As Bulldogs,

We believe in The Butler Way.

In doing more than our best.

In putting team above self.

And unleashing our strengths for the greater good.

We’re selfless. 

We’re united.

We’re unwavering.

Now more than ever. 

Butler Theatre's 'Antigone,' fall 2020, photo by Zach Rosing
Experiential Learning

As COVID-19 Cancels Shows Across the Nation, Butler Theatre Stays on Stage

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Feb 18 2021

Antigone just learned her brother is dead, and the new king will prohibit the honor of a burial. A mask hides the fury on her face as she argues with her sister, shouting that they should bury their brother anyway, but Antigone’s head shakes and her fists pound the air as she paces quickly around the stage. She can’t breach the six feet of distance to confront her sister up close, but she conveys her passion by leaning forward and pointing as she speaks, taking small steps that drive her sister away.

Antigone, photo by Zach Rosing“We wore masks while performing, so we learned to take an emotion that would normally just be a frown on your face and express it with your whole body,” says senior Theatre major Sarah Ault, who played the role of Antigone in Butler University’s production last fall. “That’s a shift from how I would normally approach things, but it was useful to experience. It has been a ‘the-show-must-go-on’ situation.”

While most collegiate and professional theatre organizations have halted in-person performances during the pandemic, Butler’s program has stayed on stage. It took research, strict safety measures, and audience limits, but it was worth giving students the live learning opportunities they signed up for.

“Our priority is the educational and artistic development of our students,” says Diane Timmerman, Theatre Professor and Chair. “We’re just really excited and proud that we were able to make this happen, and that the students have grown so much as artists, even in this time.”

Butler Theatre’s fall 2020 productions included Shel Silverstein's Lafcadio at Shelton Auditorium, followed by a modern adaptation of Sophocles’ Antigone at the Schrott Center. The theatre season continues at Clowes Memorial Hall on February 26 with The Living, a play depicting the plague that hit London in the 17th century. In April, performances of Fleeting Full 2.0 by Samuel Beckett will wrap up the year.

Two key factors have allowed Butler to produce in-person shows, Timmerman says. First, they were willing to meet the high bar of safety standards needed to perform indoors, whereas some other theatres would rather wait until they can stage plays without social distancing, mask wearing, and other protocols. And because Butler’s program isn’t revenue-driven, they could afford to have a limited in-person audience alongside free livestreams—a rule that might not work for theatres where ticket sales cover production costs.

“Everyday going into rehearsal, I recognize that it is such a privilege,” says Ault, who will follow her time as Antigone with a new role in The Living. “I’m thankful for all the efforts that Butler and its Theatre program are putting in to make sure we can have the opportunity to perform. Because this is the bread and butter of our education.”
 

Butler Theatre's 'Lafcadio,' photo by Zach Rosing


Setting the Stage for Safety

Deborah Jo Barrett spent the summer researching.

As Production and Stage Manager for the Jordan College of the Arts, she set the rules for keeping performers safe from COVID-19. She started with guidelines from the city and state, plus the health standards in place at Butler, then added another layer of theatre-specific protocols based on recommendations and studies from production organizations across the country.

By the start of the fall semester, Barrett had compiled and shared a new pandemic handbook for the department and created a Stage Manager’s Handbook that included COVID-related guidelines. In addition to the basics we’ve all been following for nearly a year, these guidelines focused on cleaning protocols, air flow, and reduced cross contact.

During typical rehearsals and performances, several people touch the same props. Now that only one person can touch each item, directors have decreased overall prop usage. Actors also need to be in charge of their own costumes and makeup, without the assistance they’d normally have from crew members.

And with the amount of movement and vocal activity involved in theatre, the department took extra measures to maintain fresh air in rehearsal spaces. Accounting for room size, HVAC air exchange rates, and the number of people present, rehearsal groups need to take breaks or move to a different room about every 30 minutes to let spaces air out.

Surfaces are sanitized, temperatures are checked, and daily health surveys are filled out. As the virus evolves, so do the safety measures. Barrett says it’s tricky staging productions with everyone six feet apart, and they’ve needed to incorporate masks in ways that don’t distract from performances, but students have done a wonderful job sticking to the protocols.

“I think after the spring shutdown and the long summer, everyone was just so grateful to be back in-person,” Barrett says. “Everyone helped take care of everyone else. Of course, if we had to shut down again, we were ready to divert what we were working on into an online format. But because Butler is doing in-person classes, we feel it is important that as much as possible—and as safely as possible—we do live performances.”
 

On-The-Scene Learning

Kelly Schwantes, a senior Theatre major who served as stage manager for Lafcadio, is glad to be finishing her degree in-person.

“We are one of the only organizations in Indianapolis still producing,” Schwantes says. “And from the collegiate aspect, many universities had to do things like digital readings or radio plays. I don’t know if the magnitude of that hit every student, but it certainly hit me, and it reminded me how important it is to be grateful at a time like this that I can go to school and do what I came here to do.”

Schwantes says stage managing for the first time during a pandemic taught her that doing something new isn’t as scary as it may seem.

“In whatever role you’re in, you start small and work your way up,” she says. “I learned a lot of the skills I needed throughout my first three years at Butler. And I also work retail, so even with the added layer of COVID, I already had experience with maintaining safety standards. By the time we finished the first day of rehearsal, I knew we were going to make it through.”

While Butler Theatre’s fall productions were selected before COVID-19 hit, they still worked well with safety protocols. Antigone, for example, takes place during a plague, so masks fit the story. But for the spring semester, The Living—which is about the Great Plague of London—was chosen specifically for its current relevance.

And like the fall performances, the two this spring will be available via livestream. The program plans to continue livestreaming productions even after the pandemic to reach audiences who can’t make it to campus.

Ault’s family lives in Kansas, so she appreciates the new virtual viewing options.

“One positive thing about the way we are doing shows this year is that friends and family who have never seen me perform can now livestream the shows,” she says. “That has been a blessing in disguise.”
 

Photos by Zach Rosing
 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
Senior Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403 (mobile)

Butler Theatre's 'Antigone,' fall 2020, photo by Zach Rosing
Experiential Learning

As COVID-19 Cancels Shows Across the Nation, Butler Theatre Stays on Stage

Strict safety measures allow students to keep rehearsing, performing, and learning together

Feb 18 2021 Read more
Butler University
Campus

Butler University to Freeze Tuition for 2021-2022 Academic Year

BY

PUBLISHED ON Jan 28 2021

(INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.)—Butler University will not raise tuition during the 2021-2022 academic year, President James M. Danko announced today. The tuition freeze, as approved by Butler’s Board of Trustees, ensures that current and incoming students will remain at the tuition rate established for the current 2020-2021 academic year.

“Many of our current and incoming students and their families have been impacted financially by the pandemic, and it is my hope that, by freezing tuition, we can help ease their burden,” Danko said. “I am pleased that we can provide some stability to our students and their families during this very uncertain period.”

Raiidi Kaldani Thompson, mother of first-year Butler student Michael Thompson, sent an email to University administration when she learned about the tuition freeze.

“Receiving the news about Butler University’s tuition freeze made my morning! I'm speechless and utterly filled with gratitude,” Kaldani Thompson said. “I want to thank President Danko and the Board of Trustees for extending this generous gift to all of your students and their families! It truly embodies the caring spirit, and the sense of a close community that drew my son to join the Butler family.”

“The tuition freeze is so important as students and their families continue to face unimaginable hardships,” Maya Patel, a junior majoring in Strategic Communication, said. “We can take solace in the much needed economic stability for the next academic year, allowing us to focus on our academics and finding our new normal.”

Danko stated that Butler instituted significant budget adjustments when the pandemic started last March, and that those adjustments have proven beneficial in maintaining the University’s financial stability.

“The decision to freeze tuition for students and families is indicative of the confidence I have in Butler’s current position and long-term future,” Danko said. “I am deeply appreciative of our faculty and staff in particular, for their extraordinary work and personal sacrifices to carry out the University’s mission and support our students.”  

Butler started the spring 2021 semester on January 25, with the vast majority of students choosing to live on campus and receive instruction in the classroom. The University has invested heavily in improving health and safety efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19 on campus and upgrading academic technology to further enhance the learning environment.

For more information about Butler University, please visit www.butler.edu.

 

Media Contact:
Mark Apple
Director of Strategic Communications
mapple1@butler.edu
317-519-8592

Butler University
Campus

Butler University to Freeze Tuition for 2021-2022 Academic Year

Butler's Board of Trustees approved the tuition freeze to help ease the financial burden many students and families have faced during the pandemic

Jan 28 2021 Read more

Meet the Voice Behind Butler’s New Commercial

By Katie Grieze

When Chinyelu Mwaafrika heard that a team at Butler University was looking for a student to be the voice of its newest television and radio advertisements, the first-year Theatre major jumped at the opportunity.

From his home in Indianapolis, he used his cell phone to record an audition for the voiceover: “As Bulldogs, we believe in the Butler Way. In doing more than our best, in putting team above self, and in unleashing our strengths for the greater good...”

The next day, he got the part.

“I’m always interested in trying new things, and I’ve never done anything like this before,” Mwaafrika says. “I also wanted to be helpful. Plus, I like Butler a lot, and I wanted to contribute in any way I could.”

For much of his childhood, Mwaafrika had planned to pursue engineering. But the desire to perform was always there, so he joined the Asante Children’s Theatre at 13 and continued to participate in plays throughout high school. Eventually, he realized theatre was what he needed to be doing full-time.

“I’m really into the potential for theatre to bring about change,” he says. “It encourages people to think and ask questions. It’s a good tool for bringing people together and exploring issues that people don’t always want to talk about.”

When Mwaafrika started looking for universities in his home state of Indiana, Butler seemed like the obvious choice.

“Butler was the only place I auditioned that I felt would be able to really push me and help me grow as an artist and as a person,” he says.

And so far, his college experience has been fantastic. He says the switch to online learning this semester hasn’t been ideal, but he appreciates the faculty who have found ways to adapt and make sure that students still get the best possible education.

“I cannot put into words how much I miss the people and the campus,” he says. “I love Butler so much.”

chinyelu
Student-Centered

Meet the Voice Behind Butler’s New Commercial

First-year theatre student Chinyelu Mwaafrika wants to help bring people together

COE Susan Adams

The New Normal

Katie Grieze

from Winter 2021

I don’t think I have this perfect yet. How’s it going for you? What do we need to do differently?

Susan Adams, Professor of Education, has asked those questions to her students again and again throughout the academic year. Even as she adapts to teaching in a hybrid learning environment, with a few students attending her classes in person and most tuning in on Zoom, she’s been making sure to explain her choices, ask for feedback, and create learning opportunities for future educators.

“We are finding ways to make hybrid learning work,” Adams says.

“I am super comfortable on Zoom—I had already been using it for five years before we went virtual last spring. But the difference for me, in education, is that I also have to be a model for my students: ‘Here’s how you do this. Here’s what I’m thinking. Here’s why I’m making this choice.’ I’m trying to be transparent and vulnerable, letting them watch me struggle out loud with those decisions.”

One way Adams has done this is through implementing a practice she calls “class notes.” The shared documents are somewhat like weekly syllabi, outlining detailed plans for each class period and providing links to all the relevant resources. But unlike a typical syllabus that covers a broad schedule and might be updated once or twice throughout the term, “class notes” also serve as collaborative online spaces for students to share thoughts and reflections with one another.

“This is something I never would have thought of if we weren’t partially virtual, but I’m not going to stop doing it after the pandemic is over,” Adams says. “It’s just so beautifully practical, and it’s another way for me to be transparent about our class plans and my thinking behind them.” 

Other faculty across the College of Education (COE) have also made the most of hybrid learning, using it as a lesson on the need to stay flexible in the classroom. COE Professor Deb Lecklider, MSE ’89 serves as Director of Butler’s Experiential Program for Preparing School Principals (EPPSP). When it first became apparent last spring that reopening schools during the pandemic would not be easy, Lecklider and the graduate program’s cohort members switched gears to help provide school districts with the resources they would need to make difficult decisions. By the end of June, the class had interviewed more than 80 education experts and created a nearly 400-page guidebook of recommendations to support school leaders through the reopening process.

In the fall semester, Lecklider continued basing some of the program’s lessons on the challenges facing educators due to COVID-19.

“During this pandemic,” she explains, “there has been a lot of weight on the shoulders of teachers and school leaders. Not only do you have to be concerned about maintaining safety during in-person classes—with social distancing, masks, and so on—but you also have some students attending classes virtually. That means you have to prepare for both the students you’ll have in front of you and the ones you’ll have online with you. The adaptations teachers need to make with this HyFlex model are just enormous.” 

The hybrid learning environment was relatively new for both Lecklider and her graduate students, most of whom were simultaneously teaching their own classes in K-12 schools. Luckily, they could all meet twice a week to share what they had learned.

“It was different for me, and it was a lot of work,” Lecklider says. “But I have learned a lot from my students. We all just work together, and I try to be as supportive and understanding as possible. Extending grace during this pandemic has been increasingly important.”

Lecklider added a “cool tools” section to each class session, carving out time for students to teach one another about different technologies and online platforms that can make it easier to hold hybrid classes. During one meeting, a student taught the group how to use FlipGrid, a website allowing teachers to create video-based discussion boards. Lecklider learned to use the platform right alongside her students.

“With the experiential piece of the EPPSP program, we are in the trenches,” she says. “We cover things in class that students can practice on their own time, out in the field. With the pandemic, we are all in this at the same time and learning together.”

