College partners with MERIT Center to offer classes in Adams County

Ivy Tech Community College Fort Wayne and the MERIT Center (1109 Dayton Street, Decatur, IN 46733) are working together to bring Ivy Tech classes to Adams County. The first class will be a non-credit MSSC-CPT (Certified Production Technician) class, which starts March 22, Mondays and Wednesdays, from 4 to 8 p.m. This course is free to qualified Indiana residents through Next Level Jobs funding.

In the future, the MERIT Center and Ivy Tech will expand course offerings to academic and non-credit classes including CNC, welding, construction trades, writing, communication, medical terminology and more. These classes will help fulfill the MERIT Center’s vision of a community-focused space where community members can upgrade their professional skills.

“We are thrilled to see these offerings develop in Adams County,” said Colton Bickel Executive Director of the Adams County Economic Development Corporation. “It has long been the desire of local leadership and community members to see higher education opportunities provided in Adams County, so this is an exciting moment. Having the opportunity to train and skill a workforce is critically important and we believe this is only the start of a partnership that will bring quality education and training for all members of the Adams County community.”

Interested in signing up for classes at the MERIT Center? Contact Heather Vance at or 260-355-9462.

Indiana students to get free FAFSA filing help at College Goal Sunday

Financial aid professionals from all across Indiana, including representatives from Ivy Tech Community College Fort Wayne and Warsaw, will be volunteering to help collegebound students and their families open the door to financial aid during College Goal Sunday. The event is set for 2 p.m. Sunday, March 7.

The free program assists Indiana students in filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA form is required for students to be considered for federal and state grants, scholarships, and Federal student loans at most colleges, universities and vocational/technical schools nationwide. The FAFSA MUST be filed by April 15 to be eligible for Indiana financial aid. One of many reasons College Goal Sunday is so important is because many families perceive the form to be too complicated and time consuming to complete. In less than one afternoon during College Goal Sunday, students and their families can get free help and file the form.

Now in its 32nd year, College Goal Sunday has helped more than 94,000 Indiana students and families complete the FAFSA properly and on time. College Goal Sunday is a charitable program of the Indiana Student Financial Aid Association (ISFAA).

College Goal Sunday Doubles the Help Offered
“The event on March 7th will be the second virtual College Goal Sunday ISFAA is offering this FAFSA filing season.” said Bill Wozniak, co-chair of College Goal Sunday. “We hope all Hoosiers who have not filed already, take advantage of College Goal Sunday, file the FAFSA, and get one step closer to fulfilling their educational goals. With FAFSA filing rates across the country down significantly this year’s event is more important than ever.”

According to the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, programs like College Goal Sunday are reaching first-generation college students. In recent years, according to CHE statistics, more single-parent Hoosier families have filed for financial aid, indicating programs like College Goal Sunday are reaching high-risk students and their families.

“Students who don’t complete their financial aid paperwork properly and on time are often very disappointed when they find out how much financial aid they lost,” said Wozniak. “This is why the Indiana Student Financial Aid Association not only continues to provide College Goal Sunday, but offers two events during the year.  If our assistance gives students a better chance at education beyond high school and less debt, we’re fulfilling our mission.”

What students should bring
Students should attend College Goal Sunday with their parent(s) or guardian(s), and parents should bring completed 2019 IRS 1040 tax returns, W-2 Forms and other 2019 income and benefits information.  Students who worked should also bring their income information.  Students 24 years of age or older may attend alone and bring their completed 2019 IRS 1040 tax return, W-2 Form or other 2019 income and benefits information.  Students and parents are encouraged to apply for their U.S. Department of Education FSA IDs at before logging in to the event.

Volunteers will answer families’ questions as needed. To attend College Goal Sunday, simply go to on March 7th, and click the link displayed on that page to enter the virtual event.  For the best filing experience, working from a computer/laptop during the event is highly recommended.

Attendees may win educational prizes
Students may also win one of five $1,000 scholarships.  Students who attend College Goal Sunday and submit a completed evaluation form will automatically be entered in a drawing for a $1,000 scholarship.  The winners will be notified in April, and prizes will be sent directly to the higher education institution selected by those students.

21st Century Scholars benefit
21st Century Scholars are income-eligible students who sign a contract in the seventh or eighth grade promising they will graduate from high school, meet grade point requirements, fulfill a pledge of good citizenship, and apply for college financial aid.  Upon high school graduation, Scholars who have fulfilled the commitment receive state funds to help cover their college tuition and fees for eight semesters at eligible Indiana colleges.  To fulfill their pledge, scholars must submit a completed FAFSA form on time.  College Goal Sunday can help.

