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Butler Magazine

Spring 2017

Butler Alumna Makes Science Fun

Krisy Force

from Spring 2017

Julie Boyk ’10, Senior Education Coordinator for the Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) in Chicago, remembers having a difficult time deciding which college to attend. She was excited to be accepted to Butler University but she had two other colleges who were offering scholarships from which to choose. It wasn’t until her dad was heading to Indianapolis for a business trip that he asked her along to tour the campus.

“I went on the trip just to appease my father. It was freezing cold and snowing, but the moment I stepped out of my dad’s car, I felt at home,” Boyk said. “I thought, ‘this is where I was going to spend the next five years of my life.’ We went on a tour, further drawing me into what some people call ‘Butler magic;’ I was hooked.”

Boyk spent her next few years at Butler working toward her degree in Early/Middle Childhood Education. About a year after graduation, Boyk stumbled across a position at MSI while perusing the museum’s website prior to a planned visit, and since she had been having a difficult time finding a job within the school systems, she decided to apply. Julie Boyk with students

“MSI was the mecca of field trips as a kid from the Chicago suburbs, so the thought of working there brought back many positive memories,” Boyk said.

During her interview, Boyk pulled from the skills toolkit Butler’s College of Education gave her to demonstrate a potential lesson plan that was hands on, thoughtful, and tasty since Oreo cookies were involved.

“All of the hands on work Butler exposed me to was very helpful and I wouldn’t be the teacher I am today without that,” Boyk said.

Before she made it home, Boyk had an offer.

Since getting hired, Julie has had many realizations about herself and the job she had in mind before starting at MSI.

“I never saw myself teaching middle school or high school students, but it’s so fun. I’ve discovered it’s one of my favorite parts,” Boyk said.

Her list of favorites regarding her work at MSI doesn’t stop there. Every day is different and through MSI’s Learning Labs she has the opportunity to teach a wide range of science subjects like forensics, pendulums, simple machines, and Mars, where students and Boyk have the opportunity to teleconference with real NASA scientists to ask questions.

If she had to choose a favorite aspect of her job, it would be when she gets to make science fun for all of the students who enter the museum with the mindset that science is boring, or confusing.

Julie Boyk with students

“Not too long ago we were doing a project about Mars and a student in 6th or 7th grade asked me if I was a scientist. Technically I’m not, but to answer his question, and to get him involved I responded by saying ‘Yes, I am a scientist and you are too,’” Boyk said. “At first he said ‘No, no I’m not.’ He came up to me after class and told me, ‘I understand what you mean now about how I’m a scientist too,’”

Creating even just a small shift in attitude among students about science, and making sure they understand that science can be messy and fun is why Boyk loves the work she does and for a museum that is considered an industry leader.

“I’m able to touch the lives of so many more students with what I’m doing here. Between myself and four other co-workers, we are able to interact with about 24,000 students a year,” Boyk said. “We really are at an important museum, and it makes me want to work above and beyond my abilities to make sure I represent the museum in the best way possible.” 

AcademicsCommunity

Butler Alumna Makes Science Fun

It wasn’t until her dad was heading to Indianapolis for a business trip that he asked her along to tour the campus.

by Krisy Force

from Spring 2017

Read more

From Intern to Mentor

Megan Yates ’16

from Spring 2017

Before going off to college, I had always heard that internships and opportunities that one was presented with while in school would help them land their future career. Little did I know how true this would be for me when beginning my journey at Butler University.

Before my first-year began, I decided to declare my major in Organizational Communication and Leadership in the College of Communication. After much research, I determined that this seemed like the best fit for the combination of my primary interests; planning events and nonprofit organizations. Along the way, I picked up a double major in Critical Communication and Media Studies. The two majors coincided well and provided me with a solid foundation in my professional development as well as communication skills.

My sophomore year of college was when I realized how applicable my major was going to be in the real world. I landed my first internship with Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). My primary task was to help with the silent auction at JDRF Indiana’s Promise Gala. Working on the silent auction, I helped secure over 300 auction items that we then bundled together to sell in larger packages the night of the event. By the end of Gala, the silent auction had brought in over $70,000. 

When my internship with JDRF concluded, I knew that I wanted my next opportunity to be with another nonprofit organization doing similar work. October of my junior year, I received my second internship with Riley Children’s Foundation. In this internship, my energy was focused on helping with a variety of third party events as well as miscellaneous office duties. Each day presented a new set of tasks ranging from drafting letters to families treated at Riley Hospital for Children all the way to organizing and attending fundraisers which benefitted the hospital.