COE Susan Adams
Innovation

The New Normal

Throughout 2020, College of Education faculty found ways to use the pandemic as a teaching opportunity

by Katie Grieze

from Winter 2021

Read more

Bulldogs Connect: The Online Network for Butler Students and Alumni

By Taylor Hensley

Sam Farber first logged in to Bulldogs Connect when a mentor suggested he use the digital networking platform in his internship search. Farber, a sophomore Marketing and Finance major at Butler University, reached out to Greg Jung, MBA ’98 to talk about potential internships. But Farber ultimately received valuable advice for a business he was preparing to launch. Jung, a marketing professional whose Bulldogs Connect profile indicates he is willing to help Butler students with “advising about specific industries or careers” and “finding jobs and internships,” provided website and other business advice to Farber ahead of the launch of Twillows—a company that creates customized hoodies, pillows, tank-tops, mugs, and more.

Butler launched Bulldogs Connect for students and alumni in 2019. Two years later, when so many activities have transitioned to a virtual format, the ability to connect with fellow Bulldogs digitally is more important than ever. The platform is exclusive to members of the Butler community, and it allows for students to connect with alumni who want to help students reach their career goals and find success after graduating. Serving as a database of engaged alumni, it is also an avenue for peer-to-peer connections to be made among alumni who are looking to build their own networks.

Farber is a frequent user of Bulldogs Connect and has explored many areas of the platform. He says he likes the layout of Bulldogs Connect, and he shared that the Communities feature makes it easy to see where people live. When it comes to sending that first message to an alumni user, “Don’t be nervous at all,” he says. “Just ask them about their job and things you may need to know for the future. People like to talk.”

Finding himself on the receiving end of those messages from students, Jung agrees. “Butler alumni who are signed up for Bulldogs Connect have already shown an interest in helping,” he says. “Go reach out!”

Bulldogs Connect is essentially a database of alumni who have already raised their hands to help students. Their profiles show everything you’d see on LinkedIn, such as professional experience and education, but also list specific areas in which Bulldogs are willing to help Butler students and fellow alumni navigate their own career journeys. These areas of assistance include finding job opportunities, reviewing resumes, advising about graduate school, and more. The difference between LinkedIn and Bulldogs Connect, Jung says, is that the people on Bulldogs Connect signed up because they want to engage with students. Jung’s LinkedIn inbox is full of solicitations, but a message from Bulldogs Connect never goes unread.

With a catalogue full of dedicated alumni who want to share their experience and expertise, there’s also an opportunity for alumni to make peer-to-peer connections to build their professional networks. They can leverage their Butler alumni community while navigating a career change or considering graduate school.

Zach Rodenbarger ’11 joined Bulldogs Connect when the platform first launched. He was working with startups on forecasting and building their financial models. When he heard about Bulldogs Connect, he thought, They’re trying something new. Let’s see if it works. He began using the platform to find other Butler graduates working in the finance industry.

“It was great to be able to find alumni in specific industries that I could ask questions of and who could support me in my business endeavors,” he says. “It was nice to have a linking connection (Butler), and that we understood the same industry, but had Butler to start the conversation.”

Like Farber, Rodenbarger also connected with Jung through Bulldogs Connect. They became close professional contacts and met regularly before the pandemic eliminated their in-person meetings. Jung was able to advise Rodenbarger on marketing strategies for his work with Selfless.ly, a software company that Rodenbarger ultimately joined. Selfless.ly helps businesses engage their employees in giving back to the community.

Rodenbarger and Jung agree that alumni on Bulldogs Connect are likely to be more responsive to messages because of the shared connection to Butler. If you receive a message on LinkedIn, you would have to visit a person’s profile to see that you are both Bulldogs. “This is already filtered for you,” Rodenbarger says.

Bulldogs Connect is available to current students and Butler alumni. A partnership between the Office of Career and Professional Success and the Office of Alumni Relations and Engagement, Bulldogs Connect is a cutting-edge tool that brings alumni and students together to help build networks, find mentors, and create pathways for life after Butler. Whether you’re looking for a job, career advice, information about your new city, or volunteer opportunities, Bulldogs Connect is the place to start. Once you’re logged in, take a peek around. Join the communities that interest you, and start connecting. Butler students and alumni can join here.

Butler bulldog statue
Student-Centered

Bulldogs Connect: The Online Network for Butler Students and Alumni

Since 2019, alumni on the platform have been raising their hands to help students and fellow grads

Dr. India Johnson
Innovation

Butler Professor’s Research Aims to Help More Black Women Join STEM

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Jan 22 2021

Dr. India Johnson, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Butler University, wants more Black women to pursue careers in STEM. But in order to feel like they belong in these fields, Johnson says, college students need to have role models.

“In the world of psychology, role models are individuals you feel similar to,” she explains. “If you don’t feel similar to the person, they can’t necessarily do much to make you feel like you belong in that environment.”

While Black women make up about 6.5 percent of the United States population, they hold only 2 percent of STEM jobs, according to the National Science Foundation (NSF). So, for the past three years, Johnson’s research has focused on learning more about which types of individuals serve as the most effective role models for encouraging Black women to join—and stay in—STEM professions.

In collaboration with Dr. Evava (Eva) Pietri, an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis, Johnson previously conducted research based on the dual identities of Black women in STEM: As both women and people of color, they represent two different groups who are often underrepresented in science and technology fields. So, the researchers asked, which of those identities matters most when it comes to connecting with role models?

They found that Black women viewed Black people (either men or women) as role models more than they viewed white women as role models. Now, with the support of a grant for more than $68,000 from the NSF, they are trying to understand why. They also hope to learn more about which factors might contribute to non-Black individuals serving as effective role models for helping college-aged Black women feel a sense of belonging.

Starting last September, one of three studies through this grant has focused on gender, comparing STEM fields that have significant gender disparity with those that don’t.

“We expect that when Black female college students are in a major where there is not a lot of contact with other women overall, that might heighten the extent to which they feel similar to white women scientists in that field,” Johnson says. “In those cases, white women might then serve as more effective role models.”

Johnson’s previous research suggests that the stronger connection Black women tend to feel with other Black persons may be due in part to the perception that those individuals have experienced a similar type of race-based adversity. Based on that idea, a separate study will examine whether Black women might also identify with people from other non-white races.

“In this study, we will be varying to what extent a Latino male scientist actually looks phenotypically Black—so the extent to which they have features that align with those of Black persons,” Johnson says. “Then, we will study to what extent that leads Black women to feel similar to that role model in encouraging their belonging and interest in STEM.”

A final study will focus again on gender, but this time looking less at overall identity and more at the experience of various types of adversity. The researchers expect that if Black women perceive white women as having experienced adversity specifically based on sexism, they’ll be more likely to feel similar to that role model.

Katie Tisdale
Katie Tisdale

Johnson hopes the research findings will help non-Black individuals better understand how they can serve as relatable role models to help recruit and retain Black women within STEM professions.

Katie Tisdale, a senior Psychology major and Johnson’s research assistant for this project, says this research has helped her understand how much race and gender identity can influence career choice.

“I am a Black woman, so this research focusing on Black women and what makes them feel like they belong—and what makes them feel valued in academic or organizational settings—is really interesting to me, just because of the personal nature of it,” says Tisdale, who hopes to pursue a career in counseling and work with underrepresented groups. “This experience has shown me that allyship actions, or just validating someone’s identity, is so crucial and important.”

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

Dr. India Johnson
Innovation

Butler Professor’s Research Aims to Help More Black Women Join STEM

Supported by a $68K grant from the NSF, Psychology Assistant Professor Dr. India Johnson is studying the influence of race and gender on the effectiveness of role models

Jan 22 2021 Read more

Accounting Alum Works to Improve Diversity Within Firms Across the Nation

By Katie Grieze

Less than 9 percent of accounting professionals in the United States are Black, according to the National Association of Black Accountants, despite the fact that Black individuals make up nearly 14 percent of the population.

Since graduating from Butler University in 1996, Herschel Frierson has been working to change that.

When Frierson first joined Crowe LLP as a staff accountant right after graduation, he didn’t see anyone else at the Indianapolis office who looked like him. He struggled to find and build relationships with other people of color—until a colleague told him about the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA).

“Through NABA, I was able to connect with other people who look like me from other firms,” he says. “Once I met these individuals, I found out they were going through the same things I was going through. Some of them were at firms where there were only two or three people of color. It helped me feel like I wasn’t on an island by myself going through this.”

Throughout his career, Frierson has continued growing within NABA, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing opportunities for Black professionals in fields such as accounting and finance. By 2020, he was named NABA’s Chairman of the board of directors. A few months later, Accounting Today included Frierson in its 2020 listing of the Top 100 Most Influential People in Accounting. And to wrap up the year, he was elected a Partner (effective April 1, 2021) at Crowe—achieving a dream he’d held since choosing the profession.

“You hate to have joy when there is so much pain going on,” he says about the wave of accomplishments. “But it has really been a year.”

Even so, Frierson can’t help but focus on all the work that still needs to be done.

“People have told me to just enjoy the moment,” he says. “I need to take that advice, and I’m trying to do it. But I also have a higher responsibility. What can I do better? What can I do more of?”

Throughout his nearly 25 years with NABA, Frierson has worked with companies in Indianapolis and across the nation to host speaker series, organize volunteer activities, and coordinate programming to help Black high school and college students learn more about accounting. At student conferences and professional conventions, he helps connect current and aspiring accountants with resources and opportunities.

“It’s my unpaid full-time job,” Frierson says. “It’s just important for me to be a voice for why representation matters, and to make sure NABA’s strategic vision is moving forward. I want to help more people get into the profession, and to make sure they succeed.”

That goal isn’t limited to Frierson’s role within NABA. At Crowe, he sits on the Inclusion Excellence Council, in addition to overseeing five business resource groups that support underrepresented communities within the firm. Now, as a Partner-elect, he looks forward to the chance to support and mentor even more people of color.

“I wanted a seat at the table. And now I’m at the table,” he says. “So I need to be a bigger voice. I need to represent well, and I need to give back to the community. So now it’s, ‘What am I going to do to get more people who look like me around the table?’ I can’t be quiet—I have to be louder.”

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

Herschel Frierson '96
Alumni Success

Accounting Alum Works to Improve Diversity Within Firms Across the Nation

As a Partner-elect at Crowe and Chairman of the National Association of Black Accountants, Herschel Frierson ’96 is helping more people of color join the profession

Bulldogs Adapt: COE Student Ready to Take on Teaching

By Catalina Gallegos ’21

Fall 2020 College of Education graduate Grace Dittoe is excited to apply what she’s learned through being a student during a pandemic to her career in the classroom.

VIDEO PRODUCED BY: Catalina Gallegos ’21, Journalism major, Digital Media Production Minor

Grace Dittoe
Student-Centered

Bulldogs Adapt: COE Student Ready to Take on Teaching

Fall 2020 College of Education graduate Grace Dittoe is excited to apply what she’s learned through being a student during a pandemic to her career in the classroom

Dana Zenobi

Note for Note

Katie Grieze

from Winter 2021

Dana Zenobi, Assistant Professor of Music, couldn’t have another semester of bad karaoke. That’s what she told Butler’s Information Technology (IT) staff in a late-July email about the difficulties of teaching voice lessons during a pandemic. In-person singing just wasn’t an option, as safe distancing and mask-wearing would prevent instructors from observing technical details like mouth shape or jaw position. They tried holding rehearsals over Zoom when Butler first moved classes online last spring, but the video conferencing program wasn’t fast enough to support the immediacy needed for collaborative music-making. There was always a beat or two of delay between singer and pianist. Zoom also couldn’t capture the full range of vocal harmonics.

So, students were stuck singing along to pre-recorded accompaniments.

“Instead of having a pianist who could respond to what we were doing in the moment, everything felt very rigid,” says Sophie Strasheim, a senior Music Education and Vocal Performance Major. “It was hard to be expressive.”

Oliver Worthington and Dana Zenobi
Oliver Worthington and Dana Zenobi

By the start of the fall semester, Music faculty and IT staff had teamed up to find a solution. Zenobi attended a virtual summer conference—the Acoustic Vocal Pedagogy Workshop at New England Conservatory—where she learned about a free, high-speed audio platform called SoundJack. The tool is designed specifically for real-time, online music-making. If Butler could just build a few mini-computers to run only that software—and throw in some professional-grade audio equipment—the experience would be even better.

“I know nothing about computers,” Zenobi says. “My knowledge of microphones back in August was, ‘Is it shaped like an ice cream cone, or is it shaped like a pencil?’ I knew nothing about networks, nothing about IP addresses, but the New England Conservatory course showed me that something very exciting was possible. Oliver Worthington, Butler’s Vocal Area Coordinator, quickly jumped on board. He and I built Fastmusic Box prototypes using Raspberry Pi processors, which are basically customizable mini-computers. And that’s when I contacted IT and said, ‘Alright, here’s my problem, and here’s a potential solution.’”

IT staff didn’t hesitate. Excited to be involved with an innovative fix to a teaching problem, they held meetings nearly every day until the technology was up and running. They requested some tweaks that would allow the software to better serve a university environment. To avoid the “nest of wires” needed to connect with regular monitors and keyboards, they designed a Raspberry Pi touchscreen that attaches directly to the mini-computer, creating something like a portable tablet that students can check out alongside a high-quality microphone to use for lessons. All students need to bring are their headphones and their voices.

building Fastmusic boxesFastmusic boxThe team built 14 of the Raspberry Pi devices. Michael Denny, Butler Network and Security Engineer, says these Fastmusic Boxes can provide higher quality and more reliable performance than if they had tried to install SoundJack on students’ personal computers. 

“On a regular computer, SoundJack needs to compete with all the other programs that are running simultaneously,” Denny says. “Dedicating a device to only one function, like processing audio, allows it to execute that function as quickly as possible.”

Now, three people can tune in from three different places but feel like they are creating music together.

