Indiana University Kokomo

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KOKOMO, Ind. — Persistence pays off for Indiana University Kokomo senior Samantha Thieke, who recently began her first broadcast journalism job, as a reporter for WLFI-TV, the CBS affiliate in West Lafayette.

Samantha ThiekeSamantha Thieke"Now I have a career I'm proud of, and it makes me grateful I came to IU Kokomo, to get a college degree in my home town," she said. "I'm able to do what I want to do with my life, on my own terms. It's pretty neat to have a job, even before I graduate."

Her official title is multiplatform journalist, which she describes as "kind of a one-man band thing." Thieke shoots and edits her own video, writes her stories, and posts them on the station's website, along with reporting on the air.

"Most of the time, it's just me working by myself," she said. "That's the way the industry is shifting."

She is grateful for the opportunities she had on campus, including participating in Cougar News and leadership courses.

"I had thought because there wasn't a broadcast degree here, that I wouldn't be able to have a career in that field, but that's not necessarily true," she said. "It is more than possible to achieve your career goals with a general studies degree, and I am a walking example of that. IU Kokomo allowed me to earn a college degree in my hometown, where I had family to help me. I owe a lot to this school."

Thieke, 25, caught the news bug in high school, taking broadcasting classes at the Kokomo Area Career School, along with dual credit classes at IU Kokomo. She planned to take prerequisite classes on campus, and then transfer to a college with a broadcast journalism program, after she graduated from Eastern High School.

Her plans changed drastically, though, when she became a mother at age 20.

"Life happened," she said. "I put what I wanted to do on the back burner. I needed to stay in Kokomo, where I had family to help me take care of my son while I worked and went to school. I do feel like people who thought I had potential wrote me off as a statistic at that point, That's what kept me motivated to keep going towards my degree."

Setting an example for her son, Gabe, who is now 5, also motivates her.

"I want him to see that no matter what obstacles you face in your life, you can overcome them," she said. "When you have a child, your life is not about you anymore, but you do have to keep improving yourself, to make a better life for your child. I want him to be proud of me."

She took a few classes at a time, as they fit around her schedule with work and family obligations. Her journalism dreams seemed out of reach, though, with no broadcasting program.

A confidence boost from a significant weight loss pushed her to see how she could use her general studies degree to become a television reporter.

"I decided it was time to enroll full time, finish my degree, and get on with my career," she said."

She pursued internship opportunities, and beat out candidates from broadcast degree programs to earn one at WRTV 6, the ABC affiliate in Indianapolis. That experience confirmed her career choice, so she looked for another internship. This time, she garnered an opportunity at WLFI.

With graduation approaching, she started to worry about having to move far away to get a job. Her husband, Brandon, was willing to move, but she hoped to stay close to family.

"I just prayed God would open a door for us," she said.

Her opportunity came five weeks into her internship, when Thieke's supervisor encouraged her to apply for a full time opening at the station. She was both surprised and thrilled when she was offered the job. One of the requirements is that she lives in Tippecanoe County, so her family will move after she graduates.

Thieke is glad to see the finish line is sight for her college education, and has no regrets about the path she took to achieve her goal.

"Because of the way things happened, I feel I was able to grow and mature," she said. "I'm really proud of what I've done. It's taken me a little longer, but I'm going to have my degree, and I've started my dream career."

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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KOKOMO, Ind. — The new fitness center at Indiana University Kokomo is much more than an exercise gym — it's also a place to build mental muscle and career skills.

IUKL0523Dave Hancock instructs his exercise science class.

Rachel Pace, a senior exercise and sports science major, said using the center's resources will make her more marketable.

"Having class in the fitness center lets us go out and apply what we're learning in the classroom, with real experiences," Pace said. "I'm going to be a better coach and trainer because of this opportunity."

David Hancock, assistant professor of health sciences, teaches class in the Cole Fitness Center, using a classroom tailor-made to enhance the campus's allied health programs. Students use the center itself as their laboratory, where they experience what they learn from books, lectures, and other activities.

"We can teach these classes in a regular classroom, but when we try some of the exercises, we would have to move outside," he said. "Now, we can just go into the fitness center, or use one of the group instruction rooms."

John Hughey, chairperson of the Division of Allied Health Sciences, said in addition to providing health and wellness benefits, the fitness center will impact students academically.

"Our idea is to conduct all of our health, exercise, nutrition, and sports-related courses in a place that provides students with a continual reminder of these themes," he said. "We were able to expand our course offerings, and our faculty can demonstrate different aspects of a subject immediately after classroom discussion. It also gives our student holistic connections with their subject material."

On a particular day, Hancock's introduction to exercise science students learn about how high intensity interval training can enhance mood, as part of a study of what a sports psychologist might do.

In the group fitness instruction room, he leads them through an exercise program designed for elementary school children. The students, dressed in fitness clothes, stretch up and then down, run in place, jump and squat, and do scissors jumps. Then, they return to their classroom to fill out a mood assessment questionnaire.

"This could be done in a regular classroom with children, but for bigger bodies, it's not as effective in that kind of space," Hancock said. "We're out in the fitness center all the time."

Matthew Sturgch, a freshman health sciences major, plans to be a physical education teacher, and maybe a strength and conditioning coach for college and professional athletes.

"It's a big plus to have this fitness center, and to have our classes in it," he said. "It helps us study and gets us more involved with our learning."

Warren Sims, a freshman sports and exercise science major from Kokomo, said having class in the fitness center will help him learn better.

"You can actually have hands-on experience, rather than reading about it in a book," he said. "It gives you a chance to try things, to be sure that sports and exercise is really what you want to do."

