Ivy Tech sets civil rights activist Bakari Sellers as ‘Doing the Dream’ keynote speaker Jan. 29

Civil rights activist, author, and CNN commentator Bakari Sellers will serve as the keynote speaker for Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo’s 17th annual “Doing the Dream” programs honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Sellers will speak at the event’s annual student convocation and community banquet Jan. 29; all activities will be presented virtually. Northeast Indiana high school students are invited to attend alongside Ivy Tech Fort Wayne and Warsaw students.

“Our format has changed this year, moving to virtual presentations so we can reach as many people as possible while responding to the challenges posed by COVID-19,” said Ivy Tech Kokomo Chancellor Dean McCurdy. “We remain proud and excited to continue our ‘Doing the Dream’ tradition by bringing to the Hoosier state a dynamic figure with growing recognition on the national stage.”

Ivy Tech Fort Wayne and Warsaw’s Director of Student Success and Engagement and Diversity Lead JoAnne Alvarez, Ed.D., noted the virtual format will allow students and community members from around Indiana to participate in the event without traveling to Kokomo.

“This cultural celebration is an opportunity to bring our students and communities together throughout the state of Indiana,” said Alvarez. “Ivy Tech provides an educational platform where we can safely challenge our thoughts, broaden our understanding, create dialogue and have the opportunity to engage with others who are looking to embrace the beauty of diversity.”

Considered by many to be a man who represents a new generation of leadership, Sellers first made history in 2006 when, at just 22 years old, he defeated a 26-year incumbent state representative to become the youngest member of the South Carolina state legislature and the youngest African American elected official in the nation. He now practices law in Columbia, S.C., and is a political commentator at CNN. He has followed in the footsteps of his father, civil rights leader Dr. Cleveland Sellers, with a tireless commitment to championing progressive policies to address national issues. His first book, “My Vanishing Country,” was released earlier this year and is a New York Times Bestseller.

Learn more or reserve your seat at ivytech.edu/kokomo/dream.

College announces career-focused event series in spring

Ivy Tech Community College Fort Wayne and Warsaw will be hosting “Transformation Thursdays” starting on Jan. 21. The events will be held from noon to 1 p.m. twice a month through May. Topics include enhancing employability skills, interview etiquette, building a resume and more. All events are free and open to the public.

Transformation Thursday events will be held virtually.

Each Transformation Thursday event will be held from noon to 1 p.m.

Jan. 21 – “Employability Skills”
Jan. 28 – “IndianaIntern.net”
Feb. 11 – “Organization & Planning”
Feb. 25 – “Taking Initiative”
March 11 – “Communication”
March 25 – “Self-Management”
April 8 – “Interview Etiquette”
April 22 – “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”
May 13 – “Build a Quality Resume”
May 27 – “Cover Letter Guide”

Virtual meeting.
Public link: link.ivytech.edu/Transformation
Ivy Tech student link: link.ivytech.edu/IvyTT

Ivy Tech Warsaw launches program to help in-need students during holiday season

Pictured are Ivy Tech Warsaw staff members and Mom’s Club members and their kids, who recently gathered to assemble 50 gift bags for the Gift It Forward program.

Ivy Tech Community College Warsaw has launched the Gift It Forward program, to help provide students with necessary personal supplies. The College is providing 50 students with gift bags filled with basic supplies. In turn, students are encouraged to “Gift It Forward” and use the money saved to buy presents for their families.

With a generous $250 donation from Martin’s Super Markets, Ivy Tech Warsaw was able to spend a total of $1,250 for gift bag supplies. The remaining $1,000 was sponsored by the Ivy Tech Campus Activities Board. Contents include items like trash bags, cleaning products, band-aids, toiletries, hand sanitizer, batteries, and more.

“Our students often live with tight monthly budgets that do not allow for the additional expenses that come with the holidays. We want to support our students, especially this year when so many individuals are struggling due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” says Allyn Decker, Vice Chancellor for Ivy Tech Warsaw. “With the generous support from our community partner, Martin’s Super Market, we’re enabling our students to spread a little more cheer this holiday season.”

Northeast Indiana FAME announces new partnership with Advanced Machine and Tool (AMT)

The Northeast Indiana Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (NEI FAME) is pleased to add a new partner to its prestigious group of leaders in the manufacturing industry. Advanced Machine and Tool (AMT) joins Fort Wayne Metals, LH Industries, Micropulse, Steel Dynamics, and Zimmer Biomet as sponsor companies who, alongside education partner Ivy Tech Community College and economic development partner the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, have implemented a dual-track, work-based learning training that will create a pipeline of highly skilled workers in northeast Indiana.

