Community Arts Awards winners to be recognized at Ivy Tech Waldron

BLOOMINGTON – Ivy Tech Community College’s Bloomington campus in partnership with the City of Bloomington Arts Commission (BAC) will host the 2019 Community Arts Awards on Friday, Dec. 6 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The event will be held downtown at the Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center, located at 122 S. Walnut St.

Award categories and recipients include:

  • Arts Advocate: Danielle Urschel, artist and owner of Obsolete Press, LLC
  • Arts in Education: Amy Brier and Frank Young, master stone sculptors and founders of the Indiana Limestone Symposium
    – Brier is program chair of Fine Arts at Ivy Tech Bloomington and director of the Indiana Limestone Symposium
    – Young is a nurse practitioner in private practice, retired from Indiana University Health Southern Indiana Physicians Group
  • Arts in Business: Oliver Winery, whose corporate giving is focused in just two areas—the arts and healthcare
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Peter LoPilato, owner, “The Ryder” magazine and film series, supporting local writers and filmmakers for 40 years
  • Regional Arts Service: Back Roads of Brown County Studio Tour, in which T.C. Steele State Historic Site and handfuls of working artists welcome self-guided tourists to their studios throughout the month of October, showcasing arts and crafts created in the present day “Art Colony of the Midwest”

Winners were juried by an independent community group, including artists, administrators, and long-time residents and supporters of the arts.

In addition to recognizing award winners for keeping the arts alive in the greater Bloomington community, the event will include opportunities to create mosaics and paint with watercolors. Featured entertainment from Ivy Tech’s production of Don Freund’s “Star Cross’d Lovers” will be provided, as well as refreshments.

The 2019 Community Arts Awards event is free and open to the public, though reservations are requested. Submit RSVPs with the number of guests and names at

Ivy Tech Bloomington offers an Associate of Fine Arts (AFA) degree program and is transferrable to IUPUI Herron School of Art + Design upon admission. Graduates of the program have found employment upon graduation, transferred to the Herron School, and have gone on to renowned art and design colleges in other states. Apply now for free and start classes on Jan. 13, 2020. For more information about becoming a student at Ivy Tech, email or call (888) IVY-LINE.

‘Arts in Concert’ music series kicks off in Ivy Tech Waldron art gallery

BLOOMINGTON – The 2019-20 “Arts in Concert” music series kicked off on Monday, Nov. 11 at 7:30 p.m. in the Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center Miller Gallery with a performance from the award-winning IU Kuttner Quartet-in-residence, the “Dior String Quartet.”

Presented by Ivy Tech Waldron, IU Jacobs School of Music, and Bloomington Connect, the “Arts in Concert” music series joins art and music in unique collaborative performances.

“The Arts in Concert music series provides an intimate space for some of the finest musicians from the IU Jacobs School of Music to perform for audiences who might not otherwise be able to experience a live performance or art gallery exhibit,” said Paul Daily, artistic director of the Ivy Tech Waldron.

The November performance will be followed by a special holiday chamber music performance by the Bloomington Connect ensemble on Dec. 2. Details for the spring concerts will be announced at a later date. All concerts will be followed by a brief discussion with the musicians.

“Arts in Concert” at Ivy Tech Waldron is free and open to the public.

About Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center

The Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center is located in downtown Bloomington. The Center provides space for coursework, art galleries, and theatrical and musical performances.

Students ‘Duke it Out’ at annual business pitch competition

BLOOMINGTON –The Gayle & Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship at Ivy Tech Community College’s Bloomington campus hosted its fourth annual Duke It Out Business Pitch Competition on Tuesday, Nov. 12, powered by Duke Energy.

Six Ivy Tech students had three minutes each to pitch their business ideas to a panel of judges. The winners with the top three pitches earned cash prizes up to $500 and free business consulting from the Cook Center for Entrepreneurship.

