Q&A with McKenna Tetrick ’21 (psychology, Spanish)

Leading up to Commencement, UIndy 360 is asking some of our graduates to tell us about their experience at UIndy and fill us in on what their plans are after graduation. Get to know McKenna Tetrick!


Image-1 (4)What degree program(s) will you be graduating from?

I will be graduating this May with a B.S. in Psychology with a concentration in clinical and counseling studies and a B.A. in Spanish. I also have minors in English Literary Studies and Latin American Studies. 


What advice do you have for incoming freshmen?

My advice for freshmen would be to let yourself be curious! Don’t feel like you have to tie yourself down to one area – explore and have fun!


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

UIndy has become my home away from home. It has allowed me to learn about myself, others, and the world around me in ways I never thought I could.


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

Both psychology and Spanish have given me great, holistic approaches to my education. They have prepared me for a career in giving me a wide range of applicable skills.


Do you have any faculty mentors, and if so, how have they helped you?

My greatest faculty mentors have been unofficial, but incredible nonetheless. I am eternally and especially grateful to Dr. Ana Maria Ferreira for consistently inspiring, encouraging, and educating me throughout the past four years. The English and Psychology departments house too many amazing people to specifically honor one, but they have all mentored me in their own fantastic ways. 


Have you been involved in any extra-curricular activities?

For the past 3 years, I have served on the board for the Global Languages Organization (GLO). This organization has helped me meet new people, become further involved in the Spanish department, and foster relationships with faculty and peers alike. I recommend everyone take part in an organization that interests them!


What are your plans after graduation?

After graduation, I plan on taking a gap year and then returning to UIndy for grad school! As for long-term career goals, I plan to work with literature in some shape or form. I would love to work for an international publishing house.


What has been your favorite thing about UIndy?

My favorite thing about UIndy is the small-school feel of it. I love the opportunity to take multiple classes with professors and other students, leading to lasting relationships!


Kirby Jones ’21, Doctorate of Occupational Therapy

“UIndy taught me how important it is to apply my knowledge in ways that help others. My education can be a driving force for positive changes in the community.”

kirby jones class of 2021 Kirby Jones '21, Doctorate of Occupational Therapy

What are your plans after graduation?
I plan to pursue a career in Indianapolis in pediatric occupational therapy through outpatient clinical and early intervention services. I am excited to work with families and children to promote function and participation in important occupations of play, school, and family life. Providing occupational therapy in a clinic and through early intervention will prepare me to help families with a wide variety of needs, strengthening my skills as a new grad. Long-term, I plan to return to my hometown of rural Vincennes and apply the skills and knowledge learned early in my career. I also plan to continue advocating for the role of occupational therapists for families in foster care, adoption, or community programs such as Safe Families for Children. I believe occupational therapy can help families that are struggling with behaviors, emotions, and development related to exposure to trauma and transition between caregivers. These families typically would not qualify for traditional OT services, but community-based OT services would be able to address the need and improve families’ quality of life, children’s participation in school, and reduce the impacts of trauma on their functioning. I am very excited to start my career and see where occupational therapy takes me!

How has your program prepared you for the next steps in your career?
UIndy is one of the first programs to offer a Doctorate in Occupational Therapy. As a Doctorate student, I completed additional course work and experiential learning that challenged me to learn about various topics. Through this, I have become very passionate about exploring the potential benefit of occupational therapy community-based services for families in foster care. As I work towards this goal, my traditional work will have a greater purpose as I learn to work with families and children as an occupational therapist. 

In undergrad, I was a part of the UIndy Cheerleading team all four years, a mentor for three years in College Mentors for Kids, and a Presidential Ambassador for three years. In grad school, I was a member of SOTA (Student Occupational Therapy Association) all three years and the President for one year. I have consistently volunteered in my community through the Joseph Maley Foundation and my church. Each experience helped connect me with other UIndy students, local community members, and learn to value experiences outside of the classroom. I plan to continue pursuing volunteer efforts as a new graduate through the Joseph Maley Foundation, Safe Families for Children, and my church. 

