Senior spotlight: Jorge Fonseca (athletic training)

Fonseca_JorgeWhen Jorge Fonseca ’19 (athletic training) crosses the stage to receive his diploma, he will be taking with him some key skills that will serve him well.

“I have learned a lot academically, but what I learned during my 1500+ hours of clinical experience is priceless,” said the Aguadilla, Puerto Rico native. “My clinical experiences have made me a better communicator, allowed me to learn how to be autonomous while at the same time being a team player, be a better healthcare provider, and overall to be a professional.”

It’s the United States Army that will benefit from those all-important “soft skills” Fonseca gained while studying athletic training at UIndy. After graduation, he will go to Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training, where he will work as a medical laboratory specialist. He will then enter a military program to earn a physician assistant master’s degree to become a commissioned Army medical officer.

He knows that his UIndy experiences – ranging from advocating for athletic training legislation at the Indiana Statehouse to research on the effects of cold-water immersion compared to active recovery on the management of delayed-onset muscle soreness – have prepared him well for the next stage of life.

“I can’t wait to graduate…I want to go out into the real world and apply all of the knowledge and skills I’ve learned in my four years here at UIndy,” Fonseca said. “I will forever be a Greyhound and UIndy will always have a special place in my heart.”

Learn about the athletic training program at the University of Indianapolis

Student represents UIndy during 500 Festival Princess Program

McKayla Tucker ‘21 (human biology) is one of the 33 women selected to be a 2019 500 Festival Princess. These women represent 13 Indiana colleges and universities and 20 cities across the state. With a cumulative GPA of 3.65, this year’s 500 Festival Princesses were selected from hundreds of applicants based on communication skills, academic performance and community involvement.  


A Valparaiso native, Tucker has a pre-physical therapy concentration and is working on earning her Healthy Diploma. After graduating, she plans to attend graduate school at UIndy and complete her physical therapy track with goals of working with OrthoIndy or the Indiana Pacers.  

Tucker said being selected for the 500 Princess Program is a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to expand her professional network and grow her skill set.

“I’ve learned to communicate across the spectrum – with all ages and professional groups,” Tucker said about her involvement in the 500 Festival Leadership Development Program. “My communication skills and leadership skills are two places where I’ve really seen a lot of growth.”  

Tucker also received a $1,000 scholarship, made possible by Marlyne Sexton and the 500 Festival Foundation.

I’m representing something so much bigger than myself. Not only am I representing my hometown of Valparaiso, I am representing UIndy and the entire state of Indiana and what we hold near and dear to our hearts,” Tucker said.

Tucker is currently working to get an official pace car on campus with hopes of getting people as excited about the 500 Festival Parade as she is. She pointed out that as one of the top three best parades in the nation, it’s not an event you’ll want to skip.

Related: Professional Edge Center hosts “Finish Strong” student appreciation event

Tucker said a few things have greatly impacted her journey to become a princess, including countless hours of volunteer work in her hometown and in Indianapolis. She also was involved with Delight ministries on campus.

Another factor that contributed to Tucker’s success is her former chemistry professor, Anne Cutler. Referring to Cutler as her “campus mom,” Tucker credits the UIndy faculty with helping to direct her area of focus and discover her place on campus.  

“Not only did she help me with some really big life situations, she also helped me to figure out how to make the most out of my time and experience at UIndy,” Tucker said.

“I just wish more young women knew about the program and applied…[being a part of the princess program] is so much more than a sash and tiara,” said Tucker.

Keep up with 500 Festival activities

About the 500 Festival Program
The 500 Festival Princess Program, presented by Reis-Nichols Jewelers, celebrates Indiana’s most civic-minded, academically driven young women. Each year, 33 college-aged women are selected as 500 Festival Princesses and serve as ambassadors of the 500 Festival, their hometowns, and their colleges/universities. Serving as a 500 Festival Princess provides young women with once-in-a-lifetime experiences and countless opportunities for leadership and professional development. Since the program’s founding in 1959, nearly 2,000 Indiana women have experienced the honor of being selected as a 500 Festival Princess.

Honoring Longtime Greyhound Bill Bright

bill brightWilliam “Bill” Bright ’54, former University of Indianapolis student-athlete and longtime coach and Athletics Director, is being honored Sunday, April 14. The baseball field at Greyhound Park will be dedicated in his name as Bill Bright Field, commemorating a lifetime of contributions and service to UIndy.

