UIndy CAC helping train National Guard for COVID-19 response in nursing homes

Indiana National Guard training

Indiana National Guard training

When members of the Indiana National Guard take their places at the state’s more than 500 nursing homes this week and in the months to come, they will do so with training provided, in part, by the University of Indianapolis Center for Aging & Community (CAC). Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb announced in late October that Indiana National Guard troops would be deployed to nursing homes to provide support to staff who have been on the front lines since the pandemic began last spring.

“Nearly 11,000 residents in Indiana nursing homes have contracted COVID-19 since March; more than 2,400 of those residents have died,” said Dr. Ellen W. Miller, executive director of CAC. “While only six percent of Indiana’s COVID cases have occurred in nursing homes, those cases account for more than 57% of the state’s COVID-related deaths.”

This disproportion contributed to the decision to call up the Indiana National Guard, Miller said. The National Guard is not being tasked with resident care responsibilities, but will help with additional administrative tasks that have emerged because of COVID-19.

“That will allow the nursing home staff to focus on caring for the residents,” Miller said. 

For the past eight years, CAC has worked with the Regenstrief Institute to embed nurses with specialized training in nursing homes to reduce avoidable hospitalizations. The effort, known as the OPTIMISTIC Project, was so successful that the leaders of the federally funded demonstration project teamed up with business development experts to found a medical startup company called Probari in order to bring similarly structured training to nursing homes around the country. 

Russell Evans from Probari, Inc. trains Indiana National Guard troops for their deployment to Indiana nursing homes.

Russell Evans from Probari, Inc. trains Indiana National Guard troops for their deployment to Indiana nursing homes.

So, when Holcomb called up the National Guard, Probari was tapped to provide training in long term care before the deployment. Miller, who was part of the leadership of OPTIMISTIC, worked with Probari’s Dr. Kathleen Unroe and Russell Evans, as well experts from the nursing home industry, Lori Davenport and Rebecca Bartle, to construct a half-day curriculum for the troops.

“In addition to training soldiers specifically how to perform their new roles, we designed the training to give them an appreciation of how tough things have been for nursing home residents and staff during pandemic-related lockdowns, an understanding of what to expect on a typical day in a nursing home, and how to protect residents and themselves from infection,” Miller said. 

According to Miller, the Guard will be helping with COVID screening at building entrances, data entry related to frequent testing, facilitating family visitations, and cleaning high touch surfaces in nursing home common areas. More than 1,400 National Guard personnel will be trained and deployed. The first of seven trainings took place on Friday, October 30 at Camp Atterbury in southern Indiana. The Guard is scheduled to be in place through December 31, 2020.

In addition to the OPTIMISTIC project, CAC has coordinated infection prevention training for nursing homes in Indiana for several years at the request of the Indiana Department of Health. CAC will also be a part of a new Indiana Nursing Home COVID-19 Action Network as part of Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes). Led by the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at Indiana University, this ECHO program is geared specifically for nursing home leadership to build capacity related to COVID-19 and protect residents and staff.

Contact tracing program provides real-time learning opportunities for UIndy students, alumni

The coronavirus pandemic has raised awareness of many aspects of healthcare, but perhaps none more so than the area of public health. For Shawn Schweitzer ’20 (Master of Public Health), it has meant applying knowledge from his graduate program as he serves on the University of Indianapolis contact tracing team

Shawn Schweitzer ’20 (Master of Public Health)

Shawn Schweitzer ’20 (Master of Public Health)

“It is busy, but we are doing important public health work that not only helps protect our students, staff, and faculty, but also our entire community as a whole,” Schweitzer said.

The goal of the University’s contact tracing program is to limit the spread of coronavirus within the campus community by providing support and resources to students and employees who may get sick or exposed to COVID-19. Kirsti Oswalt ’18 (exercise science) ’20 (MPH) will assume the role of contact tracing lead for the University beginning September 8. Oswalt takes the reins from Gurinder Hohl, who recently took on the new position of Chief Executive Officer at the Immigrant Welcome Center.  

Kirsti Oswalt ’18 (exercise science) ’20 (MPH)

Kirsti Oswalt ’18 (exercise science) ’20 (MPH)

“I am incredibly excited to be leading the Contact Tracing Team,” Oswalt said. “As a student-athlete, I always wanted to give back to the University to leave a mark, just as the University left a special mark on me. By using my education and knowledge learned in the Public Health program, I will work to keep our students, faculty and staff as safe and healthy as possible.”

