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Butler University MBA students learn about whiskey business (stock image)
Experiential Learning

“From Grain to Glass to COVID-19”: MBA Class to Publish Case Study on Whiskey Business

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Nov 23 2020

During the spring 2020 semester, a class in Butler University’s Master of Business Administration (MBA) program partnered with a local distillery to learn about the downstream supply chain—the process by which a product makes its way from production to consumers. After studying for themselves how the distillery’s Indiana-sourced whiskey is typically sold through restaurants, tasting rooms, or grocery store shelves, the class would write a case study to teach what they had learned to future business students.

They had just finished the second draft when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

“Instead of teaching from a textbook about what the challenges are in distribution, I wanted students to have a grasp of what a real company actually goes through,” says Dr. Jane Siegler, Assistant Professor of Operations. “When the pandemic hit, we didn’t just ignore that and focus on what would happen in normal circumstances. No—this is a small business that is trying to find its way in the market, with all the normal challenges that a small company faces, but now there is this global pandemic. What do you do?”

Shutdowns affected restaurants and other distribution outlets across the hospitality industry, and the distillery’s on-site tasting room had to close its doors. So, while continuing to learn about the company (who asked to remain anonymous for the case study), the MBA students helped the distillery identify new opportunities for getting its products to customers.

Dr. Siegler says she often likes to partner with real companies for her classes, which not only provides an experiential learning opportunity for students, but also offers a range of fresh perspectives for the business.

“When we have all these smart minds working together in class,” she says, “chances are that we will see things that the company may have missed. We are offering high-quality consulting projects at low or no cost to the companies. It’s a way to benefit the companies, the regional economy, and the students.”

The students’ key recommendation for the distillery was to place more focus on direct-to-consumer sales. Without the need to pay distributors, these channels would be more profitable, as well as help the relatively young company continue building relationships and growing its brand. After the pandemic hit, the distillery opened a carryout bottle shop that replaced their tasting room as a way to engage directly with consumers.

The case study, which has now been accepted for publication in the International Journal of Teaching and Case Studies (IJTCS), also identified opportunities for the distillery to attract customers by highlighting stories about how its whiskey is sourced and produced entirely in Indiana (a state not known for making bourbon). The company could produce videos profiling local corn farmers, or showing the whole production process from seed, to grain, to glass, the students suggested. That all-Indiana ingredient sourcing was the main thing that caught Dr. Siegler’s attention, and chances are it would appeal to customers, too.

“The entire supply chain from the farmers all the way to packaging is made up of Indiana companies,” Dr. Siegler says. “I thought that was pretty interesting from a supply chain perspective, especially when you think about how we are a very global society. But this company points to their supply chain strategy as one of the key components to their success.”

Angie Bidlack, one of the four MBA students involved with the case study, says the onset of COVID-19 didn’t derail what they had started working on. It just added a new dimension.

“There are always unknowns in a case study,” she says, “but then we had this challenge of thinking through the immediate future during COVID, as well as the future post-COVID. We could compare how things changed before and after the pandemic.”

For example, when the class first toured the distillery at the beginning of the semester, the company had plans to take their brand national by partnering with some of the largest grocery retail outlets in the United States. The pandemic brought those plans to a crawl, but the class helped think through other ways the distillery could keep growing.

“Even with the pandemic, the company was doing great things,” Bidlack says. “They found a way to make challenges into opportunities and didn’t continue going with their normal business plan. They were very agile, and they immediately pivoted to something that allowed them to thrive. And that is something I think everybody can take and apply to their career in some way.”

 

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

Butler University MBA students learn about whiskey business (stock image)
Experiential Learning

“From Grain to Glass to COVID-19”: MBA Class to Publish Case Study on Whiskey Business

The Butler MBA class led by Dr. Jane Siegler partnered with a local distillery to help find solutions to new challenges 

Nov 23 2020 Read more
Butler University
Campus

Butler University Launches a Hub for Black Affairs and Community Engagement

BY

PUBLISHED ON Oct 15 2020

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (October 15, 2020)—In keeping with its founding values and ongoing efforts to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), Butler University is establishing a Hub for Black Affairs and Community Engagement in partnership with Professor of Political Science Dr. Terri Jett as Faculty Director.

This is one of many DEI initiatives, and one in which the University is allocating notable financial resources, that are being implemented as part of Butler's broader commitment to create an intentionally diverse, equitable, and inclusive learning and working environment. Such actions, which include commencing the search to add two positions in the Efroymson Diversity Center and establishing a DEI Innovation Fund, will provide additional meaningful resources to our campus community.

Consisting of the components outlined below, the Hub will serve as an institutional command center to address systemic racism and Black oppression, with its work beginning this academic year.

  • An Advisory Group will be established, consisting of faculty members, staff, students, and representatives of the Black Alumni Association and local community to help determine the priorities of the Hub and be responsive to the administration in efforts to address the experiences of Black Butler faculty, staff, and students. This group will also establish ongoing communication and collaboration with, advocacy for, and institutional support of our Black Student Union and other Black students who are not a part of this student organization.
  • Black Faculty and Staff Affinity groups will be established to support Black faculty and staff to increase retention and professional development of Black faculty and staff. This includes mentorship across ranks and disciplines, resources to support professional development, and wellness support.
  • Black Student Support -  Ongoing communication and advocacy for support of the Black Student Union and other Black students who are not directly associated with the BSU will be provided. This will be coordinated through both the Black Faculty and Staff Affinity groups, as well as the Black Alumni Association.
  • Visiting Black Intellectuals will be invited to be in-residence to conduct workshops, trainings, and seminars. This will present a significant opportunity for Black students, and others, to learn from and interact with important role models.
  • Faculty Collaborative Fellows will be experts in the fields of diversity, social justice, and institutional racism. Collaborative Fellows will conduct presentations of their research in relation to social justice and diversity, as well as be available to connect with and mentor students.
  • As a longer-term goal, a Hub Location will be identified on campus as a designated space for ongoing activities such as workshops, discussions with Visiting Black Intellectuals, trainings, and wellness activities.

As Faculty Director, Dr. 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.

Statement from Butler President James M. Danko
“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. Butler University has a moral and historic imperative to be a leader in addressing issues of racism and social injustices in higher education.

“I am extremely pleased that Dr. Terri Jett agreed to lead our Hub for Black Affairs and Community Engagement, which is an important step in our endeavors. Terri’s passion for Butler and wealth of experience involving diversity, equity, and inclusivity will serve as a great benefit to our institution. I look forward to her continued leadership and contributions as our University embarks on a momentous time in our history.”

Statement from Dr. Terri Jett
“In my new role as Faculty Director of the Butler University Hub for Black Affairs and Community Engagement and Senior Advisor to the President, I will coordinate and address the belonging and connection of our Black faculty, staff, students, and alumni in a manner that moves us to bring Ovid Butler’s prophetic vision into present day. 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.”

 

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

Butler University
Campus

Butler University Launches a Hub for Black Affairs and Community Engagement

With leadership from Dr. Terri Jett as Faculty Director, the Hub will serve as an institutional command center to address systemic racism and Black oppression

Oct 15 2020 Read more
istock
Experiential Learning

The Future of Drug Discovery: Pharmacy Students Learn to Code

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Oct 14 2020

The discovery and development of new drugs is usually a long, expensive process, but recent advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence are starting to change that. By partnering with the Accelerating Therapeutics for Opportunities in Medicine (ATOM) consortium to create a new training experience, Butler University is preparing Pharmacy students for the future of drug discovery.

This past summer, five students in Butler’s Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program participated in remote internships with ATOM—a global consortium with the goal of blending healthcare and computer science to create a faster drug discovery process. Starting with a coding boot camp led by Butler Assistant Professor Caleb Class, then working on individual research projects alongside ATOM mentors, students learned to integrate data science with their existing pharmacy expertise.

The interns worked to analyze, build, and curate data sets that can be used to advance ATOM’s open-source drug discovery platform. While most of them had little experience with machine learning prior to the program, they are excited to apply what they’ve learned to their pharmacy careers.

 

Paige Cowden (P2)
Project: “Data Curation for a Mitochondrial Membrane Potential Model”

Why did you pursue pharmacy?
I wanted to work in a hospital, but I didn’t want to be a doctor or a nurse, so I thought pharmacy might be cool. Also, addiction to prescription medications has affected people close to me, so I wanted to learn about drugs and be able to counsel people properly to prevent this from affecting others

What fascinates you most about the relationship between pharmacy and data science?
While learning to code was pretty difficult and frustrating at times, my knowledge of biology and science made it easier to compare the data I was working with. I could see how valuable my prior knowledge was to understanding the data, even though I was brand new to coding. It made me excited because I could see how machine learning could be used in my future career.