One of Greyhound baseball’s greatest players as a student-athlete, Bright went on to commit more than two decades as a teacher and coach at UIndy, and then nearly that long as the Athletics Director. All told, Bright devoted 37 years of his life to the University.

“The Bright family is in awe, and so grateful to those who made this tremendous honor possible,” the family expressed in a recent statement. “Bill would be so humbled, as he absolutely loved this University and all that it stood for! Baseball was Bill’s life and Indiana Central was his home.”

“We appreciate the leadership of alumni, and specifically Manny McGuire ’73, in keeping our alumni baseball players and friends of that era such a close-knit group throughout the years.”

Added McGuire: “Bill was a man of integrity who helped shape so many lives over a 37-year career at the University. While he was a coach, an educator and a mentor, he was also a friend, a pillar in the community, a husband, a father and a leader who dedicated himself to helping others without seeking reward for himself.  It was never about Bill, it was about you.”

In 1950, Bright enrolled at the University – then Indiana Central College – where he pitched for the baseball team and played basketball. He lettered each year in baseball and basketball before signing a baseball contract with the Philadelphia Phillies. He was part of the 1952 ICC baseball team that went undefeated and he set nine school baseball records before graduating in 1954.

Bill Bright was the University’s head baseball coach for 20 years where his teams earned several conference championships. He was also the cross country coach for 21 years and assistant basketball coach for 21 years before assuming the head basketball coaching position for five years. He served two 3-year terms on the NCAA Division II Men’s Basketball Committee.

He concluded his 37 years at the University by serving as its athletics director for 17 years before retiring in 1994. He was second-team All-Hoosier College Conference in 1953, a two-time team MVP, an amateur baseball all-American, and the 1954 Walter Brennemen Award winner. Bill Bright was inducted into the University’s Hall of Fame in 1988 and the Indiana Baseball Hall of Fame in 2002.

“Bill Bright devoted his life to this institution, and it is fitting that the baseball field be named in his honor,” said Dr. Sue Willey ’75, Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics.

Bill and his wife, Pat Hunt Bright ’57, were married in 1956 and have one daughter, Pam ’84, and one son, Steve ’90. A man of impeccable character, Bill Bright was a role model for his student-athletes, family, and community. Bill passed away on February 1, 2011.

Undergrad experiences set foundation for public health grad’s career

CNelsonOn a sunny day in May 2013, Corey Nelson walked across the stage in the middle of UIndy’s Key Stadium with a new degree in hand from the College of Health Sciences and a world of opportunity before him. A graduate from the Community Health Education program, now known as Public Health Education and Promotion, Nelson remembers how his four years at UIndy prepared him for a career in public health.

“While still in school, I was creating and designing health and wellness programs, reviewing current literature and corporate health guidelines, implementing programs rooted in behavior change theories, and evaluating the efficacy and impact on the engaged individuals and target populations,” Nelson said. “Without a doubt, what I did in the classroom is exactly what I did right out of school and still do to this day.”

A few years later, Nelson has progressed through the healthcare field. Following an internship with Community Health Network’s Employer Health division, Nelson gained experience at Community as a health coach, preventative care specialist and wellness coordinator before taking a job as a health promotion consultant/engagement consultant for Humana. Now he’s found a home as an account manager at Grand Rounds, a company focused on making healthcare more accessible and simpler for consumers, where he hopes to positively impact the healthcare system.

“Before committing to a future in healthcare, my only understanding of healthcare was at the most basic level, ‘If you are hurt or ill, go see a doctor,’” he said. “My time at UIndy introduced me to the impact individuals can have in healthcare when deciding to commit themselves to prevention and engagement and altering the course of how care is delivered, when care is delivered, and what makes and creates impact in healthcare.”

Nelson accredits his confidence and knowledge in the field to the in-depth education he received. “It goes without saying, that while in school, regardless of where, you receive the educational framework; the readings, lectures, papers, tests and quizzes. However, the differentiator at UIndy is the applied knowledge.”

Aside from the real-life experience in the program itself, Nelson said he will forever be grateful for the individual attention and mentorship he received on a personal level from the faculty at UIndy.

