03 July 2012
KOKOMO, Ind. — The Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) at Indiana University Kokomo keeps student Tyler Burke on track.
Burke, a senior from Tipton, credits the program with staying focused on college.
"Being in ROTC gives me motivation to stay to earn my degree, so I can qualify for the military career I want after college," he said. "Because of ROTC, I don't have to have a job outside of school. I can concentrate on being a student and earning my degree."
In addition, ROTC has helped Burke set goals for himself.
"If I wasn't in ROTC, I'd just be coasting. This demands a goal, and accountability toward reaching that goal. I am a better student than I would be without it."
The ROTC program here has experienced phenomenal growth since its inception in 2008 – from two students to nearly 30 expected to enroll this fall semester.
Rob Whittenburg, assistant professor of military science, said the increase is not only good for the campus, but also beneficial to the region as well.
"Our cadets serve their country, either in active duty or in the National Guard or Reserves," Whittenburg said. "Many of them come back to their communities after their military service as experienced leaders. They offer something back to their communities after they have served."
Brady James, a senior from Fairmount, plans to serve as an Army Ranger.
"Being in ROTC pushes us hard. We have to get the best grades possible to get the assignment we want in the military," James said. "This gives me an incentive to do my homework and excel in the classroom and in physical training."
IU Kokomo's corps is part of the Capital Warrior Battalion, based at Indiana University Purdue University at Indianapolis.
Students in the first two years of ROTC focus on leadership development, and have no military service obligation unless they receive ROTC scholarships. Cadets who want to complete the entire four-year program agree to service in the Army, Reserves or National Guard after graduation. They may earn scholarships and stipends for living expenses, books, and fees.
Junior year cadets begin leading platoon-level operations, including evaluating other cadets and providing feedback to corps leadership. At the end of the year, juniors may qualify to attend a five-week leadership development course at Fort Lewis, Wash.
Seniors learn battalion-level operations, paired with a mentor currently serving in that position.
Whittenburg said ROTC gradually builds on what cadets have learned, "so they develop confidence in their own leadership ability. The real-time, practical feedback throughout the year really helps them."
Cadets graduate as commissioned second lieutenants, and may compete for an active duty appointment or serve in the National Guard or Army Reserves.
Whittenburg said with approximately 7,000 cadets graduating each year, competition is fierce for active duty jobs.
"It used to be if you wanted active duty, you could serve active duty," he said. "Now they are ranked based on merit and have to compete for those jobs. It is a great incentive for cadets to excel, both in the classroom and in physical training."
James encouraged other students to consider joining ROTC.
"It is a huge experience. You learn how to be a leader and how to work with all kinds of people. It sets you up for a career out of college, and it opens doors for you. With the military, you have a job when you graduate. Not many students can say that."
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.
03 July 2012
KOKOMO, Ind. — Jennifer Rozzi made a crucial decision about the future of her family business, with help from Indiana University Kokomo students.
As vice president and co-owner of Rozzi's Catering, which her parents started as a neighborhood grocery store more than 35 years ago, she had to determine the company's future direction.
Rozzi enlisted the help of IU Kokomo's Master of Business Administration students to analyze all her options, which included building or buying a banquet hall, developing products for mass-market sales, or opening a restaurant.
She used the analysis to build a business plan, which helped her get approval from her bank to buy the Continental Ballroom in Kokomo.
"The students determined that was the best plan, and it turned out to be the right decision," she said. "Adding the Continental Ballroom gave us exposure to the community, which helped us maintain our business through the economic slump."
She now recommends the free program to other area entrepreneurs.
"This is what our community needs to stay on top of economic development, to encourage growth and bring in a new generation of business-minded people and keep them here," Rozzi said. "We need to connect them with the community and connect the community with them. It's a brilliant program, and it will help the area as it moves forward."
Rozzi said the students she worked with brought new perspective to the business, along with five years of financial projections.
"As they take a look at your business, they see possibilities that maybe you don't see while you're in the midst of your business. I think that helps you to move forward."
Launa Bills, who earned her M.B.A. in May, found working with a local business gave her a chance not only to build on her areas of strength, but also to learn from classmates and their expertise.
