Alumnus excels at global web services provider

From Zayed Ahmed’s vantage point, he has the world at his fingertips—or at least nearly half a billion global consumers who access Yahoo’s web services each month.

As a production operations engineer at Yahoo’s Network Operations Center in Lockport, N.Y.—about 30 miles northeast of Buffalo—Ahmed specializes in uptime, or ensuring that the company’s vast network of servers maintain continuous operation to benefit online users in more than 30 languages.

“We are the first line of defense,” Ahmed says. “We use our judgment very carefully to distinguish between critical issues that could impact users internally or externally and noncritical ones.”

Ivy Tech Fort Wayne alumnus Zayed Ahmed is a production operations engineer at Yahoo’s Network Operations Center in Lockport, N.Y., where he specializes in uptime, or ensuring that the company’s vast network of servers maintain continuous operation.

The 2015 computer information technology graduate from Ivy Tech Community College’s Fort Wayne Campus says such judgment calls require vigilance, familiarization with current issues and protocols, and teamwork through a variety of communication channels.

Ahmed says the College prepared him well for the technical and soft skill challenges associated with on-the-job debugging, troubleshooting, networking, and systems administration.

In addition to rigorous course requirements, he applied himself at Ivy Tech through a number of problem-solving pursuits: an advanced networking internship, a systems administration internship, completion of four computer certifications, and participation on the Cyber Defense Competition team.

“That competition is what really got me exposed to what’s out there in the real world,” Ahmed says. “The friends I made showed me so many things I didn’t know about. Having acquired those skills, they’re now knowledge I use at my job every day.”

That knowledge may have remained elusive if his first attempt at college had been successful.

Born in Saudi Arabia to Yemeni parents, Ahmed enrolled at Yemen’s University of Science and Technology in Sana’a to study civil engineering in 2011. Two years into his studies, the university closed due to militant uprisings around the country. Yemen spiraled into a civil war in 2014 and the fighting continues.

Soon after his return to Saudi Arabia for safety, Ahmed met a graduate from an American university who encouraged him to study abroad. He followed the peer’s advice and lived in a few states briefly before settling with family and friends in Fort Wayne and selecting Ivy Tech.

“I’ve been passionate about IT from day one, but now having the ability to study it in the U.S.—one of the greatest places to learn about technology—was an even bigger motivation,” Ahmed says.

Near the time of his graduation, Ahmed got married, and his wife relocated to Fort Wayne. It wasn’t long before she grew homesick for her family and hometown of Buffalo, Ahmed says. The couple moved to Buffalo, and Ahmed secured employment as a contractor for Yahoo in October 2016. He became a full-time associate last July.

Ron Tumiel, associate manager of Yahoo’s Network Operations Center, oriented Ahmed to the company’s complex system architecture and remains his supervisor.

“During his time, Zayed has learned a great deal, and I now see him explaining complicated topics to other new employees,” Tumiel says. “This includes stuff I know I didn’t teach him, which to me demonstrates his ability to be open to new ideas and to learn from people around him in order to keep pushing himself further.”

That intrinsic “push” is an attribute Ahmed plans to apply in both the short-term—completing a bachelor’s degree in computer science—and long-term—becoming an entrepreneur and developing mobile apps with the potential for an international audience.

Ahmed says “remaining curious and seeking knowledge” is his personal mantra. He recommends the same ideals for others pursuing opportunities and a better life.

“Remember, a college degree will help get you a good career, but being good at what you do is what’s going to keep you there,” he says.

Special topics classes reach students through uncommon means

A state is considered “landlocked” if none of its borders touch an ocean, gulf, or bay. It is “singly landlocked” if you have to go through just one other state or Canadian province to reach an ocean, gulf, or bay. Two states? “Doubly landlocked.”

Three? “Triply land-locked.”

Nebraska is the only triply land-locked state in the country. Ten are doubly—including Indiana.

So how does a college in a state so far from an ocean, gulf, or bay get a marine biology class?

Easy: Chris Barlow.

Barlow is associate professor of life sciences at Ivy Tech Community College’s Fort Wayne Campus. She spent spring break 2016 with a Goshen College marine biology class at the J.N. Roth Marine Biology Station, which Goshen owns on Long Key, Fla. Her goal? To figure out how Ivy Tech students can get that same opportunity.

Long Key, Fla.

Special Topics in Marine Biology is being offered to Ivy Tech students for the first time this spring semester. Special Topics classes are those that aren’t already part of the curriculum rotation, says Kim Barnett-Johnson, the College’s vice chancellor for Academic Affairs. They typically come about from student or instructor interest.

“They are things that we feel are going to be value-added to the students’ educational experience,” she says. “Sometimes they are areas that the instructor or program chair feels like, ‘Hey, if we can give our students this experience, that will only make them more valuable in the marketplace.’”

Barnett-Johnson

Take Harry Potter: The Innocence and the Experience. This English 111 class was offered for the first time at the Fort Wayne Campus in fall 2017, and it is being offered again this spring.