I also interned at the Joseph Maley Foundation within their adaptive athletics program. I was fortunate enough to be offered employment following the internship, and I continued to learn valuable lessons from a well-respected non-profit organization. Through visionary leadership and community collaborations, the Joseph Maley Foundation provided valuable services and programming to families and children of all abilities across central Indiana. Through graduate school, I completed clinical experiences at Reid Health in Richmond, IN, Good Samaritan Hospital in Vincennes, IN, Mercy Health in Oklahoma City, OK, Harvest Health and Rehab in Loogootee, IN, and Eskenazi Health in Indianapolis, IN. These clinic experiences varied in setting, population, and instructional approach. By having a variety of experiences I feel prepared as a new grad OT to provide quality service in many practice settings. I also gained valuable skills in interpersonal skills, communication, and adaptability – all of which are crucial soft skills for employment. My final experiential learning opportunity occurred at Safe Families for Children in Central Indiana. This organization helped formulate my passion for providing OT services to families in foster care. I also learned to articulate the value of OT to community volunteers, staff members, and families. Advocating for OT in this emerging practice area is something I plan to continue throughout the extent of my career and without the DCE, my passion may not have been actualized. 

Who are your UIndy mentors?
My research advisor all three years was Dr. Rebecca Barton. Dr. Barton guided our research group through a rigorous qualitative research process, an experience unique to UIndy’s OTD program. Dr. Barton always embodied the passion behind student mentorship and support. Her love for the profession and teaching the next cohort of therapists made her an incredible source of support throughout graduate school. My faculty advisor throughout my Doctoral Capstone Experience (DCE) was Dr. Taylor McGann. Dr. McGann provided essential feedback throughout my DCE to improve the quality and effectiveness of my program design. Dr. McGann also supported my efforts with pursuing jobs through letters of recommendation, interview pointers, and guidance on how to identify a healthy workplace environment. 

What’s your favorite thing about UIndy?
The sense of community that extends beyond graduation. All of the connections with peers, professors, and other staff are truly relational and not transactional – I know I can reach out at any point for support or to celebrate an accomplishment. UIndy has been my home away from home for 7 years and I wouldn’t change a thing. I have loved my experience at UIndy and am so excited to support future Hounds as they pursue their degrees and dreams. 

What advice do you have for incoming freshmen?
Stay organized with classes and schoolwork so you can be successful academically AND enjoy all the fun of college. 

Learn more about UIndy’s College of Health Sciences

Senior spotlight: Isaac Bush ’21 (finance & supply chain management)

Isaac Bush Class of 2021


  • Graduating: May 2021
  • Majors: Finance and Supply Chain Management
  • Strain Honors College


Extracurriculars: Member of the Executive Board for the UIndy Finance Club. “Through this, I was able to gain more leadership experience and connect to both my fellow finance majors and professionals in the industry.”


What are your plans after graduation?
“Immediately following graduation, I will transition from being a Procurement Intern to being a Procurement Program Analyst at Allison Transmission. In this position, I will be the purchasing representative for one Allison Transmission product line. I eventually plan on earning my MBA as well. Ultimately, I strive to one day become either a Chief Operating Officer (COO) or Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of a major corporation.”

How has your program prepared you for the next steps in your career?
“The School of Business does a great job providing students with experience in all of the business areas. This allows students to see which one they like the most. I personally enjoyed the Supply Chain Management curriculum, as it is so varied and provides a wide range of instruction. This allowed me to be prepared for various internships and my future full-time job upon graduation.”

Who are your UIndy mentors?
“All of the professors were great in their individual ways, but I would say that Dr. Karl Knapp was my main faculty mentor. He especially helped me in developing and completing my Honors Project. He also helped me make connections and understand different career possibilities.”

What internship experiences have you had?
“I’ve had four internships. My first was with Travelers Insurance as a Business Insurance Underwriting Intern. I then interned as a Finance/Accounting Intern at IMMI. After that, I was an Accounting Intern at Spot Freight. Currently, I am a Procurement Intern at Allison Transmission, which will lead to a full-time position in May. Through these internships, I gained great experience in a variety of career fields. I learned how a business runs, office etiquette, soft skills, and leadership skills, as well as specific accounting, finance, and purchasing-specific skills.”

