ICHE awards $2.4 million to ICI and CELL for STEM teacher courses

The Indiana Commission for Higher Education (ICHE) has awarded $2.4 million to Independent Colleges of Indiana (ICI) and the Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning (CELL) to continue their successful STEM Teach initiative that aids high school teachers needing graduate-level courses in STEM discipline areas to meet the Higher Learning Commission requirement for teaching dual-credit courses by 2022.

“STEM Teach V comes at an important juncture, as the demand for highly trained teachers in our K-12 schools is at an all-time high and as schools and students look to rebound from the challenges of the pandemic. At CELL, we know how important it is to help develop teachers who can cultivate interest and passion across the sciences, mathematics and technology fields in education, and we look forward to partnering with educators across the state and the Independent Colleges of Indiana to advance STEM education for Hoosier students.” said Carey Dahncke, executive director of CELL.

The General Assembly created the fund in 2013 to increase the number and quality of teachers in key subject areas where many school districts experience shortages. This is the fifth time STEM Teach received the grant.

“We look forward to continuing to serve high school teachers so that schools can provide ample dual credit opportunities in STEM fields to their high school students. This round of funding will not only provide the needed graduate courses in a specific content area for credentialing, but also the opportunity to complete a master’s degree if needed.” said Trish Wlodarczyk, director of strategic initiatives, STEM Teach and Teach Dual Credit Indiana, CELL.

In-service teachers will begin applying for acceptance into the program through an online application in October 2021. Teachers who successfully completed courses in previous iterations of STEM Teach will not need to reapply for this opportunity. Registration for courses for teachers accepted into the program are available based on each teacher’s priority status and will occur several months before each semester begins.

“We are grateful for ICHE’s continuing support of this important program because it provides key resources to Indiana teachers so that their students can take advantage of dual-credit opportunities in the growing STEM field,” said Dr. David W. Wantz, president and CEO of ICI.

About STEM Teach V

STEM Teach was designed to offer ICI members and public higher education institutions the opportunity to work together to increase the number of qualified dual-credit teachers of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in Indiana. Tuition, books, and materials for these courses will be offered at no cost to teachers employed in Indiana schools by utilizing funds available through the STEM Teacher Recruitment Fund to pay participating colleges and universities for these expenses.

About Independent Colleges of Indiana

Independent Colleges of Indiana serves as the collective voice for the state’s 29 private, non-profit colleges and universities. ICI institutions employ over 22,000 Hoosiers and generate a total local economic impact of over $5 billion annually. Students at ICI colleges have Indiana’s highest four-year, on-time graduation rates, and ICI institutions produce 30 percent of Indiana’s bachelor’s degrees while enrolling 20 percent of its undergraduates. 

About CELL

Created in 2001, the Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning (CELL) at the University of Indianapolis has served as the leading convener, catalyst and collaborator for innovative education change. CELL’s mission is for all people in Indiana to experience meaningful and high-quality education. CELL partners with schools and communities to improve outcomes for students of all ages by leading sustainable educational innovation and transformation across Indiana. Providing leadership that is both cutting-edge and action-oriented, CELL unites districts, schools, communities, universities and businesses to build a sense of urgency and form innovative collaborations for statewide educational and economic improvement.

UIndy welcomes hounds back to campus for Homecoming 2021

Alumni and friends are invited back to campus for the best week of the year! Relive your favorite UIndy memories and create some new ones at Homecoming 2021.

Homecoming is always a special time of year for the entire University community with traditions like the parade and football game. This year, Homecoming week will also mark the dedication of several new student engagement spaces in a culmination of years of hard work and the Campaign for the University of Indianapolis.

Beginning with the dedication of the new Art & Design Annex on the evening of October 7, UIndy will celebrate the boundless opportunities made possible by the Campaign for the University of Indianapolis. Highlights include the Friday, October 8, unveiling of several new spaces in the Schwitzer Student Center designed to enhance student engagement. On Saturday, October 9, the University celebrates the success of the Campaign for the University of Indianapolis and honors those who helped make it possible, including an announcement of a major campaign milestone. 

“This is a celebratory time, and after a limited 2020 Homecoming schedule we’re so excited to welcome back our alumni to campus,” said Interim Vice President for Advancement Andy Kocher. “This year’s slate of events showcases the changing landscape of our campus as we both honor the past and also adapt to serve the needs of our current students.”

See a complete listing of events here. Please be aware of the University’s COVID-19 safety policies before visiting campus. Masking is required at indoor events.

