing craft beer taproom. The University of Indianapolis location represents only the second franchise offered by owner Jason Wuerfel. Current locations include Indianapolis, Zionsville, Brownsburg, Muncie and Carmel. The new franchise owners are Evan and Melissa Sandullo, who moved their family to Indianapolis a year ago.

“Our product is people,” Wuerfel said. “We use fresh beer, local food and social events as the artistic medium through which we communicate, but what we’re selling at Books & Brews is that human connection.” The business prides itself on making customers feel like regulars the second they step foot through the door, Wuerfel said.

University of Indianapolis Vision 2030 Plan
Vision 2030 maps a path for university and community growth through four strategic focus areas: innovation, University relevance and placemaking, institutional competitiveness and continuing as a sustainable community anchor. Vision 2030 also sets a course for the future to strengthen facilities and programs for students and faculty while increasing community engagement both socially and academically.

UIndy alum James Hurrell keeps an eye on the storms

James Hurrell '84, director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)

James Hurrell ’84, director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)

The recent string of powerful and deadly hurricanes is unusual but not unprecedented, according to James Hurrell ’84 (mathematics and earth-space science), director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).

Hurrell, who received his doctorate from Purdue University in 1990 after graduating from the University of Indianapolis, joined NCAR as a postdoc that same year. After growing his career as a research scientist for the agency, he assumed a leadership role 15 years ago and has served as director since September 2013.

As Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and most recently Maria churned up a trail of devastation in the southern United States and the Caribbean, Hurrell discussed the role of climate change in the formation of such powerful storms. The hurricanes caused nearly 150 deaths and billions of dollars in damage to property, crops and infrastructure.

“Climate change plays a role by increasing ocean heat content and higher sea surface temperatures, and more moisture in the atmosphere. This make for more intense, bigger and longer-lasting storms,” he said.

Those storms can occur in clusters, Hurrell explained, because a set of conditions tends to persist through a season or at least several weeks.

Predicting these powerful storms is crucial to public safety, and Hurrell called the forecasters’ predictions excellent for both Harvey and Irma. NCAR works to provide all the latest scientific data and research to ensure forecasting models are as accurate as possible.

Perhaps the biggest challenge for prediction is communicating uncertainty. People tend to focus on the center of the cone. For preparation, the hardest thing is to understand how to weigh uncertain information versus the hassle of evacuation and the difficulties this may pose,” he said.

Rising sea levels – due to thermal expansion of the oceans and melting land ice – also exacerbate storm surges, which he said are often the most deadly and destructive aspects of hurricanes. He cited a recent Washington Post article by Kerry Emanuel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that explains that Hurricane Sandy would not have flooded Lower Manhattan if it had occurred a century ago when sea levels were lower.

The size and duration of Harvey and Irma led to both storms having a significant impact on residents in their respective paths.

The biggest devastation was in the Islands with Irma. Both became very large and long­-lived storms, as we expect with climate change. Harvey was big enough that after it made landfall, it kept going by reaching out to the Gulf and bringing moisture into Houston, causing major flooding,” Hurrell said.

Harvey brought up to 50 inches of rain over several days in some areas. “It lasted 70 hours before going back over the Gulf. The normal lifetime of a hurricane over land is about a day,” Hurrell said, noting the tremendous damage the storm caused.

“Irma also was huge and was able to straddle Florida as it moved north, causing significant damage, but not the major devastation that would have occurred with a slightly different track and associated major storm surges,” he added.

As far as recovery, Hurrell said it will take years, particularly for Houston.

“It will never be the way it was – ditto for many of the Caribbean island, now with Maria. It is possible that in the future, some properties will be declared uninsurable risks,” he said.

Hurrell said he is fortunate to work at NCAR with other leading scientists and engineers, which he calls a world-class research center.

“Atmospheric science is a subject that impacts people’s lives each day. People care about our work, and the research we do helps to protect lives and safeguard property: research in service to society,” he said.

Reflecting on UIndy

He also reflected on his time at the University of Indianapolis, praising the close-knit community of faculty, administrators and students.

“UIndy was the foundation for all I have achieved professionally. The university then, as today, was absolutely invested in the success of its students from the moment they walk onto campus. I personally benefited from UIndy’s strong commitment to individualized formation and teaching and a well-rounded liberal arts education,” he said.

“These are not just words. If they were, my daughter would not be there now!” he added.

