Annual Leadership Recognition Awards


Each year, UIndy student leaders are recognized for their hard work and service at the Annual Leadership Recognition Banquet. While we may be unable to formally gather this year, we are proud to announce the recipients of the following awards and honor them for their dedication to our campus community.

Advisor of the Year: 

Dr. Eduard Arriaga, assistant professor of Spanish

The Advisor of the Year Award is given to a full-time faculty or staff member who has served a registered student organization (RSO) for the entire academic year in a supportive and positive manner. 

Bridge Scholars Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement: 

Sara Beckwith and Justin Huey
Recipients of this award have been selected based on the strength of their overall academic record and their participation in the Bridge Scholars Program.

Edgie: Student Employee of the Year:

  • Anna Miller
  • Brayton Lipperd
  • Edda Skoric
  • Lauren Wilkinson 

The Student Employee of the Year award recognizes the student(s) nominated by their on-campus employer for significant contribution during their time as a member of their student staff.  The student(s) displays a positive attitude, an unrelenting work ethic, and has made an impact to their employer in a remarkable way. Nominations are welcomed from staff and faculty throughout campus for your student staffer to be considered. 

Emerging Leader of the Year:

Christian Thomas & Mary Nahlen
The Emerging Leader of the Year Award is given to an individual in their freshman or sophomore year. The student selected for this honor will best exemplify student leadership through the impact they have made to campus life.  This individual must clearly display that they are a great role model, they impact the lives of others, and demonstrate a great deal of leadership potential.

Grady’s Gratitude Award:
Hannah White & Jennifer Ruiz
Grady joined the UIndy family on November 20, 2019. He wants to recognize a fellow Greyhound for everything they have done to make his new home a special place. Grady’s Gratitude Award will be given to a student whose actions will make a lasting impact on our campus community and help enhance the UIndy experience for future Greyhounds. 

Mindy Owens Outstanding Junior Award:

  • Ally Nickerson
  • Amy Doren
  • Craig Chigadza
  • Devin Jaremczuk
  • Kira Krause
  • Lauren Bailey
  • Sydney Perry

The Mindy Owens Outstanding Junior Leadership Award was created to commemorate the achievements and impact of a former student at the University of Indianapolis. This award recognizes the spirit and dedication of junior students who have made significant contributions to UIndy.

Registered Student Organization of the Year:
Public Relations Student Society of America 
The Registered Student Organization of the Year Award is presented to an organization that has exceeded the expectations inherent in their stated purpose and function through membership, philanthropy efforts, and/or event planning.

Residence Life Awards: 
These awards were presented during the annual Residence Life banquet in recognition of the excellent work of our residence life leaders.

  • LLC Hall Council Representative of the Year Andy Nielsen (Engineering LLC)
  • LLC Program of the Year | Karlee Taylor and Ally Nickerson for their Political Ideologies Program (Honors LLC)
  • LLC RAs of the Year | Karlee Taylor and Ally Nickerson (Honors LLC)
  • Most Improved LLC | Engineering
  • LLC of the Year | Honors
  • Peer Mentor of the Year | Kelly Orban (Cory Bretz Hall)
  • ACA Programmer of the Year | Livia Crispen (ACA Greyhound Village)
  • ACA of the Year | LA Abdullah (ACA of University Lofts)
  • RA Co-Programmer(s) of the Year Chris Hardy and Quinten Standford (Crowe Hall)
  • RA of the Year | Axel Sved (Cory Bretz Hall)
  • Living Area of the Year | Roberts Hall

Strain Outstanding Senior Award:

  • Brad Moon
  • Brayton Lipperd
  • Brianna Aragon
  • Cassandra Lombardo
  • David Hardy
  • Deshon Riley
  • Hannah White
  • Jailah Blakely
  • Jasmine Coe
  • Karlee Taylor
  • Taylor Lahrman

The Outstanding Senior Leader Awards were developed to recognize the namesake of the Honor’s College, Ron Strain, to commemorate his achievements and contributions to the University. These awards recognize a group of students for sustained involvement and leadership over the course of their entire undergraduate careers.

Student Leader of the Year: Taylor Lahrman 

The Student Leader Award recognizes a student who has excelled in their leadership positions (RSO, RA, OL, Chapel Steward, etc.) and has made a significant contribution to campus life during their time at UIndy.


Celebrating the University of Indianapolis Class of 2020: Slideshow

The University of Indianapolis is celebrating the Class of 2020!