What have you learned from this internship opportunity?
Even if you’re bad at something, do it anyway. I wouldn’t say I became the most proficient at coding and analyzing data, but I definitely improved a lot. I think it’s frustrating trying something new for the first time, but keeping an open mind and not being so hard on yourself when you fail is key to becoming successful at something.

 

Chris Zeheralis (P3)
Project: “Open Cancer and Infectious Disease Datasets”

Why did you pursue pharmacy?
Pharmacy never really came across my radar until late in high school. I became a huge chemistry lover and enjoyed the idea of applying chemical concepts in a usable, practical setting, and in a way that could have a direct impact on people's lives. I've always aimed to use my passions and skills to improve the world around me, and pharmacy just seemed like it could give me the platform to bring the change I've always desired.  

What appealed to you about the ATOM internship?
I have always been fascinated with the power of computing, and I understand the inevitability of skills like programming and machine learning being incorporated into the healthcare field. I had attempted to teach myself how to code to no real avail. The ATOM internship allowed me the opportunity to learn coding in a more structured manner, connecting me with experts and professionals in multiple fields. I could also immediately apply what I was learning to something that had the potential to carry real weight outside of mere practice.

What did you learn from this experience?
Machine learning truly is the future of drug discovery. The sheer speed of methods like the ATOM Modeling PipeLine (AMPL) in discovering potential leads for molecule design, compared to the traditional methods, is astounding. This whole experience made me wish I had learned programming and coding at an earlier age.

 

Laura Fischer (P2)
Project: “Open Data and Model Fitting with AMPL”

What appealed to you about the ATOM internship?
I applied to the ATOM internship because I wanted to gain a better understanding of machine learning and how it can be used to impact healthcare. I had learned a little bit about it in my Biotechnology class, but I thought the hands-on approach would help me get a deeper understanding. I thought this would be a cool way to improve my computer skills while experiencing a research-based, nontraditional career path for pharmacists. I also was interested in ATOM's goal of speeding up the timeline of drug development, and I wanted to see how they used Machine Learning technology to work toward that goal.

Tell us about the experience.
My internship primarily consisted of writing and modifying Python code to work with public datasets and build machine learning models through the ATOM Modeling PipeLine (AMPL). I was working with four gene targets, training models to predict PIC50 values for them. The most accurate models can now be used to predict activities of new, unresearched compounds.

What fascinates you most about the relationship between pharmacy and machine learning?
I was really fascinated to see the actual impact that machine learning can have on pharmacy, and healthcare in general. I never thought I'd have a hands-on experience working directly with data science, so it was really cool to see how this makes an impact on the drug development process.

 

Logan Van Ravenswaay (P2)
Project: “Visualize Data: A Python Function to Generate Interactive Plots and Accelerate Exploratory Data Analysis”

Why did you choose to pursue pharmacy?
I always knew I wanted to pursue a career in healthcare, but I struggled with choosing a path. I loved my chemistry and biology courses in high school, so I thought pharmacy would be the perfect blend of the two.

Why did you decide to apply for the ATOM internship?
I applied for the ATOM internship because it would involve blending a computer science-based approach with drug discovery. I wanted to learn more about the drug discovery process and how we can improve it. However, both subjects were very much outside of my wheelhouse. I was excited by the challenge, as well as how I would be able to take what I learned with ATOM and use it to launch a potential career in drug discovery.

What fascinates you most about the relationship between pharmacy and data science?
I came into this internship with very little knowledge on computer science and how it might impact the future of drug discovery. However, I cannot be more excited about this relationship between machine learning and pharmacy. My time with ATOM has shown that data science is an integral piece of drug discovery. The sheer amount of potential therapeutic compounds far exceeds our ability to select drug candidates by hand. ATOM's modeling tool and others like it can accelerate this discovery process, as well as be adapted to choose the best drug for a particular patient.

 

Connor Miller (P3)
Project: “Working with Open Data Sources: PK-DB, Lombardo Dataset, and AstraZeneca”

Why did you pursue pharmacy?
I enjoy the blending of math and science that can be found in pharmacy. Pharmacy also offers an opportunity to provide health services and benefit patients without being as “hands-on” as other providers, such as physicians or physician assistants. I find it amazing that drugs are just these small molecules that can have substantial and even life-saving effects on the body and its chemistry.

Tell us about your experience with the ATOM internship.
The overarching goal for my project was to help advance ATOM’s work with open source data, which can be more widely shared with the public compared to proprietary datasets. Typically, a larger dataset will result in machine learning models with better accuracy or more predictive power, so finding open source datasets is important in the effort to build these models.

What fascinates you most about the relationship between pharmacy and data science?
I think the relationship between pharmacy and data science will become increasingly important in the future, particularly in the area of drug development. Through machine learning models, companies in the pharmaceutical industry will be able to much more quickly identify compounds that may be effective at a certain target, or screen out compounds that are likely to have toxic effects. What excites me the most about this is that new treatments may be found and developed at a faster rate, thanks to these advances in data science and machine learning.

What have you learned from this experience?
Starting from knowing very little about coding or research, I have been able to learn a lot through this experience in terms of technical skills. I was also able to gain experience working with a virtual team. Despite the fact that we were all working from home, we were able to still have good communication. I am so glad that I was able to take part in this opportunity, and I found it to be an incredibly enriching experience in my pharmacy education.

 

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

istock
Experiential Learning

The Future of Drug Discovery: Pharmacy Students Learn to Code

Over the summer, five Butler PharmD students completed remote, data-focused internships with the ATOM consortium

Oct 14 2020 Read more
Butler University
Butler Beyond

Butler Receives $2.5 Million Grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to Fund New Butler Beyond Transformation Lab

BY

PUBLISHED ON Oct 08 2020

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Oct. 8, 2020)—Lilly Endowment Inc. has awarded Butler University a $2.5 million grant to fund its Butler Beyond Transformation Lab. The creation of the Transformation Lab is a significant step in advancing the University’s new strategic direction, Butler Beyond, which was unveiled last October.

Lilly Endowment made the grant through Charting the Future of Indiana’s Colleges and Universities, an initiative designed to help higher education institutions across the state develop new strategies to address challenges to financial sustainability and help them better prepare students for successful, meaningful lives.

The Butler Beyond strategy builds upon Butler’s strengths in delivering an exceptional undergraduate residential education, while expanding to offer opportunities for lifelong learning and new educational pathways that are more accessible, affordable, and flexible. The Transformation Lab will serve as a hub of resources, expertise, and activity to accelerate the development of future-oriented models of education and related ventures that contribute to the long-term success of the University and the learners it serves.

“Butler University is extremely grateful to Lilly Endowment for its support of our efforts to expand access to higher education through creation of new educational models and ventures within the Butler Beyond Transformation Lab,” says Butler President James M. Danko. “In keeping with our founding values of diversity, inclusivity, and equality, we are driven by an aspiration to put higher learning within reach of all who desire to pursue it by creating new, high-quality educational pathways and options that will prepare students for long-term success.”

The Transformation Lab will work with internal and external constituents to advance opportunities to identify, design, and pilot future-oriented education initiatives that align with both the University’s strategy and the educational needs of the community. This will include exploring emerging concepts designed to create greater access to education, adapting the educational experience to those who want to continually upskill and reskill, and pivoting higher education to an increasingly digital experience. Co-creation of innovative solutions will be a primary tenet of the Transformation Lab’s work, achieved through collaboration with a robust network of education experts, corporate leaders, workforce and economic development organizations, non-traditional education providers, and other forward-looking universities.

“We look forward to partnering with other institutions and organizations that share our sense of urgency and optimism in searching for solutions to the challenges facing higher education,” Danko says. “Butler is committed to being a leader in the development of new forms of education, thereby generating solutions not only for ourselves, but for higher education, students, and society more broadly. This grant to fund the creation of the Butler Beyond Transformation Lab is a significant milestone in Butler’s history.”

Along with establishing a $500,000 seed fund allocated to supporting select projects and ventures, funding from Lilly Endowment will be used to enhance a physical space on campus for the Transformation Lab, convene local and national higher education experts and university faculty and staff for discussion and collaboration, and add additional personnel to support stakeholders in moving ideas to viable solutions.