Destinee Ward ’21 (Master of Public Health), along with Schweitzer, works around 20 hours per week on the contact tracing team. It is their first professional experience with contact tracing.

“This opportunity is giving me real-world experience along with molding me professionally,” Ward said. “I truly feel blessed to be part of the contact tracing team. I believe that I am impacting so many people and protecting a lot of individuals from becoming another positive case.”

The contact tracing team includes students or recent alumni from the College of Health Sciences and the School of Nursing. All team members have participated in training developed by nationally-recognized organizations such as the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). All members of the contact tracing team are also trained to ensure compliance with FERPA and HIPAA guidelines. The training ensures that the University’s contact tracing activities are confidential and protect the privacy of students and employees.

When a student or University employee tests positive for COVID-19, the contact tracing team will speak to the person to determine their recent activity and close contacts. The team then connects with anyone who may have been exposed to advise them that they need to quarantine for 14 days. The team also checks up on people who have tested positive to make sure their recovery is on track.

Together with the daily UIndy Health Check, symptomatic and asymptomatic testing, social distancing and mandating face coverings on campus, contact tracing is an essential part of the University’s efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus. It also comes with a unique set of challenges.

“One major challenge we have faced includes staying updated on what the Indiana State Department of Health and CDC advise. Since COVID-19 continues to change in how we handle it, the best we can do is move along with it and adapt as much as possible,” Schweitzer explained.

“The biggest challenge so far is the number of students I have to call in one day,” Ward added. “Getting to a student before he or she becomes exposed can be very difficult to do. Along with many other challenges, the way I resolve them is by reaching out to my team.” 

Both Ward and Schweitzer credit their academic experience at the University of Indianapolis in preparing them to apply their skills in public health successfully.

Destinee Ward ’21 (Master of Public Health)

Destinee Ward ’21 (Master of Public Health)

“My academic program gives me more background information, knowledge and history on why things like contact tracing exist and why this job is so important not only on a college campus but in other work settings as well,” Ward said. “Being a part of public health means you understand that the overall goal is to prevent the spread of disease and improve the quality of life.”

“My UIndy academic program has helped tremendously because having a strong background in public health allows me to think outside the box to solve issues within contact tracing,” Schweitzer added. “This job has helped me stay connected to UIndy and to other health professionals, as well as allow me to practice the leadership and critical thinking skills that will assist me in my new career role within public health.”

Schweitzer also works as the Public Health Preparedness Coordinator for the Northeast Indiana region and is planning for a career in public health preparedness. 

“We continue to see the need for preparedness across the world,” he said, “and I am excited to be a part of this field of public health.”

Learn more about the University of Indianapolis’ response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Christopher Moore receives $50,000 DNR grant for Prophetstown State Park archaeological survey

Christopher Moore

Christopher Moore

A federal grant will allow University of Indianapolis faculty and students to study the archaeological history of an Indiana state park and help to preserve it for future generations. Christopher Moore, chair and associate professor of anthropology, received the grant, which will fund an archaeological survey at Prophetstown State Park in Tippecanoe County. 

The $50,000 grant, announced in August by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, is one of 14 federal Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) grants awarded by the DNR Division of Historic Preservation & Archaeology (DHPA) for historic preservation and archaeology projects in Indiana communities. 

“The grants provide a major source of funding for the state to identify, record, and protect its cultural resources for future generations,” Moore said.

Researchers will investigate three to four areas of the park identified by park staff as high priority survey areas. Moore said that while this portion of the park has been surveyed previously, “the kind of intensive subsurface survey we are conducting has not been done. This is important because three of the four selected areas are located adjacent to the Wabash River and any archaeological remains may be buried beneath the surface.” 

In addition, Moore’s team will use ground-penetrating radar to better understand the park’s Native American mounds. The project will help researchers gain a better understanding of how the mounds were built without the need for excavation. 

Moore said his survey will help the park expand public programming while preserving history. “If the park decides to develop areas for trails or recreation, they’ll know which areas to avoid. That ends up saving the park money and the state money,” said Moore. “Any of those places where people have done something in the past and left behind artifacts of those activities would be counted as an archaeological site.”