“My biggest role model at UIndy was and still is Dr. Rauch. Upon graduating from UIndy I would share the role she played with others not only as an educator and professor but often tossed out the title ‘Campus Mom.’ Dr. Rauch was there any time I needed her; whether it was academics, personal life, or anything in between, she was the one I went to first.”

“UIndy made a significant impact in my preparation for the health field by incorporating a vast array of hands-on experiences and projects and combining that with the opportunity to meet and hear from experts in the field. The networking I completed while still in school at UIndy helped launch my career, and still plays a vital role in my life today.”

But when asked what mattered most when Nelson looks back on his college days? Easy; human connection.

“What I value the most about my time at UIndy was the personal touch to my education and growth as a person. Class sizes were small, which led to hands-on experience and larger responsibility in the classroom. Professors know you as a person and not a number in the class.”

It’s this perspective he now brings into the healthcare field; lessons from campus now being played out in the community.

– Written by Olivia Horvath, OTD Class of 2020

UIndy professor coaches rising star in classical guitar

At the age of 14, Ian Tubbs has claimed six first-place awards in guitar competitions that span the globe. For the last seven years, he’s been studying under classical guitarist Nemanja Ostojić, associate adjunct professor of music at the University of Indianapolis.  

Nemanja’s teaching is invaluable to us,” said Ian’s mom, Gia. “He teaches Ian in the most excellent way, helping him to be a musician of quality in every way – always concerned with the details as much as the bigger picture.”

Ian and Nem 1

Music is a passion that runs in the Tubbs family. Ian’s older sister plays classical piano and his dad took acoustic guitar lessons. When Ian was four years old, he decided he wanted to take piano lessons too and by age five, he asked for a toy acoustic guitar for Christmas.

“From that point, Ian took his toy guitar nearly everywhere he went,” his mom said.

By the time Ian was seven, his parents knew it was time to seek out classical guitar lessons for Ian, who exhibited a natural talent and enthusiasm for the art form. Ian began taking 30-minute private classical guitar lessons with his mentor once a week, which would eventually become 90-minute sessions as his skills and age advanced.

“Ian practices between 2.5–4 hours each day, except on Sundays, which we try to keep as a day of rest, unless a competition makes practicing necessary,” Gia explains.

Ian followed Ostojić to the University of Indianapolis Department of Music for a guitar pre-college program. (Hear Ian’s 2015 spring recital performance)

“Nemanja has been the greatest connection we could have ever hoped for Ian,” Gia said. “We feel very grateful and blessed to have Nemanja’s mentorship and also his kind friendship to our family.”

Ian and Nem 2

Related: Learn about a new classical guitar series at the University of Indianapolis started by Ostojić

Along with classical guitar, Ian is interested in physics, engineering and aviation. This summer, he will be attending an aviation camp to learn how to pilot small Cessna planes.

Ian’s classical guitar awards include:

  • 1st prize – 2018 Indianapolis Matinee Musicale Scholarship Competition (junior section)
  • 1st prize – 2018 Bloomington Classical Guitar Society Aspiring Artist Award
  • 1st prize – 2018 Jacobs School of Music International Classical Guitar Festival and Competition (junior division)
  • 1st prize – 2018 Texas A&M International Classical Guitar Festival and Competition (junior division)
  • 1st prize – 2017 Latino Arts Classical Guitar Competition in Milwaukee, WI (senior division)
  • 1st prize – 2017 Guitar Art International Festival and Competition in Belgrade, Serbia
  • 2nd prize – 2016 Jacobs School of Music International Classical Guitar Festival and Competition (junior division)
  • 3rd prize – 2018 Columbus State International Guitar Symposium (junior division)
  • 3rd prize – 2017 Jacobs School of Music International Classical Guitar Festival and Competition (junior division)
  • 3rd prize – 2016 Latino Arts Classical Guitar Competition in Milwaukee, WI (senior division)
  • 4th prize – 2019 Orange County Classical Guitar Festival and Competition – Chapman University, California (youth division, 18 and under)


Learn more about the Department of Music at the University of Indianapolis

Follow the UIndy guitar program on Facebook

Physical therapy alum retraces her path to success

CBNewgentMore than a decade after leaving campus, University of Indianapolis Krannert School of Physical Therapy alumna Christa Buell Newgent retraces her path to success and how her alma mater helped on that journey.

