2020 Service-Learning Awards honor outstanding students, community partner

The Center for Service-Learning & Community Engagement announced its annual awards honoring students and community partners for their dedication to serving local populations who are most in need through service-learning courses. 

Kendall Beckstein

Kendall Beckstein

Kendall Beckstein ’21 (DPT) received the 2020 Outstanding Graduate Student Service-Learning Award. Ed Jones, assistant professor in the Krannert School of Physical Therapy, nominated Beckstein for her participation and leadership at the University of Indianapolis Physical Therapy Student Outreach Clinic. The clinic is a free, student-run clinic that provides primary care-based services for the uninsured and underserved in the Indianapolis area.

“Kendall has served her community in multiple ways through this clinic,” said Jones, who serves as faculty advisor for the program.

Leadership positions on the clinic’s board are filled by students to run the operation and organization of the services. Beckstein took on leadership roles and eventually moved up to the position of board chair.

“In this role, Kendall’s star has been even brighter. She has pushed for initiatives to improve the clinic in multiple areas including research, innovative program changes, and organizational changes. In addition, Kendall has worked to engage other students in the PT program and found innovative ways to encourage their involvement and volunteer their time,” Jones said, noting that she stayed ahead of the curve during the coronavirus pandemic by making the decision to suspend services for safety even before it was mandated by governing bodies.

Morgan De La Rosa

Morgan De La Rosa

Morgan De La Rosa ’20 (theatre major, sociology, child & youth programs minors) was honored with the 2020 Outstanding Undergraduate Student Service-Learning Award for her practicum with the RightFit Program at Central Catholic School.

Colleen Wynn, assistant professor of sociology, noted that De La Rosa was initially meant to assist in the running of the program, but had to quickly expand her role.

“By week two, Morgan was already running her own programs,” Wynn said. “Morgan also has been so reflexive about her time at CCS and with RightFit. She has thoughtful analyses in her weekly journal and always makes such wonderful connections between her readings and her own experiences. This learning experience is what I hope for with all practicum students, and it’s a joy to watch Morgan having this experience, even if it was much more responsibility than she expected when she signed on.”

Community Health Network Rehabilitation Clinic at UIndy received the 2020 Outstanding Community Partner Award. Trent Cayot,  assistant professor of exercise science, noted the unique experiential learning opportunities provided by the clinic during the past several years. Physical therapists at CHN’s clinic collaborate with the University of Indianapolis exercise science program through the Post Rehabilitation Exercise Program (P.R.E.P.). 

“The P.R.E.P. allows undergraduate exercise science students to train clients in a personal training setting who have been discharged as a patient from the Community Health Network Rehabilitation Clinic. The real-world experience that the P.R.E.P. provides our students is second to none,” Cayot said.

The Center for Service-Learning & Community Engagement continues to support faculty through services that meet their current curricular service-learning needs during the coronavirus pandemic. The Center is also exploring ways to bring its semi-annual Community Partners Fair to faculty and students virtually or through other means.

COVID-19 crisis presents opportunity to serve community for UIndy student

Amy Rohr '20 (public health) '21 (master of public health)

Amy Rohr ’20 (public health) ’21 (master of public health)

Many University of Indianapolis faculty and students are contributing their time and expertise in the fight to stop coronavirus (COVID-19). Amy Rohr, who graduates in May 2020 with a degree in public health, is also working towards her master of public health, which she will receive in 2021. Rohr has gained hands-on experience during the program through various internships, including the Indiana State Department of Health’s (ISDH) COVID-19 Call Center, where she answers questions from the general public as well as healthcare providers.

“The general public is mostly calling in and requesting information or wondering if they can be tested. We also answer general public calls that are just needing assistance on resources, such as the Critical Industry Line, Unemployment, 2-1-1, and the OSHA Compliance Line. The healthcare providers call in for many different reasons such as guidance on protocols or authorization requests to give the COVID-19 test,” Rohr explained.

