Department of Biology adapts to pandemic with biology kits for students

Wormdissection
A student dissects a worm using a Biology 155 kit.

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, all University of Indianapolis academic departments were forced to rethink their course delivery approach to accommodate face-to-face restrictions. For the Department of Biology, that meant determining that students still had access to hands-on learning experiences in the laboratory.

BiologyKit
A Biology 165 kit.

With CARES Act funds, the department adopted the use of lab kits which were supplied to students at no expense to them. The kits contain all the materials that students need to complete lab activities at home.

“We also wanted to make sure that even though the students were technically taking online classes, they could still come for help, use our facilities and feel part of the campus,” explained Sandy Davis, chair and professor of biology. “It has worked out really well.”

To give maximum flexibility, students taking classes that are using kits can take their kits home and do everything there. If students feel uncomfortable coming to campus, are in a high-risk health group or are under quarantine, they can still complete the activities and not fall behind. Residential students may store their kits in the lab.

openlab
Students work on the biology kits in a lab room at Lilly Science Hall.

Accompanying this approach is a system of open labs in which students from any class (whether they are using a kit or not) can check in at Lilly Science Hall. Students may pick up their kit, if they have one, and are then directed to an open lab where they can work on their own or collaborate with other students in the class.

UIndy Speech and Debate Team has Success Going Virtual

UIndy Speech & Debate team goes virtualThe University of Indianapolis Speech and Debate Team competed in their first tournament of the year and first virtual tournament ever in the 2020 T-Town Swing Tournament hosted by Tulsa Community College and Northeastern State University.

The team earned widespread accolades throughout the tournament, culminating in a second-place finish in individual events sweepstakes.

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.

“Learning during a pandemic presents challenges to all educators. However, this team’s resilience and dedication to the craft of public speaking means we can adapt and keep excelling during difficult times. It is essential we offer some sense of normalcy for our students, and competing, even virtually, offers that opportunity,” Wideman said.

Elise Paz ’23 (finance & Spanish) earned the title of tournament champion in communication analysis for her work exploring how obituaries have the rhetorical potential to shape public memory of these historic times. “Hispanics in the United States have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic due to their marginalized status and inability to access good healthcare and protective measures against COVID-19. In writing this speech, I was given the opportunity to shed light on this issue and give voice to those in need,” she said.

Team president, Craig Chigadza ’21 (psychology and international relations) speaks to his feelings about competing virtually: “As a collegiate competitor in speech and debate, the opportunity to be back on the circuit, competing even virtually, serves as reassurance that where there is a will there is a way. The feeling of being back with my university family is amazing,” Chigadza explained.

See a full list of team results below:

I.E. Sweeps: 2nd Place
Combined Sweeps: 3rd Place
Elize Paz ’23 (finance & spanish)-Tournament Champion (1st Place) in Communication Analysis
Landon Owens ’22 (sports management)-3rd in Programmed Oral Interpretation
Kathryn Leigh ’21 (biology)-3rd in Prose
Bhumibol Shakya ’23 (communication & psychology)-3rd in Impromptu Speaking & 5th in Informative Speaking
Collin Fausnaugh ’22 (supply chain management)-4th in Impromptu Speaking & 5th in Extemp Speaking

Faculty and students collaborate to bring “Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne” back to print

When Jennifer Camden, professor and associate chair of English, assigned “The Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne” to her class she didn’t realize the journey she was about to inadvertently embark on. “Students told me they couldn’t find the novel,” she said. “I had a copy of the last scholarly edition, from the 1990s, but it was now out of print.”

To her students’ credit, they found digitized copies of original editions of the novel from the 18th century, but according to Camden, those editions were poorly produced and often full of errors.

“In those cases, the students didn’t have any of the typical scholarly apparatus, like footnotes, to define archaic words or offer historical context,” she said.

Camden, who is also the Beverley J. Pitts Distinguished Professor of the Ron and Laura Strain Honors College, initially considered putting together a proposal for a new edition through a major publisher, but while presenting on the novel at a conference she met a scholar who told her such an update had already been unsuccessfully pitched to several publishers.

“I approached my colleagues in English who teach the Etchings courses at UIndy about whether we might consider publishing an edition through Etchings Press,” she said. “The advent of print-on-demand publishing meant that we could do so with relatively little seed money.”

Camden and her colleagues, including assistant professor Liz Whiteacre, Katherine Fries, and Randi Frye combined work from several of their classes to publish the novel. The process for publishing the novel was emblematic of the collaborative spirit of the University as it stretched across multiple courses across disciplines. 

