Finding a place to belong with G.O.A.L.

Medina

Medina

Hi, my name is Laura Medina, and I was the summer marketing intern at Ivy Tech Northeast, trying to discover exactly what I want to study in college. As a Latina woman, I was excited to learn about a new program for Latino students at the College, G.O.A.L, y Amigos, or Graduating Outstanding Achieving Latinos and Friends.

The United States is such a diverse country, and its people represent an array of ethnic, cultural, and religious groups. Whether you were born in South America, Europe, the Middle East, or Africa, it’s easy to feel isolated from those born in this country. I am from Colombia, and I think groups like G.O.A.L. are a great way to help minorities feel included. It’s just a small way more first-generation Americans like me are beginning to have our voices heard: academically, athletically, and in many other ways.

It’s super inspirational to see, not to mention extremely impressive. It gives hope to other first-generation kids who have immigrant parents, telling them that they, too, can someday be just as successful in the field of their choice. Organizations like G.O.A.L y amigos provides a support system for not only Latinos but for those of other backgrounds by encouraging them in their studies and personal lives.

Some aren’t so willing to open up and express their ethnic background, however, because they’re afraid of being discriminated. I find it extremely helpful to participate in organizations that advocate or promote diversity, like G.O.A.L.. It is so important that minorities are able to freely express ourselves without the fear of being criticized or judged based on our thoughts. JoAnne Alvarez, creator of G.O.A.L., was once a part of Hispanos Unidos at IPFW, a group with the same mission as G.O.A.L.

“It is important to feel comfortable so, although you are a minority, you won’t feel like one,” she says.

G.O.A.L. y Amigos, the Latino student organization at Ivy Tech Northeast, partnered with American Honors and the Associate Accelerated Program for a Painting with a Twist event back in January in the Blue Bamboo in the Student Life Center.

G.O.A.L. y Amigos, the Latino student organization at Ivy Tech Northeast, partnered with American Honors and the Associate Accelerated Program for a Painting with a Twist event back in January in the Blue Bamboo in the Student Life Center.

Brayan Castillo, a business administration major, is a member of G.O.A.L.

“G.O.A.L y amigos has helped in many ways in my performance in school, as well as in my personal life,” he says. “I have a better sense of purpose on why I am continuing my education with the help and support of our members.”

With the help and support from groups such as G.O.A.L., he is reminded how important the success of his education is which is why he’s so mission oriented and will not settle for anything less.

“We want to break down any stereotypes or barriers to ultimately bring ethnicities together,” Castillo says.

Ohro Zlatanovic, who is studying Criminal Justice, immigrated to the United States from Germany when he was 5, and he says groups like G.O.A.L. are especially valuable.

“I realized how much they help unite and encourage people of all ethnic groups to succeed in all they do, whether it comes to the academic life or even the social life,” he says.

Learn more about G.O.A.L. on its Ivy Life page, where you can join.

Emmy Award winner to give commencement address

Kevin Wall, an Emmy Award-winning producer, activist, and new media entrepreneur, will provide the commencement address at Ivy Tech Community College Northeast’s graduation May 6 at the Memorial Coliseum.

Wall

Wall

Wall, a Fort Wayne native, is a North Side High School graduate who began producing music event at the Embassy Theatre. He currently lives in Los Angeles and has produced live events including Live 8, a global concert that focused on motivating viewers worldwide to pressure Western governments to take action on African aid and debt relief. His work on Live 8 earned Wall an Emmy Award.

He also produced events including

  • Bob Dylan’s “30th Anniversary Concert Celebration” at Madison Square Garden in New York City
  • Michael Jackson’s “The Dangerous Tour” in Bucharest, Romania
  • “Amnesty International: Human Rights Now”
  • 3 Tenors Live in Concert
  • Specials for Prince, Eric Clapton, and Elton John

Wall pioneered a digital media model that makes entertainment available on all mediums and devices. His company, Control Room, has put together more than 100 TV specials in the last 11 years for musicians including Madonna, Jay Z, and Rihanna.

