Maxwell Shafer ’21 (Actuarial Science, Math and Statistics Minors)

UIndy 360 spoke to Maxwell Shafer ‘21 (Actuarial Science, Math and Statistics Minors) about his UIndy journey.


UIndy 360: What advice do you have for incoming freshmen?

Maxwell: Put yourself out there, don’t be shy.

360: What is the most significant way UIndy has had an impact on you?

M: Being out of state, I got to see how different everyone is with their mannerisms & etc. Gained a new perspective on a lot of things.

360: How has your program prepared you for the next steps in your career?

M: The classes offered followed the exact format of the actuarial exams. The professors made it super easy to get ahead in my career by passing a few exams in undergrad. 

360: Do you have any faculty mentors? If so, who are they and how have they helped you? 

M: Nadjib Bouzar has been my biggest help. He has put in countless hours helping me and going out of his way to help his students. I can’t describe how thankful I am to have had him as my main professor. Also, Lochana Siriwardena has given a lot of career advice and has been a huge help to me as well. I have also talked to other professors like Wendy McCoy who have actuarial experience and went out of their way to offer me advice! 

360: Have you been involved in any extracurricular activities? (athletics, RSOs, volunteer work etc.) How have those experiences impacted your time at UIndy?

M: I’ve been involved in a few things and the people I met have made the greatest impact on me. 

360: What would you like to do following graduation? What are your long-term career goals? 

M: I have a job lined up this Summer in Chicago as a Health Actuarial Analyst at Mercer. My goals are to pass all my exams and then maybe take my background in math and apply it to sport analytics/statistics some day!

360: What’s your favorite thing about UIndy?

M: The people I have met and having small class sizes so I had great relationships with my professors.

UIndy CMFK Wins “Biggest Heart Award”

The University of Indianapolis chapter of College Mentors for Kids has succeeded and surpassed their goals this year. They currently serve fourteen youth, “little buddies” who attend either IPS 114 or IPS 65. Weekly activities are either conducted through a pen pal program, Mentor Mail or through our virtual mentoring program, College Mentors Connect.  Chapter President, Nathan Tuft and the executive leadership team have been resilient, hardworking, and passionate despite a challenging year.

Tuft said, “My three years with UIndy College Mentors for Kids has been a very enriching experience. From my start as a mentor, it was very wholesome to see how the kids learned and enjoyed being on campus. I believe it gives them an opportunity to understand college life and to not be afraid of it, while also giving them someone to look up to. I enjoyed every minute of the program, but mostly watching how the students and mentors changed each other throughout the year. The connections I made are invaluable and will always be cherished.”

To honor and celebrate their wonderful work, College Mentors has awarded them with the “Biggest heart award”.  This is fitting for the UIndy chapter because it highlights how much love they have for their partners and the “little buddies” that they serve. All of the mentors and exec leaders are incredibly caring, passionate leaders who always have sight of what is most important, the “little buddies”! We are so lucky that these leaders participate in College Mentors for Kids and give their many skills and talents to the organization. Thank you, UIndy mentors, staff, and partners.  Special shoutout to our beloved site manager, Marianna Foulkrod for all of her support, time, and dedication! We appreciate you!


Special thanks to those who participated in College Mentors this year:

Bryonna Bell

Claire Anderson

Grace’Lyn Preshon

Hannah Hardin

Jocelyn Alvarez

Joseph Gonsiorowski

Kariden Jones

Kathryn Leigh

Kelsie Vogleman

LaHarren Saulsberry

Maya Howard

Nathan Tuft

Nichole Reatherford

Paul Ellery

Shelby Sipes

Kristen Laporte ‘21, MPS Real Estate Development

UIndy 360 spoke to Kristen Laporte ‘21 (MPS Real Estate Development) about her UIndy 

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UIndy 360: What advice do you have for incoming freshmen?

Kristen: There are so many opportunities ahead of you, college is the time to find your passion.  If the classes you are taking for your major don’t appeal to you, there is a chance the job you think you want won’t either.  

360: What is the most significant way UIndy has had an impact on you?

