Inside Ivy Tech: ‘I’m happy when things break down’

Workforce Alignment training options promote career advancement for incumbent workers

Advanced manufacturing companies that experience frequent equipment failures would be wise to embrace an employee like Joe Decamp.

“I’m happy when things break down because I love doing maintenance,” Decamp says. “I enjoy troubleshooting and fixing equipment.”

From left, Joe Decamp and Bruce Slazyk were both sponsored by their respective employers, Ottenweller Inc. and Fort Wayne Pools, to participate in the Industrial Maintenance Training Program established by Ivy Tech Northeast’s Workforce Alignment. Their six-month training commitment will provide them with the skills necessary to become entry-level industrial maintenance technicians.

Decamp is a paint maintenance technician with Fort Wayne’s Ottenweller Inc., a nationally based fabrication source that specializes in producing large steel parts for companies such as Caterpillar and John Deere. His primary responsibilities focus on preventative maintenance, where he changes filters on equipment and keeps production machinery clean.

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Ivy Tech, Parkview partner for Achieve Your Degree program

Ivy Tech Community College and Parkview Health recently signed an agreement to offer all co-workers in the Parkview Health system an opportunity to earn college credit through the College’s Achieve Your Degree program.

Achieve Your Degree (AYD) is a statewide collaboration between Ivy Tech campuses and its community businesses and organizations that offers free or low-cost tuition to employees and members through tuition reimbursement or financial support from business and industry.

“We are always pleased to partner with Parkview Health,” says Chancellor Jerrilee K. Mosier, Ed.D. “This new agreement with the Achieve Your Degree program will be a natural connection, not only because of the numerous offerings we have in nursing and allied health programs, but also the Parkview Education Center opening this fall with Parkview, Ivy Tech, and Fort Wayne Community Schools as partners.”

With Achieve Your Degree, Ivy Tech Fort Wayne representatives will work directly with Parkview Health to provide employer-deferred tuition billing as long as individuals meet the guidelines of Parkview’s tuition assistance program. The College offers a wide variety of class options, days, times, and even online options to meet students’ needs.

Parkview co-workers participating in AYD will have access to all Ivy Tech courses, with the opportunity to earn a credential in a critical or non-critical skill area with reimbursement conditions developed and implemented by Parkview.

“As healthcare careers continue to evolve in the hospital and ambulatory settings, having the right people in the right roles doing to the right work is critical,” said Dena Jacquay, chief human resources officer, Parkview Health. “As an organization, we are continually mindful of the resources we offer our co-workers and the support to further their education and knowledge in their respective fields. We are excited to provide this opportunity at Ivy Tech as one way to help boost the learning experience without the added financial pressure.”

The program is available to Parkview Health co-workers starting this fall.

A highlight of AYD is its concierge-style services, which includes on-site or dedicated information and registration sessions; help with the application process, advising, financial aid and admissions; and potential cohorts of courses specifically for AYD students, which enhance communication and services centered on their needs.

Parkview Health is headquartered in Fort Wayne and includes a system of nine hospitals, in addition to a network of primary care and specialty physicians, across northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio. With approximately 11,000 co-workers, Parkview is the region’s largest employer.

Upcoming semester start dates include:

  • Fall 16-week courses begin Aug. 21, 2017
  • Fall 12-week courses begin Sept. 18, 2017
  • Fall 8-week courses begin Oct. 16, 2017
  • Spring 16-week courses begin Jan. 16, 2018

Visit for Ivy Tech’s areas of study in the Fort Wayne area.

Contact if you’re interested in taking part of this program.

Visit for more information about Achieve Your Degree.

Inside Ivy Tech: Striving for STEM equality

Women in the field discuss their experiences in a field dominated by men

Debbie Pitzer grew up working on cars. Tinkering with gadgets. Taking things apart. Figuring out how they worked, what made them go.

“It’s how I got interested in technology,” she says.

Pitzer is the program chair for Ivy Tech Community College Northeast’s Machine Tool Technology program, but her bachelor’s degree is in mechanical engineering.