Before my senior year began, I heard that JDRF was looking for summer help. I applied for and accepted the open internship and was excited to be back at JDRF. This internship was centered around helping plan the Indianapolis One Walk that would take place in October. Not far into the summer, JDRF was looking to hire a full-time Development Coordinator that required 35+ hours of work each week and provided the opportunity to have a large play in the logistics and fundraising aspects of the fundraisers that JDRF would hold throughout the state of Indiana. I knew this was a career that I’d be interested in post-graduation and decided to apply for the opening; despite having one year left of college. Just a few days before my senior year started, I was offered the position.

With the guidance and support of Professor Scott Bridge, Internship Director for the Butler University College of Communication, I was able to manage a full-time schedule with JDRF and remain in a full course load at Butler. Through the internships and internship program that I had been a part of my first three years of schooling, I was able to gain a skillset which an employer saw value in prior to me receiving my diploma. While the real world might’ve started a year earlier than I had anticipated, it was a great opportunity that I had because of the successful internship program at Butler University. Today, I am still working with a focus in special events and fundraising at JDRF and love every day. My passion for planning events and helping others has continued to blossom into a career field that I hope to be in for years to come.

Academics

From Intern to Mentor

My sophomore year of college was when I realized how applicable my major was going to be in the real world.

by Megan Yates ’16

from Spring 2017

Read more

Writing for Wellness

Marc D. Allan MFA ’18

from Spring 2017

Leona, a lady beyond a certain age, likes to break out in song. Doesn’t matter where she is or who’s in the room or that it’s well after Christmas and she’s still singing “Silent Night.” She’s going to sing.

At this moment, she’s sitting in a conference room at American Village retirement community, explaining herself between song bursts to Stephanie Anderson, a student in Butler’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program. Every Tuesday, Anderson and three other MFA students visit Leona and others at American Village to hear their stories and get them down on paper.

Leona talks, and Anderson captures her words.

“Leona feels happiest when she is among her 10 children,” she writes. “She loves to sing a lot too, and this is a gift she shares with her children, especially since it's a God-given talent. She loves singing in a choir and sharing the community, because God knows when she is happy and sad, and he projects his goodness through her. Leona knows we have to choose happiness. Words cannot describe the joy she feels being with her family, the one at home, and the one at church.

“Sometimes she is so glad to be alive that she bursts into song, being so glad for her life and her gift. She used to teach singing and sometimes she would sing those songs to her children when they felt lonely or sad, particularly ‘Amazing Grace.’ Leona believes firmly in love and laughter and compassion, and believes harder in the power of beautiful love. She doesn't want to be evil and frowning. She wants to kill sadness with joy. She sings when she is sad and when she is happy, because the voice is the soul coming to the light."

Sometime later, Anderson reflects on what happens in these sessions.

“We’re making a difference in these people’s lives,” she says. “We’re getting to know each other. We’re making friends. We’re showing ourselves and each other that it’s a big world we live in, but in this circle there’s joy, there’s happiness, there’s laughter. This is marvelous.”

This is Writing for Wellness, a program that MFA students began two years ago to use writing for therapy, for recollection, for relief, for fun. The first classes took place at Eskenazi Health in Indianapolis, where the MFA students worked with hospital staff who needed an opportunity to relax and unload.

Since then, Writing for Wellness has expanded—to Riley Hospital for Children, Indiana Women’s Prison, Hope Academy (a high school for students recovering from addiction), and Indiana Youth Group (an  organization for LGBT youth). The program is soon to add sessions for breast-cancer survivors.

The idea to bring Writing for Wellness to Butler started with Hilene Flanzbaum, the Director of the MFA program. Flanzbaum has taught creative writing on the undergraduate and graduate levels, and her husband, Geoffrey Sharpless, runs the summer creative writing camp at Butler and teaches creative writing at Park Tudor School. They often talk about the psychological benefits of that work, how the participants seem happier when they’re getting a chance to express themselves.

Flanzbaum thought that idea could be incorporated in the MFA program. And since one of the program’s missions is to provide service, Writing for Wellness seemed like a natural fit.

“It’s a discipline that’s fairly well established in other places but had no footprints at all in Indiana or Indianapolis,” Flanzbaum says. “So I saw a real opportunity for our students.”