English 111 is a class where students sometimes struggle, Barnett-Johnson says, so Susan Howard, assistant chair in English, came up with a creative way to base a class on a popular subject.

The primary goal of English 111 is to teach students how to write academic essays, Howard says, and her students write the kinds of essays they would in any other English 111 class—it’s just that the topics are Harry Potter-specific. Students write

  • A personal literacy narrative, which is a life event related to literacy, about how they became fans of Harry Potter and why
  • A research-based paper on how Harry Potter changed the world
  • A rhetorical analysis—where students evaluate a book’s purpose, audience, content, context, and more—of a chapter from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the fourth book in the series
  • A research paper focused on any argument they’d like to construct, such as “What is Harry Potter’s impact on the moral development of children?”, “Is Hermione a feminist?”, “How does J.K. Rowling deal with ethnic differences between pure-bloods* and Mudbloods*?”, and “How does she address slavery through the house elves*?”

Clearly, it helps to know the Potter lore before signing up for the class, though that was not a problem for enrollment.

“I got so many emails from students who wanted to get into the class once it was closed,” Howard says. “It filled up very quickly once we advertised.”

The success of the Harry Potter class has led to more themed English 111 classes; there is also saw a class taught around the Lord of the Rings books this semester, and Howard says she knows of other instructors who are interested in teaching classes around literature in sports and dystopian literature.

The Potter class is one of the first Tiffany Fitzwater ever took at Ivy Tech. She says her advisor encouraged her to take the class because of her love of reading. She enjoyed the class because it introduced her to the books—she had only seen the movies prior—and because of the modern subject matter.

“I definitely feel like (the topic) gives us a piece of literature that students can relate to,” says Fitzwater, an engineering technology student. “Most of the people in my class are younger students, so with this novel we have, we grew up with it. I wasn’t the biggest Harry Potter fan growing up. Reading the books has kind of opened the real Harry Potter world for me. I am just in love with the books.”

Hannah Huffman took the Harry Potter-themed English class last semester. “It’s definitely not just a super easy class,” she says.

Just because the topic of Howard’s class is a modern one, Howard points out, it should not suggest that the material is easy.

“I’ve had some people suggest Harry Potter is going to be a lightweight course,” Howard says. “I think my students will tell you that the class is not just a Harry Potter fan club getting together once a week.”

Hannah Huffman, a nursing student, says this is her second time taking English 111—when she took it 10 years ago, she was just out of high school—and while being interested in the topic is helping her succeed, the class is by no means easy.

“It’s definitely not a fluff class,” she says. “The thought going into it was, ‘Oh, it should be pretty easy. I’m really familiar with the books,’ but I’m being challenged in a whole new way. Right now, we’re working on our informative paper, and I’m really struggling to find the information I thought I was going to use.”

Plus, the material covers all seven Harry Potter books—a total of 4,224 pages.

“So no, it’s definitely not just a super easy class,” Huffman says.

Barlow

Similarly, students who look at Marine Biology as an easy class where they get to spend a week in Florida will be been sadly mistaken.  Yes, Barlow and her students will spend Spring Break at Goshen’s biology station in Florida, but the trip will hardly be a vacation. The days will start with an 8 a.m. briefing about the day’s activities, followed by 2 ½ hours snorkeling, lunch, exploring a new site, dinner, and evenings spent with microscopes to identify everything they found throughout the day.

“Getting into the ocean and seeing the things you read about is so exciting,” Barlow says. “The diversity and biology of the ocean will give students this sensational experience that I’m hoping will excite them on a deep level.”

Ivy Tech’s isn’t the only marine biology class in the area—IPFW and St Francis offer one, too, Barlow says, in Costa Rica and the Bahamas, respectively—but Ivy Tech’s is easily the most affordable. The fees were about $375, which covered renting the J.N. Roth Marine Biology Station (it’s a private rental, so Ivy Tech students will be the only ones there), two snorkel trips, and a van.

“I wanted to provide a high-quality, sub-tropical field experience at a fraction of the cost of other colleges in town,” she says. “I wanted to keep the cost below the cost of a new cell phone. That was my goal.”

Ivy Tech: Graduating Fort Wayne since 1969

The Fort Wayne Campus at Ivy Tech Community College has been teaching students since 1969. From 1990-91 to 2016-17, a total of 17,299 students graduated from Fort Wayne.

Our graduates help you out at the doctor’s office and feed you. They do your taxes and fix your cars. They start their own businesses and build robots.

Not too shabby.

It’s easy to focus on each year’s graduates and what their immediate plans are, but there’s something to be said for going back, for honoring and checking up on those who graduated 10, 12, more years ago. We put a call out to some of those graduates to see what they’re up to. Here’s what we found!

Adam Carnahan, of Fort Wayne
Studied Computer Information Technology
Graduated 2005
“Upon graduation I started working in technology consulting with Microsoft gold partner Strategic Solutions. I’ve done consulting for 11 years now and also taught part time at Ivy Tech Fort Wayne for a few years.”