He also cofounded a global internet consulting firm and Live Earth, worldwide concerts with a message for change. His two decades of investment and consulting for start-ups include social media companies like Facebook, Akamai, Netjet, and new companies in Virtual Reality.

Nursing student named national fellow

Emerald Hagerty, a nursing student at Ivy Tech Community College Northeast, has been named a Newman Civic Fellow by Campus Compact. The award “honors inspiring college student leaders who have demonstrated an investment in finding solutions for challenges facing communities throughout the country,” according to the Campus Compact website. It looks for students who use their college experiences to better understand both the causes of social issues and effective ways to create change.

Ivy Tech Northeast Chancellor Jerrilee K. Mosier and Student Life Director Christina O’Brien nominated Hagerty in part because of her work in getting a student-run food pantry started on campus.

“This fellowship isn’t about volunteerism only but about finding longer-term solutions and improving communities,” O’Brien says. “With her work on the food pantry, that bigger effort to address a community need, giving something for others to grow upon is so important.”

Hagerty

Hagerty

Hagerty has been an active member of the College’s Student Government Association and Campus Activities Board for two years. Last summer, she was selected to participate in the alternative summer break student project, which focused on hunger. During the week-long project, she worked with food banks, soup kitchens, and community gardens in and around Indianapolis. Her experience in the project is what led Hagerty to work with O’Brien to start the College’s food pantry through student government.

“I will be honest: I am very much a white, middle-class female who has never faced hunger,” she says. “But the whole experience moved me. We are currently focused on fundraising so this pantry will be around long after we have all graduated. We hope to do more than just the pantry. I would love for the full kitchen be used at the (Public Safety Academy: Ivy Tech) South Campus and community meals offered a few times a week.”

Hagerty has attended Ivy Tech Northeast since fall 2013, originally studying Health Information Technology. She plans to graduate in spring 2017 and hopes to one day become a family nurse practitioner. She is from Fort Wayne and has a husband and two children, and she says she was surprised to learn she was nominated for the award.

“I feel like I’m a normal mom and student who saw a need and worked with other student leaders and administration to make it happen,” Hagerty says. “My hope is this food pantry will allow at least one student who might have struggled at Ivy Tech to stay and graduate, without worrying about something as simple as food.”

Campus Compact is a Boston-based national organization that works to deepen public colleges’ and universities’’ abilities to improve community life and education students about social and civic responsibility.

More than 100 baskets for the kids at SCAN

Since 2000, the Alumni Association has collected Easter baskets for SCAN, Stop Child Abuse & Neglect. This year, dozens on campus helped out, bringing in completed Easter baskets, materials to stuff baskets, and cash for basket goodies–all so the kids at SCAN can have a special treat on Easter morning.

Squishy eyeball monsters, reptiles, sand toys, and glow sticks, anyone?

Marketing, which helps the Alumni Association, collected nearly $250 in cash to put together additional baskets. We seriously cleaned out at Dollar General.

Marketing and Communications, which helps the Alumni Association, collected nearly $250 in cash to put together additional baskets. We seriously cleaned out at Dollar General.

It’s carrot bubbles!

It’s carrot bubbles!

Hard at work making sure the SCAN kids get a great basket on Easter morning

Hard at work making sure the SCAN kids get a great basket on Easter morning

A finished basket for a little girl

A finished basket for a little girl

In total, Ivy Tech Northeast will donate 100 baskets to SCAN.

In total, Ivy Tech Northeast will donate more than 100 baskets to SCAN.

THANK YOU to everyone who helped us collect these treats to make sure the SCAN kids have a special Sunday morning.

What’s on the agenda for spring break?

Despite the fact it is snowing beautifully (or evilly, depending on your perspective) as I type this, spring break is next week. I asked Ivy Tech Northeast’s students what their plans were. None who responded were saying “so long” to northeast Indiana and its truly bizarre 2015-16 winter for the week, but let’s be honest: You don’t need to flock to the sunshine to enjoy a week off.

