Indiana University Kokomo

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KOKOMO, Ind. — Rachel Maples is ready to begin her career after she graduates from Indiana University Kokomo in May. Fellow senior Jonathan Rogers wants a summer job before he starts graduate school in the fall.

IU Kokomo student Stephanie Barnes speaks with a potential employer.An IU Kokomo student speaks with a potential employer.

Both seniors were among the nearly 500 job seekers at the annual Kokomo Area Spring Job Fair, co-sponsored by IU Kokomo and Ivy Tech Community College.

Potential employees filled the Kokomo Event Center Thursday (April 4), dressed in business attire, résumés in hand, ready to meet the 80 employers offering jobs, as well as internships and volunteer opportunities.

A few feature at this year's fair was a workshop on using the LinkedIn business networking website, and also a chance to have a professional picture taken.

Tracy Springer, manager of the Office of Career Services/Disability Services at IU Kokomo, said the fair is an excellent opportunity for students and graduates from both institutions, as well as community members, to meet business representatives who may have opportunities available. It also gives local employers a chance to connect with potential employees all in one place.

"We want our students and alumni to use their degrees in this region after graduating," Springer said. "This fair gives them the chance to see what options are available to them here. It also helps our local business owners find the people who are the right fit for our community."

Rogers, a communication arts major, planned a day of networking, building contacts for future opportunities.

"I plan to talk to the local radio stations and build connections for post graduation work," he said. "I'm excited to see who is here and explore opportunities for summer employment before I start graduate school. My long term goal is to be involved with broadcasting or the entertainment field, so I'm looking for anything to help with that cause."

Maples, who will earn a degree in psychology, was looking for chances to work with teens.

"I would like to work as a case worker to get some experience while I'm going to graduate school," she said. "I'm here to make a good impression with some employers and hopefully use my degree to start my career path."

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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KOKOMO, Ind. – Once Emilee Benge went through her first acting class at Indiana University Kokomo, she knew she wanted to make improvisation a more prominent part of the theatre department.

Homecoming Week Day 3, WednesdaySumAntics performing in the commons.

Her and a group of friends got together and started playing the improvisation games they learned in class. From there, Benge launched it as an official campus organization for her senior project and has seen nothing but success.

On Thursday, April 11, at 7:30 p.m., in Kresge Auditorium, SumAntics will present their spring show, "Throwback Thursday," playing off the three graduating seniors and their final show of the year. The show is free and open to the campus and community. There will be some adult content.

"We want to take you on a ride down memory lane," said Benge, a senior graduating in May. "Embarrassing photos and stories that people don't want seen or told about them will be on display, and we are dressing up like we did when we were kids."

The theme will have little to do with the content, because most of the games will rely on audience participation and interaction. However, SumAntics encourages everyone to come dressed up in their favorite outfits that represent their childhood.

New games will be played, featuring new faces and more audience interaction. Viewers will have an opportunity to write down suggestions of scenes, random nouns, different settings, characters, celebrities, and personalities before the show starts. Once lucky audience member will be the center of attention toward the end of the show.

Sarah Ferenc and Mary Olk will also graduate this May, and accompany Benge in an improv game that will showcase the three of them.

"There's nothing else like this in Kokomo for free," Benge said. "It's quality, live entertainment, relatable, and provides some fun and laughter as we gear up for the end of the semester."

This semester the group has worked extensively on character and story development, in addition to building good rapport between the group members so they are comfortable working together on stage.

SumAntics has been successful this academic year, with putting on two shows and performing at five Visit in Person Days. The group now has 11 members, all coming from different majors. They have integrated more practices in order to master the fundamentals and be able to rehearse the more advanced improvisation games.

Benge is sad to leave the group, but knows that SumAntics will continue to do great things in the future.

"We've worked really hard and accomplished so many goals, and it's weird to think I won't be apart of it for much longer," Benge said. "There is no doubt that the group will continue to thrive because there are so many great people involved."

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

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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KOKOMO, Ind. – Taking law courses at Indiana University Kokomo changed Jordan Slusher's life.

Jordan SlusherJordan Slusher

When he started college four years ago, he had every intention of being a police officer. So as part of his criminal justice curriculum, Slusher took L201 – Intro to Business Law.

He had no clue that this course would be a turning point that took him down a new path.

"This is the most influential course I've ever taken, and what helped guide me to pursue a career in law," said Slusher, a senior preparing to graduate in May with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice and a minor in psychology.

He buckled down, prepared for and applied to law school, and was recently accepted to the Robert McKinney School of Law, located on the IUPUI campus. However, he will be there a little longer than most law students because he will pursue his Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.), too.

"My favorite thing about the law is that it is so dynamic and nothing is black and white," Slusher said. "I can't even begin to explain how excited I am to learn more."

Slusher has spent the last few years working to learn as much as he can. In summer 2011, he received an internship with the Howard County prosecutor's office. He handled criminal prosecution cases, drafted criminal charges and victim letters, and dealt with impact cases. He communicated with victims on the status of their cases and observed trials, hearings, and other court procedures involved with those cases.

"When you're in law school, you learn about the theories and practices," Slusher said. "It will be easier for me to understand the concepts and relate what I'm learning in school to the work I have already done."

