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: wardjl@uindy.edu

Black History Month at UIndy: Ways to learn & engage

Black History Month - UIndy

Black History Month is celebrated annually throughout the month of February at UIndy and across the United States. Origins date back to 1915, with the first Black History Month organized by Carter G. Woodson. The celebratory and reflective time was chosen for many reasons, including the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.

Here is a summary of 2021 Black History Month activities at the University of Indianapolis:

Black History Month at UIndy - 2021 featured events

BHM 2021 UIndy events continued

BHM at UIndy - 2021 events

BHM at UIndy - 2021 events final

Follow @uindystuaffairs on Instagram for more event information!

Etchings Magazine holds virtual launch party to celebrate Issue 33.1

The University of Indianapolis Etchings Literary and Fine Arts Magazine is gearing up for the launch of Issue 33.1. Student, faculty and alumni contributors will share their work at a virtual launch party at 5:00 p.m., Monday, November 30. Register here.

Etchings Press is a student-run press. Student editors in ENGL 379 are responsible for overseeing submissions, ensuring a blind submission process and communicating with authors.

Issue 33.1 features short stories, personal essays written in Spanish, poetry, visual art, and musical compositions, including works by: Abigail Asher, Rochelle Bauer, Riley Childers, Chloe Crockett, Kensington Eiler, Adam Fernandes, Stephanie Gibson, Tatyana Gray, Professor Kathleen Hacker, Patrick Handlon, Savannah Harris, Lindsey Henderson, Mackenzie Hyatt, Tylyn K. Johnson, Chelsea Keen, Victoria Miller, Associate Professor Karen Newman, Cory Pickett , Joe Raymond, Assistant Professor Sarah Reynolds, Kami Spear, J.W. Surface, McKenna Tetrick, Olivia Thompson, Olivia Williams, Whitney Wilson, and Armentrout judge, YA author Tracy Richardson.

  • Students pick their favorite excerpts from Etchings 33.1, published in December 2020.

Can’t make it? On Monday, November 30th, after 5:00 pm EST, fans can view Etchings Magazine Issue 33.1 via Issuu and purchase copies of this beautiful issue on Amazon.

Share launch party posts with your friends and subscribers using the hashtag #etchings331 to be entered to win prizes that will be announced during the launch party!

Don’t forget to submit your unpublished, creative work (art, poetry, prose, and musical compositions) by midnight EST, Monday, February 8th, 2020 and help create Issue 33.2.

Students translate documents for Prevail of Central Indiana

Students in Dr. Ana María Ferreira’s SPAN 300 recently worked on a class project to translate documents for Prevail of Central Indiana, an organization which serves victim of sexual abuse and domestic violence.

Ferreira contacted several organizations in Indiana, especially those that serve the Spanish-speaking and Latinx communities. “Prevail of Central Indiana does an amazing job, but they are having a growing number of clients who feel more comfortable speaking Spanish,” she said. 

Students in the course completed a “translation bootcamp” week where all they did was work to translate, from English to Spanish, many of the brochures, handouts and informational sheets that the workers at Prevail give to their clients.

“This is a very difficult topic, and we are treating it with care and respect,” Ferreira said. “We are also aware that this process could be triggering to some of our students. So far everyone is feeling comfortable with this assignment, but we are still checking in on one another constantly.”

Even though some of the topics were difficult, one of the students working on the project, Kaitlyn Ruiz ‘23 (Nursing, Spanish), was pleasantly surprised at how many resources were available for them. “The amount of resources for everything from clothes to toys, to food, in addition to counseling services was astounding,” she said.

Ruiz also felt the burden of some of the more serious material, wanting to do her best to make sure that the translations were done appropriately. “The biggest challenge of the project was just making sure that everything was correct,” she said. “This could help Hispanic people all over Indianapolis and surrounding areas so I wanted to make sure that I was translating from English to Spanish correctly.”

After the completion of the translation bootcamp, Ferreira is now in the process of checking her students’ work before handing the information back to Prevail of Central Indiana, which she hopes to have accomplished before the end of the semester.

“I think our motto “Education for Service” was exemplified in this project,” Ruiz said. “I think it’s important that we include this motto in our curriculum because it allows us to learn early on how to use our education to help others. I believe that no matter what we are studying, we will always impact others. There’s no better way to learn how to impact them positively than this.