Around the same time, Flanzbaum was recruiting a new MFA student, Bailey Merlin, who had taught in a Writing for Wellness program as an undergraduate at Berry College in Rome, Georgia.

“When we talked on the phone,” Merlin says, “I told her what I did: I bring everyone in, I have people write, they come to conclusions on their own, and it’s pretty fascinating. She’s like, ‘That’s exactly what we want.’”

That led Merlin to choose Butler for her MFA, and she led the MFA program’s first Writing for Wellness group that went to Eskenazi. There, she says, they saw staff members “writing about things they’d never expressed before and crying.” At Riley Hospital, she worked in a behavioral unit with kids suffering from eating disorders and depression.

“To see the spark of life go back into them is just amazing,” she says.

The spark works both ways.

“You would be amazed how much doing this changes you as a person,” Merlin says. “Just to see how you directly affect someone else. You don’t get that opportunity a lot.”

The MFA students who facilitate the program all seem to have that reaction. Tristan Durst has spent her Tuesday afternoons writing with a retiree named Robert, who was part of a 1950s Indianapolis-based doo-wop group called The Counts. The first week, she says, he told the same stories several times.

“Now, he’s remembering more, and more of his personality is coming out,” she says. “And this week, he was cracking jokes left, right and center. He was telling me about his brothers playing baseball and he said, ‘I won’t say that I was the best baseball player. I could, but I won’t.’ He started slipping in jokes, and I’m getting a real sense that he enjoys being there.”

Taylor Lewandowski, the MFA student who’s leading the group at the senior center, says he and the other Butler students are needed there. He tells the story of a woman he’s worked with named Martha.

“Her roommate passed away, and she saw her last breath,” Lewandowski says. “That obviously affected her. She came in three days after that and I worked with her. Afterward, she said, ‘That was really good for me. It was good for me to get out and talk to someone.’ Writing for Wellness creates this community that’s really nice. It’s really a service. We’re there to be there for them and once you realize that, it’s really nice. We’re actually doing something good.”

AcademicsCommunity

Writing for Wellness

Leona, a lady beyond a certain age, likes to break out in song.

by Marc D. Allan MFA ’18

from Spring 2017

Read more

Every other year Butler University students, primarily those in the biological sciences, apply to take a two-week course in Panama allowing them the opportunity to work with world renowned researchers and scientists at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI).

Students in PanamaSTRI, founded in 1923, is dedicated to understanding tropical biodiversity and is home to 38 staff scientists and supports 900 visiting scientists annually. Collectively, the work of STRI scientists and the location and quality of STRI’s facilities, has resulted in STRI becoming one of the premier research institutions in the world.

“The staff scientists who work at STRI, essentially the faculty, are top-notch, world renowned researchers and we thought giving our students access to them would be pretty phenomenal,” Travis Ryan, Professor and Chair of Biological Sciences, and one of the two faculty members who lead the trips, said.

The partnership with STRI formed about 10 years ago when Frank Levison ’75, Ph. D. established the Sciences Opportunity Endowed Fund. The income from the fund provides for equipment replacement and repair, faculty and student travel, undergraduate research, and scholarships to recruit high-quality science students.

“We run the class in the summer and use funds from the endowment to defray the costs of the trip for students,” Ryan said. “If you were to take a summer course on campus, it would be about $2100 for a 4-credit hour class. Last summer when we took the students there we charged them $2300. So for an additional $200 dollars, students got air fare, accommodations, and 85% of their meals covered for two weeks in Panama.”

Prior to leaving, students meet once a week for a semester covering the basics so when they arrive in Panama they are able to focus on experiential learning.

“We don’t see a lot of value in traveling a quarter of the way around the world to sit in a classroom. So if we do hear a lecture, it’s from a guest speaker,” Ryan said.

While abroad, students spend time meeting with staff researchers, graduate students, field technicians, visiting field sites, and tagging along on research trips. Oftentimes the students’ days begin at 6:00 AM and usually go to 10:00 PM.

“It’s a pretty intense couple of weeks, but the endowment makes it possible,” Ryan said.

Since the program’s beginnings in 2008, Butler has sent around 70 students to Panama.

 

In addition to the course, Butler students have the opportunity to complete a 3-month long internship in Panama working with STRI scientists. There have been around 15 students who have completed internships at STRI site in Panama and Butler continues sending about two students a year. 