K: Considering I hadn’t been in school since I graduated college back in 2004, UIndy reminded me of the hard work & dedication that it takes to be a good student.  That we all have different ways of learning & that it’s important to put your best effort forward if you want to get the most out of the course.

360: How has your program prepared you for the next steps in your career? 

K: My original degree was in communications, and now I work in real estate development.  Participating in the MPS in Real Estate Development gave me the opportunity to take the on-the-job knowledge that I have learned in my career & expand on that with the experience & guidance of our instructors.  Getting to learn from others in the industry & fine-tune my skills has been incredibly rewarding & has helped me in my everyday career.

360: Do you have any faculty mentors? If so, who are they and how have they helped you? 

K: The great part about the MPS program is that our instructors are people who work in the Real Estate industry, so they all in a way become our mentors during their specific course.  Eric Harvey has really been great at pushing our cohort to achieve more.

360: Have you done any internships, and if so, where were they? What skills did you gain? 

K: I am currently the Director of Market Research & Analytics for Buckingham Companies, so it has been some time since I was an intern.  However, I can say that internships are vital as you move into the working world & there is no reason to wait to get an internship until you’re a Sophomore or Junior.  It’s competitive out there & employers want to find people who are not only good students, but who have challenged themselves & had the opportunity to see more real-life work experience.  

360: What would you like to do following graduation? What are your long-term career goals?  

K: Following graduation I’ll just be happy to get some free time back.  My focus right now is to continue to help Buckingham expand into different markets as well as look at other product types.  Long-Term career goals would be to one day run a development company.

360: What’s your favorite thing about UIndy?

K: I think the best part about UIndy is the opportunity it provides to its students, even to an older student like me.  I am grateful for the opportunity I have been given by being part of the MPS of Real Estate Development program.

Class of 2021 Q&A: Haley Salamie

UIndy 360 spoke to Haley Salamie ‘21 (Operations and Supply Chain Management, Honors Concentration) about her UIndy journey.


Haley Salamie (1)

UIndy 360: What advice do you have for incoming freshmen?


Haley: Be confident, join clubs, and do not be afraid to talk to your professors!


360: What is the most significant way UIndy has had an impact on you?


H: The most significant way UIndy has impacted me is that I have been given many opportunities to have impact on the community through leadership and service.


360: How has your program prepared you for the next steps in your career?


H: My program has prepared me by giving me the tools and knowledge to stand out amongst my peers and succeed in my career. 


360: Do you have any faculty mentors? If so, who are they and how have they helped you? 


H: Yes, Dr. Karl Knapp! He has always believed in me and has helped me through my entire honors project process!


360: Have you been involved in any extracurricular activities? (athletics, RSOs, volunteer work etc.) How have those experiences impacted your time at UIndy? 


H: Yes, I am in UIndy’s Supply Chain Club and Dance Team! Both of these clubs have allowed me to meet others on campus and make friends! Supply Chain Club has allowed me to gain further experience with my major and improve my leadership skills. The Dance Team has given me the opportunity to dance at a collegiate level, participate in many campus events, and travel! I also really enjoy participating in UIndy Pride’s Annual Drag Show. All of these activities have allowed me to feel a part of the UIndy community!


360: Have you done any internships, and if so, where were they? What skills did you gain?


H: Yes, I interned with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra! I gained skills in leadership, management, communication, and planning.


360: What would you like to do following graduation? What are your long-term career goals? 


H: Following graduation, I would like to continue my education with a master’s in supply chain. My long-term career goal is to have a job where I can improve sustainability throughout the supply chain operation.


360: What’s your favorite thing about UIndy?


H: The people. I have met so many wonderful, kind, people during my time here! 

Class of 2021 Q&A: Ally Staley

UIndy 360 spoke to Ally Staley ‘21 (Computer Information Systems and Applied Business Analytics, Math minor, Honors Concentration) about her UIndy journey.


360: What advice do you have for incoming freshmen?

Ally: Get out of your comfort zone! Try something new that may challenge you. If you don’t leave college with a new skill set or experience, you really missed out. 

360: What is the most significant way UIndy has had an impact on you? 

A: UIndy allowed me to grow as a person, student, and professional. I was tested spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically during my time here and I am forever grateful for the opportunities and experiences that have come my way. I have met some of the most amazing people that I am confident will be lifelong friends and mentors. 

