Local students create energy plan for Indiana

What would a sustainable energy plan for Indiana look like?

An ambitious project involving a diverse group of University of Indianapolis and IUPUI students is actively working to answer that question. The students, led by former Indianapolis Mayor and Visiting Fellow Greg Ballard, held the first in a series of meetings to obtain public feedback on their proposed energy plan for the state.

Senior Carly Nicholson, left, speaks with Visiting Fellow Greg Ballard. (Photo by D. Todd Moore, University of Indianapolis)

Senior Carly Nicholson, left, speaks with Visiting Fellow Greg Ballard. (Photo by D. Todd Moore, University of Indianapolis)

During a recent community conversation on the UIndy campus, the students presented their ideas and took questions from concerned citizens, who encouraged the group to consider issues like consumer education, bike lanes or the unique challenges faced by cash-strapped non-profits wishing to pursue sustainable energy practices.

The project includes ten students from the University of Indianapolis and two from Indiana University – Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI).  The students began studying Indiana’s energy needs last year as part of a project supported by the Central Indiana Community Foundation and the Simon Family Foundation.

“We want to tell people what this generation thinks about energy in the state of Indiana. How do we want to position that going into the future?” Ballard said.
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Campus robotics competition highlights STEM education efforts across Indiana

VEX robotics teamWhile the rest of their competitors were frantically tweaking their machines to just the right specifications before matches began, the robotics team from Covenant Christian High School huddled away from the crowds to take their robot for a test drive.

“It’s nerve-wracking when the robot doesn’t exactly do what you want it to do in the tournament. But, that’s part of fun of this competition,” said team member Isaac Lapley, 16.

Covenant Christian of Indianapolis was one of more than 100 local teams competing in at the VEX Robotics Competition, held in January at the University of Indianapolis. Top finishers at the campus event advanced to the state competition held later this year. All participants are now eligible to be considered for a $10,000 scholarship to the University of Indianapolis.
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Local spider discovery provides leg up to new science

Oreonetides

The new species of Oreonetides.

Nearby Indiana forests could be home to a whole host of undiscovered life forms just like the new species of spider discovered recently by a University of Indianapolis biology professor.

“New (spider) species are being found all the time. I typically find one to two a year, but the message is that we really know nothing about the diversity of species living right here in Indiana,” said Dr. Marc Milne, the self-described “spider guy” on campus.

The tiny, female arachnid is tentatively known only by the genus name of Oreonetides. Since it was first collected in May 2015 in Johnson County, Ind., Milne and other spider experts across the country have been unable to find a comparable species, and the search now begins to find a male variety. Read more

Special screening of “The Burden” with filmmaker Roger Sorkin and former Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard

burden_emailThursday, November 3, at 7 p.m.
UIndy Hall A, Schwitzer Student Center
Reception will immediately follow

Join us for our next University Series event featuring a special screening of “The Burden” followed by a Q&A with filmmaker Roger Sorkin and former Indianapolis Mayor and UIndy Visiting Fellow Greg Ballard.

“The Burden” is a 40-minute documentary that tells the story of fossil fuel dependence as our greatest long-term national security threat, and why the military is leading the transition to clean energy. The film also focuses on the amount of American military lives lost fighting to protect oil interests in the Middle East.

This free event is open to the public and L/P credit is available to UIndy students. Online registration is requested.

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In the news: Sociology, Business, PT

Miller

Miller

Dr. Amanda Miller of the Department of Sociology & Criminal Justice continues to draw national attention with her research on marriage, cohabitation and household dynamics. Most recently, she is coauthor of a study suggesting that couples who share household chores equitably are also busier in the bedroom. Read about it in the New York Post (“Wanna have more sex? Do the dishes”) and Glamour.

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Zimmer

Zimmer

Dr. Timothy Zimmer of the School of Business likes to apply his economics acumen to the world of sport. One of his number-crunching finds is that a Major League Baseball team that goes for an extended time without winning a World Series (a la the Chicago Cubs), and has a fan base built around that “lovable loser” image, can actually lose fans in the long run after a winning season. Read about it in The Atlantic.

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Combs-Miller

Combs-Miller

The world is still discovering the research performed by Dr. Stephanie Combs-Miller and her Physical Therapy students and colleagues to show the positive impact of Rock Steady Boxing therapy in improving life for clients with Parkinson’s disease.

Their work most recently grabbed the attention of U.S. News and the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. (for the second time this year). Also appearing in recent weeks were stories by Missouri’s Kansas City Star and Springfield News-Leader, each of which was picked up by the Associated Press and shared by news outlets nationwide.

Archives fellow honored for work as mayor

UIndy Visiting Fellow Greg Ballard finished his tenure as Indianapolis mayor in January, but he is still receiving kudos for his actions while in office.

Ballard

Ballard

This spring, the international Robotics Education & Competition Foundation inducted Ballard into its STEM Hall of Fame under the Heroes category, which honors contributions in guiding young people toward studies and careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The foundation coordinates the annual VEX Robotics Competition, which is active in 40 countries and culminates in the three-day VEX Worlds gathering. This year’s finals in Louisville drew 1,000 teams from over 30 nations and included an awards ceremony honoring the former mayor, whose efforts in the field have included establishing and promoting the City of Indianapolis VEX Robotics Championship.

“I’ve seen so many students’ lives changed as a result of these competitions,” Ballard says. “It is humbling to have been a part of it all.”