"I had no previous business experience. All I had was book learning. This was a chance to use what I had learned in real life, to see how things work with an actual business," Bills said. "I could bring my own strengths to the project, and gain experience in areas where I needed to learn more."
Steve Cox, professor of finance, said the program reflects the current trend of business students having hands-on learning opportunities, and it benefits both the businesses helped and the students doing the work.
"By working with a business, students enhance their technical and personal skill sets, and they also build business contacts in the community," he said. "This will be a welcome addition to the students' résumés. The community benefits as businesses and not-for-profit organizations reap the benefits of the students' work."
The M.B.A. program is accepting applications from established businesses and start ups, entrepreneurs, and governmental and non-profit agencies, to provide teams of students to help transform the region's economy.
Gloria Preece, program director, said the project is now a required element of the MBA program. Faculty members will support the student teams through the projects, which may be completed during multiple semesters.
She said the program fits with Chancellor Michael Harris' campus themes of Academic Excellence and Student Success, Building Relationships and Making Friends, and Transforming the Region.
"We feel this is a great way to share our resources with the community," she said. "Our students also benefit, by using the skills they've learned in the classroom in a real-life situation."
Monty Henderson, business advisor at the Hoosier Heartland Small Business Development Center, is excited about the venture, saying it benefits both the small businesses and the students.
"The students are usually pretty eager to prove themselves and work in a real business. It's rewarding to the owners because they have someone look at their business from an outside point of view. It is a win for both sides."
Preece invites business owners to call her at 765-455-9269 or e-mail email@example.com for information to participate in the M.B.A. program.
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.
02 July 2012
KOKOMO, Ind. — Do you aspire to teach and are ready to switch careers? The Change To Education (C2E) program at Indiana University Kokomo provides this opportunity to anyone with a bachelor's degree to earn a teaching license in less than two years.
This fall semester, the School of Education will launch the C2E, a 24-credit hour plan that leads to teaching licensure in grades 5 through 12, in one of four content areas – math, science, social studies, and English/language arts.
"People who have science and math backgrounds are going to be in demand as teachers," said Paul Paese, dean of the School of Education. "We offer the degree to prepare them to be successful teaching those subjects."
Preparing more teachers in the sciences and math will fill a need in the region, as schools always require high-quality candidates for those areas. Paese soon expects the same demand for secondary teachers in other subjects as the baby boomer generation of educators begin to retire.
The program consists of two semesters, plus a summer session, of education-related coursework, which will be delivered in seminar format and online. This is followed by one semester of student teaching.
"We focus on essential teaching skills, such as development, curriculum, instruction, assessment and professionalism," Paese said.
Classes will be conducted later in the day, and many will combine online and classroom learning so students can continue to work. Field experiences may be accomplished by paid substitute teaching in one of the 25 school corporations associated with the School of Education's Center for Educational Partnership (CEP).
"Oftentimes being a reliable, prepared substitute provides you a foot in the door when you earn your degree and are ready to look for a job," he said. "Principals already know you and how effective you are in the classroom. This would be a great opportunity for our students."
Shirley Aamidor, associate dean, said school principals and other leaders may encourage volunteers and substitute teachers to enroll in this program, to earn certification.
"Principals probably know many talented substitute teachers who have bachelor's degrees, but no teaching certification," Aamidor said. "This will give them the opportunity to advance in their careers, while providing excellent teachers to our schools."
For more information about requirements to enroll, contact Aamidor at 765-455-9296 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.
25 June 2012
Suitcases in hand, a cedar chest, and just enough money for a down payment on a 1955 Chevrolet, Milt and Jean Cole, two young kids, left their southern roots to begin their lives on a journey that has been filled with an enormous amount of hard work, lots of love, major success, and many, many blessings.
Their journey began in 1956 when newly married, they traveled north to Logansport, Indiana so Milt could work as a lumber inspector for John I. Shafer Company. Leaving all their family and major support in Tennessee to venture to a new community was difficult, but Logansport opened their hearts and arms and became a community they have absolutely adored their entire lives.