What advice do you have for incoming freshmen?
“Making connections early is very important. Go to career fairs and events to try to make connections. This will hopefully lead to internships and eventually a great job following graduation.”

What’s your favorite thing about UIndy?
“The small class sizes. As someone who came from a very small, rural high school, this was very important to me. I was able to build connections and personally interact with all of my professors. This greatly enhanced my education and made me feel welcome.”

“UIndy has given me the chance to receive a great education while also building real-world connections. These connections have been and will continue to be vital throughout my career.”

Learn more about the UIndy School of Business


Talented Trio of Visual Arts Educators (Class of 2021)

The University of Indianapolis School of Education nominated three very talented visual arts educators from the graduating Class of 2021 to be featured in a senior spotlight. Learn about Ashley Andry, Avery Miller, and Nicole Hopf:

Ashley AndryAshleyAndry

  • Major – Visual Arts Teaching (K-12)
  • Graduating – May 2021

Extracurriculars – I have been in Kappa Delta Pi for two years and served as the membership chair for two semesters

Next steps – I plan to teach art at a school in Indy. I haven’t found a job yet, but am excited for what the future holds!

My UIndy mentor – Mindy Stephenson. Mindy is my university supervisor, a fellow art educator, and my biggest help through junior block and student teaching. She has been a consistent guiding light and has helped me to answer my most difficult questions about becoming a teacher! Throughout the last two years, Mindy has shown me incredible support and done an amazing job in helping me to use all of my education knowledge and apply it to my specific content area. I couldn’t have done this without her!

My favorite thing about UIndy – The way that my professors have invested in my college career. The small class sizes and individualized support have helped me to grow immensely. I can tell that my professors truly care about me and my success and do everything in their power to help me to become a great teacher myself!

Advice for incoming freshmen – Ask all the questions they can. I can’t tell you how afraid I was to ask for help in my first three (!!!) years of college. Everyone is so understanding and just wants to help you be confident in the knowledge that you possess, so don’t be afraid to send that panic-induced email in the ungodly hours of the night. Your professors will do their absolute best to help you get where you need to be!

Avery MillerAvery Miller

  • Major – Visual Arts Teaching (K-12)
  • Minor – Spanish
  • Graduating – August 2021 (walking in the May ceremony)

Extracurriculars – Involved in Kappa Delta Pi (treasurer for 1 year)

Next steps – I plan to teach elementary or middle school art in Nashville, TN.

My UIndy mentor – Dr. Ridgway and Mindy Stephenson have helped make the most of my education here at UIndy. Always answering my questions, and positively building me up when needed.

My favorite thing about UIndy – I love the abundant resources at UIndy like the ProEdge center, and college-specific resources, along with the professor’s attention to students.

Advice for incoming freshmen – Make the most of every year. Don’t think “I just want to be done,” or “I wish I was just a senior already” because you’ll never get to be in an environment and experience like UIndy again.

nicole hopfNicole Hopf

  • Major – Masters in the Arts of Teaching; Art Education
  • Graduating – May 2021

Extracurriculars – Involved with the Board of Clinical Partnership Academy on campus

Next steps – I am currently employed at Cedar Elementary in Avon as their Visual Arts teacher teaching K-4.

My UIndy mentor – Mindy Stephenson was my student teaching coach/mentor and she was so helpful in lesson ideas, modifications, and suggesting activities that helped me grow as an educator. Also, the undergrad art education majors, specifically Avery Miller, have been a soundboard for lesson ideas as well.

My favorite thing about UIndy – Committed and understanding teachers who teach with a welcoming attitude, just as they tell us to. They are very flexible which has emphasized how important that is to all students.

Advice for incoming freshmen – Work hard! Listen to your educators as they are practicing what you are learning and you can see firsthand why it is important to accommodate all. Be in a constant stream of communication with your professors, they want to help you!