Newgent, who earned a bachelor’s in psychology from UIndy in 2000 and a master’s in physical therapy in 2002, is now the corporate director of rehabilitation at the Andrews Institute for Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine in the Florida panhandle.

From clinic to management

After graduation from physical therapy school, Newgent moved to a small town, where her husband Matt ’99 (history), ’01 (MBA), was a college baseball coach. She worked in a rural hospital, caring for inpatients, outpatients and residents at a local nursing home.

“That initial setting really exposed me to all aspects of patient care,” Newgent said. “We were only one of two therapy providers within a two-hour drive, so I had to problem solve and maximize the resources around me to ensure patient outcomes.”

From there, the Newgents moved to Oklahoma City, where Christa worked at Integris Health’s Jim Thorpe Rehabilitation treating outpatients with orthopedic and neurologic conditions, as well as pediatric patients. During her 13 years in Oklahoma, she had the opportunity to move from a lead PT position to management at Jim Thorpe, a role that she says gave her greater insights into clinic operations.

Eventually, she transitioned into managing multiple clinics within Integris Health’s Jim Thorpe Rehabilitation and was involved with the construction and opening of an outpatient cancer clinic. Her role included building a cancer rehab program and helping clinicians earn their STAR Program® Certifications, a designation of superior oncology rehabilitation specialists.

In 2015, the Newgents relocated to Florida, where Christa moved into a management role at the Andrews Institute. After a few years of successfully managing one of Andrews’ outpatient clinics, she took on her current role as corporate director of rehabilitation in the summer of 2018.

Newgent manages the operations of four acute care settings, eight outpatient clinics, three disciplines (including physical therapy) and over 20 specialties.

“I’m grateful every day to have the opportunity to work with some of the greatest orthopedic surgeons, nurses, physician assistants and therapists in the country,” Newgent said. “While I’m not providing direct patient care, I enjoy having an impact on the successful operations of our system to positively improve the lives of the patients around us.”

Thoughts on UIndy and PT

“UIndy did a wonderful job of selecting professors at the topic of their chosen specialty who were passionate about the profession,” said Newgent, who was also a UIndy soccer player.

“What I recall very clearly is that all the professors were still practicing therapists, so they would inject a real-life approach into how they taught patient care. I feel confident that this made me ready to step into the workforce and be successful.”

As for what she would tell someone interested in studying physical therapy, Newgent encourages an open mind.

“Don’t settle on one specialty during your training,” she said. “I thought I only wanted to work in outpatient orthopedics, but along the way, I found passion in pediatrics, geriatrics, neuro, and oncology as well. I came back to orthopedics, but my career was enriched by those other experiences.”

Learn more about the Krannert School of Physical Therapy

2019 Black History Month events continue

The University of Indianapolis is celebrating Black History Month with a full calendar of educational and entertaining events, including a trivia night, a poetry reading with Randall Horton, a lecture with social activist Jemar Tisby and the second annual Legacy of Excellence Dinner.

UIndy BSA_2Most of the events are being organized by the UIndy Black Student Association (BSA), a registered student organization that promotes social service and academic success through the black community.

“These events related to Black History Month give us the opportunity to acknowledge and give thanks to the notable leaders who came before us,” said BSA president Gabrielle Elam ‘19 (applied psychology), who has served on the executive board for three years. “They are important for us to learn more about black history including the leaders that are around us every day that are a part of history, and make note that we too are a part of history as young black college students.”

Elam encourages the campus community to participate in Black History Month events regardless of ethnic background or identity.

“Everyone is welcome to ANY BSA and Black History Month event,” she said. “The Black Student Association does not discriminate against race, ethnicity, color, gender, or sexual orientation. Black History Month is simply a learning experience and a celebration.”

Schedule of events:

2109 BHM (1)

In partnership with UIndy’s Campus Program Board, the University Lecture Series, and IUPUI/Butler’s BSU

Caitlynn Richardson ’16 honored with Charlotte Boener Award

Caitlynn RichardsonCaitlynn Richardson ’16 is receiving the Charlotte Boener Award for Innovative Middle School Science Teaching at the Hoosier Association of Science Teachers, Inc. conference in February 2019. Richardson is a graduate of the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellows Program, now known as Teach (STEM)³ at the University of Indianapolis.  