“It’s a lot closer to being there in person,” says Strasheim. “Occasionally, it might be just slightly behind, but it’s usually right on track and feels like you and the pianist are in the same room.” 

Zenobi says this solution has allowed students to have the kinds of music-making experiences that made them want to pursue singing in the first place.

“Making videos by yourself and having them edited into a virtual choir is wonderful and impressive when you get to the end product,” she explains, “but that’s not what these students signed up to do. They signed up to make music together with other people, and to learn and grow in that capacity. The ability to do that again has been thrilling for them. When students try this for the first time, they get so excited—sometimes on the edge of tears—because they’re like, ‘Wow, I missed making music so much.’”

Dana Zenobi
Innovation

Note for Note

Music faculty and IT staff teamed up to find a solution for teaching voice lessons during a pandemic

by Katie Grieze

from Winter 2021

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Efroymson Diversity Center

Last summer, in a message to the Butler community commemorating Juneteenth, Butler President James Danko called upon the University community to take action in promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) at Butler across four key areas: education, organization, behavior, and procedure. Harkening back to Butler’s founding in 1855 by abolitionist attorney Ovid Butler, Danko made a particular point to remind the University community of its founding values.

“Our renewed commitment to our founder’s mission has taken on an even greater sense of urgency this year to ensure all students, faculty, and staff are welcome, respected, and flourishing,” Danko says. “Butler University has a moral and historic imperative to be a leader in addressing issues of racism and social injustice in higher education.”

University leadership recognized that expanding organizational capacity would be required in order to maintain focus on DEI. Thus, DEI has been highlighted as one of the University’s seven strategic priorities for Butler Beyond, with the goal of creating an intentionally diverse, equitable, and inclusive learning and working environment. The University’s DEI efforts will be led by Provost Kathryn Morris, Vice President for Student Affairs Frank E. Ross III, and a new yet-to-be-named Vice President for Human Resources who will also sit on the University Cabinet.

A number of important initiatives are already up and running since President Danko’s Juneteenth call to action, and others are in the works. Here are a few of the ways Butler’s strategic focus on DEI is taking shape.

Efroymson Diversity Center
Efroymson Diversity Center

Social Justice and Diversity
In August 2020, a Social Justice and Diversity (SJD) requirement went into effect as a new addition to the Core Curriculum. Students must take one course in any part of the University that exposes them to critical scholarship on the root causes of marginalization and inequity and how to counter it.

The Department of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
The Department of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion was created in 2019 within the Division of Student Affairs, led by Executive Director Gina Forrest. The department is housed within the Efroymson Diversity Center, which was renovated last year and remains central to the University’s student-focused DEI efforts on campus. The Efroymson Diversity Center is currently working to fill two vacant positions, which will expand its capacity to offer programming and support for students. The International Club is now housed within the space, along with six other student organizations. This year, all incoming students were enrolled in Foundations of DEI, a series of trainings on topics such as Bias and Perception and Inclusive Language.

“I would love to see every student visit the Efroymson Diversity Center at least once during their academic career,” Forrest says. “We are here for everyone. My hope is that every student will feel heard, respected, and that they genuinely belong at Butler, while being open to learning about others.”

Terri Jett
Terri Jett

Hub for Black Affairs and Community Engagement
In October, the University announced its plans to launch a Hub for Black Affairs and Community Engagement in partnership with Professor of Political Science Terri Jett as Faculty Director. 

The Hub will serve as an institutional command center to address systemic racism and Black oppression. As Faculty Director, Jett will be focusing on the lives and experiences of the Black community at Butler and creating opportunities for engagement with the greater Black Indianapolis community. She will also serve as Senior Advisor to the President in this capacity. The Hub will advance a number of initiatives reaching across all aspects of University life, including establishing Black faculty and staff affinity groups, supporting Black students, and inviting Black intellectuals to be in-residence to conduct workshops, trainings, and seminars for Black students and others to learn from and interact with these important role models. The Hub will also include an Advisory Group that will help determine the priorities of the Hub and be responsive to the administration in efforts to address the experiences of Black students, faculty, and staff at Butler.

“The Hub is anchored in the abolitionist roots of Butler University and will elevate and center the disparate Black intellectual voice and experience that has often been marginalized and yet is critical for the institution to be at the forefront of our heightened awareness and shifting responsibilities, considering what we are experiencing and witnessing,” Jett says.

The Old National Bank Center for Business Excellence
The Old National Bank Center for Business Excellence at Butler University (ONB Center) was established in 2017 through a $5 million gift from Old National Bank to connect privately held companies with the resources and support they need to succeed. 

In August, the ONB Center announced an initiative aimed at strengthening and supporting businesses owned by underrepresented groups throughout Indiana. The initiative was inspired in part by a conversation between Butler student intern Victor Aguilar and ONB Center Director Mark McFatridge. The overriding goal of the initiative is to play a role in reducing the wealth gap of underrepresented groups.

Efroymson Diversity Center
Student-Centered

A Strategic Imperative: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

As Butler takes action in promoting DEI, a number of important initiatives are already up and running

from Winter 2021

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Francie & Abby

Fostering Connections—When Dawgs Need It Most

Kendall Mason ’16

from Winter 2021

The year 2020 has taught us many things—most importantly, to expect the unexpected and never take human connection for granted. From maintaining a six-foot separation at Starbucks to tuning in to class via Zoom, all students have faced navigating the “new normal” on campus. First-year students, however, also face the additional challenge of adjusting to campus life itself.

Brooke Barnett, Dean of the College of Communication (CCOM), sought ways to ease this challenge and over the summer connected with Lecturer in Journalism and Internship Director Scott Bridge ’82, MS ’91 to establish a Peer Mentoring Program within CCOM. “The power of peer relationships is pretty clear in higher education literature,” says Barnett.

Peer-mentoring has been ingrained in Butler’s campus culture since its founding, but with the new formalized process, first-year students are assigned a mentor before arriving on campus in the fall. Similarities like major and hometown are primary considerations when pairing mentors and first-year students. Pairs are encouraged to meet as it makes sense for their schedules and to discuss with one another a range of topics—from which courses to take each semester to general feelings about being far from home.

“It’s important to note that peer-mentors don’t take the place of academic advisors,” Bridge states, “but rather are a chance for students to have conversations with one another and develop relationships that can make the first year at Butler a more comfortable transition.”

Bridge invited students in their second or third year to serve as mentors based on factors like their academic performance, internship experiences, and past involvement in other college activities. Students who chose to become mentors engaged in training modules to provide them with knowledge needed to navigate conversations with their mentee. These modules focused on diversity and inclusion, sexual harassment, and Butler’s Career and Professional Success (CaPS) department.

It’s not uncommon for these pre-assigned mentor/mentee relationships to transform into natural, lasting friendships. This was the case for junior Journalism student Francie Wilson and her mentee, Abby Fostveit. For the first six weeks of the semester, the two met outside of Starbucks for a socially distanced coffee. “We would chat for about an hour a week just about anything from professors I’ve had good relationships with to Spanish language resources,” Wilson says. “Now we just touch base on Zoom and chat about life.”

Bridge looks forward to rolling out a CCOM Professional Mentorship Program in January that will match third-year students with a recent Butler graduate in their desired career field. “CCOM isn’t the only college formalizing a mentorship program,” says Bridge.

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS), for example, conducts department-based Peer Mentoring Programs. Professor of Anthropology and Folklore Tom Mould explains that his department’s first-year students were paired with a junior or senior, and relationships were established before students got to campus. These LAS mentors help mentees prepare for exams, connect with on-campus organizations, and meet other students with shared interests. Pairs also enjoyed fun, festive activities this semester. “We organized events such as a scavenger hunt around campus and pumpkin carving for Halloween, all of which could be done outside, masked, and socially distanced,” says Mould.

Whether mentor/mentee pairs meet one-on-one through socially distanced events or virtually, the University’s formalized Peer Mentoring Program serves students in the Butler community in extremely valuable ways. The connections built through the Peer Mentoring Program can help students recognize the “home away from home” that is Butler University—even in the unprecedented days of 2020.

 

Photo: Francie Wilson (left) and Abby Fostveit (right)

Francie & Abby
Student-Centered

Fostering Connections—When Dawgs Need It Most

Peer mentors help first-year Butler students adjust to campus life

by Kendall Mason ’16

from Winter 2021

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Bulldogs Adapt: How CCOM Faculty are Supporting Students this Fall

By Catalina Gallegos ’21

  

 

In a semester like no other, faculty members at Butler University have adapted to continue providing engaging academic experiences for their students. We checked in with Lecturer Scott Bridge and Assistant Professor Lindsay Ems from the College of Communication (CCOM) to see how their teaching has shifted this year.

VIDEO PRODUCED BY: Catalina Gallegos ’21, Journalism major, Digital Media Production Minor

CCOM faculty adapt
Student-Centered

Bulldogs Adapt: How CCOM Faculty are Supporting Students this Fall

In a semester like no other, faculty members at Butler have continued providing engaging academic experiences

Center for Academic Technology
Alumni Success

This Team of Alumni Helped Butler Go Remote

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Jun 04 2020

Since the COVID-19 pandemic forced Butler University to move classes online in mid-March, the Center for Academic Technology (CAT) has been busy supporting faculty, staff, and students through the transition. While the demand for their services tripled, the CAT’s four Academic Technology Specialists put in the extra hours to make sure the heart of a Butler experience wasn’t lost in a virtual setting.

As a team made up of Butler grads, they know firsthand what makes the University special. Kristen Allen ’12 and Nick Wilson ’08 both completed undergraduate degrees at Butler, and Megan Grady, MA ’10 earned her master’s. Heather Hazelwood ’05, MS ’14 did both.

“Our whole team loves Butler,” Allen says. “We’re always excited to come alongside faculty to assist with classroom success.”

In recent months, that has meant working closely with instructors to mimic planned activities in an online setting. Faculty who felt most comfortable using overhead projectors switched to portable versions. Others used Zoom breakout rooms to provide spaces where students could continue collaborating in small groups to work on projects or practice foreign language skills. In some classes, interactive presentations were moved to online discussion boards, allowing students to still engage in meaningful conversations. 

“I’ve seen faculty get really creative with their solutions,” Allen says. “Many of them have come to us and explained what they value most in their classrooms, and it’s a lot of what you think about when it comes to Butler in general: deep relationships with students. They didn’t want to lose that in moving to this remote online learning environment.”

When the CAT team saw the virus begin the spread across the nation in mid-February, they knew they needed to come up with a plan. By the time the University quickly switched to remote learning a month later, they had developed a resource to help guide faculty through the transition: Keep Calm and Teach On. Grady, who oversees a team of student-employees in the Information Commons program, also led the creation of the student-focused companion site Keep Calm and Study On.

The CAT specialists say they’ve watched faculty from across the University grow more comfortable with a variety of technologies throughout the semester, discovering the power of these new tools while becoming more confident in their ability to continue using them even after students are back in the classroom.

 

Meet the Dawgs of the CAT:

 

Kristen Allen ’12
Major: Math Education

“I absolutely loved my time at Butler. My professors were awesome mentors, and they helped me figure out what I wanted to do. Now, working here, I have the chance to revisit so many of the great memories I have from being on campus as a student.

In my four years at Butler, I was one of the first student-employees to participate in the Information Commons partnership between Butler Libraries and the Center for Academic Technology. After graduating, I worked for a wealth management company and did some nonprofit work, but I always loved Butler. I always loved teaching and technology. When there was an opening with the CAT, I applied right away, and I was really happy to be part of the team.

We really do function as a team. A lot of our success comes from good communication. For as small as our staff is, I’ve been amazed by how much knowledge the members of our team have.”

 

Megan Grady, MA ’10
MA Program: Master of Arts in English

“My liberal arts education taught me to love learning, which has been really useful when it comes to technology. I love finding ways that technology can enhance education.

Before coming to Butler, I spent several years working in other roles where I was teaching teachers how to teach. But I think my heart was always very much into liberal arts, and I wanted to find a position that would challenge me to go beyond my current skill set and learn new things.

I love working with faculty, listening to what they want to accomplish in their classrooms, and thinking through which resources are available to help them do that. I love solving problems, and I love the challenge of helping people feel more comfortable with technology—to make them feel like it’s something that’s within their control—something that can actually help them be efficient.”

 

Nick Wilson ’08
Major: Electronic Media

“After graduating from Butler, I found a position as a technician for a local K-12 school district. That’s where I discovered a passion for teaching people how to use technology. But I always wanted to come back to Butler, and I jumped at the chance to work with the CAT.

I love the lightbulb effect—when people start to understand a technology and see its full potential. For example, during the COVID-19 crisis, many faculty members have tried new things and realized they might want to use those tools in all their classes moving forward.

The biggest way my Butler education prepared me was by teaching me The Butler Way. I really feel that Butler is different from the average university because our faculty are so connected with the students. You really create a relationship with the faculty, and I think that makes a big difference.”

 

Heather Hazelwood ’05, MS ’14
Major: Recording Industry Studies
MS Program: Effective Teaching and Leadership

“After working at Butler for almost 10 years now, I don’t feel like I work with co-workers—I feel like I work with family. That’s something I treasure. I have built deep relationships with faculty, which helps me support them in meaningful ways.

My parents both went to Butler, then my mom worked at the University when I was in high school, so Butler just always seemed like the natural choice for me. I graduated from the first class of the Recording Industry Studies program in 2005. After about five years of experience in the hotel and conference center audiovisual industry, I found myself looking for a change. It seemed only natural to return to my alma mater, which I thankfully did in January 2011.

I strive to be a solution finder, and to find joy in helping others improve their teaching for the benefit of students. I also do my best to put others' needs before my own. While these qualities seem innate, I can’t deny that my experience as a student at Butler helped mold me into the person and the Academic Technology Specialist I am today.”