Senior Spotlight: Delanie Kent ’20 (criminal justice)

Delanie Kent

While the spring semester has been impacted greatly by the coronavirus pandemic, many Greyhound seniors are putting a ‘cap’ on their UIndy careers before the conferral of their diplomas this summer. Please enjoy the entries in this year’s “Senior Spotlight” series, as we celebrate these soon-to-be Greyhound graduates.


“UIndy has shown me what I’m capable of,” says Delanie Kent ’20 (criminal justice). Kent has kept herself busy during her four years at UIndy, being an active participant in the criminal justice program while also participating in extra-curricular activities and volunteering her time coaching volleyball and working multiple jobs.

A lesson she learned early on was to leave no opportunity unexplored. “Freshmen should go all in. Utilize the resources given to you: tutoring labs, RAs, faculty and staff, ProEdge, and so much more. Show up to events. Go to hall meetings,” she said. “You’ll make new friends that will last you a lifetime.”

Kent, who has a case management job lined up after graduation, hopes to put her degree, which has a concentration in corrections, to work at a police department as a K-9 officer, or potentially get into administration at a prison or jail. Her experience in the criminal justice department at UIndy opened her eyes to the career possibilities.

“The program has been incredible,” she said. “We have a crime scene lab that gives all criminal justice students a hands-on experience with solving crimes.” 

Like many UIndy students, one of the standout qualities about her time at UIndy is her experience working with faculty. “Our professors are always willing to talk with us, tell us their opinion, and help us in any way we may need, as well as give us resources to help ourselves,” she said. “The program has helped connect me with professionals and opened my eyes to the different career paths I am capable of pursuing.”

Kent was an active member of Alpha Phi Sigma, the criminal justice national honor society. She served as both secretary and president during her time at UIndy. “We put on successful events, such as ‘K-9s on Campus,’ which helped connect me with professionals and community leaders and helped us all find ways how we can try to impact the community,” she said.

Kent also took on a challenging internship with the Marion County Juvenile Detention Center (MCJDC). “I learned about the procedures and how to deal with residents of the juvenile detention center, but also how to understand them from an emotional and psychological side,” said Kent, who will also graduate with a minor in psychology.

Her time at the MCJDC helped her discover a passion for helping juveniles and also taught her valuable life lessons. “Everyone can flourish depending on the resources and support that they have,” she said. “This also strengthened my patience and understanding of the issues we have in our own neighborhood”

Kent leaves UIndy as a person with a purpose. Her education during her time at UIndy, both inside the classroom and out, helped her discover her passions and set her off on a path to use that education to serve her community.

“I have found the woman I want to be in this lifetime because of how I was pushed, and shown by the faculty and staff what I can accomplish,” she said. “UIndy is full of opportunities, and people with the desire to push you to success.

Learn more about the criminal justice program at the University of Indianapolis.



Senior Spotlight: William Durchholz ’20 (chemistry, pre-medicine)

While the second semester has been impacted greatly by the coronavirus pandemic, many Greyhound seniors are putting a ‘cap’ on their UIndy careers before the conferral of their diplomas this summer. Please enjoy the entries in this year’s “Senior Spotlight” series, as we celebrate these soon-to-be Greyhound graduates.


IMG_3294William Durchholz ’20 (chemistry, pre-medicine), who will be going to medical school in the fall, knows one thing: Even if he leaves the state to further his education, he wants to find his way back to Indiana eventually. 

“I want to return to practice in a medically underserved community,” he said. “There are so many areas of Indiana that have physician shortages which negatively impact patients. While I am not set on the exact area of medicine I would like to practice at this time, I am certain I want to be a part of the solution of physician shortages and access to care in Indiana.”

Durchholz, who is weighing his medical school options, credits the support he received at the University of Indianapolis for helping him direct his passion. “I came to UIndy knowing that I wanted to make an impact on other people, and that I’ve always had a passion for helping others and solving problems,” he said. “Through conversations with faculty members and fellow students, I found that the best way to blend my interests was to become a physician.”

On the arduous road that applying to internships and medical school can be, Durchholz credits ProEdge and Stephanie Kendall-Dietz in being helpful with his resume, cover letters and mock interviews. “The staff at ProEdge are so talented and have so much insight into getting a job, internship, or applying to graduate school,” he said. “Their help put me ahead of many other interviewees I came across at different medical schools.”