Debbie Pitzer works with Michael Capps, an industrial technology student, in her Introduction to Machining class. Pitzer is the program chair for Machine Tool Technology at Ivy Tech Northeast. Throughout the United States, less than 30 percent of the science and engineering workforce are women.

In her program, Pitzer is the only female faculty member. Across all science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs at Ivy Tech Northeast, she’s one of only a few female faculty members.

These numbers mirror a national stat—women make up half of the total college-educated workforce in the United States but just 29 percent of the science and engineering workforce, according to the National Girls Collaborative Project, a charitable group committed to encouraging girls to pursue STEM careers. Pitzer saw similar numbers when she was a student, too.

This spring, Olivia Koehler became the first woman to graduate from Ivy Tech Northeast’s Electrical Engineering Technology program. Koehler traveled to the University of New Mexico last year, where she gained experience working in a clean room, a space free from dust and contaminants that is often used for manufacturing electronic components.

“I was either the only (woman), or there was one other,” she says.

Olivia Koehler graduated this May from the College’s Electrical Engineering Technology program; she is the first woman to do so. Koehler says she had just one or two classes with another woman, a fact she originally found intimidating.

“I think a lot of guys felt like I was intruding in their space,” she says. “It made me want to try even harder. It made me want to prove myself.”

Father knows best

Koehler, who was homeschooled, didn’t know what she wanted to study in college. Her father pushed his field, electrical engineering, because she excelled in science, but Koehler was dubious.

So he took his daughter to work. Koehler’s father taught electrical engineering classes, and he invited her to sit in on a class.

“They were going over circuits, and I loved going through the creation process of the circuit, all the intricate details. I wanted to learn more about that,” she says.

Chris Barlow encourages women to get into STEM fields, too. Barlow, who teaches biology at Ivy Tech Northeast, encourages her female students to stick with the field. And her daughters. And the girls she works with while volunteering to help a local school’s students on their science fair projects.

“There are fundamental differences in the way males and females look at the same problem,” Barlow says. “(Women) may see it differently, may see different patterns, and (those differing viewpoints) makes science more robust.”

Chris Barlow, who teaches biology at Ivy Tech Northeast, says girls start to shy away from STEM subjects as early as fifth or sixth grade. Before then, girls are just as excited about science and math as boys.

Through her work volunteering, Barlow has noticed that girls in kindergarten to fifth grade often love science. She calls them “confident explorers, ready to discover.”

Globally, girls tend to outperform boys in science—except in Great Britain, Canada, and the United States, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, whose mission is to improve the social and economic well-being of people around the world. Barlow thinks, at least in the United States, that discrepancy begins to occur in the sixth grade, the time when she sees girls’ confidence plummet.

“Something in our society is setting these girls up in middle school to think they’re not good at science or math,” she says.
She saw it in her two daughters, too, girls she raised to know they can do anything, to never question whether a topic of study was beyond their reach just because of their gender.

Then middle school hit, and her daughters said something they’d never before said: “I can’t do this. I’m not good at math.”

“Where did you get that?” Barlow asked.

Their friends said it.

“It’s this social awareness that blossomed when they were in middle school,” she says. “They were mimicking things they heard other girls say.”

A good job market for women

Though Koehler just graduated in May, she has already worked at Fort Wayne Metals, a medical-grade wire and cable producer, for two years.

Though just a small number of women study machine tool technology—Pitzer estimates that her classes are 98 percent men—they always find work after completing the program.

“Women are really good at it,” she says. “Every female we had who graduated gets a job, and she gets a job right away. I encourage them to go into the field because I know they are highly sought after.”

Women tend to be more detail-oriented, Pitzer says. It’s not that they’re better at the work than men, but they are often more focused on producing quality parts.

She wonders if it’s that focus on quality that stymies women from entering her field: In her experience, Pitzer says, she has seen women get discouraged when they are unable to perfect a task. And if the result isn’t perfect, they’re more likely to move to a different discipline. Men, meanwhile, will stick with it, even if they’re not perfect, she says.

Studies have proven Pitzer’s hypothesis: The book The Confidence Code shares findings that show when a professional endeavor goes wrong, women are more likely to blame themselves; when something goes right, they’re more likely to credit others for the success, reported Time magazine.

