MBA students visit innovative manufacturer

MBA class at ArielStudents from UIndy’s one-year, full-time MBA program got a firsthand lesson in manufacturing and management last week on an out-of-state field trip.

Led by graduate programs director and Assistant Professor Steve Tokar, the group visited privately held Ariel Compressor Corp., based in Mt. Vernon, Ohio.

Ariel was founded in 1966 by Jim Buchwald, an engineer who brought a unique approach to relationships with customers, suppliers and employees alike. The company, which makes compressors for the natural gas industry, has built a market share of over 80 percent against much larger competitors by focusing on timely delivery and structuring its operation in self-directed teams that are responsible for their own quality, scheduling and maintenance.

“He believes that the people closest to the work know more about how to do their jobs than any supervisor,” Tokar said.

The visit certainly made an impression on student Garrett Sheets, who double-majored in Biology and Chemistry as a UIndy undergrad before entering the MBA program. He said the facility visit brought to life some of the lessons he and his classmates learned in their operations courses. Read more

VIDEO: Commencement among May highlights

May 2016 at UIndy meant high-profile student research, national NCAA action and a little thing called Commencement, featuring NPR’s Steve Inskeep and singer-actress Jearlyn Steele. Click the image to watch.

Education MBA program names new fellows

Launched at UIndy, Woodrow Wilson initiative expands to other universities

The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation today announced the new 2016-2017 class of Woodrow Wilson Indiana MBA Fellows in Education Leadership, more than 60 educators nominated by their schools and corporations for innovative preparation to lead 21st-century schools.

WW logoThe MBA Fellowship blends clinical experience in schools with rigorous business coursework to ensure that graduates have the knowledge and skills to guide schools and districts through a changing education environment. The program is designed to close achievement gaps between America’s lowest- and highest-performing schools and between top-performing U.S. schools and those around the world.

The Indiana program debuted in 2014 with the first cohort at the University of Indianapolis. This year, the third cohort at UIndy is joined by inaugural groups at Indiana State University and Indiana University, thanks to support from Lilly Endowment Inc. Similar programs operate in Wisconsin and New Mexico, preparing new school leaders to drive innovation, expand the use of analytics and evidence-based practices, raise student performance to international levels and improve the quality of school systems and teaching over time.

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PT students to host free health fair today

Health Fair Flyer 2016Students from UIndy’s Krannert School of Physical Therapy will bring health screenings and wellness information to an underserved community today during the 10th annual Laurelwood Health Fair.

As a project for a Health Promotion and Wellness course, 44 second-year students from the Doctor of Physical Therapy program will carry out the event from 4 to 6 p.m. today at Laurelwood Apartments, a subsidized housing complex for low-income families located just off Carson Avenue.

The event at the Laurelwood Community Center, overseen by Associate Professor Anne Mejia-Downs, will include blood pressure screenings, wellness-related activities for all ages and even games and prizes.Health Fair Flyer 2016 2

OT professor’s research: theater vs. addiction

Altered logo

Collaborating on play helps participants see beyond substance abuse

News coverage:
Indianapolis Star

Involvement in theater programs can help substance abusers break the patterns of thought that feed their addictions, a UIndy professor’s research indicates.



The evidence will be on stage June 3 and 4 when Dr. Sally Wasmuth and the School of Occupational Therapy present Altered, a play in which the key actors are six men and women recovering from substance abuse disorders. Each performance begins at 7 p.m. in Studio Theatre on the lower level of UIndy’s Esch Hall. Admission is free, and tickets can be reserved at this link.

The one-hour production is the culmination of a six-week occupational therapy intervention program conducted in partnership with Fairbanks Alcohol & Drug Treatment Recovery Center.

“When someone is using drugs on a regular basis, that becomes an occupation for them,” Wasmuth said. “The idea behind this research is that they need other occupations to structure their time.”

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Forensics team continues Texas migrant project

labbingUIndy Human Biology master’s degree candidates Amanda Khan (left) and Helen Brandt analyze skeletal remains in a laboratory at Texas State University.

Associate Professor Krista Latham and the graduate students of UIndy’s Archaeology & Forensics Team are back in Texas for the fourth consecutive summer, volunteering their time and expertise to help identify undocumented migrants who have died after crossing the border.

On previous visits, the crew spent most of their time in a small cemetery, exhuming the remains of men and women whose bodies were found and buried without identification. This year, the group is primarily working at Texas State University, analyzing skeletal remains for clues to their origin. They also will work with the South Texas Human Rights Center and other organizations to identify other cemeteries where migrants have been buried.

Along with Dr. Latham, a forensic anthropologist, this year’s contingent includes UIndy colleague Dr. Alyson O’Daniel, a cultural anthropologist; Human Biology master’s candidates Amanda KhanJustin Maiers and Ryan Strand, veterans of previous Texas trips; and fellow grad student Helen Brandt, a first-timer.

The group left Sunday and will return May 18. Read their blog posts and see their photos and video at

Read previous stories about the Beyond Borders project here.

Archaeology team studying fabled gravesite

grave workUIndy grad students Rose Perash (left) and Fatma Zalzala begin work at the so-called “grave in the middle of the road,” located between Franklin and Edinburgh.