There has been no shortage of faculty mentors for Durchholz during his time at UIndy, he cites Dr. Joe Burnell, Dr. David Styers-Barnett and Dr. Kathy Stickney in particular. “In the chemistry program we benefited from some of the best faculty the University has to offer,” he said. “I was always able to get the advice I needed from the chemistry faculty. They opened so many doors for me, including two summer internships with Roche and prepared me for my career in medicine.”

Durchholz’s participation in the Roche Academy provided him the opportunity to step inside a billion-dollar business and learn about how it works as well as allowed him to learn about a side of healthcare that he did not even know existed. “Not many people think about what happens to their blood tests when they are taken at their family physician’s office or at the hospital, but that is where Roche Diagnostics is so important,” he said. “They taught me about how they support all of their instruments and be sure they are working for all of their clients nationwide. They also shed light on how they are innovating their instruments to be able to get results to patients faster, which can be critical for certain patient populations.”

Durchholz encourages incoming freshmen to get involved in any activity they can outside of class. He began his UIndy career playing football which exposed him to many new people and he was involved through the Student Athlete Advisory Committee. “I formed a group of five individuals that started out as a study group, but eventually became my lifelong friends,” he said. “UIndy is a great place to get an education, but it’s important to remember that you will only get out of your education what you put into it!”

UIndy announces Teacher of the Year nominees and winner

The University of Indianapolis is delighted to recognize Dr. Angelia J. Ridgway as its 2020 Teacher of the Year. Dr. Ridgway is a Professor of Secondary Education and the Coordinator of the MAT program in the School of Education.

“At UIndy, I teach with the most dedicated and caring team of teachers I call my colleagues and friends,” Ridgway said. “To be recognized as the Teacher of the Year from this amazing group of individuals means the world to me. Teaching is my mission. I hope it can be one of the ways I change the world, especially for my students’ future students.”

Excellence in teaching occurs through the intentional weaving together of a number of key elements that include relationship development, content engagement, and authenticity.  Each of these elements is crucial in enabling students to succeed in the classroom and beyond. For Dr. Ridgway, relationship development may be the most important of all. “It all begins and ends with the human element,” she said. “The old adage in teaching is that “students don’t care about learning until they know you care” remains as true from my first year of middle and high school teaching until today.”

This relationship building plays out in many ways inside the classroom. “From knowing students as individuals who have unique cultural and experiential backgrounds, to finding multiple means in which to engage them in learning,” Ridgway said. “Every learner to your course or clinical field experience with not only their own unique backgrounds but with preferential ways of growing. The best teachers are never finished — they are consummate learners themselves who seek new ways to connect with a variety of students.”

Dr. Ridgway recognizes the zeal that UIndy students have for becoming great secondary teachers, and it is her mission to provide these students a platform from which to be successful. The strength of the relationships that she develops is evident in the student evaluations of her teaching where she consistently, across multiple courses and multiple years, is recognized as being an ‘outstanding’ teacher. However, these relationships do not fade once a student graduates from UIndy. Rather, many graduates connect with Dr. Ridgway on a frequent basis as she serves as a mentor to them in the field, answering questions and fostering their continued growth as they now foster the growth of their own students.

“This is important to me because they are fulfilling the mission of changing secondary students’ lives through the innovative practices they learn while at UIndy. They truly do embody the UIndy mission of ‘Education for Service,’” she said. “Their success is my success. I have enjoyed the privilege of being mentored by many inspirational teachers – I do hope I can do the same for them. And, I always want them to know once you are my student, you are my student forever!”

Dr. Ridgway has had educational role models to look up to in her parents, and even her children, and recognizes how they have helped shape her into a better teacher along the way. “My father, a lifelong educator, still has a tremendous curiosity around school practices and policy. My mother is a ‘techie.” She’s always trying new technology. They have been great role models for me in terms of the high value of lifelong learning,” she said. “My own sons continue that legacy of innovation and curiosity – one is the co-author of a book we published last year and the other is the most curious person I know, always seeking answers to all things in life, both big and small.”

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:

side of nose shadows, shines, little under the eyes, chin, root color

Lori Bolyard, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry
Dr. Lori Bolyard’s passion for teaching is driven by her joy for teaching and the challenge of the job.  She makes her chemistry content understandable for all students.  As one Teacher of the Year Committee member noted, although the course was about chemistry, it was clear that Dr. Bolyard aimed to teach other skills such as critical thinking through her classroom methods. In this way, her lessons seemed to transcend the specific content and provide background for the students to excel in whatever their major may be.



