The biggest struggles with being multilingual

Here I am in Wichita, Kan. The statute behind me is called Keeper of the Plains.

My name is Naw Assumpta, and I am the work study for Marketing and Communications. My major is General Studies, and when I graduate from Ivy Tech, I plan to transfer to Ball State University to major in Architecture. I am originally from Burma, and I’ve been in the United States for almost five years.

I speak four different languages: English, Malay, Burmese, and another ethic language from Burma called Karen (which is pronounced ka-YIN). It would be easy to assume that a person who speaks multiple languages fluently is smart or has higher intelligence, but it doesn’t always feel that way. Although I am able to speak, read, and write fluently in English and Burmese, I struggle to do the same in Malay and Karen, though I can speak them.

Being able to speak different languages is incredibly rewarding, but it is tricky and complicated sometimes. These are some of the things I struggle with most often:

  1. Words are on tip of my tongue. Sometimes, words won’t come out of my mouth, and it is frustrating because they are just on the tip of my tongue. I also tend to forgot my vocabularies. One time, I was at the Burmese restaurant. I was trying to order fried noodle with shrimp, but I completely forgot how to say “shrimp” in Burmese. So I stared at the waitress and described what shrimp looks like. It took about 10 minutes for her to figure out what I was trying to order. Once, I forgot how to spell the easiest word, “one,” while I was writing a paper for my English class. It is funny how the easiest word can seem too complicated to spell.
  2. I confuse grammar rules. Grammar rules are different in each language. Sentences in Burmese are mostly translatedbackward in English, and the same as Malay and Karen. For example, the phrase “I love you” would translate backward in Burmese as “You love I,” (). In some cases, words or vocabularies can’t be translated because they do not exist in certain language. The word “chewing gum” does not exist in Burmese. Instead, we call it “PK” or “PeKay,” which is the brand name of the gum. Another example would be “car.” The word does not exist in Burmese language, so we use the English “car” with the Burmese accent to say “ka.”

    Here I am at 7, at Kandawgyi Lake in Burma.

  3. What language do I use when I am thinking? A lot of people are curious about what language I use when I’m thinking. The answers is, all of them. Depending on the situation, I might use Burmese, English, or both. Since I use more English most in my daily life, however, I do my thinking more in English than Burmese.
  4. You start losing the other language. I don’t use Malay and Karen as much as I use English and Burmese in my daily conversation; therefore, my ability to talk in Malay and Karen are fading away. I primarily use Karen to speak with my grandma and relatives back in Burma. I don’t use Malay as often because I don’t have anyone that speaks the language around me.

Despite of all the struggles, I enjoy speaking multiple languages. Languages are beautiful and unique in their own way. Being able to speaks multiple languages opens up new social opportunities and can be very beneficial when you travel. Studies show that being bilingual has many cognitive benefits and it can also reduce the risk of having stroke. Other research points out that speaking multiple languages . I encourage you to learn another language. I can guarantee that it will be rewarding and beneficial.

Etiquette tips when dining out for business

Joyce Baker, at right, is the assistant director for Career Development.

As I reflect on Wednesday’s etiquette dinner, I feel grateful. Grateful because 70 Ivy Tech students, employees, and guests gathered together for a wonderful meal prepared by our own catering service. All who attended seemed to enjoy the food, the company of friends, and the presentation by Karen Hickman of Professional Courtesy, LLC.

Hickman presented on business dining etiquette. Business lunches and dinners can actually be job interviews without the typical questions. How we present ourselves can speak louder than words. Here are some of the major takeaways from Hickman’s presentation:

When dining for business

  • Food allergies can be a serious issue. A polite host asks if you have dietary preferences and/or restrictions, and as a polite guest, letting your host know ahead of time can save an awkward situation.
  • As the guest, when ordering, do not order the most expensive item on the menu unless your host is encouraging you to do so.
  • As the host, if your guest orders an appetizer or an expensive dish, you should, too.
  • Be a courteous guest and send a handwritten thank you note to your host. Doing so within 24 hours is ideal.