Thursday, October 7:
ART & DESIGN ANNEX OPEN HOUSE AND DEDICATION

5:00 – 7:00 p.m. • Art & Design Annex

Celebrate the growth and expansion of the Department of Art & Design! This additional space, funded in part by alumni and friends, provides new opportunities for open studio time, exhibit and gallery experiences, and new technology for a growing program. Register here.

Friday, October 8:
R.B. ANNIS HALL OPEN HOUSE AND BUST UNVEILING

2:00 – 3:30 p.m. • R.B. Annis Hall, 3250 S. Shelby St.

Explore the new home of the R.B. Annis School of Engineering—made possible through a transformational gift by the R.B. Annis Educational Foundation. The open house will include interactive activities and a dedication of the bust created in memory of Robert B. Annis. Register here.


SCHWITZER STUDENT CENTER CELEBRATION

5:00 – 7:00 p.m. • Schwitzer Student Center

Help us celebrate the success of the Campaign for the University of Indianapolis and dedicate several new student engagement spaces in the Schwitzer Student Center. Guests will have the opportunity to experience the many new ways students will engage with each other and our community as they interact with several new locations on the second floor.

UINDY MIDWAY CARNIVAL

7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. • Schwitzer Park

Join the Student Leadership & Activities Board (SLAB) for a fun-filled night at the UIndy Midway! Enjoy your favorite carnival-style treats, games, and even rides as we celebrate UIndy Homecoming!

Saturday, October 9:

HOUND HUSTLE 5K RUN/WALK

8:00 a.m. Registration, 9:00 a.m. Start • Schwitzer Student Center

Start your Homecoming day with a fun run/walk through campus and the local neighborhood. Proceeds benefit UIndy scholarships. Register here.

PRESIDENT’S LUNCH AND CAMPAIGN CELEBRATION

12:00 – 1:30 p.m. • Good Hall Lawn

The University celebrates the success of the Campaign for the University of Indianapolis and acknowledges those who helped make it possible. We’ll announce a major campaign milestone and share the impact UIndy supporters have made on students and the community. Register here.

HOMECOMING PARADE

3:00 p.m. • Hanna Avenue

Join fellow Greyhounds and their families for our annual golf cart parade down Hanna Avenue featuring student organizations, UIndy faculty and staff, athletic teams, and more.

BLOCK PARTY

4:00 p.m. • In front of the South Residence Halls (Warren, Roberts, Cravens)

Don’t miss the fun at the annual Homecoming Block Party! Come hungry for a variety of food trucks, entertainment and so much more.

UINDY FOOTBALL GAME vs. MCKENDREE BEARCATS

6:00 p.m. • Key Stadium

Don your favorite crimson and grey gear and help cheer the Greyhounds to victory over the McKendree Bearcats. For football tickets please visit athletics.uindy.edu. To provide a safer environment for the public, and to expedite fan entry into Key Stadium for Greyhound football, UIndy is also implementing a clear bag policy to limit the style and size of bags that may be brought into the stadium. 

Kenny Broberg to open residency Week of oct. 11

INDIANAPOLIS—The University of Indianapolis continues a rich history of the performing arts in a unique partnership with the Indianapolis-based American Pianists Association. As part of the partnership, the 2021 American Pianists Award winner and Christel DeHaan Classical Fellow, Kenny Broberg, is serving as the Artist-in-Residence at the University of Indianapolis for a two-year term. 

Broberg will be welcomed to campus and open his residency the week of October 11th for an opening concert at the Ruth Lilly Performance Hall in the Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center on October 12th, as well as conduct a masterclass for UIndy students on Friday, October 15th.

Broberg’s concert program includes selections from Beethoven, Scriabin, Medtner, and Rachmaninoff. The event is open to the public and free to attend. More information can be found at events.uindy.edu

“The partnership between UIndy and the American Pianists Association is simply extraordinary and has a profound impact on our students and the community. It is especially unique that a major competition has as part of its prize package that the winner gets to serve as Artist-in-Residence at our university—performing, teaching, giving lectures, and forging relationships over the period of two years that will last a lifetime,” said Ryan Behan, assistant professor and director of keyboard studies at the University of Indianapolis. 

He added, “Some of the most pivotal moments in the early years of any professional musician come when they hear a great concert artist, have lessons with them, and learn firsthand about what it took for them to find success. The student’s own dreams and vision for themselves become even more tangible and real. That an experience such as this has the power to act as an all-important catalyst in one’s musical development cannot be overstated. We are absolutely thrilled about the future of our partnership with the APA and are so excited to welcome Kenny Broberg to campus this fall.” 