The Transformation Lab is modeled after practices often used for navigating transformation and change in industries outside of higher education. Benefitting from Butler’s collaborations with several major technology companies, venture studios, and other leading universities, the Transformation Lab will bring together the resources, expertise, and network necessary to move quickly from idea to pilot, and, ideally, to a scalable solution for some of higher education’s most pressing challenges.

The $2.5 million grant from Lilly Endowment to establish the Transformation Lab is a meaningful step toward the University’s goal to raise a total of $25 million for initiatives that drive transformation throughout the University and within the broader landscape of higher education as part of its $250 million Butler Beyond comprehensive fundraising campaign.

This implementation grant was awarded as part of the second phase of Lilly Endowment’s three-phase Charting the Future initiative. In the first phase, Butler received a $250,000 planning grant in 2019 to prepare the implementation proposal. Grants under a third phase, which is competitive, will be awarded in 2021. Those grants will support collaborative efforts that seek to have a large-scale impact on the ability of higher education institutions in Indiana to fulfill their educational missions.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based, private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons J.K. Jr. and Eli through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. While those gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, the Endowment is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff, and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education, and religion and maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.

 

Butler Beyond: The Campaign for Butler University is the University’s largest-ever comprehensive fundraising campaign, with a goal of $250 million to support student access and success, innovations in teaching and learning, and community partnerships.

 

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

Butler University
Butler Beyond

Butler Receives $2.5 Million Grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to Fund New Butler Beyond Transformation Lab

The Transformation Lab will serve as a hub of resources, expertise, and activity to accelerate the development of future-oriented education models

Oct 08 2020 Read more
esports
Campus

Butler Joins The Esports Combine as Hosting University

BY

PUBLISHED ON Oct 08 2020

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.—Ahead of The Esports Combine™ 2020, a virtual convention designed to connect esports players with collegiate programs, Indiana Esports Development LLC. has announced a partnership with Butler University to be the official host for the event. The University will host this year’s convention through student participation, marketing efforts, and spectatorship. Butler will also host its own panel on Saturday, October 17, that discusses the challenges and opportunities involved in building an academic program around gaming and esports.

The Esports Combine™ is organized by Indiana Esports Development and powered by Indiana Sports Corp and Indiana-based Harena Data, with other Indiana participants including Butler, the Horizon League, and the Indiana High School Esports Network.

“There is a real hunger out there for academic programs in esports,” said Lee Farquhar, Associate Professor of Journalism and Sports Media at Butler. “The growth of gaming and esports presents a tremendous opportunity to connect student passion with the jobs of a growing industry. In addition to game development and design, I envision continued growth for esports programs centered on business, communication, media production, and gaming studies.”

“Butler serving as the host university is only fitting, as it’s true to two things: Indiana and esports,” said Bill Dever, President of Indiana Esports Development. “The rapid launch of esports is proving to be a huge benefit for Indiana and is a growing identity for everyone involved. This Esports Combine will solidify that position, and while this year it’s only virtual for safety purposes, we’re going to make it grand.”

“We are excited to host the 2020 Esports Combine in partnership with Indiana Esports Development LLC and Indiana Sports Corp,” said Eric Kammeyer, Director of Esports and Gaming Technology at Butler. “The convention provides Butler Esports with the ability to expand the foundation in competition, curriculum, and community engagement. Indianapolis as a host city is an energetic hub for esports, and like Butler, thrives in innovative technology, hosting large events and sports competitions.”

Since 2019, Indiana has emerged as a bustling esports hub in the U.S. Beyond The Esports Combine, Indiana has pushed a strong esports agenda:

  • Indiana colleges, such as Butler, and high schools are implementing esports programs that benefit students.
  • Pacers Gaming is becoming a prominent philanthropy source in the sports and gaming communities, with the launch of a Make-A-Wish partnership.
  • State associations are creating esports leagues and reinventing recreational soccer for youth.
  • Esports startups such as Challonge, ggCircuit, Harena Data, Beastcoast, and many others are thriving in the Indiana economy.

 

The Combine is a partnership between Indiana Sports Corp and Indiana-based Harena Data. It serves as a celebration of esports and its ever-increasing place in the academic world. The event will help players receive varsity team offers and scholarships from colleges and universities throughout North America.

 

About Butler University
Butler University is a nationally recognized comprehensive university encompassing six colleges: Arts, Business, Communication, Education, Liberal Arts & Sciences, and Pharmacy & Health Sciences. Approximately 4,600 undergraduate and 800 graduate students are enrolled at Butler, representing 45 states and 30 countries. More than 75 percent of Butler students will participate in some form of internship, and Butler students have had significant success after graduation, as demonstrated by the University’s 98 percent placement rate within six months of graduation. The University was recently listed as the No. 1 regional university in the Midwest, according to the U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges Rankings, in addition to being included in The Princeton Review’s annual “best colleges” guidebook.

 

About GYO
GYO Score is an esports and gaming data analytics platform that seeks to support gamers and esports at all levels. With its game data analytics tools, team management, player profile, and league tool systems, GYO supports gamers and esports-enthusiasts of all competition levels to pursue their dream of esports stardom and community building. To date, GYO Score has helped facilitate more than 200 esports scholarship offers and boasts more than 30,000 players on its platform since it launched in September 2019. To learn more about GYO, please visit www.gyo.gg.

 

About Harena Data, Inc
Founded in 2017, Harena Data has developed GYO Score to be a data analytics, league development, and player management tool for the esports industry. The principles of Harena Data have a strong background in esports, event management, motion picture production, and telecommunications. In addition to GYO Score, Harena Data specializes in esports consultation regarding the development and deployment of esports venues, scholastic esports programs, and esports league concepts.

 

Media contact:
Wahid Lodin
Harena Data
Director of PR & Communications
Wahid@gyoscore.com 

esports
Campus

Butler Joins The Esports Combine as Hosting University

Indiana rises as esports hub in America

Oct 08 2020 Read more
Major Gift from Diane Meyer Simon
Butler Beyond

Major Gift from Diane Meyer Simon to Support Center for Urban Ecology and Sustainability

BY Jennifer Gunnels

PUBLISHED ON Oct 07 2020

Diane Meyer Simon ՚68 recently made a $500,000 estate commitment to Butler University, which will be used to create the Mikhail Gorbachev Fund for the Center for Urban Ecology and Sustainability (CUES) and to name the CUES office and teaching space in Gorbachev’s honor in the renovated and expanded sciences complex on Butler’s campus.

Meyer Simon and Gorbachev have worked together on environmental sustainability issues for more than 25 years and in 1994 co-founded Global Green, the United States affiliate of Green Cross International (GCI). The new endowed fund will provide ongoing support for the work of the CUES, whose vision is to be a national leader in the engagement of undergraduate students in the study, research, and practice of urban ecology and sustainability through established local leadership in urban ecology research, sustainability best practices, and community engagement in Indianapolis.

“Both Butler University and Mikhail Gorbachev are beloved influences in my life. I wanted to honor both in an appropriate way,” Meyer Simon says. “It is my hope that this gift will engage more students to study urban ecology as well as strengthen the study of sciences aided by the new Sciences Renovation and Expansion at Butler.”

The CUES was formally founded in 2008 and includes The Farm at Butler, a one-acre sustainable agriculture project on the west side of Butler’s campus. Led by Director Julia Angstmann, the CUES connects students, faculty, staff, and community partners for collaboration on interdisciplinary research and education through place-based projects and public discourse. One such current project is a partnership between the Department of Sociology and the CUES, along with a number of local nonprofit organizations, to understand how organizational structure influences approaches to solving food access and food justice challenges in Indianapolis.

“Adequately mitigating global challenges such as climate change and social injustice require the engagement and participation of a multitude of perspectives, expertise, and experiences,” Angstmann says. “The Center brings together students from every College on campus, as well as faculty, staff, and community stakeholders to research and devise innovative solutions to local challenges on our campus and in our city.”

Meyer Simon’s lifelong passion for public service and activism began during her years at Butler. While working toward an undergraduate degree in psychology, Meyer Simon was in attendance at Robert F. Kennedy’s famous Indianapolis speech on April 4, 1968, during which he announced the assissination of Martin Luther King, Jr. Meyer Simon calls that experience a turning point in her life, and she promptly joined Kennedy’s 1968 presidential campaign as an aide to Kennedy’s press secretary, Dick Drayne. Meyer Simon went on to serve on Indiana Senator Birch Bayh’s staff for more than 12 years, and later co-founded Eco Partners, an all-female ecological consulting firm.