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

Center for Academic Technology
Alumni Success

This Team of Alumni Helped Butler Go Remote

Four grads in the Center for Academic Technology knew that strong relationships would be key to online learning

Jun 04 2020 Read more

Bulldogs Adapt: LSB Professor on Teaching During a Pandemic

By Catalina Gallegos ’21

 

In a semester like no other, faculty members at Butler University have adapted to continue providing engaging academic experiences for their students. We checked in with Stephanie Fernhaber, Professor of Entrepreneurship in the Lacy School of Business, to learn about the new approaches she’s using in the classroom this fall.

VIDEO PRODUCED BY: Catalina Gallegos ’21, Journalism major, Digital Media Production Minor

LSB
Student-Centered

Bulldogs Adapt: LSB Professor on Teaching During a Pandemic

Stephanie Fernhaber, Professor of Entrepreneurship in the Lacy School of Business, discusses the new approaches she’s using in the classroom this fall

ONB Center interns
Experiential Learning

With Summer Internships Canceled, Business School Finds New Opportunities for Students

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Jul 07 2020

It’s clear that Butler University’s Lacy School of Business (LSB) cares about experiential learning. There’s the school’s new building, designed to encourage collaboration between students, faculty, and the broader business community. There’s the Real Business Experience, during which every LSB student launches an actual product or service. And with a requirement that all students complete two internships before graduation, LSB’s emphasis on valuable work experience is no exception.

So, what happens when a global pandemic leaves the building empty and many internships canceled?

As soon as Associate Dean Bill Templeton realized that possibility, he raised the alarm. He started by decreasing the number of required internship hours from 240 to 125, providing more flexibility for students. Then, he began looking for ways to create new opportunities for those who suddenly found themselves without summer plans.

Thanks to support from Butler’s Old National Bank Center for Business Excellence (ONB Center), Templeton and other LSB faculty were able to add about 20 last-minute summer internship positions.

The ONB Center is working with a total of nearly 30 interns this summer, split between two tracks. Some are participating in the Center’s regular internship program (which was expanded to include more students), and others have joined the academic portions of that experience while working on faculty-led consulting projects.

“A lot of businesses have stepped up to offer opportunities,” Templeton explains. “We weren’t able to find positions for every student who wanted one, but we’re actually about where we normally are, with more than 200 students completing internships this summer. We have fewer students getting paid, and we have a lot more students doing virtual work. There are some downsides to not experiencing as much workplace culture, but overall, we’re keeping students on track to continue building their professional skills.”

 

Internships at the ONB Center

The ONB Center works with privately owned companies throughout Indiana, providing personalized business guidance and access to resources from partner companies. As part of a membership or partnership through the Center, businesses can also submit projects to be completed by Butler students.

“What differentiates this project-based work from other internships is that the companies don’t need to hire and supervise the student,” says Ginger Lippert, ONB Center Manager. “We are the ones doing that heavy lift, and we bill companies hourly for the students’ work.”

For ONB Center interns, this means the chance to experience a variety of projects for a range of companies and industries, a bit like working for an agency. Any given student works on at least three projects at a time, Lippert says—sometimes closer to eight. The interns coordinate events, conduct market research, plan product launches, streamline finances, and more.

Bella Ruscheinski, a Butler senior with majors in Marketing and Finance, was scheduled to start an Indianapolis-based staffing internship this summer. When COVID-19 hit, the role was postponed to the fall. Then, Ruscheinski found out it was canceled completely.

But she had already been interning with the ONB Center since January, and in early May, she learned she could stay on for the summer.

“I was ecstatic,” Ruscheinski says. “I knew this would give me an even deeper learning experience. The skills I gained in the spring helped prepare me for the leadership role I’ve taken on now, providing support for the other interns. It’s an incredible opportunity.”

Throughout her time with the ONB Center, Ruscheinski has focused mostly on contributing to marketing efforts for the Center and its member businesses. She has written blogs, planned content calendars, compiled newsletters, and helped with some market research, among other tasks. Through all the projects, she has especially valued the opportunity to work directly with clients.

“At Butler, we are really taught in terms of real-world experience,” Ruscheinski says. “I’ve loved the chance to use the skills I’ve learned in class during this internship. I’ve also learned an incredible amount about time management: In a consulting role, you’re balancing more than just one project or even one team.”

Each week, the interns attend meetings that supplement hands-on work experience with other professional development activities. The students use this time to collaborate, learn from one another, or hear from guest speakers. Lippert says this academic side provides a broader, more holistic experience.

 

Faculty-led consulting projects

Now, the ONB Center is also offering its professional development sessions to other students who are participating in a variety of faculty-led consulting projects.

Working with teams of about five students each, several LSB faculty members have designed makeshift summer internships by connecting with companies to find real-world projects.

Daniel McQuiston, Associate Professor of Marketing and one of the project leaders, started by reaching out to Jordan Cohen, who has been working with Delta Faucet Company since graduating from Butler in 2016.

“I asked Jordan if Delta had any kind of marketing issue they would like to know more about,” McQuiston explains. “It turns out Delta is interested in looking at the feasibility of marketing an internet-only brand—officially known as a digitally native vertical brand—like Dollar Shave Club, Warby Parker, Casper Sleep, or Allbirds Shoes. A number of other companies have already launched internet-only faucet brands, and Delta is in the exploratory stage of trying to decide whether to follow suit.”

Through the summer experience, Butler students are helping answer this question by conducting secondary and consumer research about what has made other digitally native brands successful. After learning more about the faucet industry, the students led interviews and built a questionnaire to gather data that can help Delta make a more informed decision.

McQuiston says this kind of data collection tends to make up a huge part of marketing, and the project allows students to gain more experience while having the added accountability of serving a real company on a real issue.

“This is real-life stuff,” he says. “In class, a teacher wants you to write a paper, so you write it, turn it in, and just kind of forget about it. But that’s not what this is. Delta Faucet is expecting real information—insights they can take and use. The more we get students actually doing these things, the more they are going to understand.”

For Willie Moran, a rising senior with a major in Marketing, the Delta Faucet project has provided a deeper understanding of how valuable it can be to talk directly with consumers, as well as the importance of staying competitive in an online marketplace.

This summer, Moran was supposed to have a marketing internship with a manufacturing company in his hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He had just been offered the position, but two days later, the company called back to say they’d had to implement a hiring freeze and cancel all their internships due to COVID-19.

“When Professor McQuiston heard about that, he reached out to tell me about the project he was planning,” Moran says. “I’d just finished up a sales class with him, and he thought I would be a good fit for the team. I had been stressing out trying to figure out how I was going to meet my internship requirements, but this worked out really well.”

Associate Dean Templeton says he knows requiring all LSB students to complete two internships can be an investment, and it can demand a lot of flexibility.

“But we think it’s so worthwhile,” he says. “Internships provide great opportunities for students to learn their disciplines a little more permanently, and a little more deeply, if they are simultaneously working and reflecting on what they have been learning in the curriculum.”

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

ONB Center interns
Experiential Learning

With Summer Internships Canceled, Business School Finds New Opportunities for Students

Butler's Lacy School of Business created about 20 last-minute internship positions built on remote, project-based work

Jul 07 2020 Read more
COVID-19 CDC
Alumni Success

Keeping Up With the Data: Butler Grad Serves on CDC’s Global Pandemic Response

BY Kamy Mitchell ’21

PUBLISHED ON Jun 03 2020

“I have always known that I wanted to be active in a position where I could serve people,” says Kelsey Coy ’13.

Coy has dedicated her life to serving the public good. When starting her Butler University career as a Secondary Education major, she never dreamed of becoming a social epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)—or of serving on an international task force during a global pandemic.

In her current role as an epidemiologist of Maternal Health with the CDC, Coy typically focuses on studying substance use and mental health before, during, and after pregnancy.  She recently published a paper on the prevalence of postpartum depression. She has also served on the emergency response for the lung injury epidemic associated with e-cigarette or vaping product use. That is, until she was deployed to the international task force for the CDC’s COVID-19 emergency response.

Now, Coy is studying the ways stay-at-home orders and other mitigation measures impact case counts. Using data from countries all over the world, she and her colleagues are able to provide insight into the unique ways this epidemic has impacted specific countries or general regions. Their work provides decision-makers with the information they need to fight the pandemic. Instead of working in the Emergency Operations Center at the CDC, Coy and her colleagues are working long hours at home, keeping up with the constantly changing data.

“The one thing I really want people to know is to check the CDC website and to trust that we are doing the best we can to keep the public safe,” she says. “There is no partisanship in the messaging. We work from the data, so the information we release is based on the data we have as we go. As data changes, and as our knowledge expands, our advice might change. But for now, it’s pretty simple: Wear your mask, wash your hands, and stay at home if you can. And be patient. Science points that this pandemic isn’t going to be the quickest thing.”

 

Drawn to The Butler Way

During her senior year of high school, Coy and her mother were driving home to Bloomington, Indiana, from a speech and debate competition. Even though she had applied to Butler, Coy had not yet visited the campus, so they decided to make a pit stop. It was the middle of winter break, and not many people were around as they roamed the sidewalks, but a student walked up and asked if Coy was thinking about coming to the University.

It turned out the student was a tour guide, and she offered to show Coy around. Coy remembers feeling a unique sense of kindness on Butler’s campus—what students refer to as The Butler Way—that was unlike any other campus she had visited. She also felt that Butler really cared about her and what she had to offer.

Coy discovered the field of epidemiology after reading Mountains Beyond Mountains, a biography about physician Paul Farmer’s work fighting tuberculosis, in her first-year seminar class.

“When I first learned what epidemiology was, it honestly felt like I had found my home,” Coy says. So, she changed her major to Biology and started finding opportunities to work on epidemiology research.

After graduating in 2013, Coy joined the Peace Corps and served for three years in Swaziland, now called the Kingdom of Eswatini. She didn’t want to attend graduate school right away, but she knew she wanted public health experience, as well as the opportunity to live abroad.

Upon returning to the United States, Coy attended the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University in hopes of eventually working for the CDC. Lucky for Coy, during her second year of graduate school, she landed a global health internship with the organization.

Coy says her liberal arts education from Butler has been extremely valuable to her current position, as she thinks critically about the health data she approaches each day. For instance, the CDC has recently discovered that people of color are more likely to die from COVID-19. Coy is studying the social factors that drive this trend, thinking about the impacts of structural racism to better understand why this is happening.

“Butler set me up very, very well to start to question some of the things in our world,” Coy says.

 

Note: The statements made in this interview are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

COVID-19 CDC
Alumni Success

Keeping Up With the Data: Butler Grad Serves on CDC’s Global Pandemic Response

Kelsey Coy’s role as an epidemiologist helps guide vital decision-making

Jun 03 2020 Read more
COVID-19 course
Student-Centered

Butler Offers Free Online Course About COVID-19 to Incoming Students

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON May 13 2020

INDIANAPOLIS—This summer, Butler University will offer a free online class to help incoming students learn about and reflect on the widespread impacts of the COVID-19 crisis.

Encouraging students to find learning opportunities despite the uncertainty of this situation, the one-credit-hour course will be taught by a team of 14 faculty members from across the University. It will address the impact that COVID-19 has had on how we perceive various disciplines, how students learn, how professionals teach, and how both individuals and organizations respond during challenging times.

“We want to show our incoming students how current Butler students, faculty, and staff have really rallied in this past semester to make the best of a very difficult situation,” says Anne Wilson, Professor of Chemistry and faculty lead for the online class. “We feel that this course will offer an opportunity for incoming students to learn more about the Butler community they are about to enter, explore the impacts of COVID-19 in an academic environment, and reflect on what they have learned about their own adaptability and resilience.”

Starting in late June and running through the rest of the summer, the course will cover topics such as basic facts about COVID-19, the process of developing a vaccine, the presentation of data related to the virus, and the use of technology in disaster management. Students will also reflect on what the switch to online learning has meant for education since the beginning of the pandemic—and how that might change schooling for years to come.

At the end of the term, each student will create a culminating project that shares their response to the course material and discussions.

“I am so grateful for our talented faculty who have taken the time to create this opportunity for incoming students to build a stronger connection with Butler,” says Kathryn Morris, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. “This demonstrates the wonderful initiative and innovation that is so central to our community.”

After paying the $500 enrollment deposit, incoming students can sign up for the course on their student status page. Students should enroll before June 15, 2020.

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

COVID-19 course
Student-Centered

Butler Offers Free Online Course About COVID-19 to Incoming Students

The class will help students connect with the Butler community while reflecting on effects of a global crisis

May 13 2020 Read more
Ethan King in Africa
Student-Centered

Butler Soccer Player Kicks in Coronavirus Aid with United 19

BY Tim Brouk

PUBLISHED ON Apr 13 2020

Soccer is a passion for millions worldwide, and Butler University junior Ethan King has enhanced that global love—and the lives of thousands of children overseas—by supplying them with new soccer balls and clean drinking water.  

Through his nonprofit organization, Charity Ball, King has coordinated donations of hundreds of soccer balls to children in 50 countries. Most destinations are impoverished, including villages where children play the sport by kicking around makeshift balls of garbage wrapped in plastic and twine. Charity Ball recently expanded its reach, thanks to Level the Field, a program within the organization that supplies balls to girls’ soccer teams and clubs. Half of Charity Ball deliveries now go to girls.

Today, however, soccer fields from Indianapolis to India are mostly empty due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “The Beautiful Game” is on hold, but King is drawing on his Charity Ball contacts for his latest initiative, United 19. This program will educate African villages on the dangers of the coronavirus and how to slow its spread, especially in areas with high rates of immunocompromised individuals already suffering from HIV, dysentery, and other diseases.

