Undergrad research projects draw notice

spider sketchesFresh UIndy graduate Elizabeth Wells (center) discusses her arachnid illustrations with faculty members Marc Milne and Jen Camden during the recent Scholars’ Day.

Apparently Elizabeth Wells is very good at drawing microscopic spider parts, because The Field Museum in Chicago has posted her work online for use by scientists around the world.

Wells graduated magna cum laude from UIndy’s Strain Honors College on Saturday with a bachelor’s degree in Pre-Medical Illustration. But before she did, she created the illustrations for a Biology honors project under Assistant Professor Marc Milne, using pen, pencil and a dissecting microscope.

These particular spiders, the erigonine subfamily of the Linyphiidae family, are smaller than 2 mm across and therefore are difficult to identify. To do so, arachnologists must use microscopes and compare the creatures to existing photos or illustrations. Posted among a gallery of such photos taken by the museum staff, Wells’ detailed illustrations can be seen here.

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Payton Butler, who just finished her sophomore year majoring in EntrepreneurshipExperience Design and Human Resources Management, has a paper published in the latest volume of the Butler Journal of Undergraduate Research.

The title: “Why Do Boys Love Frozen, a Disney Princess Movie?”

Based on her research, Butler attributed the film’s runaway success to savvy writing and marketing designed to broaden the audience beyond young females, including focused advertising, exciting action scenes, appealing humor and a higher-than-usual ratio of male to female characters. Read more about it here.

The work began in a First-Year Seminar course taught by Associate Professor of Teacher Education Greta Pennell, who points out that the journal’s acceptance rate is only 25 percent.

UIndy impresses at forensic science conference

Primary Transfer - webDNA researchers: Human Biology graduate students Kathleen Paschal (left), Helen Brandt and Amanda Khan won an award for their presentation at the American Academy of Forensic Sciences annual conference.

A contingent of about 30 UIndy students, alumni and prospective students have been making their mark this week at the American Academy of Forensic Sciences 68th Annual Scientific Meeting in Las Vegas.



Guiding the group is Dr. Krista Latham, associate professor of Biology and Anthropology and director of osteology for UIndy’s Archaeology & Forensics Laboratory, the go-to facility in the Midwest for public agencies seeking to identify human remains.

Among the conference highlights so far:

  • Latham received her certificate of Diplomate status from the American Board of Forensic Anthropology. This designation, the highest in the field, is shared by fewer than 80 active practitioners worldwide.
  • Human Biology graduate students Marisa Teal Ketchum and Erin Vollmer presented on tertiary DNA transfer in the Criminalistics Section and were nominated for the Emerging Forensic Scientists Award.
  • Fellow grad students Helen Brandt, Amanda Khan and Kathleen Paschal won an award for their presentation on primary DNA transfer at the Young Forensic Scientists Forum.
  • Latham and graduate student Justin Maiers moderated an afternoon of presentations under the theme “Remote Sensing, Archaeological Techniques for Vehicle Fires, and Burned Human Remains Analysis.”

Tertiary TransferGrad students Marisa Teal Ketchum and Erin Vollmer presented on tertiary DNA transfer and were nominated for the Emerging Forensic Scientists Award.

Budding chemists take on UIndy challenge

chemistry quiz winnersFrom left after Saturday’s chemistry quiz competition are Larry Sernyk, You Be the Chemist local coordinator; Dr. Brad Neal of the chemistry department; top competitors Charles Law, Dylan Tadas, Andrew Gangstad, Lukas Song and Ethan Howard; and UIndy alumna Lindsey Horty of Dow AgroSciences.

Local middle-schoolers and their families came to campus today as the UIndy Department of Chemistry hosted the Indianapolis South round of the You Be the Chemist Challenge, a national scholarship competition conducted by the Chemical Educational Foundation.



The quiz-bowl style contest is designed to spark interest in STEM subjects among students in grades 6 through 8, said Assistant Professor Brad Neal, who coordinated the local event in collaboration with 2008 UIndy grad Lindsey (Fischer) Horty, now a Discovery Lead Chemist with Dow AgroSciences. Dow is a leading state and national sponsor of the competition.

“It’s a way to integrate chemistry into their academic life a little earlier,” Neal said.



Participating schools included Robert Lee Frost No. 106, Doe Creek Middle School and St. Jude Catholic School.

The top finishers were:
1. Andrew Gangstad, St. Jude Catholic School
2. Ethan Howard, Doe Creek Middle School
3. Charles Law, Doe Creek Middle School
4. Lukas Song, Doe Creek Middle School
5. Dylan Tadas, St. Jude Catholic School

They will advance to the April 16 state competition, which feeds into the 2016 National Challenge on June 20 in Washington, D.C.

After today’s competition, the visiting junior chemists enjoyed hands-on activities led by students from the UIndy Chemistry Club.

Zika no cause for panic, UIndy expert says

Yes, the Zika virus is new and somewhat mysterious. Yes, it seems to be working its way through the Americas. Yes, a case was reported in Indiana this week.



But no, the average Hoosier who isn’t newly pregnant or traveling to countries with Zika outbreaks should not get too panicky, says UIndy’s resident epidemiologist, Dr. Amie Wojtyna.

Although the mosquito-borne virus is “hot and trendy,” she says, U.S. residents should be far more concerned about common threats such as influenza, which kills thousands of Americans every year.

Wojtyna served as a surveillance epidemiologist for both the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Indiana State Department of Health before taking her current post as assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology, teaching graduate and undergraduate courses in Public Health.

