Ivy Tech Cook Center for Entrepreneurship partners with Bloomington SCORE

BLOOMINGTON – Ivy Tech Community College Bloomington’s Gayle & Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship and Bloomington SCORE have entered into a partnership agreement for Cook Center to provide space to SCORE for mentoring small business clients. The arrangement supplements Cook Center’s three-year partnership with the South Central Indiana Small Business Development Center (ISBDC). Centralization of area mentoring and educational services promotes access to a broad range of entrepreneurial resources.

“This agreement provides an opportunity for the Cook Center for Entrepreneurship, ISBDC and SCORE to build on a partnership for providing small business counseling,” said Steve Bryant, executive director of the Cook Center and director for South Central ISBDC. “Beneficiaries include Ivy Tech Bloomington students and South Central Indiana residents needing assistance in starting, growing or improving businesses.”

Ivy Tech Bloomington’s Gayle & Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship, the regional ISBDC office, and SCORE already collaborate in providing referrals to individuals needing counseling services or other programs offered. Operating from a common location will enhance overall efficiencies and service delivery effectiveness.

The SCISBDC is a regional program of the ISBDC network and part of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. Bloomington SCORE is part of a national network of volunteers who provide free and confidential guidance to small business owners. Both ISBDC and SCORE are resource partners of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

For more information about Ivy Tech’s Gayle & Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship, log on www.ivytech.edu/entrepreneurship.

Gretchen Gutman appointed to Ivy Tech State Board of Trustees

BLOOMINGTON – Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb’s office recently announced new appointments to the Ivy Tech Community College Board of Trustees, including Gretchen Gutman, vice president of public policy for Cook Group.

Gutman (Bloomington) joined the board on November 1 and will serve until June 30, 2020. She represents eastern Greene, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, and Owen counties.

Gutman is a 20-year veteran of legislative and government policy, having served as the chief advisor to the Senate Finance Committee of the Indiana General Assembly and a partner at the law firm Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP. Before joining Cook Group, Gretchen served as the associate vice-president for governmental relations at Ball State University. Gutman holds a bachelor’s in history and a master’s in public affairs from Indiana University Bloomington. She earned her law degree from the Indiana University School of Law in Indianapolis.

Other trustee appointments include Harold Hunt (Madison), owner of SuperATV and Kerry Stemler (Sellersburg), president and CEO of KM Stemler Co. Inc. and KM Stemler Trucking Inc.


Ivy Tech sets its sights on offering free eye care

By Michael Reschke 812-331-4370 | mreschke@heraldt.com

Ivy Tech leaders hope Giving Tuesday will help them expand a free eye care event.

The Ivy Tech Community College’s Bloomington campus plans to offer free eye exams and glasses to people in need next spring. Circle of Ivy, a women’s philanthropic organization, has already committed enough money to serve 25 people. Leaders at Ivy Tech want to increase that number to 50 with a campaign that will begin Tuesday.

Giving Tuesday plays off the widely recognized shopping events that follow the Thanksgiving holiday, such as Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. The idea is for people to give their time or a donation to a cause they care about.

Circle of Ivy picked seven projects to fund this year out of 21 submitted from the Bloomington campus. From those seven, Optometric Week of Sight 2018 was chosen as a way for the campus to try out the Giving Tuesday platform.

“Whatever we put out there has to resonate with the community,” said Susie Graham, executive director of development at Ivy Tech. “I think this probably met that criterion the best.”

Leanne Short, program chairwoman for optometric technology at Ivy Tech, submitted the proposal as a way to both help the community and give students firsthand experience.

The optometric technology program at Ivy Tech is new, with the regional board of trustees approving it in March 2016. The program’s first cohort of students started taking classes this semester.

“It’s the only optometric technology program in the state, and we feel a responsibility to the community in making those resources available to them,” Graham said.

During Optometric Week of Sight, students in the program will make new lenses under the supervision of a certified optician.

Ivy Tech plans to work with United Way agencies to identify people in need. Dates for the event have not been selected yet, but Graham said they will be sometime in mid- to late spring 2018.

