Exploring Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month with Leah Milne

The momentum generated by Commencement continues throughout the month of May with the University’s observance of Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. The observance pays tribute to the generations of Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans who have enriched our country’s history and who play a critical role in its future success. The University of Indianapolis Office of Inclusion & Equity is organizing the observance of AAPI Heritage Month at the University.

The observance was officially legislated first as Pacific/Asian American Heritage Week (taking place during the first ten days in May) in 1978 by President Jimmy Carter and extended to a month in the 1990s by President George H.W. Bush. The term “Asian American” itself came into use in the 1960’s, explains Leah Milne, assistant professor of English.

Leah Milne, associate professor of English

Leah Milne, assistant professor of English

“The term is meant to be a pan-ethnic term that encompasses many nationalities. At that time in the 1960’s, this was very strategic,” she said, pointing out the civil rights movements that were happening around that time. “It began with the impulse to drive attention to Americans who have been previously marginalized or historically underrepresented.”

The Asian American & Pacific Islander term encompasses Americans who hail from vast geographical areas, along with their diverse peoples, languages and cultures, including dozens of countries in Eastern Asia, South Central Asia, Southeastern Asia, Western Asia, and some 30,000 islands in the Pacific Ocean. Milne notes that the Pacific Islander aspect of AAPI, which includes native Hawaiians, “often gets marginalized within that group, and that some Asian groups also get marginalized among Asian Americans, so it’s important to recognize every part of that designation.” 

The contributions of immigrants from these diverse backgrounds have historically been overlooked or unacknowledged in the United States. Milne observed the example of Chinese immigrants, who were largely responsible for the construction of the first Transcontinental Railroad, nearly being written out of that history. The movement around the heritage month sought to rectify these intentional omissions, and also focused on the need to secure their rights as American citizens.

“They recognized that this was a way they would gain rights and recognition,” Milne said. “There’s this narrative of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders as being invisible and part of the goal of the month is to highlight their contributions and achievements.”

Milne is a first-generation American and first-generation college student whose parents immigrated from the Philippines to the U.S. in the early 1970s. Filipino-Americans are the third-largest subgroup in the U.S. AAPI population, according to the U.S. Census.

“I’m very proud of what my mom and dad did to be successful here. My father served in the Coast Guard for decades. He served his country and he’s very proud of that,” Milne said, noting that Filipino-Americans have been an influence in North America since the late 1500s.

She also pointed out the long and complex relationship between the United States and the Philippines.

“The United States colonized the Philippines. When we’re talking about the disparate stories of Asian Americans, one of the distinctions with Filipino-Americans is that they are living in the country that colonized their country of origin,” she said, adding that Filipinos were initially allowed to work in the United States – with many serving in the U.S. military in various capacities – without access to citizenship. That policy changed in the mid-1940s, and the legacy and culture of Filipino-Americans remain an influential force in the United States.

UIndy launches Race and Ethnic Studies Minor
AAPI Heritage Month and the University’s observance of Juneteenth the following month provide an opportune moment to explore the University of Indianapolis’s new Race and Ethnic Studies minor, which will be offered for the first time in Fall 2021. Organized by Leah Milne, the Race and Ethnic Studies minor equips students to address the impact of race and culture in shaping institutions, social relations, and identities. Students will examine the historical foundations of the social construction of race and how this construction continues to impact society today, and learn how to understand the implications of race and ethnicity in order to critique, better navigate, and help improve institutional and societal approaches to difference. 

“The pandemic has made it painfully clear how important it is to know the history of marginalized groups in this country,” Milne said. “It’s part of everything we do, whether we realize it or not. If we’re looking at any particular field, whether it’s nursing, law, sociology or history, there’s a way in which that story is different if we look at it through the lens of any one ethnic group. All students benefit from learning about this history, but especially students who have never seen themselves in a textbook before.”

About Leah Milne
Milne teaches courses on multiethnic literature in the Department of English. She recently received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for a summer institute entitled Hurston on the Horizon. In addition to the financial support, the grant gives Milne the opportunity to participate in a summer institute in July on author Zora Neale Hurston. Her new book, “Novel Subjects: Authorship as Radical Self-Care in Multiethnic American Narratives” will be published in July 2021. The book, based on Milne’s dissertation, offers a new way to look at multicultural literature by focusing on scenes of writing in contemporary works by authors with marginalized identities. 