About Kenny Broberg

Kenny Broberg, 26, is a Minneapolis native who won the silver medal at the 2017 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition and the 2019 bronze medal winner at the International Tchaikovsky Competition, as well as winning prizes at the Hastings, Sydney, Seattle and New Orleans International Piano Competitions. He has appeared with the Royal Philharmonic, Seattle Symphony and the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestras, among others. Recent and upcoming highlights include his debut with the Kansas City Symphony Orchestra, residencies at the Montreal Symphony’s Festival Virée Classique, Rye Arts, Methow Chamber, Strings and Sunriver Music Festivals, recitals in Houston, Denver, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles and Minneapolis, and in tours of Japan, Australia and Italy. He has been featured on NPR, WQXR, APM’s Performance Today, MPR and ABC (Australia) radio. His solo debut album was released in August 2017 on the Decca Gold label. Broberg studied for nine years with Dr. Joseph Zins before entering the University of Houston’s Moores School of Music, where he earned a Bachelor of Music degree with Nancy Weems in 2016. He currently resides in Parkville, Missouri, where he studies with Stanislav Loudenitch at Park University.

About the American Pianists Association

The American Pianists Association has been supporting aspiring young artists for over 40 years and has been based in Indianapolis since 1982. It has a professional staff of seven, headed by Peter Mraz.. The American Pianists Awards, held for both classical and jazz artists, offer significant opportunities for American pianists, ages 18-30, to advance their careers. Each winner receives a two-year fellowship, valued at over $200,000 including cash awards, fees, publicity and recording opportunities. All American Pianists Awards events are produced as public recitals and feature the finalists in a variety of settings. The organization greatly values the individual artistic sensibilities of each pianist, nurtures such individuality and does not impose any repertoire requirements during the competitions other than those necessary for the different genres. It is the intent of the American Pianists Awards to focus on artistic expression and not on competitive prowess. Further, the organization makes an effort to tailor its career assistance to suit the particular needs of the winner, offering an array of opportunities appropriate to the winner’s current career development and status. American Pianists Association strives to be the bridge between professional training and a full-fledged professional career.

www.americanpianists.org.

2021 UIndy Engineering 3D Printing Summer Camp: Developing the Next Generation of Makers

The R. B. Annis School of Engineering and the Center for Collaborative Innovation (CCI) successfully completed the 2021 STEM summer camp with the theme; Make the Maker: UIndy Engineering 3D Printing Summer Camp

The summer camp had nine high school student campers. The camp, which combined engineering and entrepreneurial mindset development, focused on the design, fabrication, and use of 3D printers. The pre-college participants were exposed to advanced design tools as well as digital manufacturing processes at the new Annis Hall facility. Though the camps was only scheduled to run two weeks, R.B. Annis School of Engineering faculty and staff Dr. Paul Talaga, James Emery, Dr. Megan Hammond, Dr. Joan Martinez, and Dr. David Olawale worked with the students for over three weeks because of the participants’ engagement and the organizers’ commitment for campers to go home with their operational 3D printers after the camp.

According to Dr. Paul Talaga (Camp Coordinator) the camp modeled the engineering process well.  “In the real world, the answers aren’t in the back of the book. Rather than run a camp where participants used 3D printers to print trinkets, we challenged the campers to imagine, design, and build a functional 3D printer on their own. Their creativity was astounding!  Each printer was unique and contained dozens of 3D printed and waterjeted parts, each having been designed by campers who went through many iterations to verify proper fit and functionality.  The creativity, problem solving, CAD, 3D printing, and fabrication skills acquired will allow these campers to continue their creativity.”

Some of the feedback from the campers on key lessons learned included:

“Learned how to manage my time, utilize CAD software, and learned to persevere through challenges.”
“Better CAD skills and thinking of how to assemble a product”
“I learned a lot about CAD and problem solving.”

Due to support from the Elevate Nexus Higher Education Grant, two high schoolers from Southport High School in Indianapolis, who would not have otherwise been able, were able to participate in the camp on full scholarships. “It is important to expose our high schoolers to advanced design and manufacturing tools as well as the entrepreneurial mindset,” said David Olawale, assistant professor of engineering, “So that we may attract them to the STEM disciplines and increase their ability to solve problems that matter to our nation, irrespective of economical and social status.” The CCI works on promoting innovation and entrepreneurship across UIndy and the surrounding communities.