UIndy presents Memory Cafés to support Dementia Friends Indiana

Over the past month the University of Indianapolis Department of Music and the Center for Aging & Community have partnered with the Dementia Friends Indiana movement led locally by CICOA Aging & In-Home Solutions to put on a series of Memory Cafes at Books & Brews-South Indy. An outreach of the Dementia Friends Indiana movement led locally by CICOA, Memory Cafés are welcoming gatherings for individuals with Alzheimer’s or dementia and their family members or caregivers to socialize and listen to music. 

To comply with COVID-19 guidelines, concerts put on by the UIndy Dept. of Music were held outside and people were allowed to park their cars and bring lawn chairs to enjoy a socially distanced event.

The last concert of the series is Thursday, Oct. 29 from 2:00-3:15 p.m.

Register here: www.dementiafriendsindiana.org/events/memory-cafe-drive-in-concert

Books & Brews-South Indy is also displaying a new mural created by UIndy Studio Art senior Leah Diekhoff. Make sure you check it out!

Kellogg Writers Series goes virtual for 20-21 season

The Kellogg Writers Series at the University of Indianapolis announced the 2020-21 season featuring a robust line-up of virtual events with regional and national writers of fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry. The Series kicks off with a fiction reading by Patricia Henley, National Book Award Finalist and New Yorker Fiction Prize Finalist, on Sept. 23, 2020, for Indiana Writers Spotlight Night.

Melissa Febos, LAMBDA Literary and Publishing Triangle Awards finalist, will be featured in a creative nonfiction reading Oct. 27. Walt Whitman Award winner Emily Skaja will read poetry on Nov. 19 to end the fall series. 

For spring 2021, Victoria Chang, winner of the Pushcart Prize and Poetry Society of America’s Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award, will read poetry on Feb. 18. Pushcart Prize winner Alison C. Rollins will provide a poetry reading on April 7, 2021. (See details below.)  

“I’m amazed and humbled by the visiting authors the Kellogg Writers Series is virtually bringing to UIndy, the greater Indianapolis community and the Zoomiverse this season,” said organizer Barney Haney, assistant professor of English. “Creating a platform for diverse and marginalized voices at UIndy has been a central part of our mission and being online this semester means we get to dramatically expand our platform’s reach.”

Rebecca McKanna, assistant professor of English and Kellogg Writers Series organizer, said the online format provides new ways to engage participants.

Rather than a normal reading, in the Zoom format, authors will be in conversation with one another or doing craft talks about issues they’re interested in,” McKanna explained. “Attendees will still have the opportunity to ask authors questions, but we hope the new format will keep all the spontaneity people loved from our regular KWS programming and update it for this new medium.”

Visit events.uindy.edu for Zoom links to each event.

Kellogg Writers Series 2020-2021 Season

Fall 2020

Patricia Henley_photo courtesy of Haywire Books

Patricia Henley

Fiction Reading with Patricia Henley
Indiana Writers Spotlight Night
Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020
7:30-8:30 p.m.
Zoom (online) 

National Book Award Finalist
The New Yorker Fiction Prize Finalist

Patricia Henley’s first novel, Hummingbird House, was a finalist for The National Book Award and The New Yorker Fiction Prize. Filmmaker John Sayles called Hummingbird House  “. . . deeply felt. . . a heartbreaking book.” Her second novel, In the River Sweet, was a Borders Original Voices selection. In addition, she is the author of two chapbooks of poetry, four short story collections, a stage play, and numerous essays. Her first book of stories, Friday Night at Silver Star, was the winner of the Montana First Book Award. Her other story collections include The Secret of Cartwheels, Worship of the Common Heart, New & Selected Stories, and Other Heartbreaks. In November 2019 Haywire Books published a 20th anniversary edition of Hummingbird House. Patricia lives in Maryland. 

“It is impossible to read Hummingbird House without thinking of Hemingway.”—Indianapolis Star

The writer Melissa Febos (USA), New York, New York, June 19, 2020. Photograph © Beowulf Sheehan

Melissa Febos Photograph © Beowulf Sheehan

Creative Nonfiction Reading with Melissa Febos
Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020
7:30-8:30 p.m.
Zoom (online)

LAMBDA Literary Award finalist
Publishing Triangle Award finalist
Indie Next Pick
Best Book of 2017 by Book Riot, Esquire, Refinery 29, The Cut, Bustle, Medium, The Brooklyn Rail, Largehearted Boy, Salon, The Rumpus, and others. 

