Indiana University Kokomo

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KOKOMO, Ind. — More than 300 Indiana University Kokomo students, faculty, staff, and community supporters braved Tuesday evening's rain to take a stand against domestic violence and to show support for its victims.

Take Back the Night/Angel Walk 2013Rain couldn't stop the "Take Back the Night/Angel Walk 2013" See more pictures.

Participants in the 8th annual Take Back the Night/Angel Walk walked a mile, north on Washington Street, wearing rain ponchos and carrying umbrellas, as part of a fund raiser for the Family Service Association of Howard County (FSA) domestic violence shelter.

Interim Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke, who is vice president of the FSA board of directors, said every dollar raised helps keep the shelter open, to provide a safe place for victims and their children to get help.

"I know we must give back, to help the most vulnerable in this community," Sciame-Giesecke said. "We are passionate and committed to this particular issue on our campus."

The event, sponsored by the IU Kokomo American Democracy Project and FSA, began with a rally in Alumni Hall. Students in allied health, humanities and social sciences, business, education, and nursing provided educational presentations about recognizing the signs of abuse, workplace bullying, effects of domestic abuse on young children, and elder abuse, among other topics. They also accepted clothing donations for women at the shelter.

Education student Erica Bennett said as a future elementary school teacher, it is important for her to know the signs of potential abuse, so she can take action to protect her students if necessary.

She did not mind walking in the rain, saying she was inspired by the story shared by domestic violence survivor Christine Smith.

"It was emotional to hear her story," she said. "She is so strong to be able to stand up and tell what happened to her. It makes it more real to hear a personal story, rather than just someone telling you facts."

Smith, from Kokomo, told a harrowing story of physical and verbal abuse by her parents that began when she was a young child.

"I found out in kindergarten that my home life was different," she said. "My home was not a place of security and love. I became an expert at pushing people away, even though I wanted to be loved."

That abuse robbed her of her self-esteem, and made her hesitant to have her own family as an adult.

"I was afraid to be a parent," Smith said. "I made a choice not to be like my parents. I did not carry on that cycle. It stopped with me. You must protect your children. You have the power to step up and break the cycle of violence."

Business students Stephanie Scott, Sarah Parr, Jarron Warner, and Catrina Pearson were among those displaying projects during the rally. They researched gun violence in America's schools for their employment law class.

Scott said it is important for students to learn about all kinds of domestic violence, including about the signs, how to help someone, and how to get help if needed.

"We need to raise awareness, and let people know this problem exists," she said. The more education that is available, the better chance we have to break the cycle of violence."

Barbara Hall, FSA director of development, said the organization would accept donations for the event through May 1. Teams that did not come because of the rain may still turn in their money. Donations may be made at the FSA office, 618 S. Main St., Kokomo.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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KOKOMO, Ind. — Andrew Boehner combined his Android programming skills with his concern for his grandmother's safety to create a fall detection application for smart phones.

Andrew BoehnerAndrew BoehnerBoehner, 24, an informatics student at Indiana University Kokomo, developed his project to improve on current technology. Most fall detection devices require the user to wear a device wrapped around the chest or torso, and do not take advantage of smart phones.

Users of his app wear a watch programmed to send data to the smart phone if he or she falls. The phone then calls emergency responders for help.

"My grandmother's phone has an SOS button on it, but if the phone is on the charger, it's no help to her if she falls," he said. "With my app, it doesn't matter where the phone is, or if she has it in her hands. Her generation of senior citizens is pretty tech savvy, and have smart phones. Most of them are also used to wearing a watch, so this technology will be easy for them to use."

The fall detection app is Boehner's latest creation. He has published a few Android games on Google Play, but said the fall detection app is still in development, not ready for market.

He developed the idea while researching with Gongjun Yan, assistant professor of informatics. Yan encouraged him to apply to present at the 27th National Conference on Undergraduate Research, at University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse. He recently participated in the conference, and his research also was published in the conference journal.

"I was really excited for the opportunity to share my work with other students, and to meet people who are researching in this area," he said. "I am grateful for the chance to research with my professors, and to show what I've learned."

Yan teaches up to date Android programming in his class, and is proud of Boehner's success in this area.

"Overall, Andrew is one of my best students," Yan said. "He is self-motivated and capable. His intensive research has paid off in this prestigious opportunity to present and publish his work."

Boehner, from Tipton, enjoys the programming process, and said working with his professors on these hands-on opportunities has helped him learn more about his potential career field. He plans to study bioinformatics in graduate school after earning his degree from IU Kokomo.

"I hear something in class discussion, and I think about how I can apply it to one of my projects," he said. "I remember more of it when I've actually used what I learned to make something."

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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KOKOMO, Ind. — It's never too early to think about college.

3rd Grade KEY Student VisitA 3rd grade KEY student peers into a microscope.

Indiana University Kokomo recently gave third and fifth graders from Kokomo's Sycamore Elementary School a glimpse of college life, hosting them for a campus visit.