Ethan King dribbles the ball.
Ethan King dribbles the ball for Butler in a 2018 match versus Marshall.

“These places don’t really have hospitals or healthcare systems to help them stay healthy,” says King, an Entrepreneurship and Innovation major and forward on the Butler Men’s Soccer team. “We’re trying to take preventative action. We’re trying to give people the resources and advocacy they need and deserve.”

In collaboration with his father Brian King’s clean water organization, Vox, King is setting up prevention programs for workers from Vox to implement in the villages. He is identifying communities he has worked with for Charity Ball as areas in need of clean water, which assists in proper handwashing to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“It’s essential for people to have clean water to wash their hands,” King says. “When the water wells are broken down, they’re having to get water from the rivers they bathe in or other sources of contaminated water. That’s not going to help them in the fight against the coronavirus.”

Stephanie Fernhaber, Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship, had a frontrow seat to King’s development of United 19. The program began as King’s project in Fernhaber’s Social Entrepreneurship course, which addresses social issues and problems in business development. Fernahber says United 19 can be an effective weapon against COVID-19’s spread.

“I think our students and younger people have great ideas, and we need to rely on their untapped potential,” she says. “What King has been trying to do has been a great example to incorporate into the class. I think everyone, especially nonprofits, needs to be responsive to the crisis. You have to respond and figure out how to incorporate it into your mission.”

As Head Coach for Butler Men’s Soccer, Paul Snape says King’s work on the field has improved each season. In 2019, King played 17 matches for the squad, registering an assist and 4 shots on goal. King’s work off the field impressed Snape, too. 

“Ethan seems to find that extra layer of motivation to grow,” Snape says. “He’s growing into a leader on the team. He’s becoming a leader, and Charity Ball has helped him achieve that.”

Snape grew up in soccer-crazed Liverpool, England. As a child, he only had one soccer ball, and he knew other neighborhood kids whose families couldn’t afford that luxury. Through Charity Ball, Level the Field, and now United 19, Snape is thrilled to see how King is using the sport of soccer as a channel to help children.

“He got me thinking about how soccer can be a vehicle that teaches more than kicking a ball,” the coach says. “It can educate communities and bring them together.”

 

Donate today

United 19 is accepting donations. Click here to give and to learn more about the international program.

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

Ethan King in Africa
Student-Centered

Butler Soccer Player Kicks in Coronavirus Aid with United 19

Ethan King, junior forward and LSB major, is raising funds to supply African villages with clean water, COVID-19 education

Apr 13 2020 Read more
Levenshus home office
Student-Centered

Butler Faculty Put Students First in Switch to Online Learning

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Mar 19 2020

While the suspension of on-campus classes in response to COVID-19 has been a letdown for students and educators across the nation, Butler University faculty are working hard to create new learning opportunities in the midst of crisis.

“It is deeply disappointing for many, if not all, members of our campus community that we will not learn and work together in person in the coming weeks,” wrote Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Kathryn Morris in a recent message to students, leading up to today’s launch of online learning. “Yet, by and large, people in our community are coming together virtually to make the best out of a truly challenging situation—with YOU, our students, at the heart of our efforts. Faculty have just spent three intensive days preparing for this transition. They are working harder than ever to provide you with the same high-quality educational experience you are accustomed to at Butler.”

For Abbey Levenshus, an Associate Professor of Strategic Communication, that means drawing on the current crisis to provide an up-close and personal case study for her students who are studying issues management.

Even before COVID-19 began to affect all of us in some way, Levenshus was using the outbreak as an example for how issues evolve over time. At first, the class looked at this as an early or “emergent” situation. Over the last several weeks, students watched as the issue progressed to “current,” and then “dominant,” and, now, “crisis.”

Even in emails to students regarding the logistics of switching to online learning, Levenshus has offered mini-lessons on how the pandemic is a living model of the concepts they have been learning all semester.

“But then I also remind them that this issue, too, will pass,” Levenshus says. “Eventually, this will be dormant. Right now, it’s very real, it’s very present, and it’s having a serious disruptive impact on our lives. But we’re going to be okay—we will figure this out.”

 

 

Levenshus records her first video message for students in the transition to online learning. She explains how she's adapting to this new normal, and she shares a tour of her new "office" in the basement of her home.

 

To move class content online over the last week, Levenshus started by inviting students to join the process. An email survey gathered data about the students’ living and learning situations: What technology can they access? Do they have textbooks? Have they ever taken an online class? She used the answers to those questions while deciding how to move forward with the semester.

“That really helped me because I felt like we were doing it as a team, even though we’re separated right now,” she says.

And Levenshus says it’s that separation—not the workload of moving online—that’s the hardest part.

“You know, you love these students,” she says. “I think one of the strengths of Butler is that you have these smaller classes where you really get to know one another. There is a deep sense of loss in terms of that classroom community. But part of my job is helping students gain perspective: If we can grieve our own losses while also looking for opportunities to be thankful, I think we will get through this even stronger together.”

Shelly Furuness, an Associate Professor of Education, is also grieving the loss of face-to-face interaction. Still, especially for the Butler seniors currently serving as student-teachers in K-12 schools, Furuness says students are gaining valuable experience in adapting through disruption.

“This is not about perfection,” she explains. “It’s about modeling how to teach in the face of the unexpected.”

For example, Butler students will continue supporting teachers at a Zionsville middle school with the design and creation of e-learning content. Furuness says the digital space can actually give educators more time to experiment with presenting the same material in a variety of ways, making the experience more accessible to students of all learning styles—something teachers don’t normally have the opportunity to do with face-to-face lessons.

“It is absolutely a challenge, because this is a personal disruption, too,” Furuness says. “But I think this gives us a good opportunity to show that the platform is less important than having a high-quality, flexible instructor. Even as we are modeling how to handle a crisis, we have the resources we need to help Butler students meet the same learning objectives we set back in January.”

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

Levenshus home office
Student-Centered

Butler Faculty Put Students First in Switch to Online Learning

Coronavirus pandemic forces cancellation of in-person classes, but professors make the best of a difficult situation

Mar 19 2020 Read more
Blueprint 2020
Innovation

Grad Students from Butler's College of Education Create Guide to Help Schools Reopen

BY

PUBLISHED ON Jun 30 2020

INDIANAPOLIS—Cohort members from Butler University's educational leadership graduate program, the Experiential Program for Preparing School Principals (EPPSP), have announced the release of Blueprint 2020: A Guidebook for School Leaders Moving Forward

The resource guide is designed to support education leaders as they envision the reopening of schools for the 2020-21 academic year, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Graduate students conducted research and met with locally and nationally recognized experts in the field of education, as well as prominent community members, researchers, and policy makers. Experts included:

  • Katie Jenner, Senior Education Advisor to Governor Eric Holcomb
  • David Marcotte, Executive Director of the Indiana Urban Schools Association 
  • Christopher Lagoni, Executive Director of the Indiana Small and Rural Schools Association
  • Patrick McAlister, Director of the Office of Education Innovation, Indianapolis Mayor's Office 
  • Lori Desautels, Butler University Assistant Professor, Educational Neuroscience
  • Brandon Brown, CEO, The Mind Trust
  • Phil Downs, Superintendent, Southwest Allen County Schools; IAPSS Indiana Superintendent of the Year

 

The graduate students formed teams to focus on different educational areas impacted by reopening, such as remediation, testing, equity, technology, athletics, community, instruction, and others. Based on the research and conversations, students proposed several key findings that school leaders can keep in mind as they move forward with their reopening plans. A few key recommendations include:

  • Operations: Have a decision-making framework that suits the individual district.
  • Finance: Utilize CARES Act funding to address pressing needs, and have a vision for how to budget when this resource is no longer available.
  • International: Use case studies from other countries that have had successful responses in school environments. 
  • Diagnostics/Assessment: Develop an assessment plan addressing student well-being, priority standards, and student growth.
  • Technology: Urge state legislatures to make broadband internet a necessary utility to ensure access for all. 
  • Remediation: Use a multi-tier system of supports (MTSS) in planning remediation, which all students will need at varying levels this year. 
  • Parent Communication: Emphasize providing support and facilitating engagement with parents, rather than merely communicating with them, as parents are now partners more than ever.
  • Equity: Do not create the students' narratives for them. Take into account different experiences during shutdown, and account for culture, race, and financial background.

 

You can find the full EPPSP Blueprint here.

 

Media contact:
Chasadee Minton
Butler University College of Education
Program Coordinator, Marketing
cminton@butler.edu
317-940-9684

Blueprint 2020
Innovation

Grad Students from Butler's College of Education Create Guide to Help Schools Reopen

Cohort members from the Experiential Program for Preparing School Principals (EPPSP) have released Blueprint 2020: A Guidebook for School Leaders Moving Forward

Jun 30 2020 Read more

Dance Group Moves Summer Festival Online with Help from Butler Student

By Mikaela Schmitt ’22

As much of the world moved online over the last several months, arts organizations largely lost the ability to host programming as they know it. No more concerts, gallery exhibitions, theatre performances, or film festivals—at least not in person. Just a lot of time sitting at home and looking at screens.

Chicago Human Rhythm Project (CHRP) was one of many organizations forced to adapt, but they had help from Butler University senior Katherine Cackovic.

Cackovic, a Dance Arts Administration major, has spent the summer completing a virtual internship with the nonprofit tap dance organization. CHRP focuses on building a community around tap dance and other percussive art forms through education and performance. Each summer, they host Rhythm World, Chicago’s annual festival of tap and percussive dance. Cackovic was hired to work as the Rhythm World intern, but due to COVID-19, the festival has been shortened and made fully virtual.

Cackovic says the opportunity to assist with navigating the COVID-19 crisis and moving the festival to an online space has helped her develop real-time problem-solving skills that will allow her to better serve other arts organizations in the future.

Throughout 2020, arts communities around the world have been forced to cancel programming and figure out how their organizations, typically centered around gathering the community together, will function as the world continues to fight COVID-19. Staff members are collaborating to keep their organizations alive and to ensure their work stays relevant during this difficult time, bringing art into homes as a form of comfort, conversation, and entertainment.

“Since COVID-19 has caused everything to be reworked, creativity, communication, and teamwork are key,” Cackovic said. “My supervisor is the festival coordinator, and since his job has diverted from what it usually is, even he is learning new things and taking on new tasks.”

During a normal year, The Rhythm World festival occurs throughout July, featuring classes and performances at different venues around Chicago. This summer, the shortened festival will take place virtually in mid-August, with three days of classes followed by three days of performances. CHRP is working to find new opportunities unique to their online platform, such as including international teachers in the program faculty.

Cackovic is still working on the Rhythm World festival, doing registration and ticketing work, developing livestreams for virtual classes, and creating social media posts for the organization. Her work is far more technology-driven than originally anticipated, pushing her outside her comfort zone and helping her to expand her skill set.

“While it's a strange time for internships and organizations, I think we are getting prepared to be extremely flexible and easily adaptable employees in the future,” Cackovic said. “Our class will be graduating into an unstable and uncertain world, and we will need to bring creativity to the table to navigate the tough times ahead.”

 

Butler’s Arts Administration major serves students interested in the arts, nonprofit organizations, and management, integrating art with business. The program focuses on offering opportunities for students to learn and develop skills through experiential learning, including internships and special projects with arts organizations.

Experiential Learning

Dance Group Moves Summer Festival Online with Help from Butler Student

In a virtual internship with Chicago Human Rhythm Project, Katherine Cackovic gains experience in adaptability

budis
Alumni Success

Pharmacy Alumni: We Are ‘Clinical Activists’ During COVID-19 Pandemic

BY Tim Brouk

PUBLISHED ON Apr 13 2020

Matt Budi ’15 and Erin Budi ’15 met in the Butler University Pharmacy program, worked hard through rigorous classes, and fell in love. They graduated together and later married after establishing themselves as well-trained pharmacists in Indianapolis.

Today, they are among the thousands of healthcare professionals serving Central Indiana during a global pandemic.

While the Budis work at different pharmacies, their experiences are similar. Both have seen their over-the-counter medication shelves wiped clean. They’ve had to ramp up efforts to ensure their customers and staff members stay safe—cleaning every hour, maintaining six feet of distance from one another, and frequently washing hands. Counters, labs, and offices are thoroughly disinfected, and staff members working registers must wash their hands after taking money or health insurance cards from customers.

The precautionary measures have been in place since early- to mid-March, when President Donald Trump enacted travel bans and when Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb first announced the shelter-in-place order.

“We’ve learned a lot since we graduated, but this has been a different experience the last couple months,” says Matt Budi, Manager at a Kroger pharmacy. “That first week, especially, was one of the busiest weeks that I and my wife had ever worked in pharmacy. There was a very high increase in demand. Since then, it has kind of leveled off, but we’re still at a high volume.”

Matt Budi keeps his team up-to-date with the latest COVID-19 information. And with healthcare facilities loaded with patients suffering from the coronavirus, he welcomes questions from customers over the phone.

A Staff Pharmacist at a Walgreens, Erin Budi recommends customers—especially elderly patients—use the pharmacy’s drive-through, if possible. She says she’s used to busy shifts, but the nature of the virus has added some stress to the job.

“Not knowing what you may have been exposed to throughout the day and being in contact with many, many people at the pharmacy counter, we have to take extra precautions,” Erin Budi says. “When we come home, we wash our hands, sanitize the door, and wash our work clothes. Although we’re not actively taking care of sick people, customers may be carrying the coronavirus and not knowing it.”

Matt Budi’s pharmacy has a walk-up window, and Kroger has worked with FedEx to offer free prescription deliveries. During the pandemic, shipments have increased, and customers now receive free shipping.

