December 2017 Graduation: Meet Annie Barton

anniebartonAnnie Barton ’17 (M.A., educational leadership) ’13 (elementary education) is a special education teacher at Christel House Academy South who is using her qualifications to advance her teaching career. With her master’s degree, she plans to work as an instructional coach, assistant principal and one day lead as principal of a school in the Indianapolis area.  

Q. What made you decide to enroll in the University of Indianapolis’ educational leadership program? 

A. I decided to enroll for the Education Leadership Program (iLEAD) because I knew that the level of preparation I would receive would be top-notch. The structured experiences have given me the opportunities to grow in my own school and visit other schools as well. The number of relationships built during this process have been outstanding and greatly increased the size of my professional network. Through the projects and assignments I have had a chance to shadow and perform leadership tasks in my own building. I can confidently take on a new role as a school leader.

Q. Describe your work experience since obtaining your bachelor’s degree in elementary education.

A. The opportunities I had as an undergraduate helped me to work a maternity leave in Warren Township immediately following graduation. I was hired on at Christel House Academy South to work their summer school program that following June. Near the end of summer school, I was offered a position as the K-3 special education teacher. Currently, I still work as the K-3 special education teacher in addition to serving as lead teacher for the kindergarten and first grade teachers. I was able to implement my coursework consistently at CHA, from analyzing data and creating a long-term plan to increase student achievement to providing professional development on special education.     

Q. What specific skills in this program will help you achieve your future career goals?

A. In this program, we gain experience with educational laws, working with school finance, using data to inform school goals, professional development and leadership – all the pieces we need to be a successful school leader are provided during the course of the five semesters.

Q. Were there any faculty, staff or students at the University who made a strong impression on you or helped you along the way?

A. This program has a great structure where we completed fieldwork activities for each semester coordinated by [iLEAD Field Coordinator] Lynn Wheeler (assistant professor of teacher education). We consistently had her support throughout the entire program and built extremely strong relationships. My fellow cohort members were talking just last night about how it was a bittersweet feeling to complete our final fieldwork conference calls this semester.

Q. Would you recommend this program to prospective students?

A. I would absolutely recommend this program. This program will push you to become a better version of yourself. You will leave accomplishing projects and work that you could not imagine doing on day one. The curriculum and teachers are consistently updated to ensure they are producing graduates prepared to what real life leading expects. I am so thankful for my time at UIndy.

Q. Overall, would you recommend the University of Indianapolis?

A. UIndy is a fantastic place to be. It is a tight-knit community that is always working to be ahead of the game. The professors are supportive and the relationships you build are long-lasting. It seems I have focused on relationships a lot, but they are so powerful when looking forward in life and your career. To this day, I am welcomed back on campus with open arms. Forever a Greyhound!

 

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December 2017 Graduation: Meet Giauna Neville

img_5820Giauna Neville has loved music since the sixth grade when she started playing clarinet and saxophone. Since enrolling at the University of Indianapolis, she has found a way to expand her musical talents and chart a career path for herself.

This December, she will graduate from the University of Indianapolis with a bachelor’s degree in music education, with a primary focus on percussion and a secondary focus on piano. Neville  plans to attend graduate school next year for jazz studies, and credits the University for growing her diverse musical background into a budding career doing what she loves.

“UIndy prepared me well for this career path because I participated in jazz groups while I was on campus. I developed more of a passion for jazz and drumming, so I officially decided to take my studies even further.”

She credits specific faculty members with serving important roles in her growth as a musician and preparation for her career.

“My faculty advisor, Dr. Rebecca Sorley, and my private teacher, Paul Berns, changed my life and how I am as a musician,” she explained. “They pushed me at times when I wanted to give up and they are the reason I am where I am today! I thank them both from the bottom of my heart.”

More than 50 student organizations exist at the University. Giauna said the Black Student Association (BSA) and National Association for Music Education (NAfME) helped her become closer to her peers, teachers and other music educators in the state.

“BSA helped me keep up with current events and provided opportunities that were non-music related,” she said. “Being involved with NAfME was nice because I could talk to others who were going through the same process as me.”

She wants potential students to know that, regardless of your major, University faculty make you think outside the box.

