Indiana University Kokomo

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KOKOMO, Ind. — The best artwork created by Kokomo area high school seniors will be featured in the Indiana University Kokomo Art Gallery.

The 18th annual High School Art Show opens with a reception and awards ceremony from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 29, in the Art Gallery, in Upper Alumni Hall. Awards will be presented at 5 p.m.

Susan Skoczen, gallery director, said student artists from north central Indiana are invited to submit their work for display during the show. It includes artwork from seniors at Taylor, Peru, Kokomo, and Tri-Central high schools.

"This show gives area high schools the opportunity to come together and showcase their students' work," Skoczen said, "It's more of a public venue for the work to be seen by many, not just other students at their own schools. It is also a chance for the student artists to see what their peers are creating at other schools."

The show continues through June 15. The Art Gallery is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, and noon to 4 p.m. Saturday. It is closed Sunday, Monday, and Friday. Free parking is available on campus.

For more information, call 765-455-9523, e-mail, or go to

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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KOKOMO, Ind. — In the shade of three tall trees, the students sit at picnic tables, backpacks on the benches or the ground next to them, books or e-readers open.

Maymester class in Foster ParkMaymester class in Foster Park.As they talk about their reading, a gaggle of geese land in the nearby grass, briefly interrupting the discussion with their honking. A light breeze carries dandelion fluff and the scent of nearby honeysuckle past them, along with the splashing noise of a fountain in the Wildcat Creek behind them.

For these eight students, Foster Park is their classroom, as part of Indiana University Kokomo's first-ever Maymester program.

Andrea Bard appreciates the chance to see more of Kokomo than what she sees on the drive from her home in Logansport.

"I'm getting to experience and do something, not just read about it," she said. "This is a breath of fresh air, and very different from any class I've taken before."

Eva White, associate professor of English, developed her creative nonfiction writing class, "Writing the Land: My Foster Park," to build on the connection between physical activity, nature, and creativity.

"We're always indoors," she said. "Being able to just be, and watch yourself be, and writing about it, is useful. I walk here all the time. It helps me recharge my batteries and get rid of stress."

Class begins with discussion of Haruki Murakami's book, "What I Talk About When I Talk About Running," a memoir of the author's training for the New York Marathon, and how it impacted his writing. Then, White leads them on the Wildcat Creek Walk of Excellence, taking about an hour to walk from Foster Park through UCT Park, up the hill, around through the nearby neighborhood, and back, where they talk about their observations and write in their journals.

Along the way, each student takes notes, writing down who they see, descriptions of any animals they find, and changes in the environment.

They've followed a family of ducks, and on this particular day are delighted to find a new mother duck urging five tiny, fluffy, new ducklings into Wildcat Creek. Sofia Stout exclaims in dismay when a snake approaches the waterfowl, and sighs with relief when the reptile swims around the babies.

Stout, a communications art major from Lafayette, likes the break from more traditional academic writing, along with being in the outdoors.

"You're more focused on your thoughts, and on being descriptive," she said. "I've probably done more thinking in this class than any other I've taken. It's refreshing to get out of the academic style."

White said, though, that while they are having fun, they are also learning to be better writers. Each student produces a long essay inspired by his or her experiences each week, and will turn in a portfolio, a final polished essay, and a written reflection on his or her growth during the three-week class.

Kayla Scott, an elementary education major from Mulberry, didn't realize she had signed up for an outdoor class when she enrolled, but is enjoying the experience.

"I get tired of sitting in the classroom," she said. "This class lets me use all my senses, every time. You walk the same trail, but everyone comes back with different ideas and thoughts from what we see. I like that."

Brock Richardson, Bringhurst, who also plans to be an elementary teacher, said in addition to improving his writing, he's learning how taking students out of the classroom benefits them.

"There is a different learning environment than inside," he said. "You don't have to be sitting at a desk to learn."

IU Kokomo's new Maymester program offers student a chance to earn three credits in a short time period, in an immersive class. A few other offerings include a creative performance class, in which students will write, act in, and direct a play; urban geology, complete with fieldwork; and a public relations campaign class that involves working with a local business or nonprofit organization. Maymester continues through Thursday, June 6.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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KOKOMO, Ind. — Do you want to be a teacher, but think it will take too long?

Allyson Jewell teaching at Pettit Park ElementaryAllyson Jewell teaching at Pettit Park Elementary

Come see how you can become a math, science, English, or social studies teacher in less than two years, at Indiana University Kokomo's Change to Education open house.

School of Education leaders will be available to talk about the 24-credit hour program from 1 to 3 p.m. Thursday, May 23, in the Kelley Student Center, Room 130.

