Fort Wayne Campus announces eight student winners to travel to Europe, study culinary arts

Ivy Tech Community College’s Fort Wayne Campus hosted its 22nd annual European Competition on Friday. Eleven hospitality administration students in culinary arts or baking and pastry arts spent the day competing for a chance to win a scholarship that would fund a trip to study the culinary arts in France this spring.

The winners are DominiQue Whetstone, Jason Elkins, Jacob Burger, Joyce Chaney, Reba Wilson, Nora Trittipo, Samantha Williams, and Lisa Rios.

Eleven hospitality administration students competed Friday in Ivy Tech’s European Competition. Eight students won the opportunity to travel to France to study the culinary arts. For the first time, those students who did not score high enough to go to France will still get a travel opportunity, to Vermont. The competing students are, from left, Reba Wilson (France), La’Ron Gillard (Vermont), Joyce Chaney (France), DominiQue Whetstone (France), Lisa Rios (France), Sheila Mertens (Vermont), Nora Trittipo (France), Samantha Williams (France), and Patricia Jones (Vermont). Not pictured: Jason Elkins (France) and Jacob Burger (France).

For the first time, students were asked to turn in a menu before competing. In previous years, students’ ingredients were unknown, requiring them to create menus on-the-spot. This year, students’ adherence to the menu played a part in their scoring. It also resulted in more creative menus, says Cheryl Hitzemann, one of the baking competition judges. Hitzemann will also serve as chaperone when the students travel to France.

Culinary students prepared a meal including an entrée with a starch, vegetable, and dessert. Baking students prepared items including plated chocolate and fruit desserts, yeast bread and rolls, and a decorated cake based on a hypothetical order.

Watch this video for a behind-the-scenes sneak peek into the spring 2018 European Competition.

Kitchen judges watched and rated students as they worked, paying attention to technique and ability. Floor judges tasted the completed meals, not knowing which student made which plate.

Based on students’ experience in France, they will create the menu for this year’s A Reason to Taste, the College’s largest annual fundraiser.

The three students who did not earn the chance to study in France will still receive a travel opportunity: a road trip to Vermont for a farm-to-fork tour in May. On the trip, students will have experiences including a tour of the Baird Farm, an organic maple syrup farm; a chance to watch cheese-making; learning how to milk a cow; and a visit to King Arthur Flour headquarters. Those students are La’Ron Gillard, Patricia Jones, and Sheila Mertens.

Fort Wayne Campus and Warsaw, Wabash sites announce fall 2017 Dean’s List

Ivy Tech Community College is pleased to announce the fall 2017 Dean’s List for the Fort Wayne Campus and the Warsaw and Wabash sites. The Dean’s List, prepared and published each term, gives recognition to students who:

  • Are degree-seeking.
  • Achieve a minimum 3.50 grade point average in non-academic skills advancement courses with no Ds or Fs.
  • Earn six or more Ivy Tech credits during the semester.
  • Have earned at least 12 non-academic skills advancement credits during their course of study.

Below, find a full list of students who have met those requirements. Students are listed alphabetically by campus/site, state, city, and last name.

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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 or 260-480-2010. Donations to this year’s total can still be made at

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.

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

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

Fort Wayne Campus honored with five marketing awards at district conference

The Marketing and Communications staff at Ivy Tech Community College’s Fort Wayne Campus received five Medallion awards earlier this month at the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations District 3 conference in Davenport, Iowa.

The staff received

  • A silver in Newsletter, for the January 2017 issue of Inside Ivy Tech.
  • A silver in Interior Signage/Displays for its What’s Up @ Ivy Tech walls on Coliseum Campus and at the Student Life Center.
  • A bronze in Student Handbook, for Charting Your Course for Success, a student advising and orientation handbook.
  • A bronze in Communication Success Story or Community Relations Campaign, for local coverage of the College’s new Grasshopper food truck.
  • A bronze for Social Media or Online Marketing Campaign, for its #IAmTheI social media project.

“I am proud of our team’s efforts and know we’ll continue to strive and be different,” says Andrew Welch, executive director of Marketing and Communications. “We’re dedicated to the creative and strategic marketing process as we work to support student success.”

Automotive company owner named 2017 New Venture Competition champion

Kendall Riecken, who graduated in December 2016 with his associate degree in Business Administration from Ivy Tech Community College’s Fort Wayne campus, won the 2017 New Venture Competition on Thursday evening. Riecken’s company, KR Designs, specializes in car detailing, restoration, custom paint, and collision repair.


Kendall Riecken was named the 2017 New Venture Competition champion at Ivy Tech’s Fort Wayne Campus on Thursday night for his business, KR Designs, which specializes in car detailing, restoration, custom paint, and collision repair.

Riecken graduated from Northrop High School in 2012 and started KR Designs shortly after. Currently, he operates out of his parents’garage, and part of the $35,000 in startup capital he receives from the New Venture Competition will go to build his new space, which he plans to locate between Fort Wayne and Auburn.