“From the top-notch programs to the faculty in them, you will be challenged in all your classes,” she said.

“UIndy went above and beyond my expectations! I got to experience the full ‘college experience’ and so much more. It was a lot of hard work, but it was all worth it in the end!”

 

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December 2017 Graduation: Meet Kyleigh Randolph-Hernandez

Kyleigh Randolph HernandezKyleigh Randolph-Hernandez is a music education student at the University of Indianapolis who will graduate December 2017. Kyleigh has a choral focus and voice is her primary instrument, although she’s also taken piano lessons. We sat down with Kyleigh to learn about her experience on campus and how the University helped her prepare for the next steps in her career.

Q. What are your plans after graduation?

A. I’m currently searching for a job teaching music at local schools. I feel very prepared for whatever teaching job I am ultimately offered thanks to my preparation at UIndy. I was constantly in the public school classroom throughout my college years and because of that I feel confident in my teaching skills. I greatly appreciate my time at UIndy and everything my professors did to ensure I was prepared for the job field.

Q. What made you choose the University’s music program?

A. I chose UIndy’s music program because it was close to home, because it has some great professors and it is accredited while some other local universities are not.

Q. What would you want a potential student to know about the Department of Music?

A. I would like prospective students to know UIndy is a very welcoming environment. There are people from all over the world and who practice all kinds of religions. That’s one of the things I love most about UIndy! For potential music students, I would like them to know that a music degree, especially music education, is a lot of work because the professors really push you to be your absolute best. However, it is 100 percent worth it. I learned so much in my four years of classes and gained some very valuable experience in my field that I would not have gotten from other universities.

Q. What is a favorite memory from your time on campus?

A. My favorite memory was my senior recital. It felt great to be up on stage doing what I love.

Q. Has your college experience lived up to your expectations?

A. UIndy has far exceeded my expectations. The professors are so kind and they genuinely want you to succeed. They don’t mind getting you into gear or lending a listening ear if that’s what you need. After graduation, I plan on still being in contact with my professors and getting together for coffee.

Q. Who at UIndy – faculty, staff, students – have influenced or helped you along the way?

A. Dr. Mitzi Westra was my private voice professor. She became a great mentor for me and frequently opened her office to me when I was feeling stressed and just needed to talk. I learned a lot from her, including techniques I will be using with my future students. Dr. Brenda Clark is the chair of the music department and has a focus on music education. She kept me on track throughout my college years and encouraged me to not settle for “good enough.”

Q. Were you involved in any extracurricular activities ? If so, what were they and how did they enhance your experience?

A. I was involved in NAfME, (National Association for Music Education), the UIndy choirs, and the opera at UIndy. These groups allowed me to take on leadership roles as I was president and section leader in the choirs and I received many professional development opportunities from my involvement in NAfME.

 

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December 2017 Graduation: Meet Delmar Oropeza

delmaroropezaDelmar Oropeza ’17 (biology, chemistry minor, pre-pharmacy concentration), was one of two Ron & Laura Strain Honors College students who received a research grant along with her co-researcher Sierra Corbin from the Sigma Zeta National Honor Society to conduct and present research at the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) Conference in Atlanta. She is graduating in December.

Q. Congrats on your research grant from Sigma Zeta National Honor Society! What are your thoughts about receiving the grant?

A. I was pleased and thankful that Sigma Zeta was willing to fund our research. This grant meant that [co-researcher] Sierra [Corbin] and I would not have to fund our project. It was interesting to hear what professors and other students thought about our research. Most of them seemed really interested, especially because of the involvement of food.

Q. Could you briefly describe your research? What inspired you to pursue this topic?

A. We wanted to determine a procedure that could test the genotype of individuals for a portion of the gene that contains a marker for the taste preference of cilantro. We wanted to test if the way individuals perceive the taste of cilantro is genetic or not. Sierra and I enjoyed taking genetics with Dr. [Sandy] Davis (associate professor of biology), so we worked with her on our capstone/honors project. She gave us the idea, which caught our attention.

Q. How did your research experience – and Honors College in general – prepare you for the next steps in your career?

A. The research experience allowed me to expand my learning and communicative capabilities. There was a lot of reading and interpretation of papers that took place, which allowed me to expand my analytical intakes. We presented our research several times during the course of the project, and this helped me develop my public speaking skills. 

