Ivy Tech Fort Wayne graduates first cohort of Steel Dynamics, Inc. apprentices

Ivy Tech Community College Fort Wayne has graduated the first cohort of industrial technology apprentices in partnership with Steel Dynamics, Inc. For the past two years, twelve students have followed a custom curriculum developed by Ivy Tech Fort Wayne and Steel Dynamics while working and going to school full time. They graduated in May 2020 with Associate of Applied Science degrees and were immediately transitioned into full-time specialized roles as either Electrical Mill Technicians or Mechanical Mill Technicians, which are well-paid, challenging positions.

“Steel Dynamics developed this program because there is an ongoing need for mechanical and electrical expertise in our operations,” says Staci Beiswanger, Employee Development Manager at Steel Dynamics, Inc. “The Steel Dynamics, Inc. apprenticeship program is a great way for a motivated individual to gain additional technical skills while earning a wage. Ivy Tech has been a great partner who was highly flexible and helped us develop a custom program to fit our company’s needs.”

Most of the students in this program were originally team members employed with Steel Dynamics who wanted to upskill into more technically-skilled positions. Through the program, Steel Dynamics paid for their tuition, books, and even paid the apprentices an hourly wage while they attended class. To compliment the classroom experience, the apprentices worked 25 hours per week under the mentorship of an experienced Steel Dynamics team member.

“I was originally hired November 2017 in the shipping department as a haul truck driver, and I wanted to advance in the company. When I heard about the apprenticeship program, I decided that was the best way I could get where I wanted to be,” says electrical apprentice Justin Hart. “I loved the hands-on nature of the classes at Ivy Tech and the range of projects we worked on. When I was in high school, I was pushed into getting a four-year degree. But if I had to do it all over again, I would have chosen this program, this trade-school. I never would have thought that going to school for two years could result in a job with this high of a wage. SDI is such a great company, and I couldn’t be happier than where I am.”

Steel Dynamics and Ivy Tech were true partners in creating this apprenticeship program. Ivy Tech worked with Steel Dynamics to create the best curriculum to prepare these students for their new responsibilities. Steel Dynamics purchased equipment for Ivy Tech—including a centrifugal pump learning system and a process control learning system—that the apprentices would need to complete their training.

“The strong partnership between Ivy Tech and Steel Dynamics shows in this robust apprenticeship program that helps set our students up for immediate and future success,” says Darrel Kesler, Dean of the School of Advanced Manufacturing, Engineering, and Applied Science and Information Technology. “These apprentices are incredibly hardworking, sometimes studying from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. because they’re so dedicated to improving themselves.”

College to host weekly Virtual Express Enrollment Days through August

At Ivy Tech Community College Fort Wayne and Warsaw’s Virtual Express Enrollment Days, prospective students can complete all the steps they need to start classes without leaving the house. Enrollment experts will be available virtually to answer questions and help attendees with enrollment steps including financial aid, advising and more.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ivy Tech Fort Wayne and Warsaw are providing virtual one-on-one assistance to help prospective students through their enrollment steps. These Virtual Enrollment Days will take place every Thursday from June 11 through Aug. 13 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Prospective students can visit bit.ly/fwThursEEdays to register. Registration is now open for classes starting in August.

9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Every Thursday from June 11 through Aug. 13

Virtual Zoom Meeting

College offering 10,000 participants free classes and trainings

Ivy Tech Community College, including its Fort Wayne and Warsaw locations, has announced it is offering free classes and trainings for 10,000 participants. The College is elevating its commitment to Hoosiers impacted by COVID-19 experiencing unemployment, reduced hours, and/or furloughs across the state. Participants may take more than one class or training in a range of relevant high-demand areas.

Hoosiers can get detailed information about the classes and trainings, and register for free, by visiting www.ivytech.edu/10kclasses.

Many of the classes and trainings will be offered so that the participants can start and finish on their own timeline, with no regular course meeting times. A few offerings are limited. The College plans to increase the types of offerings and trainings throughout the summer. 

“Nearly 650,000 Hoosiers are faced with unemployment, reduced hours or furloughs. While we hope many will return to their jobs, this is an outstanding opportunity for Hoosiers to skill up and become more marketable to their current and future employers,” Ivy Tech President Sue Ellspermann shared. “Ivy Tech and our partners have come together to provide free relevant training for what we hope will be many more than 10,000 Hoosiers.”