Program is a national model
College Goal Sunday originated right here in Indiana and is now a national model.  Following Indiana’s example, College Goal Sunday events organized by more than 34 states have opened doors to higher education for hundreds of thousands of students all over the country.

For more information about College Goal Sunday visit

Garrett High School and Ivy Tech Fort Wayne dual enrollment students win national competition

Taylor DeLong and Brayden Fisher

Two Garrett High School Career Development seniors and Ivy Tech Community College Fort Wayne dual enrollment students, Taylor DeLong and Brayden Fisher, competed in the National Association of Home Builders Student Competition and won First Place in the Secondary Schools Architecture category and the Rookie of the Year award.

During the competition, Fisher and DeLong applied skills learned in the classroom to a complex problem and completed an Architectural project/proposal. They created a working set of drawings on a house that will be built by a custom home builder in North Carolina. The students were also expected to develop a construction schedule, a budget, retail price and research local subcontractor rates and material costs.

“Winning this competition meant a lot,” said Brayden Fisher. “It was a real-world project where we could apply everything we have learned. Having experience in the design software from our residential and auto CAD classes, and experience in building an actual house in building trades allowed us to take everything we have learned in our Ivy Tech classes and pour it into that project.”

“The NAHB competition was the golden opportunity for Brayden and I to present the skills that we’ve been blessed enough to have gained at such an early age,” said Taylor DeLong. “We really couldn’t have done it without the courses Ivy Tech has offered. I’m thrilled to be named the winner of the competition.”

Fisher and DeLong have been taking dual enrollment classes with Ivy Tech and working toward a college credential while still in high school. Both students will graduate high school with Ivy Tech certificates in Carpentry and Computer-Aided Design (CAD). As part of the Career Development Program, DeLong and Fisher are also getting real-world experience through internships.

“The partnership between Garrett High School and Ivy Tech Fort Wayne is an excellent example of a meaningful partnership that makes an impact on our students’ lives,” said Chad Sutton, Director of Career Development at Garrett High School. “These students benefitted from our program and it helped them win a national competition! It’s a great example of what education can be.”

“The Garrett Ivy Tech Fort Wayne partnership is a great pathway for a high school student to start their path to a lifelong career,” said Dr. Nick Goodnight, Ivy Tech Fort Wayne Construction and Diesel Technology Program Chair. “Brayden and Taylor’s accomplishments prove that high school students have the ability to excel in a college level program, which is the purpose of the Next Level Programs of Study.”

Interested in learning more about dual enrollment experiences at Ivy Tech Fort Wayne? Contact Kyle Bischoff at

Ivy Tech Fort Wayne massage clinic to reopen February 15

Healthy Essence has four private rooms sectioned off with curtains. Therapeutic Massage students can work with clients to address their massage needs.

Healthy Essence, the student-run massage clinic at Ivy Tech Community College’s Fort Wayne campus, will open to the public this semester from Feb. 15 to May 8. Students from the Therapeutic Massage program will provide hour-long full-body relaxation massages. Interested individuals should reserve their appointments quickly, as appointments normally fill up within the first few weeks.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the clinic is making adjustments to ensure client safety. There will be longer times between sessions for extensive cleaning of the massage tables. Clients are expected to wear masks into the building and throughout the hour-long massage. Students and staff will also remain masked during the appointment. Screening will take place before anyone will be allowed in the clinic (questionnaire and temperature checks). Anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19, been exposed to someone who is COVID-19 positive, or exhibits COVID-19 symptoms will need to cancel their appointments. The clinic is also discouraging individuals who are immunocompromised from making appointments at this time.

The following hours are available by appointment:

  • 12, 2, 4, and 6 p.m. Mondays
  • 2, 4, and 6 p.m. Tuesdays
  • 12, 2, 4, and 6 p.m. Wednesdays
  • CLOSED Thursdays
  • 10 a.m., 12, 2, and 4 p.m. Fridays
  • 10 a.m., 12, and 2 p.m. Saturdays

The clinic will be closed March 14 to 21 for spring break.

Spring 2021 prices and details: Massages are $30 for the community and $25 for Ivy Tech employees and students, military personnel, and those 55 and older. The clinic accepts payment in cash and credit card. Tips are not accepted, but clients who wish can donate to a charity chosen by the students.

To make an appointment, call 260-480-2094 or email Note: Clients are permitted to schedule two massages per month.

Visit to learn more.

