Senior spotlight: Madison Hershberger, Applied Psychology

DSC_0789 (3)Leading up to December commencement, we’ll be featuring stories & reflections from the University of Indianapolis senior class. 

Madison Hershberger ’18 is an applied psychology major with a minor in ceramics. During her time at UIndy, she has been a member of the Honors Student Association (vice president), CRU, UIndy Dance Marathon (fundraising executive) and UIndy Water Polo (treasurer and vice president). She also traveled to Costa Rica for spring term trips in 2017 and 2018.

My plans after graduation: Next semester I am moving to Disney World to participate in the Disney College Program! I will be working as a cast member in Merchandise from February until May. Afterwards, I will obtain a Child Life Internship and pursue certification to become a Certified Child Life Specialist at a pediatric hospital.

My advice to incoming freshmen: Take advantage of all the amazing opportunities UIndy provides. Travel abroad for spring term to experience another culture.  Attend the various department and campus trips available  and make memories. Try something new and join an RSO. Make your college experience memorable- I promise you can keep up with your academics and go on an adventure at the same time!

Doctorate student Rebecca McCormic publishes in peer-reviewed journal

Rebecca McCormicSecond-year doctorate student Rebecca McCormic ‘22 recently published an article as first author in the Journal of Clinical Psychology. The article, “‘Me too’ decision: An analog study of therapist self-disclosure of psychological problems,” is based on her thesis.

McCormic’s research topic is self-disclosure, meaning how much a therapist should share about their personal experience with a problem. According to McCormic, the results of her study indicated that participants thought better of therapists when that therapist shared that they had a similar experience. Specifically, the level of disclosure most favored included the fact that the therapist had struggled with a similar issue and shared symptoms they had experienced.

McCormic is now working on a dissertation that focuses on improving the relationship between clients from multicultural backgrounds and therapists who are white. This is being done with the help of Dr. Michael Poulakis, assistant professor in the School of Psychological Sciences at the University of Indianapolis, who said McCormic is “really one of our best PsyD students.”

McCormic is also completing the first year of a practicum at the Department of Veterans Affairs in Marion, Indiana.

“I have done therapeutic work with veterans in the acute psych department, the residential substance abuse department, and the outpatient clinic for those struggling with severe mental illness. This typically involves one on one sessions, group therapy, or treatment planning meetings. Serving those that have served our country has been personally rewarding, since I have many family members who are veterans,” she explained.

McCormic says she is excited to continue her growth and development as a clinician and researcher at UIndy.

“I have many areas of interest, but right now I’m interested in ethical gray areas, multicultural support, improving patient/client care, and education,” she said.

 

Senior spotlight: Abbey Skrzypczak, social work

Leading up to December commencement, we’ll be featuring stories & reflections from the senior class

Abby SkrzypczakAbbey Skrzypczak, December 2018 graduate, social work

As a member of the social work program, I completed two internships with Progress House, which is a residential rehab facility for men. This opportunity knocked down all the bias that I had toward addictions and opened my eyes to such a heartbreaking and ever-growing epidemic.

I also held the Morale Executive position for UIndy Dance Marathon throughout my time here. I grew up in high school participating and assisting in our dance marathon so it only felt right to continue with it in college! UIndyDM gave me a huge sense of purpose and pride. It was a true honor to be able to represent the university in such a positive, unique light. #FTK

So many of the friends that I have made throughout my time at UIndy quickly became lifelong. From freshman to senior year, UIndy has continued to surround me with some of the best people I’ve ever known. The staff in the social work program are such a tight-knit group of people that you can honestly approach any of them with any questions or concerns and they will do what they can to help. In particular, shout out to Jeff Bryant for dealing with my multiple emails a day and for never giving up on me when I wanted to give up on myself. I wouldn’t be graduating without him.

The social work program is full of incredible young men and women who would do anything to see you succeed. They have stood by me through my best and worst times and always will. The program provides more than just a good education, it truly supports everyone to be the individual they are called to be, whatever that may look like. The support I am leaving with is unreal and something I honestly don’t believe I would have felt at any other university.

In my time at UIndy, I have learned to not settle for anything. To do what makes me happy and leave behind what doesn’t. I know that a master’s degree is in my future, but I don’t want to limit myself to other journeys, however different they may be.

My advice to incoming freshmen, as cliche as it is: the world is literally at your fingertips. You can achieve anything and everything you want to. Don’t stop pushing yourself until you get what you want out of life. Say yes to clubs, friendships, and experiences. That’s what college is for. You get out of college what you put into it. You’re in it for four years so you might as well walk away with unforgettable memories, but don’t forget the degree!

