Students use their spring break to help refugees

BLOOMINGTON – On March 7-16, Ivy Tech Community College Bloomington students took an alternative approach to their spring break by traveling to France to assist refugees, as well as to immerse themselves in art, history, and culture. Current events led program directors to consider how to help college students better understand and appreciate the significance of growing ethical and political issues surrounding the displacement of families around the world.

Alternative Spring Break (ASB) students represented a variety of age groups and fields of study, with most having almost no travel experience. The program was entirely funded through civic engagement funds from the Ivy Tech Foundation, with the goal to provide students a unique opportunity to develop their global awareness.

Student volunteers organized a donation drive at Ivy Tech and were able to bring four suitcases full of clothing and personal products for refugees. The students spent their first days in the port city of Calais, which plays an important role in the movement of migrants through Europe. While there, they prepared tea and meals, mended clothing and blankets, scrubbed shoes, gathered firewood, and organized donations. They worked alongside volunteers from the United Kingdom, France, and elsewhere, and learned about the practical concerns of asylum-seekers, and about the lives of others from around the world.

Students then traveled to Paris to make more intercultural observations as they visited the Louvre, Musée D’Orsay, Centre Pompidou and the Palace of Versailles.

“The group ate lots of pastries and great food, listened to musicians playing violins and accordions for the morning metro rush, bought hats from a chapelier, fed pigeons outside Notre-Dame, laughed a lot and cried a little—and in the end, made friends while learning about themselves as they lived, worked, walked, and traveled together,” said Jerry Hansen III, assistant professor, department of fine arts, and ASB program director.

Local youth take part in STEM learning on campus

BLOOMINGTON – Ivy Tech Community College hosted a number of STEM-based youth events so far in 2019, including the Science Olympiad on Feb. 2, WOW! That’s Engineering on Feb. 23, and the Regional Science Fair on March 2.

In the Science Olympiad, teams of students from local intermediate and high schools collaborated in a number of events where they employed a range of skills, from design and prototyping, to technical writing, and chemistry lab skills. This year’s winners were Brown County Junior High School and New Albany High School in their respective divisions. The Olympiad was administered by 89 Ivy Tech faculty, staff, students, and community partners who volunteered to oversee and assist in the events.

Southwest Central Indiana Society of Women Engineers hosted their annual WOW! That’s Engineering event at Ivy Tech for the third consecutive year. Dozens of K-12 girls spent the day with female role models in STEM fields to learn about the skills involved in these areas and to get inspiration for future careers. Students engaged in a variety of problem solving activities like creating prosthetic legs with recycled materials, which was designed to simulate solving real life issues that occur for people around the world without access to prosthetics. The event was made possible with financial support from lead sponsor Cook Medical, along with volunteers from SWE, Cook , Ivy Tech, and the community. Through panels and speakers, parents were offered sessions in STEM education pathways, recognizing and fostering these skills, as well as opportunities on how to complete such degrees at Ivy Tech.

Ivy Tech faculty organized the Bloomington area’s science fair for 4th-12th grade students with participants from three school systems. Students used their own scientific research and analysis to develop materials to present to the judges and to answer questions.

“Students enjoyed showing the results of their hours of experimentation,” said Steven Arnold, Ph.D., Ivy Tech professor and department chair of life and physical sciences. “As judges, we enjoyed working with the next generation of our colleagues!”

Judges included Ivy Tech faculty, staff, and students as well as community partner scientists. Students that placed in their division advanced to the state competition, including one winning project: “What would happen if a black hole the size of a dime suddenly appeared?” Schools that are interested in participating in the regional science fair can contact Dr. Steve Arnold at

Volunteer slots open for Day of Service on April 26

BLOOMINGTON—Ivy Tech Community College’s Bloomington campus is hosting its 16th annual O’Bannon Day of Service event on Friday, April 26.

The community is invited to volunteer with Ivy Tech again this year to reach its goal to provide 1,000 hours of volunteer service to local non-profit agencies in the area.

“We’re inviting residents and businesses to volunteer with our campus community to provide this vital service for local non-profits,” said Chancellor Jennie Vaughan. “To-date, we have 111+ volunteers, six local businesses, and our local firefighters that have signed on, putting us at a commitment of about 300 community service hours so far.”

To-date, there are 163 volunteer slots remaining for projects located in Bedford, Bloomfield, Bloomington, Ellettsville, French Lick, Martinsville, and Mitchell. Some open volunteer tasks include gardening, landscaping, spring cleaning and organization, painting, and packaging meals, among other projects.

Volunteers can view a full listing of projects and sign up at and click on Day of Service, then click Sign up to Volunteer. Volunteers are encouraged to share photographs of the O’Bannon Day of Service on social media using the hashtag #IvyTech1000Hours.