Leah Courtland, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Physics & Earth Space Science
Dr. Leah Courtland firmly believes in linking earth science concepts to communities and people in order to make the content relevant.  She takes her content beyond the walls of the classroom by providing field experiences for her students so they can see the things they are learning about. Her innovative use of standards-based grading allows encourages students to apply and master the concepts she teaches.



Kevin Gribbins, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Biology
Dr. Kevin Gribbins sees himself as a motivator as much as an educator. An observer to his class noted that it was clear that Dr. Gribbins has a passion for what he is teaching and enthusiastically delivers his lectures where he shares experiences and personal stories which further provided excitement throughout the class.



Katie Polo, DHS
Associate Professor, School of Occupational Therapy
Dr. Katie Polo exemplifies education for service with the opportunities that she provides to occupational therapy students to provide care for those recovering from cancer. A member of the Teacher of the Year committee who observed class remarked that Dr. Polo interacts with her students as future colleagues and embodies the element of the team of her and the students working together to further students’ education. 




Laura Santurri, DHSc (doctor of health sciences program)

Laura Santurri, PhD
Assistant Professor, College of Health Sciences
Dr. Laura Santurri is extremely knowledgeable about the content she teaches and uses countless real-life examples to show students the application of what they are learning in the classroom to their own careers. Her teaching is aimed not just at meeting requirements but preparing her students for their futures. One observer noted that it was evident that she had personal relationships with the students which went beyond the classroom making her very approachable.






Smith, RachelRachel Smith, PhD
Associate Professor, School of Business
Dr. Rachel Smith is very knowledgeable about her content and uses countless real-life examples to show students how they will be able to apply this knowledge later in their own careers. She exhibits superior verbal, nonverbal and visual communication skills and encourages students to demonstrate their own communication skills as they present about current topics in her class.  The questions she asks in class are designed to require students to think deeply about what they are learning.


Jordan Sparks Waldron, PhD
Assistant Professor, School of Psychological Sciences
Dr. Jordan Waldron is very passionate about what students take away from her class, and it is clear that the focus of her teaching is to help students understand the why of what happens in the world. In addition, Dr. Waldron focuses on how what is being taught can be applied to the future careers of her students.





Liz Whiteacre, MFA
Assistant Professor, Department of English
Professor Liz Whiteacre’s classroom is clearly student driven, and she encourages the students to take charge of their learning. A member of the Teacher of the Year Committee noted that Professor Whiteacre has an incredibly positive attitude during the class session and stated “It is clear that she loves what she does and is committed not only to teaching the students, but fostering interpersonal relationships with the students.”


School of Nursing adjusts to aid in COVID-19 support


The University of Indianapolis is finding innovative ways to ensure continuity for students as well as to support the local community during the COVID-19 crisis.

Since hospitals began admitting COVID-19 patients, School of Nursing students have been prevented from completing their required clinical hours in person. To remain in compliance with the accreditation requirements for the SON, students have been allowed to substitute clinical hours with virtual experiences. Normally, those hours would be a maximum of 25% of the total hours for each course in the undergraduate program as prescribed by the Indiana State Board of Nursing (ISBN). With the current COVID-19 crisis in effect, the ISBN is allowing schools to fall back on national guidelines which allow up to 50% of hours in simulation. With that change, the SON has contracted with Kaplan to provide virtual simulation for the remainder of the semester. These virtual experiences will be used in conjunction with guided case studies to meet the required hours.

“Changes in how we deliver clinical education will allow students in the undergraduate nursing programs to satisfy more of their required clinical hours virtually rather than in person,” said Dr. Norma Hall, dean of the University of Indianapolis School of Nursing. “This is especially important for senior students who are set to graduate this May.”

Hall also noted that keeping students on schedule using virtual experiences will allow students to continue their training and enter the workforce this summer as registered nurses. As the cases of coronavirus continue to rise, there will likely be workforce shortages. 

“Our graduates will be entering the workforce at a critical time to alleviate staffing shortages that COVID-19 will cause within area hospitals,” said Hall. “The knowledge and skills our nursing graduates gained at UIndy will be taken into the workforce to care for the sickest of the sick at a time of great need. I couldn’t be more proud of our faculty and students for remaining flexible and resilient during these trying times.”