Donations to the program can be made online at impact.ivytech.edu. That site can also be accessed using the search function on givingtuesday.org after 8 a.m. today. The goal is to raise $2,970 by Dec. 31, matching the commitment from Circle of Ivy.

Student Government Association donates supplies to new mothers

BLOOMINGTON – Ivy Tech Bloomington’s Student Government Association recently delivered supplies for new and expecting mothers in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at IU Health Bloomington Hospital. SGA donated gift packages including knitted newborn hats, baby suits, diapers, baby wipes, mini blankets, travel sets of baby products, shirts, and a card for each mother.

Joshua Johnson, SGA president, organized the donation.

“As the winter months approach, we wanted to supply new mothers with materials so that would limit how much they would have to travel during the first few weeks of winter so they maximize how much time they spend with their newborns,” said Johnson.

Ivy Tech Student Government Association (SGA) serves as the democratic voice on campus and advocates on behalf of the student body to the administration. The group hosts weekly meetings open to all students, provides a regular newsletter of student resources, and organizes community outreach projects. SGA officers are Zoe Conrad (secretary), Tejas Bhatt (outreach and publicity), Jax Elliot (vice president), and Joshua Johnson (president).

International Education Week celebrated

BLOOMINGTON – Ivy Tech Bloomington observed International Education Week November 13-17 with educational activities, a movie, a poetry reading, a student panel, and more.

On November 13, students explored opportunities to be a global citizen. Students learned about ways to be involved in the international student club, learned about language courses available at Ivy Tech and about fair trade, tasting coffee from around the world. Bill Mankins, former US Army senior civilian counterinsurgency advisor, presented the lecture, “Problems of US Intelligence & Strategy in Post 9/11 Afghanistan.” The lecture was sponsored by the Indiana University Inner-Asian and Uralic National Resource Center.

On Wednesday, November 15, students, faculty and staff read poetry in English and other languages. International students also shared their experiences during a panel discussion moderated by Ben Grimwood, international student academic advisor. The documentary China Blue, focused on sweatshop factory conditions, was screened in the evening.

All week, students participated in an international photo contest and interactive world map. An exhibit of Hats from Inner-Asia was also on display, provided by the Indiana University Inner-Asian and Uralic National Resource Center.

About Ivy Tech Community College
Ivy Tech Community College (ivytech.edu) is the state’s largest public postsecondary institution and the nation’s largest singly accredited statewide community college system.  Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana. It serves as the state’s engine of workforce development, offering affordable degree programs and training that are aligned with the needs of its community along with courses and programs that transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association.



Michael Smerconish to headline Ivy Tech’s O’Bannon Institute in April

BLOOMINGTON – Michael Smerconish, one of America’s best talk show hosts, author and columnist, will headline Ivy Tech Bloomington’s 15th annual O’Bannon Institute for Community Service fundraising dinner on Thursday, April 26, 2018. Proceeds will benefit Ivy Tech’s Center for Civic Engagement.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming important broadcast program host, Michael Smerconish, to Ivy Tech Bloomington’s signature event,” said Chancellor Jennie Vaughan. “He was the first radio program host to interview President Barack Obama live from the White House, as well as having interviewed other Presidents and Vice Presidents ranging from Jimmy Carter to George W. Bush, and from Al Gore to Joe Biden.”

Smerconish is the host of of The Michael Smerconish Program on SiriusXM Channel 124, the host of CNN’s Smerconish on Saturday mornings, newspaper columnist and author. He is often recognized for his radio program work. In 2011, the National Association of Broadcasters selected him as a “Marconi Award” finalist in the category of Best Network/Syndicated Host. He has often been the recipient of several (Philadelphia) Achievement in Radio awards, including “Best Talk Show Host” and “Best Evening Program.” Philadelphia Magazine has named him the city’s best talk show host, as well as one of the city’s most powerful citizens.