Volunteers are invited to a kick-off breakfast and civic engagement award ceremony, where they can pick up T-shirts and some inspiration from guest speakers, Lucy Schaich, interim coordinator of the City of Bloomington Volunteer Network, and Vicki Pierce, executive director of the Community Kitchen of Monroe County, Inc., before heading out to volunteer. Doors open to Ivy Tech’s Shreve Hall on Friday, April 26 at 8 a.m. and remarks begin at 8:45 a.m. The program will wrap at about 9:30 a.m.

Ivy Tech civic engagement award winners include:
Excellence in Volunteerism
Candace Dean, director of advising, for her work with the Owen County Humane Society

Student Excellence in Volunteerism
Christina Naylor, for her work with the Middleway House Wrapped in Love fundraiser

Excellence in Service Learning
Jerry Hansen III, assistant professor, department of fine arts, for his work leading student Alternative Spring Break programming

Jeanine C. Rae Humanitarian Award
Jacob Alexander, for helping his peers and college community as an emerging student leader and for spearheading activities for clients of local non-profit, Stone Belt

Community Organization Partner
The three Rotary Clubs of Bloomington (Bloomington North, Bloomington Rotary, and Bloomington Sunrise), for their partnership with Ivy Tech to provide scholarships to students, for recognizing Connie (chair of the Campus Board of Trustees) and Steve Ferguson during the annual Rotary Toast, and positively impacting the local and global community

Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center Community Partner
Monroe County Community School Corporation (MCCSC), for their partnership in supporting arts education and scholarships, and its vital role in developing the whole child and whole community

Gayle & Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship Community Partner
Bloomington Economic Development Corporation (BEDC), for their partnership and focus on growing businesses and the job base in the local community

John R. Whikehart Civic Engagement Award
Bruce Calloway, Duke Energy South Central district manager, for his generous support of our civic engagement initiatives in both resources and time

The campus hosted its final fundraising dinner featuring keynote speaker, Michael Smerconish, at the sold out 2018 event.

Top sponsors of the 16th Annual O’Bannon Day of Service include Bloomington Economic Development Corporation, Cook Group, Duke Energy, French Lick Resort, Old National Bank, and Smithville.

More information at

Two Bloomington employees recognized at statewide Ivy Tech event

BLOOMINGTON – Cara Reader, Ph.D., assistant director of student support services at Ivy Tech Community College’s Bloomington campus, earned the statewide Friend of Advising Award at Ivy Tech’s Student Success Summit held March 28-29 at the French Lick Resort in French Lick, Ind. Adjunct instructor of mathematics, Ryan Pennell, was also recognized for winning the Gerald I. Lamkin Award, which is the campus adjunct faculty award for excellence in instruction.

Dr. Reader earned Ivy Tech’s Friend of Advising Award for her willingness to provide assistance to advisors and students, and for her invaluable support of advising work.

“Cara has been such a valuable asset to our advising team since she joined the college last year,” said Candace Dean, director of academic advising at Ivy Tech Bloomington. “She has delivered education and training to the advising team on how best to assist students with differing needs, as well as stepped up to assist during heavy traffic days.”

Ivy Tech Bloomington has won awards in at least one of four advising award categories every year since the college began recognizing advisors in 2015.

“Cara’s a natural at advising students,” said Dean. “She displays an unwavering drive to help Ivy Tech students and her colleagues.”

Adjunct instructor award recipient, Pennell, was also celebrated at the summit. His student nominations highlighted his unique and effective teaching strategies and professionalism.

“Everything that was written about Ryan had the same message, that he is an excellent teacher,” said Stacy Strand, assistant professor of baking and pastry and chairwoman of the teaching awards nomination committee. “His nominations were impressive.”

In one submission, a student said, “Ryan was the first teacher that made math finally click, and he has a way of making math ‘not scary.’”

Ivy Tech is currently enrolling students in summer and fall classes that can lead to workplace certification and associate degrees that transfer to Indiana four-year colleges. For more information, call 812-330-6013 or for after hours, call 1-888-Ivy-Line (1-888-489-5463).

Faculty display published works in campus library

BLOOMINGTON – Ivy Tech Community College Bloomington’s campus library is host to a display of novels, poems, and anthologies written, edited, and compiled by Ivy Tech faculty. Dubbed IvyWriters, the display will be featured in the library throughout the month of April. Visitors who stop by the library to see the display can pick up a commemorative bookmark and enter a drawing to win prizes.