Learn more:
Census.gov: AAPI population in the United States

PBS documentary series: Asian Americans

Recommended reading:
“The Making of Asian America: A History” by Erika Lee

“Unfamiliar Fishes” by Sarah Vowell

“We Hereby Refuse: Japanese American Resistance to Wartime Incarceration” by Frank Abe and Tamiko Nimura

“Echoes of History: Chinese Poetry at the Angel Island Immigration Station” by Ying Diao (Smithsonian article)

“Welcome To Chindianapolis: One of the largest populations of Burmese Chin refugees in the world lives on the south side of Indianapolis” by Susan Salaz and Steve Raymer (Indianapolis Monthly article)

 

Sabrina Camargo ’21 (psychology / criminal justice / sociology)

Congratulations to the University of Indianapolis Class of 2021! Meet Sabrina, one of our outstanding seniors:


 

Sabrina CamargoGraduation: May 2021

Major: Psychology and Criminal Justice with concentrations in clinical counseling studies (PSY) and law enforcement (CJ) 

Minor: Sociology 

Extracurriculars: During my second year at UIndy, a new instructor started the Sociology Club, where I became the co-social media coordinator, the secretary my 3rd year, and president during my senior year. I have been able to see the club grow from the beginning. 

Future plans: I am on a 4+1 track to graduate with a MA in Applied Sociology in May 2022. I am passionate about working with the Hispanic/Latinx community and hope to find a career helping that community after graduating with my MA. 

How you’ve grown at UIndy: Each program has taught me to never settle and to continue searching for answers for what may be unknown. I started out my freshman year with no interest in research, but slowly learned the power of research and its importance. It has taught me to always stay curious about the world around us. 

UIndy mentors: I have been fortunate enough to have several faculty members who have guided me and helped shape me into the student and person that I am. From the Psychology Dept. Dr. Loria always went above and beyond to help me apply my interests in my work. In the Criminal Justice Dept. Dr. Biggs was always a fantastic instructor who also helped me see how my degree in criminal justice could be applied in other areas the law enforcement. However, the Sociology Dept. is really where I felt at home. Dr. Wynn, Dr. Ziff, Professor Mouser, and Dr. Miller have all helped me truly grasp my passions and how I can apply them outside of the classroom. 

Favorite thing about UIndy: It has always felt like home. Carrying the Mexican Flag during the Celebration of the Flags my junior year will forever be my favorite memory of UIndy. UIndy appreciates diversity, which is why I felt at home. 

Advice to incoming freshmen: Never to be afraid to nerd out. College is the time and place where you are meant to learn and pursue your passions!

Get to know more Greyhounds from the Class of 2021

Announcing the Strain Honors College Faculty Fellows

UIndy Honors College crest 2019

Five University of Indianapolis faculty members have been named Ron & Laura Strain Honors College Faculty Fellows. The three-year terms begin during the 2021 academic year. 

The primary purpose of the fellowship is to support the students of the Strain Honors College through teaching and mentorship or service. Strain Honors Faculty Fellows are expected to teach at least three credit hours of Honors coursework per semester and produce additional contributions related to student scholarship, mentoring, advocacy, and more. 

“This new fellows program will create a stable cohort of faculty dedicated to teaching and thinking about Honors, as well as serving Honors students in other capacities. This helps to resolve a long-standing issue about how Honors functions on our campus,” said Jim Williams, executive director of the Ron and Laura Strain Honors College and associate professor of history. 

Get to know each Fellow and learn about their goals for the fellowship:

Miller,_Emily History PoliSci UIndyEmily G. Miller
Instructor of Practice
History and Political Science Department

  • Former UIndy Honors College student (‘Theory of multiple intelligences in relation to social studies’ was published in 2001)
  • Selected to write curriculum for the Fred T. Korematsu Institute in California to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Supreme Court case Korematsu v. U.S.
  • Will be teaching an Honors class to explore stories related to World War II on the US homefront, especially making connections between minority participation in the war and the power movements of the 1960s.
  • Passionate about acting as a diversity, equity, and inclusion advocate for Honors students and faculty

“I am encouraged by the call for diversity, and I appreciate the commitment to a theme on inequity because the experiences of World War II have played a significant role in racial progress that has impacted my life and that of many others.”

