Indiana University Kokomo

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KOKOMO, Ind. — Learn more about a mission to catch a comet at a free Indiana University Kokomo Observatory Open House Sunday, March 9.

Campus in snowThe Observatory

Patrick Motl, assistant professor of physics, will begin the open house at 8 p.m. with a talk about the European Space Agency's Rosetta mission, which will land a robot on the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko later this year.

NASA contributed instruments and science investigators for the 10-year mission, to learn more about comets. Rosetta will be the first spacecraft to land a robot on a spacecraft, and the first to accompany a comet as it enters our inner solar system.

After the talk, participants may view winter skies through the Observatory's telescopes, weather permitting, until 10 p.m.

"Jupiter will be near a first quarter moon, high in the evening sky for viewing," Motl said. "We continue to enjoy winter skies for this month, including the prominent constellations or Orion and Taurus in the winter hexagon."

The Observatory's telescopes include a six-inch Takahashi refracting telescope and a 16-inch Meade reflecting telescope mounted together. The Takahashi provides exceptionally sharp images of planets, while the Meade allows viewers to see fainter objects in the sky, due to its larger light collecting area.

The open house is free and open to the public in the Observatory, 105 E. Rebecca Lane. Free parking is available on campus.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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KOKOMO, Ind. — Indiana University Kokomo selects Moake Park Group Inc. as the architects to renovate its oldest building into 21st century learning space.

CC0A0318The Main Building

Laura Lucas, assistant architect for research in the University Architect's Office, said the Fort Wayne-based firm was chosen from among five finalists for the job to upgrade the Main Building.

"They showed us what we could do for us, to transform underutilized spaces to the way higher education works today, and to prepare it for how it will work in the future," she said. "The classrooms will fit better for how we are teaching, and how we are going to teach, as opposed to how we used to teach."

Planners expect the project to be completed by fall 2015. Work should start this summer, Lucas said, adding that the biggest challenge is "keeping the building operational while transforming it."

While much of the $14 million project is upgrading infrastructure, such as the heating and cooling system, there will be visible changes to the Main Building, according to Interim Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke.

"From the outside, we want it to represent the new direction of IU Kokomo, becoming a 21st century campus," she said. "This project ensures that the Main Building will support our continued growth, and prepare us to meet the needs of our students well into the future. We are excited to move forward."

Students will benefit from new, modern classrooms, suitable for the technology being used, and for collaborative learning and teaching. They also will enjoy new places to study and meet with classmates.

The Indiana General Assembly approved $14 million for the project in 2013. "We are appreciative of the efforts of our local legislators who supported this project and who continue to be strong advocates of our campus," said Sciame-Giesecke.

The work will be the first major renovations in nearly two decades for the building, which was built in 1965. It was the first building on the South Washington Street campus when IU Kokomo moved from the Seiberling Mansion.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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KOKOMO, Ind. — An Indiana University Kokomo Alumni Association (IUKAA) Scholarship gives Brittany Royer a chance to focus on academics and student activities.

Old Ben 5K Run/WalkOld Ben 5K Run/Walk"I truly value the opportunities this scholarship gives me," she said. "Studying to earn good grades takes a lot of time. This scholarship is a blessing, because it provides time to study, rather than work, and to be involved on campus. I truly value the opportunities this scholarship makes possible."

Local runners can help provide those scholarships, by participating in the annual Old Ben 5K Run/Walk, which steps off at 9 a.m. Saturday, March 8, at Highland Park. Online registration is open through Friday, February 28, at

Greater participation in the last few years means increased scholarships for students like Royer, a senior from Rossville.

"We used to give one $500 scholarship annually," said Ryan Bowman, director of alumni relations and campus ceremonies. "Now we can give five $750 scholarships each year. We appreciate our sponsors and our participants, who make that possible."

Royer maintains a 3.8 GPA and serves as vice president of the Student Alumni Association, and said the scholarship makes those possible.

Student body President Brian Arwood, Peru, also appreciates the support from an IUKAA scholarship.

"The IU Kokomo Alumni Association relieved a tremendous burden, and allowed me to focus on my classes, rather than how I was going to pay for college," he said. "I'm able to devote more time and attention to school, student organizations, and my family."

New to the event this year is Kingston's Kid Run, a one-fifth mile run for children 10 and younger, which starts at 8:30 a.m. Mascot Kingston Cougar plans to be there to encourage the kids in this run, Bowman said.

"The kids' run makes this a fun family event, and also promotes healthy lifestyles," Bowman said. "This starts a great tradition for many local running families to get their children involved while they are young."

The Old Ben 5K Walk/Run is the primary fundraiser for the IUKAA scholarships. Entry is $10 for the kids' run, and $15 for the 5K walk or run. Race day registration begins at 7:30 a.m., and is $20.

First Farmers Bank & Trust is presenting sponsor for the Old Ben 5K Run/Walk. Community Howard Regional Health sponsors Kingston's Kids Run. Additional sponsors are Golitko & Daly, the City of Kokomo, Kokomo Tribune, Hoosier AM/FM Radio Kokomo, and Regions Insurance.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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KOKOMO, Ind. — Indiana University Kokomo took on an international flavor Friday (February 21), hosting an annual educational festival for local sixth graders.

International DayInternational Day. See more pictures on Flickr.

Nearly 170 sixth graders from the International School at Central Middle School, Kokomo, set up displays representing 41 countries, for the annual International Festival. Faculty, staff, and students provided enrichment experiences for the students, including a piñata building workshop.

The festival exposes students to international culture, which is important as technology makes the world smaller, said Donna McLean, assistant professor of communication arts.

"We are pleased to partner with the Kokomo Schools to offer the International Festival," she said. "It is crucial to make students aware of global issues, diversity, geography, and culture, to prepare them to live and work as citizens of the world."

Andralise Blackshear watched the Winter Olympics with more interest than usual this year, as she and her group completed their project on host country Russia.

"Now that I've learned about Russia, I think it would be an interesting place to visit," she said. "I've been enjoying learning more about it on TV during the Olympics."

Her team's exhibit included several collections of matroyska dolls, also known as nesting dolls, in their exhibit featuring Russia. Her teammate David Anderson-Penn especially liked a set representing Russian leaders, from Lenin to Gorbachev.

Alex Bolinger's team chose Tanzania as their country, because his father went there to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. They had several souvenirs brought back from that trip, including several wooden giraffes.

He was amazed to find out that nearly half the population of Tanzania, which is in southeastern Africa, is 15 years or younger.

Ivory Bess, one of his teammates, said it is important to learn other cultures, so you are prepared to travel and interact with people from around the world. She was surprised to learn that in Tanzania, she should never give a thumbs up, because rather than being a sign of approval, it is considered to be an obscene gesture.

"You have to know and understand the culture, so you know how to behave appropriately and get along with people," she said.

She was saddened to read about people rolling poisoned pumpkins into the roads to kill Tanzania's elephants, to take their tusks to sell for the ivory.

During lunch, an international buffet provided by the Cougar Country Café by Rozzi's Catering, IU Kokomo students answered questions about campus life and international study opportunities.

Teacher Mary Page was pleased the students tried and enjoyed international cuisine; including egg drop soup, Rolla vacca, Cuban picadilla with rice, and Moroccan rice pudding.

This is the fifth year IU Kokomo and Central Middle School have partnered to host the event, and every year gets better, she said.

"The cooperation between our schools is great," she said. "Our kids are excited to learn about their countries, and they work hard to create an excellent display to bring to campus. They come here and meet the college students, and learn about all the opportunities available to them, including international travel. This is something we look forward to every year."

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.