360: How has your program prepared you for the next steps in your career? 

A: The School of Business curriculum allowed me the opportunity to apply what I have learned in the classroom to real-world situations. The applied learning style of teaching really allows students to take charge of their education. Not to mention, the School of Business faculty come to UIndy with an average of 12 years of industry experience prior to teaching. This allows for meaningful and engaging conversation and networking opportunities. I have been able to enter interviews with numerous talking points as to what I have done in college – working, interning, volunteering, etc. as opposed to just what I have read in college. 

360:Do you have any faculty mentors? If so, who are they and how have they helped you? 

A: I love the connections I have been able to establish at UIndy! First and foremost, Dr. Jerry Flatto has been a significant part of my journey. He has challenged me in my coursework and has provided copious amounts of guidance and effort working with me on my Honors project. Dr. Matt Will has also played a significant role in my time at UIndy. As a mentor and boss, he has developed my communication and leadership skills tremendously. I would be remiss if I also did not mention Jeremiah Gibbs and Kirk Bryans and their mentorship. Jeremiah played a foundational role in helping me grow in my faith at UIndy and I am forever grateful for his impact on my life. As a career mentor, Kirk talked me “off a cliff” more times than I can count and always offered challenging advice and a listening ear. 

360: Have you been involved in any extracurricular activities? (athletics, RSOs, volunteer work, etc.) How have those experiences impacted your time at UIndy?

A: At UIndy, I have been a member of Student Business Leadership Academy, where I currently serve as president. This organization has allowed me to learn to manage and encourage people. I have had the opportunity to serve as a mentor to underclassmen as well as build relationships with my peers. SBLA has significantly increased my network through managing and attending events. I have also served as a Chapel Steward of Community where I led small groups centered around faith. These groups have entailed a variety of things – book clubs, dinner outings, volunteering, etc. and have allowed me to grow in my faith and encouraging others to do the same. Going along with this, I have consistently attending chapel and been a part of campus ministries since my freshman year. I am thankful for UIndy for helping me strengthen my faith through speaking opportunities, high school camps, RSO meetings, and faith-centered events. 

360: Have you done any internships, and if so, where were they? What skills did you gain? 

A: During my time at UIndy, I have had the opportunity to work for the School of Business as a Student Recruitment Manager. This experience has been full of learning and growing, both personally and professionally. I have managed events, planned and traveled to conferences to recruit high schoolers, facilitated meetings, and implemented strategic initiatives. Each of these experiences has pushed my leadership capabilities and challenged me to get out of my comfort zone. I had a unique internship with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May of 2019 during race weekend. This internship challenged my people skills and allowed me to further my network with other Indiana college students. Also, in June of 2020, I received a virtual internship with MJ Insurance in Carmel, IN. At MJ, I worked as an Analytics Intern and was able to enhance my technical and interpersonal skills. I was asked to stay part-time at MJ, following my internship as I finished out my senior year. 

360: What would you like to do following graduation? What are your long-term career goals? 

A: After graduating in May, I will be starting a two-year program with the Orr Fellowship. I was offered a fellowship position with Offprem Technology where I will work as a Solutions Architect. I am so excited to begin working full-time and cannot wait to see what the next steps in my career journey will be. Long-term I am hopeful to consult with businesses and help them implement and integrate analytic strategies into their operations.

360: And finally, what’s your favorite thing about UIndy? 

A: The small campus feel is one of my favorite parts; it has truly come to feel like home. I love that I can get wherever I need to in 5-10 minutes and there are so many familiar faces. Not to mention, the campus is gorgeous, especially at sunset. UIndy is also really close to downtown Indy, making campus feel like an island in the city. 

Joseph Gonsiorowski ’21 (Biology)

Balancing a full education, professional opportunities, and a plethora of extracurriculars sounds like an impossible task, but Joseph Gonsiorowski ’21 (biology major, chemistry minor,) makes it look easy. Gonsiorowski expressed appreciation for the UIndy biology program in preparing him for a professional career. 