Jody Greer, of Lagrange
Studied Accounting
Graduated 1992
“I earned my two-year accounting degree after I was married and had two daughters. My youngest was one when I started school. After I earned my degree, I got a job in accounting at a small trucking company and then at the City of Fort Wayne in the accounting department. It was a part-time job that gave me the flexibility to continue my education because I decided I wanted to become a certified public accountant. I obtained my bachelor’s degree in Business Management at Indiana Tech. Shortly after I successfully passed the certified public accountant exam, I moved on to Trine University as the controller for six year and then to the vice president of Finance position, which I’ve held for the last nine years. Ivy Tech provided a great base accounting education that I was able to build upon.”

Andrea Jacquay, of Fort Wayne
Studied Accounting
Graduated 2000
“After graduation, I started working for a temporary agency and was placed at Ivy Tech’s Finance office.  I was officially hired as an Ivy Tech part-time employee in February of 2001.  I am still working for Ivy Tech, but I am full-time and the assistant director of Finance and Budget. Two of my three children have attended and completed a degree and a certification at Ivy Tech.”

Charleen Garver, of Spencerville
Studied Practical Nursing
Graduated 1992
“After graduation I applied at Beverly Rehab with the goal of becoming a registered nurse.  While taking classes at IPFW, I began to realize how much knowledge I had gained while doing my studies at Ivy Tech. After Beverly Rehab, I worked for 16 years as a clinical reimbursement coordinator at Extendicare. My time at Ivy Tech definitely made me a better nurse for my patients. I feel the background knowledge I received from Ivy Tech is what made me very successful in my career. The nursing instructors at Ivy Tech were the best in the field.  They were strict, and all they wanted was for us to be the best nurses we were capable of being. I would never have been offered the promotions as years went by if I would not have had top-notch training in the nursing field provided by these wonderful instructors.”

Inside Ivy Tech: Events Calendar

 Visit the Ivy Tech events calendar for regular updates.

 NOVEMBER

Gaming developers lecture (Fort Wayne)
Nov. 10
6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Directions: Coliseum Campus auditorium (Room 1200)
Interested in learning about gaming development? Two professional game developers will speak about their experiences: Brianna Wu, the founder of Giant Spacekat, a Boston-based independent video game development studio, and the co-developer of the online game Revolution 60; and Casey O’Donnell, the developer of the games Kerem B’Yavneh and Sparks of Eternity and a gaming lecturer and blogger.

International Education Week (Fort Wayne)
Nov. 13 to 16
Topics, times, and locations vary
Directions: Coliseum Campus, Student Life Center
As part of this international celebration, Ivy Tech is hosting a series of lectures and events.

Apprenticeship Fair (Fort Wayne)
Nov. 17
9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Directions: Steel Dynamics, Inc. Keith E. Busse Technology Center
National Apprenticeship Week is from Nov. 13 to 19, and Ivy Tech’s Apprenticeship Fair will let you learn all about apprenticeships. Check out live demos and meet with area companies that have apprenticeship programs.

MARCH

Environment and Culture in Belize (Warsaw)
Tentatively scheduled for March 10 to 17, 2018
Estimated cost: $3,149
This trip includes stops in Belize City, San Ignacio, and Ambergris Caye. We’ll interact with community members and visit an old sugar mill, a school, and jungle areas to identify how colonialism has had an impact on the peoples of Belize. For more information, contact Michael Slavkin at mslavkin1@ivytech.edu. Find full travel details online.

Ivyopoly Night (Wabash)
March 23
6 to 9:30 p.m.
Directions: Honeywell Center
Join us for our annual fundraiser to support students at Ivy Tech’s Wabash Site. This casual event includes a meal, silent auction, and one-hour of intense Monopoly play. Call 260-563-8828, ext. 6009 for more information.

 

Inside Ivy Tech: Beethoven-themed fundraising gala brings in more than $90k

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The night belonged to German composer Ludwig van Beethoven, as well as his many admirers.

In its sixth year, A Reason to Taste–the largest annual fundraising event for Ivy Tech Community College’s Fort Wayne Campus–was influenced by German classical music and cuisine. The charitable gala raised more than $90,000 on Oct. 28.

Donations to the Ivy Tech Foundation came through corporate sponsorships, silent and live auctions, and individual donations and benefited student scholarships, academic programs, and the Ivy Tech Titans Baseball Program. (The Ivy Tech Titans is a self-supported intercollegiate athletics baseball team that will begin formal play in the spring).

“I asked one of the donors after, did she have fun,” says Margaret Sturm, executive director of Resource Development. “She was at a table where she didn’t know anyone. She said, ‘You don’t need to know anyone because we’re all here for the same reason. It’s for the students, so everybody has something in common.’”

Students who won the European Competition at Ivy Tech’s Fort Wayne Campus in January created the menu and prepared the dinner for A Reason to Taste guests on Oct. 28.

At A Reason to Taste: Moonlight Sonata, guests were entertained by Beethoven’s compositions, and they enjoyed a multi-course menu prepared by students in Hospitality Administration who won an opportunity to study culinary arts in France and Germany this spring. Those students were winners of the College’s European Competition, hosted in January. They created the fundraiser’s menu based on their trip, and they cooked the dinner at the fundraiser.

