Indiana University Kokomo

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KOKOMO, Ind. — Just below the three stars that form the belt on the constellation Orion lays a nebula described as a "stellar nursery," the birthplace of thousands of stars.

Campus in snowObservatory in snow.You can get an up close look at the Orion nebula, as well as other stars and planets, at the Indiana University Kokomo Observatory open house, from 7 to 10 p.m. Sunday, February 9.

Patrick Motl, assistant professor of physics, will begin the open house by sharing highlights from the 223rd meeting of the American Astronomical Society, before beginning observations in the newly renovated dome, weather permitting.

"For viewing, we will have Jupiter, the Orion Nebula, and other highlights from the winter hexagon," he said. "The moon will be bright as well, in a waxing gibbous phase," meaning it will be about half lighted, but not quite full.

A nebula is a cloud of interstellar gas and dust. The Orion Nebula is unique, as it can be seen without a telescope or binoculars on a dark, moonless night. Most nebulae are difficult to see with just the eye.

Stargazers will be able to view the nebula and other highlights through the Observatory's telescopes, 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. — Sandi Giver's heart for helping those in greatest need takes her to places most people fear to go.

Sandi GiverSandi GiverShe's lived without electricity and water in war-torn Uganda, providing a mother's love to teen girls rebuilding lives shattered by civil war. In the slums of India, she ministered to women forced into prostitution, helping them into dignified employment that allows them to escape poverty.

And she did all of this before her 28th birthday.

"I feel like my life sounds pretty intense to other people," Giver said. "To me, it's simple acts of kindness, and simple things nobody talks about, taking care of populations that are overlooked or people haven't talked about. I have taken extra effort to find them, or it's come across my path, and I've learned more. Anyone can do it, you just have to put the effort towards it."

Her bachelor's degree from Indiana University Kokomo made this possible, she says, teaching her the value of hard work, and providing leadership experiences in student government, Student Union Board, and speech and debate.

She was a full time student and held full time jobs, which let her pay her tuition and living expenses without student loans. After graduating, she was free to seek out the overseas volunteer experiences she dreamed of, rather than having to find a job to pay off college debt.

"I've always wanted to go overseas, and to experience something unlike America, where I could get to know the people, the issues, and how I could successfully empower them," she said. "IU Kokomo made that possible, because I wasn't financially in debt when I graduated."

She's now using her knowledge to prepare future Peace Corps volunteers to be safe while serving overseas, working for the Peace Corps Office of Safety and Security in Washington D.C.

Giver, from Peru, earned a degree in general studies, with a concentration on social and behavioral sciences, in 2008. After graduation, she spent four months in India, with Word Made Flesh, a faith-based organization that helps women escape brothels and find jobs with dignity.

She then served 27 months with the Peace Corps in Uganda, living in a primitive refugee camp, with no electricity. Giver taught life skills, communications, and relationship skills to young women in the camp, and helped many of them cope with post-traumatic stress disorder, from being displaced or abducted during civil war.

"Going to a post conflict zone was so much different, when it came to building trust, and living in the camp," she said. "At the same time, I was able to build relationships with my girls, and with my teachers. I was able to learn more than someone who was in Uganda for two weeks. There were definitely some hardships, but I am thankful for the experience, and the work I was able to do in the community."

In her current job with the Peace Corps, Giver develops procedures, policies, and training to help volunteers reduce their risk of being sexually assaulted, or a crime victim. She also trains and equips staff to respond when a staff member is a crime victim.

"This is my first office job," she said. "Right now, it's good to be where I am, in a cube, outside of the chaos. Now I can step back and work on issues a little less directly. My heart has been, and is still, to work with marginalized people, when they don't have a voice. "

Giver plans to earn a master's degree in social work, preparing to work in community awareness and advocacy. She also would like to go overseas again at some point.

"I want to go when the moment is right," she said. "It might take a little time. I also see the value of working on issues at home, and in America."

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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KOKOMO, Ind. — Indiana University Kokomo recently recognized faculty and staff members for research and service, at the annual spring convocation.

2014 Faculty-Staff Spring ConvocationFaculty and staff recognized at Spring Convocation, 2014.

Dmitriy Chulkov, professor of economics and information management services, received the annual faculty research award, for his research in the economics of investment of new technology, economics of education, and turnover patterns of top management teams.

Interim Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke also presented service awards to several faculty and staff members.

Diane Bever, reference and information services librarian, was honored for 35 years of service. Lynda Narwold, assistant dean in the School of Nursing, was recognized for 30 years.

Sara Deyo, Cheryl Little, Joyce Webb, Sharon Calhoon, and Bridget Whitmore were honored for 25 years of service. Robert Helms, Nicole Houston, and John Sarber received recognition for serving 20 years.

Those commended for 15 years at IU Kokomo were Deb Carlson and Cathy Valcke. Ten-year service award recipients were Zane Barber, Cheryl Currens, Mike Lynch, and Heidi Sebastian. Those receiving five-year service awards were Keith Lindley, Vinny Vincent, and Carlos Zapata.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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KOKOMO, IN – At first glance, senior basketball player Spencer Krhin may seem all about sports. But after peeling back the layers, people will see that Krhin's ambitions reach far beyond the court.

IU Kokomo Cougars vs Indiana Dabney UniversitySpencer Krhin soars for a score.

"I want incoming students to see they can achieve anything they put their mind to, as long as they are willing to dedicate themselves to the cause and work hard for it," said Krhin, 22, of La Fontaine. "I have made the best of my situation and have prospered. I can't think of anything more rewarding than to be an inspiration to somebody."

If not in class, he is studying, playing basketball, or working one of his two jobs. With goals to attend graduate school and open his own private practice for psychology, he does not plan on slowing down.

To prepare himself for his future, Krhin is a member of a psychology research team on campus. In addition, he plans to pursue a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) at IU Kokomo, and then further his education by earning a doctorate.

Rosalyn Davis, clinical assistant professor of psychology, knows that Krhin has all the right qualities to reach his dreams.

"Spencer is successful because he genuinely cares about what he is learning," said Davis. "He is open to being wrong. Even when he was traveling with the team, he went above and beyond to stay on top of his work."

As graduation draws near, Krhin said he would miss IU Kokomo for the communal atmosphere, the small class sizes, and his teammates, who have been like brothers.

Teammate Aaron Knupp appreciates Krhin for his guidance and determination.

"Spencer brings great leadership both on and off the court," Knupp said. "He is ready for any challenge that comes his way."

Krhin acknowledges, however, that he didn't reach this point in life on his own.

"I feel like I owe all of my achievements to my grandmother," he said. "She taught me to work hard for everything and make the best of every situation."

Story written by Alexis Nash. Alexis is an intern in the Office of Media and Marketing.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.