“The money I won tonight will go for a paint booth, air compressor, specialty tooling, and paint equipment,” he says. “Anything left over will go toward construction costs.”


Riecken and two other New Venture Competition finalists presented their business plans to about 30 community judges. After the 15-minute presentation, judges were given 15 minutes for a question-and-answer section. They had been previously provided the finalists’ business plans for review.


Learn more about Riecken and KR Designs in this brief video.


Riecken is the seventh winner of the New Venture Competition, whose presenting sponsor was Dave and Mary Bear of JB Tool, Die & Engineering Inc. The competition is also made possible through a grant from the Edward M. and Mary McCrea Wilson Foundation. The awards dinner sponsor was ProFed Federal Credit Union, and the competition was in collaboration with Fort Wayne SCORE.

Thursday night was Ivy Tech’s seventh New Venture Competition, which awards $35,000 in start-up capital to a new business. From left: James Tolbert, Business Administration assistant professor and head of the New Venture Competition; Don Palmer, former employee and friend of Dave and Mary Bear of JB Tool, Die & Engineering Inc., the competition’s presenting sponsor; Kendall Riecken, 2017 New Venture Competition champion; and Jerrilee Mosier, Fort Wayne Campus chancellor.


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


Two students selected to attend science foundation conference

Two engineering students from Ivy Tech Community College’s Fort Wayne Campus have been selected to attend the Advanced Technological Education Principal Investigators’ Conference, hosted by the National Science Foundation and the American Association of Community Colleges. Lucas Bazile is an Electrical Engineering Technology student, and Isaiah Abel is a Pre-Engineering student.

The students were selected based on their expected future work on advanced technological education grants for the National Science Foundation. Bazile and Abel would help develop kits to help teach microelectromechanical systems. These systems deal with electromechanical sensors, such as those used to detect when a tablet or cell phone is turned horizontal to vertical—or vice versa—and the tire pressure in vehicles. The kits are modified versions of those developed by the University of New Mexico’s Southwest Center for Microsystems Education, which are used at Ivy Tech.

Andrew Bell, the engineering department chair at Ivy Tech’s Fort Wayne Campus, will also serve on a panel at the conference. The panel will discuss how two-year schools like Ivy Tech can work with four-year schools to advance microelectromechanical system technology. Currently, Ivy Tech is working with Purdue University to develop a bachelor’s degree in micorelectromechanical system technology. Ivy Tech offered three classes in the subject for the first time this summer. These electives are part of a technical certificate in Electronics and Computer Technology. Ideally, those classes would become part of a transfer degree for Ivy Tech graduates at Purdue.

Ivy Tech students have been selected for this annual conference since 2014.

“It’s not that common because students apply and have to be selected,” Bell says. “At the conference, they get recognized for their selection and their work on the grants. There’s only a limited number of spots nationally.”

The conference will take place from Oct. 23 to 25 in Washington DC.

Ivy Tech’s Fort Wayne Campus offers four engineering programs: Electronics and Computer Technology (, Pre-Engineering (, Electrical Engineering Technology (, and Engineering Technology (

College announces summer 2017 Dean’s List

Ivy Tech Community College’s Fort Wayne Campus is pleased to announce the summer 2017 Dean’s List. The Dean’s List, prepared and published each term, gives recognition to students who:

  • Are degree-seeking.
  • Achieve a minimum 3.50 grade point average in non-academic skills advancement courses with no Ds or Fs.
  • Earn six or more Ivy Tech credits during the semester.
  • Have earned at least 12 non-academic skills advancement credits during their course of study.

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Automotive instructor pens text book, wins national teaching award

Nicholas Goodnight, an automotive technology instructor at Ivy Tech Community College’s Fort Wayne Campus, has penned a text book for community and technical college students. He is co-author of “Automotive Engine Repair,” a part of the CDX Master Automotive Technician Series, which teaches students about “the technical background, diagnostic strategies, and repair procedures they need to successfully repair engines in the shop,” according to the book’s Amazon listing.



The book was published earlier this month, and Goodnight hopes to see the book used in automotive classes at Ivy Tech. He began work on the book in late 2015 and says he’s working on another in the series, about automotive braking systems, which is scheduled to be published at the end of the year.


This is the second book in this series to be written by an automotive instructor from the Fort Wayne Campus; David Jones’ book, “Automotive Electricity and Electronics,” came out in early June. Each is available on Amazon and


This week, Goodnight is being honored at the North American Council of Automotive Teachers Conference in Warren, Mich. He was selected by the national group as the Best New Automotive Teacher in the Nation, which recognizes an outstanding automotive instructor who has been teaching for five or fewer years.


Goodnight has a bachelor’s degree in business, a Master’s of Business Administration in marketing and human resources, and is currently working on his doctorate degree in global leadership.