The School of Nursing has also been proactive in trying to aid local health organizations in their fight against COVID-19. The School of Nursing organized the donation of some materials on-hand to local hospital networks, including Community Health Network and Franciscan St. Francis. The donations included 8,500 pairs of gloves, 30 surgical gowns, 450 surgical masks, 150 thermometer probe covers, and 10 stethoscopes.

The School also made the decision to forgo their shipment of gloves for the month of April (and potentially beyond) so that they might be given to those who need them more.

UIndy alum helps bring NFL Combine to Indianapolis

SchaferAudrey Schafer ‘09, events and program manager for National Football Scouting, Inc., is responsible for organizing the entire event and bringing it together as seamlessly as possible. Schafer, who graduated from the University of Indianapolis with a degree in sports management and a minor in business administration, works almost year-round to coordinate venues, vendors, players and team schedules.

The National Invitational Camp, what we all know as the NFL Combine, culminates over the course of approximately one week in late February, but the lifecycle for planning the event goes well beyond that. “The Combine actually does not end for me until the NFL Draft,” Schafer said. “I will work with the NFL teams and their medical staffs from the start of the Combine until the draft to ensure they have all the information about players that they need.”

Immediately following the draft is when typical back-office operations take place to wrap up the current year, but focus quickly shifts to planning for the next year throughout the fall.

Lucas Oil Stadium“During that time I work on anything from what we can do better, to how we can implement new technology, to new player gear design for the next event,” Schafer said. Once vendor contracts are generated in the early stages of winter, Schafer and her team then begin to finalize invitations and registration as well as begin to set the schedule for the event – which at that point is still months away!

Schafer enrolled at UIndy with the intention of becoming an athletic trainer. While she ultimately decided to follow a different path, she was interested in staying in the world of sports. Schafer credits her relationship with Dr. Jennifer VanSickle, program director of sport management and professor of kinesiology and health & sport sciences, and her willingness to provide career advice, for Schafer’s success today. 

“Professor VanSickle encouraged me to try different facets of sports management to see what avenue I liked best,” Schafer said. “I took a public relations class and started working in the Athletics Department with Matt Donovan [Senior Associate Athletic Director for Development].”

Schafer enjoyed her time working in athletics, specifically on game days. She sought out more hours working games and events and she soon realized that event management was going to be her focus.

While the event management of the Combine follows the same template year after year, it is definitely never the same event twice. “Every year there is something that makes me stop and say, ‘well I haven’t done that before, but let’s figure it out,’” Schafer said.

Because of all of the planning that goes into the event, in a perfect world, the event itself is almost the easy part. “The two weeks leading up to the event are the toughest for me,” Schafer said. “That is the time that everyone needs something from you and it feels like there isn’t enough time to complete your to-do list. Luckily I have a great staff that helps pull everything together.”

Schafer isn’t the only important UIndy connection with the NFL Combine. “One of the unknown ways UIndy supports the Combine are our athletic training tables,” Schafer said. “Several years ago we purchased the training tables for our event, but did not have room to store them. I reached out to UIndy and worked out that they can use them for the year, free of charge, as long as they can transport them to us to use during the event.”

UIndy students have also had the opportunity to be involved in the Combine over the years. National Football Scouting works with the athletic training department at UIndy to identify a student to work as an intern for the week of the event. “This is a fantastic learning experience for the student as they work with our training staff throughout the week at the event, on the field, and at the bench press,” Schafer said.

In past years, coordinated through the Indianapolis Colts organization, athletic training students have also worked at local hospitals during the event to help take players’ orthopedic histories.

For the last several years, students have been able to volunteer to work at the NFL Combine Experience. They help with staffing of different areas throughout the Experience. “This is a great way for sports management students to get their volunteer hours in, and is set up and run through the NFL office directly,” according to Schafer.

These opportunities and those Schafer had during her time at UIndy are invaluable to students trying to discover their passions and how they will use them in their future careers. “UIndy really helped shape who I have become as an adult,” Schafer said. “UIndy is a school that will give you back everything and more that you put into it.”

“I am proof that your professors are really there to help you succeed in every way possible,” she continued. “I was able to create a career that keeps me smiling and enables me to help guide others looking to get into the business, and provides me with unique ways to give back to my alma mater.”

UIndy artists collaborate for ‘Empty Bowls’ fundraiser

UPDATE: Per recommended guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), this event has been canceled. Visit for updates.