“In terms of preparing students for the next steps in their lives, I like to believe the biology faculty teach students lessons that are unique to each individual. Every student is different, with some having very specific ambitions, some having no particular goals for after graduation, and everything in between,” he said.

Over the course of his college career, he noticed just how much UIndy faculty care about their students. Gonsiorowski noted, “The faculty often go out of their way to get to know their students and the reasons why they chose their particular major. While this surely establishes a professional relationship between professor and student, the faculty often go the extra mile, playing a mentoring role in their students’ lives. They are always willing to sit down and discuss potential careers with any of their students, as well as specifics about their disciplines.”

Gonsiorowski’s personal mentors include Associate Professor of Biology Dr. Marc Milne, Associate Professor of Biology Dr. Douglas Stemke, and Associate Professor of Biology Dr. Kimberly Baker. Gonsiorowski has worked with Dr. Milne since his sophomore year at the university, researching spider resilience to habitat disturbance via wildfire. During this time, Dr. Milne has not only served as a research advisor, but as a mentor. “I can’t tell you how many times I have gone to him to ask questions about manuscripts, biology classes, or even general life advice,” said Gonsiorowski. Dr. Stemke is credited by Gonsiorowski as igniting his interest in medicine, as well as Dr. Baker who has assisted in helping him to develop proper time management and studying techniques.

In addition to working with his mentors, Gonsiorowski has also had the opportunity to conduct statistical research involving the progress of physical therapy patients. He has utilized skills gained through these experiences to tutor Organic and General Chemistry students, as well as to volunteer in different healthcare organizations at nursing homes and long-term care facilities.

Further demonstrating his heart for community service, Gonsiorowski describes his two years working with College Mentors For Kids (CMFK). “Over the last two years, CMFK has worked with over 50 student mentors and provided mentorship for close to 100 students from surrounding elementary schools. I began as a mentor in the program, meeting with my little buddy on a weekly basis. I quickly became devoted to the mission of College Mentors for Kids and, during my second year of involvement, was given the responsibility of vice president of engagement,” he said.

Another unique program that Gonsiorowski is involved in, is the UIndy Pokémon Go community, which has included100 different students and faculty over the past five years as well as dozens of individuals from the surrounding community“As an inclusive community, we like to ensure that not only the students are able to be involved, but that the residents near the university are able to be as well. Oftentimes, community days include dozens of students and surrounding residents alike!”

With such a full resume evenbefore graduating college, it follows that Gonsiorowski has big plans after graduation. He has already been accepted to a selective pathway at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine. Gonsiorowski said, “I will be completing medical school in three years instead of four and will be continuing on to work as a family physician or an internist (Internal medicine physician). I am still undecided if I will specialize in geriatric care or not as I have a lot of experiences coming my way over the next few years.” 

Even though many choices lie ahead, Gonsiorowski does know one thing for sure, “I know that I will be returning to Indianapolis to find a position in a medically underserved area as a primary care physician. My goal is to give back to the community that I grew up in or another community with a shortage of medical professionals.”

Discussing his education, Gonsiorowski mentioned some of his favorite things about UIndy. He put a focus on both the quality of the biology faculty as well as the general student culture of the biology department. “The biology faculty really are devoted to student education and ensuring they succeed… While most pre-med student cultures at other universities commonly report a very competitive and independent student nature, most of the biology pre-med students of my class were very supportive of each other and truly wanted to see one another succeed,” he said.

Clearly, Gonsiorowski has demonstrated how to succeed both academically and socially at UIndy, and he has some advice as to how incoming students can do the same. Some of these tips include knowing that it’s okay to change your mind about what you want to do/study, getting to know your professors off the bat, and to get involved with clubs and organizations on campus. His final advice to incoming freshmen? “Lastly and arguably, the most important part of college. CHECK YOUR EMAIL REGULARLY.

Senior spotlight: Samantha Mundt (4+1 public health)

UIndy 360 had a chance to talk with 4+1 Public Health student Samantha Mundt, who is currently in her first year of a Master of Public Health degree and final year of a Public Health Education and Promotion undergraduate degree.  


How is the public health program preparing you for the next steps in your career?