In 1993, Meyer Simon learned that Mikhail Gorbachev, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former President of the USSR, was establishing GCI in response to the 1992 Rio Earth Summit’s call to create a “Red Cross for the environment.” Meyer Simon wrote Gorbachev a letter of support and congratulations and mentioned her work with Eco Partners. In response, Meyer Simon was invited to attend the second meeting of GCI in Moscow. At the conclusion of the meeting, Gorbachev asked Meyer Simon to found the American affiliate of GCI and to serve on the GCI Honorary Board. With help from her friends Pat Mitchell, Marianne Williamson, and Matt Petersen, Global Green USA was born.

Meyer Simon sees the work of the CUES at Butler as an important local expression of the work she and Gorbachev have sought to promote on a national and international scale. Angstmann says the gift will help to engage the next generation of leaders in the work of environmental sustainability.

“This gift will allow the CUES to increase opportunities for student leadership positions in our Sustainability Leadership Cohort program, which will also allow us to expand partnership projects with campus and community partners,” Angstmann says. “Both will impact student experiences and learning, as well as further progress sustainability and urban ecology in our city.”

Along with the endowed fund to provide ongoing programmatic support for the CUES, a portion of Meyer Simon’s gift will go toward the Sciences Expansion and Renovation project, which is currently under construction. Named in Gorbachev’s honor, a portion of the project will include new, expanded office space for the CUES in Gallahue Hall, as well as a multi-functional space that will serve as a teaching and gathering space for learning, partnership, collaboration, and project development. Butler recently surpassed $30 million raised toward its $42 million fundraising goal for the project, which will add nearly 44,000 square feet of new space for teaching, research, collaboration, and study, plus a 13,140-square-foot atrium connecting Gallahue Hall to the Holcomb building.

“On behalf of Butler University and my colleagues in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, I am extremely grateful to Diane Meyer Simon for this meaningful gift to support the Center for Urban Ecology and Sustainability at Butler,” says Jay Howard, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “Through the CUES, our students and faculty are engaged in valuable collaborations with community partners in searching for solutions to real-world challenges facing our city and broader global community. This support for the Sciences Expansion and Renovation project and interdisciplinary initiatives like those happening in the CUES will have a broad impact, enhancing the learning experiences available to every Butler student.”

 

Butler Beyond: The Campaign for Butler University is the University’s largest-ever comprehensive fundraising campaign, with a goal of $250 million to support student access and success, innovations in teaching and learning, and community partnerships.

 

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

Major Gift from Diane Meyer Simon
Butler Beyond

Major Gift from Diane Meyer Simon to Support Center for Urban Ecology and Sustainability

The $500,000 estate commitment will be used to create the Mikhail Gorbachev Fund

Oct 07 2020 Read more
Inside Butler
Campus

Inside Butler: An On-Campus Update

BY

PUBLISHED ON Sep 25 2020

 

“Homecoming is a time to celebrate our Butler pride, and while it’s been a difficult year in so many ways, we certainly still have many reasons to celebrate,” said President James Danko during a virtual event for the Butler University community on Friday afternoon.

Inside Butler: An On-Campus Update kicked off a weekend of online festivities for AT HOMEcoming 2020. The event provided an inside look at life on campus this semester, including updates from President Danko and other University leaders on how Butler has adapted and continues to provide an excellent educational experience despite COVID-19 restrictions.

“I do want to commend our students, faculty, and staff for their remarkable resilience and the flexibility they have demonstrated this year,” President Danko said. “We can all be extremely proud of the way this community has come together and exhibited the true nature of The Butler Way through acts of caring, sacrifice, and generosity. I also want to extend my deep appreciation for our alumni, trustees, donors, and friends. Your loyalty, leadership, and concern for the well-being of our students has been a source of great stability and strength for Butler this year.”

The community also heard from Dr. Terri Jett, Professor of Political Science and Butler’s Special Assistant to the Provost for Diversity and Inclusivity, who was recently appointed Faculty Director of the Butler University Hub for Black Affairs and Community Engagement.

“My work will coordinate and address the belonging and connection of our Black faculty, staff, students, and alumni,” Dr. Jett said of the new role, “in a manner that moves us to bring Ovid Butler’s prophetic vision into the present day.”

Dr. Jett provided updates on Butler’s efforts to eliminate racism on campus and create a welcoming environment for all, including the recent addition of a Social Justice and Diversity requirement for students, as well as ongoing faculty and staff workshops focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Dr. Frank E. Ross III, Vice President for Student Affairs, shared how Butler has continued to engage students outside the classroom this semester. Many activities have adapted, moving either online or outdoors. Student support centers across campus, such as the Center for Faith and Vocation, the Diversity Center, and Health Services, have also worked hard to continue providing important resources.

“This semester is certainly unlike any other semester we have seen at Butler, and navigating the uncertainties of the pandemic has been quite a challenge,” Dr. Ross said. “I want to applaud our students, our faculty, and our staff for their resilience and agility in working together toward our goal of having a successful in-person fall semester.”

Butler Basketball fans who tuned in got to hear from Athletics Director Barry Collier ’76 that, as of now, the winter season is on. The men’s basketball season is scheduled to begin November 25.

Jonathan Purvis, Vice President of Advancement, thanked donors for their tremendous support over the last year, including $100,000 in emergency relief for Butler students hit hardest by the financial impact of COVID-19. He also announced that the University has exceeded $185 million in gifts toward Butler Beyond’s $250 million campaign goal.

“With your ongoing generosity,” Purvis said, “I’m confident that we’ll exceed this goal and continue to push Butler beyond the limits of today and into the future that our alumni, students, and faculty are creating.”

President Danko wrapped up the event by recognizing the recipients of Butler’s 2020 Alumni Awards, which honor individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary professional achievement and service to the University and their communities.

Inside Butler
Campus

Inside Butler: An On-Campus Update

The pandemic isn’t stopping Bulldogs from celebrating Butler during AT HOMEcoming 2020

Sep 25 2020 Read more
Butler University
Campus

Butler Presents Annual Alumni Awards, Recognizing Service to the University

BY Larry Clow

PUBLISHED ON Sep 23 2020

Seven Butler University alumni, one professor emeritus, and a former Trustee and his spouse are the recipients of Butler’s annual Alumni Awards. These individuals have demonstrated extraordinary professional achievement and service to the University and their communities. Honorees will be recognized this year online at butler.edu/homecoming as part of Butler’s AT HOMEcoming 2020 festivities, beginning on Friday, September 25. An in-person recognition program is slated for 2021.

This year’s recipients are:

  • Butler Medal: Thomas A. King ’66 
  • Butler Service Medal: James W. Berry
  • Robert Todd Duncan Alumni Achievement Award: Wendi C. Thomas ’93
  • Katharine Merrill Graydon Alumni Service Award: Mary Majewski Shaw ’93 
  • Hilton Ultimus Brown Alumni Achievement Award: Brandon M. Gaudin ’06 
  • Joseph Irwin Sweeney Alumni Service Award: Michael R. Bennett ’09
  • Mortar Award: Albert and Margaret Chen
  • Foundation Award: Scott ’03 and Katie Nichols ’05 

 

Butler Medal: Thomas A. King ’66 

Thomas A. King ’66 has been active in nonprofit management, community development, and philanthropy in Indiana throughout a wide-ranging career that has spanned more than five decades.

Following his graduation from Butler in 1966, King worked as a newspaper reporter for The Indianapolis Star and then joined the United States Air Force during the Vietnam War. After four years as an Air Force officer, King returned to Indianapolis, where he held a variety of positions at the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce. He served as the Chamber’s president from 1979 to 1991. During his tenure as president, King led the Chamber’s study of Indianapolis’ infrastructure, which set the course for capital improvements during the next 20 years. He was also involved in building the Hoosier Dome and bringing the Colts to the city.

King later served as president of the Eli Lilly and Company Foundation, where he directed the company’s philanthropic strategies and managed global corporate responsibility practices. He shared his expertise with students at Butler and Indiana University—Purdue University Indianapolis as an adjunct instructor, teaching nonprofit management, ethics, and leadership courses.

Following his retirement from the Eli Lilly and Company Foundation, King was involved in consulting. He concluded his career as president and CEO of the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites. He has served in volunteer leadership capacities for several community organizations, including Big Brothers of Central Indiana, Goodwill of Central Indiana, the Indiana Sports Corporation, and the Arthur Jordan Foundation.

