Indiana University Kokomo

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KOKOMO, Ind. — The Indiana University Kokomo School of Nursing reaches a significant historic milestone in December, graduating its first Master of Science in Nursing (M.S.N.) class.

nursingmastersInaugural MSN graduates.

The inaugural class of fourteen – nurses working in areas that include surgery, oncology, labor and delivery, cardiac intensive care, and maternal and child health – graduate from the two-year program prepared to be leaders in the health care industry and in nurse education.

"This is one of our proudest moments," said Assistant Dean Mary Bourke, calling the graduates "a very, very impressive first class," graduating with a mean grade point average of 3.954.

The program is just one way IU Kokomo meets the needs of its region, Interim Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke said.

"As a regional campus, we continue to add new degrees that enhance the communities we serve," she said. "Hospital administrators continue to call for more advanced nursing professionals, and we are pleased to provide that opportunity to nurses in our region."

The graduates include nurses from Kokomo and nearby communities, but also several who commuted long distances to earn the degree, including Evelyn Kamoto, who drove from Elkhart.

Stacy Fackler has already benefitted from enrolling in the nursing administrator track. A year after she began the program, she was promoted to her current job, as director of maternal and child health at Community Howard Regional Health.

"Administration knew I was earning this degree, and they trusted me with this promotion," she said. "The M.S.N. program allowed me to be with other managers, to pick their brains and learn from their life experiences. The actual assignments were so applicable to my job, it went well for me."

A desire for change in her career led Leigh Swartzendruber to the M.S.N. program, for the nurse educator track.

"Through my M.S.N. degree in nursing education, I can affect change in nursing students for years to come," she said. "There are so many changes in health care and nursing education. My advanced degree will allow me to make a positive contribution to both health care and nursing education."

Swartzendruber, a pre-admission nurse at St. Joseph Hospital, also participated in a School of Nursing trip to South Korea, and found the program has given her more confidence.

"I traveled around the world and experienced culturally diverse health care and education," she said. "That experience alone was a life changing experience, and one I will never forget. Also, I have shown my children that if you are determined and set your mind to something, you can accomplish anything."

Lynn Lacluyse wanted to earn the M.S.N. "to have more flexibility with my nursing degree, and to be able to grow in my current role," as manager of an intensive care unit, cardiovascular intensive care unit, and cardiac care progressive unit at Community Howard Regional Health. She chose the nurse administrator track.

While it was an intense learning process, the knowledge and skills she gained were invaluable, Lacluyse said.

"It helped with all aspects, financial knowledge, relationship knowledge, communication, being able to strategize, and research," she said.

Combining online and face-to-face classroom instruction sets IU Kokomo's M.S.N. program apart from others, along with its commitment to excellent student service. Faculty knows personal touch is a key part of student success.

"The bond the students have formed with one another through these two years has made the program more powerful," Bourke said.

Enrollment in the program has doubled since the first class began in January 2012. It has been reviewed and recommended for accreditation by the Commission for Education in Nursing.

Having earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at IU Kokomo, Fackler knew the M.S.N. program would be high quality. She is already recommending friends enroll as well.

"If your end goal is to have your M.S.N., do it here and do it now," she said. "This is the most accessible and workable program you will have. The faculty understand you have a job in addition to this, and they are so creative about being flexible and turning every experience into a learning opportunity."

Members of IU Kokomo's first M.S.N. class are: Jessica Marie Beaupre, Winamac; Teresa Katherine Criswell, Noblesville; Kimberly M. Easter, Marion; Stacy Michelle Fackler, Russiaville; April R. Fugle, Kokomo; Crystal Elaine Jones, Marion; Evelyn Chiwalasile Kamoto, Elkhart; Lynn Ann Lacluyse, Kokomo; Barbara Jane Miller, Kokomo; Beth A. Robbins, Greentown; Clara Jo Sessoms, Gas City; Kathy L. Shumpert, Peru; Dea Jo Stanley, Gas City; and Leigh Erin Swartzendruber, Greentown.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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KOKOMO, Ind. — There aren't too many undergraduate students who can call themselves published authors.

Heather RameyHeather RameyHeather Ramey is one of those who can.

Ramey, a chemistry major at Indiana University Kokomo, recently co-authored an article with Kasem Kasem, professor of chemistry, in The Journal of Material Sciences and Applications, detailing their research in harvesting solar energy.

She is grateful for the opportunity to research with a professor as an undergraduate.

"Research makes me feel like I'm exploring uncharted territory," she said. "I like the feel of, you put two and two together, and see how it reacts, rather than reading about it in a book or hearing about it in a classroom lecture. I get to see it for myself. I might not have had this opportunity at a bigger university."