Undergraduate and graduate students will assist in the fieldwork and laboratory analysis during the fall semester. Adjunct faculty member Elizabeth Straub also will participate. Project documentation will occur during the spring semester with a completion date set for May 30, 2021.

The project has been funded in part by a grant from the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service’s Historic Preservation Fund administered by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology. Since 2000, the state has awarded $11 million to assist more than 500 important heritage preservation projects across Indiana. When combined with local matching funds, this represents an investment of more than $23 million into the preservation of Indiana’s heritage.

 

Aaron Drake makes the most of a virtual internship

Indyfluence is an initiative which encourages college students to choose Indianapolis after graduation. The organization connects leading businesses in the Indianapolis area and engages their interns in an effort to “Meet Indy,” “Learn from Indy,” and “Give back to Indy.”

One of the more than 450 interns in the program this summer was Aaron Drake ’21 (chemistry, biology minor), participant in the Roche Academy at UIndy and intern with the Roche Support Network of Roche Diagnostics. Here’s his dispatch from what he called a “different, but just as meaningful” experience:

“Despite present circumstances, the Indyfluence program provided not only networking opportunities between interns from Roche, as well as other participating businesses, but it also provided resources to “meet, learn from, and give back to” Indy.

 

The Slack website is a perfect example. It provided a way to connect to other interns in the area via online chatting, as well as a way to find out more about what’s going on around Indy and how to get involved. Of course given present circumstances it required some initiative from us to reach out and explore what was provided, but I feel like that is to be expected. I personally networked with some other interns around Indy and found it helped provided a lot of the social aspect that had been hard to find given COVID-19.

 

Roche as a whole made a very successful pivot to an online internship program in place of the online campus experience. Normally, it would have been largely in person shadowing and with some side project work (at least with the Roche Academy interns); with COVID-19, it shifted to lots more project work that can be done from home with some online shadowing and networking opportunities. This provided a different but just as meaningful experience.

 

One of the best parts of the summer internship experience was the project work we were doing was actually meaningful to Roche as a whole. One of the most noteworthy examples was participating in a project to help on the logistics of a COVID-19 testing related project.

 

 

Working from home was a different experience, but just as effective in my opinion. That being said, for it to be effective it required a few things: First, it required significant time management skills to be able to coordinate with other individuals for the multiple projects we were working on simultaneously. Building off this, it required a lot more initiative on our part to reach out and arrange meetings with the multiple individuals we worked with over the summer. A lot of the time if we needed something for a project or work we needed to be the ones to reach out and organize a meeting, because there’s no opportunity to simply see them on campus and ask questions. I’d say the added focus on these skills actually was an advantage as it provided a lot more practice and development with them.

Drake hopes to earn a full-time job offer with Roche and begin after graduation. He doesn’t anticipate that will be the end of his time in academia however, as he expects to eventually pursue a master’s or Ph.D. at some point in his career.

Cohabitation study spans decades, despite COVID-19 challenges

For more than 15 years, Amanda Miller, associate professor and chair of the Department of Sociology, has been studying what happens after people decide to move in together. 

From 2003 to 2006, Miller’s research team conducted in-depth interviews with 61 couples (122 individuals), including 30 couples who were working in the service sector and 31 college-educated, middle-class couples. The findings are published in “Cohabitation Nation: Gender, Class and the Remaking of Relationships,” a book co-authored by Miller, and have also been featured in outlets such as The New York Times, Psychology Today, and Journal of Family Issues.

Amanda Miller, Department of Sociology, conducts research via ZoomThis year, Miller and her research partner, Sharon Sassler from Cornell University, set out to conduct follow-up interviews with as many of the original participants as they could find. They wanted to learn about the most significant events in their lives since they had last connected. Some couples were still together; others were not. Each person had stories to tell. 

Although COVID-19 complicated their plans for this research project, Miller and Sassler have so far re-interviewed 66 of the 120 surviving members from the original sample. 

Find out more about Miller’s research experience: 

How far did you get into the interviews before COVID-19 hit? 

“My colleague, Sharon Sassler, of Cornell University and I were in Columbus, Ohio in late February/early March conducting numerous interviews per day and anxiously watching the news at night. The demographers at Ohio State, which included sociologists, economists, and public health professors, among others, were kind enough to let us conduct our interviews from their offices. We had been hearing from them between appointments that COVID-19 was likely to be a serious problem. We both headed back home on the 10th day of interviews (March 8, 2020), discussing before we parted that it may be “a couple of weeks or a month or two when this passes” before we’d get to come back and finish our work. Little did I know that trip would include my last times eating in a restaurant, browsing leisurely in a store, or grabbing a coffee at the cafe for now. In that short period of time, we had completed around 45 interviews.”