“The entire chapter has been focused on recruiting for our first cohort of students for the Summer of 2021,” said Jeff Hansen, Vice President of Safety and Human Resources at Steel Dynamics, Inc. “The level of engagement by all involved has been inspiring and we are confident that Advanced Machine and Tool will positively add to that momentum. We are excited to include them as our sixth employer partner.”

Since 1970 AMT has served the consumer goods, industrial, and automotive industries. They are experts in the design and build of coiling and winding equipment and various other types of automation that make it possible to manufacture electric motors, generators, automotive alternators, and more. That expertise is leveraged to provide automated solutions for companies in other industries across the globe. As part of the NEI FAME, AMT will join a collaborative team of industry, economic development, and education partners to meet the workforce needs for skilled, credentialed workers.

“Having been around for 50 years, we are fortunate to have several associates that have been with the company over 40 years,” said John Wiehe, Machine Shop Manager at AMT (amt-corp.com). “We are always looking for new talent that is willing to learn from these seasoned individuals, who themselves were given a chance to start at the bottom, and are very willing to share their knowledge. When we heard about the FAME program we thought it was a win-win for the companies, the students, and the community.”

NEI FAME (northeastindianafame.com) is part of the national FAME-USA network (fame-usa.com), which currently has 31 partnerships across 13 states, supported by more than 400 employers. NEI FAME is also part of the statewide Indiana FAME initiative, which has built similar partnerships in four regions around Indiana (www.indianafame.com).

Tim Ross, Director of Express Enrollment, navigating enrollment services in higher education during a global pandemic

*photo taken before the COVID-19 global pandemic

The holidays are a time of reflection for most of us. I spent many years in the U.S. Army and far too many holidays away from friends. Work usually would slow down, and I could think. This Thanksgiving, with COVID derailing most of the usual festivities, I had similar time to reflect and think about my time at Ivy Tech. I realized how time has flown, but also slowed. And how my dedication to Ivy Tech’s students has never been stronger.

It’s funny how someone can ask you for something at a point in the future and you say, “Sure! That will be easy.” Next thing you know, they are sending you a reminder that the due date is today! Where did all that open time I planned to use go?

2020 is funny like that. I just looked at the calendar last week and it was late March. Now, the calendar says the year is almost gone. Time works much the same way at Ivy Tech. I struggle to believe it was 15 years ago when I helped launch the TRIO program which to date has served almost 2500 students in our service area.

It is even harder to believe I have been in the Express Enrollment Center since it opened its doors on January 9, 2014. I will never forget that fateful day, nor the 250 students who we helped. Let’s just call it a challenging day that led to two new tattoos!

As we near the end of our sixth and most challenging year, I’m proud of how we’ve faced 2020. Despite COVID, we’ve been able to assist over 12,000 students virtually since March and continued to provide this service even when we resumed face to face services in June. It was a challenge for myself and the team initially, but our team of faculty and staff tend to come together when things are tough, and we figure out how to overcome challenges. I’d even venture to say we’ve become closer despite the distance separating us. We still celebrate birthdays and have rejoiced each time a COVID test came back negative. Rule #56 – It’s the little things!!

And we learned so much those first couple months we were closed. We implemented Zoom, developed processes for getting the Knowledge Assessment to students, figured out ways to help students with the FAFSA and Financial Aid verification, and a myriad of other services. Helping students in this new environment takes about twice as long, but our goal is to make sure every student knows even though we may not be physically standing beside them in the EEC, we’re still by their side on this journey.

I have always loved serving our students. That’s what keeps me going on those long, crazy days and what keeps me coming back. I especially treasure the times when I know I have made a positive difference in someone’s college experience. It’s also why I somehow managed to squeeze in five classes this year earning a Master’s Certificate in Advising.

While I am ready for 2020 to depart, I have to say it—we have grown in ways I don’t think we may have experienced before COVID! I feel blessed to be a part of this team, to watch them serve our students every day, and to have the time to reflect on it all. One thing I know, regardless of what the world throws at us, we’re going to come together. I learned that in the Army, and I see it every day at Ivy Tech.