 

Milne,_Marc Biology UIndyMarc A. Milne
Associate Professor
Department of Biology

  • Directs part of the General Biology program, teaches upper- and lower level biology and honors biology courses, and supervises a productive undergraduate lab
  • Will be teaching an Honors Introduction to the Diversity of Life course that will explore the origination, evolution, and diversification of life on earth
  • Has mentored Honors and non-honors students on research related to the ecology of arthropods in nearby forests, the identification of spiders to species from various parts of North America, the illustration of specimens for new species descriptions, and the extraction, amplification, and sequencing of spider DNA for phylogenetic analyses

“Through promoting and advancing the diversity and inclusionary policies of the Honors College, supporting Honors research, and serving on the Honors committee, I hope to enhance my support of the Strain Honors College through this position.”

 

Nicholas Soltis, Physics and Earth Space Science UIndyNicholas Soltis
Assistant Professor
Physics & Earth Space Science

  • Interdisciplinary researcher whose work bridges the gap between geology, environmental science, and education
  • Works closely with the School of Education and contributes to the Elementary Education STEM program; has six years of experience as a middle school math and science teacher
  • Engages in research on how individuals conceptualize complex Earth systems as well as interdisciplinary biogeochemistry research working to understand the relationship between low-rank coal-hosting aquifers and kidney disease in the U.S. Gulf Coast Region
  • Partners with GeoFORCE to bring high school students from underrepresented and historically marginalized groups into summer field trips to broaden the participation of diverse groups in the geosciences

“One thing I love about my job at UIndy is that I get to teach a wide variety of students about how amazing our planet is through my introductory Earth Science classes that also fulfill the university’s natural science requirement.”

 

Jordan Sparks Waldron Psychology UIndyJordan Sparks Waldron
Assistant Professor
Department of Psychological Sciences

  • Facilitates internship and research opportunities as the practicum coordinator for the undergraduate and masters in psychology programs
  • Has mentored undergraduate and graduate students on research projects related to factors that impact mental health stigma
  • Received the Honors Mentor of the Year Award in 2019 for her work advising honors students on their projects
  • Excited to develop new honors offerings for students of psychology
  • Looks forward to intentionally supporting and mentoring students through connections made inside the classroom

“Being able to mentor students in research is a vital part of my scholarship and I loved the connection between my role as a teacher and my role as a research mentor that I experienced through teaching in honors.”

 

Ziff,_Elizabeth_(Liz) Sociology UIndyElizabeth Ziff
Assistant Professor
Department of Sociology

  • Teaches an Honors First-Year Seminar course on inequality and is mentoring two students on the development of their honors project proposals focused on medical malpractice and microaggressions against female athletes
  • Co-faculty advisor for UIndy Pride, faculty advisor for Sociology Club, and member of the Inclusive Excellence Strategic Leadership Coalition
  • Committed to interdisciplinary study and engagement; maintaining diversity in the curriculum and being a voice for underrepresented groups when crafting policies and initiatives at all levels
  • Excited for the opportunity to work closely with a community of young scholars who are eager to be challenged in their studies

“My approach to honors education is to emphasize the process of knowledge production and reproduction, generate intellectual curiosity, and craft ownership of one’s intellectual pursuits.”

Etchings Press announces 2020 Whirling Prize recipients

University of Indianapolis students enrolled in the ENGL 479 course explored the genre of horror for the 2020 Whirling Prize. The students reviewed submissions and selected winners in the categories of prose and poetry in the annual competition organized by Etchings Press, the University of Indianapolis student-run publisher. Liz Whiteacre, assistant professor of English, serves as the Whirling Prize faculty advisor.

Laurel Radzieski received an award for the 2020 Whirling Prize in Poetry for her collection “Red Mother” (NYQ Books).  Joseph P. Laycock received an award for the 2020 Whirling Prize in Prose for his book, “The Penguin Book of Exorcisms” (Penguin Classics).