How did the pandemic affect your research project? 

“Thankfully, we had asked for permission from the Institutional Review Board to also do interviews via Zoom, anticipating that folks may be scattered across the globe. We ended up finishing the remaining interviews from our houses over the next few months, often in different time zones. I finished one interview on a Saturday morning just after midnight. I went from walking participants down a long university hallway with a sterile desk and chair to welcoming them (virtually) to my spare bedroom or screened-in porch. A few times, when my quarantine puppy couldn’t stop fussing in the background, I conducted the interview from the passenger’s seat of my car in the garage. It was definitely an adjustment!”

Was it easier or harder to follow up with people than you expected?

“It was both easier and harder than I expected. Far more people are on social media than ever before, which makes finding everyone so much easier than it would have been 15 years ago. But, people are also more geographically mobile than ever, and this is a stage of life where some women, especially, change their last names. That made things a bit more complicated. We spent days upon days combing through public access information to find as many original participants as possible. Thankfully, the people we relocated were so fantastic and most were happy to chat with us again! A few even spontaneously reached out to a long-ago ex-boyfriend or -girlfriend to encourage them to connect with us.”

What initially stands out to you about the recent interviews you conducted? 

“One thing I was struck by methodologically was that so many of the individuals we interviewed did not initially remember being a part of the first round of the study. We have been working with the transcripts of our original conversations for most of our careers, so we know them incredibly well. But, we also needed to remember that for most of the young adults we interviewed, this was just a snapshot in time for them.  Many were quite interested in what their “past selves” had said and wanted to dig into the research after our second interview. 

Data-wise, the preliminary results have reinforced for me how very much social class can positively or negatively impact a person’s life. What we really learned about were early mid-life crises. Participants trusted us enough to tell us about heartbreaks, job losses, having academic ambitions thwarted, mental health and substance use challenges, infertility, the stress of modern childrearing, and the death of beloved partners and parents. For some, the power of a completed college education or being in the right place with the right skills at the right time helped them successfully navigate the frequently choppy waters of this life stage, while for others, one life crisis precipitated another with few social supports available to put on the brakes.

I am incredibly grateful that participants are so willing to give up hours of their time and to share their life stories with us. And, I am disheartened to hear how much some of these individuals have struggled and how little it might have taken from their communities to get them back on track. We as a society can do better.” 

Learn more about the University of Indianapolis Department of Sociology.

Related: Research by Amanda Miller examines romantic relationships, career ambitions

New book by Craig Seidelson explores shifts in U.S.-China trade 

Craig Seidelson published a book, "Operations Management in China."The coronavirus pandemic has had far-reaching implications for American manufacturers who rely on China, but other factors are also in play. A timely new book authored by Craig Seidelson, assistant professor of operations and supply chain management at the University of Indianapolis School of Business, explores these and other U.S.-China business topics.

“Operations Management in China” published by Business Expert Press delves into the relationship between the United States and China, its largest goods trading partner.

“Roughly 12 cents of every dollar U.S. consumers spend is on Chinese-made products. Nearly 60% of all U.S. imports from China are made by U.S. manufacturers,” Seidelson explained.

“The reality is U.S. supply chain managers need Chinese-made products because prices are among the world’s lowest and the export-oriented, manufacturing infrastructure is the world’s largest. Yet, recent events are forcing companies to reexamine the sustainability of their sourcing models,” he added.

The book explores how labor costs and corporate debt in China are on the rise, while the Chinese RMB continues to fall. As inflationary pressures build, so do political factors.

Craig Seidelson, assistant professor of operations and supply chain management at the University of Indianapolis School of Business

Craig Seidelson

“The majority of U.S. investment into China is through Hong Kong. Under the United States-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992, Hong Kong has been treated differently than mainland China,” Seidelson said, noting that Hong Kong has benefited from a special status in terms of investment and trade.

That status is now in doubt. Seidelson noted that a new national security law grants mainland institutions in Hong Kong responsibility for security. In response, the Trump administration has indicated that the ‘one country, two systems’ scenario is no longer valid and that Hong Kong’s special trade status should be dropped. As a result, Seidelson said tens of thousands of US companies may be forced to change how they do business in China.