Matt Budi recommends that anyone needing regular prescriptions take advantage of 90-day doses. Not only will it eliminate trips to the pharmacy, the option is less expensive in the long run through insurance plans and discount cards.

“We’re trying to limit customers’ exposure and save them money, especially with some people now out of work,” he says. “It’s like buying in bulk, as opposed to three 30-day fills, and it gives our staff more time to focus on clinically-oriented tasks.”

While a COVID-19 vaccine is still being developed, Matt Budi’s customers still require vaccines for hepatitis, whooping cough, pneumonia, shingles, and other common diseases. When administering the shots, staff must wear medical masks, as do the customers. He says while the coronavirus is rightfully dominating headlines, his customers still need care for their other maladies. He and his staff are making more calls to customers to check in on their health, especially with immunocompromised patients.

“Other conditions don’t go away,” Matt Budi says. “We’re trying to move away from just the dispensing role, instead moving more toward being clinical activists for our patients, looking out for their therapy management.”

Both Matt and Erin have utilized their Butler Pharmacy training in professional practice, from compounding medications and dosage forms to accurately taking blood pressure and applying methods to put patients at ease. Their overall experience at the University has especially come in handy this past month.

“We were taught to critically think and apply the knowledge outside of just what we learned in class, which has definitely been helpful,” Matt Budi says. “That’s just the culture at Butler: hard work, determination, and taking care of other people.”

 

Photo courtesy of Matt Budi

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

budis
Alumni Success

Pharmacy Alumni: We Are ‘Clinical Activists’ During COVID-19 Pandemic

Indianapolis pharmacists Matt and Erin Budi have maintained patient care through more deliveries, 90-day supplies 

Apr 13 2020 Read more
Mark Macbeth teaches from home
Experiential Learning

LAS Professor Finds the Right Chemistry for Distance Learning

BY Tim Brouk

PUBLISHED ON Apr 07 2020

About a month ago, Assistant Professor of Chemistry Mark Macbeth would look out to his General Chemistry lecture to see 57 first-year students in their seats inside a Gallahue Hall classroom, taking notes on chemical bonding.

Today, when he looks at his class, it’s like watching a more-crowded version of the intro to The Brady Bunch as the same 57 students pop up in little squares of video on Zoom. Since Butler University switched to online learning on March 19, the students and professor have used the popular video conferencing app three times a week for review sessions of the video lectures Macbeth posts on Canvas.

“I thought it was going to be chaos, but you roll up your sleeves and work through it,” says Macbeth with a laugh. “The students can still ask questions, and we still work through the problems together.”

The General Chemistry course also includes a lab section. With the academic labs closed for the semester, Macbeth says it was more of a challenge to figure out how to give his students proper lab experience online. Before, the students would strap on gloves, goggles, and lab coats for hands-on work—setting up the experiment, writing out reaction equations, and pouring the chemicals.

Macbeth decided to create demonstration videos of the experiments. In these “virtual labs,” staff and faculty from the Clowes Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry recorded experiments on concepts such as equilibrium and saturation. Ammonia added to silver chloride causes it to dissolve, and light pink cobalt solution mixed with chloride changes to dark blue, which makes for easier observation from a student’s laptop.

“It’s up to the students to interpret that data,” says Macbeth, whose current research focuses on the biochemical analysis of nucleic acid-protein interactions, as well as RNA and DNA editing. “At the end of the video, they do an online quiz about what their observations were and what concepts were used during the reaction.”

Macbeth's lecture notes
Macbeth uses a tablet to write notes in red during his distance learning lectures.

Students say the transition to online lectures has been smooth. For Healthcare and Business major Mason Runkel, not having the chance to be in a physical lab to refine his fine measurement skills has been the toughest aspect of learning from his home in Bloomington, Illinois. But he says Macbeth’s use of visuals and voiceovers on the digital lessons allows him to understand concepts just as well as he would in the classroom.

Chemistry major Audrey Wojtowicz says she was concerned about losing valuable lab experience, especially for complex techniques. An upcoming lab will focus on titration—the slow addition of one solution of a known concentration to a known volume of another solution of unknown concentration until the reaction reaches neutralization. However, Macbeth’s availability during the three weekly review sessions, as well as his office hours over Zoom, has eased some worries.

“Especially now, if you have concerns, go to your professor,” Wojtowicz says. “Everyone is in the same boat. Admittedly, I was stressed out, but I was assured it will be OK. Faculty members understand, and they are going to adapt to our needs for next semester.”

Macbeth has been impressed with his students’ performance the last few weeks, but he knows the online learning transition can sometimes be tough. He wants students to know he is there for them for the rest of the semester and beyond.

“It’s not an ideal situation at all for us,” Macbeth says, “but we’re trying to make it work the best we can. We’re trying to get the students to have some sort of learning process about chemistry, learn some chemical processes, and learn to interpret data.

“To the students who are really uncertain about this, I just want to let them know we are on their side. We want to help them get through this successfully and prepare them for their future courses.”

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

Mark Macbeth teaches from home
Experiential Learning

LAS Professor Finds the Right Chemistry for Distance Learning

With hands-on experiments now impossible, Mark Macbeth created video-based virtual labs for his chemistry class

Apr 07 2020 Read more
Ariel Rudd
Alumni Success

Butler Grad Fights COVID-19 in New York City

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Apr 06 2020

Ariel Rudd ‘13 wants people to know they need to stay inside.

The Butler University graduate, now a nurse in a large hospital on the Upper East Side of New York City, is on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic in a place where the virus appears to be reaching its peak. And, she says, it’s way worse than she ever thought it would be.

“I think it’s easy for people to not take it seriously before they’ve actually seen what can happen,” she says. “But I know Indianapolis is now becoming a hot spot for COVID-19, and that makes me nervous for my family and friends still living there. From someone who has lived this already, I can tell you this is serious. It’s really, really bad.”

The Kirklin, Indiana, native came to Butler in 2009 and graduated four years later with a degree in Health and Physical Education. She’d always thought she wanted to be a physical therapist, but job shadowing sessions later in college helped her realize nursing would be a better fit. She wanted to be part of the first layer of care, right on the front lines. So, after graduating from Butler, Rudd completed an accelerated nursing program at Marian University.

Rudd launched her career with a position in the neonatal ICU at St. Vincent Indianapolis, then she spent a few years as a traveling nurse and landed in New York City. She accepted a nursing management position at her current hospital, and she’s been working in the pediatric ICU there ever since.

Until a couple weeks ago, Rudd was caring exclusively for patients ages 24 or younger. But the surge in COVID-19 cases forced her hospital to transfer nearly all its patients to elsewhere in the city, quickly transforming its units into spaces dedicated to coronavirus patients.

“That’s almost 900 beds,” Rudd says. “Before my unit started receiving patients, I went down to some of the other units to see what we were about to get into. And honestly, it’s like something from a movie. It’s bed after bed of people with the same exact thing. It’s patients of a wide range of ages. I was especially surprised to see how many young people are getting very sick with this.”

With a worldwide shortage of personal protective equipment in medical facilities, Rudd says her team only has one N95 mask per day for each person. Still, she’s grateful for all her hospital is doing to keep the staff safe.

Over the course of about a week, new walls went up to create more separation between patients and healthcare providers. The hospital also replaced several of its windows with HEPA filters, which can help eliminate pathogen-filled air particles in ways that better protect the staff.

“I’m very impressed and proud of the bravery and the strength of the nurses and the other employees I’m leading,” Rudd says. “You know, they’re scared. They have families they don’t want to take this virus home to. They have kids and grandparents they are trying to protect. But they’ve been so amazing—taking hits as they come. They are ready and willing to do anything to help these patients and save lives.”

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

Ariel Rudd
Alumni Success

Butler Grad Fights COVID-19 in New York City

The hospital where Ariel Rudd ’13 works as a nurse is now mostly dedicated to coronavirus patients

Apr 06 2020 Read more
test optional
Admission

Butler Adopts Test-Optional Admission Policy

BY

PUBLISHED ON Apr 15 2020

INDIANAPOLIS—In a commitment to provide support and improve access for prospective students during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond, Butler University will no longer require applicants to submit standardized test scores. This applies to high school seniors in the Class of 2021, as well as to all incoming classes thereafter.

Beginning with first-year and transfer undergraduate applicants for the fall 2021 semester, the Butler Office of Admission will not require ACT and/or SAT scores for admission to the University. Some graduate programs will also waive requirements for GMAT and/or GRE scores. This change reflects Butler’s commitment to a holistic admission review process, offering flexibility as test-taking opportunities are canceled and future testing dates remain uncertain.

Applicants who still prefer to provide their test scores will be able to do so, and those scores will be considered alongside other application materials. Select undergraduate programs may still require or encourage the submission of test scores.

“As admission officers, we are very aware that the college application process may be stressful in any given year,” says Lori Greene, Butler’s Vice President for Enrollment Management. “Add the complexity of the COVID-19 crisis, and that process can be simply overwhelming. Our goal is to provide some clarity and reassurance to prospective students who are interested in the Butler experience, so they don’t need to worry about when and/or if standardized tests will be offered.”

More details about this change to the application process will be communicated to prospective students in the coming weeks through the Butler admission website. Students are encouraged to contact their admission counselors at any time to receive personalized support. Counselor information can be found here.

Butler’s test-optional admission policy will go into effect starting with the August 1, 2020, application opening for the 2021-2022 academic year and remain in effect for future admission cycles.

 

Learn more here.

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

test optional
Admission

Butler Adopts Test-Optional Admission Policy

Beginning with the fall 2021 incoming class, Butler will no longer require standardized test scores on applications

Apr 15 2020 Read more
Lori Desautels
Butler Experts

How to Care for Children’s Minds During COVID-19

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Apr 17 2020

Emotions are contagious.

During a time of crisis such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it’s natural to feel scared. It’s normal to feel stressed, anxious, or angry. But especially for teachers, parents, and other adults working closely with children, Lori Desautels says it’s important to understand how those feelings can affect those around you.

The Butler University College of Education Assistant Professor, whose work in educational neuroscience focuses on strategies to help students who have experienced adversity or trauma, is now developing new resources specific to this time of pervasive fear and uncertainty.

“When this started, we were all thrown,” Desautels says. “Even in that first week when we started seeing places close, schools began reaching out to me, concerned about how to support their students through the switch to e-learning.”

For many children, school is a safe place. It’s where their friends are, where they’ve built connections with teachers and other adults outside the home. For those who were already dealing with adversity, this global pandemic can add another layer to the trauma.

Families are already seeing the effects, Desautels says. Children are growing scared, restless, or angry about all they’ve lost this year. When it comes to schoolwork, some are just shutting down.

So over the last few weeks, school districts across Indiana and as far as Iowa and Colorado have asked Desautels to help with this transition. She is now creating weekly videos on topics related to COVID-19—like this one where she discusses the power of nonverbal communication, or this one with strategies to help calm the brain.

“I’m trying to keep up with emails from schools asking how they can help their families and their teachers,” she says. “We are seeing a collision of roles: Teachers need to also parent, and parents need to also teach. Some parents have lost their jobs or are feeling other pressures, putting them in a survival state of just trying to function. This is where emotional contagion is happening. The stress of all of this is felt by our children.”

According to Desautels, there are three conditions that the mind just can’t handle, and the COVID-19 pandemic hits all of them.

 

  1. Chronic unpredictability: To help ease the stress of this widespread uncertainty we’re experiencing, Desautels recommends building and following routines wherever possible. Even if kids can’t know when they’ll be able to go back to school, parents and teachers can create predictable schedules for things like meals and play time. Desautels also suggests setting up at-home “amygdala first aid stations”—designated areas where children can go to relax.

 

  1. Isolation: Desautels says building connections with students should always be a priority for teachers, but now more than ever, maintaining those relationships is key. When you can’t see kids in person each day, this means being extra intentional. “If you can,” she says, “reach out with a phone call or text. Remind students you are only a keyboard away if they need you. You could also use this time to write a letter of gratitude to each student, sharing a memory of them you will always cherish. Focus on connection: Academics should come second during this time.”

 

  1. Physical and emotional restraint: Look for opportunities to get moving and stay active. “I’m also encouraging teachers and parents to give kids a lot of choice, grace, and emotional wiggle room at this time,” Desautels says. “Give them some space. Let them feel safe with you.”

 

And just as parents and teachers try to ease their children’s anxiety, Desautels emphasizes the need to care for their own minds, as well.

“It takes a calm brain to calm another brain,” she says. “The good news is that our brains are built for resiliency. They are built to repair and to heal. They are constantly trying to find that balanced place where we can think clearly, pay attention, and focus.”

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

Lori Desautels
Butler Experts

How to Care for Children’s Minds During COVID-19

COE's Lori Desautels offers guidance for educators and parents as pandemic causes uncertainty, isolation, and restraint

Apr 17 2020 Read more
virus image
Alumni Success

Butler Grad Helps Americans See Coronavirus Up Close

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Apr 22 2020

You’ve probably seen the images flooding the news of floating spheres covered in spikes—an up-close view of the microscopic 2019-nCoV particles that cause COVID-19 and have changed our lives in so many ways over the past two months. The depictions provide a concrete visual for something otherwise so abstract to most people. There are many things we still don’t know about the novel coronavirus, but at least we know roughly what it looks like.

That’s all thanks to a team of artists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)—part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)—where Austin Athman ’09 works as a Visual Information Specialist.

At Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton, Montana, science and art collide. After high-power microscopes capture black-and-white images of disease samples, Athman and his colleagues in the Visual and Medical Arts Unit use digital tools to add colors and details that bring the photos to life.

The end result is a colorized image that helps scientists better understand the virus particles—which are about 10,000 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair—as well as put a face to a top enemy for the general public.