King is an emeritus member of Butler’s Board of Trustees, as well as a recipient of the Butler University Outstanding Alumni Award, the 2005 Michael A. Carroll Award from the Indianapolis Business Journal, the 2011 S. Henry Bundles Service Award from the Center for Leadership Development, and the 2015 Charles L. Whistler Award from the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee, among many others. He is a two-time recipient of the Sagamore of the Wabash.

King and his wife, Verletta, have been married 55 years and have three sons and seven grandchildren. His current interests include Butler basketball, organizational effectiveness, golf, and woodworking.

The Butler Medal is the highest honor conferred by the Butler University Alumni Association. It recognizes individuals for a lifetime of distinguished service to either Butler University or their local community, while at the same time achieving a distinguished career in their chosen profession and attaining a regional—or even a national—reputation. Since 1959, this award has recognized individuals who have helped immeasurably toward perpetuating the University as a great educational and cultural institution and have had a profound influence on the course of Butler University.

 

Butler Service Medal: James W. Berry

Dr. James W. Berry is a Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences at Butler University. A member of the University’s faculty from 1965 until his retirement in 1997, Berry’s academic career has taken him across the country and around the globe.

Berry received his bachelor’s degree from East Tennessee State University in 1957 and his master’s degree from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 1958. He went on to Duke University, where he completed his PhD studies in 1965. After a one-year stint teaching Zoology at Butler, Berry received a postdoctoral appointment at the University of Miami and began what would become a 50-year survey of spiders in the Florida Everglades.

In 1967, Berry returned to the Zoology Department at Butler. Along with his duties at the University, he was also hired by the Atomic Energy Commission to investigate the effects of atomic bomb blasts on Pacific Island flora and fauna. He spent two summers in 1968 and 1969 studying spiders on the Pacific atolls Eniwetok and Kwajalein.

He returned to the South Pacific in 1973 during his first sabbatical to continue his study of spiders there. His wife, Betsy, acted as his field assistant as they covered the Mariana and Caroline Islands from Guam to Helen Reef. They returned again in 1980 for Berry’s second sabbatical, this time with daughter Tina in tow, and lived for six months on the Micronesian island of Yap.

In 1988, Berry began work on organizing the first Butler Undergraduate Research Conference. The inaugural conference took place in 1989, with 50 students from colleges across Indiana. During the next three decades, the conference expanded and now hosts more than 750 students representing institutions throughout the Midwest.

Berry completed his survey of spiders in the Everglades in 2009 and submitted his study for publication this year. He is a member of the American Arachnological Society, the International Society of Arachnology, and the Indiana Academy of Science. Berry is a past fellow of the Indiana Academy of Science and a research associate for the Florida State Collection of Arthropods. He received the Special Services Award from the Indiana Academy of Science in 2012.

Since the 1980s, Berry has loaned his family’s antique sleigh out to the Jordan College of the Arts’ production of The Nutcracker. The sleigh is a familiar sight to the Butler community (and, according to Berry, looks “a lot more magical with the Clowes Hall lighting than it does in real life”), and he is proud to have a part in a production that is still enchanting the Indianapolis community.

The Butler Service Medal, established by the Alumni Association in 2001, is the second-highest honor conferred by the Butler University Alumni Association and is reserved for recognition of emeriti faculty or retired faculty and staff (graduate or non-graduate). The recipient will have achieved a lifetime of distinguished service to Butler University and/or the community. Recipients will have helped to shape the past and future successes of Butler and therefore shown a profound influence.

 

Robert Todd Duncan Alumni Achievement Award: Wendi C. Thomas ’93

Wendi C. Thomas ’93 is the founding editor and publisher of MLK50: Justice Through Journalism, a nonprofit newsroom in Memphis focused on poverty, power, and public policy. As part of ProPublica’s 2019 Local Reporting Network, she investigated a nonprofit hospital’s aggressive debt collection practices, which led the hospital to erase at least $11.9 million in hospital debt for more than 5,300 defendants. She is also a member of ProPublica’s 2020 Local Reporting Network.

Previously, she was metro columnist and assistant managing editor at The (Memphis) Commercial Appeal. She has also worked for The Charlotte Observer, The (Nashville) Tennessean and The Indianapolis Star. Thomas was a 2016 fellow at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University.

Thomas is the 2020 Selden Ring Award winner for investigative reporting and won first place in the Association of Health Care Journalists’ 2019 awards for business reporting. Her “Profiting from the Poor” investigation tied for first place in the Investigative Reporters & Editors 2019 awards.

In 2019, Thomas received the National Association of Black Journalists’ Best Practices award. In 2018, she was named Journalist of the Year by Journalism and Women Symposium. She was inducted into the Scripps Hall of Fame for commentary in 2008. She is a graduate of Butler University and a proud product of public schools.

The Robert Todd Duncan Award recognizes a graduate who is established in their career, and whose personal and/or professional accomplishment brings honor and distinction to the University, and individual attainment and/or contributions for the betterment of society. This award honors the spirit and accomplishments of Robert Duncan, a 1925 graduate, noted opera singer, and educator who in 1945, became the first African American to sing with a major white opera company, the New York City Opera Company.

 

Katharine Merrill Graydon Alumni Service Award: Mary Majewski Shaw ’93 

Mary Majewski Shaw ’93 attended Butler University on a full basketball scholarship and graduated with high honors in Business Marketing. Elected captain for three out of four years on the team, Shaw started every game and was the first player in Butler Women’s Basketball history to lead the Bulldogs in assists per game for four consecutive seasons. She achieved a number of milestones during her basketball career at Butler, including 332 career steals (the second-highest total in Butler and Horizon League history), the all-time record for minutes played, and being part of the top-10 players on Butler’s all-time list for three-point field goal shooting. She was inducted into Butler’s Hall of Fame in 2006 in recognition of her achievements. 

Shaw started her business, Your Image Works (YIW), in 1998. The only NCAA internal licensee owned by a woman, YIW counts among its clients OrthoIndy, Indiana University, Butler, and the NCAA. She credits her years as a student athlete with helping her serve her clients. In 2015, she established AP Property, a property management business.

She is a familiar face to Butler alumni in Central Indiana. Shaw served as a volunteer steering committee member for the Central Indiana Butler Community from 2010 to 2020, with seven of those years as vice president. She was a vital player in developing the annual Bulldog Crawl. She was also a member of the B Association for 12 years. During the last year, she joined Butler’s Board of Visitors and serves as an advisor to the Butler Giving Circle. She is also a board member for Aspire House Brand.

Shaw believes in Butler and calls herself a “huge cheerleader” for the University and its students. In 2017, she supported Butler Volleyball’s travels to Brazil, and she often hosts the women’s volleyball and basketball teams at her home. She also enjoys mentoring local high school seniors and connecting them with Butler professors.

The Katharine Merrill Graydon Alumni Service Award recognizes a graduate who is established in their career, and who has displayed and recognizes a long-term commitment of outstanding service to the University. The recipients of this award have provided demonstrable service to the University to assist in perpetuating Butler as a great educational and cultural institution. This award honors the memory of Katharine Graydon, who graduated from Butler in 1878 and was a Professor of English Literature at the University from 1907 to 1930, receiving an honorary doctorate of literature in 1928. Graydon served as the Alumni Secretary and Editor of the Alumnal Quarterly from its first edition in 1922 until her retirement in 1929, when she was named Professor Emerita.

 

Hilton Ultimus Brown Alumni Achievement Award: Brandon M. Gaudin ’06 

Brandon Gaudin ’06 is a play-by-play announcer for multiple national platforms. He broadcasts NFL football, college football, and college basketball for FOX Sports and the Big Ten Network. He also calls men’s NCAA basketball for the Westwood One radio network.

Gaudin is also the play-by-play voice for Madden NFL by EA Sports and has been featured as the lead voice on a number of national ad campaigns. His three seasons as the play-by-play voice for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets earned him features in The New York Times, USA Today, and SportsIllustrated.com.

However, Gaudin is best known to Bulldogs as the play-by-play voice for Butler Basketball and was on the call for the Bulldogs’ trip to the Final Four in 2011. During his years at Butler, he was named Most Outstanding Communications Student and one of the top-10 male students in his graduating class. He is currently a member of the College of Communication’s Dean’s Advisory Board.