Hancock noted that the classroom also is a good place for group activities, with tables and chairs on wheels that can be moved around, and tables that easily tilt up to go in the storage area. His sports psychology class has already moved the tables out to try progressive relaxation techniques, when they needed room to be on the floor.

"They've pretty much thought of everything when designing this room," Hancock said.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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KOKOMO, Ind. — Indiana University Kokomo celebrated the end of the second annual Homecoming festivities with a men's basketball victory and a trailer full of tornado relief supplies.

Men's Basketball vs Point Park UniversityKingston pumps the crowd up during the game. See more photos.Donations were overflowing to help victims of the November 17 tornadoes that devastated parts of Kokomo. Cheerleaders accepted monetary donations as well, bringing in $1,200 for the United Way of Howard County, which is organizing relief efforts.

The campus appreciates a $500 donation from Community First Bank, given after the student who attempted the half court shot for a scholarship missed.

Interim Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke thanked students, alumni, faculty, staff, and fans for helping the campus give to people affected by the tornadoes.

"I am so proud of the tremendous participation in this effort," she said. "Thank you to everyone for supporting this project. This is a wonderful opportunity to give directly back to our community."

United Way President Abbie Smith was thankful for the donations.

"It's amazing the support and love everyone has shown for Kokomo," she said. "We've been touched by the student support in our community, led by the IU Kokomo students."

A T-shirt exchange during Homecoming week benefitted typhoon relief efforts in the Philippines. Students received a free IU Kokomo shirt by turning in a shirt from another college or university. J.R. Pico, lecturer in Spanish, and Ligaya McGovern, professor of sociology, collected the shirts to send to the Philippines.

For recent graduate Jacob Faust, Homecoming offered a chance to see the new Cougar gym. The former basketball player was the first student athlete to graduate, earning his degree in business in May. He now works for an accounting firm in Indianapolis, and is preparing for his CPA exam.

"It's neat to see the new gym," he said. "I'm glad the team has a place of their own to practice and play. I've been following them, and it's fun to see the progress the program has made in the last few months."

Homecoming Dance on the Red Carpet 2013Homecoming Dance on the Red Carpet. See more photos.Alumni Donna Walden and Stephen Daily, who were both inducted into the IU Kokomo Alumni Association Hall of Fame Saturday, remembered the campus's early days. Both were students when the Main Building was brand new, and was the only campus building. Daily recalled that the parking lot was gravel at the time.

Daily earned a bachelor's degree in education in 1971. He was mayor of Kokomo from 1980 to 1987, and now serves as chancellor of Ivy Tech Community College Region 5.

"For those of us who were there when IU Kokomo first started, today has a good feeling to it," he said. "I'm really proud of what this campus has been able to do."

Walden, who retired as assistant superintendent of Western School Corporation, earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in education at IU Kokomo.

"It's like coming home again," she said. "When I was there, the campus was just one building. I've been so excited about all the changes, especially the sports program. It really brings a lot of culture to the campus. I enjoy the excitement, and seeing everyone enthused about IU Kokomo."

Mary Olk returned for her first Homecoming, after graduating in August. She is currently a graduate student at Ball State.

"IU Kokomo was my home for four years. It's amazing how everything has grown and changed, even just in the last few months," she said. "I was so excited to tour the new Cole Fitness Center, and to see my friends, faculty, and colleagues. I am glad to see the traditions that started while I was here are continuing."

Those traditions include school spirit competitions held during Homecoming week. Student Union Board (SUB) emerged as grand champion, winning the sheet banner competition, tying for second in the flag football tournament, and winning second place in the cell phone video contest. SUB had 100 percent participation in the fast-a-thon, which raised nearly $300 for Kokomo Urban Outreach.

"We're so excited to win," said Sofia Stout, SUB public relations coordinator. "We're all about student life, and building traditions. Hopefully, when we come back as alumni, these traditions will still be part of our campus.

The Enactus business student organizations placed second, followed by Phi Kappa Tau fraternity colony.

Allison Morgan and Charlotte Lowe received the Cougar Spirit Award, based on academic excellence and campus involvement.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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KOKOMO, Ind. – The IU Kokomo Crescendos are ready to rock this Christmas with their annual holiday production of, "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree."

Naughty and Nice by Crescendos and Diminuendos"Our show gets everyone into the spirit of Christmas. We usually have a themed Act 1; this year will be rock, and a stand and sing sacred music for Act 2.  This year will be no different," said Alexander.

"Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" show dates and times are Friday, December 6, at 7 p.m. in IU Kokomo's Havens Auditorium, and Friday, December 13, at 7 p.m. at Peru High School. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and seating will be first come first serve.

All shows performed by the Crescendos are free and are open to the community

The Crescendos are a non-auditioned seasoned show choir of 84 students, alumni and community members. Within the Crescendos is a smaller group called the Diminuendos that are a hand selected a-cappella group.

"This choir shows the community and region that IU Kokomo is always growing and doing great things. It gives students and community members a place to perform and have a great time while building a family," said Alexander.  "Several community members have re-enrolled in school and some high school students have chosen IU Kokomo all due to their involvement in this group.  Also, it keeps alumni connected and proud of their university."

The Crescendos will hold open auditions for their spring musical, "The Producers." Auditions will be January 13 and 14 in the Main Building, Room 148. You do not have to be a member of the Crescendos to audition. Show dates are the first two weekends in May.

For more information, contact Rick Alexander at (765) 210-4000.

Story written by Sofia Stout. Sofia is an intern for the Office of Media and Marketing.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.