Students learned how to produce a scholarly edition of the novel in ENGL 420: Critical Editions, taught by Camden. Students in ART 193: Beginning Illustration and ART 430: Advanced Illustration, taught by Randi Frye, illustrated key scenes from the novel. Assistant professor of English Liz Whiteacre’s ST 299: Book Publishing and Promotion course took files from the preceding courses to create the master design file of the book, completed its editing, and developed marketing materials to promote it. 

One of the students who worked on the project was Ali Viewegh ‘23 (English major, Professional Writing minor, Ron and Laura Strain Honors College), her role was to read the novel, identify passages that needed further explanation, research and then create footnotes for those pages. “I really enjoyed working with my class with this project, it required a lot of teamwork,” she said. “This project required all of us to work together, ask questions, and explore early English, Scottish, and sometimes even Swiss culture.”

Katherine Fries, associate professor of Art & Design and director of Hullabaloo Press, is working with the National Library Bindery Company of Indiana to provide an opportunity in the near future for students to hand-bind a limited, commemorative art edition of the novel and learn more about bookmaking.

This student-friendly edition of Ann Radcliffe’s first novel, now available for purchase on Amazon, includes illustrations and footnotes produced by students at University of Indianapolis, as well as an introduction by Dr. JoEllen DeLucia (Central Michigan University), who guides readers through this early Gothic novel. Set in medieval Scotland, “The Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne” explores revenge and features warring clans, imprisoned heroes and heroines, a shipwrecked Count, stolen inheritances and many of the hallmarks of Radcliffe’s later Gothic fiction.

Book cover photo available here.

The novel was published through Etchings Press at the University of Indianapolis. “Before work on this project began, we’d been having discussions on how to expand the work that students are doing with Etchings and continue our collaboration with Hullabaloo Press,” Camden said. “Those two goals were able to serendipitously come together in this project!”

“We think this illustrated and annotated novel is one that English course instructors and literature lovers alike will enjoy,” said Whiteacre.

Viewegh added that working on a project like this helped her and her classmates hone their researching skills. “I think this project was important because it allowed the other students and I to work through researching dated and hard to find topics,” she said. “It allowed us to improve our research and comprehension skills, which was especially helpful with reading such a dated text like Ann Radcliffe’s first novel.”

“I am super happy that I was able to be a part of the class that researched and created the footnotes, and I’m proud of all of the other classes that worked so hard on the project, also!”

 

 

 

 

Choral Department hitting the right notes this fall

IMG_0675“There’s a place for everyone to sing at UIndy,” is the motto of UIndy Choirs according to Webb Parker, director of choral activities. That’s true even during this fall semester when many programs are in a state of flux due to the coronavirus.

Students have been issued special personal protective equipment including a face shield and cloth cowl that they are wearing during singing activities, and the rehearsal space is very large in order to accommodate physical distancing of 10-12 feet between singers. Participants, as well as all others on campus, are also being asked to complete the campus health check on MyUIndy before coming to campus.

Parker estimates there are 60 students involved in UIndy Choirs today, and his goal is to double that number in three years or less. “I know there are tons of people on campus who love to sing,” he said, “It’s my goal to make sure they know there is a place on this campus for them to do that.”

“All choirs are open to all students,” he said. Auditions are held in the fall and spring before classes start for the semester, but he doesn’t want the word “audition” to scare anyone off. “Students who want to sing, can sing,” he said. “The ‘audition’ is really just a time for myself and the other choir directors to hear each singer’s voice to know which choir is best for them.”

UIndy Choirs are not only for students who are interested in class credit or have a major in the music department. In fact, there are Choral Fellowships specially reserved for non-majors who can receive grants just for singing in a choir.

Parker isn’t interested in limiting who can participate in choral activities at UIndy. “Harnessing the talent on this campus is my goal,” he said. “Getting the word out about UIndy choirs, on campus and to our community, is paramount for me.”

There are currently four choirs on campus: Concert Choir, Schola, Treble, and Crimson Express. Concert Choir is UIndy’s large, mixed voice choir, that sings a wide variety of songs from pre-Bach to modern day. Schola is a 16-20 voice mixed ensemble which focuses on a capella music from the Renaissance to the modern day. The Treble Choir focuses on music composed for the treble, or higher, voice. Their music selections range from the 17th century to modern pop music that you might hear on the radio today. Finally, Crimson Express is the university’s jazz/pop choir, consisting of 12-16 singers focusing on popular music in the vocal jazz and pop-a capella tradition. In addition to the Treble Choir, Parker hopes to bring a Bass, or low voice, choir to campus as well.