Richardson graduated from Indiana University in 2015 with two bachelor’s degrees in biology and political science, as well as minors in animal behavior and education. Serving as an advocate for teachers, she recently testified at the Indiana State Legislature on issues related to teacher compensation.

We caught up with Richardson to learn more about her recent achievements.

Q: Where have you worked since graduating from UIndy?

A: During the program, I received an offer to work at Chapel Hill 7th & 8th Grade Center in the Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township and I have worked there ever since. I teach seventh and eighth-grade science, depending on what year it is.

Q: How does it feel to have your work recognized with the Charlotte Boener award?

A: I’m very appreciative of the recognition! My mentor from my Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program nominated me this year after seeing a few project-based learning units I had designed. I am thankful that she took the time to share my work with other educators.

Q: How did UIndy’s School of Education program prepare you for your career?

A: The program gave me tools and resources that were vital to a first-year teacher, including frequent meetings with my mentor, numerous lesson plans and materials ready to implement in my classroom, plus digital resources I could use to change things up. As a new teacher, accumulating as many resources as possible really helps balance out the stress of everything else you’re trying to learn. The information presented in my classes was able to be used directly in my practice, and I can’t be more thankful to UIndy for all I learned at my time there.

Q: Was there anyone at UIndy who helped you along the way?

A: I could easily list all of my professors in the program! Every single one helped me in some way. I’m especially thankful for Deb Sachs, Jean Lee and Carol Chen. Deb and Jean put their hearts into the program and make sure each of their students is as successful as possible. They are able to see the best in you and push you to the best of your abilities, even when you doubt yourself. Carol was my mentor teacher during the program and she has been one of my biggest supporters throughout the program and in the first years of my teaching career. I also should give a big shout out to my husband, Todd, because he is the reason I applied to the MAT program in the first place. I was pretty lost as to what I wanted to do my senior year of college, and he helped me realize that teaching was the path for me.

Q: You recently testified on behalf of teacher compensation and other issues during a House Education Committee meeting at the Indiana legislature – why did you decide to get involved?

A: My superintendent sent out e-mails about a program called the Teach Plus Policy Fellowship, which is a program devoted to empowering teachers to take leadership over policies that will directly affect students. I applied last year and was accepted into the year-long fellowship this school year. I have a background in political science, and I was very interested in the opportunity to learn more about how education policies are designed. I also wanted to have a more active role in making these decisions as a professional in my field.

Q: What would you like lawmakers and the general public to understand about the issues teachers face and how that affects children’s education?

A: Before I became a teacher, I was unaware of the small, but important, things that can completely change a classroom as well as a child’s experience in public school. Through my work with Teach Plus, I have been able to share my experience with teacher preparation with legislators in regards to HB 1009. This bill proposes to have a one-year residency for teacher prep programs, similar to what I experienced at UIndy. I encourage lawmakers and the general public to reach out to teachers and ask them questions. I love our profession, and I know most teachers do as well. We would be more than willing to share our stories to help foster understanding of best practices in education and what would improve the field.

Q: How did your program at UIndy prepare or encourage you to advocate for teachers?

A: Part of the program was learning and implementing research-based best practices. Knowing the research behind the practices helps me push for resources and policies that support teachers as they try to provide the best education possible for their students. For instance, research shows that project-based learning helps students develop a deeper understanding of knowledge while simultaneously learning necessary 21st-century skills like collaboration and critical thinking.

Q: Anything else you want to add?

A: I encourage anyone who is considering education as a major to reach out and speak with the professors in UIndy’s School of Education. They are experts in their field, and they will help in any way they can. Sometimes there is a lot of negativity surrounding the teaching field, but it is an absolutely rewarding and meaningful career that I truly enjoy doing. Watching students engage, understand, and enjoy content has no parallel! I am thankful to have the opportunity to share my love of science with young minds, and it is my hope that they begin to love it too before they leave my class.

International relations students partner with refugees from Burma

Integrating into a new society is no small task. A new collaboration between the University of Indianapolis Department of International Relations and the Burmese American Community Institute (BACI) seeks to make that transition a little easier.