Leah Milne selected for NEH Summer Institute

Virtual institute connects scholars to explore, celebrate work of Zora Neale Hurston

This summer Leah Milne, assistant professor of English, was one of 25 scholars selected for an NEH Summer Institute for an educational research collaboration hosted by The Project on the History of Black Writing at the University of Kansas. Normally held in Lawrence, Kansas, the educators will connect virtually from across the country. This year’s institute drew nearly 100 applicants, the largest in HBW’s history.

Leah Milne
Leah Milne

The 25 selected scholars will work with top Zora Neale Hurston literary scholars from the U.S. and abroad, engaging with Hurston’s work by participating in synchronous discussions, observing asynchronous presentations, and collaborating on research and teaching projects. Leading Hurston scholars who have confirmed participation include Deborah Plant, Carla Kaplan, John Lowe, Claudine Raynaud and Carmaletta Williams. Additional experts in African American literature and culture include Kevin Quashie, Deborah McDowell and Glenda Carpio as well as KU faculty members Giselle Anatol, Nicole Hodges Persley, Darren Canady and Paul Outka.

The institute is organized by project director Ayesha Hardison, KU professor of English and women, gender & sexuality studies, and by Maryemma Graham, University Distinguished Professor and founder of the Project on the History of Black Writing.

“We are excited to collaborate with the scholars and faculty of the NEH Summer Institute for an intensive study of Hurston, from her most celebrated fiction and ethnographies to her lesser-known work in film and journalism,” Hardison said. “We hope the institute’s return to Hurston, who proves more complex and innovative whenever someone rereads or rediscovers her, will spark new conversations in teaching and research within Hurston studies. I look forward to not only the insights about Hurston we will gain together this summer but also engaging in what she valued most: community and culture.”

In addition to the virtual summer institute, there will be a series of webinars in the fall providing an opportunity to connect with contemporary writers. The group will also be invited to reconvene on-site at the 2022 Zora! Festival in Eatonville, Florida. The festival is a major event for the author’s hometown and sponsored by P.E.C., Preservation for the Eatonville Community, which serves as the institute’s partner organization. 

“Hurston on the Horizon: Past, Present and Future” will take place July 11-30.

For more details about the institute and events open to the public, visit https://hurston.ku.edu.

CELL-ebrating 20 years of Excellence!

The Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning (CELL) at the University of Indianapolis is celebrating 20 years of education transformation across the state of Indiana.

A lot has changed since CELL launched in 2001. Think about technology advances alone: The first iPod hit shelves within days of the Center’s launch, and the smartphone came into existence six years later! Gmail and Facebook didn’t exist until 2004, a year before Merriam-Webster English Dictionary added the term “WiFi” and YouTube made video streaming a reality. The act of “scheduling a Zoom” was not even possible until 2011. Today, these tools are critical for effective virtual schooling. 

Another thing that’s changed since 2001: students in Indiana have more choices for their future. College hasn’t always been an option for all Hoosiers, but CELL is working to change that reality while also breaking down barriers for educators in the state. CELL is focused on helping all students graduate from high school fully prepared for success in postsecondary education and in the 21st-century workforce.

Teresa Lubbers, Commissioner for the Indiana Commission of Higher Education, speaks at a CELL event celebrating Early College High School

Highlights from the last two decades include hosting the inaugural “Indiana’s Future” Conference in 2005 and receiving $11.3 million in grant funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2003. Current strategic initiatives include Early College High School, which helps first-generation and minority students, Rural Early College Network, Education Workforce Innovation Network, which develops regional business collaborations, the Lilly Endowment Comprehensive Counseling Initiative, STEM Teach, and more

The Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning is a leading convener, catalyst and collaborator for dynamic, innovative education change in Indiana. CELL is committed to all Indiana students, regardless of background, graduating from high school equipped with the skills and knowledge necessary for success in postsecondary education, training and the 21st -century global economy. Through partnerships with international, national and local education leaders and organizations, CELL unites schools, communities, businesses, universities and policy-makers to create substantial, sustainable statewide education change to improve academic success for Hoosier students and to promote economic advancement in Indiana. Over the last twenty years, the Center has generated $57 million in funding to support its work as the leader for innovative education change in Indiana.

In 2019, CELL received a $7.9 million grant as part of the federal Education Innovation and Research (EIR) program administered by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education. This allowed CELL to establish a Rural Early College Network (RECN) to help rural Indiana schools more quickly implement the Early College (EC) high school model. Early College targets underserved students and allows them to earn both high school diplomas and up to two years of credits toward bachelor’s or associate degrees through rigorous dual credit classes supported by wrap-around services.

