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.”

Contact tracing program provides real-time learning opportunities for UIndy students, alumni

The coronavirus pandemic has raised awareness of many aspects of healthcare, but perhaps none more so than the area of public health. For Shawn Schweitzer ’20 (Master of Public Health), it has meant applying knowledge from his graduate program as he serves on the University of Indianapolis contact tracing team

Shawn Schweitzer ’20 (Master of Public Health)

Shawn Schweitzer ’20 (Master of Public Health)

“It is busy, but we are doing important public health work that not only helps protect our students, staff, and faculty, but also our entire community as a whole,” Schweitzer said.

The goal of the University’s contact tracing program is to limit the spread of coronavirus within the campus community by providing support and resources to students and employees who may get sick or exposed to COVID-19. Kirsti Oswalt ’18 (exercise science) ’20 (MPH) will assume the role of contact tracing lead for the University beginning September 8. Oswalt takes the reins from Gurinder Hohl, who recently took on the new position of Chief Executive Officer at the Immigrant Welcome Center.  

Kirsti Oswalt ’18 (exercise science) ’20 (MPH)

Kirsti Oswalt ’18 (exercise science) ’20 (MPH)

“I am incredibly excited to be leading the Contact Tracing Team,” Oswalt said. “As a student-athlete, I always wanted to give back to the University to leave a mark, just as the University left a special mark on me. By using my education and knowledge learned in the Public Health program, I will work to keep our students, faculty and staff as safe and healthy as possible.”

Destinee Ward ’21 (Master of Public Health), along with Schweitzer, works around 20 hours per week on the contact tracing team. It is their first professional experience with contact tracing.

“This opportunity is giving me real-world experience along with molding me professionally,” Ward said. “I truly feel blessed to be part of the contact tracing team. I believe that I am impacting so many people and protecting a lot of individuals from becoming another positive case.”

The contact tracing team includes students or recent alumni from the College of Health Sciences and the School of Nursing. All team members have participated in training developed by nationally-recognized organizations such as the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). All members of the contact tracing team are also trained to ensure compliance with FERPA and HIPAA guidelines. The training ensures that the University’s contact tracing activities are confidential and protect the privacy of students and employees.

When a student or University employee tests positive for COVID-19, the contact tracing team will speak to the person to determine their recent activity and close contacts. The team then connects with anyone who may have been exposed to advise them that they need to quarantine for 14 days. The team also checks up on people who have tested positive to make sure their recovery is on track.

Together with the daily UIndy Health Check, symptomatic and asymptomatic testing, social distancing and mandating face coverings on campus, contact tracing is an essential part of the University’s efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus. It also comes with a unique set of challenges.

“One major challenge we have faced includes staying updated on what the Indiana State Department of Health and CDC advise. Since COVID-19 continues to change in how we handle it, the best we can do is move along with it and adapt as much as possible,” Schweitzer explained.

“The biggest challenge so far is the number of students I have to call in one day,” Ward added. “Getting to a student before he or she becomes exposed can be very difficult to do. Along with many other challenges, the way I resolve them is by reaching out to my team.” 

Both Ward and Schweitzer credit their academic experience at the University of Indianapolis in preparing them to apply their skills in public health successfully.

Destinee Ward ’21 (Master of Public Health)

Destinee Ward ’21 (Master of Public Health)

“My academic program gives me more background information, knowledge and history on why things like contact tracing exist and why this job is so important not only on a college campus but in other work settings as well,” Ward said. “Being a part of public health means you understand that the overall goal is to prevent the spread of disease and improve the quality of life.”

“My UIndy academic program has helped tremendously because having a strong background in public health allows me to think outside the box to solve issues within contact tracing,” Schweitzer added. “This job has helped me stay connected to UIndy and to other health professionals, as well as allow me to practice the leadership and critical thinking skills that will assist me in my new career role within public health.”

Schweitzer also works as the Public Health Preparedness Coordinator for the Northeast Indiana region and is planning for a career in public health preparedness. 