The Hilton Ultimus Brown Alumni Achievement Award honors a recent graduate whose personal and/or professional accomplishment brings honor and distinction to the University, and individual attainment and/or contributions for the betterment of society. Hilton U. Brown gave a lifetime of service to his career and Butler University, including serving on the Board of Trustees for 71 years. He was an award-winning newspaper journalist and Managing Editor at the Indianapolis News for more than seven decades.

 

Joseph Irwin Sweeney Alumni Service Award: Michael R. Bennett ’09

Michael R. Bennett ’09 is a director and investment counselor covering the east coast region for Citi Private Bank. Bennett works with ultra-high net worth individuals, family offices and endowments, and foundations to provide strategies for asset allocation, investment objectives, and risk management.

Before joining Citi, Bennett worked at J.P. Morgan Private Bank for 10 years. A part of the Private Bank Opportunistic Investment Council and an analyst, he ended his time at J.P. Morgan as an executive director and investment specialist.

Bennett received a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance from Butler in 2009. He played an integral part in the development and execution of Butler's New York Trek program, which provides current students a glimpse at working on Wall Street. A CFA charter-holder, he is also a board member of the D10 Decathlon and serves as the New York City board chair for Good Sports. He lives in New York City.

The Joseph Irwin Sweeney Alumni Service Award recognizes a recent alumnus who has demonstrated a significant commitment of outstanding service to the University. The award’s recipients have provided demonstrable service to the University to assist in perpetuating Butler as a great educational and cultural institution. The award honors the spirit and example of Joseph Sweeney, a young student with a great deal of potential, whose life was tragically cut short.

 

Mortar Award: Albert and Margaret Chen

Albert and Margaret Chen are the cofounders of the Telamon Corporation, headquartered in Carmel, Indiana. Founded in 1985 and named for the Greek word for “support,” Telamon has grown to a $770 million company with more than 2,000 employees. Albert is also the owner of Telamon Enterprise Ventures, LLC, which provides energy management, solar solutions, and smart manufacturing. 

During their first 20 years in business, Albert focused on external marketing and strategic planning while Margaret managed the company’s operations. They have been widely recognized for their success in business and have received several awards, including the Cummins US Diverse Supplier Award in 2014 and the Best of Tech in Indiana: Corporate Innovator of the Year award in 2016. Most recently, Telamon Corporation was named one of the best-managed private companies in the U.S.

In 2016, Margaret retired to focus on her grandchildren and faith-based activities. Albert currently oversees Telamon Enterprise Ventures and is Executive Chairman of Telamon Corporation. They are both actively involved in community service. Margaret is a former board member of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. Albert is a former member of Butler University’s Board of Trustees and currently serves on the board of the Lingnan Foundation.

The Chens also are actively involved with their church and homeless outreach efforts. They enjoy giving generously to endowed scholarship funds at Indiana University, Purdue University, and Portland State University.

Albert is a graduate of the Executive Minority Business Program at Tuck School of Business, and he received an M.S. in Mathematical Sciences from Portland State University, as well as an LL.B. from National Cheng-Chi University in Taiwan. Albert received an honorary doctoral degree from his alma mater, Portland State University, in June 2017. Margaret received a B.A. in Piano Performance from Portland State University. 

The Mortar Award, created in 1995, honors one person or couple each year who personifies the Butler spirit by demonstrating great vision, leadership, and generosity to Butler University.

 

Foundation Award: Scott ’03 and Katie Nichols ’05 

Scott Nichols ’03 is president of Palmer Trucks, a Kenworth Dealership Group with 12 stores throughout the Midwest. He began working in the family business in 2008, and the business is currently celebrating its 55th anniversary.

A 2003 College of Business graduate, Nichols was a four-year Men’s Lacross player and a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity.

Dr. Katherine T. Nichols ’06 was born and raised in Terre Haute, Indiana. She received her undergraduate degree in Biology at Butler in 2006 and went on to attend the Indiana University School of Dentistry. She graduated with honors in 2010 and completed her residency program in pediatric dentistry at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health.

Known to her patients as “Dr. Katie,” she specializes in dental care for infants, children, adolescents, and patients with special healthcare needs. She is an active member of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Dental Association, and the Indiana Society of Pediatric Dentistry. A Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry, Dr. Nichols maintains hospital privileges at St. Vincent’s Carmel Hospital and IU North Hospital.

The Nichols were married in 2008. They are members of Meridian Street United Methodist Church, the Indianapolis Children’s Museum, and the Ovid Butler Society. They are the proud parents of four children—Nolan, Knox, and twins Collin and Nora—and enjoy family bike rides, playing in the park, and cheering on the Butler Bulldogs.

“Butler University has played an integral role in shaping our lives, our businesses, our marriage, and our community outreach,” says Katie. “Our time spent at Butler shaped our view of The Butler Way and what it means to give back to an institution and programs that gave so much to you.”

The Foundation Award, created in 2011, honors one person or couple (age 40 and younger) each year who personifies the Butler spirit by demonstrating leadership and generosity to Butler University.

 

Please join us for Inside Butler: An On-Campus Update on Friday, September 25, at 3:30 PM EST, where we will be honoring the recipients of the Alumni Awards.

Butler University
Campus

Butler Presents Annual Alumni Awards, Recognizing Service to the University

This year's honorees will be recognized online as part of Butler’s AT HOMEcoming 2020 festivities

Sep 23 2020 Read more
Lewellyn research
Innovation

Fruit Flies Could Help Scientists Understand Human Fertility

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Sep 22 2020

Even though about one in 10 individuals experience problems with fertility, the cause of infertility is often unknown. At Butler University, Lindsay Lewellyn is trying to change that.

The Associate Professor of Biological Sciences has received a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) totaling $413,086 over the next three years. Her research aims to learn more about how reproductive cells are normally formed, which she hopes will lead to a better understanding of how defects in their development can cause infertility.

Lewellyn, with the help of several undergraduate student-researchers, is focusing on structures called intercellular bridges. These structures aid in the formation of egg and sperm cells by connecting developing germ cells with other germ cells, or with supporting “nurse” cells. Intercellular bridges allow nutrients, proteins, and other essential materials to be shared between neighboring cells, and defects in these structures can affect development in ways that negatively impact fertility.

Using the female fruit fly as a model organism, Lewellyn’s project examines a handful of proteins involved in the development of intercellular bridges to better understand how these structures are formed and how they are able to stably connect cells during periods of significant growth. Lewellyn has already characterized four proteins she believes play a role in this process. Now, by altering the levels and localization of these proteins, she’s trying to figure out how they could work together.

“If we are able to characterize the specific roles of these proteins in the fruit fly, it’s possible that those same proteins contribute to intercellular bridge formation and stability in humans,” Lewellyn says, explaining how this research could impact our understanding of human fertility. “What’s really nice about using the fruit fly as a model is that in the developing fruit fly egg, these intercellular bridges are relatively large and easy to see.”

But of course they’re still small—only about 10 micrometers wide at most—so Lewellyn says the research team spends a lot of time at microscopes. After extracting the fly ovaries, researchers add stains and use fluorescence microscopes to help them see the proteins they’re looking for.

In offering opportunities for students to join her research lab, Lewellyn hopes to provide valuable experience in these and other common lab techniques. But she says this kind of research also teaches transferable skills that can be applied outside the lab, including critical thinking and communication.

Lindsay Lewellyn, along with student-researchers Josephine Thestrup, Kara Stark, and Umy Shaikh, attended a research conference in Washington, DC last year. 

For Umy Shaikh, a senior who has been involved with Lewellyn’s research for more than two years, improving his ability to think critically has been a central part of the experience.

“In addition to all the technical skills—which is definitely huge—I’ve learned to think like a scientist and a researcher,” says Shaikh, who majors in Spanish and minors in Chemistry and Communication. “The mindset and mentality needed for this work has been just as, if not more, important than the actual technical skills. By constantly asking new questions, I’m able to grow in the way I conduct research, and to grow in the way I approach problems.”

Shaikh decided to pursue biological research to help prepare him for medical school, which has been his goal since arriving at Butler. He was drawn to Lewellyn’s lab because of the potential impacts of her research within the field of medicine.

“The big-picture goal of the lab is really to understand the mechanisms that lead to infertility, which is a very pervasive problem in the world,” Shaikh says. “Seeing that that was the cornerstone of her research really spoke to me because I want to effect meaningful change in any way I can.”