Seventy people attended Wednesday’s business etiquette dinner.

Difficult-to-eat foods

  • Asparagus is cut and eaten with a fork. In Europe, it’s eaten with the fingers.
  • Chicken, turkey, and duck are eaten with a knife and fork. Fried chicken is eaten with the fingers at picnics only.
  • Spaghetti and long pasta are eaten by pulling a few strands to the side and twirling the strands around the tines of a fork that is perpendicular to the plate. A spoon is not needed.

Wine and toasting tips

  • The host is responsible for the toast.
  • If a toast is offered in your honor, stay seated and do not drink to yourself.
  • If you are the guest of honor, you should be prepared to respond to your host with a toast.
  • A toast should be brief and appropriate. Remember, a toast is not a roast.
  • Hold all wine glasses by the stem.

Be sure to try a little bit of everything at the dinner, unless you have an allergy.

Deal breakers when it comes to a job interview/business dinner

  • Don’t gesture with your knife and fork.
  • Cut one bite at a time.
  • Do not blow on soup or stir it if it is too hot.
  • Taste your food before seasoning it.
  • Refrain from putting on make-up, combing hair, picking teeth, or blowing nose vigorously at the table. A good rule of thumb is, “If you do it in the bathroom, don’t do it at the table.”
  • Chew with your mouth closed.
  • Try a little of everything presented unless you are allergic to a certain food.
  • Don’t push your plate away from you when finished eating, wait for everyone to finish before plates are cleared.

Joyce Baker is the assistant director of Career Development for Ivy Tech Fort Wayne.

Put these poets on your radar

April is National Poetry Month. Now, don’t think this is one of those fake holidays like “Walk On Your Wild Side Day” (April 12) or “Jelly Bean Day” (April 22). The Academy of American Poets started National Poetry Month in 1996, and it’s “the largest literary celebration in the world with schools, publishers, libraries, booksellers, and poets celebrating poetry’s vital place in our culture,” according to the academy.


At Ivy Tech, we celebrate with the Ink Cloud Poetry Contest (learn more and submit online). I also asked our librarians and English teachers to suggest poets. We weren’t looking for their favorite poets, per se, but suggestions of poets that students should be reading, even if poetry isn’t exactly their thing.

Here’s who they shared:

“My favorite poet is Joy Harjo because her poems are so exquisitely attuned to her surroundings. They show that poetry is necessary to life. There is great variety in her work, yet she maintains her own clear voice. Her poems have wonderful rhythms and are great to read aloud because she is also a jazz musician and plays Native American flute. One of my favorites is Eagle Poem.”

~Ann Morrison Spinney, librarian

“I think students should be reading Helen Frost (who lives in Fort Wayne). She was part of the Big Read Campaign a few years ago for her novel-in-verse, ‘Keesha’s House.'”

~Paula Ashe, assistant professor, English

“Sometimes I’m in the mood for something silly, and I turn to children’s poets like Shel Silverstein or Jack Prelutsky. Some of their poems are nonsense while others make perfect sense, and they’re all great for a silly read either by yourself or with a group of kids. I still remember the first Shel Silverstein poem I memorized way back in second grade:

Continue reading

Ivy Stories: ‘A thriving female in construction’

Ivy Stories is a short, occasional feature on Green Light that spotlights current students and/or recent graduates.

Corina Billman is a two-time Ivy Tech grad: In 1999, she earned her degree in Building Construction Technology and, in 2015, in Building Construction Management.

“I started in Construction Technology because I wanted to be a thriving female in the construction industry,” she says.

After graduating the first time, she went into drafting houses but realized she wanted to learn more and expand upon her skill set.

“Going to Ivy Tech boosted my confidence,” Billman says. “I got my foot in the door at some places and with many people, which led to the chain of events to get me where I am today. Confidence is an amazing thing.”