“Interns become part of a research lab,” Ryan said. “In addition to contributing to a bigger overarching project, they normally have a project they’re in charge of—one of the first students we sent there was dissecting the brains of ants.”

Students in Panama

Other research projects students have worked on include studying frog mating behavior both in the field and in acoustic chambers. Ryan explained over the last several years, a number of students have been sent to work in Rachel Page’s bat lab to work on various aspects of bat communication and ecology.

Carmen Salsbury, Professor of Biological Science and one of the people in charge of overseeing Butler’s STRI student internships added, “The STRI experience has proven to be quite transformative for our students. Several of our past STRI interns have leveraged their experiences to land positions in some of the top graduate programs in the country.”

It’s been made clear to both Ryan and Salsbury that the relationship with STRI is not only beneficial for Butler and its students, but for STRI as well. Ryan explained a commonality between the two programs at Butler is that students often leave a lasting impression on the researchers at STRI.

“Our interns have a great reputation among STRI researchers,” Ryan said. “The fact that we keep sending people to Rachel Page’s lab is because she’s always impressed with what she gets out of our students when they’re down there.”

Ryan concluded by saying, “The partnership with STRI is really a great program. It’s a fantastic opportunity for our students and one that you’d be hard pressed to find at other institutions.”

Academics

Student Research–Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute

Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute Provides Students with Opportunities to Work with World Renowned Researchers

by Krisy Force

from Spring 2017

Read more

The Science of Movement

Kailey Eaton ’17

from Spring 2017

How do dancers move the way they do? There’s actually a science behind every spin!

Emily Elwell ’17 is a Dance Performance major who has learned this science of movement through the Jordan College of the Arts.  

It’s called Laban Movement Analysis, or LMA, and it is a system created for observing, describing, and executing movement.  It is used not only by dancers, but also actors, musicians, athletes and health and wellness professionals.

LMA was created by Rudolf Laban, a movement analyst, choreographer, and dancer, as a way to classify and interpret human movement.

Elwell said she had minimal exposure to LMA before coming to Butler.

“My second semester of sophomore year at Butler was when I took Laban Movement Analysis and began to understand its principles and how they can be applied across the board in my dance classes,” she said. 

All dance majors in the Jordan College of the Arts are required to take a course in Laban Movement Analysis. This one-semester course gives the dancers exposure to the fundamental principles of LMA.

Elwell says that as a dancer, LMA has challenged her to explore different efforts in movement and has pushed her to find a voice within her own movement. She also says that it is a useful tool for professors to help the dancers understand the reasoning behind movement and execute the efforts properly. 

“There are instances when Professor Pratt will use LMA concepts in her Jazz class if we are struggling to use the right effort to perform a particular movement,” Elwell said.

Cynthia Pratt is a dance professor in the JCA who teaches a class on LMA. She says she uses the system as a tool for performance and choreography.

“Rather than having a vocabulary that is based on steps and gestures, LMA uses spatial pulls, dynamics and body organizations to express the various ways a human body can move,” Pratt said. 

She also uses terminology and concepts learned in LMA to help the dancers understand what she is looking for in particular choreography.

Pratt says one of the primary concepts in LMA is that human movement takes place within a “Kinesphere”—the space around your body that you move in—and by imagining the Kinesphere in different three-dimensional geometric forms, one can accurately describe or execute a movement.

LMA divides this space around the body into 27 different points where one might move, which contributes to a dancer’s heightened awareness of his or her body.

The dynamics of the movement are described by weight, space, time, and flow. This works for all kinds of movement, not just dance.  For example, if you are swinging a baseball bat, you might be using Strong Weight, Free Flow and Direct Space.

Elwell believes that understanding the science behind her movement has made her a better dancer.

“The concepts and principals I learned in the class have been exceedingly valuable to me as a dancer, and have broadened my understanding of dance.”

AcademicsArts & Culture

The Science of Movement

How do dancers move the way they do? There’s actually a science behind every spin!

by Kailey Eaton ’17

from Spring 2017

Read more

The Linklater Voice

Krisy Force

from Spring 2017

Theatre is an art where the human being is the medium the art is created with, and the art form is about bringing a human being to life. In order to achieve a great play, actors must learn and train in the actor’s quartet: voice, body, mind, and heart.