Kasem has involved students in his research for more than 20 years, calling it a valuable teaching and learning tool.

"Research is part of education," he said. "Students who get trained as undergraduates gain experience in research and understand the expectations in the lab. It sets them up for success, both in research labs and in graduate school."

He noted that undergraduates in his lab do the same kinds of work graduate students perform.

"I don't call it 'undergraduate research,' Kasem said. "I call it 'bringing undergraduates to research.'"

Unsure if research was her career interest, Ramey asked Kasem to allow her to work in his lab more than a year ago. She has enjoyed using the state-of-the-art equipment in the lab, and said her professor trained her well to use it.

"This has given me confidence in myself, and it gives me something to look forward to each week," she said. "Dr. Kasem really invests time into his students, so we can get good results and contribute."

In addition to co-authoring the paper, she presented their research at the IUPUI Undergraduate Research Conference, and at the IU Kokomo Spring Research Symposium.

Eventually, Ramey plans to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry, but first will work for a while, preferably in a lab.

"I want to do some kind of research," she said. "I like forensics, so that is a possibility."

Ramey, from Noblesville, is proud not only of her research, but of the example she sets for her nine-year-old son. She returned to IU Kokomo in 2011, after an eight year hiatus when she married and started her family.

"I knew I would regret not finishing my degree," she said. "When I become a chemist, I am showing my son that you don't have to keep your life on hold, you can work hard, grab opportunities, and achieve your goals."

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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KOKOMO, Ind. — Bridget College huddled in her basement, holding tight to her boxer puppy and her dachshund, as a tornado shifted her home off its foundation, peeled off the back wall, and tore off the roof.

Bridget and Brian CollegeBridget and Brian College.College, a nursing student at Indiana University Kokomo, crawled out the window of what was left of her home, with only the clothes she was wearing. As she left her neighborhood, she couldn't help but wonder how she was going to complete the semester.

"I have no clothes, no books and no uniforms, and finals are coming up," she said. "I had to pull it together and just get through the rest of the semester. I knew if I didn't, I wasn't going to be able to make it through."

Classmates and faculty banded together, emailing her notes for the week of classes she missed, as she salvaged what she could from her house. Bridget Whitmore, assistant dean for the School of Nursing, offered uniforms. Several classmates helped pack her remaining belongings before the house was condemned.

When she returned to school, her fellow nursing students gave her money and supplies they collected, along with a case of her beloved Diet Mountain Dew.

"That about made me cry," she said. "It's made me proud to be an IU Kokomo student, and a nursing student. They've been phenomenal, from the dean on down. I knew some of the students by name, but others I just recognize from seeing them on campus.

"I was so thankful they came to help. It reminded me that this is why you go to school to be a nurse, to help people."

She was most surprised when Interim Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke texted to be sure she was OK, and to ask how she could help.

"I was just amazed that the chancellor took time to check on us, and to see if we needed anything," she said. "I haven't wanted for anything throughout this whole situation. Everyone has been so generous in helping us. It doesn't matter than we're not from here. I felt extremely blessed."

As an Oklahoma native, College, 41, knows it could have been much worse. She was home with the dogs, and only went to the basement because her husband called from his car and told her there was a tornado coming toward their home, on South LaFountain Street.

"In Oklahoma, a tornado warning means you go out on the front porch to take a look," she said. But because Brian was worried, and the dogs were scared, she and her pets went downstairs.

"Within five minutes of getting to the basement, our house took a direct hit," she said. "It was loud and extremely fast. I heard the roof rip off the house and I could see sunlight upstairs."

Help arrived shortly after the storm, as two of her IU Kokomo nursing friends called to see if she needed to stay with them. When her husband arrived, emergency personnel urged them to leave the neighborhood immediately because of a gas leak.

The couple returned to their home the next day only to find out they had just a short time to remove as many of their belongings as possible due to safety reasons. They contacted friends from their church and IU Kokomo, asking for help. They are grateful for the response, not only from her campus friends, but also from their church family and military colleagues.

Bridget and Brian, a navy recruiter, are settling into another rental home, and she hopes to take stock of what they have and what they need during Christmas break. Their personal belongings are scattered in seven places, from dry cleaners to friends' homes.

"We don't really even know what we have yet," she said, adding they lost most all their furniture. She is very happy her laptop was right next to that recliner, and also was saved.

Despite their losses, the Colleges continued their holiday tradition of delivering Thanksgiving meals with their church. They have volunteered for three years now, and they enjoyed the chance to return to normal routine for the day.