Today, Billman is the lead CAD designer at Bob Buescher Homes.


Who’s that? Meet Tim Ross, enrollment expert extraordinaire

It is really rewarding to begin helping a student start in the enrollment process, resolve an issue with financial aid, choose classes, or realize they don’t have to hate math anymore and then see the same student at graduation.

It may be that you haven’t seen Tim Ross since before you were a student, but chances are pretty good that he helped you enroll at Ivy Tech–especially if you used the Express Enrollment Center. Tim is the assistant director of Express Enrollment and Community Outreach, and he can help students nearly each step of the way to get them enrolled at Ivy Tech.

Meet Tim!

Where have students likely seen you around campus?
I spend the majority of my time in the Express Enrollment Center; however, I also work in our Huntington County Community Learning Center office two days each week, I travel to local high schools for mobile enrollment events, and I meet with students on the Coliseum Campus. Additionally, I have met with students to assist them at multiple coffee shops, Krogers, malls, gyms, and a variety of other locations in Fort Wayne.


How would you describe your job?
The words that spring to mind are “chaotic,” “variety,” and “rewarding.” I am involved in multiple processes the directly involve student interaction from initial enrollment through graduation. I can process an application, give someone the Accuplacer, advise students, teach math (although it’s been a while), tutor, help with all facets of financial aid, and process the audit that says a student has met all requirements for graduation. I see my role as one of support, and I am committed to helping students succeed.

What’s your favorite part of your job?
The favorite part of my job is working one-on-one with students! I truly enjoy working with students so much that I often adopt them. I began that in my previous role as the director of TRIO. The best part of being an employee at Ivy Tech is investing time into the success of the students I get to interact with. It is really rewarding to begin helping a student start in the enrollment process, resolve an issue with financial aid, choose classes, or realize they don’t have to hate math anymore and then see the same student at graduation. While many of the tasks I have performed at Ivy Tech are the same, the students are different. Those students are why I keep coming back.

What’s the best book you had to read in college?
My math book. I taught three semesters of math at a point where I had some extra time. I wanted to do well and I actually read the textbook prior to teaching each week. In doing so, I realized that, in all my years of taking classes, K to 12 and beyond, I had never actually read a math book. I always just looked for an example problem that looked like the one I was trying to solve. I found so many exciting things that were helpful by reading the best book I had never read. My advice: Read the whole book!

What’s an Ivy Tech class you’d love to take right now?
Photography. I love taking pictures and have run my own business for many years. Each time I touch a camera or talk with another photographer, I learn something new. I want to continue that growth of knowledge, and I hear we offer an excellent course in photography.

Happy April: Things to do this month

Happy April! In my experience, it always snows one more time in April, usually around mid month, then we’re smooth sailing for spring.

As the semester winds down, here are some things to keep in mind to keep you busy this coming month (and into May: Finals start May 7).

Edible Book Festival

Noon to 2 p.m. April 2 Student Life Center gym
Students and community members pick a book and make an edible version out of its plot, title, characters, cover, or any other way they can connect it. The fest is full of cakes, yes, but there’s usually a savory option or two to balance the sweet. Check out everyone’s creations for the first hour, then eat everyone’s creations for the second. There’ll also be events for kids.

Some hospitality students make edible book cakes for their final projects, like this student at the 2017 festival.

Titans game

2 to 3 p.m., 4 to 5 p.m. April 3 at Shoaff Park
Have you been to a Titans baseball game yet? They play Michigan’s Glen Oaks Community College. If you can’t make it …

Titans game

6 to 7 p.m. April 4 at Indiana Tech
… they play the Indiana Tech Warriors the very next day.

Classical Cuisine dinner

6:15, 6:30, and 6:45 sit-down times April 5, 12, and 19 in the hospitality room on Coliseum Campus
Hospitality administration students serve up classic French cuisine. Tickets are $20 a person, and wine is available for purchase. Call 260-480-2002 to RSVP, and learn more online.