All choirs usually perform at least two concerts a semester and often the Spring semester features a collaboration with UIndy bands, local churches, or Indianapolis area community music-making organizations. “In the coming years, I hope to begin a tradition of travel, both domestically and internationally with Concert Choir and Schola,” Parker said.

Due to COVID-19 the concert schedule looks a bit different this year. There won’t be any concerts with a live audience, however Parker said the department is putting together a digital concert for release at the end of October, as well as a concert of Christmas music that will be carried on UIndy’s radio station 88.7 WICR. 

“We’re very excited about this opportunity with WICR and hope to make it a UIndy tradition,” Parker said. “We’re also excited about some new live-streaming technology that is going into the Ruth Lilly Performance Hall which will hopefully be put to use in the spring.”

Parker loves what he does, and tries to make sure that is reflected in his role as the director of choral activities. “I get to go to work to lead people in music-making, it’s the best job ever,” he said. “I keep rehearsals fast-paced, upbeat and fun. Laughter is a large part of what we do together in UIndy Choirs.”

Poetry collection by Kevin McKelvey selected for Indiana Authors Awards shortlist

A poetry collection written by Kevin McKelvey, professor of English at the University of Indianapolis, was shortlisted for top honors for The 2020 Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Awards. Thirty-seven books written by Indiana authors and published in 2018 and 2019 in seven categories of literature have been shortlisted foDream Wilderness Poems by Kevin McKelveyr the awards, which will be announced on Sept. 1, 2020.

McKelvey’s collection, Dream Wilderness Poems, draws from Indiana’s environmental history, particularly the Charles C. Deam Wilderness Area on Lake Monroe near Bloomington.

“I’m humbled and honored to be a finalist for the Indiana Author Awards in poetry. Finalists in all of the genres have inspired me and UIndy students, including those finalists who have visited for the Kellogg Writers Series,” McKelvey said. “Many thanks to Indiana Humanities for their stewardship of these awards and for their programs and work across the state.”

Book winners will be announced on Sept. 1 at 11 a.m. via a Facebook Live Premiere Event, and on Instagram and Twitter and via an email to subscribers at 11:10 a.m. Follow @INAuthorsAwards and sign up at www.IndianaAuthorsAwards.org to receive the announcement.

Each category winner will receive a $5,000 cash prize, a hand-crafted limestone award and the opportunity to make a $500 donation to an Indiana library of their choice.

For more information on the Indiana Authors Awards, visit indianaauthorsawards.org.

Andrew Armour ’12 creates app to monitor screentime

Andrew Armour ‘12 (Business Management & Administration, minor in Information Systems) is an incredible example of using his education for service. He always dreamed of owning a business, and four years ago, his dreams started becoming reality.  After spending a weekend with family, he noticed that the kids didn’t want to play outside and enjoy the weather. They were content to be sitting inside on their devices. 

Armour said, “The idea for Activate Fitness didn’t strike me right then, but it was something later that night that popped into my head as I was attempting to sleep. I woke up instantly after coming up with the idea around 2-3 AM and started researching to see if anyone else offers this service and if not, how can I get it developed and out to the public for use.”

CNBC story

Once he had a solid framework of what he wanted, he outsourced to a company in Pakistan after meeting their CEO. He credits this company as the reason he has a product today. According to the product website, “Activate Fitness is a patented technology that regulates screen time based on daily activity levels. Activate Fitness grants or denies screen time depending on the amount of daily activity that was performed by the device owner. Daily activity levels are generated through the use of Apple Health, Google Fit or a wearable fitness tracker like a Fitbit. Through the use of wearable fitness trackers we can regulate the amount of time spent on our mobile device and push individuals & families towards a more healthy and active lifestyle.”

Since current events have caused a large number of Americans to be home much more than they are used to, it follows that many more kids are also spending more time on devices. Armour believes that his app is the perfect solution to this problem. Instead of parents working from home having to stop their work to monitor their child’s screen time, they can simply install his free app to do the monitoring for them.

Armour’s time spent at UIndy was spent playing baseball from 2009-2011, and basketball in 2012. He still keeps in touch with many of his old teammates and friends. His advice to students centers around connections like these.

“Create connections, work on your people skills and get to know others on a personal level. You never know when you will need to reconnect to that person for assistance in the future,” he said. “Connecting to people isn’t a course you get a grade on at UIndy and it doesn’t cost you a dime in tuition. It just takes a little courage and outgoingness to potentially positively impact your future.” 