Here’s what some of our students are up to for spring break. (And feel free to share your plans in the comments section!)

Ward

Ward

“No fun trips for me. I will be unpacking and decorating the house my fiance and I (moved into last) weekend. Oh, and I will be studying for two tests I have the week we get back from spring break.”
Elizabeth Ward, Healthcare Specialist

Jefferson

Jefferson

“Over spring break, I will be participating in the Urban Plunge. We will be going to approximately seven facilities and volunteering.” (Learn more about Urban Plunge at the United Way of Allen County website.)
DeYonna Jefferson, Criminal Justice

Hicks

Hicks

“I will be spending my spring break cleaning my house and getting ready for the busy spring. I have four kids who are very active in soccer and softball, and once practices start, my life is hot dogs and popcorn.”
Stefanie Hicks, Human Services

Bashop

Bashop

“I am spending spring break with my daughter. She (turned four on Wednesday), so we will be having her birthday party during spring break and enjoying Doctor Day at Science Central, along with several other birthday parties and a carnival in Leo. It will be a fun-filled week with my daughter.”
Ella Bashop, Accounting

Thazin

Thazin

“My spring break plans are to get ahead on my school assignments while watching my favorite TV shows on Netflix!”
Ma Thazin, Visual Communications

‘If you lived here your entire life, you probably won’t notice how beautiful it really is’

This semester, Ivy Tech Northeast is hosting two students from Tunisia. Oumeima Hammami and Meriem Ghalleb are studying at Ivy Tech Northeast as part of a scholarship program from the U.S. Department of State. They’ve been on campus since the beginning of the semester, putting them about a quarter of the way through their year-long stay.

Oumeima wrote up a short essay about her stay thus far in Fort Wayne. Be sure to check back next week for a Q&A with Meriem.

* * *

Oumeimi Hammami

Oumeima Hammami

My name is Oumeima Hammami. I’m 20 years old, and I came from Tunisia.

One year ago, I was a second-year student at the Higher School of Telecommunication of Tunis, an engineering school, and I heard about a scholarship to the United States. There were thousands all around Tunisia filling an online application, including our grades, our working and volunteering experiences, all sorts of questions about leadership, our future plans, how we plan to contribute in the Tunisian economy, and much more.

Only 250 students made it through this first step, but the path was still long to go. Then we had to take the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) test and to sit through an interview with delegates from the Department of State. Mine lasted for about an hour of intensive questions about everything: leadership, leisure, and my perception of life, economy, and even politics.

Tunisia is a north African country on the Mediterranean Sea. Learn about the country in the CIA's World Factbook.

Tunisia is a north African country on the Mediterranean Sea. Learn about the country in the CIA’s World Factbook.

Two months later, I received a congratulation email saying that I made it to the finals and that I got the scholarship! It was an unforgettable moment, so heartwarming, a dream coming true.

The program picked the college for us according to our current field of study, so Indiana wasn’t my choice, but if I got the chance to choose again, it would be my first choice.

The best thing I like about it is how people are nice and friendly, always smiling and open to others. I didn’t have issues to fit in. I’ve been here for two months, and I already have friends that makes me feel like I have known them my entire life. Fort Wayne is probably not one of the most known places in the United States, but for sure it’s the place where you feel home.

And its nature is just outstanding! If you have lived here your entire life, you probably won’t notice how beautiful it really is. Since I grew up in the Tunisian capital, Tunis, I didn’t see much of nature, so every day I walk to school and see all of these pretty views. My soul is happy. And I can’t wait to see the snow. Although many people are complaining about it, I can’t help being excited to see everything so pure and white.

I’m studying for a Java Development Certificate, a CompTIA Networking Certificate and an Access Database Certificate. The academic system is very different in Tunisia. We study with the same people in all of our classes, so socialization is much easier. However here each one has his own schedule and stays in his own bubble.

Once I finish my studies May 2016, I will return to my beloved country and share the knowledge, the experiences, and expertise I have gained in the United States. I will have to finish my senior year at my previous university and begin the journey of looking for a job.