Q. What are your plans after graduation?

A. I plan to go to pharmacy school. I just submitted my pharmacy school applications to Purdue and Ferris State University. 

Q. Were you involved in any extracurricular activities as a student? If so, what were they and how did they enhance your experience?

A. I was involved with Chemistry Club, Sigma Zeta, Biology Club, Pre-Professional Club, College Mentors and I currently have a part-time job as a pharmacy technician at Wal-Mart Pharmacy. These activities enhanced my abilities to balance school, clubs and work. I think being in multiple associations and organizations has made me into a better student as well as a better organizer and manager of time in my daily life.  

Q. Were there any faculty, staff or fellow students who helped you during your time as a student?

A. There have been numerous professors and students who have helped guide my education. I would like to thank Dr. [Sandy] Davis, Dr. [Jim] Williams, Dr. [Kevin] Gribbins, Dr. [Doug] Stemke, Dr. [Marc] Milne, and Sierra Corbin for encouragement and advice during my years at the University of Indianapolis. Professors have served as advisors and mentors with not only schoolwork, but life-long decisions and career options as well. 

Q. Why would you recommend UIndy to prospective high school students?

A. I would recommend UIndy because the small classroom setting gives students the opportunity to know their professors. My advice to incoming freshmen is to not get overwhelmed during the first semester. And if such thing does happen, talk to your professors because they care about your education as much as you do. 

Q. Any other big takeaways or observations as you approach graduation?

A. I am super excited to graduate. I am ready for the next step, and now I am just anxiously waiting to start learning in depth about my future career!

 

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December 2017 Graduation: Meet Sierra Corbin

sierracorbinSierra Corbin ’17 (biology major, chemistry minor) talks about her experience in the Ron & Laura Strain Honors College. She and co-researcher Delmar Oropeza ’17 received a research grant from the Sigma Zeta National Honor Society to conduct and present research at the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) Conference in Atlanta. Once she graduates in December, she plans to enter a physician assistant program.

Q. How did the Sigma Zeta grant assist in your research?

A. I was thankful about receiving the grant, because it paid for a lot of materials we needed to order for our project. The experience presenting at the conference was beneficial. We received feedback from judges so that we could improve our skills of presenting scientific research. It was also quite interesting to see what other students around the United States study.

Q. Could you briefly describe your research?

A. Our research analyzed the DNA of individuals that liked and disliked cilantro. Using the information and the procedure Delmar and I conducted, I wrote a laboratory procedure for undergraduate level students to use in genetics courses.

Q. How did your research experience – and Honors College in general – prepare you for the next steps in your career?

A. The research and presentation experience prepared me for learning how to explain to others who may not have as much knowledge about a particular topic, what is happening in a given situation. When I become a physician assistant, I am sure I will need to explain to patients what an illness may be, what caused it and how to treat it. If I do not end up going to graduate school to become physician assistant, I probably will go into research of some kind. Completing undergraduate research allowed me to become familiarized with the equipment and techniques I would need in my future.

Q. Were you involved in any extracurricular activities as a student?

A. I participated in UIndy for Riley and worked off campus, which took up a lot of my free time. Learning the skill of time management was essential and helped me become well rounded. Working also helped me get many of the clinical hours that physician assistant programs require.

Q. Were there any faculty, staff or fellow students who helped you during your time as a student?

A. Dr. [Sandy] Davis (biology) helped me tremendously through this project. She helped me in learning an abundance of knowledge about genetics. Also, Dr. [Marc] Milne (biology) was an awesome mentor and professor my freshman year, encouraging me to follow the biology route I had set for myself. Dr. [Kathy] Stickney was another professor who genuinely cared about her students performance and would go above and beyond for her students. I will never forget when she stayed at school until 2:00 a.m. helping students edit a paper and learn material.

Q. Would you recommend UIndy to prospective high school students?

A. UIndy is an awesome school, and is much better than some bigger schools in professor-student ratios. I have a few friends at large universities who cannot get appropriate help when they are struggling in a class. At UIndy, the teachers genuinely care about our academic success. Some of our courses definitely are harder than they would be at other schools, but that makes us more prepared.

 

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