Linda Jackson of Fort Wayne’s NBC emceed the event, which was hosted at Parkview Health’s Mirro Center for Research and Innovation. Donna Packnett, a community volunteer who has worked with A Reason to Taste since its inception, won the evening’s Ivy Award, which is presented to someone who exhibits outstanding community service and leadership in northeast Indiana.

Next year’s event is tentatively scheduled for mid-October. Those who are interested in sponsorship opportunities and/or serving on next year’s planning committee can contact Sturm at msturm7@ivytech.edu or 260-480-2010. Donations to this year’s total can still be made at IvyTech.edu/reason.

Thompson and Nance

Approximately 220 guests were entertained by Emily Thompson and Robert Nance, who played a variety of Beethoven’s late 18th- and early 19th-century compositions.

VIDEOS
Check out two videos broadcast at the event and featured on the College’s YouTube channel:

  • Lawrence Davis and Lydia Yaste are two of eight students who won the Chopped-style European Competition at Ivy Tech Fort Wayne in January. They traveled to France and Germany to study the culinary arts with the other winners. Based on the trip, the group helped create the menu for A Reason to Taste: be/MZY3opNm_9Q
  • Hospitality Administration chair Jeff Albertson and Richard Owens, a student in the program, talk about Grasshopper, the College’s food truck. A portion of the money raised at A Reason to Taste will benefit the food truck’s operation: be/5uLilHmlwPQ

SPONSORS
Presenting sponsor: Parkview Health

Reception sponsor: Plumbers & Steamfitters Local Union 166

Beverage sponsor: Calhoun Street Soups, Salads, & Spirits

Corporate sponsors: 80/20, Inc., Auburn Gear, BFGoodrich, Barnes & Thornburg, LLP, Brooks Construction Company, Inc., Fort Wayne Metals, Greater Fort Wayne Inc., Hagerman Construction Group, Ivy Tech Foundation, The James Foundation, Inc., Kelley Automotive, Lincoln Financial Foundation, PNC Bank, Questa Foundation, STAR Financial Bank, Sweetwater Sound, Whitley Manufacturing Co., Inc.

Media sponsor: Fort Wayne’s NBC

Event partners: A Party Apart, Armstrong Flowers, Cap ‘n Cork, Coplin Piano Service, Schrader Real Estate and Auction Co.

Entertainment: Emily Thompson, violin; Robert Nance, piano

Inside Ivy Tech: Knowledge @ the College

Ivy Tech Community College faculty make their mark on northeast Indiana and beyond:

Automotive Author

Goodnight

Goodnight

Nicholas Goodnight has penned a textbook for community and technical college students. The assistant professor of automotive technology is co-author of Automotive Engine Repair, a part of the CDX Master Automotive Technician Series.

In addition, the North American Council of Automotive Teachers honored Goodnight with the Best New Automotive Teacher in the Nation award last July, a distinction that recognizes an outstanding automotive instructor who has been teaching for five years or fewer.

Tech Savvy

Andy Bell

Bell

Engineering department chair Andrew Bell spoke about two-year and four-year college collaborations to advance microelectromechanical system technology at the National Science Foundation’s Advanced Technological Education Principal Investigators Conference in Washington, D.C. in late October. Two of Bell’s students, Lucas Bazile and Isaiah Abel, were awarded highly selective sponsorships to join him at the conference.

Also, Bell was sworn in recently as the Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering’s  vice chair for the Micro/Nanotechnology Focus Group during the organization’s annual conference in Cincinnati. The ATMAE develops technology graduates and professional who lead, innovate, and collaborate in technology-related fields.

Cyber Speak

Togashi, Darryl

Togashi

Cybersecurity expert Darryl Togashi has been named to Indiana Gov. Eric J. Holcomb’s Executive Council on Cybersecurity. Togashi is the department chair for Cybersecurity/Information Assurance, Information Technology Support, Network Infrastructure and Server Administration programs at Ivy Tech’s Fort Wayne Campus.

Togashi has joined government (local, state, and federal), private-sector, military, research, and academic stakeholders to collaboratively move Indiana’s cybersecurity to the next level. With 28 council members and more than 50 advisory members, the council will deliver a comprehensive strategy plan to Holcomb by September 2018.

Ensuring Excellence

Rula Mourad Koudsia

Mourad

Rula Mourad Koudsia has been named the director of the Center for Teaching and Learning at Ivy Tech’s Fort Wayne Campus, a new initiative launched this fall to focus on faculty collaboration, enrichment, and innovation. The center aims to provide trainings, consultations, and resources to support faculty and create a more connected campus-wide teaching culture. Departments across the College, as well as external organizations, will assist in fulfilling the center’s mission.

Koudsia will retain her existing responsibilities as associate professor and department chair for the Communication, English for Speakers of Other Languages, and Student Success programs.