“It has been interesting to watch how the calls change each week. I have been working at the call center since the beginning of March and each day there is something new. We get updates nearly every day on protocols, testing, results and recommendations. It seems like a turbulent situation, but I knew what I was stepping into. The field of public health is always changing and that is what I love most about it,” she said.

One of the key components of the public health program at the University of Indianapolis is applied and experiential learning. Rohr’s work at the call center has sharpened her focus on the value of sharing accurate medical information with the public.

“My view on the importance of proper health communication has definitely heightened from this situation. I find it very interesting to see where the callers are getting their information. To me, the information has been pushed by the media, but unfortunately, that is not always appropriate or accurate. In order to be an effective health educator/communicator in the call center, I ensure that I am staying calm, giving evidence-based information, and listening to the individual’s concerns and questions,” she said.

For Rohr, it’s an opportunity to give back to the community and put the University motto, “Education for Service,” into action.

“I have genuinely loved helping the public during this time of crisis,” Rohr said. “Of course, I love all things public health, but helping others is very important to me. I always try to remember that these individuals are scared and worried during this time and some just need someone to talk to. If I can be that person for them, even for five minutes, I feel that I am doing my job.”

Rohr is grateful for the mentorship of faculty including Heidi Hancher-Rauch, director of the Public Health Program at the University of Indianapolis.

“Dr. Rauch has gone above and beyond as a mentor. She is a professional that I look up to as a role model. She has helped me develop my love for policy and advocacy, which is what I want to work in in the future,” Rohr said.

Rauch commended Rohr, who serves as president of the honorary society, Eta Sigma Gamma.

“Amy provides amazing leadership within the Public Health Program and for the ESG members, in particular. She consistently brings great ideas forward to share with others,” Rauch said.

Rohr has completed a number of volunteer internship experiences, including the Southside Quality of Life Initiative where she examined the eight SoIndy neighborhoods using GI mapping, using the information to create and analyze maps of recreational areas and how they relate to public health. She also interned with the Indiana Youth Services Association of Indiana in their Trafficked Victims Assistance Program where she created an onboarding tool for new volunteers, helped with advocacy and awareness events, and created documents used for administrative purposes.

Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, Rohr was interning with the ISDH’s Tobacco Prevention and Cessation department, where she compiled and analyzed data, helped with policy and advocacy efforts, organized datasheets, and created fact sheets. Rohr also serves as a Health and Wellness Educator for the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis and a Community Health Advocate for Community East Hospital.

After completing her MPH degree, Rohr plans to work in public health policy and advocacy, and hopes to pursue a law degree in the long-term.

I have nothing but great things to say about the Public Health program. Not only are we getting practical experience and quality instruction, but this program is also like another family to me,” Rohr said. “The hands-on experiences and courses are definitely prepared for the next steps in my career.”

Learn more about the Public Health Program at the University of Indianapolis.


Changing lives through occupational therapy advocacy

Kelsey LeMond '20 (OTD)

Kelsey LeMond ’20 (OTD)

Kelsey LeMond will graduate in May 2020 with a doctorate in occupational therapy. Her doctoral capstone work at Public Advocates in Community Re-Entry (PACE) truly represents the University of Indianapolis motto, “Education for Service.” The nonprofit organization provides a variety of services to incarcerated and previously incarcerated individuals and their families to lead productive and responsible lives in their community. LeMond created life skills group sessions for participants and has been featured twice in regional newscasts to discuss her work.

PACE does not offer occupational therapy (OT) services, therefore my focus was to advocate the role of OT in a community mental health setting and create and lead a life skills group called Making Meaningful Meals,” LeMond explained. “The goals and outcomes for this life skills group focused on facilitating a healthy social environment through meal preparation, opportunities for learning and application of knowledge, and increasing overall health and wellness.”

Through her consultation services for PACE, LeMond gained valuable skills in communicating effectively as part of a team as she educated staff on the role of occupational therapy. 

