Who’s that? Meet Ramona and Christine, Admissionistas

By Nathan Riley, marketing intern

There are two individuals in the Admissions office you may not know, but I bet many of you have met them. Ramona Hawkins and Christine Ellis are  on the front line for both the Admissions and Marketing and Communications offices. They are some of the most positive people I’ve met in my short time as an intern at Ivy Tech.

I had the pleasure of interviewing them was able to get to know them beyond the jokes exchanged across the office. I learned that a typical day has many parts, including answering phone calls from prospective students and helping students navigate the enrollment process. They also process both paper and web applications.

How did they come to work at Ivy Tech?


Ramona Hawkins, Admissions

Ramona has been at the Fort Wayne Campus since she decided to pursue an Ivy Tech business degree. After she graduated, she joined the Ivy Tech team first as the Chancellor’s administrative assistant. She eventually joined the Admissions team to be at the forefront with students who are beginning their Ivy Tech journeys.


Christine Ellis, Admissions

Christine is relatively new to the Ivy Tech scene. She has only been here since September 2017. Before Ivy Tech, she worked at International Business College for 10 years. She loves creating an experience that is friendly and welcoming to students coming in to the College.

What do they wish you knew about Ivy Tech?
Both Christine and Ramona agree that many students don’t really know about some of the valuable resources available here at Ivy Tech, such as the Center for Academic Excellence and TRIO Student Support Services.

How about some interesting tidbits?
When they aren’t at work, they’re busy ladies. Ramona loves to work in her yard and relax watching TV and movies on the weekends. Christine loves to read books, to watch comedy movies, and to take in stand-up comedy. Oh, and if you hear screaming from the Admissions Office, it probably means there is a bug, because both Ramona and Christine are terrified of insects!

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.

Who’s That: Meet Aja Michael-Keller, keeper of events

“Aja Michael-Keller” may not sound familiar to you, but it’s pretty likely you’ve seen her around campus. Whether she’s helping Ivy Tech put on a great event or teaching students about the ins and outs of convention management, she’s been a fixture at Ivy Tech for seven years.

Meet Aja! (And FYI, that’s pronounced AH-jha, not Asia. Or Ah-ha. Or AJ.)

How would you describe your job to students?
I’m part of the marketing team on campus, and I work with all kinds of folks to make sure the community and possible students see Ivy Tech as the place to go. I’m also responsible for pulling off some of the College’s biggest special events including fundraisers like “A Reason to Taste” and commencement. I also plan non-credit IvyLiving classes that show off our faculty and facilities to the community. If that’s not enough, I’m also an adjunct instructor in the Hospitality Administration program. I teach event management courses, and I love spending time working with my students who geek out about events like I do.

Aja Michael-Keller, third from right, and her Intro to Convention and Meeting Management students at last year’s A Reason to Taste fundraiser.

Where would students likely have seen you around campus?
The best event planners are like ninjas: They dress all in black, and you never know they’re there. But, if students happen to have caught me, it was probably when I was barking orders during event set-ups or going from meeting to meeting all over campus. Sometimes, I represent the College on the news. They usually make me go on the 5 a.m. live interviews no one else wants to get up for. Full make-up, hair, and suit coat are tough before the sun comes up. Anything for the students, though! If you’re looking for me, I’m probably in the Student Life Center hanging out with the Admissions team.

What’s your favorite thing about your job?
I love that each day is different, and I get to work with creative people across the campus. I also love teaching and seeing things through my students’ eyes. The best part, though, is when I see how my work makes students proud they chose Ivy Tech.

What’s your favorite thing you work on at Ivy Tech all year?
Commencement is my favorite event. It takes an army of Ivy Tech employees to make it happen and it is hours of work and stress, BUT I get a front-row seat as the sea of students walk out the tunnel in their caps and gowns. It’s the moment it all becomes real, and they realize they actually did it. Watching them enter that room as students and leave as graduates—there’s nothing better in the world. Except maybe sitting down after that 14-hour day.

