Indiana University Kokomo

AddThis Social Bookmark Button
KOKOMO, Ind. — Indiana University Kokomo's Crescendos show choir will perform for its largest audience ever Saturday, entertaining the crowds at the Circus City Festival Parade in Peru.

IU Kokomo Crescendos at the Haynes Apperson Festival 12IU Kokomo Crescendos

Director Rick Alexander said 50 members of the singing group will sing and dance on a float, as one of more than 350 entries. The parade, billed as the second largest in Indiana, is expected to draw 25,000 people. In addition to musical performers, it includes authentic circus wagons, clowns, calliopes, and wild animals.

"We are thrilled to participate in the Circus Festival Parade," he said. "This is fantastic exposure for the Crescendos, and for the campus. We can demonstrate the great talent our students have, and draw some people to IU Kokomo."

The Crescendos will sing Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" and Fun's "Some Nights."

The parade steps off at 10 a.m. on Main Street in Peru. It is the longest running circus parade in the United States.

Membership in the group is open to students and community members, with no audition. Rehearsals are from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesdays in Havens Auditorium. For more information about the Crescendos, contact Alexander at

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

KOKOMO, Ind. — Joby Renbarger is making his mark on the automotive industry, thanks to a partnership between Indiana University Kokomo and Chrysler Group.

20130610-Chrysler-_MG_2020.jpgInterns at Chrysler.The senior business marketing and management major is one of 11 students chosen for the first large-scale internship program between the company and the campus.

The students are using their skills to provide leadership training, prepare executives for an upcoming audit presentation, develop project tracking programs and communication workshops, and create recruiting videos, among other projects.

Renbarger called the internship "a giant step to completing my future goals," including earning a Master of Business Administration degree after he graduates.

"I wanted this internship because I have heard many great things about Chrysler, and I know this can be the starting point to my future," he said. "I am learning so much here about myself and others. It has been an amazing experience so far, and I am very blessed to have been given this opportunity."

Interim Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke proposed the internship program to Brad Clark, Chrysler Group's general manager of the transmission and casting division. It offers the company specialized resources from IU Kokomo, while providing students real world job experience.

"Our students are receiving invaluable training, while providing a real benefit to Chrysler," she said. "This is a positive program for all involved, and I am proud to offer this opportunity to our students through our partnership."

Lori Hoback, manufacturing planning specialist, said Chrysler focused on its needs in leadership, communication, employee training, and computer skills, when choosing the first interns.

"The students have made a significant impact already," Hoback said. "Our business is growing exponentially, and market demand is driving us to react more quickly. We appreciate the pace Dr. Giesecke is driving in our partnership. I am excited to work with the students this summer, and I look forward to building a long-term relationship with the university in our back yard."

For Mary Olk, who is completing her degree in communication arts this summer, the internship confirmed her career choice in leadership.

"This has been one of the biggest learning opportunities I've ever had, and I'm extremely grateful for it," Olk said. "It has taught me a lot about the real working world, in a global organization. It's affirmed that leadership development is an area I'd like to continue to work in in the future."

Olk is teaching leadership workshops for Chrysler Group executives, and creating self-study programs focusing on the 16 Leadership Behaviors, the criteria by which Chrysler Group employees are evaluated.

"My internship is allowing me to take all the theories and information I've been studying for four years and actively apply them," she said.

Olk also is developing a communication workshop with Renbarger and Jason Chea, and working with Sofia Stout to prepare executives for their upcoming World Class Manufacturing audit presentations.

Chea and Renbarger analyzed the company's leadership program and identified areas where more training is needed. They've also constructed a formal database system for tracking projects.

"The engineers have approved it and are using it and testing it to be sure it's perfect for their needs," Renbarger said. "The goal after this internship is to leave Chrysler with some high-quality materials to use, and to leave our mark. It is very important to all of us to do a great job and make the most of this opportunity."

Stout, a senior communication arts major, said they are helping Chrysler Group achieve its goal of a bronze rating during its upcoming audit by watching and critiquing executives' presentations, and giving suggestions for improvement.

She said the program is a win for the company, the interns, and the community.

"By reaching a bronze level standing, it opens up new business for the Kokomo area plants," she said. "That provides opportunities for expansion and new jobs."

They also are writing a "book of knowledge," which can be used for presentation training in the future.

Stout appreciates the chance to put the skills she has learned on campus to work in a real-world application.

"I love my job," she said. "Public speaking is not an easy thing to do. If I can help these executives feel more comfortable and prepared while standing behind the podium that is enough satisfaction for me. Helping others, and especially helping people communicate to reach a team goal is what drives me to work hard and to do well. It's nice to know my work is appreciated and wanted. I cannot be more thankful for this opportunity to learn and grow."

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

KOKOMO, Ind.  — When Serina Perry is a teacher, she will be able to empathize with any student who is new to the country, doesn't speak English, and doesn't understand the culture.

South KoreaNursing studentsAs a nurse, Crystal Jones will be able to treat her patients with sensitivity, understanding their cultural needs, in addition to their medical needs.

Both students experienced what it is like to be in a place where they did not understand the language and culture, as part of Indiana University Kokomo's overseas study programs in South Korea this summer.