"It was a few hours away from the chaos," she said. "It also reminded me that whatever my situation is, there are people who have it worse than I do. It put things in perspective for me."

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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KOKOMO, Ind. — Indiana University Kokomo education students teach area children literacy skills, while gaining valuable job experience, at the annual Education Express.

Activities SaturdayEducation ExpressMembers of the Education Student Advising Committee (EDSAC) will host the free event from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, October 5, at Sycamore Elementary School, 1600 E. Sycamore St., Kokomo.

In addition to gaining experience writing and teaching lessons, EDSAC President Tiffany Herrera said education students also are learning about the importance of giving back to the community through this activity.

"You want the community to see that you value their children, not only those in your classroom, but all of them," she said. "People want to trust and respect the people who are teaching their children."

Future teachers will lead activities at more than 20 educational booths.

"We developed and will teach activities the children can do at home, with resources they likely already have, to grow their reading skills," Herrera said. "We want to use the teaching skills we've learned at IU Kokomo to help with literacy, which is a big issue in education right now."

Activities are geared to children pre-kindergarten through fifth grade, and siblings of children in that age range are also welcome. Each child who completes at least 12 stations will receive a prize.

"Our goal is that every child who attends will leave with a book," Herrera said.

Each child must be accompanied by an adult. In addition to the educational activities, there will be police and fire trucks for the children to see, face painting, science experiments, and free pizza.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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KOKOMO, Ind. — Indiana University Kokomo supports science education in area schools, providing opportunities for area teachers to exchange ideas with scientists and to network with one another.

Bite of ScienceBite of ScienceThe School of Sciences and School of Education co-hosted "A Bite of Science," in conjunction with the Center for Excellence in Education, for 18 north central Indiana high school science teachers.

"It's important for IU Kokomo to be a presence in the community, and to support and nurture science teachers," said Christian Chauret, dean of the School of Sciences. "This event brought the teachers and scientists together to exchange ideas and talk about education and careers in the sciences. It was an excellent opportunity to network with the teachers and to talk about IU Kokomo's programs."

Teachers attended from Kokomo, Logansport, Maconaquah, Mississenewa, Noblesville, Northwestern, Rochester, Taylor, Tipton, and Western school corporations.

The evening included presentations by T.J. Sullivan, assistant professor of molecular ecology, and Pat Carter, engineering manager, prismatic machining, Chrysler Kokomo Transmission Plant.

Sullivan discussed his research in molecular ecology, emphasizing the role undergraduate students play in research on campus. Carter talked about manufacturing challenges, and the need that industry has for people with excellent math and computer skills.

The Center for Excellence in Education, based in Virginia, provides its Teacher Enrichment Programs, including "A Bite of Science," to assure a future talented and diverse U.S. workforce in sciences, technology, engineering, and math. It challenges students to become the creators, inventors, scientists, and leaders of the 21st century.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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KOKOMO, Ind. — Once a lab chemist, now a student teacher. Stacie O'Flaherty is trading in her lab coat for a chalkboard instead.

IUKL9813Stacie O'Flaherty is student teaching as part of the Change to Education program.

O'Flaherty, 52, is taking advantage of the Change to Education program at Indiana University Kokomo that allows her to earn a teaching license in a short period of time.

"I did not want to go four years and earn another bachelor's degree," said O'Flaherty, a Sheridan resident. "Change to Education gets rid of all the fluff. It's all meat. It's all substance. I appreciate that we are treated like professionals, and they assume we can do the work."

Change to Education provides a way for people who have bachelor's degrees in math, science, English, or social studies, or a related field, to earn a teaching certification in fewer than two years. Students take two full semesters of classes and a summer session, followed by a semester of student teaching.

O'Flaherty has a bachelor's degree in environmental studies from University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, and appreciates being able to add teaching skills to what she already knew about chemistry for students at Northwestern High School.

"Teaching something is different than doing something," she said. "As long as I can remember, I've understood these things. As a teacher, I have to reconnect with not knowing any of it. That's the challenge for people coming from an industry background. You're a doer, not a teacher. You've built a foundation of knowledge, and you don't have to think about it. Your students don't have that foundation, and you have to learn how to help them build it.

"As a mother of teenagers, I didn't like to hear my kids' friends says that science was hard," she said. "I don't want kids to feel like they can't do science. I want to be part of touching lives for the future, and helping someone realize they can do science, and understand things, and maybe even find a fulfilling career in science."

Randy Teachout, another Change to Education student, speaks French fluently, and has a passion for teaching the language and culture to his high school students.

