Indiana University Kokomo

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KOKOMO, Ind. — Come be amazed by the skill and agility of the Chinese Acrobats, and learn about their culture, as they perform at Indiana University Kokomo.

Acrobat3-500The Chinese Acrobats. (Photo provided by the Chinese Acrobats.)

The acrobats take the stage at 6 p.m. Monday, April 7, in Havens Auditorium, for a free performance.

The multicultural show includes contortions, foot juggling, plate spinning, Chinese yo-yo, and group acrobatics, along with a lesson about Chinese culture and customs.

"When you watch something like this on television, you don't get to ask questions," said Maria Ahmad, coordinator of student life and campus diversity. "This is a really fun performance, not just to see the acrobats, but to listen to them talk about their culture. You can ask questions about how they became acrobats, and learn about their training. It's entertaining, and educational at the same time."

The show, sponsored by Cougar Advocates for Diversity and the Office of Diversity, is open to the public. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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KOKOMO, Ind. — Stickers are the currency of pediatric medical treatment.

Kokomo Schools Head Start Health FairKokomo Schools Head Start Health Fair

That is just one of the lessons Indiana University Kokomo nursing student Staci Veverka learned as a volunteer at the Kokomo Schools Head Start Health Fair.

Veverka and 19 of her classmates in the community health nursing class took temperatures and blood pressures, measured heights and weights, assisted with dental exams, and listened to heart beats of hundreds of three, four- and five-year-olds, preparing them to attend the free preschool program at Darrough Chapel Early Learning Center in the fall. They also gave out lots of stickers, rewarding the children for participating in the examinations.

Not only did they gain practice with pediatric patients, but also they used their nursing skills to serve their community.

"Being part of the community, that's what nursing is all about," said Veverka, an Urbana resident.

Nursing goes beyond patient care in the hospital, and this class teaches that, said Joyce Hollingsworth, lecturer in nursing.

"We try to give them a 360-degree view of what a nurse does in a community setting, not just bedside," she said. "They don't get a lot of opportunities to work with pediatric patients in hospitals, so this is also a chance to learn about how working with children is different than adults."

Tiffany Ploughe speaks softly to one reluctant little girl, who sobs when it is time to have her temperature taken. The child buries her face in her mother's shoulder, and Ploughe gently places the thermometer in her ear and quickly reads her temperature, before rewarding her with a sticker.

"They're more apprehensive than an adult would be, so you just can't say you're going to stick the thermometer in their ears," she said. "You have to say you're going to touch their ears. The sticker helps. As long as I stay calm, that helps too."

Cari Cochran worked in childcare for 15 years, but providing medical care for children is a different experience.

"You have to communicate differently with them," she said, like telling a child you are going to hug his arm when taking his blood pressure.

Those techniques help keep the children calm for treatment, said Shane Vore, who helped with dental exams.

"Going to the dentist can be stressful for a kid," he said. "We wouldn't usually have a clinical rotation with a dentist, so this has been a good experience for us, too."

The Health Fair helps Head Start parents comply with health care requirements to be part of the program, so the student nurses' help is greatly appreciated, according to Director Julie Worland.

"We love partnering with IU Kokomo to have their nursing student help us, and they gain experience in the field," she said. "We couldn't do this, and offer it for free, without our community partners."

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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KOKOMO, Ind. — Kathleen Ligocki sets an example of what a woman with an Indiana University Kokomo degree can accomplish, with determination.

ligocki-IMG_5058Kathleen Ligocki, CEO of Harvest Power

Ligocki, B.A. '78, is now a leader in the green energy industry, in her newest job as CEO of Harvest Power. She looks forward to applying her knowledge and skills to a company working to provide sustainable energy.

Prior to this position, she's been a trailblazer in the automotive industry, moving up the ranks first at General Motors, and then at Ford Motor Company where she was a vice president. She's been a CEO for Tower Automotive, GS Motors, and Next Autoworks as well, before becoming an operating partner with Kleiner Perkins Caulfield and Byers.

"I really love the mission of Harvest Power," Ligocki said. "It's trying to solve one of society's big issues. The idea that we owe society a sustainable future is something I believe. As I get older, I feel it is our responsibility to leave a better world for the next generation."