Perry, an elementary and special education major from Delphi, wanted to travel after taking a multicultural education class.

"We were challenged to look within ourselves and find our prejudices, and get rid of them, so we have equity for children of all backgrounds in our classrooms," she said. "After traveling to South Korea, I now know, understand, and empathize with children in my classroom who do not understand the language, and who don't understand the culture, because I've had that experience too."

She looks forward to sharing her Korean experience when she student teaches this fall. She bought souvenirs and books to share with the children, and is working on a teaching unit to incorporate some of what she learned. She would also like to establish a pen pal program between children she met during her travels and her students.

"Our children will have to be prepared to interact with people around the world, because of how technology brings us closer together," she said. "We have to broaden their worldviews."

The six education students toured cultural and historical sites and visited Sungshin University. A highlight of the trip was a day at Sungshin Elementary, where they enjoyed lunch in classrooms with students and taught an English lesson.

"The teachers and the students were very welcoming and receptive to us," Perry said. "The children loved practicing their English with us. They were very well-behaved, and were eager to hear about America."

Associate Dean Shirley Aamidor said students gained insight into what it is like to live with a hostile neighbor during a trip to the demilitarized zone separating South Korea from North Korea.

"At one point, one group of students was standing in North Korea, while the other group was in South Korea," she said. "Students gained a greater understanding of the challenges South Koreans face on a day to day basis."

They also visited street markets and ate South Korean food. Perry was surprised to find she liked the food, though she probably would not have tried squid or octopus if offered at home.

"It was unusual, but surprisingly good," she said, adding that a lot of it was very spicy.

Holly Manns, an elementary education major from Macy, also was surprised that she liked the Korean food, and had hoped to expand her worldview by going to Korea.

"This experience allows me to bring a different culture into my classroom," she said. "It also prepares me to teach children from different cultures. I have a different perspective now, and I can't wait to share it."

She also has the travel bug, she said.

"I'm more open than I was, now that I've experienced something other than my small hometown," she said. "I think it takes getting on the plane that first time to make you want to go again."

South KoreaEducation studentsAamidor, who will spend the fall semester teaching at Sungshin University in South Korea, called the trip a once in a lifetime opportunity for the students.

"We had access to places and people that most tourists never experience," she said.

While this was the first trip to South Korea for the School of Education, the School of Nursing pioneered the campus' overseas travel programs, with Dean Linda Wallace starting a faculty exchange in 2000. Nearly 30 IU Kokomo students have visited since 2003. Dr. Se-Ung Lee, a South Korean businessman and philanthropist, has supported the program for 13 years with grant funding.

Mary Bourke, assistant dean, led the trip, along with three other faculty members. She taught a graduate level class leading up to the trip, about culturally competent health care practices. In addition to cultural experiences, the six students spent time in hospitals and nursing schools.

Bourke said they experienced what life is like for the people who live in South Korea, rather than being tourists, because of IU Kokomo's partnerships there. Visiting lecturer Sung Ja Whang, who is from South Korea, had her sister and other family members lead their tour of Seoul.

"We had a better insight of the cultural significance because of our guides," Bourke said. "We experienced the real culture, and were immersed in it."

Crystal Jones, a Master of Science in Nursing (M.S.N.) student from Marion, was impressed to witness how South Korean hospitals incorporate both eastern and western health practices.

"They don't act like one is better than the other," she said. "They have respect for both of them, and use eastern medicine for chronic conditions, and western for emergent care."

She was also surprised by how urban and modern the country is.

"I packed like I did when I went to Africa, and felt like I stepped off the plane in Chicago," she said.

Leigh Swartzendruber, an M.S.N. student from Greentown, enjoyed meeting Korean nursing students.

"We are different in ways, but when you meet them, they're just like us, deep down," she said. "We became like family."

Swartzendruber noted that in South Korea, it is common for family members to stay at the hospital with a patient and perform some of the tasks nurses would do in the United States, and they also bring in their own meals. Because of her experience, she would understand why an Asian patient at her hospital might bring family members along.

"I consider my patients' culture now, when I'm taking care of them," she said. "I'm helping teach other nurses to consider that now, because I've had experience being where I didn't speak the language and didn't know the culture. I'm a better nurse because of this experience."

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

KOKOMO, Ind. — Indiana University Kokomo will celebrate the life and music of Bob Williams, with a birthday memorial and reception at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 17, in Havens Auditorium.

Bob WilliamsBob WilliamsWilliams, a teacher, actor, and musician, was a long-time friend to the campus, and received its Distinguished Service Award in 2008. He and his wife, Pat, used their musical talents to entertain at many campus events, and donated proceeds from his first CD to IU Kokomo. They also contributed to the campus library.

"Bob and Pat always have been here to support IU, and especially the Kokomo campus," said Cathy Valcke, interim vice chancellor for public affairs and advancement. "They've been great friends to us, and Bob will be missed. He was always there when we called upon him."

Williams was born July 17, 1934, in Warsaw, and died June 24, 2013, at IU Health Hospice House in Bloomington. He earned a bachelor's degree in piano from IU's Jacobs School of Music, and later earned a master's degree. He was the long-time accompanist for IU's Singing Hoosiers.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.