"This program allowed me to earn the credential I needed to continue a job I love, in a short time period," said Teachout, 47, a Kokomo resident. "You have no idea how huge this opportunity was."

Teachout began teaching the language at Kokomo's Northwestern High School in 2010 on an emergency teaching license, which permits him to stay in the classroom as long as he is making progress to earn a license.

Having earned a bachelor's degree in theology from Northland International University, in Wisconsin, he found that other programs required him to earn a second bachelor's degree in education. He already had some experience, from teaching at private Christian schools and a Bible institute in West Africa. He lived in France when he was young, and speaks the language fluently.

"It was just the formal teaching methods classes I needed, not the language classes and other prerequisites," he said. "IU Kokomo gave me the information I need. These classes are very interesting and appropriate for people going into teaching. The French language itself did not represent any kind of mystery to me.

Dean Paul Paese said Change to Education is one way the School of Education fulfills its mission of recruiting and preparing talented, responsible, effective teachers for north central Indiana schools.

"Our region has a critical shortage of teachers in areas including science, math and special education," he said. "Change to Education helps us fill that void more quickly, because it combines online and classroom experiences. The fast pace is important to potential teachers who have degrees and want to make a career change. We help them combine their knowledge with the best education practices, to prepare them to be excellent teachers."

The School of Education enrolls new students in the program each semester. For more information, contact Paese at pcpaese@iuk.edu or call 765-455-9441.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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20130819-Welcome_week-AWJL4393.jpgStudents in the QuadKOKOMO, Ind. — Thirty full-time Indiana University Kokomo students earned dean's list honors for the 2013 summer session. Dean's list students earned a minimum 3.5 grade point average (GPA) on a scale of 4.0, while carrying at least 12 credit hours throughout the grading period. Students are listed by hometown.

 

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KOKOMO, Ind. — An Indiana University Kokomo graduate exemplifies what an excellent social studies teacher does, not only for her sixth-graders, but also for the next generation of teachers.

Mary PageMary PageThe Association of Teacher Educators-Indiana Unit chose Mary Page for its annual Outstanding Cooperating Teacher Award, a statewide honor recognizing her commitment to teacher education. She has hosted IU Kokomo education students in her classroom every semester for the last 10 years.

"I had great professors at IU Kokomo, who really cared about their students," Page said. "They provided opportunities for me to see what kind of teacher I wanted to be in my own classroom. Dr. Margo Sorgman was hard, but she showed me how to make students enjoy social studies, and see it as more than just history, that it's always part of their lives. Dr. Kathy Parkison helped me enjoy economics and teaching it to my students. I'm happy I've kept my relationships with IU Kokomo all these years. They've been invaluable to me and to my students, and that's priceless."

Page, a Peru native, earned her bachelor's degree in elementary education in 1991, and a master's in education in 2000. She teaches sixth grade social studies at the International School at Central Middle School, in Kokomo. She began teaching in Kokomo shortly after earning her degree, and has maintained a long relationship with the campus.

Page worked with the School of Education to have an International Day festival on campus. Her students create educational displays about countries, which are judged by faculty and education students. The campus provides cultural activities, such as piñata making and dance, during the day. She also brings students for college visitation opportunities.

She's considered a leader in economic education, winning the Teacher of the Year award from the Indiana Council for Economic Education in 2011.

IU Kokomo nominated her for her most recent award, for her dedication to working with its students.

Dean Paul Paese called Page "an integral part of the teacher education program" at IU Kokomo.

"Mary provides an excellent example of what teachers should do," he said. "She always gives our students productive comments regarding teaching and assessing students, and shows best practices in teaching social studies, geography, and economics."

Recent IU Kokomo graduate Kristopher Dill completed his student teaching in Page's classroom during the spring 2013 semester, and said she was invaluable to his success. He just started his first job, teaching social studies at Kokomo's Bon Air Middle School.

"Mary Page loves children and teaching more than anyone else I know," he said. "She promotes colleagues and students to be the best they can be. She made my student teaching a great learning experience."

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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KOKOMO, Ind. — When Nida Zia enters medical school, she'll be more than prepared.

Nida ZiaNida ZiaZia, who earned her bachelor's and master's degrees from Indiana University Kokomo, has combined her academics and extensive volunteer service to help her gain experience working in the medical field.

She begins work next month as a scribe in Kokomo's St. Joseph Hospital Emergency Room. Zia learned about the opportunity from a nurse she met while volunteering there.

"This is a great experience for me to learn by watching and helping the doctors through patient treatment," she said. "I'm also learning technology skills I can use in medical school and in my career."

Sandra Herman, hospital marketing director, said Zia's degree gave her an advantage in the hiring process.