2020 UIndy Engineering Business Pitch Competition goes virtual

The R.B. Annis School of Engineering (RBASOE) successfully held its 2020 Engineering Business Pitch Competition virtually on April 21, 2020. As part of the RBSAOE’s unique DesignSpine curriculum, students in the third year of the program work in interdisciplinary teams to design and pitch a product, process or service in collaboration with industry mentors.

This was the second year for the School to host the event, which was conducted via Zoom due to coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions. Although it was an inconvenience, students took this opportunity to be innovative and entrepreneurial. Faculty responded by involving the student teams in the process of assessing each project’s progress and in determining what aspects of the project could be continued even though there will be no access to campus resources like labs and workshops. Based on the assessment and mutual agreement between the faculty and students, the projects were continued virtually.

There were over 60 participants who participated in the competition. Five multidisciplinary teams pitched their engineering projects and business models to eleven judges consisting of leaders from industry and UIndy.

“I enjoy working with the students and I am always impressed with their creativity and how polished their presentations are. I wish there was a program like the R.B. Annis School of Engineering when I was in engineering school,” said mentor Richard Calvert (Citizens Energy). The Indiana startup ecosystem was represented by judges from Elevate Ventures and Innopower.

The event showcased the strong collaboration between the RBASOE and other units in the University, including the Department of Art & Design.

Dr. David Olawale, assistant professor of engineering, said, “It has been great working with Prof. Rhonda Wolverton and her students from the Art & Design Department. The collaboration provided the engineering students the opportunity to work with students from a completely different discipline. They got to experience the value that other disciplines bring to the product development and commercialization process. They got to learn how to communicate effectively with other experts from a different discipline and they also developed an appreciation and respect for other disciplines. The contribution of the Art & Design teams in designing the logos, slide decks and websites brought the business aspects of the project to life for the technically-minded engineering students.”

Wolverton agreed, citing that “The engineering project has allowed my students to experience a portion of each of these steps.”

The top three winning teams pitched ideas for a food produce preservation system, a motorcycle head display system, and body cooling wear.

While the engineering student teams focused on customer discovery, design, prototyping, testing and business model development, they were ably supported by their colleagues from the Art & Design Department who worked on the branding and marketing aspects of the projects. This created a great experiential learning experience for all the students.

Alysa Epperson ’21 (industrial and systems engineering major, mathematics minor) discussed how “over the past nine months our team has been working on developing a personal cooling vest…We decided to focus on cooling athletes and outdoor workers. Students from the Department of Art & Design helped us create a name for our company, a logo, and other on-brand materials. The name we decided on was Arctic Lock. Arctic Lock was designed to be lightweight, fashionable, affordable, and to offer rapid and prolonged cooling.”

Marko Tasic ’21 (industrial and systems engineering major, mathematics minor) summed up his experience by crediting the competition with giving him the confidence to pursue his own ideas and identify and solve problems in the world. “My biggest takeaway from this project is that entrepreneurship is not some intimidating venture that you have to embark on alone. It’s a step-by-step process that you do with a team around you,” he said.

R.B. Annis School of Engineering donates PPE to Indianapolis healthcare workers

Healthcare workers at St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis model face shields manufactured by James Emery, lab manager at the R.B. Annis School of Engineering.

Healthcare workers at St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis model face shields manufactured by James Emery, laboratory manager at the R.B. Annis School of Engineering.

The R.B. Annis School of Engineering is putting expertise and resources towards the fight against COVID-19 (novel coronavirus). James Emery, laboratory manager for mechanical systems, is printing face shields for St. Vincent Indianapolis emergency room healthcare workers.

“I asked some friends who are nurses if their emergency room would be in need. They are parents that I met through Indiana FIRST while mentoring a team,” Emery said. He has also been approached by a local fire department.

The design was provided by a 3D printing machine manufacturer that is producing the shields for local hospitals in Europe. Emery researched the need for face shields during the COVID-19 crisis and notes that the design has been vetted. He has registered with national initiatives to assist in the manufacturing of personal protective equipment for first responders. 

“During this pandemic, there are so many nurses and doctors who are working tirelessly to help the population,” Emery said. “I found that the 3D printing community was stepping up in huge ways to try and help.”

Emery had enough materials to manufacture about 50 face shields. He delivered them to St. Vincent in April.

“As we are left at home while the first responders, doctors and nurses are out every day trying to help the individuals that have been infected with this virus,” Emery said, “I wanted to do my part to help them.”

Emery is continuing to produce face shields and is planning to donate more as he is able to manufacture them.

Paul Talaga, assistant professor of engineering, donated 3D-printed "ear savers."

Paul Talaga, assistant professor of engineering, donated 3D-printed “ear savers.”