Ivy Tech Fort Wayne and Warsaw hosting Express Enrollment Events for March Start

Ivy Tech Community College Fort Wayne and Warsaw will host Express Enrollment Days every Wednesday from Feb. 17 to March 17 (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) and an Express Enrollment Week from March 3 to March 5 (9 a.m. to 6 p.m.). During these events, prospective students can complete their enrollment steps virtually or in-person and sign up for classes that start March 22.

During the appointment, participants will receive assistance with setting up their student account, assessment, New Student Orientation, completing the FAFSA, and scheduling a meeting with an advisor.

This March, Ivy Tech will offer a wide range of programs including healthcare, IT, manufacturing, and more. There are also short-term certificate options that are entirely online and many qualify for full funding through the Workforce Ready Grant, thanks to the Next Level Jobs program.

For more information or to RSVP, visit

Express Enrollment Days
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Feb. 17, Feb. 24, March 10, March 17

Express Enrollment Week
9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
March 3 to March 5

Ivy Tech Fort Wayne’s North Campus
Student Life Center
3701 Dean Drive
Fort Wayne, IN 46835

Ivy Tech Warsaw
2545 Silveus Crossing
Warsaw, IN 46582


Virtual Zoom meeting. RSVP at

Jeff Sonner of Just A Little Smoke BBQ wins 2020 New Venture Competition at Ivy Tech Fort Wayne

Jeff Sonner, winner of the 2020 New Venture Competition and owner of Just A Little Smoke BBQ and Tony Ramey, Associate Professor of Business Administration at Ivy Tech Fort Wayne

Jeff Sonner has been named champion of Ivy Tech Community College Fort Wayne’s New Venture Competition, which took place Thursday evening virtually, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He won $20,000 in capital for his business, Just A Little Smoke BBQ.

Sonner has poured his 30 years of experience as a pitmaster into Just A Little Smoke BBQ, a startup food trailer. They offer Texas-Style BBQ using nothing more than fire and smoke to cook a full menu of traditional BBQ brisket, pork, chicken, ribs and house-made sausage. Just A Little Smoke BBQ currently operates throughout LaGrange, Ind. as well as vending at local fairs and gatherings as time permits.

With the $20,000 he wins from the New Venture Competition, Sonner will buy a retired school bus and materials to renovate the bus into a mobile food truck. In a cost-saving effort, he plans to renovate the bus himself. He hopes to have the conversion completed by fall and get on the road, selling BBQ five days a week with his wife and business partner, Jennifer.

He and two other finalists presented their business plans virtually through Zoom to community business people, and Sonner says he is grateful for the New Venture competition for the opportunity to grow his business.

“I’m excited to have won Ivy Tech’s New Venture Competition, and now the real work begins,” says Jeff Sonner. “I’ve been working on this competition for two years, and I’m grateful that I get to work with my wife while we expand our business. To all the donors who made this possible, thank you—dinner’s on me!”

Sonner presented his business plan to community professionals, who served as judges. The other finalists were Rolando Perez of “Hoosier Box Artisan BBQ and Catering” and Hayley Grover of “Sugar Coated Sweet Shoppe.”

Each finalist presented virtually for approximately 15 minutes. After the presentations, judges were given an additional 10 minutes for a question-and-answer session. The judges had been provided the contestants’ business plans prior to the event.

The New Venture Competition’s presenting sponsor was Dave and Mary Bear of JB Tool, Die & Engineering Inc. The event sponsor was ProFed Credit Union and the competition was in collaboration with Fort Wayne SCORE.

Learn more about the New Venture Competition at Learn more about studying entrepreneurship at Ivy Tech Fort Wayne at

Black History Month offers an opportunity to embrace new conversation and create a more inclusive future

At Ivy Tech, we want our values to be apparent in the daily experiences of each and every member of our community. We have a responsibility to consistently create space for all voices to be heard, while also rejecting hate and intolerance. This year, we have seen the divisions that racism, inequity, and incivility continue to play out in our society. We have also seen the anger and fear of those who are not heard as well as those who do not feel heard. Given the challenges in our nation, it is especially appropriate that we strive as a college to uphold Goal 8 of our Strategic Mission to create a sustainable culture of diversity, equity, and belonging.

