Indiana University Kokomo

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KOKOMO, Ind. — The little blue house on Kokomo's north side appears to be just an average "flip."

Team Flipsters of Leadership Kokomo are Josh Shannonhouse, left; Patty Pavey, Jan Halperin, and Karen McCoy.Team Flipsters of Leadership Kokomo are Josh Shannonhouse, left; Patty Pavey, Jan Halperin, and Karen McCoy. 

However, when this house has been renovated, it won't make money for one person — it will become affordable housing for a local family, and fund job training for area teens.

Jan Halperin, Indiana University Kokomo's vice chancellor for university advancement, is part of the team preparing the house for sale, as part of her team's project for Leadership Kokomo.

"On our campus, community service is part of our mission, starting with our chancellor," said Halperin. "I'm pleased to work on this project, one that will keep on giving."

Leadership Kokomo is a nine-month leadership development program, which brings together existing and emerging community leaders, to strengthen their skills and develop community awareness. More than a dozen IU Kokomo faculty, staff, and administrators have graduated from the program.

Participants work in teams to develop, fund, and implement a project, benefitting a local non-profit organization. Halperin's team, which also includes Karen McCoy, Chamber manager for the Greater Kokomo Economic Development Alliance; Patty Pavey, owner of Today's The Day Coaching & Hypnosis; and Josh Shannonhouse, principal of Sequel Motion, a local IT management service, are landscaping and painting a home for Advantage Housing.

The housing program, an outreach program of Maple Grove Church, buys homes and renovates them to rent or sell to people who otherwise have trouble getting a home. It works closely with the Kokomo Rescue Mission and the Family Service Association Domestic Violence Shelter, potentially selling or renting homes to those organizations' clients. Proceeds from the sale of the house Halperin's team is working on will benefit job-training programs for students at The Crossing, a local alternative school.

"Our job is to provide curb appeal for when we sell the house," Halperin said, adding that they had to raise money or donations of supplies, as fundraising skills are part of what the program develops.

All four have worked Saturdays since late May, with plans to be done by August 1. They've cleaned trash and debris from the yard, planted flowers, plants, and shrubbery, painted the house, and installed a rail on the front porch, among other projects. Halperin was surprised to enjoy the physical labor involved.

"It's fulfilling to take on a big project like this, and see it through from beginning to end," she said.

Pavey said Leadership Kokomo has helped her "develop an appreciation for all the good things that happen in Kokomo." McCoy added that it teaches participants to work with new people, and introduces them to civic leaders and those in not-for-profit organizations.

"We want to give back as business professionals," McCoy said. "This helps us learn how to do that effectively."

For Halperin, who became vice chancellor in August 2013, it's provided an in-depth introduction to her new community.

"It's given me exposure to the infrastructure of Kokomo, and an idea of how local organizations work," she said. "It's an opportunity to meet people from all different areas, and to find ways I can contribute. It's important for IU Kokomo that we reach out beyond our campus, and serve our community."

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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KOKOMO, Ind. — Indiana University Kokomo Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke received the state's highest recognition Saturday, July 19, as she was honored with the prestigious Sagamore of the Wabash, presented by State Senator Jim Buck.

Chancellor Susan Sciame-GieseckeChancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke

The presentation, on behalf of Gov. Michael Pence, took place during an event at the home of Sen. Buck, along with U.S. Sen. Dan Coats, U.S. Representatives Susan Brooks and Todd Rokita, and State Auditor Suzanne Crouch.

"Seeing how she interacts with faculty, students and the surrounding community, it is truly an example of outstanding leadership skills and characteristics that all should strive to achieve," said Senator Buck, who submitted the nomination to the Governor. "She has demonstrated a passion for excellence within her area of responsibility and for those around her.

"I believe Dr. Giesecke is deserving of this prestigious award due to her vast community and academic experience in service to this university. This county and this state are greatly appreciative of her service."

Sciame-Giesecke was deeply touched to receive this honor.

"I am humbled to receive this great honor. I want to thank Senator Jim Buck and his wife Judy for their personal support of me and the IU Kokomo campus," Sciame-Giesecke said. "This award belongs to the faculty and staff at IU Kokomo who are committed to the success of every student. As a regional campus, we are dedicated to helping students achieve their goal of a college degree."

The Sagamore of the Wabash award honors those who have made a significant contribution to life in the Hoosier state. The designation was created in the late 1940s during the administration of Gov. Ralph Gates.

Indiana University Kokomo serves a 14-county region in north central Indiana.

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KOKOMO, Ind. — In the competitive job market for teachers, Tyler Keck stands out from the crowd.

Student Teachers in New ZealandJohn Williams navigates through a cave while in New Zealand.

The recent Indiana University Kokomo graduate will teach fifth graders at Kokomo's Lafayette Park Elementary International School this fall, and said his experience student teaching in New Zealand gave him something unique to add to his résumé.

"This experience in New Zealand helped me immensely when I started applying for teaching jobs," he said. "I want to educate on a global level in my classroom, so to have the opportunity to travel around the world and bring back my experiences to the international school is something I find very exciting."

Keck, from Kokomo, is one of the first three School of Education students in an overseas student teaching program started by Dean Paul Paese, and offered in collaboration with IU's Global Gateway for Teachers. Ashley Spraker and John Williams also completed their student teaching in Auckland, New Zealand.