"Her wonderful education at IU Kokomo prepared her for this job," Herman said. "She understands medical terminology and patient assessment because of the excellent coursework there."

As a scribe, she will accompany emergency room doctors into the exam rooms, and enter the patients' medical history into their electronic medical records. She also will take notes during examinations, and update the doctors as test results come back, allows for a smoother treatment process for both patient and doctor.

Zia plans to learn as much as she can from her job, before enrolling in a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine program in 2014.

Zia's parents hoped for these kinds of opportunities for their four children when they left their native Pakistan when Nida was nine years old.

"My parents immigrated here to give us a better life, and these kinds of choices," she said. "Everyone knows this is the land of opportunity."

She has made the most of the chances offered to her in her new home, particularly in education. She earned a bachelor's degree in biology from IU Kokomo in 2011, and her Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (M.A.L.S.) degree in May.

She chose that program for its higher education teaching track, so she can teach at the college level after she completes her medical degree. Her original plan was to complete her biology degree in three years and then go straight to medical school, but an English class with Associate Professor Eva White led her down another path.

"Dr. White made such an impression on me, and made me want to explore outside my chosen science field," Zia said. "I thought this would be a different experience than being in a lab, and I wanted to try it.

White said the M.A.L.S. program would give Zia a unique perspective on medicine.

"Nida's intellectual curiosity, enthusiasm, and openness allow her to transcend the traditional divisions between the sciences and the humanities," she said. "She will be one of those rare physicians who will look at her patients holistically, and who will be open to use all sorts of therapies to heal them, thanks to her multidisciplinary background."

IU Kokomo has become a Zia family tradition. Her brother, Usman, and sister, Rabia, both graduated in 2010. Younger sister Maheen currently is a student in the informatics program.

While earning her degrees, Zia also volunteered in the community, not only at the hospital, but also at Kindred Transitional Care and Rehabilitation, and with the Coyote Kids summer running program. She also served on a humanitarian mission at a school in Colombia. Zia hopes to return there to work again in the future.

"I want to give back to the people there, through teaching or a medical mission," she said. "I grew up in an underserved country, so I know the difference I could make there."

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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KOKOMO, Ind. — Physical exercise is a traditional part of the summer camp experience. Hooking the camper up for an electrocardiogram test immediately afterwards is a bit more unusual.

Science Rocks camp 2013See more Science Rocks camp photos.But at Indiana University Kokomo's Science Rocks! summer camp, it's all part of the learning experience.

The camp, which includes 15 Kokomo-area middle school students, offers seven days of hands-on learning experiences, in geology, chemistry, microbiology, physiology, and health sciences.

During the physiology session, the students write down their heart rates in their lab manuals, and then do more than a dozen jumping jacks – measuring their heart rates again.

Michael Finkler, associate professor of physiology, talks about the human circulatory system, and what happens during exercise that makes the heart rate increase.

"I like working with this age group, and explaining the 'whys' behind what they see," he said. "We go beyond the simple answer of 'my heart rate increased because I exercised,' and explain in more detail why that happens."

Finkler said these students are just the right age to teach that science is fun, "so we can spark the interest now, and sow the seeds for careers in sciences."

Lucy Baker, a sixth-grader from Sts. Joan of Arc and Patrick School, already has the interest in science, and plans to be an engineer.

She enjoyed taking water samples during the geology and chemistry session, and testing the water quality.

"I was surprised at how many different chemicals were in the water," she said. "I like that this is hands-on. I don't have someone telling me how something works, I'm trying it myself."

Her classmate, Renee Creppy, liked looking at bacteria under the microscopes, and was amazed to learn how much bacteria is in the human body.

"This is a really fun way to learn about science," she said.

Cooper Reed, a sixth-grader from Central Middle School, hopes to learn more so he can use his science kits.

"I have tons of science kits, and I don't know how to use them," he said. "I want to learn more about science."

He liked testing water quality, and learning about pollution, and he's excited about the health sciences sessions later in the camp.

"I may be interested in working in health sciences, so I want to learn more," he said.

Ian Retz, also a Central Middle School sixth-grader, was interested in learning how the parts of a heart function.

Christian Chauret, Dean of the School of Sciences, said the camp's goal is to pique the interest of young people, especially women and minorities, in science-related fields.

"We have to nurture that interest when they are young, so they can take the appropriate classes in high school, and then hopefully return to us as students," he said.

This is the fifth year IU Kokomo has hosted the Science Rocks! summer camp. It is funded with grants from North Central Indiana Areas Health Education Center and Community Howard Regional Health.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.