Learn more about UIndy’s School of Education

UIndy announces Teacher of the Year nominees and winner

KarleeTaytlor_LRC_114The University of Indianapolis is pleased to announce this year’s Teacher of the Year Recipient as Laura Merrifield Wilson PhD, Associate Professor of International Relations. She began her tenure at the University of Indianapolis in 2013. Known for her unbridled enthusiasm relating local, state, and national political science to her students, Dr. Wilson has extended this reach into our community with her leadership in the UIndy Votes project and the newly-created UIndy Gender Center.

Dr. Wilson’s passion, enthusiasm, and ability to translate her knowledge of political science was noted not only by the UIndy Teacher of the Year Selection Committee, but also by a former student who remarked:

As if the presence of Dr. Wilson in class is not enough, her ability to create educational content and understanding by connecting her students to the community is unrivaled. Dr. Wilson has taken her classes canvassing, to the State House, to voter registration events, to local community lectures, and helped set up meetings with local elected officials. Dr. Wilson is so intentional with relaying information happening in the community that she knows that her students will enjoy it in their free time. Her classes have taught me how valuable understanding state and local policies is and this has encouraged me to get involved in local politics and advocacy after my move to (graduate school) in Georgia.

Dr. Wilson recognizes the challenges of teaching political science in today’s deeply partisan society. She notes that students often come to class with strong opinions, some with substantial political knowledge and others with a lack of background experience. Her goal, however, is to create an environment where students can share diverse perspectives, develop critical thinking, and express their knowledge in thoughtful and caring ways. She cues students to fact check, to gain the tools for thinking deeply about how institutions work within society.

The Teacher of the Year Committee noted that Dr. Wilson models practices for encouraging students to openly share diverse perspectives, and to see view points from multiple lenses. She finds heart-to-heart conversations assist in discussing what could be divisive issues.

Although learning to teach in a hybrid style during in a pandemic has been challenging, Dr. Wilson has risen to the challenge via her integration of varied technology tools like Zoom, breakout spaces and Google Jamboards.

Congratulations, Dr. Merrifield-Wilson, for inspiring so many UIndy students to be caring, critical thinkers! Your reach extends throughout our entire community!

There were many deserving nominees for Teacher of the Year this year, please see those nominees below and help recognize their positive contributions to the University and its students:

Eduard Arriaga

Portraits Fall 2016Dr. Eduard Arriaga is an enthusiastic learner, bringing experiences of teaching in different cultures and a passion for sharing knowledge to the classroom. He continues to use reflection to ensure the needs of students are met, with humor, compassion and a joy in learning together. He is patient with the students and gently corrects challenges to create meaningful and successful learning experiences.


Katie Boucher

Boucher,_KatieDr. Katie Boucher does an outstanding job in making statistics understandable for students in psychology.  She is well prepared and is clear in her written and verbal instruction. She loves helping students develop skills in statistics while also considering their own passions.  Dr. Boucher loves when students are able to make connections between data and things they have learned in class.


Christie Flint 

Portraits Fall 2016Professor Flint has a very clear passion for the profession of nursing and educating students. She states that students are her purpose in her teaching. Professor Flint uses real life and interesting examples in her teaching and employs multiple formative assessment and feedback opportunities. Professor Flint says “My worst day teaching is my best day in other jobs.”


Stacey Gaven

Gaven,_StaceyDr. Gaven is incredibly passionate about the field of athletic training and that passion shows in her hopes for student learning, for facilities to better prepare them for the future, and her hope that learning is fun and deep and creates life-long relationships. She makes the best of every situation with compassion and enthusiastic engagement. In her classroom,  she makes sure to use active engagement, demonstration, and practice techniques to reinforce content.  She makes it a point to create a positive learning environment while still having high student expectations.


Michelle Itczak

Itczak,_MichelleProfessor Itczak very clearly mirrors for students the kind of approach expected of them as mental health professionals, identifying their needs and providing one-on-one support as needed to encourage academic success and identify burnout. Committed to creative approaches to engage students, she argues that expression is an integral part of Art Therapy and ensures that her classes are conducted in a manner that engages, restores, and rejuvenates the students.