Aja is always looking for help to plan the logistics and promotions for events. It’s a detail-oriented, creative job. If you think you’d enjoy it and want to learn about intern possibilities, email her at amichael8@ivytech.edu.

Who’s That: Meet Christina O’Brien

If you’re involved in Student Life in any way, you’ve likely seen Christina O’Brien around campus. She’s the director of Student Life, which means she works on a bunch of events on campus for students, like WOW Wednesdays and Welcome Week events.

Meet Christina!

How would you describe your job?
I’m responsible for overseeing the cocurricular and extracurricular student experience, which is all the great ways students get involved and learn outside of the classroom. When you think about things like student clubs, student activities, service projects, and sports, you are thinking about Student Life.

Where have students most likely seen you around campus?
Everywhere! Usually running from one place to another with a wagon of weirdness I’m dragging around. Our department supports a lot of great opportunities for students all over campus, and those opportunities always have fun and interesting needs. You can find me giving a presentation at TRIO, or helping out at a WOW Wednesday event in the commons, or getting my diet soda fix at one of the food service areas. My home base is in the Student Life Center over by the Fitness Center and gymnasium.

Christina O’Brien and the Ivy Tech Titan mascot. From this year’s A Reason to Taste fundraiser.

What’s your favorite thing about your job?
It is always the students. I love the diverse and wonderful individuals I get to work with every year and be a part of this leg of their journey. Anytime I even mention considering a different job my husband asks “… but would you enjoy it as much?” My job always has new exciting things to work on and is never boring, but the students are what make it so fun. While they are here to learn, I feel like I end up learning so much from them during their time spent with Ivy Tech, and I look forward to the new faces I get to meet every semester, even though its hard (but exciting) to say good-bye when they graduate.

What’s your favorite event on campus, the No. 1 thing all students should be sure to stop by?
I can only choose one?! That is really hard! I’m going to cheat a smidgeon and say Welcome Week. While it’s technically a whole week of events, that first week of the semester is always so exciting, and the events are always so fun. Students should definitely stop by as many Welcome Week activities as they can and meet new people and enjoy that first week fun!

If students are interested in getting more involved with Student Life, what should they do?
They should check out IvyLife (right there on the Home page of MyIvy) and look at the different events and student organizations. Then they should just try anything out that looks interesting. Stop by group meetings, attend an event, and make time to be involved. If you are really at a loss of what to do, just stop by the Student Life Office in SL107. We can help you find some things that might interest you, and we don’t bite (unless we are hungry).

Who’s That: Meet Cari Knuth, who’s at all the fun events

If you’re involved in Student Life in any way, you’ve likely seen Cari Knuth around campus. She’s the assistant director of Student Life, which means she works on a bunch of events on campus and for students, like last month’s Trunk-or-Treat and this summer’s trip to Washington DC.

Meet Cari!

Tell me about your job.
I literally think I have the most fun job on campus. My job is to engage students outside of the classroom with entertaining, educational, developmental, and diverse extra-curricular programming, activities, and organizations so that students can make the most of their college experience.

There’s Cari, second from left with the striped purse. She traveled with a group of students to Washington D.C. this summer. Here, she’s with Sen. Joe Donnelly rocking some Ivy Tech gear.

Where have students most likely seen you around campus?
What’s Up Weekly News Posts, WOW Wednesdays, Welcome Week, and Family Fun Nights.

What’s your favorite thing about your job?
I get to help students develop soft skills within the college community by not only offering programming, service, and enrichment opportunities, but also by fostering an environment where student interests can develop into student leadership and individual growth.

What’s your favorite event on campus, the No. 1 thing all students should be sure to stop by?
This is a tough one, because through the years we’ve had some great events. My favorites have to be our Trunk-or-Treat events. Being involved in an event that brings 1,800-plus new and old faces that include student, employee, and community members makes my heart smile.



Snapshots from this year’s Trunk-or-Treat on North Campus. Click on images to zoom.

If students want to make sure they don’t miss any great things on campus, what’s the best way to stay informed?
Ivy Life is the best place to find out what’s up on campus. Also, my weekly What’s Up emails and news posts.

