KOKOMO, Ind. — Three Indiana University Kokomo staff members were among nine honorees at the Greater Kokomo Chamber of Commerce’s Young Professionals awards.
Dara Johnson, director of financial aid and scholarships; Benjamin Liechty, and Rebekah Monroe-Boley were among those recognized for their personal and professional impact on the community.
Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke congratulated the three on the award.
“I encourage all faculty, staff, and students to lead from where they are, and Dara, Ben, and Rebekah are great examples of that leadership,” she said. “I’m proud of them for their service to our campus, and to our community.”
Dara Johnson became IU Kokomo’s director of financial aid in July 2017. She helped with organization of the Black Student Union, and serves as its advisor. Previously she was assistant director of financial aid at Ivy Tech Community College.
She received a Shining Star award from the NAACP Kokomo chapter, and serves as a commissioner for the Kokomo Housing Authority. She also is secretary of the City of Kokomo Human Rights Commission, and a steward board member and co-chair director of the Young People’s Department at Wayman Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church.
Being nominated for a Young Professionals award was a humbling experience, Johnson said.
“I’m very thankful, I’m very honored to be able to say I’ve been nominated and won the award,” she said. “For someone to think I’m worthy of it makes me speechless.”
As director of alumni relations and campus ceremonies Liechty, B.A. ’06, has diversified the alumni board, and actively mentored two students who work for him in his office. Previously he was a freshman counselor and scholarship coordinator in the Office of Financial Aid, where he streamlined the scholarship awarding process, increased thank you cards from scholarship recipients to donors, and assisted many parents’ and students’ understanding of financial aid and scholarship opportunities.
While he was a student at IU Kokomo, he founded the Gay Straight Alliance, serving as president until his graduation. He also was a public relations intern for the Howard/Tipton Chapter of the American Red Cross.
Liechty appreciates being honored by his peers.
“It was very unexpected, and very humbling,” he said. “I am very honored to have received such a wonderful award and recognition for the work I do.”
As an admissions counselor, Monroe-Boley, B.A. ’08, and a current M.B.A. student, has developed a passion for working with Hispanic and Latino families. She developed an admissions program delivered in Spanish for prospective students in Frankfort, and created an orientation program for students from Logansport High School.
Monroe-Boley received a key to the city of Kokomo for initiatives promoting the downtown revitalization movement, and women in fitness. A certified personal trainer and fitness instructor, she is founder and race director for the Girls Night Out 5K run/walk, and has been a mentor for Bridges Outreach.
It was meaningful to her to be nominated by Angie Siders, director of admissions, “to know that someone I work with every day sees the qualities in me that would qualify me for recognition.”
Having lived in Kokomo all her life, she also appreciates being noted for service.
“Being able to give back to my hometown has been amazing, and being recognized for it is a true honor,” she said.
Three IU Kokomo alumni also were among award recipients. They include Lindsey Davison, BA ’06, M.P.M. ’12; Jonathan Rogers, B.A. ’15, and Chris Wisler, B.S. ’13.
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.