Spring Etiquette Dinner

6 to 8 p.m. April 11 at the Coliseum Campus
This free dinner, open to 100 guests, includes a professional etiquette presentation. Learn more online, and register for the dinner on HireIvy.

Titans game

1 to 2 p.m., 3 to 4 p.m. April 22 at Schoaff Park
The Titans play against the University of Saint Francis Cougars.

Healthcare Career Fair

11 a.m. to 2 p.m.  April 24 in room 1640, Coliseum Campus
Calling all healthcare majors! Stop by this career fair to network with employers from all areas of the healthcare industry, including nursing, patient care, pharmacy tech, health info tech, massage, and more.

Robotics networking event

11 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 25 at the Steel Dynamics, Inc. Keith E. Busse Technology Center
Attention students studying Advanced Automaton and Robotics Technology and/or Industrial Technology: Stop by the Student/Employer Networking Event to network with employers in your field.

Touch-a-Truck 2016


10 a.m. to noon April 28 at Coliseum Campus parking lot
Bring your children to this free family event, where dozens of trucks will be parked. Get an up-close look and talk to the drivers.

Finals week at the library

May 7 to 11 at the Coliseum Campus library
Stop by the library for stress-relief during finals, including snacks, therapy dogs (from 10 a.m. to noon), adult coloring stations, relaxing mobile apps, music, and more.


7 to 9 p.m. May 11 at the Memorial Coliseum

Anyssa Egolf and Gustavo Figuero, 2017 visual communications graduates

Ivy Stories: A future entrepreneur studying business

Ivy Stories is a short, occasional feature on Green Light that spotlights current students and/or recent graduates.

Meet Jose Ruiz, a business administration student at Ivy Tech’s Fort Wayne Campus. He plans to transfer to IPFW when he graduates and eventually earn his master’s degree. His future goal: to own his own business.

Specifically, he’s interested in restaurants and corner stores. Ruiz says,

“I always like to think big. They are fun businesses that give a lot of access to interaction with the community. On a more personal level, I am actually a control freak, so in order for me to feel comfortable with my future, I need to be the one driving it. Having my own business and being my own boss is something I need to have in my life.”

Ruiz cozies up to a lion statue at a local park.

He gives a shout out to his marketing instructor, Tony Ramey, for providing a major a-ha moment: After Ruiz presented a rough draft for a paper in front of some classmates and Ramey, Ramey pointed out that the some of Ruiz’s information was too “fluffy.”

“Basically, he was showing me how to write in a business format,” Ruiz says. “He wanted short, detailed, and to-the-point. It was embarrassing in the moment, but it taught me a lesson for the future.”

In the end, Ruiz says, he got an A on the project.

Walking out from school: Sometimes, stirring the pot is a good thing

Drew Amstutz is a senior at Concordia Lutheran High School and the marketing intern at Ivy Tech’s Fort Wayne Campus.

As a high school senior, I’m often asked what my favorite memory of high school has been. Up until a few weeks ago, I couldn’t pinpoint a particular day, but after participating in the National High School Walkout, my mind has been made up.


On March 14, high school students across the nation decided to walk out of their schools for 17 minutes to commemorate the lives of the 17 students and teachers who died in the Marjory Stonewall Douglas High School shooting last month. Hearing about the planned walkout only a few days after the shooting, I knew that it was important for my school, Concordia Lutheran High School, to participate. The next day, I emailed the school administration about changes I wanted to see in my learning environment and called for a meeting to discuss the concerns of my peers and me. Because of my displayed passion for ending school violence, the administration let me lead the effort, and the long process of planning an assembly and walkout began.

