Indiana University Kokomo

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Kokomo, Ind. – Jared Lawrence and Aaron Knupp are no strangers to being teammates.

Student AthletesStudent athletes, Aaron Knupp and Jared Lawrence

The basketball players, both juniors at Indiana University Kokomo, reunited on the court after four years at Blue River Valley High School, in New Castle, Ind.

The pair started their careers on the club team two years ago, and has since seen the Cougars join the NAIA and then become members of the KIAC (Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.) Together, they have helped IU Kokomo reach many firsts, including its first NAIA win against Judson University.

This season, they will lead the team in competition against conference members and vie for a conference championship.

"This year we have the one goal we have all been waiting for the chance to win a conference and make it to the NAIA tournament," said Lawrence. "We have been talking about being a part of a conference and working to win a championship since day one and now have that opportunity."

Off the court, Lawrence and Knupp are models of student athletes for IU Kokomo athletics. Both have set a high standard for what it means to be a Cougar student-athlete with their work on campus, attending campus and athletic events, participating in community events, and working hard in the classroom.

The impact of the character of these two students have on the team, school, and community since the beginning of the basketball program has Jace Thompson, head basketball coach, wondering how he will fill the void once they graduate.

"It's two years away and I've already started worrying about how I could replace these two leaders," said Thompson. "For a coach, these two make the job look easy and make me look good. Our program couldn't be any more proud to have two high school teammates come to us and lead this program.

"I'm looking forward to them finally being upper classmen but worry about the day they are gone."

Lawrence, a business marketing major, and Knupp, a health science major, are not only committed to being champions on the court, but also in the classroom.

"IUK has been great for me academically, and I am looking forward to a degree that says Indiana University," said Knupp. "Wanting to be in the health field, I could not have chosen a better campus known for its great health programs. It has been challenging, but with all the great professors, I have succeeded."

"They have been with us from the beginning of the sports programs, and that says a lot. They believed in the program and in their coach," said Dean of Students Sarah Sarber. "They saw the opportunity to be part of building a program and establishing a tradition and committed to it."

Now upperclassmen, Lawrence and Knupp still have two seasons to continue to impact and build a legacy for IU Kokomo and its athletic program.

"We are really excited about this season and looking forward to practicing and playing in our new gym," said Lawrence. "These last two years have been a great experience as part of the team and university, and we are looking forward to the next two years."

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana

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KOKOMO, Ind. — Joshua Holley is one step closer to achieving his dream of becoming a doctor.

Joshua HolleyJoshua Holley

His outstanding work as an Indiana University Kokomo nursing student gained him admission to IU's prestigious School of Medicine, where he begins classes in August.

He said IU Kokomo has more than prepared him for medical school.

"My professors taught me how to study," he said. "That's something I didn't learn in high school. They did a great job preparing me to succeed on the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test), too. Knowing how to study and what to look for was hugely helpful. Each of my instructors contributed something."

Holley, from Wabash, previously earned an associate degree in nursing, and worked full time as a nurse while continuing school to earn his bachelor's. He appreciates the outstanding faculty at IU Kokomo.

"Everyone is more than willing to help you with anything, even professors you don't have in class," he said. "They actually know you and are invested in your success."

Holley is just one of IU Kokomo's recent success stories, with many graduates gaining admission to medical, dental, physical therapy, and pharmacy schools after earning their undergraduate degrees.

The campus is making it easier for these students to prepare for graduate success, offering pre-professional scholarships to top applicants, and is now expanding to offer direct-admit scholarships in nursing, education, and business. Each scholarship is worth $2,500, and includes a stipend for overseas study, a laptop computer, and research and mentoring opportunities with faculty, among other benefits.

Sarah McIlrath, from Rossville, said close interaction with faculty and small classes have been a key to her success. She graduated with a degree in biological and physical sciences in May, and earned admission to the physical therapy program at Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Mich.

"You feel like you are part of a family, not just a student ID number," she said. "My physical therapy school application included a recommendation from Dr. Christian Chauret, dean of the School of Sciences. At a larger school, the dean would not have known me well enough to write a letter for me, and I would not have known him well enough to ask."

Like Holley, she feels ready for the rigors of a graduate program.

"My science classes have prepared me for the workload ahead of me," she said. "I studied tough subjects, and I learned to knuckle down and put forth the effort to get the grades I needed to accomplish my goals."

Allen Barton, Rochester, found IU Kokomo from the other side of the world, where he was serving as a missionary. He'd previously earned a degree in youth ministry, but decided, while working in an African orphanage, that he was being called into the medical field.

He hadn't taken science classes while earning his undergraduate degree, so he started looking for a campus near his wife's hometown of Rochester where he could take the classes he needed to get into medical school. He corresponded with Academic Advisor Cathy Barnes, who outlined how he could take the needed classes in two years.

"She made it easy to see what I needed to do," he said.

He was impressed with the individual attention students receive in the small classes at IU Kokomo. Sara Deyo, his chemistry lab supervisor, wrote him a letter of recommendation for medical school, and Marcia Gillette, senior lecturer in chemistry, helped him several times, even though he did not take her class.

"The professors are just as interested in you as a person as they are with you as a student," he said. "They are willing to take that extra step to invest in their students, and want us to succeed."

He finished the classes in May 2012. He had a 4.0 GPA and scored in the top 7 percent on the MCAT, earning admission to the IU School of Medicine in South Bend. He said that was a great accomplishment, as the medical school accepts less than 10 percent of applicants.