Jean Lee

Jean Lee 037Dr. Lee  shows remarkable depth beyond just identifying common barriers to math learning. This is evidenced by her insistence that  incorporating values in teaching, mentoring, and course planning that directly support equity in many aspects of that term is a crucial part of her job. Jean shows amazing flexibility and creativity in creating learning experiences that excite and engage, and creates a cadre of “student leader” colleagues to improve STEM and math education. She also demonstrates a remarkable ability to relate content to theory and the development of the mathematical identity of her students.

Kathy Martin 

Dr. Kathy Martin is an exceptional practitioner who enhances material with real-life examples that help students to consider and apply content.  She clearly has a passion for the profession of physical therapy and growing her students as professionals.  She is professional yet genuine, calm, and personable.  She engages her students throughout class and invites them to apply and critically consider content.  In her reflective approach, she truly models what she teaches.

Alli Snyder

Maurer,_AlliDr. Alli Snyder has a great mastery of the content of data analytics, exemplified by her content articulation and the use of relevant and current examples to stimulate students and support content application.  She takes time to provide individualized help and guidance to her students as they meet course goals and face real-word challenges.  While developing and implementing this new program, she has maintained her focus on student success into the future and sustained program growth.

Dan Vice

Portraits Fall 2016Professor Vice is instrumental in welcoming students to the classroom as first year college students, making required courses relevant and revealing.  He has a clear passion for literature and thinks deeply on the subject. He encourages students to critically think about pieces of writing and to share diverse perspectives.



Colleen Wynn

Wynn,_ColleenProfessor Wynn is a thoughtful educator who is aware of her classroom and its needs at all times. She conducts her lessons in a dynamic and systematic manner that addresses the core aim of the class and has skillfully adapted to teaching during a pandemic. Professor Wynn focuses on engaging students in the learning process of managing data through a variety of active learning strategies. It is clear that she loves sharing  knowledge and getting students excited about sociology.  She focuses on encouraging students to think in a new way.

Senior Spotlight: Elizabeth Brock ’19 ’21 (psychology, OTD)

126865109_3745917662106676_4381155905705450362_nThis May, Elizabeth Brock ’19 ’21 (psychology, OTD) will complete her UIndy journey that she began back in 2015 when she graduates as a doctor of occupational therapy. UIndy 360 caught up with Elizabeth before commencement and asked her to talk about her experience at UIndy and what she has planned after graduation:

What advice do you have for incoming freshmen?

I encourage incoming freshmen to take advantage of the intimate classroom setting at UIndy. Take time to build relationships with your professors and reach out with any concerns. The professors at UIndy are excellent and want to help you reach your professional potential.


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

I have a network of professionals and colleagues from my undergraduate and graduate programs that are supporting me as I enter into the workforce. 


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

Several employers and educators from various healthcare organizations have made positive comments of their experience hiring students from UIndy. The OTD program at UIndy is highly accredited and I feel adequately prepared and confident with my skills to enter into the job force. UIndy offers unique educational experiences that sets their students apart from other programs such as a cadaver lab, multiple orthoses, a Certified Brain Injury Specialist course, a direct-admit program, Anatomage labs, etc.


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

Through faculty guidance, I am prepared and excited to become an occupational therapist. I am blessed to have learned lessons from each one of my professors. You all have inspired me to advocate for client-centered and occupation-based care in the workforce. Specifically, my faculty mentor and doctoral capstone advisor Dr. Taylor McGann, has inspired me with her confidence and expertise in the field. She always encourages me to believe in my skills and pursue my dreams as a young practitioner. I am truly honored to be an UIndy Alum of the Doctoral Occupational Therapy Program for Cohort 2021. 


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

  • Super Saturday of Service through UIndy
  • Note-taker for students diagnosed with learning disabilities through UIndy
  • Member of the National Society of Leadership and Success through UIndy
  • Volunteered at St. Thomas More Clinic in Morgan County, IN for 6 years- they provide health care services for those without health insurance
  • Member of “Community Group” a Christian organization at UIndy where fellow students gather to express and growth their faith on campus

I grew personally and professionally through my volunteer and group experiences through UIndy. I met several close friends and colleagues through these opportunities. I learned it is important to set apart time to give back to your community! 