Peculiar 19th century burial rests in center of Johnson County road

Barnett grave

The 1831 gravesite of Nancy Kerlin Barnett

Indianapolis Star (with photo gallery)
Daily Journal
Inside Indiana Business

A student and faculty archaeology team from UIndy is digging into the mystery of a famous Johnson County grave and the lives of central Indiana’s earliest white settlers.

The remains of Nancy Kerlin Barnett, who lived from 1793 to 1831, rest in an island of grass and rock that sits smack in the middle of County Road 400S near Interstate 65 south of Franklin. The site is often referred to simply as “the grave in the middle of the road,” or less accurately, “the Indian grave.”

According to local lore, Barnett’s grandson guarded the grave with a shotgun when other surrounding graves were moved in the 1900s for construction of the road.

The site is a nationally known curiosity for travelers and for thrill-seekers who claim the area is haunted. It’s also a traffic hazard that is regularly struck by passing vehicles, which is why the Johnson County Highway Department intends to lower the elevation of the grave mound and reconfigure the roadway for the protection of motorists and the grave itself.



The UIndy team, six graduate students led by Professor Christopher Schmidt of the Department of Anthropology, will temporarily remove and study Barnett’s remains at the university, returning them to the site when the roadwork is completed. The Johnson County Museum of History is a partner in the project and invited the researchers to handle the exhumation.

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VIDEO: UIndy marks Commencement 2016

Despite a few sprinkles, UIndy successfully conducted its 2016 Commencement exercises Saturday, May 7, at Key Stadium.

NPR Morning Edition host and Carmel native Steve Inskeep delivered an inspirational address and called up a student volunteer to present his honorary diploma to his mother in the audience. Singer-actress Jearlyn Steele sang a cappella tributes to her hero Aretha Franklin and her late friend and collaborator Prince. Local developer and philanthropist Gene Zink joined them in receiving an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.

The Class of 2016 was represented by undergraduate speaker Zak Mitiche, a double major in sociology and philosophy, and graduate student speaker Maria Eller, who received her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree.

Nearly 1,400 graduates hailing from 30 states and 29 nations have completed or will complete degrees this year on UIndy’s home campus. Another 79 are receiving diplomas at UIndy’s international partnership sites.

Click above to see video highlights from Saturday’s ceremony. For more photos and video, visit this page and see UIndy’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Student receives statewide award for service



Mohammed Almalak came to UIndy from Saudi Arabia for a business degree, and he will claim his diploma Saturday.

But Almalak, known to friends as “Mo,” got more out of his Greyhound experience, developing a taste for community service that has benefited several local organizations and earned him a statewide award last week.

The College Career Center Consortium of Indiana presented its annual Paul W. Gabonay Volunteer Service Award to Almalak at the Community Campus Forum and Service Expo. The honor, named for UIndy’s former career services director, recognizes an Indiana undergraduate who best exemplifies the qualities of integrity, commitment to serving those in need and dedication to fostering the growth and gifts of others.

For Almalak, the lesson boils down to this: “The more you give, the more you will get.”

His first community work took place through a service-learning course in the summer of 2014, when he spent more than 90 hours at the Burmese-American Community Institute, tutoring teens in English and math, helping them with college and scholarship applications and developing a business plan for immigrant women planning to start a home daycare center.

From there, it really took off: Read more

Student speakers chosen for Commencement

Nearly 1,400 graduates eligible to walk in May 7 ceremony at Key Stadium

Two students – a Fulbright scholar and a soon-to-be physical therapist – will join NPR host Steve Inskeep as speakers for the May 7 commencement ceremony at the University of Indianapolis.



Representing the undergraduate Class of 2016 will be Ahmed “Zak” Mitiche, a double major in Sociology and Philosophy. The Pike High School graduate has been awarded a grant from the Fulbright U.S. Student Program to spend the coming year in Morocco studying its pro-democracy movement.

The son of Farid and Fouzia Mitiche of Indianapolis, he has been active in student organizations and service projects as well as a standout on the Greyhound soccer team.



Representing graduate students earning master’s and doctoral degrees this year will be Maria Eller, who will receive her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. During her time at UIndy, Eller has undertaken clinical experiences in Indianapolis, Greenfield, Urbana, Ill., and Palmer, Alaska. She also taught communication courses as an adjunct faculty member, taught Sunday school at neighboring University Heights United Methodist Church and served as class representative for her peers in the DPT program. She is the daughter of Dean and Melanie Eller of Lowell, Ind.

Nearly 1,400 graduates from 30 states and 29 nations are eligible to walk before an audience of thousands during the 11 a.m. outdoor ceremony at UIndy’s Key Stadium. The event also will include the awarding of honorary degrees to Inskeep, local real estate developer Gene Zink and internationally known singer-actress Jearlyn Steele, who will perform a song. The proceedings will be webcast live at More information on the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters recipients is available at this link.

By the numbers: UIndy’s Class of 2016

  • 907 undergraduates
  • 393 master’s degree recipients
  • 78 doctoral degree recipients
  • 1,378 graduates from home campus
  • 30 states and 29 nations represented
  • 79 additional graduates at international partner sites
  • Total: 1,457 graduates
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