"It wasn't easy, but if a 33-year-old guy with three kids, coming out of a ministry background, can accomplish this, so can other IU Kokomo students, if they are willing to make the effort," he said. "The courses offered here, and the professors who invested in me, have prepared me for the rigors of medical school. I'm getting one step closer to the dream I've had for several years."

Students now in professional programs said their IU Kokomo degrees prepared them to succeed.

Christopher Hayes, Marion, is a student in the doctor of dental surgery (D.D.S.) program at the IU School of Dentistry, Indianapolis. He graduated from IU Kokomo in 2011with a degree in business management, while also taking pre-medical classes at IU Kokomo.

"A lot of the information I've learned in dental school I've already had a good background in, especially when we hit anatomy. There were many terms I'd already been exposed to."

The small classes at IU Kokomo meant his professors had plenty of time to be sure he understood concepts.

"If you are in an organic chemistry class with only nine students, you're not competing for information, you're not competing to learn," he said. "If there is a problem, if you don't understand a concept, you can go to a professor and get help. They aren't too busy to help you, and they care that you learn and are prepared."

Amy Wooten, Peru, gained admission to all four physical therapy programs she applied to, including her first choice, at IUPUI. She graduated from IU Kokomo in 2012, with a degree in psychology.

That major made her stand out from other physical therapy candidates, as most studied exercise science or athletic training as undergraduates.

"Psychology is also relevant to rehabilitation, because of all the mental barriers in that area," Wooten said. "I wanted to stand out among all the candidates, and I definitely did."

In addition to her academic transcript, her campus involvement at IU Kokomo helped her distinguish herself from other candidates. Wooten was in the psychology club, the pre-professional club, was a lab assistant, and participated in undergraduate research.

"Academically, you have to work really hard, but you can't just go to school and study," she said. "The PT programs like to see lots of extracurricular activities on your resume, and there were lots of options at IU Kokomo. They like to see an effort in everything you do as an undergraduate, not just in class."

She has successfully completed her first year of physical therapy school, and feels she was well prepared for the program's rigors.

"My first semester was really hard, but I was ready for it," she said. "Now I love it. It's just amazing."

For more information about pre-professional and direct admit scholarship opportunities, contact the Office of Admissions, 765-455-9217, or go to

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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KOKOMO, Ind. — College students on a budget are always looking for ways to make their dollars stretch a little further.

Hunt HallHunt HallAt Indiana University Kokomo, the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid is making it easier for students to find free and low cost resources, by hosting its first-ever Financial Literacy Awareness Community Fair and Festival.

The free event, at 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 31, offers students — and community members — a chance to meet representatives of area non-profit agencies that offer programs and services in the Kokomo area. Students may also win one of five $100 scholarships for the fall semester.

Vinny Vincent, assistant director, organized the fair to show ways people can make the most of their money, particularly while they are in college.

"Financial aid is just one aspect of financial literacy," he said. "As we talk about student loans, we also talk about using our resources as efficiently as possible. Many people don't know about the free and low cost options available to them right here in their own back yard. This is a chance to learn about it, in a fun environment."

In addition to booths for the organizations, which include Project Access, the American Red Cross, Carver Community Center, Habitat for Humanity, and the Family Service Association, there will be free carnival games, food, and prizes

The Financial Literacy Awareness Community Fair will be in Alumni Hall and the Kelley Student Center Commons. Free parking is available on campus.

For more information, call Vincent at 765-455-9451, or e-mail

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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KOKOMO, Ind. — Maria Ahmad discovered her leadership ability, and a passion for multiculturalism, as a college student.

Maria AhmedMaria AhmadShe now wants to help Indiana University Kokomo students find their potential, as the new coordinator of student life and campus diversity.

Ahmad, 23, said she was not involved in high school activities at all, but found her place while she was an undergraduate at Ohio State University.

"I really changed, and learned my potential, and saw what I could do, from being involved on campus," she said. "I want to help IU Kokomo students have that experience. This is a perfect job for me, because I am passionate about diversity."

Sarah Sarber, dean of students, said Ahmad brings "tremendous knowledge and experience" in student activities, leadership development, and diversity programs to the campus.

"We are very fortunate to have Maria joining us at IU Kokomo," she said. "She understands the importance of getting students engaged on campus, and in helping them have a better understanding of the diverse world in which we live."

Ahmad's interest in diversity stems from her childhood in Mansfield, Ohio. Her parents emigrated from India before she was born, and she remembers noticing how she was different from other children at her school. As a college student, though, she grew to embrace how all people have their differences and similarities.

"Everyone has a different story, and we can learn from one another," Ahmad said. "College is the perfect place to have those conversations, and to ask questions and learn from each other."

Ahmad looks forward to working with the IU Kokomo student organizations, and especially would like to grow the multicultural club.

As coordinator of student life and campus diversity, Ahmad is responsible for programming and diversity initiatives, in addition to advising the Student Union Board, Student Athletic and Wellness Board, and the multicultural student organization. She also will work with the admissions and advising offices to recruit and retain students from special populations.

She recently completed a master's degree in adult and higher education, with an emphasis in student affairs, at Northern Illinois University. She also was a graduate assistant in the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership Development, and advised the campus activities board.

Ahmad earned a bachelor's degree in speech and hearing sciences from Ohio State University, where she was involved in student government and the Muslim Student Association. She is currently vice president of the National Muslim Student Association.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.