Inside Ivy Tech: Alphabet Soup

Ivy Tech Community College news briefs from across northeast Indiana:

Advancing Agriculture

This spring, Ivy Tech’s Warsaw Site will begin to offer Introduction to Agriculture, with the hope to offer related classes at the site in coming semesters. These classes allow students in and around Kosciusko County to begin an associate degree in agriculture close-to-home. They can complete their course work at the Ivy Tech Fort Wayne Campus.

Agriculture is one of the largest sectors of Indiana’s economy, making a $20 billion impact annually. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2015–16 Agricultural Statistics book, Kosciusko County ranks, with regard to Indiana’s 92 counties,

  • Fifth in cattle production
  • Fifth in total land area used for farming
  • Fifth in cash receipts from farm marketing
  • Seventh in corn production

 Educational Exchange

Ivy Tech’s Fort Wayne Campus is hosting two international students as a part of the Tunisia Community College Scholarship Program: Raki Glaii and Seif Edinne Chouaya.

Through a year-long program of study in the United States, scholarship program participants develop academic knowledge and skills in their field of study. By interacting with Americans in the classroom, in the community, and through service-learning activities, participants develop a broad and nuanced understanding of U.S. values, become citizen ambassadors, and create links between Tunisians and Americans to increase cross-cultural understanding.

The program is a part of the Thomas Jefferson Scholarship Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and administered by IREX, an international nonprofit organization.

Pioneering Programs

Beginning academic year 2017–18, Ivy Tech’s Fort Wayne Campus will offer five new academic programs: aviation technology–flight, biology, diesel technology, patient care technician, and psychology.

Aviation technology–flight is an associate degree program that prepares students for their journey toward becoming pilots. Students will follow a syllabus approved by the Federal Aviation Administration to become “instrument rated,” which means students will need to have at least 50 hours of cross-country flight time as pilot in command.

Biology is an associate degree program where students can find employment as biological sciences lab technicians, forest conservation technicians, or medical laboratory technicians. Students can transfer their degree to any public four-year university in Indiana and begin as a junior.

Diesel technology is an associate degree program that places an emphasis on the analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of diesel engines. This program complements the commercial driver’s license training already provided by Ivy Tech’s Fort Wayne Campus.

Patient care technician is an associate degree program that prepares students with skills such as taking vital signs, performing electrocardiography, drawing blood, and other procedures to help with the day-to-day care of healthcare patients.

Psychology is an associate degree program where students can find employment as mental health assistants, youth counselors, home care aides, and addictions rehabilitation assistants. Students can transfer their degree to any public four-year university in Indiana and begin as a junior.

Regional Realignment

As a part of its organizational restructuring initiative, Ivy Tech Community College recently announced that the Ivy Tech Warsaw Site will transition to the Ivy Tech Fort Wayne Campus service area. Warsaw is currently aligned with the Ivy Tech North Central service area, which includes South Bend, but the College announced a new structure earlier this year that proposed eliminating regions and moving toward a campus model.

During the 2017–18 academic year, the Ivy Tech Fort Wayne and Warsaw leadership teams will work together to ensure a smooth transition for students, faculty, staff, and the Warsaw community Ivy Tech serves. Full realignment is expected on or before July 1, 2018.

 

Inside Ivy Tech: Hall of Famer selected to helm Ivy Tech Titans baseball

Ivy Tech’s Fort Wayne Campus has hit a home run, launching a successful intercollegiate men’s baseball program with a 13-0 record during fall exhibition play and securing National Junior College Athletic Association Division II status.

The College announced its team intent with the Ivy Tech Titans at a press conference in late spring and named Lance Hershberger as head coach, a well-respected baseball figure in northeast Indiana.

Inducted into the Northeast Indiana Baseball Hall of Fame in 2017, Hershberger has several years of coaching experience at many levels of play, including the Wildcat Baseball Organization; Concordia, Bishop Luers, and Bishop Dwenger high schools; and Indiana Tech. At Indiana Tech, his teams appeared in five consecutive National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics World Series from 1998 to 2002.

“Under Lance’s leadership, Titans Baseball will provide a new opportunity for Ivy Tech students in northeast Indiana, allowing them to develop their potential on the field and in the classroom, as they prepare for their future,” says Jerrilee K. Mosier, chancellor of Ivy Tech’s Fort Wayne Campus.

The Titans roster consists of 26 full-time students, who began exhibition play at Shoaff Park in September. The College is providing these student-athletes with the opportunity to compete at an intercollegiate level, while also focusing on their academic studies at Indiana’s most affordable college, which makes the opportunity and experience more accessible for regional athletes.

“Fall ball is important for any college baseball program. It’s even magnified for a new program,” Hershberger says. “I liked what I saw, based on our 13-0 record, as our players got their feet on firm ground.”

The baseball program is being supported solely through sponsorships, private donors, and fundraising efforts at the College. Several donors have already made pledges to the program, such as Indiana Representative Bob Morris. Currently, the College is crowdfunding for student scholarships, and more than $18,000 has been raised to date. Donations are still being accepted to the Ivy Tech Titans Baseball Program.

The Titans face Sinclair Community College of Dayton, Ohio, during the team’s spring opener on Feb. 27.