“Facilitating the Making Meaningful Meals life skills group has enhanced my ability to provide verbal feedback and cues for social participation, engaging clients in meaningful activities, and assisting individuals with positive peer connection and recovery,” LeMond said.

To continue her work with PACE, LeMond is working on applying for local grants in order to provide part-time OT services. “Our community has impacted me greatly. I only want to give back what I can and remain a member of the PACE family.”

She learned two important lessons in the process: “There is no recovery if there is no community to support the individual’s recovery journey and second, OT has the ability to provide individuals with guidance, hope and empowerment through advocating for the individual’s occupational justice.”

LeMond credits her success in the program in part due to mentors such as Beth Ann Walker, associate professor of occupational therapy and Taylor McGann, assistant professor of occupational therapy.

Professor Walker is one of the most dedicated, enthusiastic, supportive and passionate professors I have had the pleasure of learning from. I consider her a role model and hope to embody her passion, ethicality and spirit with my own occupational therapy clients,” LeMond said.

“Professor McGann has challenged me intellectually, professionally and personally. No question is ever considered inconsequential, and she takes the time to check in on her students. Her genuine attitude and positivity have influenced my capacity for developing a growth mindset. I would consider both Dr. Walker and Dr. McGann ethical colleagues and close friends.”

“The School of Occupational Therapy prides itself on creating a strong foundation for students through integrated hands-on experience with faculty,” LeMond added. “Many of our faculty have an open-door policy allowing students to feel comfortable and supported during the challenges of graduate school.”

LeMond appreciates the opportunities the program has created for her to collaborate with various community partners.

I love how passionate UIndy is about serving their beloved community. It truly takes a community to grow a person both in body, mind, and spirit and I am thankful for the UIndy community for  supporting me.”

LeMond completed her level II fieldwork at Community Rehabilitation Hospital North in the brain injury unit. She wants to thank her fieldwork educator, Judy Trout, for being an amazing mentor, facilitator, role model and friend. LeMond also completed her second level II fieldwork at Cape Fear Valley Health in the adult neurological outpatient center under Sara Warren. She would also like to thank Sara for her directive leadership, support, and encouragement through fieldwork and will remain a mentor and friend for life.

After taking the boards to become a registered occupational therapy (OTR), she plans to apply for a job with Community Health Network. She will continue to participate in the American and Indiana Occupational Therapy Associations, where she advocates for the benefits of occupational therapy.

Learn more about the occupational therapy program at the University of Indianapolis.


University of Indianapolis occupational therapy and physical therapy programs ranked among national top 50 by U.S. News & World Report

The annual U.S. News & World Report graduate school rankings were released this week and UIndy’s occupational therapy and physical therapy programs both ranked in the top 50 programs in the nation. Both programs were each recognized as the top-ranking programs in Indiana.

The University of Indianapolis occupational therapy (OT) program, which offers both master’s and entry-level doctoral degrees, ranked 29 out of 198 OT schools. The Doctor of Physical Therapy program ranked 42 out of 239 physical therapy programs across the country. 

“We are excited to have our two largest graduate programs listed in the top 20 percent of graduate programs in their respective fields,” said Dr. Stephanie Kelly, dean of the College of Health Sciences. “The rankings, which are based on the quality of the academics we offer, are a testament to the faculty who work together to ensure our students are well-prepared to take their place in the healthcare industry when they graduate.” 

Among the notable aspects of both programs is the Community Patient Resource Group (CPRG). CPRG brings community volunteers living with a range of disabilities into the classroom with students, who receive real-world experience working with patients with various diagnoses from as early as the first month of their program. 

Nursing programs also recognized
University of Indianapolis School of Nursing online programs made the U.S. News & World Report’s Top 100 Schools in 2020, moving up 57 points in the Best Online Master’s in Nursing Programs category from 118 to 61. The master’s program in nursing also was recognized in the rankings at 112.