Our day of awareness started in the auditorium with an assembly led by Captain Mitchell McKinney of the Fort Wayne Police Department. He spoke to us about the importance of being aware of our school environment and being a good friend to our peers, saying “Treat everyone like you would if it were your last day, or, better yet, theirs.” The student body took his words to heart, and I’ve already noticed a difference in the way that people are treated in the hallways through the little acts of kindness that we stressed in the assembly. For instance, students are much more apt to let their peer slip onto the stairwell in front of them or hold doors open behind them. The bond among our already close-knit student body is stronger than ever before, and I believe it is because of Captain McKinney.

After the assembly, students were given the choice to either walk out in protest of school violence or stay inside for a brief break from school. While planning the protest, I wasn’t sure how many students would choose to walk out. Our estimates said 50 to 60 percent, but in actuality, more than 80 percent of the student body went outside.

Some people have asked me about the most terrifying part of leading my school in a controversial protest. I usually laugh and tell them the hardest part was climbing the band tower before speaking. As part of my speech, I had to stand on a platform that was 20 feet high and use a microphone in order to be heard by the masses. This was far more terrifying to me than angering a few students and faculty members. In the words of civil rights leader U.S. Rep. John Lewis, actions like ours on March 14 create “good trouble.”

The view from the podium where I gave my speech

While on the tower, I gave a brief speech to commemorate the lives of the fallen and to remind students to stay vigilant and aware in the classroom. I retold the story of the shooting from my own point of view and shared my connection to the shooting—a future college classmate, whom I had spoken to several times through an admitted-student group chat, said she had to barricade herself in a closet during the shooting. She texted the group about it only an hour or so after she escaped from the school building.

Besides sharing my own connection to the shooting, I also pointed out that the names of those who died in Parkland sounded a lot like the names of the students that were in our own classrooms. As I looked out into the crowd, I saw plenty of Carmens, Lukes, Alyssas, and Alexes who could have had the same fate of those who died in Parkland.

One of my favorite parts of the day was delivering a press conference to local media. The goal of the National Walkout was to gain awareness for violence in schools through exposure in the media. Sharing our message with the people of our community meant I was doing my part in the movement and making my own mark on Fort Wayne. You can view the WANE coverage of our walkout here and my interview with the Journal Gazette here.

Screenshots from WANE’s coverage. Click the photos to zoom.

I hope that by continuing to protest over the next few months, students across America will be able to finally break the stigma that our generation isn’t worth hearing. As I said in my speech, some people say that our generation is distracted and disconnected, but I believe that solemn days like these bring each of us together in ways never seen before.

Eat, drink, play: Things to do near campus in Fort Wayne, Wabash, & Warsaw

I’m Drew!

The best part of getting a driver’s license is the freedom of being able to go where you want, when you want. Over the last year, I’ve used my new freedom by visiting local coffee shops, restaurants, and tourist spots near my home, school, and across Fort Wayne. (And by the way, I’m Drew, the marketing intern. I’m a senior at Concordia Lutheran, right across the street from the Coliseum Campus.)

It’s been an amazing experience to witness the culinary talents that northeast Indiana has to offer and expand my food palate in the process. Below is a list of some special places to eat, drink, and have fun. I hope that you’ll find time to visit some of my favorites, located near an Ivy Tech campus near you!

Coliseum Campus

Firefly Coffee House, 3523 N. Anthony Blvd. in Fort Wayne (Directions) (Website)
Firefly Coffee House is my absolute favorite coffee shop in Fort Wayne. I love the shop’s atmosphere because it’s filled with couches and arm chairs on the inside to escape the nasty winter weather. There’s also an outdoor seating nook hidden under a gazebo, perfect for warm summer days. Murals run along both sides of the shop with a colorful barista station to the left and an exposed ceiling above. Every time I walk into the place, I instantly feel at home.

The menu selection is extra special because it features not only rich coffee but real fruit smoothies, lemonades, and teas. The coffee house also serves fresh pastries and other small food items, which are to die for. My favorite item on the menu is the peanut butter and mocha shake, topped off with an optional shot of espresso for early mornings wake-me-ups or mid-day study sessions. I always find myself adding the espresso!