On August 20, 2009, Smerconish became the first radio host to interview President Barack Obama live from the White House. The 35-minute interview was conducted in the Diplomatic Reception Room and televised live on MSNBC, CNN and FOX News. Smerconish has interviewed President Obama on seven different occasions. He has also interviewed Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, as well as Vice Presidents Al Gore, Dick Cheney and Joe Biden. Smerconish hosts a weekly Saturday TV program on CNN fittingly called Smerconish and in the past has been an MSNBC contributor and frequent guest-host of Hardball for Chris Matthews. He has been a guest on virtually every television program where politics is discussed, including: the NBC Today show, Colbert Report, O’Reilly Factor, Larry King Live, The View, and Real Time With Bill Maher.

Smerconish is the author of six books, two of them New York Times’ best sellers. He donated all author proceeds from three of those manuscripts to charity.

The O’Bannon Institute for Community Service (www.ivytech.edu/obannon/) at Ivy Tech Bloomington was established in 2004 as an annual opportunity for the community to come together to discuss issues of importance. Previous speakers at the Institute include U.S. senators, Pulitzer Prize-winning authors, governors, political advisers and columnists, a presidential candidate, and former first lady of the United States Laura W. Bush.

The fundraising dinner featuring Smerconish will take place on Ivy Tech’s main campus at 200 Daniels Way on the west side of Bloomington, in Shreve Hall, located in the Cook Pavilion. Individual tickets cost $100 and Platinum, Gold, and Silver sponsorships are available.

To purchase tickets or a sponsorship, visit www.ivytech.edu/obannon and click on tickets. For more information, contact Tina Phelps at (812) 330-6001 or tphelps@ivytech.edu.


Ivy Tech English department to host reading series, foster sense of community

BLOOMINGTON – Ivy Tech Community College will host its fourth annual reading series, “Writing Across Communities,” to include student and professor writers from local colleges in addition to community members. The event is open to the public and will be held Thursday, November 16 at 7 p.m. at the Ivy Tech Waldron Rose Firebay, located at 122 S. Walnut St.

“This series attempts to foster a sense of community that crosses boundary lines between master and apprentice, the two- and four-year college, and the academy and the city,” said Samantha Levy-Arnold, Ph.D., associate professor of English. “Each reading features one community writer, one Ivy Tech writer, one adjunct writer, and one student writer.”

Readers include:

Tony Brewer, community writer and chair of the Writer’s Guild at Bloomington

Samantha Levy-Arnold, Ph.D., Ivy Tech associate professor of English

David Kim, Ivy Tech English adjunct faculty member

Alexa Hubbell, Ivy Tech student


Ivy Tech book launch to benefit youth in Centerstone program

BLOOMINGTON – Ivy Tech is hosting a book launch and reading of Bobo Books 1.1.1 Volume 2 to benefit teens in Centerstone’s Stepping Stones program who are experiencing homelessness. Each book sold provides one bus pass for one teen in the program, to help with transportation to school or work. The event will be held Thursday, November 9, 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Ivy Tech Waldron, located at 122 S. Walnut St.

Bobo Books is a project of Ivy Tech English professor, Emily Bobo, Ph.D. Volume 1 was published in July 2016. Both volumes involved collaboration between Ivy Tech students and the community to benefit a local organization.

For Bobo Books 1.1.1 Volume 2, student poets in Ivy Tech’s ENGL 214 class taught people in their communities to write poems in response to art. Students then selected poems to feature in the volume, and the poems were edited by Dr. Bobo. In addition, some students in the IU INSPIRE living-learning center contributed poems to the volume. The volume features photography by Charity Heggestad at The Joy of Film.

A previous Bobo Books project, Bobo Books 1.1.1 Volume 1, benefitted the Monroe County Community School Corporation’s Reduced Lunch Program. To-date, volume 1 has raised enough to provide 1,500 free lunches for children in the program.

Bobo Books 1.1.1 Volume 2 can be purchased at the event or at Amazon.com for $14 each.