“The public health program has done so much to prepare me for the next steps in my career. This program has given me the opportunity to implement real interventions within my community. I have had the opportunity to work with organizations such as the Indiana Minority Health Coalition, the Hoosier Environmental Council, the YMCA, the South Indy Quality of Life Project, and so many others. Additionally, I have been able to speak at national conferences relevant to my field and hold leadership positions within state and national professional organizations.”

Have any UIndy faculty mentored you? 

“Mentorship from UIndy faculty members such as Dr. Heidi Hancher-Rauch and Dr. Angelitta Britt-Spells has led me to earn two internship positions. Dr. Kara Cecil has led me to compete in multiple case study competitions. My professors have given me all the skills necessary to ensure that I am well prepared to not only enter the workforce but also to be a leader in my field.”

Are you involved in any extracurricular activities? 

“As a UIndy student, I am president of our Eta Sigma Gamma chapter, a health education honorary. I am the Collegiate Champion for the National Society for Public Health Education at UIndy as well as the Student Representative for InSOPHE.  In addition to this, I am a Contact Tracer, Graduate Assistant, Writing Lab Tutor, and former Greyhound Ambassador for the university. This is just a few of an even longer list of all the ways in which I have been able to be involved while a student at UIndy. Each of these experiences has heightened how much I value being in a program that pushed me to do more than just work towards my degree. Because of the public health program at UIndy, I am constantly striving to reach new heights and often finding myself at the top.”

Have you had any internships? 

“In my time at UIndy, I have had two internships. The first was with the Indiana Minority Health Coalition and our work was focused on maternal & child health and minority health. The second internship was with the Hoosier Environmental Council and we worked on the topic of instances of childhood lead poising in rental situations. Each of these internships emphasized utilizing policy and advocacy to tackle these issues. I have gained important skills from these internships such as professional communication and writing as well as research.”

Can you talk about your experience on the contract tracing team?

“Communication and empathy have been a big part of my role as a contact tracer. Every day that I go in I speak with countless UIndy students and employees. Not only do I need to be able to share and gather important information but I also need to show empathy when discussing a topic which often leads to feelings of vulnerability. My biggest takeaway from my role as a contact tracer is the importance of open communication and transparency during crisis situations.”

Have you had any academic research opportunities at UIndy? 

“As a student at UIndy, I have had many research opportunities within my curriculum. I have researched and carried out studies on topics from hepatitis vaccination uptake among college students to the impacts of maternal age on infant birth weight. Alongside public health faculty, I am working on four additional research projects outside of my curriculum.”

What would you like to do following graduation? What are your long-term career goals? 

“Following graduation, I hope to work in health administration, health education, or health policy & advocacy. While working in one of these fields, I hope to freelance as a writer and editor for nonprofit organizations. After a few years, I hope to go back to school and earn a doctorate in public health so that I can eventually become a college professor.”

What’s your favorite thing about UIndy?

“My favorite thing about UIndy is the support which I receive from university faculty as well as the friendships I have made both within and outside of my program. UIndy has done so much to support me in my education, and it has allowed me to accomplish more in the past three years than I could ever have imagined doing in such a short period of time.”

What advice do you have for incoming freshmen?

“My advice for incoming freshmen is to jump at every opportunity that comes their way and to seek out those that don’t. College flies by quicker than you can imagine so it’s important that you use this time to the fullest. Make sure you’re nourishing all the realms of your health; physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and intellectual because each one is important in supporting you through the next four years.”

R.B. Annis School of Engineering expands impact with global project

Students at the R.B. Annis School of Engineering at the University of Indianapolis had the chance to apply their skills to solve a real-world problem with a far-reaching impact. The Annis School partnered with the Indianapolis-based Institute for Affordable Transport (IAT), which connects communities in developing countries with basic transportation and vehicles that feature robust and simple designs.

The idea got off the ground when David Olawale, assistant professor of engineering, contacted IAT to explore an industry-based project for the Manufacturing Processes course taken by senior mechanical engineering (ME) students. The goal was to give students the opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills from the course on a real-life project. In addition, the project had a service component in which the UIndy engineering students were able to apply their knowledge to help in making a product more affordable and accessible to many in developing nations. 