Multicultural Student Organization Practices Service and Scholarship

“Ivy Tech provides an educational platform where we can safely challenge our thoughts, broaden our understanding, create dialogue, and have the opportunity to engage with others who are looking to embrace the beauty of diversity.”  Since 2015, nearly 100 students have actively participated in the Fort Wayne, Ivy Tech student organization, GOAL y Amigos (Graduating Outstanding Achieving Latinos and Friends). What started out as a Latino student organization quickly became multicultural, and since its inception, students have self-identified as Black, White, Latino/Hispanic, Malaysian, Asian, Mexican, Cuban, African, Sudanese, Burmese, Moroccan, Guatemalan, Puerto Rican, Haitian, Iranian, Salvadorian and identified as members as of the LGBTQ community. These students ranged in ages between 18-74, and have diverse backgrounds and abilities.

Many of our GOAL students utilize their skills through the community and hold seats as current board members for local organizations. In addition, they still make time to return to the college in order to assist current and upcoming students with workshops in networking, scholarships, service, and leadership.

Diversity Training for Campus Leadership

Our Chancellor’s Cabinet has kicked off monthly Diversity trainings and joined Fort Wayne’s United Front, a local, comprehensive cultural competency program that fosters racial equity, healing, and unity. Our leadership, staff, faculty, and the college are committed to ensuring the space for all voices to be heard and rejecting hate and intolerance.

Fort Wayne and Warsaw prepare for second diversity, equity, and belonging book club

Ivy Tech faculty and staff will participate in a book club featuring Ibram X. Kendi’s “How to be an Anti-Racist.” Sociology instructor, Lisa Beringer, will facilitate the discussions that begin Feb. 16.

Anonymous Donor gives $200,000 for Multicultural Scholarships targeting SSHS students from diverse backgrounds

Through the generous support of an anonymous donor, a Multicultural Scholarship for South Side High School students has been established at Ivy Tech Community College Fort Wayne. The donor, who is a graduate of South Side High School, funded 20 full-ride, two-year scholarships to Ivy Tech for students in the SSHS graduating class of 2020. The gift has a value of $200,000 and ensures that these 20 students will graduate with little to no educational debt.  

The scholarships were also all given in honor of northeast Indiana community leaders from diverse backgrounds. The honorees are: Steve Corona, Cookye Rutledge, Alice Jordan-Miles, Heather and Iric Headley, Joe Jordan, Ahmed Abdelmageed, Minn Myint Nan Tin, Michelle Chambers, Marlon Wardlow, and Bennie and Sheryl Edwards.

“Education was a gateway to changing my life academically, personally and financially. It is an honor and privilege to have a scholarship named after me because of my life’s work here in Fort Wayne,” said Michelle Chambers, Councilwoman At Large. “Education levels the playing field of life. It’s my belief that for the student chosen to receive this scholarship, life will forever be enhanced in a positive way. 

Ivy Tech Fort Wayne’s Dr. JoAnne Alvarez is the Director of Student Success and Engagement and Diversity Lead at Ivy Tech Fort Wayne and Warsaw. Born and raised in a small town, outside of El Paso, Texas, Dr. Alvarez moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana where she pursued her Associate, Bachelor’s, and Master’s degree at Indiana-Purdue University Fort Wayne, (IPFW) and earned a Doctor of Education (Ed.D) degree in Ethical Leadership at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Illinois. In 2015 Dr Alvarez created an Ivy Tech student organization, GOAL y Amigos (Graduating Outstanding Achieving Latinos and Friends) that provides a student space to share their perspectives and personal journeys of being a part of a multicultural student organization.

South Side High School students awarded Multicultural Scholarship to Ivy Tech Fort Wayne

Photo of honoree Michelle Chambers, Councilwoman At Large, and Olivia Davis, Multicultural Scholarship recipient

Through the generous support of an anonymous donor, a Multicultural Scholarship for South Side High School students has been established at Ivy Tech Community College Fort Wayne. The donor, who is a graduate of South Side High School, funded 20 full-ride, two-year scholarships to Ivy Tech for students in the SSHS graduating class of 2020. The gift has a value of $200,000 and ensures that these 20 students will graduate with little to no educational debt.  

“We are grateful and so appreciative for the generosity of the donor who has funded scholarships for South Side High School graduates,” said Jerrilee Mosier, Chancellor of Ivy Tech Fort Wayne and Warsaw. “Our mission at Ivy Tech, as a community college, is to serve as a gateway to higher education for all students. Our objective is to provide a vibrant, diverse, and inclusive campus community, where all students can achieve their educational and career goals. Through our efforts with our educational and community partners, we work to align our programs and curriculum to business and industry needs, providing career opportunities throughout northeast Indiana and beyond.”