Shirley Aamidor, associate dean, said the program is for people who already have bachelor's degrees in these subject areas.

"They already have the knowledge about their subject areas, and our faculty will prepare them to teach it in the most effective manner possible," Aamidor said. "We can also place them as permanent substitute teachers in one of our 24 partner schools, to gain hands-on experience and allow potential employers to see them succeed on the job. That is a positive for all the people involved."

C2E includes two semesters of classroom work, one summer session, and a semester of student teaching, leading to licensure in grades 5-12 in math, science, social studies, and English/language arts.

Aamidor said there is a demand for teachers in these areas, particularly in math and sciences.

"Their previous degrees, combined with our educational preparation, will make these future teachers very attractive candidates when they apply for teaching jobs," she said. "We are giving our students marketable skills, while also providing quality teachers in high demand areas to the schools in our region."

For more information about the open house, or requirements to enroll contact Aamidor at or Nicole Gill at Those interested may also call 765-455-9441 for more information.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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KOKOMO, Ind. — It is Monday morning, early, but Mary Olk is already on the job.

Mary OlkMary OlkShe perches on a chair in the middle of Starbucks, iced tea in hand, describing her newest idea for marketing the Indiana University Kokomo campus on social media, as part of the weekly Office of Media and Marketing planning meeting.

Later in the day, she walks through the campus quad, trailed by videographer Mike Glassburn. She's poised in front of the camera, as narrator of the "My Campus" videos, using her charm and dry, slightly sarcastic, sense of humor to draw stories from the featured students.

Olk also works on her computer, searching for just the right words for the latest installment in her popular Senior Spotlight series, featuring the most compelling stories about her classmates, both on the campus website and in IU publications.

Mary, a member of the graduating class of 2013, is a respected member of the marketing team.

"Being able to work in the campus marketing department was a dream come true," Olk, 21, said. "I have loved telling the story of IU Kokomo, meeting great people, and learning everything I did. I learned that I want to continue working in higher education, and it helped guide me to my decision to pursue my master's degree."

Marie Radel, director of the media and marketing department, said Mary's contributions are invaluable.

"Mary brings the student perspective. She knows how her peers interact on social media and what they want to see on the web," Radel said. "Marketing is about understanding your target audience, and Mary is our front row seat to what students are thinking."

Olk, who is from Peru, appreciated the chance to apply what she was learning in her communication arts classes to a real-world job.

"I developed and improved my writing skills, but I also was able to explore other areas in more depth, such as social media and photography," she said. "It taught me the true inner workings of a marketing and public relations organization, and how a professional environment works."

Her leadership and excellence in and out of the classroom landed her an assistantship at Ball State University, which will pay for her to earn a master's degree in student affairs administration and higher education programming. She wants to help other students have the same kind of successful college experience she had at IU Kokomo.

"College isn't just your classes, it's getting practical real world experience," Olk said. "I want to give students resources to set goals and achieve them. That's what higher education is all about. I want to be part of that."

Dean of Students Sarah Sarber said Olk will excel in this field.

"Mary will be a tremendous asset to the student affairs profession," she said. "She has an understanding of current issues in higher education and appreciation for working with students, and truly wants to make a difference in their lives."

Olk "jumped into student life with both feet" when she arrived on campus, determined to have a big college experience.

"It doesn't matter where you go to college, you get to choose the type of experience you have," she said. "If you get involved, you will feel a connection to any campus."

She joined The Correspondent newspaper staff, and was instrumental in updating and improving it as editor-in-chief. She also was involved in student government, first as a senator, and then as student body vice president in spring 2013.

Her involvement helped her make friends, and feel like she was part of the campus.

"College isn't just about having a degree anymore," she said. "It's everything on top of that. It was important to me to educate myself in every way possible."

In May, she earned the outstanding student in leadership award, as well as the outstanding student in communication arts award.

One of her most important experiences was participating in the Innovation Symposium, a class that focuses on philanthropy, environment, and technology, and includes three weeks of travel in England.

"That was a life-changing experience," Olk said. "Overseas travel teaches you a lot about yourself. The culture there is similar to ours, but still different. There's so much history over there, it's just fantastic. The trip is work, too. We're having a good time, but we're working, too."

All students must complete a final project, creating an innovation that helps people.

Olk developed an IU Kokomo leadership guide, intended to help students become more effective campus leaders.

She hopes her own experiences will make her a better student advocate when she begins her career.

"I know the first couple of years can be hard," she said. "It's made me more aware of the real things college students go through. I hope to create a positive experience for students, and impact them in a positive way so they finish school."

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.