“Abandon Me is an assemblage of lyric essays as intellectually sophisticated as they are emotionally stirring; a series of unflinching reflections and honest accounts of transformation that Febos refuses to let pass without scrutiny…Febos complicates the human desire for connection with explorations in philosophy, psychology, and accounts of historical repression that seduce readers into inhabiting her myths while resisting sentimentality by dismantling the fictions with deft intellectual probing reminiscent of the work of Maggie Nelson.” —BOMB Magazine

“Bold…mesmerizing…the sheer fearlessness of the narrative is captivating.” —The New Yorker

Emily Skaja

Emily Skaja

Poetry Reading with Emily Skaja
Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020
7:30-8:30 p.m.
Zoom (online)

Walt Whitman Award Winner

Walt Whitman Award judge Joy Harjo writes: “BRUTE, though a collection of singular poems, is essentially one long elegiac howl for the end of a relationship. It never lets up—this living—even when the world as we knew it is crushed. So what do we do with the brokenness? We document it, as Emily Skaja has done in BRUTE. We sing of the brokenness as we emerge from it. We sing the holy objects, the white moths that fly from our mouths, and we stand with the new, wet earth that has been created with our terrible songs.”

Spring 2021

Victoria Chang Photo: Margaret Molloy

Victoria Chang
Photo: Margaret Molloy

Poetry Reading with Victoria Chang
Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021
7:30-8:30 p.m.
Location: TBD

Pushcart Prize
Poetry Society of America’s Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award

After her mother died, poet Victoria Chang refused to write elegies. Rather, she distilled her grief during a feverish two weeks by writing scores of poetic obituaries for all she lost in the world. In Obit, Chang writes of “the way memory gets up after someone has died and starts walking.” These poems reinvent the form of newspaper obituary to both name what has died (“civility,” “language,” “the future,” “Mother’s blue dress”) and the cultural impact of death on the living. Whereas elegy attempts to immortalize the dead, an obituary expresses loss, and the love for the dead becomes a conduit for self-expression. In this unflinching and lyrical book, Chang meets her grief and creates a powerful testament for the living.

Chang’s books include OBIT, Barbie Chang, The Boss, Salvinia Molesta, and Circle. Her children’s picture book, Is Mommy?, was illustrated by Marla Frazee and published by Beach Lane Books/Simon & Schuster. It was named a New York Times Notable Book. Her middle grade novel, Love Love will be published by Sterling Publishing in 2020. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Sustainable Arts Foundation Award, the Poetry Society of America’s Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award, a Pushcart Prize, and a MacDowell Colony Fellowship. She lives in Los Angeles and is the program chair of Antioch’s Low-Residency MFA Program.

Alison C. Rollins Photo: Maya Ayanna Darasaw

Alison C. Rollins
Photo: Maya Ayanna Darasaw

Poetry Reading with Alison C. Rollins
Thursday, April. 7, 2021
7:30-8:30 p.m.
Location: TBD 

Pushcart Prize Winner

Alison C. Rollins holds a Bachelor of Science (summa cum laude & phi beta kappa) in Psychology from Howard University and a Master of Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Born and raised in St. Louis city, she currently works as the Lead Teaching and Learning Librarian for Colorado College. She also serves as faculty for Pacific Northwest College of Art’s Low-Residency MFA. Her poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, New England Review, The New York Times Magazine, The Poetry Review, and elsewhere. A Cave Canem and Callaloo fellow, she is also a 2016 recipient of the Poetry Foundation’s Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship. Rollins has most recently been awarded support from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and is a recipient of a 2019 National Endowment for the Arts Literature fellowship as well as a 2018 Rona Jaffe Writers’ Award. A 2020 Pushcart Prize winner, her debut poetry collection Library of Small Catastrophes (Copper Canyon Press) is out now! 

“Like sunflowers turning towards the sun, readers will turn to this astounding poet.” —Booklist, (Starred Review)

“The range of Rollins’ poetic skill is remarkable. The result is a collection of poetry which is magnificently crafted, readable, and crucially important.”—New York Journal of Books




Agatha Christie’s first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, was published in 1920 and launched the career of one of her most famous sleuths, Hercule Poirot. Join us to celebrate the 100th anniversary of a novel that originated as a dare from the author’s sister. 

Communiversity is a free, online class that runs through the fall semester, from the week of August 24 to the week of November 30. Students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the general public are invited to participate. 

Here are five reasons to sign up:

  1. Return to the virtual classroom to read and discuss a classic novel. The course will be moderated by Jennifer Camden, Beverley J. Pitts Distinguished Professor of the Ron and Laura Strain Honors College and Associate Chair and Professor of English.