The students looked for microbes in pond water in a science lab, saw how nursing students learn skills in the nursing simulation lab, practiced their Spanish language skills with IU Kokomo students, and ate lunch from the campus' Cougar Country Café.

Gerry Stroman, executive director of the Office of the Chancellor, said the visit encourages the students to excel in school.

"Education is important, and we want them to know what college is about, so they are prepared to succeed," she said. "We want them to continue to be interested in education, and to get a good start in life."

Third-grader Macee Reckard, who plans to be a nurse, enjoyed the science labs, especially using microscopes. Caigen Malone and Jaylen Stroman, also third-graders, want to be NBA basketball stars, but both said they would go to college first.

Malone thought it was important for his class to visit campus "so we can learn what it's like to be in college, and we'll be ready when we're old enough."

Ella Biggs, a third-grader who wants to be a teacher, thought it was important to visit campus "so you know more about what you want to do when you grow up," and especially liked the science labs.

Third-grade teacher Jenny Shaw said the students, who are part of the KEY gifted and talented program, enjoy chances to learn through experience, rather than books. The hands-on lab work was just the kind of thing that appeals to them.

"This offers a great chance to get outside our school, and to do the kinds of things we can't do in our classrooms," she said. "This goes with what we've been learning in class, which is great."

Tashona Jones, diversity coordinator, said the visits also are a chance to show students the educational opportunities available to them at IU Kokomo.

"We're exposing them at a young age to what we can offer them here, and getting them excited about going to college when they are older," she said. "They need to think about what they want to do someday as early as possible, and start planning ahead to make that happen. We are happy to share our resources to help."

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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KOKOMO, Ind. – Lindsay Brewer has volunteered for Take Back the Night for the past three years.

Take Back The Night 2012Take Back The Night 2012

Passionate for fundraising, Brewer continues to work hard to raise money to donate to the Family Service Association of Howard County and the domestic violence shelter. Two years ago, she was the top individual fundraiser for Indiana University Kokomo. Last year, Brewer helped the campus sorority Phi Sigma Sigma raise a record-breaking amount of donations.

"Raising money for such a wonderful cause comes naturally to me," said Brewer, who serves as philanthropy chair for Phi Sigma Sigma. "I love knowing how many individuals benefit from the donations that our campus and community raise each year."

The annual Take Back the Night and Angel Walk will kick off with a rally at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 23, in Alumni Hall. The one-mile Angel Walk will begin at 6 p.m., rain or shine.

The rally will kick off with a story from a domestic violence survivor.

"Many people don't realize how prevalent domestic violence is in our community," said Candy Thompson, director of academic projects. "It can be difficult to deal with it personally or to be a support system for others. Hearing a survivor's story is extremely empowering and helpful."

This event hits close to Brewer's heart, as she has listened to one of her sorority sisters speak at a previous event.

"Raising awareness is the only way to help prevent these situations from escalating," Brewer said. "It makes you aware of others' situations and realize how you can help them."

The IU Kokomo American Democracy Project and Family Service Association of Howard County sponsor the event, and money raised goes to the FSA's domestic violence shelter. Last year, nearly $30,000 was raised.

"The FSA provides so many resources to help fix this problem," Thompson said. "You never know who is a victim of domestic violence and your small gifts can go a long way."

In addition to donating money, the FSA accepts donations of goods, supplies, and/or clothing.

Phi Sigma Sigma is continuing their fundraising efforts until the day of the event. They are selling water bottles and wristbands, as well as taking donations for cutout paper hearts that read, "These hands won't hurt." Each one sold will be attached to poster boards, and Phi Sigma Sigma will hold them up during the Angel Walk.

Visit Phi Sigma Sigma Thursday, April 18, Friday, April 19, and Monday, April 22 at their table in the Kelley Student Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. On Tuesday, April 23, their table will be set up from 10 a.m. until the end of the event.

Brewer encourages everyone to attend the event and help out the cause.

"Education is empowering, and we all hope you leave the event empowered to help in whatever way you can."

Participation is free, and you may either walk individually or join a team for the Angel Walk. Prizes will be awarded to the individual and to the team who raises the most money.

IU Kokomo students who wish to join a team should call the Office of Academic Affairs at (765) 455-9406. Community members should call the FSA at (765) 457-9313.

Following the walk, refreshments will be served in Alumni Hall. Student posters will be displayed, awards will be presented, and Gary and Jessica Rhum will provide music.

Take Back the Night is an international rally and march organized within local communities. The event began in Europe as a protest against the fear women felt walking the streets at night. In addition, April is Sexual Assault Awareness month and National Child Abuse Prevention month, which is why the event is held each April.

For additional information regarding Take Back the Night, contact Candy Thompson at or (765) 455-9406.

Story written by Mary Olk. Mary is a student writer in the Office of Media and Marketing.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.