His internship at the prosecutor's office landed him an internship, which turned into a part-time job, at Pate Law Office in downtown Kokomo, a private firm that practices personal injury and family law.

"Pate really showed me the ropes with a lot of things I hadn't learned, and to now work there and get a taste of my future career is truly amazing," he said.

Slusher had the opportunity to assist with a discovery, a mutual exchange of legal evidence between the defense and prosecution.

"I got to look at all of the evidence, audio, video, everything," Slusher said. "It was an awesome experience."

In addition, he has the freedom to draft documents, such as motions, petitions, and warrants. Slusher went from working with criminal to civil cases to gain a better understanding of different areas.

"Having knowledge in multiple areas is crucial to my success, and the success of anyone practicing the law."

His work outside of IU Kokomo speaks leaps and bounds about his determination to be successful, but he's no stranger to holding leadership positions and serving the campus. He's previously been involved with Student Union Board and Psychology Club, and is the current president of Alpha Phi Sigma, the national honor society for criminal justice, and vice president of the Criminal Justice Association. Slusher serves as chief justice of the Student Government Association, where he served as a previous senator and senate review committee chair.

"Being involved has made me feel great about being a student at IU Kokomo," he said. "I feel accomplished to know that I volunteered my time and efforts to things that are important to me, met great people, and had fun."

At the end of the day, Slusher enjoys researching different areas of law and different subjects on his own time. The intricacies, exceptions, and rules fascinate him.

"I love it, it's my life, and it's what I want to do," he said.

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

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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KOKOMO, Ind. — Masato Ogawa sees himself as a teacher first, then as a researcher.

Masato Ogawa returns home to Japan.Masato Ogawa is returning home to Japan.

He has built in skills in both areas, teaching social studies education at Indiana University Kokomo for the last eight years. As he returns to his native Japan, where he accepted a job as professor of international education, he said he's learned about people of varied backgrounds from his experience on campus.

"Teaching and research are connected," he said. "I've sought the best teaching practices, and have continually tried to improve my teaching. My experiences have shaped my ideas, and also my research on multiculturalism and internationalism."

His teaching skills have been recognized and rewarded during his career — he was the first recipient of the Chancellor's Diversity Excellence Award, in 2009, and he received the IU Trustees Teaching Award in 2009 and 2011.

Paul Paese, dean of the School of Education, said he has big shoes to fill in replacing Ogawa.

"Dr. Ogawa made significant contributions to IU Kokomo and the School of Education," he said. "He is an outstanding professor, an excellent researcher, and gave great service to the campus. He will be missed, and we wish him the best of luck for his future, and in his new position in Japan."

He noted that Ogawa has presented and published internationally, and brought an international research scholar to IU Kokomo for a year. He also helped prepare Kokomo-Center Schools teachers for the opening of the International School at Central Middle School.

Senior Jordan Ousley, who is student teaching high school social studies, said Ogawa inspired him to go beyond the textbooks to teach his students.

"Dr. Ogawa was the most important instructor I had," he said. "He truly wants us to succeed as teachers. He's had a tremendous influence on many current and future social studies teachers."

He said Ogawa presents criticism in a way designed to build up future teachers, and is willing to help them outside of the classroom.

"He's inspired me not just to teach what is in the textbooks, but to add in bonus materials and extras that will interest my students," he said. "Dr. Ogawa is very encouraging, and tells students the more you know and can share with your class, the better teacher you will be."

Ogawa joined the IU Kokomo faculty in 2005, teaching social studies education for elementary and secondary education majors. He also held leadership positions, including serving as associate director of the Center for Economic Education and director of the Indiana University President's Diversity Initiative summer diversity program, which had the goal of introducing minority students to careers in nursing, business, and education.

His experiences living in the United States prompted his interest in international and multicultural education. He moved to the United States in 1995, to earn his master's degree and Ph.D. in social studies education from the University of Georgia.

He taught Japanese, social studies, and art at high schools in Idaho and Oregon before his career at IU Kokomo.

Ogawa began his new job April 1 at International Pacific University, Okayama, Japan. Its mission is international and global education, and offers a second campus in New Zealand.

Students focus not only on their majors, but also on learning English fluently. Japanese students begin learning English in middle school, but often concentrate on memorizing for a test. Ogawa said he would teach many of his classes in English, to help the students use the language and become comfortable and fluent.

"I want them to learn to use the language in a realistic way," he said. "They need to be able to do more than pass a test. I can share my own experiences with these students."

Moving back to Japan after 18 years was a big decision, he said, especially because his preschool-aged son was born in Carmel, and is a Hoosier. He speaks Japanese at home and English at his Montessori school, and is fluent in both, Ogawa said.

His new job means his family will live close to his wife's family, and within two hours of his own mother's home.

"It was a big decision for us to move," he said. "I'm an only child, and I could be responsible for my mother's care at some time. I want to be able to take care of her if necessary. It will be good to be near family, and have our son near his grandparents."

Ogawa said he has enjoyed the opportunities he's had on the IU Kokomo campus.

"I went to a big school, but I'm more comfortable teaching on a small campus," he said. "I'm able to meet and work with people in departments other than my own, which doesn't happen often at big schools. You also get to know the students better, and there is more balance between teaching and research."

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.