Spraker, from Cutler, also has a job for the fall, teaching fifth graders in Brownsburg. She said school officials were very interested in her overseas experience.

"It definitely piqued my interviewer's interest, and I was asked questions about it during my interview," she said. "It was certainly a good conversation point in this process, and showed my willingness to go the extra mile for my profession."

Fairmount resident Williams has just started his job search, and said he grew as a teacher from his experience in New Zealand.

"I had four wonderful cooperating teachers, who taught me a ton about what to do and, more importantly, what not to do in the classroom," he said. "They were extremely informative, and even more supportive."

Paese said the three gained more than just classroom teaching experience.

"Not only did they come home with new ideas for their classrooms, but they have a better understanding of the world and themselves," he said. "When you step out of things you are familiar with and learn new things, you get a better understanding and appreciation of what you are used to."

He anticipates placing three or four more IU Kokomo student teachers overseas next spring, possibly near Dublin, Ireland.

Spraker had a multicultural experience at an elementary school, with a supervising teacher who is Maori, the first settlers in New Zealand, and a student body that represented 39 countries.

"Going there allowed me to see how other cultures view education," she said. "I gathered ideas I hadn't seen in the U.S. that I believe will be beneficial. It also helped me see many wonderful aspects of America's education system that I hadn't previously noticed."

Williams enjoyed the relaxed environment at his placement, teaching secondary English.

"I loved the way the school day was set up, with classes rotating from day to day, and two tea breaks instead of a lunch," he said. "Many students walked around campus between classes playing a ukulele, a guitar, or some other form of instrument. Everything was much more laid back and relaxed, which created a great learning environment."

All three student teachers lived with host families, building personal connections, Keck said. He also enjoyed visiting several public and private schools.

He noted that New Zealand is the outdoor sports capitol of the world, and they enjoyed visiting the beach, attending rugby matches, and two weeks of backpacking the country's south island.

Williams said the scenery was awe-inspiring.

"We went from town to town, staying at hostels, and meeting people from all over the world," he said. "We saw the most amazing landscaping in the world. I have no idea how many times we were driving around, and I caught myself saying, 'Wow.'"

He recommends the overseas teaching experience to other future teachers.

"There are not many things you can do that will give you the chance to grow as a person than living for an extended period of time in a foreign country," he said. "Studying overseas is such a valuable experience, and not just for the credits you earn, or what you learn. It's much more about what you get from the trip on a personal level. It can truly be a life-changing experience."

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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KOKOMO, Ind. — As Kelli Martin prepares a flower for pressing, she's not just creating art — she's learning about plant biology and life cycles.

Summer Flowering Plant ClassNicole Blas prepares a flower pressing. See more pictures on Flickr.

Martin, from Carmel, is one of the students in the summer flowering plants class at Indiana University Kokomo. It is a popular science option, especially among non-science majors, and the class filled quickly when registration began in the fall. Carrie Kinsey, biology lab supervisor, opened a second section of the class to accommodate the demand.

Each student presses at least 10 plants to present, creating museum quality displays with cards detailing the type of flower it is, and where it was found. In class, they practice technique with grocery story flowers, preparing them to press flowers they find on their own, as part of the fieldwork requirement.

"Flower pressing is a kind of folk art, a lost art," said Kinsey. "This class teaches plant science and life cycles, but we'll also learn some history and cultural significance of the various flowers."

In addition to their pressed flowers, students also will photograph at least 40 flowers, and complete at least 10 flower drawings.

Martin lays one stem on blotter paper, using scissors to remove a few extra leaves, and turning the blossoms for the best effect. Gently, she covers it with blotter paper, then presses down hard with both hands, before placing cardboard over it. She stands on her tiptoes to put all her weight on it, before carrying the bundle over to the class press.

Kinsey helps students load their flowers in layers into the wooden press, and then works with them to tighten the straps around it, creating maximum pressure to flatten the flowers.

Each student takes home a press, to use to press at least 10 flowers during the summer session. Martin looks forward to pressing blossoms from a day lily in her yard. She added the class is her last to complete her degree in communication arts.

"It's real life, everybody loves flowers," she said. "This class gives me a hands-on option to earn a science credit. I'll use the information, it's not just something you memorize and forget. I had no idea there were so many types and varieties of flowers. When I'm driving home, I recognize them along the road now. It's given me a different eye."

For Cash Lamberg, a sophomore business major, the class has helped him with the landscaping job he's held since eighth grade.

"I'm learning about a variety of things I see every day," the Tipton resident said. "I was surprised by how many kinds of wildflowers there are in Indiana. I like it a lot."

Emily Lytle has enjoyed her independent fieldwork, searching for flowers to photograph and draw. Lytle, a psychology major from Kokomo, took her grandfather out near the Kokomo Reservoir to find specimens.

"I was very proud of myself that I was able to identify the flowers we found," she said. "It's a science class, but you're not stuck in the classroom, and when you dissect a flower, there's no blood and guts."

As an elementary education major, Nicole Blas, Merrillville, is excited to use some of what she's learned in her classroom.

"I can definitely use the knowledge I'm gaining in this class to teach science concepts," she said. "I like to look at plants, but I've never done anything with flowers. This is a new experience for me."

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.