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

During my 12-week rotation at the Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana (RHI), I was mentored by two talented UIndy Alumni occupational therapists, Christian Lauletta and Taylor Yeager. I split time between the stroke and brain injury units on site. During my rotation, I discovered my passion for the neuro practice setting. It is rewarding to help individuals work through their most vulnerable state and get back to their meaningful occupations. Also, I held an in-service for the therapy department on how to use their 3D printer to design and create resources on site for occupation-based interventions. 

Also, I spent 14-weeks in Missouri working with BC Stables and Training Center to develop a program called Healing Horseshoes for my doctoral capstone experience. Healing Horseshoes allows children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder to participate in equine-assisted therapy focused on treating socio-emotional and mental health deficits. I advocated for my profession and equal opportunities for suffering from occupational injustice. 


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

Following graduation, I hope to find a full-time occupational therapist position in an in-patient neuro unit, specifically treating brain injury and stroke diagnoses. My long-term goal is to advocate for the profession of occupational therapy and encourage practitioners/facilities to continue prioritizing client-centered and occupation-based care!


What’s your favorite thing about UIndy?

My favorite thing about UIndy are the small, personal classroom settings. I love that my professors know my name and I know my entire cohort. I have built so many meaningful relationships with my peers and professors during my academic journey at UIndy. 

Mathieu Billings publishes book on Irish immigration to Illinois

MWBillingsMathieu Billings ’96 ’09, associate adjunct professor in the history & political science department at the University of Indianapolis, recently co-authored a book that brings together familiar and unheralded stories of the Irish in Illinois.

The Irish in Illinois is the first statewide account of Irish immigration to the Prairie State.

“With more than a million Illinoisans claiming Irish ancestry today, and Cook County boasting the largest Irish population of any county in the nation, we reasoned that this was a topic worth pursuing. Fortunately, Southern Illinois University Press agreed,” he said.

Billings believes in making history accessible and says the book is written to appeal to everyone from general readers to scholars.

The book provides dozens of inserts (biographies, images, maps, etc.) that help bring stories of Irish Illinoisans to life. Some, such as Mayor Richard J. Daley, are well known. Others such as Jennie Hodgers, a 19th-century Irish woman who disguised herself as a man and fought in the American Civil War, are lesser-known.

The book also emphasizes the multifaceted experiences of Irish immigrants throughout the Prairie State. For example, many immigrants were Protestant. Others voted Republican. Many of the most famous Irish Illinoisans were women (Mother Jones, Margaret A. Haley, and Sister Mary William Sullivan). Much of this story is centered in Chicago, but much is not. Perhaps most importantly, the Irish quest for success and respectability was distinct but not unique. The legacy of Irish immigration to Illinois, like their legacy throughout much of the rest of the United States, is that they paved the way for other immigrant groups to follow.

“History should challenge us to think about the human condition–how individuals and groups in the past identified problems and then responded to them,” said Billings. “Sometimes they acted with courage and wisdom. Sometimes they did not.”

Senior spotlight: Cassie Kury ’21 (exercise science)

Cassie Kury will be graduating this May 2021. She is majoring in exercise science with a concentration in pre-athletic training, and a minor in psychology. Throughout her time in the exercise science program, Kury has enjoyed increasing her knowledge to greater heights of how the body moves, how it responds to exercise and how exercise is medicine.

“Not only does the flow of the program’s content build upon itself well from course to course, it has prepared me to apply my knowledge to the real world post-grad, as well as creating opportunities for me while still in the program,” she said.

About mid-way through the program, exercise science students must take the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) exam. This turned out to be an important turning point for Kury.

“This exam not only put my application of classroom knowledge to the test, but opened up an entirely new doorway I never saw myself stepping through; being a personal trainer! The quickly evolving world of exercise already excited me, but having this credential has given me the confidence to share my knowledge and apply it in order to help others reach their goals, which has been an incredibly rewarding process thus far,” she said.