One of the coolest aspects of Firefly is its dedication to embracing all types of local talent through its Firefly Arts and Crafts Boutique. It’s refreshing to always be reminded of the great artistic talent we have in Fort Wayne. The shop serves as a meeting place for people of all backgrounds to take a break from busy work schedules, grab a coffee, and embrace the homey atmosphere only found at Firefly.

Old Crown also offers a changing dinner menu on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights.

Old Crown Coffee Roasters, 3417 N. Anthony Blvd. in Fort Wayne (Directions) (Website)
Located just down the road from Firefly, Old Crown offers a similar coffee menu to Firefly, in addition to delicious wraps, sandwiches, soups, and more. For those over 21, Old Crown even has a full bar. You have to try the Spicy Salsalito Turkey & Pepper Jack wrap. I’ve spent many evenings here catching up with old friends over warm coffee and large sandwiches. Maybe one day I’ll run into you!

Camp Canine, 1502 N. Harry Baals Drive in Fort Wayne (Directions)
Camp Canine is the perfect place to spend some quality time with your furry friend. The doggie park is filled with cute and little bone-shaped benches and fire hydrants with plenty of grassy play space in between. A Camp Canine membership is only $40 a year and can even be used at Pawster Park in Forest Park.

North Campus

Cosmos House of Pancakes, 3232 St. Joe Center Road in Fort Wayne (Directions) (Website)
Cosmos House of Pancakes is a great place to get a large variety of breakfast and lunch foods, from pancakes and waffles to burgers and wraps. My absolute favorite thing to order is their crepe daphene, which is topped with strawberries and stuffed with whipped cream. The option of having real fruit on my crepes helps me fool myself into thinking I’m making a healthy food choice! The best part about Cosmos is that they’re famous for having large portions. You know you’ll always leave with a full stomach and a bag of leftovers. I don’t think I’ve ever left wishing for more to eat!

Continue reading

Ivy Stories: Why they chose Supply Chain

Ivy Stories is a short, occasional feature on Green Light that spotlights current students and/or recent graduates. Ivy Stories will tell a little about why they chose Ivy Tech and their particular program.

First up, we’re featuring Cory Scherer, of Avilla, a supply chain management/logistics student who plans to graduate in May and Ariel Dawson, of Churubusco, a supply chain management/logistics graduate.

Why did you choose Supply Chain?
Scherer: Supply chain management is such an expansive field that has a talent void needing to be filled. As I worked through college to earn my bachelor’s degree, I worked as a supervisor at UPS, and I enjoyed learning the industry. Ultimately, this led to my first attraction in the program—the importance of logistics—but as my course of study continued, I became more interested in lean manufacturing and process control. It is important for future generations to understand just how large a field supply chain management is. Almost every aspect of business is in play to a graduate of Supply Chain Management.


Dawson: I decided on supply chain because it’s the job I held in the Navy. When I enlisted, I just took the first job available to just leave. Turns out, I fell in love with the job. It’s something that seemed to come natural, which I hadn’t felt with any other career path.

Dawson (at left) with her husband James and her children Kayden (standing) and Harper.

How has Supply Chain helped you at work?
Scherer: I have been working full-time at Graphic Packaging International as a student, but my studies at Ivy Tech have enabled me to better understand my internal customers, which provides me better opportunities for advancement.

The associate degree in Supply Chain Management/Logistics has prepared me to ask the right questions when it comes to inventory control and production reporting. The courses I took in lean manufacturing and general logistics have taught me ways to reduce cost in processes and to increase inventory accuracy. Ultimately, the general business management courses have helped me in communications with other departments and their managers.

Dawson: The first that comes to mind is the experience with my instructors and classmates. I’ve learned to be more social and vocal toward people. I’ve learned more discipline with asking for help whenever I can’t figure something out. I’ve also learned more ways to complete tasks and figure things out better with each semester that passes.