"Red Mother" by Laurel Radzieski

“Red Mother” by Laurel Radzieski

In “Red Mother,” Laurel Radzieski weaves a love story told from the perspective of a parasite. This series of short poems explores the intimacy, desire and devotion we all experience by following the sometimes tender, often distressing relationship that emerges between a parasite and its host. Radzieski’s poetry is playful, though often with sinister undertones. Far from romanticizing either role, “Red Mother” takes readers on a tour of their own innards, exposing the hooks and claws of all involved.

“Red Mother had amazing elements beautifully incorporated into it, making it very engaging. I might go searching for more horror-themed poetry just because of Radzieski’s book.” said Cassandra Dillon ‘22 (Professional Writing)

"The Penguin Book of Exorcisms" by Joseph Laycock

“The Penguin Book of Exorcisms” by Joseph Laycock

“The Penguin Book of Exorcisms,” edited by religious studies scholar Joseph P. Laycock, showcases a range of stories, beliefs, and practices surrounding exorcism from across time, cultures, and religions. Laycock’s exhaustive research incorporates scientific papers, letters and diary entries by the clergy, treatises by physicians and theologians, reports from missionaries and colonial officers, legal proceedings, and poetry and popular legends. The result is informative and entertaining, and proves that truth can indeed be scarier than fiction.

“Not only do these stories entertain and educate, but they maintain a sense of horrific reality within themselves that rings eerily true even today,” said Hope Coleman ’21 (Creative Writing).

“The student judges explored and engaged with Horror this fall and ended the competition with a greater appreciation of the nuances of the genre, after having the opportunity to read the contest entries. It was an excellent learning experience,”  said Liz Whiteacre, advisor of the 2020 Whirling Prize.

Call for 2021 entries

Student judges welcome recently published books of prose and poetry in response to the theme of nature published since January 2019. Students are employing a broad interpretation of these criteria in their reading and judging. The deadline for submissions is September 3, 2021. Details may be found on the Etchings website

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.

 

Art & Design faculty adapt amidst COVID-19 challenges

Art and Design mini supply kit - COVID 19

You can do a lot with a little. That was the perspective Katherine Fries had as she migrated printmaking classes to an online format during the COVID-19 pandemic. The circumstances were less than ideal, but, she decided, it was a perfect opportunity to instill in her students adaptability, improvisation, problem-solving, and creativity – valuable skills that will translate beyond their education at the University of Indianapolis. Afterall, Fries pointed out, what student leaves their undergraduate career able to afford a fully stocked art studio? 

“Printmaking at its core is paper, pressure, and some kind of ink. We can create stencils and stamps from pretty much anything,” said Fries. 

Fries collaborated with colleagues from around the country to identify ways students could continue engaging the creative process using affordable supplies they’d likely have at home. The content of each class remains the same, but the projects were adapted for functionality. Plans for a complicated carving now involve scissors and foam material, for example. And instead of touring the National Library Bindery Company of Indiana, she’s created online tutorials for a bookbinding project using a needle and thread. 

Because many students left their personal supplies on campus during spring break, she also shipped about 25 miniature art kits to students for projects during the last four weeks of the semester. 

“This is not the ideal situation, but we’re doing our best to make these classes meaningful for students even though we can’t be together,” Fries said.

Related: School of Occupational Therapy employs creativity in time of pandemic

Greyhounds giving back: Tiffany Hanson ’06 selected as judge for ELEVATE Awards

Tiffany Hanson ’06 (communications, emphasis in public relations) was recently selected to be a judge for United Way of Central Indiana’s 2020 ELEVATE Awards. Hanson was selected to identify finalists for this year’s awards from nearly 100 applicants. Hanson currently serves as Outreach and Engagement Manager for LUNA Language Services and as the Director of Marketing and Communications for Indy Pride, Inc..

Hanson has become an excellent ambassador for UIndy and leads by example when it comes to serving others. “I am driven every day to help people in the work that I do and to make my community a better place. I would encourage all students (and alumni!) to consider taking time to reach out to your friends, neighbors, and strangers to understand how your time and talents can make the world a better place for those around you and allow that to drive your passion,” she said.. 