Who’s That is an occasional feature on Green Light that spotlights Ivy Tech employees you’ve likely seen around campus–but you may not be quite sure who they are. Have someone you’d like to see featured in Who’s That? Email me at jgarver2@ivytech.edu.

Who’s That: Meet Zeke Bryant, the video guy

Chances are, you’ve seen Zeke Bryant around campus before. He might have been hiding behind a camera, but he was probably there, shooting video or taking photos of your student event. Zeke is the College’s multimedia specialist, which means he’s responsible for taking video and photographs to help promote all of your successes.

Meet Zeke!

How would you describe your job?
I manage the Media Services office for the Fort Wayne Campus. I produce video, audio, and photography for internal and external use. My productions are used to promote events, clubs, academic programs, etc. I also equip audio/visual needs for events. My area is in charge of installing and repairing projectors and audio in classrooms and specialty rooms.

Zeke Bryant is the College’s multimedia specialist.

Where have we seen you around campus?
You may have seen me taking pictures at campus or student events. Perhaps setting up for a video shoot in a classroom or lab.

What’s your favorite part about your job?
First, no day is the same as the next. Each project has its own unique needs. Second is drawing attention to a specific need or focus artistically.

What’s the best thing about documenting days and events at Ivy Tech?
The reaction from people when they learn something new about Ivy Tech.

Zeke is always looking for interns. Want a chance to work with and learn from him? You should be familiar with Adobe Premiere and Photoshop and know your way around a prosumer still camera and prosumer video cameras. Self-motivation is a must. “I am a ‘hands-on is the way you learn’ guy,” he says. “I hand projects over with deadlines or a portion of it to complete.” Email him at ebryant14@ivytech.edu. To learn more about internship requirements, contact your advisor or program chair. Interested in working with Zeke as a work-study student? Check your eligibility with the Financial Aid office in Room 118 at the Student Life Center. 

Who’s That is an occasional feature on Green Light that spotlights Ivy Tech employees you’ve likely seen around campus–but you may not be quite sure who they are. Have someone you’d like to see featured in Who’s That? Email me at jgarver2@ivytech.edu.

Who’s That: Meet Sam Bolden, the food guy

You might not recognize the name “Sam Bolden,” but I bet you’ve seen him around before–likely working in and around the Wrap ‘N’ Roll Deli on the Coliseum Campus or Blue Bamboo in the Student Life Center. Sam is the College’s Food Services manager, which means he’s in charge of on-campus catering and both campus eateries. He works with students often, either as his employees or to make sure they get the right breakfast, lunch, and snacks.

Meet Sam!

What’s your favorite thing about your job?
My favorite part of my job is working with the students. It is especially rewarding to see them grow and reach their employment goals beyond graduation. Then, we do it all over again with a new batch of students.

Sam, center, with two Wrap ‘N’ Roll workers, Keiara Robinson (left) and Rose Lee.

Goodies for the s’mores buffet

What’s your favorite event to cater on campus?
That’s a tough one. We enjoy doing them all. I guess the ones with unique menu items, like one we did recently featuring made-to-order s’mores at an action-cooking chef’s table. It included assorted flavored marshmallows, three kinds of graham crackers, and various chocolate bars. The combinations and presentation were well-received by the students and visitors. Simply FUN!

What’s the you-gotta-try-this new item this semester?
Right now we are running the Big Walking Taco, and in October, we will be featuring a stacked corned beef reuben on swirl rye.

What’s your favorite thing to order at the Wrap ‘N’ Roll?
I like the Chipotle Turkey BLT Wrap. Yum!

What about the Blue Bamboo?
I like the Spicy Chicken Quesadilla. The Blue Bamboo Burger and the Hand-Breaded Pork Tenderloin Sandwich are standouts.

Who’s That is an occasional feature on Green Light that spotlights Ivy Tech employees you’ve likely seen around campus–but you may not be quite sure who they are. Have someone you’d like to see featured in Who’s That? Email me at jgarver2@ivytech.edu.