At Butler University, theatre students train in all these areas, but it wasn’t until the early 2000s that the University had a well-structured and effective voice class.

“I knew we weren’t offering training that was good enough in this department, and I wanted something better,” Jordan College of the Arts Theatre Chair Diane Timmerman said. “We just had one random, inconsequential Voice for the Actor class, and now we have three that are very structured, specific, and effective.”

Timmerman spent four years obtaining a Linklater Voice certification to help create and teach Butler’s new Voice for the Actor classes. The Linklater Voice methodology uses a combination of imagery, art, and science to teach students to liberate their natural voices; the hallmark of the Linklater work being maximum effect with minimal effort.

“I like to look at the work with two main purposes,” Timmerman said. “One is called vocal hygiene—developing the breathing and speaking mechanism and restoring it to the way it was originally meant to be utilized. The other side of the work, which is of utmost importance to actors, is expressivity.”

Throughout the semester, Timmerman’s students complete a variety of physiological exercises and study the anatomy of the human body to gain a better understanding and awareness of how their bodies and their breath affect one another. Timmerman even utilizes a parachute, like the ones used in elementary and middle school gym classes, to help students better visualize how the diaphragm actually works.

“Ninety percent of people’s voice issues have to do with breathing issues. So we begin with skeletal awareness, breath awareness, and exactly how the breathing process works,” Timmerman said.

Timmerman explained the outcome of these exercises and the studying of anatomy is that students develop a picture of the skeleton which means they can better release extraneous tensions that impede the breathing and speaking process.

“Breath is the foundation for everything with your voice,” Timmerman said. “Your voice can be much more when you want it to be. Certainly an actor on stage wants the voice to be more effective. They’re playing a role and they want the feelings, the thoughts, and the essence of that character manifested in their sounds.”

Timmerman further explained that the Linklater methodology is holistic work that takes time to learn and master, but that it works, which is why Timmerman pushed to earn her certification to teach it.

“Once a student goes through even one semester of Voice for the Actor class, they have developed so much awareness of their breathing and speaking mechanisms that they do far superior work on stage,” Timmerman said.

Timmerman is one of fewer than a 140 individuals worldwide certified in Linklater Voice. This means Butler students, who learned the Linklater methodology through Timmerman’s class, are a rare group of students who hold a better understanding of how their voice works and how they can use it in various situations to excel both personally and professionally.

AcademicsArts & Culture

The Linklater Voice

Theatre is an art where the human being is the medium the art is created with, and the art form is about bringing a human being to life.

by Krisy Force

from Spring 2017

Read more

Butler's Healthcare and Business Major

Amy Peak ’97

from Spring 2017

Here we grow again! Innovative programs continue to be developed and implemented all over campus.  The novel undergraduate Healthcare and Business (HCB) major, a unique partnership between the Lacy School of Business and the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, is a perfect example. This program, which began in August 2016, consists of a nucleus of liberal arts, science, healthcare, and business experiences surrounded by a plethora of elective options. This adaptable new bachelor’s degree program will prepare students for direct entry into the workforce in areas which include, but are not limited to, healthcare marketing, health insurance and risk management, healthcare finance, healthcare information technology, healthcare data analytics, healthcare policy, and much more. HCB is also excellent preparation for graduate programs such as Master of Health Administration, Master of Public Health, Master of Business Administration, and multiple clinical graduate programs.

Two fundamental themes within the HCB program are collaboration and flexibility. Throughout the four- year curriculum, HCB majors have more than a dozen courses in common with health science majors. In these courses, future healthcare providers, administrators, insurers, and business leaders all work and learn together. By purposefully combining these cohorts of students throughout their undergraduate experience, we believe tomorrow’s generation of healthcare leaders will be better equipped to solve complex problems in a modern healthcare environment.    

Flexibility is also essential. Over half of today’s college-students change their major at least once, and over 20 percent change majors three times or more. The HCB program is designed to provide students with the flexibility to explore and pursue different career options without necessitating a major change.  Over 50 elective course options are available, allowing students to customize their educational experience to optimally prepare for their individual career goals.   

As this new program grows, we are actively seeking support from our alumni, friends, and community members. If you are an individual whose career is in the business of healthcare, and you are willing to allow a HCB student to shadow you for a half day or more, please provide your contact information here.  (add link-need a tiny url here if you can or ask Nancy)  If your organization currently offers, or is interested in developing internships for which HCB students may apply, please contact Amy Peak at apeak@butler.edu.