Paul Talaga, assistant professor of engineering, used a 3D printer to manufacture “ear savers” for healthcare workers on the frontline. The device attaches to the elastic straps of the mask to alleviate discomfort. To reduce the danger of contracting the disease, healthcare workers must wear a mask at all times when working with patients.

Talaga has delivered 100 ear savers to four Indianapolis-area hospitals.

A nurse at an Indianapolis-area hospital wears one of the "ear-savers" produced by Paul Talaga.

A nurse at an Indianapolis-area hospital wears one of the “ear-savers” produced by Paul Talaga.

 

School of Education adapts to e-learning

Thanks to faculty support and innovation, students in the School of Education are gaining valuable technical skills that are sure to come in handy in the age of e-learning. Here are a few examples of adaptations during the COVID-19 pandemic:

Dr. John Somers and Dr. Nancy Steffel have been working with partner school districts (MSD Decatur Township and MSD Perry Township) to support their students and teachers as they transition to e-learning. In turn, they are showing elementary education students how to create lessons on their respective learning management systems.

School of Education is making use of online resources in times of pandemic.

Dr. Somers is teaching ELED 202: Universal Design for Learning: STEM to sophomore students. He is working with four fourth-grade teachers at West Newton Elementary in Decatur Townships who are now using Zoom to connect with the class. Collaboratively, they are building a kid-friendly lesson and a teacher lesson (“How to Build a Mars Land Rover”) with tiers for students with low, medium and high readiness. These lessons will be posted and returned on Canvas, Decatur’s Learning Management System.

Zoom Chat with the School of Education

Dr. Steffel is teaching EDUC 336: Teaching Literacy in the Intermediate Grades to juniors. She is leading an exercise that involves having the students create mini-video lessons and post them for fourth graders at Blue Academy in Decatur Township. She is using Zoom in her class daily and the students are posting their lesson on Canvas, Decatur’s Learning Management System. Greyhounds are being asked to consider the production value of their videos in addition to the content of the lesson.

 

pencilnecklace

Dr. Angie Ridgway and her son Nate Ridgway ’14 (history and special education), co-authors of Don’t Ditch That Tech, have been offering support for K-12 teachers from across the country related to their need to transition to remote learning and remote teaching. They are offering virtual office hours and additional conference presentations, in addition to resource materials on their blog (teachingfromtheridge.com).

Ditch That Text hard cover book.

School of Occupational Therapy employs creativity in time of pandemic

160 Over 90 photo not yet fully cropped or toned! Please check before using, especially in print. Health Pavilion

As UIndy moves through this challenging time of uncertainty amid the COVID-19 pandemic, our faculty and staff are working to ensure our students can continue their academic work. This is especially difficult for students who need to complete clinical experiences required for graduation. The School of Occupational Therapy has developed a creative solution for Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT) students to complete their required fieldwork.

In cooperation with BeWell, UIndy’s employee wellness program, UIndy MOT students will be offering UIndy employees and their families free telehealth OT sessions focusing on wellness and daily occupations. Please note that participants must reside in the state of Indiana to adhere to licensure laws. The 30-45 minute sessions will be conducted by MOT students with supervision of licensed occupational therapy clinicians and faculty.  

“We have a commitment to our students to continue to provide meaningful fieldwork experiences,” said Jayson Zeigler, Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT) academic fieldwork coordinator. “This experience will not only provide a needed service to our UIndy community, but will also introduce our students to the growing applications of telehealth.”

Third-year MOT student Hannah Masemore is grateful for the opportunity. Before the COVID-19 pandemic caused the suspension of all student clinical experiences, Masemore was working on an inpatient rehabilitation unit at the Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana, Illinois. 

I think it’s pretty amazing that we are able to provide OT services via telehealth during this difficult time,” Masemore said. “This is a service that many people still need and this allows them to receive the services while staying safe.”

Masemore suggested that people who could benefit from the free OT telehealth service include:

  • older adults who need a home safety evaluation or aging in place modifications; 
  • people who are working from home and want guidance on ergonomic adaptations to their workstations; 
  • people who were receiving outpatient OT to provide exercise education; 
  • children who were receiving school OT for things such as handwriting; \
  • people receiving OT services for mental health. 

All sessions are confidential and HIPPA compliant. The service is available to any UIndy employee and their family members who live in the state of Indiana. The program will launch on March 30. Anyone interested in signing up should look for an email from BeWell and access the sign-in link on the BeWell website. Questions can be directed to  Jayson Zeigler at zeiglerjw@uindy.edu or Katherine Matutes at matutesk@uindy.edu.

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