Kury’s end goal as an athletic trainer is to be a part of the training staff for either a gymnastics or swimming and diving team, whether at a collegiate or professional level. Connecting classroom knowledge to athletic training has come with ease, and Kury had an abundance of opportunities to gain experience working with athletes from the program faculty, including an internship for her capstone.

“During the last semester of the program, students must complete an internship for their capstone. At first I was a little intimidated by the requirement, but cannot express how grateful I was for the experience,” she reflected. “I had already gained so much knowledge and hands-on experience from being able to work under a collegiate athletic trainer. I truly didn’t think there’d be a better use of my time right now to prepare me for my Masters of Athletic Training program here at Uindy in the summer!”

Upon exiting the program, students must take either the Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) exam, or the Exercise Physiologist Certification (EPC) exam. Kury chose to take the CSCS, not only to fulfill her graduation requirements, but it has now led her to some amazing opportunities post-grad that she cannot elaborate on too much yet.

“The program guarantees that when you graduate, you not only have a diploma from an accredited and respected program, but you have these extra credentials that not only increase your appeal to employers, but also increase your confidence and potential professional pathways,” said Kury.

A lifelong athlete in gymnastics, Kury started her UIndy career on the women’s swimming and diving team. Although she decided to step away from her athletic pursuits on the team, she continues to provide for her teammates. Classes such as ‘Exercise Science Programming and Management,’ and ‘Strength and Conditioning’ combined with her diving knowledge have given Kury the tools to properly analyze the sport, critically think about the athletes’ needs, and weigh all their other stressors as she creates their programming.

“Our head dive coach has been incredibly grateful to still have around and be complimenting his depthful diving knowledge well with my exercise science background,” she said.

Kury is grateful for the scholarships and grants that made her UIndy education possible.

“I have graciously received both academic and athletic scholarships every year at UIndy. They have not only made college possible for me, but provided peace of mind throughout. They allowed me to focus just on academics and athletics my first two years of the program, not feeling like I needed to start working during the school year until after my sophomore year,” she said.

Kury reflected on her years as an athlete, which helped her build discipline and time management.

“Once you leave home and enter college though, your freedom is nearly endless. Diving not only forced me to continue with wise time management, but held me accountable because I had gained the sense of succeeding for something bigger than myself,” she said “The camaraderie of going through years of early mornings, long hours, exhaustion, cries, laughs, wins, losses, and every up and down in between by each others’ sides gives you such a strong connection with your teammates, and a strong conviction to succeed as one rather than just one part. The human connections that I have made within this team will last me far past college years.”

Senior spotlight: Taylor Woods ’21 (communication)

Taylor Woods Class of 2021Taylor Woods hit the ground running early in the communication department. During her UIndy career, she was named Outstanding Freshman in Communication and worked with UIndy Radio and TV. Her newscasts and field reports have awarded her with accolades and scholarships from the Indiana Broadcaster’s Association and the Indiana Society of Professional Journalists.

On-campus, she served behind the scenes on executive boards for the Black Student Association and Project Regalia. Her strong communication and leadership skills helped her with the opportunity to serve as a UIndy Presidential Ambassador, and many weekends were spent advocating with the UIndy Speech and Debate team, where she was named state champion in novice poetry interpretation. She is also the news director for 88.7 WICR-FM.

After graduating, she will be pursuing a master’s degree in journalism at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. Learn more about her:

Where do you work and how does it tie in with your goals?

I have now been working part-time at WISH-TV for nearly a year. In this short time I have witnessed the station that I grew up watching, grow by leaps and bounds. The owner, DuJuan McCoy has expanded WISH-TV’s viewership statewide, and now launching a multicultural news network is incredible. I believe this multicultural platform is needed now more than ever to inform viewers about news in every ethnic community. It is empowering to work at a diverse station that is owned by an African American man. This helps pave the way for future broadcasters that look like me.

How has UIndy helped you prepare for your career?