The pancake guy? He was flippin’ fun

Just outside the Marketing and Communications office on Coliseum Campus, there was a commotion: crowds milling about, clutching plates, and a man at a griddle. Was that a spatula through his head?

As part of the College’s “welcome back!” for students this week, Chris Cakes set up its traveling breakfast bar, serving up breakfast sausage and freshly made pancakes.

Trevor Muir of Chris Cakes works on his 4-foot grill to serve breakfast to students at Coliseum Campus on Thursday.

Trevor Muir of Chris Cakes works on his 4-foot grill to serve breakfast to students at Coliseum Campus on Thursday.

Chris Cakes is a franchise company with spots in 22 states. The company has fed four presidents (that’d be Obama, Bush senior, Bush junior, and Regan) and now, hundreds of Ivy Tech Northeast students and staff.

Trevor Muir, of Chris Cakes, uses a machine with four spouts to dispense batter onto the grill.

Trevor Muir, of Chris Cakes, uses a machine with four spouts to dispense batter onto the grill.

“I can feed 350 people an hour,” says Trevor Muir as he manned the 4-foot, 28-pancake grill. The company also has 8-foot and a 16-foot grills.

After doling out the flapjacks–sometimes by flinging the little cakes 10 feet across the hall to a student with an empty plate–Muir would make more with a metal compartment that rolled over the grill. The container, which holds 50 pounds of batter, had four spouts across its length, and Muir would roll it down the grill, stopping at intervals to dispense batter onto the grill.

Chris Cakes has been featured on Food Network at least 10 times, Muir says, and the most pancakes a Chris Cakes customer has chomped down is 77.

“He folded them and ate them,” Muir says. “No syrup. He’d take little sips of juice.”

Trevor Muir flips a flapjack to a student on Thursday on the Coliseum Campus.

Trevor Muir flips a flapjack to a student on Thursday on the Coliseum Campus.

Ivy Tech Northeast student Nick Lowden gets in position to catch a pancake.

Ivy Tech Northeast student Nick Lowden gets in position to catch a pancake.

Zinnia’s Bakehouse: Summer food series

This is the second post in Green Light’s Summer Food Series, featuring area eateries with an Ivy Tech Northeast connection. Last week, we featured Donna Kessler at Calhoun Street Soups, Salads, and Spirits.

Who: Krystal Hernandez, co-owner at Zinnia’s Bakehouse (1320 E. State Blvd.) and former hospitality administration student

Hernandez with baklava from Zinnia's Bakeshop

Hernandez with baklava from Zinnia’s Bakehouse

How: When Hernandez graduated from Elmhurst High School (1929 to 2010, RIP Trojans) in 2007, she had scholarships lined up from big culinary schools including Johnson & Wales University and Le Cordon Bleu, she says. However, when her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, she knew she wanted to stay close to home–so she enrolled at Ivy Tech Northeast.

Through dual-credit classes and classes at Anthis Career Center, she already had College credit, making the choice an easy one.

“I wouldn’t change it,” she says. “The experience that I learned from the instructors I had, it’s incomparable.”

Hernandez got an internship at the former Yum-Mee’s Bakery, which turned into a job. Later, when Yum-Mee’s owners left, they sold the bakery to Hernandez.

“I was thinking, let’s just see where this goes,” she says. “I never would have expected this out of that.”

Click on the image to zoom and for full caption info.

What: Zinnia’s offers cupcakes and cookies, but its most popular items are the apple empanadas, chorizo empanadas, (an empanada is a Mexican-style turnover with a flaky pastry crust and sweet or savory fillings) and the ranchero quiche, which is vegetarian. The bakeshop offers beignets on Saturdays, which are also popular. (Think puffy, cube-shaped doughnuts doused in powdered sugar. So much yes.) Zinnia’s also has commercial orders at Brava’s Burgers and Who Cut the Cheese?

How long: Zinnia’s will celebrate its two-year anniversary in August, but Hernandez made her first wedding cake when she was 14.