“The challenges [the students] faced in working with their team, clients and different stakeholders are critical experiences they get to share during job and internship interviews, thereby setting them apart from other graduates,” Olawale said.

The project was a perfect fit with the Annis School’s mission to use interdisciplinary education to develop modern engineering leaders who create outstanding solutions, he added. The Annis School focuses on providing unique experiential learning opportunities for students through real world open-ended, industry-based projects.

“The complexity of such problems and the exposure of students to such problems help them in developing effective problem-solving, teamwork, and communication capacity that are not readily possible with textbook-based problem-solving. Such exposure helps students to understand the needs of the industry and how to solve problems for the industry,” Olawale explained.

Working alongside David Olawale and Mechanical Systems Laboratory Manager James Emery, three mechanical engineering students—TJ LeSeure ’20, Payton Staman ’20, and Jake Braumbaugh ’20—were tasked with designing a power platform fixture for the IAT’s Basic Utility Vehicle (BUV). The BUVs are used in some developing nations as a multifunctional vehicle for transporting people, animals, water, food and construction materials. It can be a game changer for many communities in developing nations in terms of economic growth, access to clean water, food security and medical supply transportation.

In order to simplify the assembly process of the vehicles, IAT asked that UIndy’s team design a fixture for the assembly of the motor deck. The motor deck holds two components, the motor and the transmission. The student team was asked to design the fixture for the motor deck by incorporating their knowledge of jig and fixtures, design for manufacturing and additive manufacturing. Working with lab manager James Emery, the students learned how to work with production experts to successfully translate a design into a manufacturable product.

LeSeure said, “My favorite part of the project was being able to apply the things I learned in the classroom to a project that would help improve people’s lives. It was truly a rewarding experience that helped me tap into the passionate side of engineering.”

Students learned to work in a team environment as they communicated effectively with the client through site visits, video conferencing and emails to gain a good understanding of the client’s requirements and needs. New knowledge from the manufacturing processes course was applied in the design of the fixture for the automotive component. Students also developed their resilience and resourcefulness in creating a viable solution for an industry-client even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and its challenges.

Industry client Will Austin was impressed with the results. “We have completed over 50 engineering projects with 20 different universities during the last 20 years. Sometimes we learn a more simple or more cost-effective solution. Sometimes we merely learn what not to do. In the case of UIndy, we are using their fixtures in BUV production, and we are very pleased with the performance of the fixtures,” Austin said.

Austin placed an order for four more fixtures to be fabricated by the Annis School’s technical staff to be delivered to the client’s customers in Africa, the first of which are in northern Benin, West Africa.

“I really enjoyed working with the UIndy students. They were very prepared for the calls and kept me updated on developments. The engineers made good progress on the project despite COVID setbacks,” Austin added. “The end result was an excellent fixture that will be used with our next factory partners.”

The R.B. Annis School of Engineering will continue to work with IAT through the DesignSpine curriculum.

UIndy Mentor Collective connects incoming students with network of mentors

The UIndy Mentor Collective is an online mentorship program that matches incoming students with upper-classmen peers to help students set and achieve their goals, both academic and personal.

Incoming students in the program will now have ongoing access to a network of mentors trained to offer guidance and advice. Students will be matched with a personal mentor based on common academic interests, career goals, life challenges, and experiences. Students can also use the platform’s discussion guides and goal-setting activities to spark meaningful conversations with their mentors. Topics range from time management and work-life balance to networking and job-seeking advice.

You can read more about Mentor Collective here.

Mentor Collective assesses for sense of belonging, self-efficacy, and career decision self-efficacy because they have been shown in academic literature to be closely connected to better retention rates, melt rates, higher academic success, and positive career outcomes. This ensures that the mentorships being formed are having an impact on these critical elements of the holistic student experience.

According to a recent study, mentorship is increasingly recognized as a high-impact practice in higher education, showing positive correlation with retention, academic performance, sense of belonging, and psychosocial support.

Adding to this list of positive outcomes associated with mentorship, a recent meta-analysis of quasi-experimental results from six Mentor Collective programs found a strong correlation between mentoring and reduced melt rates. These programs, launched over the summer months of 2019, covered a range of institution types and locations, including Eastern Michigan University, Montclair State University, the University of Colorado at Denver, and Tufts University.