Ivy Tech Fort Wayne/Warsaw Women’s Giving Circle Donates $10,789 for three major projects

The Fort Wayne and Warsaw Circle of Ivy groups have announced the projects they have chosen to fund for the 2020-2021 academic year. The Fort Wayne Circle awarded $6,439 to the Helping Hands Fund to help meet the emergency needs of students during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Warsaw Circle awarded $1,425 to the Emergency Textbook Fund and $2,925 to the Laptop Loan 2 Own Program to help increase access to class supplies that Ivy Tech Fort Wayne and Warsaw students need to succeed.

“Our Laptop Loan 2 Own program has met a critical need for students in the past year, especially with exclusively online classes due to COVID. Students are able to get a refurbished laptop, and if they complete their courses successfully, own it at the end of the school year. This is a critical component for student success,” says Vicky Decker, Warsaw Circle of Ivy Co-Chair and Guiding Circle member. “Our Circle of Ivy chapter has provided funds for the maintenance and care of the laptops so they can serve students for years to come. Our Emergency Textbook Funds project goes hand-in-hand with the laptops, again ensuring that students can stay in school, having the resources they need to succeed and removing barriers to degree completion. It is very gratifying to know that Circle of Ivy funds and projects can nurture a person’s career path which can change their life!”

Helping Hands Emergency Funds – $6,439

Fort Wayne’s Helping Hands Fund assists students at Ivy Tech Community College through short-term financial emergencies so that they can be in class, be prepared, and persist in their academic course work. As students deal with the realities of COVID-19 in their everyday lives, many could benefit from assistance from the Helping Hands Fund to help cover expenses like tuition, books, bills, child care, and healthcare.

Emergency Textbook Funds – $1,425

The Warsaw campus runs an extremely in-demand program that assists with retention and allows our students to succeed in the classroom. The Emergency Textbook Fund assists students in securing textbooks for class when a financial barrier exists.

Laptop Loaner Computers and Supplies – $2,925

The Warsaw campus assists students with technology needs through the Laptop Loan 2 Own program. This year, the Circle of Ivy asked for funding to help purchase supplies like power cords, flash drives, and carrying cases for students in this program.

Circle of Ivy is open to all women who wish to become members of a powerful network of philanthropists who collectively give back to local Ivy Tech campuses and students. Members have the opportunity to participate in a dynamic and rewarding organization where they can collaborate with other women within their local circle, making a greater impact with pooled financial resources. There are currently 30 members in Ivy Tech Fort Wayne’s Circle of Ivy and 17 members in the Warsaw group. To learn more about Circle of Ivy visit ivytech.edu/circleofivy.

Ivy Tech Fort Wayne announces 2020 New Venture Competition finalists

Ivy Tech Community College Fort Wayne has announced the three finalists for its 2020 New Venture Competition. The competition began in 2011, and this year’s champion will receive up to $20,000 in start-up capital for presenting the best business plan for his or her small business.

The finalists and their businesses are as follows:

  • Hayley Grover, business administration student
    Company: Sugar Coated Sweet Shoppe
  • Jeffrey M. Sonner, engineering graduate
    Company: Just-A-Little-Smoke BBQ
  • Rolando Perez, visual communication graduate
  • Company: Hoosier Box Artisan BBQ and Catering

The New Venture Competition awards will be held virtually Feb. 11 with competitors presenting live to an online panel of judges. Finalists will pitch their business plans, and community judges will vote on the New Venture champion at the event. The event will be held virtually in 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The competition has partnered with SCORE Northeast Indiana, a group that grows successful small businesses across the country. The group, made of volunteer experienced business owners and managers, will provide mentorship for the finalists. 

The New Venture Competition is sponsored by JB Tool, Die & Engineering and owners Dave and Mary Bear.

The following individuals served as judges in determining the finalists:

  • Steve Franks, local entrepreneur
  • Carla Quickel, faculty at Ivy Tech Fort Wayne
  • Alan Short, faculty at Ivy Tech Marion
  • Rebecca Bishop, dean at Ivy Tech Fort Wayne

Ivy Tech Fort Wayne student wins Connexus Competition for second year

Ivy Tech Community College Fort Wayne Supply Chain Management student José Gomez Marquez won the top prize for the second year in a row during the 2020 Connexus Indiana Case Competition. He was part of a team of four students from Ivy Tech campuses across the state. The event featured over 150 students from 27 schools throughout the nation to solve a business case in only 24 hours. José’s team took home $5,000 as the winners in the associate degree track of the competition.