“We continue to see the need for preparedness across the world,” he said, “and I am excited to be a part of this field of public health.”

Learn more about the University of Indianapolis’ response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Christopher Moore receives $50,000 DNR grant for Prophetstown State Park archaeological survey

Christopher Moore

Christopher Moore

A federal grant will allow University of Indianapolis faculty and students to study the archaeological history of an Indiana state park and help to preserve it for future generations. Christopher Moore, chair and associate professor of anthropology, received the grant, which will fund an archaeological survey at Prophetstown State Park in Tippecanoe County. 

The $50,000 grant, announced in August by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, is one of 14 federal Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) grants awarded by the DNR Division of Historic Preservation & Archaeology (DHPA) for historic preservation and archaeology projects in Indiana communities. 

“The grants provide a major source of funding for the state to identify, record, and protect its cultural resources for future generations,” Moore said.

Researchers will investigate three to four areas of the park identified by park staff as high priority survey areas. Moore said that while this portion of the park has been surveyed previously, “the kind of intensive subsurface survey we are conducting has not been done. This is important because three of the four selected areas are located adjacent to the Wabash River and any archaeological remains may be buried beneath the surface.” 

In addition, Moore’s team will use ground-penetrating radar to better understand the park’s Native American mounds. The project will help researchers gain a better understanding of how the mounds were built without the need for excavation. 

Moore said his survey will help the park expand public programming while preserving history. “If the park decides to develop areas for trails or recreation, they’ll know which areas to avoid. That ends up saving the park money and the state money,” said Moore. “Any of those places where people have done something in the past and left behind artifacts of those activities would be counted as an archaeological site.”

Undergraduate and graduate students will assist in the fieldwork and laboratory analysis during the fall semester. Adjunct faculty member Elizabeth Straub also will participate. Project documentation will occur during the spring semester with a completion date set for May 30, 2021.

The project has been funded in part by a grant from the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service’s Historic Preservation Fund administered by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology. Since 2000, the state has awarded $11 million to assist more than 500 important heritage preservation projects across Indiana. When combined with local matching funds, this represents an investment of more than $23 million into the preservation of Indiana’s heritage.


Aaron Drake makes the most of a virtual internship

Indyfluence is an initiative which encourages college students to choose Indianapolis after graduation. The organization connects leading businesses in the Indianapolis area and engages their interns in an effort to “Meet Indy,” “Learn from Indy,” and “Give back to Indy.”

One of the more than 450 interns in the program this summer was Aaron Drake ’21 (chemistry, biology minor), participant in the Roche Academy at UIndy and intern with the Roche Support Network of Roche Diagnostics. Here’s his dispatch from what he called a “different, but just as meaningful” experience:

“Despite present circumstances, the Indyfluence program provided not only networking opportunities between interns from Roche, as well as other participating businesses, but it also provided resources to “meet, learn from, and give back to” Indy.


The Slack website is a perfect example. It provided a way to connect to other interns in the area via online chatting, as well as a way to find out more about what’s going on around Indy and how to get involved. Of course given present circumstances it required some initiative from us to reach out and explore what was provided, but I feel like that is to be expected. I personally networked with some other interns around Indy and found it helped provided a lot of the social aspect that had been hard to find given COVID-19.


Roche as a whole made a very successful pivot to an online internship program in place of the online campus experience. Normally, it would have been largely in person shadowing and with some side project work (at least with the Roche Academy interns); with COVID-19, it shifted to lots more project work that can be done from home with some online shadowing and networking opportunities. This provided a different but just as meaningful experience.


One of the best parts of the summer internship experience was the project work we were doing was actually meaningful to Roche as a whole. One of the most noteworthy examples was participating in a project to help on the logistics of a COVID-19 testing related project.