Inside Ivy Tech: Dual credit student interns at NASA

It started, as these things do, with Star Wars.

Two years ago, Alexandra Forsythe visited Fort Wayne’s Science Central, where she saw a working R2-D2 robot.

“I am a big Star Wars fan, and I always thought it would be cool to build my own R2-D2,” she says.

So she taught herself how. Forsythe, a dual credit student at Ivy Tech Community College’s Fort Wayne Campus who keeps her working R2 in his own private garage at home, used the knowledge she gained in building the robot to snag herself an internship at NASA this summer.

Alexandra Forsythe, a homeschooled student who is taking dual credit classes at Ivy Tech’s Fort Wayne Campus, interned at NASA over the summer.

During her 12-week internship, she worked on a circuit board that will be used by a rover, allowing it to land autonomously and safely. She’s not yet sure where this NASA rover will travel—NASA hasn’t announced it yet—but she guesses it will go to the moon first, and then maybe to Mars.

This circuit board was considerably different from the boards she created for R2. For one, the rover’s board required special components, like a shielding cloth to protect it from radiation and pieces that allow it to fly in space.

Her internship wasn’t all circuit boards, however; she learned about ferrite beads (a hollow cylinder or bead made of iron oxide used to filter how much high frequency electromagnetic interference noise is found in electronic circuits) and the math that goes into assuring an object is space-ready.

“When you take an internship at NASA, it’s not so you can help with a special project,” Forsyth says. “It’s so you can learn things.”

And she taught them, too: NASA asked her to present her R2-D2 to the team. (She blogged about the presentation and shared a brief video, which you can view here.)

Forsythe is a home-schooled high school student from Huntington. Last year, she took a public speaking class at Ivy Tech’s Fort Wayne Campus—once, she presented her R2 in the class—and she’s currently enrolled in physics.

“Oh, I love it,” she says of the College. “Public speaking last year was incredible. (My physics professor) makes physics really interesting, even though it’s a five-hour class. He makes it so it’s cool, and I love that. I love it when a professor can keep my attention.”

She has also taken classes at Indiana Tech and Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne. Her goal, she says, is to test out different colleges in an effort to figure out where to study when she graduates high school.

“I’m waiting to see how the scholarships fall,” she says. “I still want to take classes at Ivy Tech.”

To learn more about Forsythe, check out her blog.

Inside Ivy Tech: Putting the ‘community’ in community college

Quality of place begins with access to broad opportunities, partnerships in action

College’s partnerships help define civic satisfaction in northeast Indiana

Ivy Tech Community College’s origin in northeast Indiana can be traced to the summer of 1969 and leased space in the former Concordia High School at 1711 Maumee Ave.

There, a small team of faculty and staff scrambled to prepare for the start of fall quarter classes.

“It was exciting. Here was a brand new school, and it provided an opportunity to get in at the ground floor. I decided to take the chance and sign on,” says Jan Geib, one of the first instructors hired who went on to teach at the College for 36 years.

Among the hundreds of events the College supports each year is the American Heart Association’s Northeast Indiana Heart Walk.

The Indiana Legislature had established the statewide institution as Indiana Vocational Technical College six years earlier, in 1963, for the purpose of addressing a large gap in vocational-type technical training for Hoosiers.

The initial class offerings were selected based on each region’s greatest employment-training needs. For Fort Wayne, that meant two programs: Drafting Technology and Secretarial Sciences.

While many things have changed since the College’s early history—most notably its expanded role as a comprehensive community college that offers career, continuing, developmental, online, transfer, and workforce-training education—one thing that hasn’t changed is its commitment to quality of place in northeast Indiana.

“Quality of place can be defined in many ways, but no matter how you define it, it’s the single most important measure of civic satisfaction,” says Jerrilee K. Mosier, chancellor of Ivy Tech Northeast. “The more appealing an area can be, the happier and more prosperous its residents will be.”

And for Ivy Tech Northeast, contributing to quality of place translates into actively embracing partnerships that promote academic, economic, and social advances for people.

“You have to develop strong relationships with the community if you want the community to support the College,” Mosier adds.

Aja Michael-Keller, in her work as director of events, enrichment, and conferencing, quantifies partnerships between the College and the community. In 2016 alone, the College sponsored more than 100 internally driven events, such as A Reason to Taste, South Side Fest, and Touch-a-Truck, where several thousand area residents benefited from participation.

In addition, the College hosted 465 externally driven events, meetings, and trainings, where 19,740 people attended campus functions scheduled by groups as diverse as the American Heart Association, Cancer Support, the Department of Homeland Security, Early Childhood Alliance, and FIRST LEGO League.

“One of the things that brings me the greatest satisfaction is seeing first-hand the myriad ways in which Ivy Tech Northeast enhances lives by being a place to gather, learn, and share ideas,” Michael-Keller says.

Pre-employment skills training benefits Easterseals Arc clients

While perfecting his fold of a buffalo chicken wrap, Wayne High School junior Santiago Norfleet paused before detailing some of the skills he’s developed at Ivy Tech Northeast’s Blue Bamboo Café.