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Student archaeology projects draw attention

Famous ‘grave in the road’ had seven occupants, researchers find

grave workAs noted in UIndy News last month, Dr. Christopher Schmidt of the Department of Anthropology has been working with students and colleagues on a job for Johnson County officials: In conjunction with a road improvement project, they were asked to exhume, examine and re-inter the remains of Nancy Kerlin Barnett, presumed occupant of the legendary 1831 “grave in the middle of the road” south of Franklin.

What they found, however, has caused quite a stir. The gravesite contained not one, but seven sets of human remains — three adults and four children — adding more intrigue to a story that has captivated local residents and travelers for decades.

To learn all the details and unanswered questions, check out this week’s coverage in the Indianapolis Star, WISH-TV, WTHRWXINWRTV, Indiana Public MediaUSA TodayArchaeology.org. The CBS Radio News network and scores of news outlets throughout the Midwest carried the story after it was picked up by the Associated Press.

Schmidt will be interviewed Saturday on Hoosier History Live! with host Nelson Price, which airs from noon to 1 p.m. on UIndy’s WICR-88.7 FM/HD. Read a preview here.

Carroll County project featured in WISH-TV’s Bicentennial series

Moore WISH webAs noted in UIndy News last year, Dr. Christopher Moore of the departments of Anthropology and Earth-Space Science has been directing students and educating the public through an extended exploration of a historical site in Carroll County, Ind. The Baum’s Landing site offers a unique window into 19th century life in rural Indiana, and the effort has been declared an official Bicentennial Legacy Project by the 2016 Indiana Bicentennial Commission.

It’s not surprising, then, that WISH-TV would feature Moore and his students in its series of Bicentennial Minute reports. The piece is actually about three minutes long, and you can watch it here.

Moore, himself a UIndy alumnus, also has been involved in the Barnett grave project, by the way.

Forensics team continues Texas migrant project

labbingUIndy Human Biology master’s degree candidates Amanda Khan (left) and Helen Brandt analyze skeletal remains in a laboratory at Texas State University.

Associate Professor Krista Latham and the graduate students of UIndy’s Archaeology & Forensics Team are back in Texas for the fourth consecutive summer, volunteering their time and expertise to help identify undocumented migrants who have died after crossing the border.

On previous visits, the crew spent most of their time in a small cemetery, exhuming the remains of men and women whose bodies were found and buried without identification. This year, the group is primarily working at Texas State University, analyzing skeletal remains for clues to their origin. They also will work with the South Texas Human Rights Center and other organizations to identify other cemeteries where migrants have been buried.

Along with Dr. Latham, a forensic anthropologist, this year’s contingent includes UIndy colleague Dr. Alyson O’Daniel, a cultural anthropologist; Human Biology master’s candidates Amanda KhanJustin Maiers and Ryan Strand, veterans of previous Texas trips; and fellow grad student Helen Brandt, a first-timer.

The group left Sunday and will return May 18. Read their blog posts and see their photos and video at beyondborders.uindy.edu.

Read previous stories about the Beyond Borders project here.

Undergrads working with Harvard researchers

Visiting scientists to study greenhouse gases throughout Indianapolis

Read NUVO Newsweekly story

A team of UIndy students will spend the next two weeks collaborating with Harvard University researchers on a study of greenhouse gas emissions in Marion County.

The visiting scientists are led by Dr. Steven C. Wofsy, Abbott Lawrence Rotch Professor of Atmospheric and Environmental Science at Harvard and one of the world’s leading experts on the chemical composition of the atmosphere. The international group also includes researchers from a German university and Los Alamos National Laboratory.

“This team is world-renowned as far as atmospheric science is concerned, and it is an honor to have them engage our budding, undergraduate researchers,” says Dr. Levi Mielke, assistant professor of chemistry at UIndy, whose own research interests include environmental chemistry and air quality.

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Archaeology team studying fabled gravesite

grave workUIndy grad students Rose Perash (left) and Fatma Zalzala begin work at the so-called “grave in the middle of the road,” located between Franklin and Edinburgh.

Peculiar 19th century burial rests in center of Johnson County road

Barnett grave

The 1831 gravesite of Nancy Kerlin Barnett

NEWS COVERAGE:
Indianapolis Star (with photo gallery)
WXIN-Fox59
WTHR-TV 13
WISH-TV 8
WRTV-6
Daily Journal
Inside Indiana Business

A student and faculty archaeology team from UIndy is digging into the mystery of a famous Johnson County grave and the lives of central Indiana’s earliest white settlers.

The remains of Nancy Kerlin Barnett, who lived from 1793 to 1831, rest in an island of grass and rock that sits smack in the middle of County Road 400S near Interstate 65 south of Franklin. The site is often referred to simply as “the grave in the middle of the road,” or less accurately, “the Indian grave.”

According to local lore, Barnett’s grandson guarded the grave with a shotgun when other surrounding graves were moved in the 1900s for construction of the road.

The site is a nationally known curiosity for travelers and for thrill-seekers who claim the area is haunted. It’s also a traffic hazard that is regularly struck by passing vehicles, which is why the Johnson County Highway Department intends to lower the elevation of the grave mound and reconfigure the roadway for the protection of motorists and the grave itself.

Schmidt

Schmidt

The UIndy team, six graduate students led by Professor Christopher Schmidt of the Department of Anthropology, will temporarily remove and study Barnett’s remains at the university, returning them to the site when the roadwork is completed. The Johnson County Museum of History is a partner in the project and invited the researchers to handle the exhumation.

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