Empty Bowls - lunch for a good cause

Empty Bowls is an internationally recognized grassroots movement by artists around the world to care for and feed the hungry in their communities. This month, the experience is coming to the University of Indianapolis for the first time!

The concept is simple; participating artists create and donate bowls, then serve a simple meal. Here’s how it works:

  1. Visit the Schwitzer Student Center on March 26 for lunch.
  2. Choose a handmade ceramic bowl to take home with you.
  3. Fill that bowl with your choice of soup.
  4. Make a suggested minimum donation ($10 for UIndy students, $20 for all other guests) *CASH ONLY
  5. Enjoy!

100 percent of the proceeds from this event will benefit Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana. 

Three hundred ceramic bowls are being created by Department of Art & Design Assistant Professor Barry Barnes, current and former UIndy ceramics students and UIndy High School Day participants.

Empty Bowls, students making ceramics

See a bowl you like? Show up early on March 26 to make your selection!

An illustrated cookbook created by Department of Art & Design Assistant Professor Randi Frye and students in her creative digital practice classes will also be sold during the event for $20. *CASH ONLY

Empty Bowls cookbook

The cookbook features 80 recipes. University of Indianapolis faculty and staff were asked to contribute recipes that the students could use to work with, so a large portion of the recipes are from the Greyhound community.

Empty Bowls illustrated cookbook


Learn more about the event, taking place on campus Thursday, March 26

UIndy Gender Center: a welcome wave of support

Launch of the Gender Center in room 208C and the adjacent hallways in Schwitzer Center

The University of Indianapolis Gender Center held a grand opening Thursday, February 20, full of music, food, confetti, and a letterpress station run by Assistant Professor of Art & Design Katherine Fries.

Students, faculty, and staff came in support of the new office, located on the second floor of the Schwitzer Student Center in room 208C , and stayed for a ribbon-cutting prefaced with remarks made by Gender Center Committee member and Assistant Professor of History & Political Science Laura Merrifield Wilson and President Robert Manuel.

Wilson spoke about her goals for the center, stating that she would start with “getting people aware and building our partnerships, as well as finding ways to help the thriving LGBT community that is already on campus. Whatever they need, whether it’s resources, support, or funding, we are here for them.”

According to the center’s website, “The Center empowers, advocates, and promotes gender equity by supporting research and education, serving as a connector for resources; and nurturing and cultivating intentional partnerships and relationships.”

When asked what she thought of the Gender Center, student Carrie Long ’23 replied, “I think it will impact the lives of the LGBT community on campus in a very positive way.”

In addition to supporting individual students with questions and concerns, the Gender Center is looking to expand its reach into the community of UIndy through partnerships with fellow organizations that align with their values.

One upcoming event the Gender Center will be partnering with is the Kellogg Writers Series poetry reading Wednesday, March 25th, featuring Midwest poet Emily Skaja. Her debut collection, BRUTE, “confronts the dark questions and menacing silences around gender, sexuality, and violence,” according to Goodreads. Some proposed concepts of this cross-collaboration include promotional materials, a giveaway of Emily Skaja’s books that have been purchased by the center and can be signed by the author when she visits, and redeemable Gender Center pins to encourage event attendance.

Associate Professor of English Barney Haney, co-instructor of the Kellogg Writers Series course, shared his opinion on the importance of the Gender Center and what this collaboration will mean for both parties involved. “We are excited about what the Gender Center could mean for our campus community and for the communities that our students serve. By collaborating with the center on the Emily Skaja poetry reading, the Kellogg Writers Series is hopeful that we can further spread the word about the Gender Center while also providing a valuable and relevant experience to the entire student body. Skaja’s debut collection, BRUTE, deeply examines intimate partner violence committed against women and shows us a path to recovery and reclamation of the self. Her poems are fantastic, brutal, and honest. They are what our students need to hear.”

Fellow co-instructor of the Kellogg Writers Series course, Associate Professor of English Rebecca McKanna, expressed that “In Emily Skaja’s BRUTE, the speaker reckons with her experiences of intimate partner violence, often talking to her past self, offering her the language to name what is happening to her. We hope the reading will open up conversations on campus about these issues, allowing students and the wider campus community to engage with this ferocious debut poetry collection.”

This collaboration marks the beginning of a promising legacy for the Gender Center as they provide a long-lasting safe space for those in need of resources and/or support.

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. 


“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 ( who is in charge of the scheduling and organization and management of the makerspace.

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