Haddie Katz, associate of science in nursing (RN) student, won first place. She was awarded a $500 prize for her business idea – a Bloomington-based midwifery birthing center. Colin Baugh, human services and social work student, won second place. She was awarded $300 for her business idea – Mrs. Bs Micro-Catering (weeknight meal delivery for families). Bree Page, human services student, won third place. She was awarded $200 for her business idea, B.R.I.T.E. (Building Résumés & Information Technology Experience). It is a non-profit business designed to assist the transient population in Bloomington, Ind. become skilled in developing IT and related job skills.

Ivy Tech students from all academic areas were invited to apply for a spot to Duke It Out. The competitors attended workshops at the Gayle & Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship and were coached by Cook Center staff and area entrepreneurs.

Competitors are studying in a variety of academic programs from software development to supply chain management. Business ideas included a small-scale catering company, a medical storage product, a nonprofit for IT education, a midwifery birthing center, a production company, and for-profit college dormitories.

Duke it Out judges are Jim Silberstein, entrepreneurship program chair emeritus; Dr. Sydney Mmadi, entrepreneurship program chair and associate professor of business; Allan Buhr, adjunct professor for entrepreneurship; and Christy Page, adjunct professor for entrepreneurship.

For more information about the event, contact Jack Dreesen at or visit

Area K-12 students spend Manufacturing Day exploring career options at Ivy Tech

BLOOMINGTON – Ivy Tech Community College’s Bloomington campus opened its doors to approximately 450 elementary and high school students on Friday, Oct. 4 from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. for Manufacturing Day. Ivy Tech, Hoosier Hills Career Center, and various industry partners hosted an interactive day that focuses on health, biomedical, IT, and manufacturing careers.

Students took hands-on tours to experience a day in the life of a community college student in various academic programs, including design technology, healthcare, and life sciences, which is a leading industry in the area.

They also learned about how Ivy Tech dual credit classes prepare them to earn community college credentials, including certifications and technical certifications that lead to employment in high-demand jobs and that transfer to Indiana public colleges upon admission.

Some interactive demonstrations were performed by Hoosier Hills Career Center students, IU Health, Platformatics, Tasus, HFI, and Cook Medical, among others.

To get started at Ivy Tech, apply now for free and attend Express Enrollment Thursday, Dec. 5 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. RSVP at For tuition-free program options for eligible Hoosiers that lead to high-demand jobs and count toward associate degrees, visit

Classes at Ivy Tech start on Jan. 13, 2020. Sign up during Express Enrollment on Dec. 5 or another day during business hours, Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For other questions, email

About Manufacturing Day

Manufacturing Day ( is held annually on the first Friday of October and helps show the reality of modern manufacturing careers by encouraging thousands of companies and educational institutions around the nation to open their doors to students, parents, teachers, and community leaders. It is produced by the National Association of Manufacturers and the Manufacturing Institute.

Sociology professor starts American Minority Mentoring program for students

BLOOMINGTON – Robert Soto, professor of sociology at Ivy Tech Community College’s Bloomington campus, has proposed and began his voluntary position as American Minority Mentor on campus. This effort comes on the heels of Ivy Tech’s new Diversity, Equity, and Belonging goal as part of the College’s strategic plan.

“Over the years at Ivy Tech Bloomington, the focus of inclusion and belonging efforts has been placed on groups more recently added to the diversity spectrum, particularly LGBTQIA+,” said Soto. “Even when the focus of such efforts was based on cultural diversity, our institution has largely addressed international cultural diversity. The purpose of this position is to offer American Minority students an ear that is more attuned to their voice.”

Functions of the American Minority Mentor position include listening to the concerns of students of color with a long United States experience (American-born or DACA), explaining the functionality of Ivy Tech, directing students to the proper resources for addressing their concerns, and showing students a presence on campus more equivalent to their own. It is not an advisor or counselor position, but a serves as a base for minority students.