The recent COVID-19 pandemic is also forcing a change in U.S.-China business relations, with American companies re-evaluating their reliance on Chinese-made products, Seidelson pointed out. In 2019, nearly 50% of every dollar spent on made in China products went to U.S. service providers. In April 2020, U.S. imports from China fell approximately 50 percent compared to a year earlier. 

“As Chinese companies shut down to control the spread of the virus, many U.S. companies were faced with the real possibility of shortages. This is particularly true in the pharmaceutical sector where China is the largest producer of the ingredients drugmakers use to make products,” Seidelson said.

Learn more here.   

Craig Seidelson has spent over 20 years in manufacturing. During this time he worked 16 years in China, building and managing factories. He is presently a reviewer for the International Journal of Operations Research and Information Systems. As professor of operations and supply chain management at the University of Indianapolis, he teaches logistics, quality management, and manufacturing at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. He also teaches a course on Manufacturing in China. Prof. Seidelson routinely consults on these topics and presents his research at conferences around the world. Through his work as vice president of the Board at the America China Society of Indiana, he brings together U.S. and Chinese businesses. His contributions in China were recognized with an honorary professorship at Changsha University of Science and Technology.

COVID-19 crisis presents opportunity to serve community for UIndy student

Amy Rohr '20 (public health) '21 (master of public health)

Amy Rohr ’20 (public health) ’21 (master of public health)

Many University of Indianapolis faculty and students are contributing their time and expertise in the fight to stop coronavirus (COVID-19). Amy Rohr, who graduates in May 2020 with a degree in public health, is also working towards her master of public health, which she will receive in 2021. Rohr has gained hands-on experience during the program through various internships, including the Indiana State Department of Health’s (ISDH) COVID-19 Call Center, where she answers questions from the general public as well as healthcare providers.

“The general public is mostly calling in and requesting information or wondering if they can be tested. We also answer general public calls that are just needing assistance on resources, such as the Critical Industry Line, Unemployment, 2-1-1, and the OSHA Compliance Line. The healthcare providers call in for many different reasons such as guidance on protocols or authorization requests to give the COVID-19 test,” Rohr explained.

“It has been interesting to watch how the calls change each week. I have been working at the call center since the beginning of March and each day there is something new. We get updates nearly every day on protocols, testing, results and recommendations. It seems like a turbulent situation, but I knew what I was stepping into. The field of public health is always changing and that is what I love most about it,” she said.

One of the key components of the public health program at the University of Indianapolis is applied and experiential learning. Rohr’s work at the call center has sharpened her focus on the value of sharing accurate medical information with the public.

“My view on the importance of proper health communication has definitely heightened from this situation. I find it very interesting to see where the callers are getting their information. To me, the information has been pushed by the media, but unfortunately, that is not always appropriate or accurate. In order to be an effective health educator/communicator in the call center, I ensure that I am staying calm, giving evidence-based information, and listening to the individual’s concerns and questions,” she said.

For Rohr, it’s an opportunity to give back to the community and put the University motto, “Education for Service,” into action.

“I have genuinely loved helping the public during this time of crisis,” Rohr said. “Of course, I love all things public health, but helping others is very important to me. I always try to remember that these individuals are scared and worried during this time and some just need someone to talk to. If I can be that person for them, even for five minutes, I feel that I am doing my job.”

Rohr is grateful for the mentorship of faculty including Heidi Hancher-Rauch, director of the Public Health Program at the University of Indianapolis.

“Dr. Rauch has gone above and beyond as a mentor. She is a professional that I look up to as a role model. She has helped me develop my love for policy and advocacy, which is what I want to work in in the future,” Rohr said.

Rauch commended Rohr, who serves as president of the honorary society, Eta Sigma Gamma.

“Amy provides amazing leadership within the Public Health Program and for the ESG members, in particular. She consistently brings great ideas forward to share with others,” Rauch said.

Rohr has completed a number of volunteer internship experiences, including the Southside Quality of Life Initiative where she examined the eight SoIndy neighborhoods using GI mapping, using the information to create and analyze maps of recreational areas and how they relate to public health. She also interned with the Indiana Youth Services Association of Indiana in their Trafficked Victims Assistance Program where she created an onboarding tool for new volunteers, helped with advocacy and awareness events, and created documents used for administrative purposes.

Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, Rohr was interning with the ISDH’s Tobacco Prevention and Cessation department, where she compiled and analyzed data, helped with policy and advocacy efforts, organized datasheets, and created fact sheets. Rohr also serves as a Health and Wellness Educator for the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis and a Community Health Advocate for Community East Hospital.

After completing her MPH degree, Rohr plans to work in public health policy and advocacy, and hopes to pursue a law degree in the long-term.

I have nothing but great things to say about the Public Health program. Not only are we getting practical experience and quality instruction, but this program is also like another family to me,” Rohr said. “The hands-on experiences and courses are definitely prepared for the next steps in my career.”

Learn more about the Public Health Program at the University of Indianapolis.

 

Changing lives through occupational therapy advocacy

Kelsey LeMond '20 (OTD)

Kelsey LeMond ’20 (OTD)

Kelsey LeMond will graduate in May 2020 with a doctorate in occupational therapy. Her doctoral capstone work at Public Advocates in Community Re-Entry (PACE) truly represents the University of Indianapolis motto, “Education for Service.” The nonprofit organization provides a variety of services to incarcerated and previously incarcerated individuals and their families to lead productive and responsible lives in their community. LeMond created life skills group sessions for participants and has been featured twice in regional newscasts to discuss her work.

PACE does not offer occupational therapy (OT) services, therefore my focus was to advocate the role of OT in a community mental health setting and create and lead a life skills group called Making Meaningful Meals,” LeMond explained. “The goals and outcomes for this life skills group focused on facilitating a healthy social environment through meal preparation, opportunities for learning and application of knowledge, and increasing overall health and wellness.”

Through her consultation services for PACE, LeMond gained valuable skills in communicating effectively as part of a team as she educated staff on the role of occupational therapy. 

“Facilitating the Making Meaningful Meals life skills group has enhanced my ability to provide verbal feedback and cues for social participation, engaging clients in meaningful activities, and assisting individuals with positive peer connection and recovery,” LeMond said.

To continue her work with PACE, LeMond is working on applying for local grants in order to provide part-time OT services. “Our community has impacted me greatly. I only want to give back what I can and remain a member of the PACE family.”

She learned two important lessons in the process: “There is no recovery if there is no community to support the individual’s recovery journey and second, OT has the ability to provide individuals with guidance, hope and empowerment through advocating for the individual’s occupational justice.”

LeMond credits her success in the program in part due to mentors such as Beth Ann Walker, associate professor of occupational therapy and Taylor McGann, assistant professor of occupational therapy.

Professor Walker is one of the most dedicated, enthusiastic, supportive and passionate professors I have had the pleasure of learning from. I consider her a role model and hope to embody her passion, ethicality and spirit with my own occupational therapy clients,” LeMond said.

“Professor McGann has challenged me intellectually, professionally and personally. No question is ever considered inconsequential, and she takes the time to check in on her students. Her genuine attitude and positivity have influenced my capacity for developing a growth mindset. I would consider both Dr. Walker and Dr. McGann ethical colleagues and close friends.”

“The School of Occupational Therapy prides itself on creating a strong foundation for students through integrated hands-on experience with faculty,” LeMond added. “Many of our faculty have an open-door policy allowing students to feel comfortable and supported during the challenges of graduate school.”

LeMond appreciates the opportunities the program has created for her to collaborate with various community partners.

I love how passionate UIndy is about serving their beloved community. It truly takes a community to grow a person both in body, mind, and spirit and I am thankful for the UIndy community for  supporting me.”

LeMond completed her level II fieldwork at Community Rehabilitation Hospital North in the brain injury unit. She wants to thank her fieldwork educator, Judy Trout, for being an amazing mentor, facilitator, role model and friend. LeMond also completed her second level II fieldwork at Cape Fear Valley Health in the adult neurological outpatient center under Sara Warren. She would also like to thank Sara for her directive leadership, support, and encouragement through fieldwork and will remain a mentor and friend for life.

After taking the boards to become a registered occupational therapy (OTR), she plans to apply for a job with Community Health Network. She will continue to participate in the American and Indiana Occupational Therapy Associations, where she advocates for the benefits of occupational therapy.

Learn more about the occupational therapy program at the University of Indianapolis.