When COVID-19 arrived in the United States, Athman’s lab received a sample of the coronavirus from one of the first patients.

“As soon as we had the sample,” Athman says, “we started taking pictures, colorizing them in Photoshop, and putting them on the NIAID Flickr website. The next day, we already saw the images being used by major news outlets across the country.”

Now, Athman has completed more than 15 different colorizations of COVID-19 images, along with a 3D model that can be printed and studied. Beyond providing compelling visuals for news stories, adding color helps scientists communicate their research.

Athman starts by sitting down with scientists and microscopists to learn more about what he’s looking at in the black-and-white photo. His colorized images are usually meant to accompany research publications, highlighting the features scientists are referring to in the text.

“If I can get a scientist to sit down and explain what something looks like in common language,” Athman says, “it helps people outside the lab understand something about science in a way words can’t always do.”

Athman wants viewers to look at the most important part of the image, and that’s where art comes in. Using photo editing software, he starts by adding highlights and shadows that bring depth to the otherwise flat-looking photos. He also rotates and crops the images in a way that guides the eye to desired focal points.

Then comes the color. The scientists and artists don’t know what the particles’ true colors are, or if the diseases even have color. But they choose palettes that make the photos more engaging and understandable while still appearing realistic.

 

 

While Athman has always enjoyed science, he says he doesn’t actually have much formal experience in the field. At Butler University, his degrees were in Music and Multimedia Studies. But he grew up near his current lab and first got involved with the NIAID when, back in high school, he applied for an internship that would let him explore his interest in graphic design. He started the internship as a high school junior, then returned each summer to work full time. When he graduated from Butler in 2009, he accepted a permanent position and has been at the lab ever since.

“Recently, I’ve been focusing on the COVID-19 images,” he says about his day-to-day work. “But when we aren’t in pandemic mode, I do all kinds of visual things. I draw illustrations, design graphs, edit videos, and create scientific animations.”

With the COVID-19 colorizations, Athman says it has felt strange to see his work all over the news so suddenly. But it’s not the first time his art has been on a national stage. Until now, a colorization of HIV particles was his most popular image, appearing for years on almost any article related to HIV. Several of his colorizations are also featured in a Smithsonian exhibit called Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World, currently open at the National Museum of Natural History and available digitally here. One of his Bubonic Plague colorizations was published in a 2013 issue of National Geographic—fulfilling one of Athman’s childhood dreams.

“It’s a new thing almost every day,” he says. “You never get bored. And this merge of art and science—I think a lot of people aren’t really aware this kind of field exists.”

 

Photos courtesy of the NIAID

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

virus image
Alumni Success

Butler Grad Helps Americans See Coronavirus Up Close

At the NIH, Austin Athman ’09 is part of a team that captures images of microscopic diseases

Apr 22 2020 Read more
Butler University physical education class, playing soccer with pool noodles
Experiential Learning

Pool Noodles Provide Social Distancing Guide for Physical Education Classes

BY Kennedy Broadwell ’21

PUBLISHED ON Dec 08 2020

Fall collegiate sports were canceled. Professional teams joined “bubbles” to ensure athletes’ safety during a global pandemic. But what would happen for Butler University students whose classes involved hands-on physical activity?

Since 2018, Assistant Professor of Education Dr. Fritz Ettl has been teaching physical education courses for future teachers, coaches, health education professionals, and recreation professionals (among others). The students learn sport-specific skills, and courses include tournaments in which students design all aspects of their own league and physically compete against one another while also fulfilling supportive roles such as coach, referee, and statistician. But with the need for social distancing this fall, contact sports wouldn’t be so easy.

Ettl says his first concern going into the semester was how he would teach physical activity virtually during the first two weeks, when Butler temporarily moved classes online.

“We had to start with the cognitive aspects of soccer, like rules of the game, key sport-specific vocabulary, and some tactical concepts,” Ettl says. “I used images and video to help bring it to life, since our opportunities to physically experience everything would be delayed. I really just had to commit to a couple of ways of trying to make it work. I had to learn to trust myself and my students that once it all started, we could make it meaningful by communicating with one another and being flexible.”

Once classes were back in person, Ettl adapted his soccer and basketball courses to be COVID-friendly by adding pool noodles into game play situations. He came up with the idea based on a Buzzfeed article about a restaurant that encouraged social distancing by having guests wear hats with pool noodles sticking out from all sides.

Butler physical education class, playing basketball with pool noodlesEttl remembers thinking, “You know what? I can’t make a bunch of pool noodle hats, but I can order a bunch of pool noodles, and we’ll figure out how to use that.”

The pool noodles were used to keep the students six feet apart from one another. In soccer, they were also used to knock at the ball on defense instead of putting one’s body in the way of the shot or pass.

Ettl says carrying the noodles did make the game awkward and changed how the class experienced soccer. However, there were positives. Students had to think more about space, which helped them improve their skills, including being more accurate with passing or creating more space in order to receive a pass without it getting deflected by a noodle.

Adaptations also had to be made when the class went indoors for basketball. The noodles were used to knock at passes or shots, and to box out or screen other players from a distance. To remove the need for close proximity to other players, Ettl also made basketball a possessions-based game. Teams were given five possessions, and scoring was based on how many points they could get in their allotted possessions. This eliminated the need for rebounding and the physical contact that inherently happens after someone shoots.

“It's not an ideal or a traditional way of experiencing basketball,” Ettl says, “but since the noodles are so large in a small space, it made people more aware of certain aspects of skills like dribbling and passing. I also saw students having to make quick decisions to shoot when they were open, since the long noodles helped defenders close down the space to shoot faster.  I liked that this encouraged students to not only keep the ball moving with quick passes, but also to shoot without hesitating. There were some interesting opportunities to learn by having that added challenge.”

Butler University physical education class, playing soccer with pool noodles
Experiential Learning

Pool Noodles Provide Social Distancing Guide for Physical Education Classes

COE’s Dr. Fritz Ettl found ways to keep teaching hands-on, sport-specific skills this fall

Dec 08 2020 Read more
COVID-19
Innovation

Butler Technology Joins Global Effort to Fight Coronavirus

BY Tim Brouk

PUBLISHED ON Mar 30 2020

Butler University has donated remote use of some of its powerful technology to a global effort to combat COVID-19.

A supercomputer and Butler Esports computers are now part of Folding@home, a project focused on disease research that utilizes help from computer owners around the world. Based out of Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, the work has shifted from researching numerous infectious diseases to investigating the structure of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Using molecular protein folding computer simulations, the Folding@home project aims to discover drug pathways that can cause a dysfunction in the folding of one or more proteins in the COVID-19 virus, therefore killing it. Extra computer power from around the world is needed for faster, more precise simulations. 

“It takes huge amounts of computing power to try them,” Butler Computer Science Professor Jonathon Sorenson says. “The more they try, the better the chances of finding one that works.”

Protein folding is the process that determines a protein’s structure, and therefore its functionality. The shapes protein subunits form fit together like LEGOs to create new cells. Sometimes, when you are trying to build something specific, only one particular shape of LEGO will work. If the body’s proteins aren’t folding into the necessary shapes, this can have detrimental health effects. For example, in the case of sickle-cell anemia, the protein inside red blood cells—hemoglobin—is not capable of transporting oxygen due to a single amino acid change in the hemoglobin protein structure. Now, Folding@home is seeking similar weaknesses within the coronavirus’ proteins—looking for structures that could be altered to inhibit the virus’s ability to infect the body.

Computer owners who want to help with the project can download software that allows Folding@home to use the computers to run simulations. The simulations are usually timed for when the user sleeps, but with universities relying on distance learning during the pandemic, on-campus machines are left on and idle all day. More than 700 universities worldwide have lent their computer power to help run simulations around the clock.

Sorenson learned of the ongoing research project’s new focus on the coronavirus from an Association for Computing Machinery article and alerted IT of the potential of joining the project. A day later, IT Senior Systems Analyst and Computer Science Adjunct Professor Nate Partenheimer got the University’s newest supercomputer online to run Folding@home simulations.

“By lending our computing power to this huge project,” Sorenson says, “it’s a small way of helping that overall effort.”

Supercomputer specs

While Butler’s first supercomputer, The Big Dawg, is being utilized for current Butler research projects, a new system was to be used for artificial intelligence courses and other research. Those projects have been postponed, which opened up use for Folding@home. 

Thanks to Partenheimer, Folding@home is now benefiting from:

  • Four NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti graphics processing units, each of which is capable of about 13 Tera-FLOPS. FLOPS, or floating point operations per second, is a unit of computer performance measurement in scientific computations. Just one of these graphics processing units can execute 13 trillion operations per second.
  • One NVIDIA GP100, which is capable of more than 10 Tera-FLOPS.

Now online, Butler has helped boost the project to 1.5 quintillion operations per second worldwide.

Esports scores an assist

Butler Esports donated its own NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 graphics processing unit and an Intel i7 central processing unit to the Folding@home cause. Machines meant for powering spirited games of League of Legends and Rocket League are now dedicated to saving lives.

Student Activities Coordinator Doug Benedict had known about Folding@home since before the COVID-19 pandemic, but after a meeting with Butler IT, he decided to download the software and link the Esports machines to the cause. Benedict says the Butler Esports and Gaming Center’s mission is to be a source for community engagement, outreach, and philanthropy between esports events.

“We want to show the benefits of having this kind of space and this kind of technology to society as a whole,” he adds. “Technology has changed our lives time and time again, and clearly it’s going to continue to do that.”

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

COVID-19
Innovation

Butler Technology Joins Global Effort to Fight Coronavirus

A supercomputer and Butler Esports machines are linked to a COVID-19 research initiative focusing on proteins in the virus

Mar 30 2020 Read more
istock
Experiential Learning

In Switch to eLearning, Butler Student-Teacher Finds What Matters Most

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Apr 24 2020

Patrick Conway, a senior Secondary Education major at Butler University, spent three days student-teaching in a seventh-grade classroom before the COVID-19 pandemic forced schools across the nation to move online.

Now, as he continues his own Butler coursework remotely, he’s back home in Naperville, Illinois. But that isn’t stopping him from staying connected with his students at Zionsville West Middle School.

“The College of Education really emphasizes that you need to be flexible as a teacher,” Conway says. “Not every day is going to look the same. Not every lesson is going to look the same. That’s helped me adjust now. I am going with the flow and doing my best to help these students learn.”

For Conway, that has meant experimenting with new technologies and redesigning class content to fit the online space. Group work becomes individual projects. Interactive simulations become research papers. But Conway says the transition has given him a chance to focus on the most important parts of the curriculum, narrowing down ideas to spend more time on key points.

“Obviously, I would still prefer to be in the classroom,” he says. “But this situation has made all teachers reflect more on what we’re teaching. In the long-term, I think it might make classes and learning better.”

Conway says being physically separated from students has given him more appreciation for time spent in the classroom, and it reminds teachers how important it is to build relationships and provide support.

“For some of these students who maybe don’t have access to food at home, or whose parents are struggling with the effects of the pandemic, school might not be the most important thing right now,” Conway says. “So you still have to be there for them any way you can.”

Free online tools like FlipGrid, which Conway uses to create and share daily videos, have been key for staying connected with students and providing engaging lessons. Conway is using this time to explore new technologies, planning for how he might keep using them even after class is back in the classroom.

“You can be told over and over to always be ready for the unexpected,” he says, “but once you actually experience it, you are so much more prepared moving forward. We’re just all staying flexible and learning new things together. Teachers are a resilient group of people, and we are working hard to make this the best possible experience for our students.”

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

 

istock
Experiential Learning

In Switch to eLearning, Butler Student-Teacher Finds What Matters Most

Adapting to a pandemic, Patrick Conway develops new online content for seventh-graders at Zionsville West Middle School

Apr 24 2020 Read more
illustration of businessmen being protected
Innovation

Butler’s Risk Management and Insurance Program Authors Pandemic Act to Bolster Economy

BY Tim Brouk

PUBLISHED ON Apr 02 2020

A case study on PayPal, completed by Butler University undergraduates in 2017, could help save the U.S. economy in 2020.

Zach Finn, Clinical Professor and Director of the Davey Risk Management and Insurance program at Butler, and some of his former students have developed the Pandemic Risk Insurance Act (PRIA). If passed, the legislation would provide a reinsurance backstop to cover losses in the insurance sector due to future pandemic outbreaks, such as the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus crisis. The act has already been adopted by the U.S. House Financial Services Committee, which is calling for its passing in Washington, DC.

zach finn
Zach Finn

The policy combines the students’ 2017 case study work on mitigation and monetization of global cyber risk—essentially, steps to reduce the negative effects of threats and disasters on business continuity—with a framework similar to the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act. The students studied the possibility of a black swan—a rare, unpredictable event with severe consequences that would lead to a cyber shutdown in America. Their solution was the development of a hypothetical Cyber Risk Insurance Act, which would protect the United States against the financial impacts of a widespread cyber-attack. The idea and research were meant to urge a federal backstop for uninsured losses resulting from the shutdown of large portions of the economy. 

Now, the PRIA draws on that concept. It would create a federal backstop—or last-resort financial support—for future, and possibly even current, losses that companies would face from a pandemic event. Finn sent the act to Indiana and federal governments in mid-March, and it has already landed on desks in the White House and Congress.

“We will never have a March Madness again unless the government backstops it,” Finn says. “The PRIA would allow businesses to have a fair shot of getting coverage in the case of a pandemic. No insurance companies would take this on now, so that kind of protection would require an act like this. Without a backstop, what happens if we have to shut down every 10 years like this? What if we have to shut down every three years like this?”

Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chair of the U.S. House Financial Services Committee, explains her support of the PRIA, “By requiring higher capital and liquidity buffers, banks are well-positioned to continue lending and play an important countercyclical role. However, America’s consumers, small businesses, and vulnerable populations are suffering. It is time for a policy and fiscal response to address their needs.”