 

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

Lewellyn research
Innovation

Fruit Flies Could Help Scientists Understand Human Fertility

Lindsay Lewellyn, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences, has received more than $400,000 from the NIH to study the development of reproductive cells

Sep 22 2020 Read more
BBQ event
Experiential Learning

Chemistry Profs Connect With Alumni Through Food-Based Science Lessons

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Sep 16 2020

On a Saturday evening in July, Amy E. Hyduk-Cardillo ’04 and her husband heated up the ribs they’d smoked a few days earlier, booted up Zoom, and sat down to learn more about their meal.

The Science of BBQ virtual event was just the latest in an ongoing series of similar food-centric alumni gatherings. Butler University Chemistry Professors Mike Samide and Anne Wilson, in partnership with the Office of Alumni Relations and Engagement, have been teaching small groups of alumni about the science behind their favorite foods—think beer, cheese, wine, and chocolate—since 2018.

“These events allow alumni to feel like they are back in class engaging with faculty, learning something new, and talking with one another,” Wilson says.

Each lesson covers the basic history, science, and production process of the featured food item. Hyduk-Cardillo, who attended several of the Science of… events held in-person at local businesses before the start of COVID-19, says virtual events have provided some relief during the pandemic.

“What’s been the silver lining around COVID-19 is the ability to see how organizations and businesses create new events, environments for hosting events, and ways of doing business that have been unique and fun to participate in,” she says. “The virtual Science of BBQ alumni event was a perfect way to spend our otherwise very rainy Saturday evening making new Butler connections.”

Prior to the BBQ event, participants received a video covering basic methods for choosing, prepping, and cooking different kinds of meat. The event itself focused on themes like the difference between grilling and smoking, whether you should use sauce or rub, and tips for achieving the best results. Jeffrey Stroebel ’79 says he plans to use the trick of applying a dry rub beneath the skin when cooking poultry, which directly seasons the meat while taking advantage of flavorful fats that escape the skin as it cooks. Stroebel didn’t have time to buy or prepare a BBQ meal to enjoy during the event, but he’s glad he took part.

“We are more than 2,000 miles away in Bellevue, Washington,” he says, “so it’s nice to be able to stay connected.”

About 100 Butler community members from across the country attended The Science of BBQ. It was the first virtual event of the series, allowing for a bigger audience that extended beyond alumni and also included parents, faculty, staff, and trustees.

Now, Samide and Wilson are getting ready to kick off the AT HOMEcoming 2020 event schedule with a virtual Science of Beer presentation—complete with an at-home tasting experience.

“Food provides an easy way for anyone to connect with science,” Wilson says. “For some reason, food is non-threatening—probably because we handle it every day. And that offers a good entryway into being able to talk about science.”

Space is limited for the 7:00 PM EDT event on September 22, so make sure to register here if you want the inside scoop on at-home brewing.

 

How it all began

When the Butler Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry first introduced short-term study abroad courses in 2015, alumni got jealous. Why weren’t those trips offered back in their college years?

So, Wilson and Samide decided to make it happen. They planned an inaugural Alumni Travel Tour that was scheduled to take place in summer 2020, incorporating topics with mass appeal: beer, wine, cheese, and chocolate. With a variety of European destinations on the itinerary, the curriculum aimed to combine interdisciplinary science with societal and historical perspectives.

To help spread the word about the trip—but also just to engage with alumni in a new way—Wilson and Samide launched the Indianapolis-based Science of… event series. Each of the in-person gatherings involved local businesses: Science of Chocolate with alumnus-owned DeBrand Fine Chocolates, Science of Beer with Metazoa Brewing Co., Science of Cheese with Tulip Tree Creamery, and Science of Wine with Sugar Creek Winery.

Modeled after the Butler classroom experience, the sold-out events all started with about 30 minutes of teaching, followed by discussion and an experiential component (AKA, a food or beverage tasting). Samide says the educational portion is taught in layperson terms, skipping some of the complexities that would be part of a regular science class and focusing more on things like how various chemical compounds make up different flavor profiles, or how growing conditions and aging times affect the taste of wine.

The chemistry professors enjoy providing these opportunities for alumni to connect with faculty and one another, having meaningful conversations while learning something new. While COVID-19 forced the Alumni Travel Tour to be postponed until 2021, virtual versions of the Science of… events have opened doors (or web browser windows) for broader participation.

“Events like these show that the University is not just a degree mill,” Wilson says. “It really is a place where we value learning and conversation. We are living the ideals of a liberal education—that there’s always something you can learn.”

 

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

BBQ event
Experiential Learning

Chemistry Profs Connect With Alumni Through Food-Based Science Lessons

‘The Science of Beer’ on September 22 will be the second virtual offering in a class-like event series focused on meaningful alumni engagement

Sep 16 2020 Read more
Butler University U.S. News Rankings
Campus

Butler Ranked No.1 in Midwest for Third Straight Year by U.S. News & World Report

BY

PUBLISHED ON Sep 14 2020

For the third straight year, Butler University has been named the No. 1 Regional University in the Midwest, according to the 2021 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges Rankings, released today.

Butler also ranked as the No. 1 Most Innovative School for the sixth consecutive year, and No. 3 for Undergraduate Teaching.

“The 2021 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges Rankings confirm Butler’s place as one of the region’s most outstanding, innovative institutions for teaching and learning,” says President James Danko. “These rankings reflect the ongoing excellence of our academic programs and exceptional student experience. As we continue to pursue our goal of expanding student access and success through the Butler Beyond strategic direction, we are committed to extending this valuable, quality education to a broader set of learners for the good of our community.”

In addition to its strong position in the Midwest, Butler ranked within the top 30 among nationally ranked schools (such as Elon, Princeton, and Yale Universities) in three key areas identified by U.S. News as critical in providing students with the best possible undergraduate experience: first-year experience (No. 19), senior capstone experience (No. 23), and study abroad opportunities (No. 28).

The U.S. News first-year experience category recognizes schools that have developed ways to help new students feel connected well beyond orientation week, such as Butler’s required First-Year Seminar, which introduces students to the practice of engaging with complex and unfamiliar ideas.

Senior capstone experiences give students nearing the end of their time at college the chance to create a culminating project drawing on what they’ve learned over several years. At Butler, for example, many students collaborate with faculty members on meaningful research, perform recitals, or complete other capstone projects within their academic programs.

The study abroad category highlights universities that allow students to complete a substantial amount of credit hours outside the United States, immersing themselves in new cultures. While the COVID-19 pandemic has limited travel opportunities throughout 2020, Butler normally offers more than 200 study abroad programs across 60 different countries, including several designed and led by Butler faculty.

“Our rankings are reflective of Butler’s commitment to our students," Provost Kate Morris says. "By emphasizing innovation within our curriculum, we provide students with educational experiences that prepare them to adapt to challenges and changes throughout their careers. I am tremendously proud of our faculty and staff for their dedication to student success, both inside and outside of the classroom.”

 

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

Butler University U.S. News Rankings
Campus

Butler Ranked No.1 in Midwest for Third Straight Year by U.S. News & World Report

The University also ranked among top universities in three national categories

Sep 14 2020 Read more
Butler University
Campus

Butler’s Response to Racism/Social Injustice

BY

PUBLISHED ON Sep 10 2020

  

Butler University
Campus

Butler’s Response to Racism/Social Injustice

Just as it is our obligation to support our students at this critical moment, we also must support one another, working collaboratively to achieve lasting progress toward our shared Butler mission

Sep 10 2020 Read more
COE sign
Butler Beyond

Honoring A Mother’s Legacy: Donor Gift Supports College of Education Faculty

BY Jennifer Gunnels

PUBLISHED ON Sep 09 2020

As John Steele ’92 approached the 25th anniversary of his mother’s death earlier this summer, he discussed with his wife and father how the family might mark the occasion in a way that would honor her memory.

A lifelong learner and dedicated educator, Shirley Luhn Steele, MS ’82 died of cancer in 1995 at the age of 56. At the time of her death, she was working at The Orchard School as Head of Support Services and pursuing a PhD in neuropsychology at Indiana State University. This year, through a major gift to the College of Education (COE), John Steele established the Shirley Luhn Steele Faculty Support Endowed Fund in honor of his mother’s continuous efforts to further her own education for the benefit of her students. The gift is the first of its kind at Butler to specifically support faculty in the COE.

The fund will support faculty research, leadership development, scholarly engagement opportunities, and other specialized continuing education with a particular focus on supporting faculty in the area of special education and learning disabilities. The $125,000 gift will be matched over the next several years at a 1:1 ratio by John Steele’s employer, Eli Lilly and Company, doubling the impact of the gift.