Why “Zinnia’s”: People sometimes ask, “Who’s Zinnia? Is she here?” The name is simply a colorful daisy Hernandez likes.

The summer food series will be off next Friday for Independence Day. Stop back July 10 for the next installment. Happy eating!

Inside Ivy Tech: Hot-ticket career

Nationwide welder shortage sparks demand for skilled employees

Human Resource Manager Ryan Lemon speaks with Ivy Tech Northeast student Joel Staller about career possibilities at Novae Corp. during the Welding Networking Event on Feb. 17 in the Steel Dynamics Inc./Keith E. Busse Technology Center. Staller is completing a Certificate in Industrial Technology with a concentration in structural welding.

Human Resource Manager Ryan Lemon speaks with Ivy Tech Northeast student Joel Staller about career possibilities at Novae Corp. during the Welding Networking Event on Feb. 17 in the Steel Dynamics Inc./Keith E. Busse Technology Center. Staller is completing a Certificate in Industrial Technology with a concentration in structural welding.

Ryan Lemon arrived at Ivy Tech Community College Northeast’s Welding Networking Event on Feb. 17 with an ambitious agenda: to recruit skilled welders—and as many of them as possible for his nearly 20 vacancies at Novae Corp., a custom hauling trailer and tool storage manufacturer with three northeast Indiana locations.

If the magnitude of his task wasn’t challenging enough for the human resource manager, it wasn’t about to get any easier at the event, where Lemon was surrounded by recruiters from nine other area businesses including Deister Machine, OmniSource, Ottenweller, and Tenneco. Each recruiter shared the same objective for attracting welders from the nearly three dozen students in attendance.

“We’re all fighting for them, given the welder shortage,” Lemon says. “Welding is critical to what we do at Novae. Pieces of steel would never become trailers without welders.”

Among Novae’s approximately 400 associates, Lemon says about one-third of them are welders.

Without doubt, welding has emerged as a hot career opportunity in recent years—so much so it’s almost possible to see the sparks fly, as manufacturing- and construction-based employers, in particular, scramble to attract these in-demand workers.

The manufacturing industry alone has grown faster than the rest of the U.S. economy since the recession ended in June 2009, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. Despite this rebound, the American Welding Society (AWS) reports a decline in the number of welders in America from 570,000 in 1988 to fewer than 360,000 in 2012. To underscore this urgent need, the average age of today’s welder is 55.

In manufacturing-heavy northeast Indiana, the Community Research Institute at IPFW projects a 13.8 percent increased need in staffing among three welding-aligned occupations between 2014 and 2024. This anticipated growth slightly exceeds state and national projections for these same occupations during the 10-year time period.

Ivy Tech Northeast is looking to reverse this labor-shortage trend on a regional basis, where employees in welding-related positions currently earn between $13 to $16 an hour, with the potential for more, factoring in overtime, shift differentials, type of experience, and advanced AWS certifications.

For the past 24 years, Assistant Professor of Industrial Technology John Christman has played a significant role in all forms of welding education offered by the College.

He says he considers a strong foundation in math, along with talents in minor equipment repair and blueprint and measurement reading, to be essential skills for welders.

Christman’s current work-study student, Amy Kelham, is graduating in May with an A.A.S. in Industrial Technology with a concentration in structural welding. She says she is drawn to the occupation due to her mechanical inclination and as homage to her welder and ironworker father.

“Welding is a process that’s always about improving,” Kelham says. “Anything can be monotonous if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing. But if you enjoy it, the monotony isn’t there.”

 Joe Nes-Iadicola, a participant in a recent 80-hour welding course offered by Ivy Tech Corporate College, shares the results from his practice welds.

Joe Nes-Iadicola, a participant in a recent 80-hour welding course offered by Ivy Tech Corporate College, shares the results from his practice welds.

In addition to an associate degree, Ivy Tech Northeast also offers a technical certificate and a certificate in structural welding, as well as accelerated study options through Corporate College, the workforce and economic development arm of the institution. Corporate College coordinates both customized on-site employer training and an 80-hour class, primarily for displaced workers referred by WorkOne Northeast.