Classes and trainings that are currently being offered as part of the initiative include:

  • Advanced Manufacturing: Industry 4.0 Silver Level Multi-Skill Maintenance and Operations Technician Certifications (Associate, Electrical Systems, Electric Motor Control Systems, Motor Control Troubleshooting, Pneumatic Systems)
  • Tools of the Industry with Autodesk: Introduction to CAD, CAM, and Practical CNC Machining, Fusion 360 Introduction to CAD and CAM, Simulation Analysis for Mechanical Engineers, 3-Axis Machining with Fusion 360, Introduction to Mechanical Engineering Design and Manufacturing, Modeling and Design for Mechanical Engineers. Autodesk Inc. is the software provider for people who make things
  • Information Technology: Introduction to Cybersecurity, Cybersecurity Essentials, AWS Educate Cloud Practitioner
  • Business and Cross-Sector: LinkedIn Learning

Later this summer more class and training offerings for skills credit, and for-credit classes and trainings, will be phased in.

Ivy Tech Fort Wayne to host free virtual STEM camp for area middle, high school teachers this summer

Ivy Tech Community College Fort Wayne’s ASM Materials Camp is open to high school and middle school teachers, including homeschool teachers, with preference given to those in the fields of chemistry, physical science, engineering, industrial/career, and technical education. All teachers from the state of Indiana are welcome to sign up for this virtual camp, which runs June 22–26.

The camp will show teachers new ways to incorporate low-cost experiments into their existing curriculum. During this unprecedented time, ASM Materials Education Foundation has made the decision not to hold in-person camps this summer. They are instead providing interactive, virtual Materials Camp options each week so that individuals can still attend and learn with other teachers from across the state. The ASM Foundation will also build an online community to provide year-round comradery and resources.

“Ivy Tech Fort Wayne and the ASM Materials Education Foundation are bringing this fantastic opportunity for educators to learn how to incorporate material science concepts into their classes,” says Cait Cramer, assistant program chair for Material Science Technology. “Participants will learn about exciting labs and engaging hands-on activities like growing crystals, building towers out of paper, examining the color changes that happen when ceramic glazes are fired, and more. This camp will provide teachers with a wealth of information and fun experiments that they can use to get their students excited about almost any subject they teach.”

The camp is free to all middle and high school science teachers. Two graduate-level credits are optional for $250 through the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Teachers can get more information and sign up for the free camp online at asmfoundation.org/teachers/camp-schedule/. Space is limited.

Ivy Tech Fort Wayne/Warsaw Announces Curtis Award Winners

Every year, two graduating students are awarded the Melvin L. Curtis Award for Academic Excellence during Ivy Tech Fort Wayne/Warsaw’s commencement ceremony. The Curtis Award is the highest award presented to an Ivy Tech Community College graduate in northeast Indiana and a winner is chosen to represent the university transfer and career/technical wings of the College. Although Ivy Tech Fort Wayne/Warsaw is not holding a formal commencement ceremony in 2020, we still want to recognize and celebrate our winning students’ accomplishments.

Faith Peralez, School of Public Affairs & Social Services

Faith Peralez grew up in Decatur, Indiana with her parents Fernando and Jami Peralez and three brothers and two sisters. She was home schooled from grades K-12. She started going to Ivy Tech Fort Wayne in Fall 2015 for an Associate Degree in Baking and Pastry. In May 2019, received her Pastry Culinarian Certificate and graduated in 2020 with two associate degrees: one in Baking and Pastry Arts and the other in Culinary Arts. She recently competed in Ivy Tech’s 2020 European Competition for the hospitality students and won the opportunity to travel to Italy with five other students.

Faith liked coming to Ivy Tech because of her teachers, small class sizes, and being close to home. “Ivy Tech has helped me by providing me the skills I need to pursue my dreams,” says Faith. “It also gave me connections in my field of study. My plan after college is to work in a restaurant to grow my knowledge of pastries so that one day I can open my own bakery.”