I value my liberal arts education at the University of Indianapolis because of the small classroom sizes which allows me to have more one-on-one attention from my professors. The professors in the Communication department have prepared me for the broadcasting industry in so many ways. I had hands-on experience 5 weeks into my freshman year on air for UIndy Radio and TV. I’m thankful for that experience because it has awarded me with statewide broadcast journalism awards and scholarships. It has even offered me the opportunity to work as news director at WICR and intern at WISH-TV which is now my part-time job.

Who are some of your UIndy mentors and how did they help you? 

Professor Uecker gave me opportunities to grow as a journalist. He allowed me to deliver newscasts on air at the radio station during the summer of 2019. This was groundbreaking for me because I found who I was a journalist and I sharpened my storytelling skills. This pivotal moment was how I started being awarded with statewide scholarships and news accolades. I will forever be grateful for Professor Uecker’s advice because it helped me cultivate my multimedia journalism skills.

What advice do you have for incoming freshmen?

Absorb and soak everything up like a sponge during that first year. Try to join at least one club or organization if you can but don’t overwhelm yourself because you did come to college for an education. Get to know your professor a little better and go to those office hours.

UIndy Speech and Debate Team wins an International Championship and High Marks at National Championship

UIndy Speech & Debate Team

UIndy Speech & Debate Team

The University of Indianapolis Speech and Debate Team earned high marks at two championship tournaments held virtually in March 2021. Craig-Anesu Chigadza ’21 (political science and psychology) brought home an international win, a first for the team, by winning the Informative Speaking division at the International 31st Annual International Forensics Association Speech and Debate Tournament. In addition, the team earned widespread accolades at the National Speech Championship culminating in an overall team ranking of 15th in the nation. 

The UIndy Speech and Debate Team is a nationally ranked learning-centered community that competes in speaking events to enhance student’s communication, research, and public speaking skills. Stephanie Wideman, assistant professor of communication, is the team director.

“The strength and dedication of this team really shined this year as we were forced to compete virtually. Our students not only survived the change in competition, but they thrived by delivering stellar results at two high-level championships,” explained Wideman.

Craig Chigadza

Craig Chigadza

Of his international championship Chigadza says, “The opportunity to represent UIndy on an international level is the pinnacle of my time here as both a student and competitor.” His award-winning speech informed the audience about a burgeoning movement to acknowledge inequities in representation at museums across the world. “During a time when our country and world is struggling with racial injustices, the opportunity to advocate for racial equity on a global stage is a chance I was given by the university to be a part of the change.”


“Our success at the National Speech Championship (NSC) speaks to the quality and dedication of our coaching staff. We are comparatively a smaller team on the national level, but we keep our eyes on quality not quantity. At NSC we had several students break into quarter, semi, and national finals, placing them within the top echelon of speaking excellence,” explained Wideman.

UIndy Speech & Debate TeamThe team will graduate two members this year. Craig-Anesu Chigadza (political science and psychology) and Kathryn Leigh (biology). The seniors would like to dedicate their success to every member of the greyhound community that worked tirelessly during this pandemic to make sure their education continued. 

Full results below:


International Forensics Association Championship

Craig-Anesu Chigadza ’21 (political science and psychology)-International Champion 1st place Informative Speaking, 6th place in Impromptu Speaking

National Speech Championship

Overall Team Ranking 15th Nationally
Craig-Anesu Chigadza ’21 (political science and psychology) 3rd place Interviewing Speaking

Semi Finalists (Top 12 in Nation)

Craig-Anesu Chigadza Informative Speaking and Impromptu Speaking
Kathryn Leigh ’21 (biology) Interviewing Speaking

Quarter Finalists (Top 24 in Nation)

Kathryn Leigh Rhetorical Criticism
Elise Paz ’23 (business and Spanish) Informative Speaking
Landon Owens ’22 (sports management) Programmed Oral Interpretation
Landon Owens and Alexandra Nickerson ’21 (political science and communication) DUO Interpretation
Craig-Anesu Chigadza Extemporaneous Speaking

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