Shirley Luhn Steele taught for nearly 20 years at The Orchard School, beginning as a teacher’s aide and taking on roles with increasing responsibilities as her own training grew. She earned her master’s degree in Education at Butler in 1982 and later earned a certificate in Special Education in 1991. Steele was especially dedicated to helping students with learning disabilities succeed.

“This was a sad milestone, but a milestone nonetheless. We wanted to find a way to honor her and also meet a need for Butler, which has a special place in my heart as a graduate myself,” John Steele says. “This fund is a good reflection of what my mom did as an educator for students with learning disabilities, continuing her training so she could pass that knowledge on to her students. The stars kind of aligned, and this seemed like the right thing to do at the right time.”

Dr. Brooke Kandel-Cisco, COE Dean, says the fund will support faculty research in the area of Special Education, such as a project on which Dr. Suneeta Kercood and Dr. Kelli Esteves are currently collaborating with faculty who specialize in English as a Second Language. Within the project, Kercood and Esteves are investigating barriers and supports that dual-identified students and their families encounter in special education, English language development, and K-12 inclusive settings, and identifying practices that will promote equity and access in these settings. Kandel-Cisco says research studies such as this one allow faculty to collect pilot data, which enhances their ability to secure large federally funded grants to support research programs.

“Faculty support funds such as the Shirley Luhn Steele Faculty Support Fund are so important because they enhance faculty excellence and innovation in teaching, research, and curriculum development, which in turn has a positive impact on students and practitioners,” Kandel-Cisco says.

Along with research support, other possible uses for the fund include support for Butler’s community partnership with Special Olympics of Indiana, which involves COE undergraduate and graduate students and aims to increase inclusion efforts on campus, international opportunities that allow faculty to learn about and conduct research on special education practices from around the world, and engagement and leadership development connected to faculty involvement with professional associations focusing on Special Education, such as the Council for Exceptional Children.

The fund will also provide support for COE faculty to offer professional development and instructional coaching for local K-12 educators working with students with special learning needs. Thanks to the Steele fund, this training can be provided at little or no cost for schools with limited resources.

John Steele is proud the fund will bear the name of a woman he says embodied all the qualities of a great educator. Even while battling multiple myeloma, Shirley Luhn Steele continued to show up for her students in spite of her pain.

“I can’t think of a better role model in terms of a person of strong faith, humility, and just hard work and perseverance,” Steele says. “She came from very poor beginnings, and was the first person in her family to go to college. Through her own educational efforts and determination to continue improving herself, she influenced many lives with her dedication to her students.”

Innovations in Teaching and Learning is one of the pillars of the Butler Beyond $250 million comprehensive fundraising campaign. The University aims to raise $20 million in new funding for faculty through endowed faculty positions and funds like the Shirley Luhn Steele Faculty Support Endowed Fund, which will help Butler to attract and retain the nation’s top scholars.

“The Shirley Luhn Steele Faculty Support Endowed Fund is a tremendous gift to the COE faculty, the Butler students they teach, and the thousands of children our COE graduates will educate in their classrooms throughout their careers,” says Kathryn Morris, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. “Investing in the excellence of our faculty will have ripple effects well beyond our imagination.”

 

Innovations in Teaching and Learning
One of the distinguishing features of a Butler education has always been the meaningful and enduring relationships between our faculty and students. Gifts to this pillar during the Butler Beyond comprehensive fundraising campaign will accelerate our commitment to investing in faculty excellence by adding endowed positions, supporting faculty scholarship and research, renovating and expanding state-of-the-art teaching facilities, and more. Learn more, make a gift, and read other stories like this one at beyond.butler.edu.

 

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

COE sign
Butler Beyond

Honoring A Mother’s Legacy: Donor Gift Supports College of Education Faculty

The Shirley Luhn Steele Faculty Support Endowed Fund is the first of its kind at Butler to specifically support faculty in the COE

Sep 09 2020 Read more

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Experts

EXPERTS

Jennifer Snyder

Professor, Physician Assistant Program

Dr. Snyder graduated from the Butler University physician assistant program in 1997 and earned a PhD in Health Sciences from Nova Southeastern University in 2014.  She has worked in both Family and Emergency Medicine as a physician assistant.  She is a tenured professor and serves as chair of the department /PA Program Director.  She  has served within the program as both the Academic Coordinator and a Clinical Coordinator.  She has served as a University Faculty Senator and on the College and University Professional Standards Committees while at Butler University.

Dr. Snyder has been active in the national professional organizations of the PA profession. She currently serves as the Immediate Past President of the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA).  She has served as a site visitor for the Accreditation Review Commission on Education of the Physician Assistant.  Dr. Snyder has served as chair of the Public Relations Committee of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA).  She has served on several Reference Committees and the Standing Rules Committee within the House of Delegates, AAPA.  In addition, she has served on numerous other committees and workgroups in both the PAEA and AAPA.

She has remained active as a member with her state physician assistant organization. In the past, Dr. Snyder was elected to positions within the Indiana Academy of Physician Assistants (IAPA) as President, Secretary and on numerous occasions as a Delegate to the AAPA House of Delegates.  Dr. Snyder was awarded the President’s Award in 2011 by the Student Academy of American Academy of Physician Assistants. She is a Distinguished Fellow Member of the AAPA. 

She has presented and published several articles on clinical, professional and research topics associated with the PA profession and education.

Jennifer Snyder

Jennifer Snyder

Professor, Physician Assistant Program

Terri Jett

Associate Professor, Political Science

Dr. Terri Jett is an Associate Professor of Political Science and Special Assistant to the Provost for Diversity and Inclusivity. Dr. Jett is also an affiliate faculty member of the Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies Program. She teaches courses on U.S. politics with a focus on the experiences of AfricanAmericans and other ethnic minorities such as Black Political Thought and The Politics of Alice Walker. Her research focus is on the post-Civil Rights Movement experiences of African Americans in rural communities in the southern U.S. and she is currently writing on the recent settlements of Black, Native American, Women and Latino farmers against the United States Department of Agriculture for discrimination. Dr. Jett has a B.A. in Ethnic Studies and a Masters in Public Administration from California State University, Hayward (now East Bay) and a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Public Administration from Auburn University. She is President of the Board of the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana and serves on the Indiana Debate Commission.

Terri Jett

Terri Jett

Dr. Terri Jett is an Associate Professor of Political Science and Special Assistant to the Provost for Diversity and Inclusivity.

Terri Jett

Terri Jett

Associate Professor, Political Science

Fait Muedini

Associate Professor, International Studies

Fait Muedini is the Frances Shera Fessler Associate Professor of International Studies. He is also a Fellow at the Desmond Tutu Center for Peace, Reconciliation, and Global Justice .

He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University at Buffalo, SUNY, a M.A. in International Affairs from the American University School of International Service, and a B.A. in Political Science from Wayne State University, in Detroit, Michigan.

His teaching and research interests are centered primarily on issues of human rights, Islam and politics, and the politics of the Middle East and North Africa.

Fait Muedini

Fait Muedini

Associate Professor, International Studies

Craig Caldwell

Associate Professor, Lacy School of Business

Dr. Caldwell works with organizations to develop strategic direction, link implementation steps to strategy, identify organizational culture, and develop processes to bring about organizational change. Since 2007, Craig has served as an Associate Professor of Management in the Lacy School of Business at ButlerUniversity.   He is currently the Associate Dean of Graduate & Professional Programs.  He teaches MBA and undergraduate courses in Strategy, Leadership, and Organizational Change. Craig has won six teaching awards and two advising awards.  He is the Chair of Graduate Council and his past roles include the Faculty Annual Evaluation Committee and Department Chair for Marketing & Management.

Dr. Caldwell’s consulting and executive education activities focus on strategy development, leadership, and organizational change. He has worked with client firms in logistics, manufacturing, food service, life-sciences and architecture. In addition to strategy development, Craig's leadership works includes human capital strategy, employee engagement, and building high-performance teams.

Craig has a leadership book being released in February of 2018 titled, "The Catalyst Effect" that talks about how you can lead from anywhere in an organization.  Craig’s other research includes academic articles in Business and Society, Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, The Monitor, Business and Society Review, Management Accounting Quarterly, and Journal of Corporate Citizenship. 

Craig holds a Doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh, an MBA from Virginia Tech,and a BA from Anderson University. 

Craig Caldwell

Craig Caldwell

Associate Professor, Lacy School of Business