Molly Waddell, School of Information Technology

Molly is a non-traditional student. She attempted college after graduating from North Side, but when that didn’t work out, she moved on to waitressing. Twenty-years, Molly returned to education, earning an AAS in Business Administration in 2018 and then continuing toward a second AAS degree in Visual Communication. Molly has been an artist her whole life, but now she’s found a conduit for her passion. After a very successful educational journal at Ivy Tech Fort Wayne, Molly graduated this May with a 4.0 GPA.

Additionally, her husband is a part-time student in the Hospitality Administration program and is on the American Culinary Foundation advisory board.  Her son, William Passino, is a full-time student in the Building Construction Technology program. Molly is a true Ivy Tech success story.

“My favorite thing about Ivy Tech is how close it is to where I live and work,” says Molly. “As a busy mom I don’t have time to commute. Not only is Ivy Tech right up the street, but it is also an important part of our community. I plan to use what I’ve learned at Ivy Tech to earn a BFA at Purdue Fort Wayne and build my own creative arts business.”

Ivy Tech Fort Wayne/Warsaw announces plans for fall semester

Ivy Tech Community College, including the Fort Wayne and Warsaw locations, has announced its plan for fall semester classes that will begin on Monday, August 24. The state’s community college will invite students back onto campuses throughout Indiana for face-to-face courses while continuing to offer virtual and online opportunities. The focus for the College will continue to be on flexibility and safety for students, employees, and its communities. Should new guidelines from the Governor or federal regulations be released prior to the August start date then adjustments will be made accordingly.

Ivy Tech is offering its summer semester courses, which begin June 8, virtually and online with the exception of some small labs that may be offered later this summer.

“Ivy Tech looks forward to students being able to return to campus and take that next step to prepare for a high-wage, high-value career,” said Ivy Tech President Sue Ellspermann. “We are carefully balancing our plan to have a focus on safety and flexibility. Our teams continually monitor the recommendations provided by the state of Indiana and federal guidelines. Ultimately, our students’ success is the goal, while providing them the safest, most accommodating learning environment.”

Starting in August, classes will be offered in-person, online, and with hybrid options. The College has built out a robust schedule of classes that will allow students maximum flexibility including both 8- and 16-week terms.

“Thanks to the commitment and innovation of our faculty and staff, the current situation we are all living in, has allowed us to rethink how we deliver higher education,” Ivy Tech Provost Kara Monroe said. “The ‘new normal’ in August will allow students to be in charge of their learning environment. Students will have options, possibly even week-to-week, if they will attend their class online, virtually, or in-person, as their health and safety requirements could fluctuate.”

Ivy Tech is taking all of the necessary steps to ensure a deep cleaning of all buildings takes place prior to the start of classes and ongoing. Preventive protocols to reduce risk of transmission will also be implemented across campuses. Further details will be shared with students, faculty, and staff leading up to campuses reopening in August.

“Ivy Tech recognizes many families are experiencing uncertainty about what the residential college experience may look like for students. I certainly encourage all students to continue on their educational journey, regardless of the college or university they attend. Instead of considering a ‘gap year’ more students should consider a ‘visiting year’ with the community college,” Ellspermann said. “Ivy Tech’s affordable tuition, guaranteed transfer to Indiana four-year partners, and personalized instruction make the community college the perfect place to take classes. Transfer is one of the important roles the community college plays to serve Indiana’s thousands of bachelor degree seeking students.”

The most current COVID-19 information is available at IvyTech.edu/COVID-19. If you have any additional questions, please email us at askfortwayne@ivytech.edu

College instructors develop best practices for moving technical education online, share ideas through technical association

Students controlled a wind tunnel for a lesson aerodynamics in Cait Cramer’s engineering class. They utilized the LabVIEW GUI to control a wind tunnel (located in Ohio) and collect air velocity and pressure readings from the multiple sensors along the air foil. Students could also access a camera where they could watch the air foil respond to their controls.

Ivy Tech Community College Fort Wayne instructors have developed online instruction for technical classes and are now sharing their expertise with other instructors throughout the country by leading “Best Practice” sessions for the American Technical Education Association (ATEA). Five instructors from the School of Advanced Manufacturing, Engineering, and Applied Science have led nine sessions on subjects relating to Engineering, HVAC, Automotive and Diesel Technology, Industrial Technology, and Construction Technology to a nationwide audience of technical instructors.