“I’ve learned how to cook on the grill, work with the cash register, and avoid using the same gloves for more than one task because it could cause food contamination,” he says.

Wayne High School freshman Peyton Hullinger assists Norfleet in wrapping chocolate chunk cookies to sell at the College’s Blue Bamboo Café on North Campus.

Norfleet is one of eight Wayne High School students with special needs who participated in an 18-week training initiative at the College this spring made possible by a pre-employment transitional grant issued by the state’s Vocational Rehabilitation Services office.

As administrator of the grant, Easterseals Arc of Northeast Indiana partnered with Fort Wayne Community Schools and Ivy Tech Northeast to plan and execute the training.

The grant gave students with special needs the opportunity to learn about and enhance their skills in five areas: job-exploration counseling, post-secondary education, self-advocacy, work-based learning experiences, and workplace-readiness training.

Easterseals Arc first approached FWCS about the district’s perceived value of pursuing a pre-employment transitional services partnership. In response, FWCS officials identified Wayne High School as the school with the greatest need for such assistance.

“Our special needs students currently maintain a greenhouse, a lunch café, and a supplies store within the school,” says Wayne High School Principal John Houser. “I was excited to see this partnership with Easterseals Arc and Ivy Tech because it made the training opportunities more rigorous, more real life.”

During the training’s work-rotation schedule, the students were divided into two groups where they gained work experience through four support services at Ivy Tech Northeast: administrative services, catering/food service, groundskeeping, and janitorial/housekeeping. Students even earned Indiana’s food handler certification.

Easterseals Arc also provided the students with a small stipend to help incentivize participation while they trained.

“These experiences not only provided skills training in various areas of our campus facilities, they also provided a stepping stone for independence and self-worth,” says Kassandra Flanagan, program manager for Ivy Tech Northeast’s Workforce Alignment.

Easterseals Arc job coach Ashlyn Smith agrees.

“I’ve watched these students learn to take pride in what they’re doing,” she says. “This change in their mentality comes back around to the increased confidence they’ve gained.”

Third-graders adopt ‘no excuses’ when it comes to pursuing college education

West Noble Elementary School student Xavier Hofmeister collaborates on a craft project with his college pen pal, Karina Vazquez, a general studies major.

April 13 proved to be a big day for Xavier Hofmeister and his classmates from West Noble Elementary School. Not only did the third-graders travel from Ligonier to tour Ivy Tech Northeast’s Coliseum Campus, they had the opportunity to meet their college student pen pals.

During the 2016–17 academic year, Hofmeister has been paired with Karina Vazquez, an American Honors student and general studies major.

“I told her my nickname is X-Man, like the X-Men movies, and she should have a nickname, too, since we’re friends,” says Hofmeister, while drawing a pond stocked with fish on a cloth square. The squares were later connected by ribbons to complete an Earth Day-inspired quilt project for display.

“It’s nice socializing with the students,” says Vazquez, coloring beside Hofmeister. “It’s easier for me to speak with children than adults sometimes.”

A national stay-in-school initiative helped make their interaction possible.

Since 2013, Ivy Tech Northeast has sponsored a third-grade class at West Noble through No Excuses University, a program that matches elementary schools with a high number of students receiving free and reduced-price lunches with higher education or military partners. The program encourages students to graduate from high school and consider attending college.

Third-grade teacher and Ivy Tech Northeast alumna Angela Beers says her students have studied the College online, learning about its statewide system and discovering that it’s a more affordable option for higher education.

“Coming here today, the students are getting a concrete, tangible experience with college,” Beers says. “Each year, my class loves to come here, see what a real college looks like, and interact with the students.”

In addition to socializing with their pen pals, the West Noble students received Ivy Tech T-shirts and swag bags filled with college-themed items.

American Honors Coordinator Krystyl Dumas says the third-graders aren’t the only ones to benefit from the No Excuses University arrangement.

“American Honors students get to stay connected to the community, and they get to feel like mentors to the younger students,” Dumas says.

Parkview Education Center to open in fall, promote streamlined career paths

Career training in healthcare is about to become more streamlined in northeast Indiana, as Parkview Health System opens the Parkview Education Center at 1919 W. Cook Road this fall.

A new three-partner consortium comprised of Parkview, Ivy Tech Northeast, and Fort Wayne Community School’s Career Academy at Anthis is expected to provide innovative and comprehensive learning experiences.

From left: Healthcare specialist instructor Shelly Dobler coaches Julia Arnold, a healthcare specialist major, in placing EKG electrodes on a mock patient. This fall, the Healthcare Specialist program will relocate to the new Parkview Education Center
at 1919 W. Cook Road.

“For participating Anthis and Ivy Tech students, the Parkview Education Center’s collaborative model will show them that healthcare is a great field to work in, and they may be inspired to become nurses, doctors, respiratory therapists, and the like,” says Sue Ehinger, chief experience officer at Parkview Health. “This project is also important to me personally because it has a goal of starting some Parkview employees on the path to college. It will show them that it’s possible to advance in your career when you further your skills and education.”