Below is a conversation with Hanson about her experience with service learning, judging for the ELEVATE Awards, and a career full of philanthropy and a passion for helping others.

 

How did you become involved with the ELEVATE Awards?

A couple of years ago I served on a planning committee for IndyVolved (a large annual nonprofit expo produced by IndyHub) with Ashleigh Wahl, who is in charge of planning for UWCI’s ELEVATE Awards. She and I have stayed connected since then and she was familiar with all of my community engagement work, so she reached out to me to be a judge. I was delighted to accept the honor of serving on the judges panel.

 

You’ve served in a lot of community-related roles. Why do you think that type of work is important for organizations to focus on here in central Indiana?

I think community-related work is important for people and organizations to focus on no matter the region. In every area of our country we can find neighbors and friends that need support. As someone who has a lot to be grateful for in my life, I feel it is important to share my time, talents, and resources with my community. 

I engage in a pretty robust amount of community work because my career allows it, but I believe that we all can make some time and space to donate resources to local community organizations to help everyone in our community to truly thrive. When our neighbors and friends thrive, then we thrive, and our businesses thrive too!

 

In your role as a judge, was there anything that struck you about the kind of philanthropy/volunteer/activist work that people are doing in the community?

One finalist that really stuck out to me was a local chef who had utilized their time and connections to support other nonprofit organizations. As someone who worked in restaurants for many years, I have really enjoyed seeing our local culinary scene explode over the past 10 years and it’s amazing to see what chefs can to do give back to the community.

When you think about it, bringing people together over a meal is one of the most common ways to gather and connect people from all backgrounds. Breaking bread together gives us a shared experience and opportunity to connect. For nonprofit organizations, this also gives them an excellent way to connect with their constituents to spread awareness of their services as well as with their donors to raise funds! I loved the fact that this local chef had used their unique talents to support the community in such an engaging way.

 

What advice do you have for current students who want to get involved in community activism/philanthropy?

I would suggest finding a nonprofit that aligns with something that you are truly passionate about and finding out how you can develop your own talents through donated work. For instance, my role with Indy Pride began as a volunteer position mostly managing their social media platforms, and it later turned into a paid position. 

As the Director of Marketing and Communications, I have been a part of a complete rebranding of the organization, launching a new website, managing four social media platforms, learning basic graphic design and assisting in promoting one of the largest parades in Indianapolis and the largest LGBTQ+ festival in the state! Many of those skillsets were very new to me before I had interacted with the organization and I was able to dive into those through my volunteer position and really create a reputation and niche career for myself.  

I would also suggest utilizing volunteer opportunities to build your network. Connect with leaders and members of the Board of Directors for the organization that you volunteer your time with that are doing work in the career fields you may be interested in. Ask them about their career pathways and for advice. Learn from the work that they have done to guide your own career decisions. They may even be able to assist you in finding a job opportunity down the road!

About United Way of Central Indiana

United Way addresses generational poverty in Central Indiana and to be selected as a judge for this honorary role requires a strong understanding of the Central Indiana landscape, demonstrated working knowledge and accomplishments in areas of community impact, and a passion for service in various areas ranging from volunteerism to board membership.

UIndy students faculty and alumni aid in relocation of Bethel Cemetery

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A University of Indianapolis faculty-alumni collaboration played a major role in the relocation of a 19th-century cemetery near the Indianapolis International Airport. When land was acquired by the airport for a stormwater project in 2018, it necessitated the relocation of Bethel Cemetery, which dated back to 1838. This project entailed the exhumation and relocation of the remains of approximately 500 people to Concordia Cemetery in Indianapolis.

The project was a joint effort led by UIndy alumnus Ryan Peterson ‘96 (anthropology, biology), Christopher Schmidt, University of Indianapolis professor of anthropology, and faculty from IUPUI. Schmidt was contacted by the Indianapolis Airport Authority after they learned of his work on the “Grave in the Road” project in 2016. The community outreach component of that project was a factor in the Airport Authority’s decision to bring the University of Indianapolis on board for the cemetery relocation.

At the beginning of the project in May 2018, UIndy students participated in an archaeology field school that Schmidt directed. “The field school students, as well as some of the current and former graduate students, made up a significant number of field and lab crew for this project,” Schmidt said.