At an early age, both felt they had a "purpose" for their lives. With stark differences in their personalities, Milt, being gifted with numbers and figures, has a strong work ethic, and positive attitude. Jean, filled with creative ideas, boundless energy, is always willing to say "yes" to no matter how hard the work was or what door it opened. Both began developing a common philosophy. Even at a very young age, they found by giving in some way, sharing with others, and caring, they were able to find the greatest joys, biggest rewards, and most successes.
For Milt and Jean, giving is a way of life. Recalling some advice he took when he first arrived in Logansport, "I learned from my boss, John I. Shafer, and others a long time ago, that even with the best intentions in the world, you cannot give from an empty barrel," Milt replied. "I knew I had to achieve it, to give it." Jean on the other hand, credits her parents for making a huge impression on her when she was very young. " We were always cooking food, tending to the sick, or giving to families in need," Jean reflects fondly, "It was just second nature for them.
"I often prayed as a youngster to be able to make someone happy the way my parents had always done for others."
As they raised a family, some of their fondest memories were on Indian Creek Road. Managing the lumberyard and building a new home in the evenings and weekends, didn't leave a lot of time for recreation. Learning to balance both work and play were difficult lessons they learned, but necessary. Laughing, Jean confides, "I really do believe in hard work, it has made us the way we are today. But...I like to work hard, so that I can play hard."
"For me," Jean continues, "you have to have balance, if you work all the time, you can't daydream about what you want to do in your life, and if you have time to play or daydream, then ideas will come."
Crediting Milt's work ethic for getting ahead and putting every dollar away, they were always creatively thinking of ways to "stretch a dollar".
"We were always on a tight budget," Jean remembered. "On Sundays, everyone would have leftovers, and all the neighborhood adults would gather around a bonfire and share their leftovers while the kids chased fireflies in the dark."
Wanting to attend church and only knowing a handful of people when they first arrived, Milt's boss invited them to service at his church. Quickly they began meeting new people and started their journey toward getting involved in their community, as well as giving of their time and resources.
Striving to give in ways they could, they thought "getting involved" was key. "You only win by doing these things." Milt replied. "The giver is the receiver, and we just wanted our community to be the best it could be."
Traveling for the lumberyard took them to almost every state and continent in the world. This, however, opened their eyes to how special it was living in the state of Indiana. Especially, how wonderful their community became and is to them. "There is no better place I'd rather live than Indiana, primarily, north central Indiana," Milt concludes.
Loving the land and always wanting to see it grow and prosper, they decided to branch out into farming in the late '60s and early '70s. Never being afraid of work during these years, Milt and Jean began to build their second home, as well as develop and run a Christmas tree farm.
By the 1980's, Milt had been managing the lumberyard successfully for years. In 1986, they decided to buy the company. Following their own paths and philosophies, each dealt with their own set backs, fought fears, and even sustained failures. But through prayer, faith, determination, and a positive attitude, together they were able to overcome many of their obstacles and intertwine them toward a journey to success.
"Don't be afraid to say yes when asked," Jean interjects. "By just saying yes when asked, whether it be to lend a hand, join a committee, plant some flowers, be on a board, or even help someone in financial need, it not only opens other doors for you to meet and know more people in the community, but it also helps you grow as a person."
Having read words written by Charles Swindoll titled, "Attitude", Milt eagerly credits this for part of his philosophy. Charles Swindoll states, "....The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have and that is our attitude...I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you...we are in charge of our Attitudes."
"You can apply this to everything you do," Milt states.
Like many, they were tested over the years. Some trials and challenges were small, and some big, but through it all they both believe as if they have been blessed.
Knowing that God has a purpose for her and praying for just about everything that has happened in her life, Jean asserts, "sometimes God answered and sometimes he did not." She contends, "eventually you will find your gifts by doing things, saying yes, and working hard." At age 75, still having the desire to learn new things and take on more projects to help her community, she attests, "you will not find any true enjoyment of your life until you give back."
Feeling God has blessed him as well, Milt concludes, "there is no greater reward than to help someone in need."
Having more than a suitcase in hand, and a few dollars in their pockets 56 years later, Milt and Jean realize their blessing and are truly grateful for family and the power of love.
Striving to live life passionately and successfully to date, Milt and Jean mutually agree that there is no greater feeling than to give.
Story written by Carmella Cole
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