Recently, to address challenges exacerbated by the global coronavirus pandemic, CELL began a collaborative project with the CIESC (Central Education Service Center) to support 30 school districts in implementing effective digital learning, with a focus on developing and improving the availability of remote learning technologies. One grant worth $3.3 million will fund devices and broadband in nine service centers and 23 school districts in rural areas across the State of Indiana. The second grant allotted $1.5 million for professional development to improve educators’ capacity to provide engaging and effective online instruction. In addition to providing broadband for rural areas that frequently lack high-speed internet access, the $3.3 million grant will be used to connect families to wi-fi hotspots as well as to buy equipment such as laptops for students and teachers.

Carey Dahncke, CELL executive director

“Over the last 20 years, CELL has been a force for positive change in the Indiana educational landscape,” said Carey Dahncke, Executive Director of CELL. “We have impacted hundreds of thousands of students along the way to ensuring that every student in Indiana has access to a meaningful and high-quality education. In the next 20 years, even as the world continues to change, we will keep working to advance that mission.”

Related: Read CELL success stories

Kenny Broberg Announced as Artist-in-Residence

The University of Indianapolis continues a rich history of the performing arts in a unique partnership with the Indianapolis-based American Pianists Association. 

Kenny Broberg, the 2021 American Pianists Awards winner and Christel DeHaan Classical Fellow, will serve as the Artist-in-Residence at the University of Indianapolis for the next two years. Broberg succeeds Emmet Cohen, the 2019 American Pianists Awards winner and recipient of the Cole Porter Fellowship in Jazz.

“The Artist-in-Residence program continues to provide unique opportunities that connect our students with the expertise and talent of the American Pianists Association to help them navigate from the classroom to the concert hall. I am deeply proud of this partnership that creates a space for musical exploration for the entire community,” said University of Indianapolis President Robert L. Manuel. “We are grateful for the invaluable contributions of the previous artists-in-residence, Drew Petersen and Emmet Cohen. We extend our congratulations to Kenny Broberg on his tremendous achievement and we look forward to welcoming him to campus in the fall.”

The Christel DeHaan Classical Fellowship provides Broberg with a prize valued at $200,000 designed to assist him as he builds his musical career. It includes $50,000 in cash, a recording contract with Steinway & Sons, two years of professional development and assistance and performance opportunities worldwide.

Broberg will provide lessons to multiple students, present a two-hour master class and host performances during his time on campus as the Artist-in-Residence.

President Robert L. Manuel at the American Pianists Awards competition finale, with Dr. Joel Harrison pictured right

Dr. Joel Harrison, President/CEO and Artistic Director of the American Pianists Association, added, “We have greatly appreciated the support of the University of Indianapolis and most especially that of its president, Dr. Robert Manuel. The residency offers a superb opportunity for our winner to be in a strong academic setting, working with students not too different in age from our winner. And it gives the University of Indianapolis an excellent example to put forth of how valuable an educational and artistic experience can be in developing young artists. Everyone wins through this unique collaboration.”

About Kenny Broberg
Kenny Broberg, 26, is a Minneapolis native who won the silver medal at the 2017 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition and the 2019 bronze medal winner at the International Tchaikovsky Competition, as well as winning prizes at the Hastings, Sydney, Seattle and New Orleans International Piano Competitions. He has appeared with the Royal Philharmonic, Seattle Symphony and the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestras, among others. Recent and upcoming highlights include his debut with the Kansas City Symphony Orchestra, residencies at the Montreal Symphony’s Festival Virée Classique, Rye Arts, Methow Chamber, Strings and Sunriver Music Festivals, recitals in Houston, Denver, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles and Minneapolis, and in tours of Japan, Australia and Italy. He has been featured on NPR, WQXR, APM’s Performance Today, MPR and ABC (Australia) radio. His solo debut album was released in August 2017 on the Decca Gold label. Broberg studied for nine years with Dr. Joseph Zins before entering the University of Houston’s Moores School of Music, where he earned a Bachelor of Music degree with Nancy Weems in 2016. He currently resides in Parkville, Missouri, where he studies with Stanislav Ioudenitch at Park University.