“What women don’t realize,” Pitzer says, “is they’re often doing better than their male counterparts.”

Inside Ivy Tech: A Fresh Focus

Joseph Decuis kitchen heads hail from Ivy Tech Northeast

“If you pick the right people and give them the opportunity to spread their wings (…) you almost don’t have to manage them.”

Jack Welch, the 20-year General Electric CEO who grew the company’s value by 4,000 percent, said those words. His tactic—letting talented people do their thing—is one the owners at Joseph Decuis seem to take to heart: They hired a new head chef late last year, and one of his first orders of business? Reorganize the kitchen completely and change the menu.

“We’ve got a good reputation, and I plan on keeping that reputation, but I want to make it better,” says Marcus Daniel, the Roanoke restaurant’s head chef and a 2006 graduate of Ivy Tech Community College Northeast’s Hospitality Administration program. “The owners put a lot of trust in me to make the best food I can.”

Marcus Daniel, the head chef at Joseph Decuis in Roanoke, is a graduate of Ivy Tech Northeast’s Hospitality Administration program. “It was a really good program to be in,” he says. “School taught me the basic foundation of cooking.”

His new menu, which changes regularly, focuses on fresh, farm-to-fork options. His goal is to see most of his menu—80 percent—come from the Eshelman farm; Pete and Alice Eshelman, who own Joseph Decuis, also run their own farm, which produces myriad produce and protein options: chickens, pigs, goats, sheep, and turkeys. According to the restaurant’s website, it is the only farm in the country to raise Wagyu beef, known for being the best tasting, healthiest beef in the world, following traditional Japanese husbandry practices.

Joseph Decuis is known throughout the region for its Wagyu beef, often considered the best tasting, healthiest beef in the world. The Joseph Decuis farm is the only one in America to raise Wagyu beef, according to the restaurant’s website.

“I haven’t ordered eggs in two months,” says Daniel, who rattles off some of his kitchen’s from-scratch offerings: pita bread, lemon rosemary biscotti, rhubarb sorbet, Mangalitza hash, a recipe he based on a dish from Los Angeles.

Daniel has worked in kitchens from California to New York, including the John Dory Oyster Bar, a New York City restaurant under April Bloomfield, a British chef known for holding a Michelin star, a mark of distinction to recognize quality of cooking, at two restaurants.

Before starting at Joseph Decuis, Daniel helped open a Fort Wayne sandwich shop on Coliseum Boulevard, Mr. Panini, where he met Nick Richardson, a fellow Ivy Tech hospitality administration graduate, who started at then-Manchester College.

“I couldn’t find anything I wanted to do,” he says, so he turned to Ivy Tech Northeast for cooking. “It was either that or barber school.”

“You were gonna be a barber?” Daniel asks.

It might seem hard to fathom: Richardson is Daniel’s sous chef, charged with serving as a liaison between the business and cooking sides of the restaurant. Richardson started at Joseph Decuis two months before Daniel, and when the restaurant needed a head chef, Richardson knew where to look.

“We complement each other really well,” Daniel says. “Nick is very organized and very structured.”

“And he’s creative,” Richardson says.

One of Daniel’s goals with Joseph Decuis is to focus on small-plate options.

“When I go out to eat,” he says, “I’d rather eat the whole menu. “I want to appeal to a younger demographic, who grew up with the Food Network, who knows about the rest of the world but maybe hasn’t had a chance to explore it.”

Inside Ivy Tech: Ambitious by Design

Alumnus’s passion for architecture, planning intersect at Ivy Tech

Ivy Tech Northeast alumnus Hau Khup replicates the master plan for The High Line, a public park built along a historic freight rail line on Manhattan’s West Side, to satisfy an assignment at Ball State University that aims to teach communicating through graphics. As a transfer student, Khup recently completed the First Year Program at Ball State’s College of Architecture and Planning.

Whether tinkering with his father’s furniture-making tools to carve wood or building shelters in the forest to stay cool and dry while hunting for mushrooms, Hau Khup has downplayed many of the lessons learned during his favorite childhood activities. He’s often regarded them as little more than innocent fun.