Parkview will be shifting its training and new employee orientation operations to the location; Anthis will be moving its four health science programs; Ivy Tech Northeast will be relocating its Healthcare Specialist program, which provides certifications to become EKG technicians, patient care technicians, personal trainers, pharmacy technicians, and phlebotomy technicians. The program will maintain a small presence on the College’s Coliseum Campus.

Ivy Tech will use its 23,550-square-foot space to accommodate four classrooms, two anatomy and physiology labs, two computer labs, one EKG lab, one phlebotomy lab, one kinesiology lab, and the option to establish a fifth classroom and a pharmacy technician lab at a later date.

Interim Dean of Health Sciences Matt Shady says the partnership will add value on a variety of levels.

“With Anthis students, there will be a more direct line through which they can continue their education at Ivy Tech. With Parkview, in essence, its staff has a long history of helping train our students through clinical experiences. This partnership slightly turns those tables as we begin to provide training to the hospital’s employees. And from the College’s standpoint, the space where the Healthcare Specialist program is currently housed can be used to expand or launch other programs,” Shady says.

Unity Performing Arts to expand programming for its gifted students

The internationally acclaimed Voices of Unity Youth Choir will soon have a new rehearsal home on Ivy Tech Northeast’s Coliseum Campus. The choir performed at the College’s Commencement ceremony in 2016.

The performing arts are about to become a mainstay at Ivy Tech Northeast once the Unity Arts Institute begins its residency this summer.

The new institute will operate on the Coliseum Campus, and its programming will represent the first and second phases of a multi-phase, multi-year vision for the Unity Performing Arts Foundation, which serves children and adolescents in the greater Fort Wayne area.

During phase one, Unity is expanding its youth choral program, the internationally acclaimed Voices of Unity Youth Choir, and creative writing program, Expression, to include opportunities in dance, drama, instrumental music, and
oratory training.

Phase two represents the formal launch of the institute, where, in addition to artistic programming, youth development programming will be introduced. Opportunities will include training in character building, college and career preparation, communication and leadership, and health and wellness.

“We are excited about having access to Ivy Tech’s administrators, educators, professionals, resources, and facilities,” says Marshall White, founder and CEO of the Unity Performing Arts Foundation. “Additionally, we hope to attract Ivy Tech students to volunteer, become mentors for our young people, and become instrumental in the growth and development of our programs.”

The leased 3,119-square-foot renovation marks Unity’s first independent programming space, which is being funded by a successful 2016–17 capital campaign orchestrated by its foundation. The renovation will include computer lab, office, reception, practice, and storage areas.

“This move is a major milestone in Unity’s history,” White says. “I believe great organizations don’t just happen; they need great people to fuel, nurture, and support the potential greatness that exists. When that happens, the potential greatness comes
forth and becomes a valuable asset for the community.”

Both parties anticipate that the partnership can provide a blueprint for how educational institutions and the arts community can collaborate to ensure the success of young people.

“The experiences ahead will serve the participants well for the rest of their lives,” says Jerrilee K. Mosier, chancellor of Ivy Tech Northeast. “The College is pleased to serve as a partner with the Unity Performing Arts Foundation in providing this life-
changing impact.”

Certification agreement creates employment path for students

Paper is the traditional gift associated with one-year anniversaries, and paper it shall be—in the form of a highly respected technician certificate—for Ivy Tech Northeast’s automotive technology graduates.

One year ago, Ivy Tech Northeast entered into a partnership with Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s (FCA) Mopar Career Automotive Program, or Mopar CAP, to create a next-generation employment pipeline for Mopar-certified automotive technicians who will service Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, and Ram vehicles.

Click images for caption info and to zoom.

Mopar is the parts, service, and customer care organization within FCA.

“This partnership is a great opportunity for us because we’re working with a recognized name, and it’s great for FCA because the company’s commitment helps the local community,” says Nick Goodnight, assistant professor of automotive technology.

As a condition of the partnership, all Ivy Tech Northeast automotive technology faculty became Mopar-certified instructors, and the College benefits from free and ongoing instructor training, as well as access to cutting-edge advancements in automotive technologies made available by local FCA dealerships.

Associate-degree graduates, on the other hand, will have completed Levels 0 and 1 from the four-level Mopar CAP Technical Skill Core Curriculum, where they focus on learning dealership operations and technical aspects of vehicles.

“I think Mopar CAP coming to Ivy Tech is the best thing that could have happened to us in Fort Wayne,” says Randy Powell, service director at O’Daniel Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram.

Powell says his only option to train Chrysler-specific technicians in the past was to send them as far away as Dayton, Ohio, for six-month periods—a practice he says created hardships for families.

“Ivy Tech has always had a very strong (automotive) program here for more than 25 years,” he adds. “We appreciate all of the good work the College does for us and the well-rounded graduates it produces.”

Ivy Tech Northeast is one of only three Mopar CAP partners in Indiana to date, with the other partners being Ivy Tech Kokomo and Ivy Tech Southwest (Evansville).

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