“When the COVID-19 pandemic forced our classes online, initially many technical instructors across the country felt paralyzed by the move,” says Darrel Kesler, Dean of the School of Advanced Manufacturing, Engineering, and Applied Science. “However, ultimately this situation has helped us rethink the way we teach technical education. At Ivy Tech Fort Wayne, we’re discovering just how effective online education can be, even for technical programs. With our newfound knowledge, we felt it was important to become a lifeboat to other technical education institutions and developed these best practice sessions.”

The ATEA sessions allowed Ivy Tech Fort Wayne instructors to demonstrate how they are teaching highly technical programs virtually. Some examples of these methods include learning how to use technical devices through simulators, recording custom GoPro video tutorials, and creating enhanced discussion forums through Zoom or WhatsApp. The ability of any institution to adapt to the COVID-19 crisis is vital to their survival, and Ivy Tech Fort Wayne instructors were willing and able to help others through the transition with the help of ATEA.

“The American Technical Education Association thanks Ivy Tech Community College Fort Wayne for stepping up to hold ‘Best Practice Calls’ for instructors and deans in technical colleges across the country. Ivy Tech was early in providing best practice calls starting March 18, when technical education first realized it needed to go virtual,” says Sandra Krebsbach, Executive Director of American Technical Education Association. “It was and is an important bridge and connection in an academic exchange environment. The ‘common denominator’ is a commitment to students to finish their programs and to providing technical education to keep the nation moving forward.”

ATEA’s Best Practice sessions have the potential to reach 40+ colleges and 2,400+ individuals in multiple states. They have now held over 30 best practice calls with participants across the nation and expert leads. Their mission is communicating the role and importance of technical education to the nation, sharing best practices among technical educators, developing professional relationships among technical educators and those who train and employ technically trained workforce, and identifying trends and technology that will impact technical education. ATEA will continue to provide “Best Practice Calls” as technical education moves from triage to transformation.

Ivy Tech Fort Wayne nursing students support YWCA / Easter Seals ARC regional recovery site

Students in Ivy Tech Community College Fort Wayne’s nursing program are working alongside medical professionals at a regional recovery site. The site was created to provide a place for homeless and developmentally disabled individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 and needed a location to quarantine while recovering from the illness. The northeast Indiana regional recovery site opened on April 20, 2020.

YWCA CEO and Ivy Tech State Trustee Paula Hughes-Schuh helped spearhead the project after realizing the domestic violence center was not equipped to treat COVID-19 patients. Indiana’s Division of Mental Health and Addiction (DMHA) offered a $750,000 grant to set up a nine-county regional recovery site. The grant was then matched by the United Way of Allen County for a total $1.5 million-dollar operating budget. Most recently, Easter Seals ARC of Northeast Indiana partnered with the YWCA so that the center could serve both homeless and developmentally disabled individuals. The organizations are working with Parkview Health and local higher education institutions to provide medical support.

“We reached out to Ivy Tech because I know that they have the largest nursing program in the state of Indiana, and more than that, they’re the most community-focused higher education organization,” says Hughes-Schuh. “Nursing Dean Angela Russ has been great to work with, and Ivy Tech Fort Wayne mobilized very quickly and without hesitation to help make this project a reality.”

Four Ivy Tech Fort Wayne nursing students, an alumna, and a faculty member are currently working at the site. The students’ duties include taking phone referrals, assisting RNs with new client intake and rounds, assisting with cleaning and food delivery, and more.

“When Dean Russ asked for volunteers to help our community during the current crisis, I didn’t even know what I was signing up for. I just told her I was willing to help and wanted to serve,” says Ivy Tech Fort Wayne nursing student Rawlin Kegley. “I just believe it is my responsibility and calling to help serve my neighbor, especially in times of crisis, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to do that.”

As a community college, Ivy Tech Fort Wayne is dedicated to giving back to the community it serves and providing a quality education for its students. This project serves both purposes. The students are able to get real-world experience that will enhance their education, and the community benefits from their medical knowledge and support.

“The care our Ivy Tech Fort Wayne nursing students are providing not only allows them to put into practice the skills and knowledge they are learning in our program, but an opportunity to help our community in a time of need,” says Angela Russ, dean of the School of Nursing. “Their passion to help others, even in times of uncertainty, displays the true spirit of an Ivy Tech nursing student.”