She sees tremendous opportunities available to recycle organic waste into clean energy and products, with the increased awareness of alternatives to dumping it in landfills.

The company uses anaerobic digestion to convert organic waste, such as discarded food and yard trimmings, into mulches and fertilizers, and also captures and sells energy created during the process.

"We're coming full circle, taking the discards of society and creating value out of it, converting energy back to the grid, and really nourishing our soils," Ligocki said. "What would take weeks and weeks to compost if you threw it in your back yard, now takes about a week. "

Harvest Power, founded five years ago, employs more than 600 people at nearly 40 sites, has built and operates three Energy Garden anaerobic digesters, processes more than two million tons of organic wastes per year, sells 33 million bags of soil and mulches across North America, and produces and markets millions of cubic yards of compost based soil, mulches, and natural fertilizers.

Ligocki, a Kokomo native, replaces company founder Paul Sellew, who now serves as executive chairman of the board. He said Ligocki has the skills to lead the company into the next phase of its growth plan.

"Kathleen Ligocki brings the right combination of bold strategic insight, broad operational expertise across a number of industry sectors, and financial acumen that will propel Harvest to the next level," he said. "I am pleased and excited by the prospect of working with her."

Ligocki is a long-time supporter of IU Kokomo, especially of its overseas study programs. She founded the Kathleen Ligocki International Travel Studies Travel Program in 2008, which provides financial assistance for students to participate in travel experiences. She is a member of the IU Kokomo Alumni Association Hall of Fame, received an honorary degree from the campus in 2002, and serves on the IU Foundation Board.

"Kathy provides IU Kokomo students an excellent example of what they can accomplish with a degree from our campus," said Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke. "She continues to excel and lead in her field, while giving back to our students. Her generous contributions to our student international travel scholarship fund and the Milt and Jean Cole Family Fitness and Wellness Center impact our students every day. We extend our congratulations to Kathy on her new appointment."

Ligocki called her self "a huge believer in the regional campuses at IU," based on her experiences at IU Kokomo.

"The relationships you have at a regional campus is more like a family," she said. "I had access to people I would have seen from afar on a big campus. I was never taught by a teaching assistant. I had professors teach all of my classes. They were available to us outside of class. The access I had at IU Kokomo was just tremendous."

In addition to her B.A. in liberal studies from IU Kokomo, Ligocki earned a master's degree in business from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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KOKOMO, Ind. — Indiana University Kokomo students learn from working actors, as the campus hosts Artists in Residence Rob and Jen Johansen.

johannsensArtists in Residence Rob and Jen Johansen.

The actors will be on campus for three days, starting Tuesday, March 25, leading a stage combat workshop, meeting with a humanities class and a Freshman Learning Community, and discussing plays with the "Conversations with Shakespeare," class. Their residency concludes with a performance at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 27, in Kresge Auditorium. It is free and open to the public.

The Artists in Residence program gives students a chance to meet people working successfully in an artistic field, to ask questions and get an idea of what it takes to work in those professions, said Joann Kaiser, lecturer in communication arts.

"Rob and Jen are so approachable, and love being on our campus and working with students," she said. "This is a great opportunity for students to understand the discipline and training that goes into professional acting. Students benefit from the workshops and conversations about performance and literature."

The Johansens, who have appeared in many lead roles at the Indiana Repertory Theatre, previously were artists in residence at IU Kokomo in 2012. They've been friends of the campus since the 2011 Commencement, in which Jen Johansen's stepfather, Bill Hunt, received an honorary degree.

Rob Johansen has been a professional actor for 18 years, and a fight choreographer for 15 years. He has choreographed fights in more than 20 productions of Romeo and Juliet, and has played Bob Cratchit in A Christmas Carol 12 times. Jen Johansen has been a professional actor for 10 years, winning a leading actress award in Cincinnati for her performance in Time Stands Still. In 2011 she was awarded a Creative Renewal Fellowship, which allowed her to travel to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London for a month-long Shakespeare Intensive Training.

Together, they are co-artistic directors for ShadowApe Theatre Company, which prides itself on innovative theatrical work. This summer, they are producing a new piece for the IndyFringe Theatre Festival.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.