For example, from a total sample size of nearly 5,000 students, Mentor Collective saw an overall average reduction in melt rates of 13.79% among mentored students. In a Bayesian analysis where result contributions were weighted by program size, mentored students saw a 9.36% reduction in melt overall. 

On top of all the hard data, UIndy students themselves have great things to say about the program as well.

“My mentor helped me figure out how to balance school and work. She’s very helpful.”
– Mentee Kylee Collinsworth about mentor Brooklyn Chittenden 

“I have helped my mentee set an informal goal to re-prioritize aspects of her life, such as putting school and classes above working and trying to focus on further immersing herself into the UIndy community in order to form a support system within her academics.”
– Mentor Mary Walker about mentee Abbey Ruddell


Interested in getting involved or just want more information? Contact Jessica Ward:

Pamela Guerrero ’19 chosen for 2021 Axis Leadership cohort

Pamela Alejandra Guerrero ’19 (political science major, international relations minor) was recently named as part of the Axis Leadership Program’s 2021 cohort.

Axis is an eight-month leadership program designed for Latino professionals between the ages of 21-28 to develop personally and professionally and to prepare them to engage with civic and community leadership activities. Upon completion, Axis participants will be equipped and prepared to unify, transform and serve the community.

The program is a partnership between the City of Indianapolis and Indiana Latino Expo. Class members are chosen through a competitive process based on their community involvement, personal vision and achievement.

Guerrero, who is from Ecuador, says it’s a great feeling to represent her country in the program.

“When I found out I was selected for the Axis 2021 cohort, I was very excited about the opportunity. I hope that Axis helps me develop deeper relationships with professional Latinos in the Indianapolis area and learn and meet more outstanding professionals through the State. I also hope to improve myself as a professional and learn how I can better serve the community,” said Guerrero.


Since graduating from UIndy in December 2019, Guerrero interned with the Indiana Institute for working families and assisted #TEAMINSTITUTE throughout the 2020 Indiana legislative session as their legislative and communications assistant. In her former position with the Institute, she met and interacted with many different non-for-profits and legislators. She had the opportunity to write blog posts for the Institute and learn more from the work that nonprofits do across the country as well as the influence nonprofits have in the public policy process.

After her internship, Guerrero was hired as a civil rights specialist with the Indiana Civil Rights Commission. In her current position, she concentrates on investigating complaints that fall within the jurisdiction of the Indiana Fair Housing law, the Fair Housing Act, and the Civil Rights law. The Civil Rights Commission provides relief to people that have been discriminated against in the areas of housing, education, public accommodation, credit and employment.

Reflecting on her time at UIndy, Guerrero said, “I learned a lot at UIndy. I think that UIndy prepared me to become an analytical person which is so crucial for my career. I valued all of my classmates’ diverse political views, and I think my professors allowed for a very open environment to learn from each other.”

She specifically expressed gratitude for the mentorship of Milind Thakar, professor of international relations, and Laura Wilson, assistant professor of political science.

“They have been my biggest cheerleaders. I feel confident that even after graduating, I can reach out to them and ask them questions about grad school. It is great to know that I am not on my own trying to figure out the next steps in my career and studies,” Guerrero said.

In the long-term, Guerrero would eventually like to work in environmental policy and management to help address climate change and its effects. She is interested in making clean environment access a right because she sees climate change creating a global humanitarian crisis.

“In Indiana alone, we feel the changes hotter summers, more days in the 90 degrees, and more rain, making it harder for agriculture. Indiana needs to adapt quickly, controlling the sources that are increasing greenhouse gases. Most of the pollution in the state affects minority communities creating lifelong health issues. A clean environment should not be reserved for those that can afford it. We all should have access to it,” said Guerrero.

About the program
The concept of the Axis Leadership Program began as part of Mayor Joe Hogsett’s Latino Advisory Council as a significant lack of Latino leadership was noted within the Indianapolis community. This program was a dream of many long-standing Latino leaders including Former Advisory Council member Carmen DeRusha, whose unrelenting leadership to see a leadership program come to fruition inspired the leadership team to develop the Axis Leadership Program.

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