Anyone interested in supporting this project can do so by contributing to the United Way of Allen County’s Emergency Relief Fund. Visit https://www.unitedwayallencounty.org/donate to make a donation.

Ivy Tech Fort Wayne and Warsaw graduate 2,400+, holding smaller commencement celebrations later in summer/fall

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ivy Tech Community College Fort Wayne/Warsaw has canceled its 50th annual commencement ceremony, which was originally scheduled for May 8 at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. The College will instead recognize its more than 2,400 graduates with on-campus celebrations when it is prudent.  The Fort Wayne and Warsaw graduates represent 3,400+ associate degrees, certificates, and technical certificates.

To mark what would have been their original graduation date, graduates are encouraged to pick up yard signs commemorating their achievements at drive-through pick up on campus. Ivy Tech Fort Wayne and Warsaw will also be recognizing graduates in person with smaller celebrations hosted by academic schools when CDC and Ivy Tech guidelines allow a return to campus. 2020 graduates are also invited to attend the commencement ceremonies a year from now in Spring 2021, if they so desire, to participate in the formal commencement.


BUD CURTIS AWARD NOMINEES FOR OUTSTANDING STUDENT: The College gives two Curtis Awards each year: one recognizing an outstanding graduate from the College’s career and technical schools, and the other, the university/transfer schools. The Bud Curtis Award winners are chosen from among the Ivy Tech Fort Wayne/Warsaw Outstanding Student Awards, which are awarded to one student per academic school. The following students are this year’s Bud Curtis Award Nominees and Outstanding Student Award Winners:

  • Jeremiah Burdick, School of Nursing
  • Charity Fischer, School of Advanced Manufacturing, Engineering & Applied Technology
  • Connor Green, School of Arts, Sciences & Education
  • Manassee Kisonga, School of Business, Logistics, and Supply Chain
  • Faith Peralez, School of Public Affairs & Social Services
  • Rebecca Trammel, School of Health Sciences
  • Molly K. Waddell, School of Information Technology

PRESIDENT’S AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN INSTRUCTION: Each Ivy Tech across the state nominates the winner of its President’s Award, which goes to a full-time faculty member, for the Founder’s Award for Excellence in Instruction. The Ivy Tech Fort Wayne/Warsaw nominee is Dr. Michelle Hagan-Short, faculty in the Business Administration program. She will attend a statewide dinner in June to be honored by the College and to learn who the statewide Founder’s Award recipient is for this year. Hagan-Short also received Ivy Tech Fort Wayne/Warsaw’s Leepoxy Faculty Award.

ADJUNCT FACULTY AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN INSTRUCTION AND GERALD I. LAMKIN AWARD RECIPIENT: Each Ivy Tech across the state nominates the winner of its Adjunct Faculty Award, which goes to a part-time faculty member. These nominees are then eligible for the Gerald I. Lamkin Award for adjunct faculty members. The Ivy Tech Fort Wayne/Warsaw nominee of the statewide Lamkin Award is business instructor Liz Peterson.

SPECIAL NOTE: Students and guests will use #IvyTechGrad to share photos commemorating their graduation. Use the hashtag to view graduation photos and messages of encouragement on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Ivy Tech Fort Wayne/Warsaw invites community to Northern Indiana Virtual Career Fair on May 6

Ivy Tech Community College campuses in northern Indiana, including Fort Wayne/Warsaw, South Bend/Elkhart, and Valparaiso are hosting a collaborative Northern Indiana Virtual Career Fair on May 6 from noon to 3 p.m. The career fair is designed to connect Ivy Tech students and community members to northern Indiana employers with hiring needs. Attendees will join the fair virtually and will be able to speak with representatives from the Technology, Health Care, Business and Public Services fields.

Employers in attendance will include AmeriCorps, Beacon Health System, Englewood Health and Rehabilitation Center, Meridian Health Services, mthree, Oaklawn Psychiatric Center, Inc., Premier Hospice and Saint Joseph Health System.

Register for this virtual event at careereco.com/events/IvyTechNorthern Questions? Contact Joyce Baker at jbaker86@ivytech.edu or Tara Kuhmichel at tkuhmichel@ivytech.edu

Noon to 3 p.m. May 6
The event is free and open to the public.