  2. It has a book club feel. You’ll read just one chapter a week, and the course is “credit/no credit,” so you can spend as much or as little time on the class as you would like.

  3. It’s free!

  4. It’s a page-turner. A poisoning in a locked room, a missing will, and a piece of paper saved from the embers of a fireplace that may hold the key to solving the mystery…Christie’s novel is a classic with plenty of red herrings. Pit your wits against Hercule Poirot and Inspector Japp to see if you can guess “whodunit.”

  5. Several guest lectures will further enrich your experience. Join virtual conversations in September, October, and November to hear UIndy faculty explore subthemes from the novel. The lectures are free to attend and open to the general public. 

Learn more about Communiversity and sign up today! 

Register before Monday, August 24 to secure your spot. 

Jeremiah Gibbs takes additional role as pastor of St. Andrew UMC

University Chaplain Jeremiah Gibbs (2019 file photo)

University Chaplain Jeremiah Gibbs (2019 file photo)

Jeremiah Gibbs, University Chaplain and director of the Lantz Center Christian Vocations & Formation, will be appointed as pastor of St. Andrew United Methodist Church as of July 1. Gibbs will continue in his roles at the University of Indianapolis, which include assistant professor of philosophy & religion, while he serves St. Andrew UMC on a part-time basis.

St. Andrew is a congregation actively engaged in the traditions of Gospel-centered sermons, gospel music, Christian hospitality, service to the community and outreach mission work. Gibbs noted St. Andrew’s long history of serving the neighborhood to the north of the University of Indianapolis with preschool, a food pantry and events like the semi-annual neighborhood fair.

“I’m hopeful that this new connection will enable UIndy to provide an avenue for some of our students to find a place nearby to participate in church life,” Gibbs said. “I also hope that it can serve as a kind of ‘outpost’ for University initiatives to do service in that neighborhood as well.”

“We are excited that Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Gibbs has agreed and will expand his appointment to serve the congregation of St. Andrew United Methodist Church, effective July 1,” said Aleze Fulbright, Conference Superintendent of Central District. “We celebrate Dr. Gibb’s call as a pastoral leader and know he will continue to share the Good News in new and profound ways. I am equally excited about the possibilities that could emerge through Dr. Gibb’s connection with the congregation, community and the University of Indianapolis.”

Gibbs will continue to oversee the Ecumenical and Interfaith Programs office at the University of Indianapolis. In his role at the University, he takes primary responsibility for the ecumenical Christian ministry on campus. In addition to the Christian worship and related programming, he also leads the Lantz Center for Christian Vocations that includes the freshman Threshold Retreat as well as the two years of spiritual formation courses known on campus as CVOC classes.

Recently Gibbs has led the office to develop a network of community groups to address loneliness and mental health challenges that the chaplains have ministered to on campus. About 130 students joined a community group this year with book and Bible studies, exercise groups, creative groups, and service groups. Many of these groups continued in a virtual format after social distancing began. Christian ministries also continued in a virtual format with weekly online chapel services and daily video devotionals on social media.
Gibbs is a graduate of Eureka College and Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary (M.T.S. and Ph.D), and he is an Elder in the United Methodist Church.

While in seminary, Gibbs served as Youth Pastor and/or Director of Young Adult Ministries for United Methodist congregations in Wisconsin and Illinois. He has been University Chaplain and Director of the Lantz Center at UIndy since 2009. He recently released his second book, Find Your Place in God’s Mission (Foundery Books, 2020), that guides readers to discern their calling in their career. Gibbs is married to the Rev. Jenifer Stuelpe Gibbs, who is senior pastor of Castleton United Methodist Church in Indianapolis.

Deah Long ’20 wraps up undergrad career with Pacers internship

Deah Long '20 (sport management)Deah Long ‘20 (sport management with a minor in business administration) landed an internship with the Indiana Pacers during her senior year at the University of Indianapolis. 

Her responsibilities have included preparing cards for the emcees, changing CO2 tanks for the t-shirt guns, and taking the mascots/entertainment teams to and from their appearances. 

“On game days I would prepare the team line-ups and take them to the announcer to read at the beginning of the game,” she explained. “I would also have to load the tunnel with everything we would need to use for that specific game, such as t-shirt guns, Boomer’s props, and prizes or objects needed for on-court activities. I was able to network with many people with important roles and pick up new skills that I have no doubt I will use in the near future.” 

She got the opportunity after doing a job-shadow with the Pacers’ operations department, set up by one of her faculty mentors, Jennifer VanSickle, professor of sport management. 