Public health alumna leading drug-free coalition in Beech Grove

By the time Diana Hendricks enrolled in the Community Health Education undergraduate program at the University of Indianapolis in 2013, she had already raised a son, spent many years as an office administrator, and had been a wellness consultant and personal trainer for more than two decades.

Diana Hendricks“I enjoy my profession – it’s certainly gratifying, but something was missing,” Hendricks explained. “I wanted to make a difference in the health and wellbeing of my community, but I lacked the knowledge and credentials necessary to develop and implement quality public health programs.”

When Hendricks came across UIndy’s Community Health Education program, now called Public Health Promotion and Education, she knew she had found the right fit. After transferring credits from another institution, Hendricks was able to complete her degree in two years and later pass the exam to earn the national Community Health Education Specialist (CHES) certification. And just in time, because the Beech Grove Mayor’s Faith-Based Round Table asked Hendricks to develop a community substance misuse prevention program.

Hendricks took up the challenge and now serves as the executive director of the Beech Grove Comprehensive Drug-Free Coalition (BGCDFC). In that role, Hendricks has seen the coalition grow from eight to nearly 45 members and has been invited to sit on the Healthy Southside Initiative committee, INSTEP INDY initiative, and Drug-Free Marion County’s grant planning committee.

She credits her UIndy education, and Dr. Heidi Hancher-Rauch, direcor of the UIndy public health programs, with providing her the education and skills needed to successfully launch BGCDFC.

“I’ve led the coalition to conduct a needs assessment, make recommendations for programming, implement interventions and programs, and evaluate our efforts to fine-tune what we are doing to promote a substance-free community,” Hendricks said. “Along the way, I’ve valued being able to touch base with Dr. Rauch for her insights.”

Since BGCDFC began, it has been instrumental in the implementation of prevention curriculum for Beech Grove Community Schools fourth through ninth grades, dissemination of prevention resources at community festivals and health fairs, and offers community events on youth substance misuse and overdose awareness.

“The BGCDFC motto is ‘It takes a community, to keep a community healthy…together, we make a difference,’” Hendricks said. “In addition to our substance misuse prevention efforts, we are working to remove the stigma surrounding mental illness and addiction so those who need help will seek it without feeling shamed.”

Physical therapy professor Emily Slaven named Teacher of the Year

“It’s important to teach students how to think as much as learning the content,” said Emily Slaven, PT, PhD, who has been named the 2019 University of Indianapolis Teacher of the Year.

Slaven, an associate professor and director of the orthopedic residency program in the Krannert School of Physical Therapy, has been a faculty member since 2010. Her students frequently cite her willingness to get to know them as people and not just students.

“Since my first class with her, Emily treated me both as a student and a future colleague,” said a former student.

Known as a professor who teaches beyond the textbook, Slaven said “seeing others give back to the profession as excellent clinicians, to impact lives for the better, is what teaching is all about.”

She not only talks about the importance of giving back, but she teaches by example. Slaven regularly volunteers as a supervising physical therapist at a student-run pro bono clinic that provides care to underserved clients and is the president of the Indiana chapter of the American Physical Therapy Association.

In letters of support, former students pointed to Slaven’s clear passion for teaching and her dynamic classroom presence as key assets.

College of Health Sciences Dean Stephanie Kelly said: “Emily consistently demonstrates excellence in teaching through her commitment to preparing excellent physical therapy clinicians.” Kelly noted that Slaven often extends her teaching beyond the classroom, working with small groups of students outside regular class time, mentoring students in volunteer efforts, and providing continuing education and clinical in-services to practicing clinicians.

Senior spotlight: Anthony Richardson (athletic training)

Richardson_SpotlightImageThough Anthony Richardson has spent his entire undergraduate career at UIndy, it wasn’t until he changed his major to athletic training that UIndy became “home” to him. He will graduate in May 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in athletic training and head toward his new home – Campbell University in North Carolina, where he has accepted a graduate assistant athletic training position and will pursue a masters degree in education with a focus in kinesiology.

