University connects with international alumni in China

China Nov 2017The University of Indianapolis has connections in China, Brazil, Turkey and beyond that allow for the exchange of faculty members and students and other collaborative activities.

Through accredited partnerships with Chinese institutions, more than 1,200 Chinese students have achieved a University degree and about 200 students are pursuing degrees now, spending at least one year in Indianapolis. The program offers students from both countries the opportunity to pair their education with a cultural experience that will last a lifetime.

In November 2017, the University strengthened its connections in China by establishing the Chinese Student Alumni Association and hosting several student engagement events in China.

Three University employees: Executive Vice President & Provost Stephen Kolison, Associate Provost for International Engagement Jodie Ferise and Associate Vice President for International Partnerships Phylis Lin traveled to China, visiting four cities and hosting three events during their time abroad. Students and alumni from Ningbo Institute of Technology and Zhejiang Yuexiu University of Foreign Languages in Shaoxing attended.

“Our two joint programs in China (NIT & ZYU) have enhanced the University’s internationalization since 2004,” Lin said. “These two programs have also enhanced diversity on campus.”

“It’s important to remind someone half a world away that they’re still part of our UIndy community,” Ferise said. “These trips make sure there are touchpoints for students and graduates and allow us to continue building relationships.”

The group hosted the first-ever Alumni Day in Hangzhou, along with two UIndy Days for current students in Ningbo and Shaoxing. At each event, students shared their experiences, participated in social activities like tea ceremonies and music recitals and learned about news from the University. It was a chance to celebrate and network with current and former students and to make personal connections that wouldn’t be possible otherwise.

“It was very moving to hear the alumni stories,” Ferise said. “Every single one of them harkened back to their time and credited the University for where they are now. As professors, we want to think the things we put out in the universe matter, and this was proof they do.”

The exchange programs in China have been a pivotal part of the University’s international engagement portfolio for more than a decade, with plans in place for continued growth in the years ahead. Seven University of Indianapolis professors are now teaching at Chinese institutions.

As the faculty advisor for the program, Lin has been working hard to increase the University’s visibility in China, sending marketing materials for display and making five to six trips to China each year.

“The most vibrant universities are those that have living, breathing communities of people who remain connected to them,” Ferise said. “Opportunities for networking, student internships, future student employment and enhanced campus diversity – that’s what we want.”

The next trip to China is slated for March 2018.

Conversation Circles become cultural exchange opportunity

It’s Monday evening at the Writing Lab at Krannert Memorial Library, and somehow the conversation has wandered into the topic of raw baby octopus and pickled crickets. Whether the talk is about food, travel or culture, it’s all part of the Conversation Circles program designed to bring international and American students together to chat in English and make connections.

From left: Gary Bates, Lisa Kim and Derek Zhao

From left: Gary Bates, Lisa Kim and Derek Zhao

All students are welcome to join the Conversation Circles scheduled for the 2017 spring semester on the University of Indianapolis campus. Derek Zhao, a senior sociology major from China, and Lisa Kim, a sophomore music performance major, are the Conversation Circle facilitators on Monday nights.
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Former, future Greyhounds go for the gold

Swimming World magazine conducted this interview with Dalton Herendeen just before he secured a spot on the U.S. swim team for the 2016 Paralympics in Brazil.

Two UIndy-connected swimmers — one a recent grad, the other arriving this year as a freshman — will be representing their nations this summer in Rio de Janeiro.

Sotia Neophytou

Sotia Neophytou

Incoming first-year student Sotia Neophytou (sometimes spelled Neofytou) is one of only two swimmers from Cyprus selected to compete in the 2016 Summer Olympics. She will swim the 100-meter butterfly next month.

Dalton Herendeen, who graduated in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science, is one of just 10 U.S. men tapped to swim in the 2016 Paralympic Games in September. The partial amputee, who swam in standard high school and college meets, is a veteran of international competition, having gone to the 2012 Paralympics in London and other major events. Click above to watch an interview with Swimming World magazine, or read this story in his hometown paper, the Elkhart Truth.

Learn more about both swimmers at the UIndy Athletics site.



Earning honorable mention in our Olympics coverage is 2014 grad Jermel Kindred, an All-American sprinter and hurdler in his UIndy track and field days.

The holder of five Greyhound records earned a trip to last week’s U.S. Olympic Trials in Oregon, but did not quite make the cut for Rio. Read about his bid in the South Bend Tribune.

Historian: Surprise ‘Brexit’ vote is perfect storm

UK voters’ discontent echoes unusual election year in the US, he says

WIBC-FM report interview (audio)

A specialist in modern British history, Dr. Chad Martin knew the so-called “Brexit” referendum would be close, and he understood why.



Still, he was surprised late Thursday night when the tally determined the U.K. was leaving the European Union.

“I was going back and forth as I was watching the coverage,” said Martin, associate professor in UIndy’s Department of History & Political Science. “There were some early results coming in that were closer than they should have been.”

The current political dynamic in Britain bears similarities to the U.S. presidential race, he said, with frustrated voters abandoning traditional sympathies for any promise of change. Concerned about immigration and economic uncertainty, stirred by talk of national greatness, Brexit supporters share something with the disaffected Americans who have brought Donald Trump to the brink of the Republican nomination.