Joe Nes-Iadicola is one such individual who participated in an 80-hour class this spring, after having been downsized from a sales position with a cell phone carrier in January. Despite his limited knowledge of WorkOne Northeast’s services, he sought job placement and training assistance from the state’s employment agency.

“You can’t be afraid to try something new,” Nes-Iadicola says, “especially when you have a wife and an 8-year-old to support.”

After completing his training, Nes-Iadicola says he wants to pursue an apprenticeship with the Plumbers and Steamfitters Local Union 166 in Fort Wayne.

“I plan to use welding as a career tool,” Nes-Iadicola says. “Whether you’re doing pipefitting, steamfitting, or HVAC work, you will have projects that require welding. Welding is the icing on the cake.”

Hospitality prof started out in Fort Wayne Ballet

She’s played the Black Swan—but not as crazy-like as Natalie Portman—and studied in London. She’s danced with popular French dancers and taught droves of children at the Fort Wayne Ballet.

Today, she has taught at Ivy Tech Northeast since 1996. Meshele Wyneken is an assistant professor in hospitality administration and a registered dietician. She stopped dancing at 29 to save her knees, and, she says, the food home she’s found since then has a number of similarities to her dancing start.

Wyneken

Wyneken

Tell me about your past in ballet. I became interested in ballet when I was a small child watching the Ed Sullivan show. I saw a young ballet dancer out there and decided that’s what I wanted to do. My mother enrolled me in ballet classes, and I never left. I did my first performance when I was 10.

Where have you danced? I danced predominantly with the Fort Wayne Ballet and taught for them for about 12 years. I went and studied at the Royal Academy of Dance in London, and I danced with the Milwaukee Ballet Company for about six months. But everything made me come back to Fort Wayne because that’s where my family is and where my roots are.

And being a dancer is not all bright lights and flash. It’s hard work, and it can be very painful, and it’s expensive. Shoes are very expensive. Sometimes for act one and act two, I would have two different pairs of shoes. Back when I was 29, they were close to $40 a pair, and that was back in the early ’80s.

What’s your favorite role? Either Black Swan from Swan Lake, and the other is Giselle. It’s a very classical, very old ballet. I liked being the Black Swan because I got to be evil. It was totally opposite of my character. There is no goodness in this. Giselle is because it was a love story, and unfortunately a tragic one. She dies, she kills herself. It’s a full-length ballet, and we dance constantly. It’s a tough role. I got to dance with a fairly well-known French dancer who came to town, Jean Paul Comelin. That was fun. I was 17, and he was 30, and he was gorgeous.

What happened to get you out of ballet? When I was about 25, I went to the doctor because I was having problems with my knee, and he said, “If you want to be walking when you’re 40, it’s time to think about doing something else.”

Do you have knee problems today? Oh yeah. I have arthritis in probably every single joint in my body. I have had surgery in my feet. I have a bad back, a bad hip, and a bad knee, all of which I’ve been told I will eventually have to have surgery. They need a retirement home for ex ballet dancers.

When you stopped ballet, what did you do next? I decided to become a registered dietician. Diet was something that obviously is constant with ballet dancers. Your weight is everything. Professional companies, you’re basically given a weight, and if you’re above it, you’re out. Having that all my life, I like food. I like nutrition, and the food carried on into going into culinary. I think it’s kind of interesting that I have three other friends I’ve danced with, and we all went into food. And it’s because now we can eat, and we couldn’t before. I’m still not much on sweets—it was so ingrained into me that those are “sometimes” things. But I can eat a 16-ounce steak.

Do you see any similarities between food and dance? They’re both very, very creative. They’re both ways of expressing yourself. You can express yourself through movement, but you can express yourself just as easily through food. And they’re both very physical. I’m a very hands-on person. I’m very right-brained.

Do you still dance? Not at all. I have tried to see if I can still do a pirouette. I can probably knock out one, but that’s about it. And the splits have gone away a long time ago.