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In the news: Music, forensic science, poli sci



This week’s issue of our local Southside Times carries an interesting preview of an upcoming multimedia concert presentation developed by UIndy’s Dr. Rebecca Sorley, professor and director of student support for the Department of Music.

Celebrating the History of Indiana through Music marks Indiana’s bicentennial year with a program of Hoosier composers, from underappreciated women of the ragtime era to the legendary likes of Porter and Carmichael. The Faculty Artist Concert Series performance — 7:30 p.m. Feb. 15 in the Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center’s Ruth Lilly Performance Hall — will feature Sorley and her daughter Allegra on piano, with historical commentary by Professor of History Edward Frantz.

Click here to read the story by writer Marianne Coil.

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forensicsUIndy’s Archeology & Forensics Team, a crack squad of Human Biology grad students led by Associate Professor Krista Latham, was back in the news this week after a highway worker discovered human remains under a bridge near the Ohio River town of Mauckport.

Called in to assist, the team led the recovery of the skeletal remains, which were quickly identified as a 56-year-old man missing since February 2014. The find generated great interest in Louisville, Evansville and elsewhere.

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Assistant Professor of Political Science Laura Albright continues to be a sought-after source on all things related to the presidential race and the Indiana General Assembly. She appeared this past week as a panelist on the Inside Indiana Business “Insiders” panel as well as a guest with WIBC-FM morning host Tony Katz, discussing a certain candidate’s decision to snub the latest Republican president debate. (OK, it was Donald Trump.)

VIDEO: UIndy reflects on a memorable 2015

As we enter the new year, this is a great moment to pause for a look back at 2015, sure to be remembered as a historic time for the University of Indianapolis and our community partners.

From new facilities and programs to inspiring cultural events to the accomplishments of our alumni, faculty and students, Greyhounds have much to be proud of and much to anticipate. While the successes of 2015 are too numerous to list, the enclosed video highlights just some of the stories from this memorable year — celebrating the momentum that we carry into 2016.

In the news: Forensics, Comm, History



Dr. Krista Latham and UIndy’s Archeology & Forensics field team were featured this week in an episode of Crime Watch Daily, a syndicated TV news magazine that airs on stations across the country, including local WXIN-Fox59. Latham and the team of Human Biology graduate students have been assisting Boone County officials in trying to identify a woman whose remains were discovered by a farmer 23 years ago.

“I believe very strongly in dignity in life and dignity in death, and part of dignity in death is having a name,” Latham told the host. Watch the segment here.

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Communications instructor Scott Uecker, general manager of WICR-FM/HD and UIndy TV, is a key source for an Indianapolis Business Journal story on a dilemma facing TV stations in Indiana and across the country: whether or not to sell their coveted broadcast frequencies to the FCC for use with emerging technologies, which could bring tens of millions in cash but require the stations to stop broadcasting or start over elsewhere on the dial.

“It’s an interesting time for broadcasters,” Uecker said in the interview. “Do you take a big check, buy an island and retire? Do you take a smaller check, accept a new space on the spectrum, and try to retool for the future? Or do you just go on and hope there is a long-term future for the television industry in this changing landscape?”

Read the story here.

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The appointment of a new Indianapolis police chief sparked some requests for perspective from not one, but two faculty members from the Department of History & Political Science.

The Indianapolis Star contacted Dr. Laura Albright and Dr. Edward Frantz, who also directs UIndy’s Institute for Civic Leadership & Mayoral Archives, for its story on Troy Riggs’ pending return to city government. Read the story here.

Conference to celebrate collaborations

Faculty will showcase interdisciplinary projects at Cross-Pollination(s)

Philosophy with Biology. History with Music. Business with Education. Education with Occupational Therapy and Athletic Training. The list goes on.

UIndy faculty members have been working together outside their departmental boxes, and more than 50 of them will share their experiences in interdisciplinary collaboration this week during Cross-Pollination(s), a conference organized by the Office of Interdisciplinary Programs & Service Learning. Eyed as an annual event, the jazz-themed two-day conference will enable faculty members to discuss and celebrate projects that break down disciplinary barriers and enrich the educational experience for students.



Dr. Gerburg Garmann, assistant dean for Interdisciplinary Studies & Service Learning in the Shaheen College of Arts & Sciences, said UIndy has made great strides in this area during the past year or two, awarding five innovative collaboration grants, engaging faculty across disciplines in interdisciplinary roundtable sessions and supporting faculty presentations at local, national and international interdisciplinary conferences.

“The time seemed right to allow our faculty to present their accomplishments closer to home and to a campuswide audience, and thus Cross-Pollination(s) was born,” said Garmann, a professor of Modern Languages. “We hope to make it a yearly event and eventually expand it to bring in contributors from both the regional and national levels. Our goal is to make the Cross-Pollination(s) conference a major voice in the ongoing discussion of the role interdisciplinary studies should play in the transformation of American higher education.”

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Nov. 18 fair offers info on graduate programs

Current students and the general public can learn more about master’s, doctoral and graduate certificate programs at UIndy during the Graduate Programs Fair on Nov. 18.

The university offers more than 30 graduate degree programs in the health sciences, business, education, the humanities, the physical sciences and other fields. Many courses are available in evening, weekend, online, on-campus and hybrid formats, making them convenient for students with busy schedules.

Organized in two sessions — 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5 to 7 p.m. in UIndy Hall A of Schwitzer Student Center — the fair is designed for students considering further education options after graduation as well as working adults seeking to change or advance their careers.

Registration and further information are available at (317) 788-2394 or www.uindy.edu/graduate-admissions.

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