Public health students present at national conference

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Public health students and faculty from the University of Indianapolis presented advocacy strategies to reduce gun violence at the Society for Public Health Advocacy (SOPHE) Advocacy Summit in October. The national event, hosted in Washington, D.C., brought students and professionals together to advance the discussion of firearm-related violence as it relates to public health.

The UIndy delegation included Master of Public Health (MPH) students Yordanos Gebru and Shawn Schweitzer, undergraduate Megan Davish, and MPH Program Director Dr. Heidi Hancher-Rauch. Their presentation, “Strategies for the Novice Advocate: Creating Advocacy Plans to Fight Gun Violence,” provided a toolkit for professionals to make a difference in their community.

Dr. Hancher-Rauch, who serves as co-chair for SOPHE’s Advocacy Committee, says the access to professional opportunities that the public health program offers is central to her students’ success.

“We worked together on the whole process, from start to finish,” she said. “Attending the conference is important, but often students don’t have the opportunity to see behind-the-scenes of a professional experience. This takes their learning to the next level … These are the opportunities I would have liked to have as a graduate student.”

Learn more about the Master of Public Health program and the undergraduate Public Health Education & Promotion program

Presenting on such a hot-button issue at the national level was at first an intimidating prospect for Schweitzer. But he knew there was no turning back once their abstract was accepted.

“Not a lot of people want to talk about things like this, but it needs to be discussed,” he said. “This was a perfect opportunity to get out of my comfort zone.”

This conference was one opportunity among many for Schweitzer to engage with his field outside of the classroom.  For example, he is developing an after-school program to help area high-school students utilize coping skills in the face of stress.

“It’s amazing how much hands-on work we get to do. It has given me a lot to think about—what kinds of projects do I want to continue working on after I graduate?”

Hailing from Ethiopia, Gebru plans to attend medical school after earning her graduate degree.

“The MPH program has shown me the different factors that affect the overall health of a population—policies, programs, health education,” Gebru said. “Problems are more expansive than simple explanations like a lack of doctors or health facilities.”

Dr. Heidi Hancher-Rauch can be contacted at rauchh@uindy.edu.

Written by Logan McGrady, Communications Specialist for Graduate & Adult Learning Enrollment.

Largest student body ushers in new academic year

About 1,200 freshmen moved into residence halls (Warrens, Craven and Cory Bretz) Wednesday, Aug. 22 with help from volunteers including faculty, staff and upperclassmen.

Hundreds of volunteers helped more than a THOUSAND New Hounds during their first official day on campus.

Posted by University of Indianapolis on Wednesday, August 22, 2018

The Class of 2022 represents 24 states and nearly two-dozen countries and boasts an average freshman GPA of 3.5 with a record number of students admitted with distinction.

Nearly 6,000 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students are enrolled at UIndy for the fall semester, including more than 200 international students from 30 countries.

As enrollment grows, so has the need for faculty who are dedicated to creating experiential learning opportunities for students both inside and outside the classroom. This fall, the University welcomes 44 new faculty members.

Watch a recap video from move-in day and browse a photo album

Oh, the places they went!

Greyhound students, faculty and staff went on a variety of service learning trips in May to destinations including Brazil, Haiti, Guatemala, Austria, Barcelona, Rome, Costa Rica, Scotland and more.

Here are some highlights from their adventures abroad:

Ghana

Led by University of Indianapolis Associate Provost Jodie Ferise and Assistant Director of Student Activities Steven Freck, the Precious Words Africa project made its seventh trip to Ghana in May 2018. A group of 15 students and alumni spent 12 days in Ghana distributing materials and educating children eager to learn.

 

Belize

Thirteen students from the public health program traveled to Belize for some hands-on learning. The group covered topics related to nutrition, hygiene and much more – plus they found time for a little sightseeing along the way.

 

Ecuador

A team of eight students & two trip leaders flew to Ecuador for a healthcare service-learning experience. The group participated in two healthcare clinics, health education, and a community service project in the town of Yantzaza.

Switzerland+

More than 30 Greyhounds trekked through Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, and Germany for a 10-day study abroad adventure.

Students recruiting students

School of Business gets creative to affect positive change on enrollment numbers

NLC 2018A small group of student workers, known as the BizHounds Team, has helped the University of Indianapolis School of Business increase deposits by 20 percent in the last year, while the national enrollment average is decreasing.

Associate finance professor Matt Will, who founded and leads the BizHounds Team, credits creative, peer-to-peer recruitment strategies for the program’s success.