Service_learning_expo_1153 (1)More than 19,000 refugees from Burma have migrated to Indianapolis in recent years, according to the BACI website. The University’s partnership with BACI began six years ago with a vision to create a welcoming, vibrant environment for refugees and the community as a whole.

This semester, seven graduate students and 14 undergraduate students majoring in international relations will provide more than 400 hours of social services to BACI community members, including advocacy, teaching English, tutoring kids for SAT exams and preparing for citizenship exams. Each student chose an area of focus that was meaningful to them.

The opportunity to help the Burmese immigrant community is not only a humbling experience but an avenue to discover the need for continued collaboration within the community,” said Craig-Anesu Chigadza ‘21 (international relations, psychology).

More than 200 people will be impacted by this partnership, said Jyotika Saksena, associate professor and graduate director of the international relations program.

“The majority of the older Burmese community that migrated to the U.S. are not fluent in English and those who do manage to acquire the skills do not understand the American education system or aspects of American society,” Saksena explained. “This leaves a learning gap among the young people in this community, many of whom have aspirations for higher education. Our students will be able to provide much-needed assistance to this community.”

The project will immerse students with BACI, helping them understand how non-profits work and make connections between the role played by international agencies and local refugee resettlement agencies.

It feels very rewarding to help Burmese immigrants. I really admire BACI’s staff and their commitment to assisting the immigrants and refugees and establishing institutional and cultural ties between Myanmar and the United States for the betterment of both places,” said Reagan Kurtz ‘19 (history, political science, international relations), who will be assisting with SAT test preparation this semester.

Discover other service-learning projects at UIndy

“No Belles: Legends of Women in Science” coming to UIndy Feb. 6

Amid the ongoing conversation about inclusivity in academics, a theatrical performance raises timely questions about the disparity of women pursuing careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). The Portland, Oregon-based Portal Theatre brings “No Belles: Legends of Women in Science” to the Ruth Lilly Performance Hall, Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center, Feb. 6, 2019, to explore the stories of female scientists who have and have not received the Nobel Prize.


The University of Indianapolis is co-hosting the event with the Indiana local section of the American Chemical Society. The evening includes a reception in the lobby from 5:30 to 6:15 p.m., followed by the performance at 6:30 p.m. and a chance to meet the cast from 7:30 to 8 p.m. Admission is free for this public event and registration is required.

With just 19 women represented among more than 600 Nobel Prize recipients in physics, chemistry or medicine over the years, “No Belles” focuses attention on female scientists’ work – and how to create more opportunities for women in STEM fields. The Portal Theatre, which created the original work, describes the performance: “‘No Belles’ makes visible the significant contributions of women in science and serves as a powerful catalyst for increased interactions between the sciences and the community.”

Michael Phillips, Portal Theatre artistic director, explained the show is aimed at anyone with an interest in science.

“We want the audience to know who these scientists were. The reason we chose storytelling as the primary mode for the show was so that we could, simply and directly, explore the lives of the women, and understand all they had to overcome to reach their goals,” Phillips explained.

“We wanted to bring this performance to the University of Indianapolis to highlight the contributions of women in science and the value of inclusivity,” said Debra Feakes, dean of the Shaheen College of Arts & Sciences.

“No Belles” explores the careers of Rosalyn Yalow, Rita Levi-Montalcini and Rosalind Franklin, merging science, storytelling and broader discussions of equal treatment in academics and the workplace. Creating opportunities for women in science to become role models and act as mentors to those who follow them is a big part of the story.

“The UIndy Chemistry Department is pleased to be able to offer this play, ‘No Belles,’ to the University and general community. It brings to the forefront the particular struggles of female scientists who may not benefit from the same level of support and mentorship as their peers.  The commitment and dedication of these women is an inspiration to all, and I would encourage everyone to go share this experience,” said Kathy Stickney, associate professor of chemistry and executive committee member for the Indiana Section of the American Chemical Society.

The American Chemical Society hosted a performance of “No Belles” in 2017 at the Fall National Meeting as an adjunct to a symposium on the under-representation of women in chemistry. The Portal Theatre debuted the performance at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August 2014 and the Canadian Fringe Festival in 2015 to rave reviews.

Register here for free tickets.


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