But now that he’s an adult studying architecture and urban planning halfway around the globe, he’s revisiting those early exercises in creativity and utility and seeing them as career influences.

“I now realize these interests played a part in leading me to my passion, my goal,” Khup says.

Khup’s 3-D model for a building concept that joins different elements together.

His path to college—beginning at Ivy Tech Community College Northeast and now on to Ball State University—has been a nontraditional experience when compared with most of his peers.

Khup’s home nation of Burma, in Southeast Asia, has been destabilized by a decades-old civil war and several military coups, which have resulted in economic hardships, widespread displacement of citizens, and human rights violations.

“Even as a child, I knew things were bad in Burma. A lot of people had no jobs or income,” Khup says.

In fact, the need to find work divided his own family. When Khup was 5, his father and older brother, Langh, fled Burma for Malaysia, where they both found low-paying jobs in restaurants. Khup and his mother followed their lead to Malaysia when he was 12, but upon their arrival, Khup’s father and brother had already resettled in America as refugees sponsored by the United Nations.

“We would get phone calls from my father sometimes. We would discuss what was going on, and we’d wonder how we were ever going to get to come to the United States,” Khup says.

Khup spent the next 2 ½ years working as a waiter and dishwasher in Malaysia’s capital city of Kuala Lumpur, while also caring for his ill mother.

While living in the Southeast Asian metropolis, Khup says he remained in awe of his surroundings; it was a dramatic contrast from the village of 400 residents where he grew up.

“I still wasn’t thinking about a future in architecture at that point, but I did have questions about how the buildings were built in that complex city, but I never found the answers,” Khup says.

His luck improved in 2010 when he and his mother earned the opportunity to immigrate to Fort Wayne where their family was reunited.

Following one year in middle school, Khup advanced to North Side High School and graduated in 2015.

The first in his family to pursue college, Khup chose Ivy Tech Northeast, where he elevated his academic performance, English proficiency, and social confidence.

“Early on at Ivy Tech, I started thinking more and more about buildings and architecture, but I realized none of those classes were offered,” Khup says.

Dawn Hammond made herself available to address his academic concerns.

Hammond, an academic advisor who specializes in working with international and ESOL, or English for Speakers of Other Languages, students, says she worked with Khup to identify the right mix of transfer classes that satisfied his needs and increased his chances of getting accepted into Ball State’s College of Architecture and Planning.

“Working with refugees, I see that immediate needs must be addressed first. Many of the refugees’ talents go unrecognized because work and family must come first. But at Ivy Tech, we are practical dreamers. We want to make sure their dreams are achieved,” says Hammond, the 2017 statewide recipient of the Ivy Tech Veteran Advisor Award.

“Dawn became my best friend at that point,” Khup recalls.

Now at Ball State, Khup has expanded his network of supporters who appreciate his conscientiousness and determination, particularly Associate Professor of Architecture George Elvin.

“Hau’s international experience could give him a richer understanding of architecture, which will serve him well in his career,” Elvin says. “And I have no doubt that his creativity and drawing skills will make him an in-demand architect.”

Since entering architecture school, Khup says he consciously spends a little more time being introspective about his life’s journey to date.

“It can be interesting to connect the dots back to your youth and see how experiences may have led you to your dreams,” he says.

College to host Ford, Mustang show Saturday

Car owners and enthusiasts travel from across Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Washington to attend the 35th Annual Old Fort Mustangers’ Mustang and Ford Show. The show includes any Ford-powered vehicle, ranging from the 1964-1/2 Ford Mustangs to today’s new models, plus Thunderbirds, trucks, and vintage and modified Fords, Mercurys, and Lincolns.

The Old Fort Mustangers have partnered with Ivy Tech Northeast for years, awarding an Ivy Tech Foundation scholarship at the show to an automotive technology student. The College has hosted the show since 1989.

Coliseum Campus, parking lot
3800 N. Anthony Blvd.
Fort Wayne, IN 46805
Get directions

8 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 15

8 to 11 a.m.: Registration
3 p.m.: Awards ceremony

Learn more and receive a show flier at

Wabash Site receives $35K grant for health, IT, industrial technology

Ivy Tech Community College’s Wabash Site has again received a grant from the Pauline J. Barker Educational Trust. The $35,138 grant will fund labs for healthcare, information technology networking, and industrial technology. This is the fifth year the College has received funds from this trust, used to promote industrial skills training.