Robotics program selected for national recognition

The Advanced Automation and Robotics Technology program at Ivy Tech Community College’s Fort Wayne Campus has been selected for the National Council for Workforce Education’s Credit Exemplary Program Award. Award recipients are chosen based on five application criteria: executive summary, description of partnerships and collaborations, potential economic impact, program results, and replication.


Advanced Automation and Robotics Technology is a 75-credit-hour degree program, making it a “super degree” at the College (most associate degree programs are 60 credit hours). Graduates are prepared to work as automated equipment technicians in nearly any industry, earning several industry certifications during their education to make them even more valuable to employers.

Pedro Ruvalcaba, front, graduated from Ivy Tech’s Advanced Automation and Robotics program in 2016. Immediately after graduation, he found employment as an automation technician at Tower Structural Laminating in Ligonier, where he had previously completed a 14-month internship. Internships are a requirement for graduates of the robotics program, which has been named an exemplary program by the National Council for Workforce Education.


“This recognition proves to the College and community that our program is an exceptional one,” says Darrel J. Kesler, School of Advanced Manufacturing, Engineering & Applied Technology dean. “There’s a huge workforce need for automation and robotics technicians, and we are graduating talent that fills that ever-growing need so local industry can thrive.”


This is not the program’s first recognition: In 2015, it received the Indiana Career and Technical Education Program’s Award for Excellence, which is sponsored by the Indiana Department of Education.


The award will be given at the council’s national meeting in Salt Lake City in October.


Learn more about the program at


College graduates nearly 1,000 at 47th annual commencement ceremony

Ivy Tech Community College Northeast celebrated its 47th annual commencement ceremony tonight at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. The College graduated nearly 1,000 students in Fort Wayne and awarded nearly 1,500 associate degrees, certificates, and technical certificates.

Ivy Tech Community College statewide is awarding more than 19,000 credentials at commencements taking place from May 6 to 20.

HONORARY DEGREE: The College awarded an honorary degree to Donna Kessler, owner of Calhoun Street Soup, Salad, and Spirits. Donna attended classes at Ivy Tech Northeast in 2006 and 2007, earning credits in hospitality administration. Before she could complete her degree, however, the opportunity to open Calhoun Street presented itself. Nearly 10 years later, what started as a small lunch spot just south of downtown Fort Wayne has grown into a complete bar, restaurant, and concert venue. Bands and acts from across the country play at Calhoun Street.



STUDENT SPEAKER: The Class of 2017’s student speaker was Olivia Koehler, who graduated with an associate degree in Electrical Engineering Technology. Koehler, who was home-schooled, is the College’s first female graduate of the Electrical Engineering Technology program. She shared her story about how she chose the program, which is also her father’s field. She was always good at science and math in high school, and a former professor, Koehler’s father invited her to sit in on one of his electrical engineering classes—she loved it.

BUD CURTIS AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING STUDENT: This year, the College begins a new tradition: awarding two Curtis Awards each year. One will reward an outstanding graduate from the College’s Career and Technical Divisions and the other, from an outstanding graduate from the University Transfer Division. This year’s winners are Rachel Chaney, who graduates with an associate degree in Advanced Automation and Robotics Technology from the School of Technology, and Karina Vazquez, who graduates with an associate degree in General Studies from the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

The Bud Curtis Award winners are chosen from among the Ivy Tech Northeast Outstanding Student Awards, which are awarded to one Ivy Tech Northeast student per academic school. This year’s Outstanding Student Awards went to the following students:

  • Olivia Koehler, School of Applied Science & Engineering Technology
  • Holly Sides, School of Business
  • Jeremy Friedel, School of Computing & Informatics
  • Janet French, School of Education
  • Marianne Bay, School of Fine Arts & Design
  • Javier Hernandez, School of Health Sciences
  • Karina Vazquez, School of Liberal Arts & Sciences
  • Cameron Maney, School of Nursing
  • Parvielle Riggens, School of Public & Social Services
  • Rachel Chaney, School of Technology

PRESIDENT’S AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN INSTRUCTION: Erin Salyers, the College’s department chair in Visual Communications and Design Technology, received the President’s Award for Excellence in Instruction. She will serve as Ivy Tech Northeast’s nominee for the statewide Glenn W. and Mary Catherine Sample Award for Excellence in Instruction. Each of the 14 Ivy Tech regions selects a nominee to win the award, which is presented to a statewide winner.

ADJUNCT FACULTY AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN INSTRUCTION: Holly Jackson, an anatomy and physiology instructor, received the Adjunct Faculty Award for Excellence in Instruction. She will serve as Ivy Tech Northeast’s nominee for the statewide Gerald I. Lamkin Award for adjunct faculty members. Each of the 14 Ivy Tech regions selects a nominee to win the award, which is presented to a statewide winner.

SPECIAL NOTE: Students and guests used #IvyTechGrad to discuss the ceremony and festivities on social media. Use the hashtag to see graduation photos and messages of encouragement on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.