The donor, who is deeply rooted in the advancement of social justice and providing equitable educational opportunities for students, established this scholarship with the goal of supporting students who demonstrate financial need and are the first member of their family to attend college. The recipients of the South Side High School Multicultural Scholarship have now completed their first semester at Ivy Tech. The $5,000 annual scholarship can be used to fund tuition, books, supplies, and fees.

“I didn’t think that I was going to receive this scholarship,” said Olivia Davis, Multicultural Scholarship recipient. “I didn’t realize that a stranger would want to pay for my education. Without this scholarship, I wouldn’t have gone to college because my parents did not have the funds. Me going to school shows my siblings they can go to school too, there are so many opportunities for them and failure isn’t an option.”

The scholarships were also all given in honor of northeast Indiana community leaders from diverse backgrounds. The honorees are: Steve Corona, Cookye Rutledge, Alice Jordan-Miles, Heather and Iric Headley, Joe Jordan, Ahmed Abdelmageed, Minn Myint Nan Tin, Michelle Chambers, Marlon Wardlow, and Bennie and Sheryl Edwards.

“Education was a gateway to changing my life academically, personally and financially. It is an honor and privilege to have a scholarship named after me because of my life’s work here in Fort Wayne,” said Michelle Chambers, Councilwoman At Large. “Education levels the playing field of life. It’s my belief that for the student chosen to receive this scholarship, life will forever be enhanced in a positive way. Gratitude and thank you to the anonymous donor who is responsible for providing scholarships for these well-deserving students.”

Contact Tracina Smith at 260-480-2010 or for giving opportunities at Ivy Tech Fort Wayne and Warsaw or visit

Ivy Tech Warsaw helps meet technology needs during pandemic through laptop program

Tim Keyes, Ivy Tech Warsaw LRC Coordinator, and April Harrison

Ivy Tech Community College Warsaw launched the Laptop Loan-to-Own program in spring 2020, where students borrow a laptop and—if they follow a certain set of guidelines—are gifted the laptop, free of charge. Lake City Bank originally donated 10 laptops for the program, but ultimately added eight additional laptops after the need for this technology became clear. Now, all 18 laptops have been loaned to Ivy Tech Warsaw students, and 10 students own their laptops after successfully following the program requirements.

“Since the COVID-19 pandemic forced many of our classes online, having the proper technological capabilities is more important than ever in this increasingly online environment,” said Allyn Decker, Vice Chancellor of Ivy Tech Warsaw. “These laptops have a real, tangible impact on our students’ ability to succeed in their academic journey. With the help of our community partner, Lake City Bank, we’re giving our students the necessary tools to complete their degrees and achieve their career goals.”

Under this program, students were able to borrow a laptop for two weeks and then extend the loan to an entire semester if the laptop was maintained properly through bi-monthly security and maintenance checks. If the student maintained good academic standing at the end of the term and enrolled for the next semester’s classes, the laptop’s ownership could be permanently transferred to the student in need.

“I struggled with taking in-person classes since I do not drive and a laptop was an answer to a few of my challenges,” said April Harrison, a current Ivy Tech Warsaw student who now owns a laptop through Laptop Loan-to-Own. “Having this program available to me has kept my education going. I believe these types of programs offered to students are a big help to many struggling students.”

This program would not be possible without the generous support and donations from Lake City Bank. Special thanks go to David Findlay, CEO of Lake City Bank, Angie Ritchey, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, and Chris Merrill, Vice President and Technology Services Manager.

The Warsaw Laptop Loan-to-Own program is just one of four programs Ivy Tech has implemented in its Fort Wayne and Warsaw service area. Through these efforts, more than 100 laptops have been made available to students since the pandemic started. Students needing access to laptops, can contact Chris Douse at

Computer labs available for Ivy Tech students at Steuben County Enterprise Center

Ivy Tech Community College Fort Wayne and Warsaw is working with The Steuben County Enterprise Center in Angola, Ind. (907 S Wayne St.) to create a space where students impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic can utilize computer labs and complete their online or virtual classes. The labs will be available for use Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Participating students should check in with the Enterprise Center staff upon arrival. Visitors to the Enterprise Center should abide by State and County COVID restrictions.

“Many Ivy Tech classes shifted online or virtual in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which left some students at a technological disadvantage,” says Randy Wooldridge, Ivy Tech Fort Wayne and Warsaw Employer Consultant. “We’re pleased to work with the Enterprise Center and open this space for students who need computers or a quiet place to work while they continue their education.”

Interested in attending Ivy Tech? Registration for classes beginning March 22 is now open. Visit to get started.