Finn says the act would protect venues from losing revenue due to the cancellation of large events like the NCAA basketball tournament. It would also lessen the ripple effect that major event losses can have on area businesses.

“If you’re running a major convention center or something like Lucas Oil Stadium,” Finn says, “it would be a completely common professional standard that they would offer pandemic insurance.”

The PRIA could also provide an alternative to federal government bailouts, Finn continues. Businesses do take advantage of business interruption insurance, but that only covers events like fire, lightning, or wind. Business loss due to pandemics are not in the mix, yet.

Real life application

2017 Risk Management team
Butler's 2017 Spencer-RIMS Risk Management Challenge team could save 2020.

Nick Fox ’17 was part of the four-student team representing Butler at the spring 2017 Spencer Education Foundation’s Risk Management Challenge case competition, which explored options for insuring PayPal. His teammates included Erin Bundy ’17, Jessica Parada ’17, and Matt Pauszek ’17.

While placing third in the competition, the students’ analysis of what PayPal could do in the event of a cyber blackout turned heads. The PayPal risk manager congratulated the Butler students and took their Cyber Risk Insurance Act into serious consideration.

“She said our solution could truly be implemented in real life,” Fox recalls. “Three years removed, it could still be a focal point in the industry. It adds even more validity to the work we did.”

The students’ proposition was meant to protect businesses from a dire circumstance like the internet crashing or a global pandemic. It’s debatable which event would be more catastrophic, but Finn says the students' ideas from three years ago could help the U.S. today.

Climbing the insurance ranks

Today, Fox and his former teammates are all advancing within their respective insurance companies. Fox finished his studies at Butler a semester early and was quickly hired as a cyber risk analyst for middle market corporations and businesses at Marsh & McLennan Companies, based out of Chicago, Illinois. He is currently transitioning to a consultant position, working with risk managers and chief financial officers of Fortune 500 companies.

“The past few months, I’ve been focusing on emerging risks, one of which is COVID-19,” Fox says. “I’ve been consulting with different clients on things like violent threat modeling and cyber stress tests.”

Pauszek is a Risk Management Analyst for the University of Notre Dame. He has leaned on his Butler experience, especially since COVID-19 grew to pandemic levels in March.

“Faced with situations of uncertainty and crisis, the lessons I learned have equipped me with both the technical industry knowledge and the overall confidence to identify and execute creative business solutions,” Pauszek says. “I believe the Davey Program has built a culture that emphasizes and encourages students to approach their careers with an innovative outlook and careful consideration for others that makes them extremely valuable in their surrounding communities.”

Fox considers his training at Butler key to his early career success, too. The enactment of PRIA would be another boost to his career.

“It’ll put Butler University itself in its rightful place on the map in terms of Risk Management and Insurance,” Fox says. “This is going to create an opportunity for us to put our ideas in the forefront of the country.”

The PRIA is also fast-ascending. The piece of potential policy could be a boost to the U.S. economy in years to come.

“It’s not really a question of if another pandemic is going to happen,” Fox says, “it’s more so when and how serious.”

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

illustration of businessmen being protected
Innovation

Butler’s Risk Management and Insurance Program Authors Pandemic Act to Bolster Economy

Clinical Professor Zach Finn and his former students’ work is being lobbied by the U.S. House Financial Services Committee

Apr 02 2020 Read more
Wendy Meaden with SWAG gowns
Innovation

Butler Theatre Gives Health Professionals SWAG

BY Tim Brouk

PUBLISHED ON Apr 22 2020

Butler Theatre faculty and staff are utilizing their skills and passion to keep healthcare professionals safe worldwide.

The Indianapolis-born Safer With A Gown (SWAG) project is helping remedy isolation gown shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic by urging home-crafters to download their medical isolation gown patterns. Butler Costume Shop Manager Megan Wiegand, Theatre Professor Wendy Meaden, and Deborah Jo Barrett, Production and Stage Manager for the Jordan College of Arts, joined the collective in mid-March. Meaden drafted the gown pattern, which is to be printed out and pieced together as a blueprint similar to purchased patterns from a fabric store. When finished, the isolation gowns would be donated to a community healthcare facility.

Wendy Meaden at home
Theatre Professor Wendy Meaden prepares to creat another SWAG gown at home.

The SWAG website states “that these gowns are critical to the safety of doctors, nurses, medical assistants, and home health care workers to keep them safe when they are in close contact with patients.

So far, SWAG has received more than 2,500 downloads. The organizers received word that some expert-level sewers have crafted several gowns. So much stitching adds up.

"I have made only a handful of gowns for SWAG," Meaden says, "but if each of the 2,000 people who downloaded the pattern made only one gown, or two, it would make a huge difference."

Wiegand digitized the work, making it downloadable as a PDF. 

Meaden says the gown’s design would take a novice sewer about an hour to prepare the pattern and two hours to sew together. More experienced crafters can get it done in half that time. Of course, the more gowns you make, the quicker the process becomes.

“I’ve noticed as I’ve been sharing this pattern around,” Meaden says, “so many people really want to help in any way they can. I think we all feel good about creating something that is very satisfying. That’s one of the reasons I got into design.”

Most SWAG stitchers have used bolts of fabric or lightly used or new bed sheets as gown material. Meaden recommends tightly-woven cotton or a cotton polyester blend for best protection.

“Cotton is the most comfortable for the wearer,” Meaden says. “The poly blend will make a little better of a barrier.”

Butler Theatre joined SWAG in mid March thanks to Barrett, who is friends with the Indianapolis family that came up with the idea. As soon as she heard of the need to draft a gown pattern for the project, Barrett immediately thought of Wiegand and Meaden.

“There wasn’t a moment of hesitation from Wendy and Megan,” Barrett says. “Our first line medical professions need all the help they can get and I just think it’s wonderful that there’s this opportunity that the public can help.”

Dr. Deanna Willis, an Indianapolis family physician and primary care doctor, is the aunt and mother of some of the young SWAG starters. She says most factory-made gowns are going to large hospitals nationwide. The shortages are being felt most in smaller healthcare facilities like urgent care clinics and homecare programs.

“Microdroplets can stay suspended in the air quite a while,” Willis says. “These gowns provide a really important source of protection for those folks.”

Meaden consulted with Willis in the gown’s design, and Willis says she was impressed with their approach. They asked questions about medical professionals’ activities during shifts.

“It’s designed to be simple, not a lot of ties for taking on and off,” says Willis, also a Professor of Family Medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine. "They really understand that the garments must be functional. The choice of materials, how they are constructed, and how they are worn are all part of that."

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

Wendy Meaden with SWAG gowns
Innovation

Butler Theatre Gives Health Professionals SWAG

Members of the program lent their skills for Indianapolis’ Safer With A Gown project for healthcare workers during COVID-19

Apr 22 2020 Read more
istock
Student-Centered

What Does an Online Music Class Look Like?

BY Brian Weidner

PUBLISHED ON Apr 27 2020

Over the last two months, the coronavirus pandemic has forced universities around the world to shut down campuses and rethink how classes are held. As an Assistant Professor of Music Education here at Butler University, I and my fellow faculty have faced unique challenges in moving typically hands-on experiences to an online setting, but we are making the best of this and learning to adjust.

For instance, several of our courses involve a practicum component with local K-12 schools that have also switched to distance learning. But that doesn’t mean we are eliminating this important experience for our students. Instead, we have found other ways to engage with these schools, in some cases providing even richer opportunities. Our students have been teaching small-group lessons via Zoom, helping K-12 teachers design online modules, providing feedback on submitted videos, and recording instrument demonstrations.

My Brass Techniques course also posed a challenge. Back on campus, this group met in-person at 8:00 AM. But about half my students now live in other time zones. If we held the class synchronously over Zoom, they would have to be up and playing brass instruments before their families are even awake.

So, we adapted. I’m using many of the same tools our partner K-12 teachers have been using to provide flexibility for students. We’ve experimented with Flipgrid, Acapella, and various social media platforms, reflecting on how these tools enhance Butler students’ own learning as well as how they might use these resources for their own teaching in the future.

Perhaps the biggest challenge has been recognizing that music courses are simultaneously academic and social. Many of our students are hurting from the social disconnect of this experience, and the music education faculty—along with our student National Association for Music Education (NAfME) chapter—have been working to bridge that gap.

Every day, we now have an open Zoom call at lunch time. At least one faculty member is there to chat with any students who want to join. On Fridays, our NAfME chapter hosts activity lunches. These have included cooking classes led by my children, yoga with one of our flute professors, and trivia. We have also stayed connected through social media and started biweekly “living room concerts” where anyone can share a performance or listen to others perform.

No online platform can replace being in the classroom with one another, or the opportunity for spontaneous chats in the hallway. Still, we are doing all we can to maintain the experience of being a Butler music student—even while miles from campus.

 

To stay connected during the switch to online learning, music students from Butler University's Jordan College of the Arts have been holding biweekly “living room concerts” through Zoom—providing a chance for anyone to share a performance or listen to others perform. Here's a look back at some moments from their concert on April 9, 2020.

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403 

istock
Student-Centered

What Does an Online Music Class Look Like?

JCA’s Brian Weidner explains how he’s meeting the challenge of holding remote music education courses

Apr 27 2020 Read more
istock
Experiential Learning

Pharmacy Students to Fill Indy’s Prescription for Hand Sanitizer

BY Tim Brouk

PUBLISHED ON Apr 30 2020

A small group of Pharmacy graduate students will briefly step away from their long-term research projects to help fill a need for the Indianapolis community.

Utilizing their lab skills, Victor Anguiano, Mohammed Ramadan, and Zach Todd are mixing up gallons of hand sanitizer to donate to Circle City hospitals, as well as homeless shelters, nursing homes, and domestic abuse treatment centers. Funding for the project came from the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (COPHS). Pharmacy faculty members Sudip and Nandita Das are supervising the project, which will distribute the sanitizer in 200-milliliter bottles.

The recipe contains 75 percent alcohol, making it more effective than some products once found on store shelves.

“We’re working from specifications set up by the World Health Organization, and we’re meeting their standards to make it efficient,” says Anguiano, who also works in research and development in the pharmaceutical industry. “Everything’s been verified.”

Anguiano says the entire process should take two days: Day one will consist of mixing the sanitizer and leaving it to settle overnight. Day two will be for bottling and distribution.

The process of making hand sanitizer is easy, especially for Pharmacy researchers. Combining the alcohol with glycerol only takes 10 minutes in lab mixers. The glycerol gives the sanitizer a gel-like consistency and a hydrating element. The students kept the recipe simple, excluding scents or other frills that would slow down the process.

“Being pharmacy students, this is one of the main ways we are able to contribute,” Anguiano says. ”We have a responsibility to make an impact in this fight.”

Professor of Pharmaceutics Sudip Das says many Butler students, staff, and faculty members are helping the community—and beyond—during the COVID-19 pandemic. He is proud of the students who are taking time out of their research to lend a hand.

“The No. 1 thing is that you do whatever you can during this humanitarian crisis,” Das says. “We are trying to make sure people know that COPHS is in the fight against this pandemic, and we want everyone to be safe and healthy.”

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

istock
Experiential Learning

Pharmacy Students to Fill Indy’s Prescription for Hand Sanitizer

A trio of graduate students will make 50 liters of sanitizer for donation to community programs and facilities

Apr 30 2020 Read more

Butler Massage Therapist Advocates for Mental Health Awareness

By Kamy Mitchell ’21

“We all act like the world will stop if we stop,” says Lara Pearson, Massage Therapy Services Coordinator at Butler’s Health and Recreation Complex (HRC).

Pearson sees adults working 60 hours a week, students pulling all-nighters to study before exams, and society as a whole working overtime while rarely taking a moment to pause. And she gets it, but she also knows the stress it brings. She used to get caught up in the frenzy of life, too, until she discovered the merits of regular massage therapy.

Pearson says massage is more than a luxurious spa experience, but rather an important tool within healthcare. Massages reduce muscle tension, lower blood pressure, improve circulation, reduce stress hormones, enhance athletic performance, and improve overall mental health. And yet, many people don’t know about the benefits that massage therapy has to offer.

Pearson was one of them. She had been working a high-stress job in the corporate insurance world for 13 years when, one day, she received a gift card for a massage. The experience entirely changed her view of well-being, so she enrolled in massage therapy school on the weekends in hopes of beginning a side business. After a few months, this choice led to a full career change when she joined the HRC staff at Butler in 2011.

As a massage therapist, Pearson loves working with Butler students, faculty, and staff. She hopes the availability of massage therapy services will eventually be common knowledge across campus, as it caters to a variety of needs ranging from letting go of some stress during finals week to preparing for or recovering from sports competitions. As Pearson strives to increase awareness about the health benefits of massage, she also works to end the stigma associated with mental health issues.

Her passion for mental health awareness began at an early age. As a young adult, Pearson attempted suicide and was admitted to a stress center, where she was connected with a counselor.

“It literally saved my life to know I was not alone,” she says, “to know that there was help out there, and to know all I had to do was ask someone.”

Ever since, Pearson has been advocating for mental health awareness. She believes our most important job in life is to take care of our mental health, and that care can come in many forms.

“True healthcare begins with self-care,” Pearson says. “It’s important to be aware of the link between physical and mental health. Massage therapy is just one of many tools to help you take care of your mind and body.”

 

Lara Pearson, BCTMB
Member of American Massage Therapy Association

@massageandhealthmatters

Lara Pearson
Student-Centered

Butler Massage Therapist Advocates for Mental Health Awareness

For Lara Pearson, massage is more than a luxurious spa experience. It's a key healthcare tool.