“The parallels between the Leave vote and the Trump phenomenon are striking,” Martin said.

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Profs’ project shows issues facing refugees

UIndy researchers spent nine months working with local Congolese women



UPDATE: Read NUVO Newsweekly story

Today has been declared World Refugee Day by the United Nations, and two UIndy professors will share their research on local refugees at a downtown event marking the occasion.

Dr. Shannon McMorrow, interim director of UIndy’s Master of Public Health program, and Dr. Jyotika Saksena, graduate director of the International Relations program, have spent the past nine months working with refugee women who fled political and gender-based violence in their home country, the Democratic Republic of the Congo.



In a research technique known as photovoice, the participants were given cameras and asked to take photos of objects and scenes in their lives that relate to their integration into U.S. society and, more specifically, their access to and experiences with health care and other services since arriving. The researchers interviewed the women to develop captions explaining the significance of the photos.

“The idea behind this project was to hear the perspective of refugees by giving them a voice and empowering them to tell their own stories,” Saksena says.

McMorrow and Saksena will share some of the results today at the Indianapolis observance of World Refugee Day, taking place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the City Market. Organized by Exodus Refugee Inc., the free event will include the photo exhibition, a cooking demonstration, international music and other cultural activities.

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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.

Foreign journalists receive UIndy education

Foreign press tour - Albright and FrantzHistory & Political Science faculty members Laura Albright and Edward Frantz speak this morning to foreign journalists on a State Department press tour.

A group of 24 foreign journalists came to UIndy today for a crash course in U.S. politics and next week’s Indiana primary.

Hosted by the State Department, the reporters are on a week-long U.S. tour to cover the presidential campaigns. They represent print, broadcast and online news outlets across Asia, Europe, Africa and South America.

History Professor Edward Frantz and Assistant Professor of Political Science Laura Albright delivered a 90-minute morning presentation to the group, which also heard remarks from UIndy adjunct instructor and local political pundit Abdul-Hakim Shabazz.

During lunch in Esch Hall with faculty, staff and students, the journalists also got a firsthand lesson in municipal government from former Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, now a Visiting Fellow at UIndy’s Institute for Civic Leadership & Mayoral Archives.

Foreign press tour - BallardUIndy Visiting Fellow Greg Ballard shares some stories with foreign journalists as well as faculty and students over lunch in the Esch Hall atrium.

UIndy undergrad lands Fulbright scholarship

Sociology/philosophy major will study pro-democracy movement in Morocco



UIndy senior Ahmed “Zak” Mitiche was getting a sandwich Wednesday in Schwitzer Student Center when he checked his email.

“I was ecstatic, I was shocked, all of those things,” says the Pike High School graduate, a double major in Sociology and Philosophy.

The long-awaited news was that Mitiche had been awarded a grant from the Fulbright U.S. Student Program and seems to be the first University of Indianapolis student to do so in the institution’s century-plus history.

Recipients of the prestigious State Department-funded honor, according to his award letter, have gone on to become heads of state, judges, ambassadors, cabinet ministers, CEOs and university presidents, as well as leading journalists, artists, scientists and teachers. They have included 54 Nobel Laureates, 82 Pulitzer Prize winners, 29 MacArthur Fellows and 16 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients.

“It’s exciting to think about myself among the ranks of these great people who have done something amazing in the world,” says Mitiche, who will turn 22 on Wednesday. “I try to be realistic. I know this will bring me opportunities when I apply to grad schools.”

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Speaker to discuss water crisis, youth activism

Raised in Indianapolis, Seth Maxwell now spreads message around the world




The leader of a nonprofit group that brings clean drinking water systems to Third World communities will discuss his work April 15 at the University of Indianapolis.

Seth Maxwell, a graduate of Franklin Central High School, is co-founder and CEO of the Thirst Project, a Los Angeles-based organization that has raised over $8 million and established more than 1,000 water projects in 13 nations. An actor by trade, he also keeps a busy schedule of public presentations to inspire and motivate young people to get involved in social justice issues.

Maxwell’s presentation, titled “Think Big, Do Big,” will begin at 3 p.m. Friday, April 15, at the Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center, 1400 E. Hanna Ave. Admission is free to the event, organized by UIndy’s Professional Edge Center.

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Prof: More to George Martin than Beatles work

C. Martin

C. Martin

When legendary British music producer Sir George Martin passed away earlier this week, Dr. Chad Martin was among the first to know.

“I follow Ringo on Twitter,” said the latter Martin, an assistant professor of History at UIndy who specializes in modern U.K. history and youth culture.

Although George Martin’s pioneering work with the Beatles established his reputation, his legacy as a producer, composer, arranger and recording engineer extends beyond the catalog of any single band, Dr. Martin said.

G. Martin

G. Martin

In the 1950s and early ’60s, George Martin worked for the BBC and later the EMI label and was known primarily for classical music and comedy recordings with the likes of Peter Sellers. His fateful meeting with the Fab Four led to unprecedented success, which allowed him to ditch his salaried staff job at EMI, go freelance and earn royalties from sales.

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