MacKenzie Vermillion ‘20 (anthropology and molecular biology major, archaeology minor) was one of the students who participated in Schmidt’s field school. “It played a huge role in the success of the project because it taught us the necessary skills when dealing with the exhumation of bones,” Vermillion said. “The course included learning how to identify burial features, identify human bones, and how to properly uncover the remains without causing damage. Overall the field school was extremely helpful and equipped me with the necessary tools I will use throughout my career.”

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The process of exhumation and relocation was a complicated one that involved coordination from all parties. First, the surface of the cemetery was stripped using heavy equipment while trained spotters were on the lookout for grave shafts. Once a shaft was exposed, archaeologists removed the sediment from the shafts and exposed the remains. The remains were 3D-imaged on-site, then moved to a lab on the airport grounds for cleaning. It was then that the remains were taken to the universities for osteological study.

The team completed skeletal analysis in spring 2019 and all remains were returned to the airport laboratory by June 2019, with the reburial taking place in September. Each set of individual remains was put in a new concrete vault and placed in the same relative position it had in the original cemetery. In addition, those individuals whose headstones had been lost over time had a new headstone made acknowledging their presence, although unfortunately most of those people’s identities remain unknown.

The process was not without some surprises for the archaeologists and researchers along the way. Schmidt noted how the suit one individual was buried in was still discernible even many decades after death. “I was also surprised at how decorated many of the caskets were,” Schmidt said. “We picture historic cemeteries as being very humble, but many of the people at Bethel had large headstones and/or elaborate and beautifully decorated caskets. These people were likely from a farming community, but several families spent generously on the graves of their deceased loved ones.”

There was a rededication ceremony at Concordia Cemetery for the graves that had been moved. “It was a lovely service that celebrated the many lives represented by the cemetery,” Schmidt said. “For the veterans, ‘Taps’ was played and salutes were fired by military, law enforcement and re-enactment color guards.” In addition to affording those veterans this honor, the archaeological team took great care to show them respect while they were in the field. All of those individuals had their remains covered with an American flag in the field, and they were given a police escort whenever they were transported.

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“The size of the project was amazing; it is by far the largest excavation effort I have ever been a part of,” Schmidt said. “Moreover, doing all this in one year was a challenge, but everyone did their jobs and it worked perfectly.”

For the students involved, it was challenging but also a fulfilling and rewarding experience. “Each person, when excavating, is responsible for the burial they are working on. There were, of course, professors and other more experienced archaeologists if we ever needed help, but the students still played a major role in the excavations,” Vermillion said. “It was a learning experience, and anytime we experienced challenges we came together as a team and handled it. Everyone present was always willing to help one another out!”

According to Schmidt, this was a completely unique experience for the UIndy students who were involved because there had never been such a large cemetery moved archaeologically in the State of Indiana. 

“The students involved in this project truly did something special. We don’t have experiences like this available every year.” Schmidt said. “But when we do, they not only give us an opportunity to learn or study, but also to help students develop a sense of reverence for the deceased. We treat all remains we excavate and/or study with the utmost respect, and it is important that the students improve their professional skills, but also develop proper ethics as well.”

Vermillion and other students, throughout the collaborative process, were appreciative of the opportunity to be trained in a bio-archaeological context as well as learning from other professionals. Moreover, the project allowed the students to experience practical application of what they have learned in the classroom, as well as how the work that they do can provide meaning in a real-world context.

“Handling human remains was a humbling experience,” Vermillion said. “One of our biggest rules is to treat these individuals with the utmost care and to help preserve them. Working in this context continues to remind me and my peers of our humanity and how we should be treated: with respect.”

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International student spotlight: Ghaida Abdelrahman ’21

The campus community celebrates International Education Month in October with a variety of performing arts, film, lectures and interactive events designed to showcase the rich benefits of intercultural exchange.

The University of Indianapolis is a ‘home away from home’ for international students from more than 55 countries, including Ghaida Abdelrahman ’21 (MA, Applied Sociology), who is a Fulbright Scholar from Palestine. 

Ghaida AbdelrahmanLearn about her path to the United States and what she found upon her arrival:

Q: How did you become a Fulbright Scholar?