The Wabash Site has never had a Healthcare Specialist lab, and the grant will allow the College to offer classes including certified nursing assistant, phlebotomy, and electrocardiography. It will also fund equipment, transportation vouchers, tutoring, and scholarships for School of Information Technology students.

These funds don’t benefit only the Wabash Site, but the entire community.

“These are areas where skilled workers are in short supply and high demand,” Wabash Site director Pamella Guthrie says. “The program provided more than $20,000 in the last year to Wabash County students and has funded students in four specialized industrial classes.”

Since 2003, the trust has provided more than $600,000 toward helping Wabash County adults attain the education and skills needed to succeed in the workplace in areas including technology, science, and nursing. As the manager of the Wabash’s Rock City Café for many years, Barker saw the need for adult education in the community. Her decision to form a trust for adult students helps the region reach its Big Goal, which aims to increase the percent of northeast Indiana residents with a degree or certificate by 2025.

Media Opportunity

Members of the media are invited to a special check presentation

TIME: 3:30 p.m.
DATE: June 29
LOCATION: Wabash Site, 277 N. Thorne St., Wabash

College to open law library for students, community lawyers

Next month, Ivy Tech Community College’s Fort Wayne Campus will open a law library. The research library will be available to students studying Legal Studies and Paralegal Studies at Ivy Tech, as well as lawyers in the community.


The books, which were donated by Indiana Tech, would have run the College tens of thousands of dollars, estimates Heidi Fowler, department chair for the programs. The 1,300-book library will include the North Eastern Reporter Second (which includes appellate court decisions for states including Indiana), Indiana Code and U.S. Code, and general reference materials like nutshell books, how to research and write, digests, and legal encyclopedias.

Heidi Fowler, the department chair for Legal Studies and Paralegal Studies at Ivy Tech’s Fort Wayne Campus, says the College’s law library, which will open in July, will house 1,300 books for students and local lawyers.


It is located in rooms 2200 and 2201 at the Public Safety Academy: Ivy Tech South Campus (76012 Patriot Crossing in Fort Wayne), which will also be used as a classroom. The library will be open during class time. The South Campus is open five days a week, and building hours vary.


This library is the only of its kind through Ivy Tech campuses in Indiana.


Learn more about the programs at Ivy Tech’s Fort Wayne Campus at, which prepares students for the workforce as legal researchers, and, which prepares students for a bachelor’s degree and, should they choose, law school.

College to host middle school baking camp

At Ivy Tech Community College’s Baking Camp for Middle School Students, middle schoolers will spend the week baking and decorating with professional pastry chefs. They will learn about food safety and the science behind baking while whipping up cakes, cookies, pastries, and breads in the College’s state-of-the-art baking labs. On the final day, the entire family is invited to sample baked goods prepared by the middle schooler on Ivy Tech’s campus.

The camp is for those 10 to 14 years old. The cost is $250. Register online at

This camp is an IvyLiving program, which is a non-credit class to promote personal growth and lifelong learning through engaging and intriguing short-term experiences. Local and regional experts will share their knowledge and passions with participants in a small group setting.

9 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 10 to 13
9 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 14

Ivy Tech Community College’s Fort Wayne Campus*
Coliseum Campus
3800 N. Anthony Blvd.
Fort Wayne, IN 46805

* Location subject to change

College to host free summer STEM camp for area high school teachers

Ivy Tech Community College’s Fort Wayne Campus’ ASM Materials Camp is geared toward high school and middle school teachers in fields including chemistry, physical science, engineering, and industrial/vocational technology.

The free, one-week workshop will include instruction about how to conduct low or no cost labs and experiments with everyday materials. The experiments can be incorporated into existing lesson plans. 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 Questions? Contact Nick Goodnight, Automotive Technology instructor, at or 260-480-4293. Space is limited.

8 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 24 to 27
8 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 28

Ivy Tech Community College’s Fort Wayne Campus
Student Life Center
3701 Dean Drive
Get directions