Working from home was a different experience, but just as effective in my opinion. That being said, for it to be effective it required a few things: First, it required significant time management skills to be able to coordinate with other individuals for the multiple projects we were working on simultaneously. Building off this, it required a lot more initiative on our part to reach out and arrange meetings with the multiple individuals we worked with over the summer. A lot of the time if we needed something for a project or work we needed to be the ones to reach out and organize a meeting, because there’s no opportunity to simply see them on campus and ask questions. I’d say the added focus on these skills actually was an advantage as it provided a lot more practice and development with them.

Drake hopes to earn a full-time job offer with Roche and begin after graduation. He doesn’t anticipate that will be the end of his time in academia however, as he expects to eventually pursue a master’s or Ph.D. at some point in his career.

Cohabitation study spans decades, despite COVID-19 challenges

For more than 15 years, Amanda Miller, associate professor and chair of the Department of Sociology, has been studying what happens after people decide to move in together. 

From 2003 to 2006, Miller’s research team conducted in-depth interviews with 61 couples (122 individuals), including 30 couples who were working in the service sector and 31 college-educated, middle-class couples. The findings are published in “Cohabitation Nation: Gender, Class and the Remaking of Relationships,” a book co-authored by Miller, and have also been featured in outlets such as The New York Times, Psychology Today, and Journal of Family Issues.

Amanda Miller, Department of Sociology, conducts research via ZoomThis year, Miller and her research partner, Sharon Sassler from Cornell University, set out to conduct follow-up interviews with as many of the original participants as they could find. They wanted to learn about the most significant events in their lives since they had last connected. Some couples were still together; others were not. Each person had stories to tell. 

Although COVID-19 complicated their plans for this research project, Miller and Sassler have so far re-interviewed 66 of the 120 surviving members from the original sample. 

Find out more about Miller’s research experience: 

How far did you get into the interviews before COVID-19 hit? 

“My colleague, Sharon Sassler, of Cornell University and I were in Columbus, Ohio in late February/early March conducting numerous interviews per day and anxiously watching the news at night. The demographers at Ohio State, which included sociologists, economists, and public health professors, among others, were kind enough to let us conduct our interviews from their offices. We had been hearing from them between appointments that COVID-19 was likely to be a serious problem. We both headed back home on the 10th day of interviews (March 8, 2020), discussing before we parted that it may be “a couple of weeks or a month or two when this passes” before we’d get to come back and finish our work. Little did I know that trip would include my last times eating in a restaurant, browsing leisurely in a store, or grabbing a coffee at the cafe for now. In that short period of time, we had completed around 45 interviews.”

How did the pandemic affect your research project? 

“Thankfully, we had asked for permission from the Institutional Review Board to also do interviews via Zoom, anticipating that folks may be scattered across the globe. We ended up finishing the remaining interviews from our houses over the next few months, often in different time zones. I finished one interview on a Saturday morning just after midnight. I went from walking participants down a long university hallway with a sterile desk and chair to welcoming them (virtually) to my spare bedroom or screened-in porch. A few times, when my quarantine puppy couldn’t stop fussing in the background, I conducted the interview from the passenger’s seat of my car in the garage. It was definitely an adjustment!”

Was it easier or harder to follow up with people than you expected?

“It was both easier and harder than I expected. Far more people are on social media than ever before, which makes finding everyone so much easier than it would have been 15 years ago. But, people are also more geographically mobile than ever, and this is a stage of life where some women, especially, change their last names. That made things a bit more complicated. We spent days upon days combing through public access information to find as many original participants as possible. Thankfully, the people we relocated were so fantastic and most were happy to chat with us again! A few even spontaneously reached out to a long-ago ex-boyfriend or -girlfriend to encourage them to connect with us.”

What initially stands out to you about the recent interviews you conducted? 

“One thing I was struck by methodologically was that so many of the individuals we interviewed did not initially remember being a part of the first round of the study. We have been working with the transcripts of our original conversations for most of our careers, so we know them incredibly well. But, we also needed to remember that for most of the young adults we interviewed, this was just a snapshot in time for them.  Many were quite interested in what their “past selves” had said and wanted to dig into the research after our second interview. 