“It was an amazing feeling to win the Connexus competition two years in a row, and I give a lot of the credit to the instructors at Ivy Tech who have helped me to refine my skills in the field of logistics and supply chain,” said José Gomez Marquez. “I also need to acknowledge the fantastic team that we had this time: all Ivy Tech students who also work full-time and could bring a tremendous amount of real-world experience that let us clinch the victory!”

This was the fifth annual Connexus Indiana Case Competition. The competition was held virtually and students were presented with a business case that reflected current challenges businesses face due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Interested in learning more about Ivy Tech’s Supply Chain Management program? Contact Michelle Hagan-Short, Ph.D., at mshort@ivytech.edu or visit IvyTech.edu/supplychain/

College hosting Virtual Express Enrollment Events

Ivy Tech Community College Fort Wayne and Warsaw will host a Virtual Express Enrollment Week Tuesday, Dec. 1 to Friday, Dec. 4 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. During the week, prospective students can complete their enrollment steps virtually and sign up for classes that start January 19, 2021.

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

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

Indiana’s most affordable classes are at Ivy Tech. Whether prospective students are working toward a certificate to join the workforce quickly, or earning an associate degree or credits that easily transfer to four-year universities, education is within their reach. This January, there are thousands of both 16-week and 8-week classes available in online, virtual, face-to-face*, and hybrid formats.

For more information or to RSVP, visit www.ivytech.edu/eeday

*Ivy Tech currently requires the use of a mask or face covering while inside the buildings.

9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 1 to 4

Virtual Zoom meeting. RSVP at www.ivytech.edu/eeday

Sky’s the Limit for Aviation Alumnus

Vinny in front of GE Aviation’s newest GE9X engine. It holds two Guinness World records and is the world’s largest and most powerful commercial jet engine.

Paramvir “Vinny” Chandpuri moved from India to the U.S. when he was in eleventh grade with dreams of taking to the skies.

“Growing up, I would look up and wave goodbye to airplanes,” says Vinny. “The love was there, but I wasn’t aware of the opportunities in Aviation”.

After graduating from Homestead High School in 2009, Vinny wasn’t really sure how to achieve his goals. He enrolled at Ivy Tech in the automotive program, but after a semester he realized that he needed to do something else. Thankfully, Ivy Tech Fort Wayne could help him fulfill those dreams, even if he didn’t know it yet.

“I talked to my advisor, and said, ‘automotive isn’t for me. Maybe I’ll quit and join the Air Force.’ She said, ‘You don’t have to quit—we have aviation here!’ And that’s how I found myself in the program.”

Vinny enrolled in the Aviation Maintenance Program at Ivy Tech Fort Wayne. With the help of an instructor, Vinny was hired at Pinnacle Airlines, giving him hands-on experience while he worked toward his degree. Rising quickly in the ranks, Vinny was promoted to a Mechanic’s Helper after six months with Pinnacle. Then after earning his Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) license and Associate Degree in Aviation Technology at Ivy Tech Fort Wayne in 2012, he was promoted to Aircraft Technician.

Never afraid of a challenge, Vinny applied at the GE Aviation assembly plant in 2015. GE has one of the most challenging interview processes and only a 1-2% hire rate, but after a grueling eight-hour interview, Vinny was offered and accepted a position as an Assembly and Test Technician, was eventually promoted to Lead Test Quality Engineer at the Peebles, Ohio testing facility, and is now a Site Quality Manager CVG at one of only seven Global On Wing Support Facilities.

“My advice to students is this: work hard. No job is too big and no job is too small. I started off as an aircraft cleaner, cleaning the airplanes inside and out, and now I’m Quality Manager for a brand-new facility. And don’t be afraid to take risks.”

Vinny’s story is one of determination and upward mobility. He’s steadily moved up at every aviation job he’s had—getting the education he needed to advance, working hard, and taking risks that pay off. He’s now earned a Bachelor’s degree with Spartan College of Aeronautics, majoring in Aviation Technology Management and hopes to earn a Master’s degree in the future so that he can ultimately become an executive at GE Aviation. But if you ask Vinny, it all started with Ivy Tech.

“I am where I am because of Ivy Tech. And I’m not just saying that. I honestly don’t know where I would have been or what I would have done without the instructors and advisors at Ivy Tech who led me down this path.”