IMG_4261“After five years of declining enrollment, I developed the idea of having students help recruit new students,” he said. “My thought was that students are more in touch with high school prospects than the rest of us, and they would trust and relate better to someone their own age.”

BizHounds officially launched in the winter of 2013 with two student workers. Within the first year, Will says, enrollment trends reversed and the School of Business saw a 10 percent increase, a pattern that has continued since.

Four students – Emily Sands ‘18 (finance), Claire Gilbert ‘18 (marketing), Olivia Vormohr ‘20 (finance) and Jenna Whitmore ‘21 (business administration) – are staffed on the BizHounds team, where they focus on recruitment and engagement activities. Goals center around getting students to apply, convincing them to make deposits, converting deposits to on-campus attendance and engaging new freshman in activities to get involved.

“Looking for the right college is a scary time in life,” Gilbert said. “There are a lot of things you don’t know and high schoolers are looking for help. We make a real effort to relate to them and to make personal connections.”

The group meets weekly with faculty advisors (Will and Andre Givens, Director of Undergraduate Enterprise and Engagement for the School of Business) to brainstorm new ideas and collaborate on existing projects.

IMG_7061“This wouldn’t work if we weren’t a team,” Gilbert said. “I’m lucky to be part of this program. A lot of people don’t realize we have the perks of a large school, but also the opportunities and personal relationships of a small school. It’s a perfect combination.”

The BizHounds Team travels to events in the region and across the country to promote the University. In 2017, the group visited Orlando for their first national conference. In March 2018, they spoke locally at a Business Professionals of America (BPA) conference to an audience of about 300 and in May 2018, they traveled to Dallas for the 52nd Annual BPA National Leadership Conference to continue expanding recruitment efforts beyond the Midwest.

“We’ve learned that high schoolers respond best to stories, so we used our own experiences to cater to the needs of potential future UIndy students and to better connect with them,” Gilbert explained.

As Will points out, these experiences have benefits beyond recruitment.

“If we’ve taught them well in how to be business professionals, these opportunities are an avenue for them to practice what they have learned.”

Learn more about UIndy’s School of Business

Volunteerism lays groundwork for teaching career

Erika Hoffman leads tripYou never know when saying ‘yes’ to a volunteer opportunity on a whim can help determine what you’ll do with the rest of your life.

Erika Hoffmann ‘21 (elementary education, with concentrations in mild intervention and reading) started volunteering at Creekside Elementary School in 2016, when she was a senior at Franklin Community High School.

At the time, she had no intention of becoming a teacher, but after a few months working with the kids, she discovered how much she enjoyed helping them learn and grow.

I was at Creekside every single day for a few hours,” she said. “One of my main goals in life is to help others, and I realized that the classroom is where I am most comfortable and where I feel like I am changing lives.”

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“It’s those little moments when a kid has been struggling with something and then you explain it in a different way and their face just lights up because they finally understand it – that’s when I know I’m doing something right.”

When Hoffman transitioned to the University of Indianapolis, her previous volunteer experience and strong relationships at Creekside continued to pay off: she was invited by Sarah Records, a first grade teacher at Creekside, to come back and see how the beginning of the year works from a teacher’s standpoint.

“Student teachers usually come into a classroom that is already running, rules are in place, and expectations are set,” Records said. “You don’t get to see how all of that is created or built, so for her to be with me on day one and see how those routines are established was really good for her.”

Hoffman is in the classroom with Records about three days each week, leading small group instructions, pulling kids for remedial help, aiding in testing sessions, and building relationships with the kids.

“I’m only a freshman and have taken just a few elementary education classes,” she said. “I truly feel that I have gained most of my knowledge and experience from being in Creekside on a regular basis. The hands-on experience is giving me the best opportunity to learn.”

Hoffman’s networking skills are also creating new opportunities for partnerships between the University’s School of Education and local schools. At Hoffman’s suggestion, Records brought a group of 105 first-graders to campus for a tour in April 2018.

Hoffman tripKids from Records’ class leapt off the school bus and threw themselves into Hoffman’s arms, vying for her attention and shouting excitedly while she tried to instill order on the squirming mass of students.

The kids were divided into three groups, each led by education students, including Hoffman. They visited the Krannert Memorial Library, the Schwitzer Student Center, and an elementary education class, where they participated in an activity with future educators and gave their opinions of what makes a good teacher.

“Getting children acquainted with the idea of attending college gives them a goal and something to look forward to after high school. It gives them a ‘when I go to college’ not ‘if I go to college’ mentality,” Hoffman said.