“Deah is always willing to go above and beyond,” VanSickle said. “I was sure that if she spent some time with the supervisors there that they would be impressed with her and want to hire her as an intern. I have watched her grow in confidence, which has helped her be a better leader and be willing to offer suggestions and solutions.”  

During her time on campus, Long also completed an internship with UIndy Facilities and helped plan the 2019 Special Olympics State Youth Basketball tournament held on the UIndy campus. 

Long says the sport management program has prepared her for a career in the field by requiring students to complete at least two separate internships before graduating.

“The most significant way UIndy has had an impact on me would be the connections I have been able to make that led to amazing opportunities,” said Long. “Sport management is something that cannot be fully taught in a classroom, but with real-world experience.”

Following graduation, Long will be attending graduate school at UIndy.

“My time at UIndy has been amazing and I am glad I chose to attend this university. I will forever cherish the memories, friendships, and connections I have made during my time here,” she said.

Her advice for incoming freshmen: 

“Take your courses seriously in the beginning. Many students come into college with the mindset that since it is only their first year, they have enough time to “focus on fun” and save the academics for later. While it is possible to bring your grades up, fixing your GPA will prove to be extremely difficult. The goal is to balance your social life with your academics!”


Through Their Eyes: an interdisciplinary study of local refugees

Through Their Eyes Exhibit - Feb 2020

“Through Their Eyes: Health and Social Integration of Congolese Refugee Women in Indianapolis” was on exhibit at the University of Indianapolis in early 2020

University of Indianapolis faculty, students and community partners collaborated on a research study to better understand how Congolese refugees were settling in Indianapolis. 

The project was co-led by Jyotika Saksena, associate professor and graduate director of the international relations program in the Department of History and Political Science, and made possible by two different partnerships. 

For years, UIndy students have completed internships with Exodus Refugee Inc., a refugee resettlement agency in Indianapolis. Cole Varga ‘10 (MA, international relations) was one of those interns during his time at UIndy, eventually becoming the Executive Director of Exodus Refugee Inc. in 2016.

Saksena has served on the Exodus Board of Directors since 2014. She struck up a conversation with Shannon McMorrow, who was an assistant professor of public health at UIndy at the time. McMorrow had used photovoice methodology to examine vulnerable populations such as young girls of color. This discussion led to the pair envisioning and applying for an interdisciplinary grant, and later a state-funded grant from the Indiana Minority Health Coalition, to use photovoice methodology to understand the perception of health and integration among refugees living in Indianapolis. 

Saksena, McMorrow, and students from the public health and international relations programs worked closely with community partner Exodus Refugee Inc. to shape the goals, approach, and outcomes of the project. 

“Our community partner selected the refugee population that they needed the most information on,” explained Saksena. “The Congolese were a newly arriving population in the city, with very little pre-existing community to provide social support. We decided to focus on women because they are an understudied population. The purpose of the project was to understand how refugees were settling in Indianapolis and their perception toward health and healthcare.” 

Sixteen Congolese women who had been in the country for two years or less participated in the 2016 study. Each person was asked to take photographs of anything that made them feel happy or sad and explain why. 

A follow-up study with the same women was conducted in 2019 to see if their lives had improved. They were given the same request: to take pictures of anything that made them feel happy or sad. 

In early 2020, photographs taken by the refugees were highlighted at “Through Their Eyes: Health and Social Integration of Congolese Refugee Women in Indianapolis,” an exhibit at the University of Indianapolis. Accompanying captions explained why they took each photograph. Some examples are included below.

“Each image was a reflection of their perception of life in America,” Saksena said. 

UIndy students helped during various stages of the research process, including downloading and sharing photographs, taking notes during the focus groups and transcribing recordings of data collected. The research, co-authored by Saksena and McMorrow, has been published in the Journal of International Migration and IntegrationSAGE Publicationsand Community-Academic Partnership in Research and Public Health

Saksena said the most significant finding was that emphasis on early self-sufficiency in the US negatively affects refugees’ focus on language acquisition, which in turn impacts other aspects of the integration, including access to well-paid jobs, health, and affordable housing. 

“Our study also revealed that cultural differences, like child-rearing norms, can exacerbate the challenges of integration, particularly for women due to their traditional family roles, negatively affecting their ability to become self-reliant. Social and cultural support is crucial for building resilience and improving the integration process for the refugees,” Saksena said.

Learn more about the international relations program at UIndy

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