UIndy Welcome Week: Slide show

The University of Indianapolis began Welcome Week with Move-In Day on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017. Some 1,100 freshmen – UIndy’s largest class ever – will join the Greyhound student body for the fall semester.

The University will welcome more than 5,700 students for the fall 2017 semester, with more than 3,800 undergraduates, 450 School for Adult Learning undergraduates and 1,400 graduate students.

Mouse over the slide show to see photos from Move-In Day, Freshman Convocation and the Class of 2021 photo.

The University also welcomes more than 200 international students who represent roughly 68 countries. UIndy’s largest representations hail from China, Saudi Arabia and Canada. Other countries represented include: Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Belgium, Benin, Bermuda, Brazil, Cameroon, Chile, Congo, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Indiana, Indonesia, Ireland, Jamaica, Japan, Latvia, Liberia, Mexico, Nepal, Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Peru, Poland, Romania, Russia, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom and Zimbabwe.


New music faculty bring international success to classrooms and Indianapolis Quartet

The Department of Music in the Shaheen College of Arts & Sciences is proud to announce the addition of widely acclaimed violinist Joana Genova as visiting instructor of violin/viola and director of Chamber Music Initiatives. Joana brings a wealth of international success as a musician, both in Europe and the United States and will support the momentum of the Indianapolis Quartet, one of the Midwest’s premiere string ensembles.

Joana, who is excited to join the UIndy family, has an active career as a chamber musician, orchestral player, teacher, and soloist. She first began playing the violin at age 6 in her native Bulgaria and made her solo debut at the age of 12 with the Plovdiv Chamber Orchestra and later was named the top prizewinner of the National Competition in Bulgaria. She earned a bachelor’s degree in music at the Conservatory of Amsterdam and a master’s degree in chamber music at the Rotterdam Conservatory in the Netherlands. She also is a former concertmaster of the Amsterdam Bach Consort and a member of Amsterdam Sinfonietta.

Much like other faculty in the Department of Music, Joana will help to expose music students to career opportunities and insight through the lens of professional musicians who have earned acclaim across the world. She will teach applied violin/viola courses and will co-direct the Chamber Orchestra and Chamber Ensembles with her husband, Ariel Rudiakov, who is recognized internationally as a violist and conductor.

“The Department of Music has a rich history of working with international musicians of the highest caliber,” said University Provost Stephen H. Kolison, Jr. “Joana’s success and reputation will provide wonderful advantages for our students and support the continued growth of the Indianapolis Quartet as one of the most dynamic and influential musical ensembles in the Midwest.”

In addition to her faculty duties, Joana will infuse a unique sound and musicianship to the Indianapolis Quartet, now in its second year but already recognized as a collection of world-class talent and an elite string ensemble. The Quartet, through its strong partnership with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, will continue its path to success and fulfill its vision as a prominent fixture in the national arts community. With funding support recently granted from the Christel DeHaan Family Foundation, the Quartet will continue to refine the artistic excellence of the ensemble by building on the repertoire of world-class music of the past, present, and future; performing in increasingly higher profile settings, and collaborating with musicians of the highest caliber. The Quartet’s goal is to enhance the cultural fabric of the city and region through both performance and educational outreach. 

She joins ISO concertmaster and violinist Zachary DePue, violist Michael Isaac Strauss and ISO principal cellist Austin Huntington in the Quartet. These musicians have earned international acclaim and are recognized among the most elite musicians in the region. After performing with Joana, Quartet members praised her musicianship and her professional and intelligent demeanor, which they said would help “raise the level of our artistry during this crucial time for The Indianapolis Quartet’s development.” The Quartet is next scheduled to perform in October.

Alumni breakfast recognizes nearly 300 Greyhounds employed at Eli Lilly

Nearly 300 University of Indianapolis alumni have worked for Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Company, a global healthcare leader and Fortune 500 company. The University held a special gathering this month to recognize their impact and the connections they’ve made worldwide. Several UIndy faculty and staff members reconnected with their former students at an alumni breakfast.

A brief program featured UIndy Board of Trustee member and Lilly employee Stephen Fry, UIndy President Rob Manuel and students Tyler Walden and Danielle Sparling, both of whom interned at Lilly. (Photo: D. Todd Moore, University of Indianapolis)

A brief program featured UIndy Board of Trustee member and Lilly employee Stephen Fry (pictured), UIndy President Rob Manuel and students Tyler Walden and Danielle Sparling, both of whom interned at Lilly. (Photo: D. Todd Moore, University of Indianapolis)

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