A: As long as I can remember I wanted to be a Fulbrighter. In 9th grade, I applied for the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program and was the only student from my school who passed all the stages and exams to be selected. I was unable to send my official paper to finalize the procedure and since then my main goal was to be a Fulbrighter and study in the United States. I applied last year (in 2018) and the selection procedure took a whole year. It was full of stress, waiting, fear, and concern, but when I got their acceptance email on the 29th of May 2019 all those feelings turned into joy and happiness.

Q: Why did you decide to study at UIndy?

A: UIndy was one of my top choices since the very beginning. It has one of the best Applied Sociology graduate programs and staff in the United States, so it was an opportunity to learn from the best. What else would I ask for? 

Q: What’s your experience in the Applied Sociology program been like so far? 

A: I could describe my experience so far as new, great, joyful and interesting in a good way. Every day I learn new things that are expected and unexpected. Being a graduate student will open a lot of opportunities for me to be able to make a difference in my society back home as a Palestinian and as a female.

Q: What’s something you miss from home and something from the U.S. that you enjoy?

A: This may sound weird for some, but from home (besides missing my family and friends), I miss the food. My mother is the best cook ever, while I am not! I enjoy quite a lot of things in the U.S., but the most I enjoy here is freedom. I have never been that much free in moving from one place to another without being scared or jeopardized. I enjoy the feeling of doing whatever I wish, whenever I wish. It is priceless.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: I would like to continue living the dream by obtaining a Ph.D. then get back home to apply what I have learned to make my country and society better by founding a research group that cares about what social problems we are facing and focused on how we can work to solve them and enhance the lives of our communities.  

Q: What advice would you have for other people considering an international education?

A: My advice would be, try to enjoy the experience as much as you can because the amount of knowledge and experience a person could get from being an international student is limitless. Be open to what you hear and see. It will be a lot different from what you learned or are used to, but take my word, it is your chance, maybe your only chance, to grow up in mind and soul. 

Are you an international student who is interested in studying at UIndy? Click to get started.

MacArthur Fellow and critically acclaimed artist Titus Kaphar to speak at University of Indianapolis Sutphin lecture Nov. 7 

The University of Indianapolis announces visual artist and social critic Titus Kaphar, who will present a lecture on campus Nov. 7, 2019, as part of the Sutphin Lecture Series.

The lecture, “Making Space for Black History: Amending the Landscape of American Art,” is scheduled from 7:30 to 9:00 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019, at the Ruth Lilly Performance Hall in the Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center. Admission is free and open to the public. Registration is encouraged.

Titus Kaphar will discuss how his paintings, sculptures and installations seek to dislodge history from its status as the “past” in order to unearth its contemporary relevance. Kaphar is a 2018 MacArthur Fellow and a distinguished recipient of numerous prizes and awards including a 2014 Gwendolyn Knight and Jacob Lawrence Fellowship, a 2015 Creative Capital grant, a 2016 Robert R. Rauschenberg Artist as Activist grant and a 2018 Art for Justice Fund grantee.

Titus Kaphar, "Behind the Myth of Benevolence," 2014

Titus Kaphar, “Behind the Myth of Benevolence,” 2014

Kaphar’s paintings are held in the collections of Museum of Modern Art, Brooklyn Museum, Yale University Art Gallery, New Britain Museum of American Art, Seattle Art Museum and Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

Titus Kaphar on his work: “I’ve always been fascinated by history: art history, American history, world history, individual history – how history is written, recorded, distorted, exploited, reimagined, and understood. In my work I explore the materiality of reconstructive history. I paint and I sculpt, often borrowing from the historical canon, and then alter the work in some way. I cut, crumple, shroud, shred, stitch, tar, twist, bind, erase, break, tear, and turn the paintings and sculptures I create, reconfiguring them into works that nod to hidden narratives and begin to reveal unspoken truths about the nature of history. Open areas become active absences, walls enter into the portraits, stretcher bars are exposed, and structures that are typically invisible underneath, behind, or inside the canvas are laid bare, revealing the interiors of the work. In so doing, my aim is to perform what I critique, to reveal something of what has been lost, and to investigate the power of a rewritten history.”

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