Bobo Books 1.1.1 Volume 2 is a collaborative project between Ivy Tech Community College Bloomington, Stepping Stones, a program of Centerstone, The Joy of Film, and Hemlock House Press.

Book launch reservations are requested. Light refreshments will be served. RSVP online at https://donorlynk.com/centerstone/bobo-books/.

About Stepping Stones
Stepping Stones is a non-profit organization located in Monroe County that serves youth ages 16 to 20 years old who are experiencing homelessness. Stepping Stones provides transitional housing in a safe environment and supportive services that aid in the care of present needs, but also in preparation for the future. The program is designed to provide youth with the skills necessary to become self-sustaining, successful adults.


Entrepreneurship student accepted to B-Start program


BLOOMINGTON – Ivy Tech student Jack Dreesen was accepted into the Bloomington Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) B-Start program, which aims to coach early-stage startup businesses in Bloomington. B-Start accepted 11 Bloomington startups and the 22-week program began on Wednesday, October 18. The program matches each participant with a mentor and provides guidance in developing their business, culminating in a final business pitch competition for cash prizes in March 2018.

Dreesen’s business idea is “Elephants on Mars,” a venue for people to experience immersive virtual reality (VR) and also allow developers a space to create new technology. He explained that the name is designed to evoke curiosity.

“VR technology is projected to grow 10 times in the next five years in the industry as a whole,” said Dreesen. “If that’s where the growth potential is, why can’t it happen in a place like Bloomington? I’m not exactly reinventing the wheel with this new thing, but I just need to figure out a way to bring it to Bloomington.”

Dreesen said he first experienced VR at an event at the Monroe County Public Library.

“The first time I went, I tried a carnival game and time just slowed down,” he said. “VR is like being in a dream and watching somebody in that dream. I was also surprised at the level of interest among all ages. People have limited time slots so they can only be in for 10 minutes, but they come out wide-eyed and want to do more.”

The experience made Dreesen want to share it with everyone and he began thinking of ways to turn his idea into a business.

Spring Semester 2017, Dreesen presented his idea in Ivy Tech’s Duke It Out business pitch competition, sponsored by Duke Energy.

“I wouldn’t have known about B-Start if it wasn’t for Duke It Out,” he said. “The Duke It Out competition was how I got into entrepreneurship. It’s a contest but they help you grow. That’s how I met people from the SBDC and Ivy Tech’s Cook Center for Entrepreneurship who told me, ‘If you really want to do this, you should sign up for the entrepreneurship program.’”

Dreesen is now pursuing his technical certificate in entrepreneurship and is looking forward to the B-Start program to supplement his studies.

“The biggest thing I’m looking for with B-Start is how to get seed capital, and also learning about commercial real estate,” said Dreesen. “One of my classes next semester will be about commercial real estate. I’m also trying to find partnerships and looking for help with my business plan.”

Dreesen did not always know what he wanted to study, but Ivy Tech gave him enough opportunities to find out.

“After high school I went to Ball State because I wanted to be a filmmaker and studied telecommunications,” he said, “I moved back to Bloomington, then bartended in Austin, Texas for five years, then moved back to Bloomington again due to a family illness. During that time, I began to figure out who I was and Ivy Tech was part of that exploration.”

Dreesen soon became an editor of Ivy Tech’s student literary magazine, took informatics classes, and was actively involved in student life.

“Ivy Tech has all these amazing opportunities and the only thing you have to do is try,” he said. “I really make an effort to get involved and think of myself as worthy of whatever good thing can come. I’ve embraced being a student again.”

Dreesen’s B-Start pitch video can be viewed online at https://youtu.be/JZZ8MfIKV5c.

Ivy Tech Bloomington’s entrepreneurship program continues to grow in enrollment, with 56 students currently enrolled, a 10 percent increase from last year. Statewide, 218 students are enrolled, a 5 percent increase from last year.

Ivy Tech Bloomington’s campus hosts the Gayle & Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship, which provides practical tools to help entrepreneurs start and grow businesses. More information can be found online at ivytech.edu/entrepreneurship.