IMG_1681 (1)Records says she’s already started thinking about how to make the trip even better next year.

“Given what I saw from the students selected to lead us, and with the interaction and communication I have had with [UIndy faculty], I would love to continue working with UIndy and its education department.”

She’s also excited to continue mentoring Hoffman toward a career as a teacher.

“Erika has such a big heart and really cares about the kids both in and out of the classroom.  These skills are the basis of being a good teacher – investing in kids, building relationships, and nurturing them to be better versions of themselves.  I have no doubt that Erika will make a great teacher one day!”

Learn more about School of Education programs at the University of Indianapolis.

 

Campus collaborations: Power of Education conference

The University of Indianapolis Student Education Association will host the fourth annual Power of Education conference on campus Saturday, February 3.

The event is open to education students throughout the state. Topics of discussion are designed to motivate and inspire future K-12 teachers and provide professional development opportunities for attendees.

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Eslinger teaches second graders at Reagan Elementary.

Conner McNeeley, a Southport High School Spanish teacher and recipient of the 2017 Teach Like A Champion Award, will deliver the keynote speech. During three sets of breakout sessions, University faculty and industry experts will share strategies for increasing student engagement and producing positive results in the classroom.

“This conference was designed for students, by students,” said Lyndsy Eslinger ‘18 (elementary education), co-chair of the Power of Education planning committee. “As we were planning the event, we thought about what topics we enjoy hearing about.”

Sessions will include:

  • “Engagement through Coding” with John Somers, associate professor of teacher education
  • “Creating Your Own Success” with Brittany Dyer, career navigator at the Professional Edge Center
  • “Dreams and Dreamers” with Donna Stephenson, University instructor of teacher education
  • “Encouraging Student Thinking And Engagement through Effective Questioning” with Deb Sachs, director of the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship Program

The event is geared toward both elementary and secondary education majors.

“This conference is full of amazing professional development opportunities,” said Shelby Johnson, ‘18 (elementary education), Vice President of the University Student Education Association. “I feel confident that I will be ready for the real world after graduation because of the professional development, interview preparation, and networking that UIndy has given me.”

Power of Education
8:30 am – 12 pm
Saturday, February 3
Schwitzer Student Center

Registration is open until the day of the event, and cost ranges from $5 – $15. Learn more and register here.

Conference proceeds will be used to support the UIndy Student Education Association and Outreach to Teach. Outreach to Teach is an annual project that focuses on transforming a local K-12 school through painting, cleaning, landscaping, decorating, and light carpentry.

University students earn prestigious music education award

Hard work is paying off for two music education students from the University of Indianapolis.

Samantha Burkey, choral/general music education ‘18 and Maddie Kintner, instrumental/general music education ‘19, received the Outstanding Future Music Educator Award at the Indiana Music Education Association’s annual professional development conference in Ft. Wayne in January.

Burkey (left) and Kintner (right)

Burkey (left) and Kintner (right)

Burkey and Kintner are among an elite group of 18 University students to receive this award in the past 10 years. Burkey, who received news about the award a day into student-teaching, said the news was reassuring, because it let her know she’s doing something great in the world of music education.

Through her classes, Kintner has logged at least 95 hours in immersive learning opportunities at regional band camps, in private lessons and in local middle school classrooms. She credits these experiences for helping her grow personally and professionally.

“It’s one thing to learn from a book, but it’s completely different to use methods in real-life settings,” she said. “My professors constantly encourage us to be out in the field learning.”

Burkey, who has shadowed and student-taught at four local schools and volunteered with College Mentors for Kids, echoed that sentiment.

“Starting freshman year, we go out in the field and observe elementary, middle school and high school classrooms,” she said. “Those placements gave me a lot of confidence and comfort. I’m learned many different teaching methods that I’m holding onto in my bag of tricks.”

To qualify for the award, students needed to demonstrate participation in their local NAfME chapter, academic rigor, and significant contributions to music education.

University student-teachers impact up to 700 Indianapolis Public Schools students every year by assisting teachers in classrooms. In 2017, the University chapter of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) was recognized for its community outreach efforts to bring future music educators into classrooms.

Kinter said the University helped her discover one of her true passions: helping students who have disabilities. One of her favorite experiences has been giving private cello lessons to a seven-year-old boy who is deaf and blind. She’s spent about 20 hours with him so far, and will resume lessons this spring.

“He can’t hear music, but he can feel the vibrations,” she explained. “When I helped him start bowing on his own, everyone in the room started crying. I’ve changed his life quite a bit, but I think he’s changed my life even more.”

Learn more about UIndy’s music education program. 

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