 

Art & Design faculty adapt amidst COVID-19 challenges

Art and Design mini supply kit - COVID 19

You can do a lot with a little. That was the perspective Katherine Fries had as she migrated printmaking classes to an online format during the COVID-19 pandemic. The circumstances were less than ideal, but, she decided, it was a perfect opportunity to instill in her students adaptability, improvisation, problem-solving, and creativity – valuable skills that will translate beyond their education at the University of Indianapolis. Afterall, Fries pointed out, what student leaves their undergraduate career able to afford a fully stocked art studio? 

“Printmaking at its core is paper, pressure, and some kind of ink. We can create stencils and stamps from pretty much anything,” said Fries. 

Fries collaborated with colleagues from around the country to identify ways students could continue engaging the creative process using affordable supplies they’d likely have at home. The content of each class remains the same, but the projects were adapted for functionality. Plans for a complicated carving now involve scissors and foam material, for example. And instead of touring the National Library Bindery Company of Indiana, she’s created online tutorials for a bookbinding project using a needle and thread. 

Because many students left their personal supplies on campus during spring break, she also shipped about 25 miniature art kits to students for projects during the last four weeks of the semester. 

“This is not the ideal situation, but we’re doing our best to make these classes meaningful for students even though we can’t be together,” Fries said.

Related: School of Occupational Therapy employs creativity in time of pandemic

Making the most of makerspaces

professors use makerspace

When John Kuykendall began his tenure as the dean of the University of Indianapolis School of Education, the idea of housing a makerspace on campus had been in development for several years. Launching the School of Education makerspace would become one of Kuykendall’s priorities during his first year. 

The School of Education makerspace was inspired by the notion that today’s teachers must have the knowledge and skills necessary to prepare PK-12 students for an innovation-driven economy. Makerspaces compel teachers to deliver content through “learning by doing,” immersing students in real-world projects that foster deep learning and understanding. A makerspace is a space where students can gather to create, invent and learn. Education makerspaces are housed on campus and allow people to share resources and collaborate and allow teachers to provide a “lab” where they can apply the lessons that are already occurring within the classroom. They combine education with a “do it yourself” strategy.

Last fall, the School of Education’s makerspace began operation, with programming that largely focuses on STEM fields, but is available to use in any way that professors and students can find to fit the curriculum. Ultimately the makerspace will help equip teachers with new skill sets that enable complex thinking, problem-solving, designing, collaborating, communicating and creating for today’s 21st-century student. 

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“It was a connected effort within the University to get all this done,” Kuykendall said. He noted the efforts of Deb Sachs, assistant professor of education, who helped coordinate funding from a STEM education grant.

The University’s makerspace was aided in design by Indianapolis-based 1stMakerSpace, which builds and sustains in-school makerspaces. They partner with school districts to provide students with standards-based hands-on learning experiences to complement classroom learning strategies. The goal of these makerspaces is to inspire an authentic, rigorous and motivational environment by fostering creativity, collaboration and critical thinking.

“1stMakerSpace challenged us to come up with ideas how the makerspace could be used in all of the courses that we teach,” Kuykendall said. “We don’t want to pigeonhole the faculty and think that the pedagogy has to be centered around the sciences. As more faculty learn how to use it, they can begin to use it more and more often for a variety of lessons.” 

The makerspace provides an added educational layer where students can actually manipulate a problem with their hands and eyes rather than only trying to visualize a solution. 

“We’re very excited about it. It will allow students to see, apply and practice what they’re learning,” Kuykendall said. “There’s often more than one way to solve a problem. Makerspaces allow the open creativity to do that. They allow for more communication and can become collaborative pieces of learning.”

professors use makerspace

Kuykendall said housing a makerspace within the School of Education puts UIndy “ahead of the game” in offering students more resources to be successful should they end up in a school system that utilizes makerspaces.

Even though the makerspace on campus is still in its beginning stages, Kuykendall is already focused on ways in which the program will grow. “We want to continue to develop it year after year and keep growing the tools inside the space,” he said, “As more students and faculty use it that will help us envision how it will grow.” Kuykendall also envisions hosting workshops and professional development opportunities for local schools.

“Ultimately, we want programming that will help our students to interact with their future students,” he said.

Inquiries about the availability of the makerspace can be directed to School of Education Graduate Programs Administrative Assistant Rhonda Helterbrand (helterbrandr@uindy.edu) who is in charge of the scheduling and organization and management of the makerspace.

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