Dr. Don Abel
Fifty Readings in Philosophy

Dr. Emily Bobo
Bobo Books 1.1.1 Volumes 1 & 2

Tattle Tales: Grimm Retellings (with illustrations by Amy Brier)
Writers Resist
Nasty Women Poets: An Unapologetic Anthology of Subversive Verse

Christine Brandel
Tell This To Girls: The Panic Annie Poems
A Wife is a Hope Chest

Writers Resist
Like a Girl

Terry Cortese
For A Moment For A Lifetime
Weapons of Mass Distraction
“Whither Thou Goest…” : The Story of Ruth
Rahab: A Woman of Faith
A Woman of Worth: Tamar’s Story

Dr. Alex Garman
The Cult of the Matronae in the Roman Rhineland: An Historical Evaluation of the Archaeological Evidence

Dr. Bradley Howard
Indigenous Peoples and the State: The Struggle for Native Rights

Dr. Stepanka Magstadt
To Reap a Bountiful Harvest

Kurt Messick
Words Without End
Thatcher & Apartheid: A Case Study in Conflict
A Chorus of Voices

Vicky Saari
Hogarth II

Lynn Schoch
IU International: The International Activities of Indiana University

Alex Semchuk
Slave Circle (DVD)
Stagnant Hope: Gary, Indiana (DVD)

Dr. Mehrdad Zarandi
Science and the Myth of Progress

Campus Pride drag show raises money for Ivy Tech scholarships

BLOOMINGTON – For the fourth year, Ivy Tech Community College’s Bloomington campus hosted the Gabe Hinds Celebration of Life Drag Show on March 30 in Shreve Hall. The annual show raised $1,328.55, which was donated to Community AIDS Action Group of South Central Indiana toward the creation of a Positive Link Ivy Tech Scholarship for students. The fundraiser was the culminating event for Pride Week put on by Campus Pride, Ivy Tech’s student LGBTQIA+ group.

Last year, the event raised $1,004 for local non-profit agency, WildCare Inc., and in previous years, raised $664.00 for the Ivy Tech Student Emergency Assistance Fund and $275 for the Gabe Hinds and Nikolas Kalosandros Scholarship.

The show was open to the public, fun for all ages, and completely free, with attendees donating three carts worth of non-perishable food items for Ivy Tech’s student food pantry. The event began as a dedication to Gabe “Todd” Hinds (1969-2016) who was an Ivy Tech employee for eighteen years. Gabe was also a loyal patron of Bloomington drag entertainment and an avid supporter and volunteer at WildCare Inc.

This year’s feature entertainment included former Miss Gay IU, Della Licious (‘03) alongside some of the best and brightest in drag entertainment: Siniya Omni Hall (current Miss Queen of Queens and former Miss Gay Indiana); Bendovah Plenti (former Miss Gay Evansville​); Oriana Perón (show director, Scholar’s Keep & independent producer, The Back Door); and Chiq Van Dyke; with Fr. Kurt Messick, Ivy Tech Assistant Professor of Life & Physical Science, as host/emcee.

Past performers have included current RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant Silky Nutmeg Ganache.

New Apple app development course prepares students to code

BLOOMINGTON – Ivy Tech Community College’s Bloomington campus is now offering a course in App Development for Apple Products (SDEV264). The course is designed to teach students, who might have no coding experience, to become functional app developers in only sixteen weeks.

Trevor Pierce, a software development student at Ivy Tech Bloomington, was recently a pilot student of the new Apple app development course. He says that he was able to employ the education he received from Ivy Tech at his job and within the community. He is currently working as a software engineer that writes and maintains the underlying code that allows Ivy Tech to process financial aid and student records statewide.

In 2016, Pierce decided to transfer from a more costly university because of the success his friends had in Ivy Tech’s information technology academic programs. He was able to make his college journey even more affordable when his team won gold at the Ivy Tech Statewide IT Challenge and were awarded scholarships. Through his software development courses, he was able to use his knowledge to give back to the community by teaching others, including the Hour of Code initiative at a local elementary school as well as at a summer girls coding camp through Ivy Tech’s Center for Lifelong Learning.

“My experience at Ivy Tech has been great, I have had a lot of interesting, useful classes and some wonderful teachers,” Pierce said. “I had several classes taught by Dr. Diana Nixon, who led some special topics courses that taught skills tailored toward local job needs in software development.”

After he finishes his associate degree at Ivy Tech, Pierce plans to continue his education and earn a bachelor’s degree in computer science.

The Apple app development course enables students to become proficient in creating applications using Apple’s Swift and Xcode. Students can enhance their collaboration and problem-solving abilities, and become better prepared to enter and compete in a changing workforce. The course is being offered as a sequence of two eight-week classes, with the advanced course being offered during Fall Semester 2019. More information at

Optometric Technology program now accepting applications

BLOOMINGTON – The Optometric Technology academic program at Ivy Tech Community College Bloomington is currently accepting applications for a fall semester start.

The Optometric Technology program prepares students to work closely with optometrists as part of the eye care team, as opticians. In Bloomington and the surrounding area, workforce demand is greater than the supply of professional opticians.

Students can earn a technical certificate after 33 credit hours, making them eligible to start careers as opticians after completing the National Opticianry Competency Examination and the Contact Lens Registry Examination. Technical certification leads to an associate degree in Optometric Technology.

Apply now for Optometric Technology. Applications will be accepted through May 15.

More information at