About the American Pianists Association
The American Pianists Association has been supporting aspiring young artists for over 40 years and has been based in Indianapolis since 1982. It has a professional staff of seven, headed by Dr. Joel M. Harrison. The American Pianists Awards, held for both classical and jazz artists, offer significant opportunities for American pianists, ages 18-30, to advance their careers. Each winner receives a two-year fellowship, valued at over $100,000 including cash awards, fees, publicity and recording opportunities. All American Pianists Awards events are produced as public recitals and feature the finalists in a variety of settings. The organization greatly values the individual artistic sensibilities of each pianist, nurtures such individuality and does not impose any repertoire requirements during the competitions other than those necessary for the different genres. It is the intent of the American Pianists Awards to focus on artistic expression and not on competitive prowess. Further, the organization makes an effort to tailor its career assistance to suit the particular needs of the winner, offering an array of opportunities appropriate to the winner’s current career development and status. American Pianists Association strives to be the bridge between professional training and a full-fledged professional career.

www.americanpianists.org.

UIndy Students Take Home First Prize at National Robotics Competition

A team of students from the R.B. Annis School of Engineering at the University of Indianapolis won first place in the combat robot competition at the National Robotics Challenge World Championship. 

Over the past academic year, a team of seniors designed, fabricated, and tested the combat robot. These students include:

  • Jonathan Key, Mechanical Engineering
  • Tyler Cole, Industrial & Systems Engineering 
  • Laura Johnson, Mechanical Engineering 
  • Ryan Kallenberger, Mechanical Engineering

In April, the team’s robot design passed a stringent qualification round and were invited to participate in the finals that took place in Marion, OH, in May, where the R.B Annis School of Engineering team won first place (gold award) in the post-secondary division of the combat robot competition, and boasted an undefeated record throughout the tournament.  

Ryan Kallenberger was the game-day captain and driver of the robot at the event, and junior Mechanical Engineering major, Anthony WIlliamson, represented the team at the competition as well. 

The Staff and Faculty who traveled with the students to Marion, OH to support the team include:

  • James Emery who also significantly supported the student team in designing, testing, and fabricating the robot, and was also a competition advisor. 
  • Najmus Saqib Mechanical Engineering faculty support and competition advisor.
  • Cameron Wright a local engineering and external advisor.
  • Joseph B. Herzog, team advisor and senior design instructor and course coordinator. 

Eliot Motato, also supported and advised the team along with Herzog as a Faculty Team Committee member throughout the academic year. Plus, many other R.B. Annis School of Engineering faculty and staff helped support the team throughout the year to help make this happen. 

Juneteenth Spotlight: Tylyn Johnson ’22

johnson_tylyn_poetryreading_800x600Tylyn Johnson ‘22 (social work) will step up to the microphone on June 17, to help make this year’s UIndy Juneteenth Celebration memorable and unique. Striving for the impact of Amanda Gorman and the reading of her poem, “The Hill We Climb,” at the inauguration of President Joe Biden, Johnson will be reciting a poem he has written specifically for the outdoor event scheduled for Schwitzer Park.

“As I think about how [my writing] relates to Juneteenth and so much of the wonderful Black traditions that I come from, I think of writing as simply one aspect of the storytelling tradition that, to me, has always been intertwined with Black culture and pride,” Johnson said.

Johnson has been inspired by many historical activists and leaders that he considers great storytellers. These include Lorraine Hansberry, Martin Luther King Jr., Angela Davis, and Ida B. Wells. As a social work major, he has come to embrace adoption advocacy and continues to learn and refine his skills as it relates to foster care and adoption—living the service-learning legacy of UIndy.

Heading into his senior year, Johnson has strived not only in the classroom but also across campus and in the community. Along with contributing to the Office of Inclusion & Equity, he also has provided his skills and dedication to projects with the Interfaith Scholars Program, the Black Student Association, UIndy Pride, and Healing Hounds. These opportunities have helped him learn who he is and about the world and how others experience it—which he pours into his writing.

“I often tend to write about my experiences with my identity and try to paint different kinds of visuals with the words I have available to me,” Johnson said. “For me, my writing often stems from how I’ve come to understand my development as a Black Queer person—personally, politically, and professionally—especially as it relates to how community and storytelling and resource access have all afforded me who I am today.”

Volunteers team up with Indianapolis non-profits to plant trees on Shelby St. Corridor

Volunteers made their way to the University of Indianapolis campus last week for a project in partnership with Keep Indianapolis Beautiful and the South Indy Quality of Life Plan to plant trees along the Shelby St. corridor on campus. The initiative came as a result of the South Indy Quality of Life Plan applying for, and receiving, a grant from the Indiana Neighborhood Housing Partnership.

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