The position may rotate between American Minority members of the Ivy Tech Bloomington faculty strictly on a voluntary basis with no stipend or offload. At the end of the spring 2020 semester, the feasibility of the position will be evaluated based on student response data.

Alumna features trademark business product on QVC

BLOOMINGTON – Kelsie Risk, Ivy Tech Community College Bloomington graduate and chief operating officer at local confectionary, Diamond K Sweets, is now featuring her signature product, Fudge O’ Bits,®️ on QVC.

“Since we started our business in Spencer, Ind., we’ve always had our eyes set on something big something national—opportunities beyond the beautiful rolling-hills of our quaint, small town,” Risk said in a press release. “This is a national platform that we believe is going to open up many new doors and just the privilege of being on such a reputable, established network as QVC. Wow! Dreams do come true!”

Risk graduated with honors from Ivy Tech Bloomington in 2016 with her associate of science in business administration. Risk and her mother, Kristi Risk, established Diamond K Sweets and the popular bite-sized fudge product in 2013 and began manufacturing for sales in 2015. In 2017, Risk earned an Economic Development and Growth through Entrepreneurship (E.D.G.E.) Award in the emerging business category from the Indiana Small Business Development Center in conjunction with the United States Small Business Administration.

When Diamond K Sweets was in its early stages, Risk sought consultation from Ivy Tech Bloomington’s Gayle & Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship and the South Central Indiana Small Business Development Center, which is hosted by Ivy Tech Bloomington. Risk said that she was proud to be part of Indiana’s entrepreneurial spirit and was appreciative of what Ivy Tech, the SBDC, and the Cook Center had done for them.

Ivy Tech Bloomington offers an associate degree program in business administration. Eligible Hoosiers can begin their business administration degree by earning a tuition-free certificate at Ivy Tech through Next Level Jobs Indiana. Apply now for free. Classes start on Jan. 13, 2020.

Like Risk, area entrepreneurs and prospective business owners can also seek advice from the Cook Center for Entrepreneurship and the South Central ISBDC. Information about entrepreneurship consulting, classes, and resources can be found online at

Jason Brooking earned tuition-free certificate through Next Level Jobs, hired as phlebotomist at area hospital

After a number of debilitating back surgeries, Jason Brooking was able to do nothing but pray for healing. In his 40s, going back to school and pursuing a career seemed to be an unattainable goal. Though, after 6 years, Jason’s prayers were answered. His back had healed enough to take charge of his future.

In spring 2017, Brooking chose Ivy Tech Community College’s Bloomington campus to pursue his educational goals. Through Next Level Jobs Indiana’s Workforce Ready Grant, he knew he could earn a Phlebotomy or Electrocardiography (EKG) certificate without paying for tuition.

Brooking did not feel the stigma of attending Ivy Tech as a non-traditional student. “I will always remember my time at Ivy Tech,” Brooking said. “When I enrolled, I was an older student and was never treated any differently than any other student on campus.”

He thrived at Ivy Tech Bloomington. Brooking was a member of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society. He joined the Student Leadership Academy (SLA) and attended the SLA leadership conference in Indianapolis as well as taking part in Ivy Tech Day at the State House.

“Being involved in PTK and SLA helped me push myself to be the best student that I could be, so that I could take advantage of some of the wonderful opportunities that Ivy Tech had to offer,” he said. “My favorite thing about being a student at Ivy Tech was all of the great people I met along the way.”

He was also able to give back by becoming a peer mentor, using his learned skills to help tutor fellow students. Brooking was able to do all this while taking classes and working. He signed up for a number of 8-week classes to expedite his progress toward his future healthcare career. While 8-week classes can be intense, Brooking felt he did just as well, earning equivalent grades to those in his 16-week courses.

After graduation, having earned certificates in both phlebotomy and EKG, Brooking worked with the Career Development office on campus and landed a job as a full-time phlebotomist at Sullivan County Community Hospital, where he currently works.