Data-wise, the preliminary results have reinforced for me how very much social class can positively or negatively impact a person’s life. What we really learned about were early mid-life crises. Participants trusted us enough to tell us about heartbreaks, job losses, having academic ambitions thwarted, mental health and substance use challenges, infertility, the stress of modern childrearing, and the death of beloved partners and parents. For some, the power of a completed college education or being in the right place with the right skills at the right time helped them successfully navigate the frequently choppy waters of this life stage, while for others, one life crisis precipitated another with few social supports available to put on the brakes.

I am incredibly grateful that participants are so willing to give up hours of their time and to share their life stories with us. And, I am disheartened to hear how much some of these individuals have struggled and how little it might have taken from their communities to get them back on track. We as a society can do better.” 

Learn more about the University of Indianapolis Department of Sociology.

Related: Research by Amanda Miller examines romantic relationships, career ambitions

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.

New book by Craig Seidelson explores shifts in U.S.-China trade 

Craig Seidelson published a book, "Operations Management in China."The coronavirus pandemic has had far-reaching implications for American manufacturers who rely on China, but other factors are also in play. A timely new book authored by Craig Seidelson, assistant professor of operations and supply chain management at the University of Indianapolis School of Business, explores these and other U.S.-China business topics.

“Operations Management in China” published by Business Expert Press delves into the relationship between the United States and China, its largest goods trading partner.

“Roughly 12 cents of every dollar U.S. consumers spend is on Chinese-made products. Nearly 60% of all U.S. imports from China are made by U.S. manufacturers,” Seidelson explained.

“The reality is U.S. supply chain managers need Chinese-made products because prices are among the world’s lowest and the export-oriented, manufacturing infrastructure is the world’s largest. Yet, recent events are forcing companies to reexamine the sustainability of their sourcing models,” he added.

The book explores how labor costs and corporate debt in China are on the rise, while the Chinese RMB continues to fall. As inflationary pressures build, so do political factors.

Craig Seidelson, assistant professor of operations and supply chain management at the University of Indianapolis School of Business

Craig Seidelson

“The majority of U.S. investment into China is through Hong Kong. Under the United States-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992, Hong Kong has been treated differently than mainland China,” Seidelson said, noting that Hong Kong has benefited from a special status in terms of investment and trade.

That status is now in doubt. Seidelson noted that a new national security law grants mainland institutions in Hong Kong responsibility for security. In response, the Trump administration has indicated that the ‘one country, two systems’ scenario is no longer valid and that Hong Kong’s special trade status should be dropped. As a result, Seidelson said tens of thousands of US companies may be forced to change how they do business in China.

The recent COVID-19 pandemic is also forcing a change in U.S.-China business relations, with American companies re-evaluating their reliance on Chinese-made products, Seidelson pointed out. In 2019, nearly 50% of every dollar spent on made in China products went to U.S. service providers. In April 2020, U.S. imports from China fell approximately 50 percent compared to a year earlier. 

“As Chinese companies shut down to control the spread of the virus, many U.S. companies were faced with the real possibility of shortages. This is particularly true in the pharmaceutical sector where China is the largest producer of the ingredients drugmakers use to make products,” Seidelson said.

Learn more here.   

Craig Seidelson has spent over 20 years in manufacturing. During this time he worked 16 years in China, building and managing factories. He is presently a reviewer for the International Journal of Operations Research and Information Systems. As professor of operations and supply chain management at the University of Indianapolis, he teaches logistics, quality management, and manufacturing at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. He also teaches a course on Manufacturing in China. Prof. Seidelson routinely consults on these topics and presents his research at conferences around the world. Through his work as vice president of the Board at the America China Society of Indiana, he brings together U.S. and Chinese businesses. His contributions in China were recognized with an honorary professorship at Changsha University of Science and Technology.

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.

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