Richardson said leaving UIndy won’t be easy.

“Some of the most important people in my life I have met here. I am proud to be a Hound and will truly miss this school.”

During his undergraduate education, Richardson participated in the Athletic Training Student Association (ATSA) and in intramural sports. Playing intramurals allowed him to make friends and connections with people he would not have encountered within his major.

“I was able to expand my network by meeting people who have a desire to work in different positions in athletics,” said the Greenwood, Indiana native.

Richardson said UIndy’s athletic training faculty and an extensive list of clinical training sites have set him up for success. His training sites included Indy Eleven, Indy Fuel, Butler University, Marian University, Lawrence Central High School, and Lawrence North High School.

“Dr. (Jessica) Jochum has been very instrumental in my education,” Richardson said. “She has taught me so much in the classroom and has put me at great clinical sites that helped me apply the classroom knowledge and gain confidence, both of which are crucial in this field.”

Learn more about programs in the College of Health Sciences

Senior spotlight: Jorge Fonseca (athletic training)

Fonseca_JorgeWhen Jorge Fonseca ’19 (athletic training) crosses the stage to receive his diploma, he will be taking with him some key skills that will serve him well.

“I have learned a lot academically, but what I learned during my 1500+ hours of clinical experience is priceless,” said the Aguadilla, Puerto Rico native. “My clinical experiences have made me a better communicator, allowed me to learn how to be autonomous while at the same time being a team player, be a better healthcare provider, and overall to be a professional.”

It’s the United States Army that will benefit from those all-important “soft skills” Fonseca gained while studying athletic training at UIndy. After graduation, he will go to Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training, where he will work as a medical laboratory specialist. He will then enter a military program to earn a physician assistant master’s degree to become a commissioned Army medical officer.

He knows that his UIndy experiences – ranging from advocating for athletic training legislation at the Indiana Statehouse to research on the effects of cold-water immersion compared to active recovery on the management of delayed-onset muscle soreness – have prepared him well for the next stage of life.

“I can’t wait to graduate…I want to go out into the real world and apply all of the knowledge and skills I’ve learned in my four years here at UIndy,” Fonseca said. “I will forever be a Greyhound and UIndy will always have a special place in my heart.”

Learn about the athletic training program at the University of Indianapolis

Sport Management grad student scores job with Pacers

JSpringer2019 is already an exciting year for Jacob Springer, Master of Sport Management student in the Department of Kinesiology, Health, and Sport Sciences. Not only will he graduate with his classmates this summer, he is starting the new year with a new title: Consumer Sales Executive at the Indiana Pacers.

“I will be working as a sales rep for the Pacers, helping to sell season ticket packages and servicing clients who attend games,” said Springer.

Springer has been preparing for this job since he first stepped on campus. After graduating from Indiana University with a major in Sports Marketing and Management and minors in business, law, and marketing, he contemplated his options and chose to enroll in UIndy’s sport management master’s program “because it was flexible, allowing me to work full-time as an intern and now as a full-time employee,” Springer said. “UIndy is near a lot of different sports organizations and allowed me to look for opportunities here in town while I was in grad school.”

Not only is Indianapolis a great location for the sports industry, UIndy offered Springer the chance to work with Dr. Jennifer VanSickle, director of the undergraduate and graduate sport management programs, as a graduate assistant.

“Working with Dr. VanSickle has given me opportunities to branch out and connect with and meet new people that have grown my network.”

In fact, Springer’s network has expanded to the Indy Sports Business Conference, an event the UIndy sport management program will host at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse on April 1. “I have been working closely with (VanSickle) to secure panelists for the event, reach out to potential students and attendees, as well as help secure the event venue and setup,” said Springer.

Springer attributes his professional growth and success to the great support he has received from the MSSM program. The best part? “The flexibility and the people I have gotten to network with so far.”

UIndy would like to wish Springer – and the Indiana Pacers — the best of luck.

-Written by Olivia Horvath ’20 (doctorate of occupational therapy)