Academics

Butler's Healthcare and Business Major

Here we grow again!

by Amy Peak ’97

from Spring 2017

Read more

Butler's Researchers Tackle TB

Cindy Conover Dashnaw

from Spring 2017

Most of us get a TB test some time in our lives, and we go on our merry way, assuming it will be negative.

We don’t know how lucky we are.

Butler University Associate Professor of Chemistry Jeremy Johnson is searching for a way to spread that luck to the parts of the world where tuberculosis still kills more people than any other infectious disease: 1.5 million annually.

Worse yet, the bacterium causing the disease (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) is becoming increasingly resistant to the antibiotics doctors use to treat the infection.

“The incidence of TB has remained fairly steady over time. It now annually causes more deaths worldwide than HIV, the other major fatal bacterial infection,” said Johnson, the recent recipient of a National Institutes of Health grant to study the disease.

Researchers rightly made a massive push toward arresting HIV growth in the 1980s, with tremendous success. Today, Johnson is part of a growing body of researchers determined to achieve the same success with TB.

“The bacterium that causes TB has a complex life cycle that’s very difficult to treat with current methods: four drugs and six months to treat a full-blown case,” he said. “In the U.S., we have a healthcare system that makes sure patients take their drugs all the way through their treatment schedule. In other countries, people start feeling better and stop taking their medicine, leading to drug-resistant TB infections.”

When TB is in its active form, it’s contagious and transmitted through the air. When it’s dormant – where Johnson is focusing his research – the bacterium exists inside the lungs, kept inactive by a healthy immune system.

Most treatments today don’t target inactive versions of TB. Johnson believes stopping the bacterium at the dormant stage – long before it’s a contagious infection – holds the most promise for eradicating the disease.

Here’s where Johnson gets technical.

“We’re looking at a particular class of enzymes within TB known as serine hydrolases. When researchers looked at the toxic proteins TB produces, they saw that serine hydrolases accounted for twice as many as other toxic bacteria produced – in fact, a higher relative amount of serine hydrolases are made in TB than we make as humans.

“In the change between dormant and active states, the body secretes a large number of these serine hydrolases into a person’s lungs, where they break down the host’s cellular components. TB bacterium then feed on nutrients from those components to survive.

“Our proposal is that if we can inhibit these serine hydrolases from being active during dormancy, then we could stop the entire process. In the dormant state, there is only a very small number of bacterium.”

More than 30 million people have died since the World Health Organization declared TB to be a global emergency in 1993. In 2016, the WHO declared the world is not doing enough to meet its TB goals.

Not if Johnson and his research students at Butler University can help it.

Learn more about the hands-on research happening at Butler here.

Academics

Butler's Researchers Tackle TB

We don’t know how lucky we are.

by Cindy Conover Dashnaw

from Spring 2017

Read more

Butler Summer Institute–Celebrating 25 Years

Sharon Alseth ’91

from Spring 2017

No classes, no employment, no interruptions—only research. That’s just the way they want it, the 30 students who are chosen to immerse themselves in the Butler Summer Institute (BSI), celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

These are dedicated, self-directed Butler student researchers with a methodological background and a passion to pursue a significant question, every day for nine weeks. Students who apply need a recommendation from a faculty member, and an explanation of their project. BSI participants each get a $2,500 stipend and live and work on campus. Each student has his or her own faculty mentor and close bonds are formed, with the added support and encouragement of fellow student researchers.

“No topic is off limits,” said Dr. Dacia Charlesworth, Director of Undergraduate Research and Prestigious Scholarships at Butler. “It could be that a student found something interesting in the humanities, and they’re excited to take it to another level. One student analyzed Tweets about the violence in Ferguson, Missouri, and then the Orlando nightclub shootings happened and her project shifted focus. We had a history major who wants to be a dentist, study the effects of mercury tooth fillings. She uncovered an actual melodrama musical of mercury’s side effects.” Said Charlesworth, “These are great students who want to learn, and that makes our job easy.”

The BSI students have to show how they are advancing research in their field, and make a definite contribution to their discipline. There are “research recaps” at the end of each week, aided by presentation training so students can more confidently explain their work in basic terms to their audiences. In the end, students are required to produce work worthy of acceptance in a professional conference or publication, and they present their project at Butler’s Undergraduate Research Conference the following April. 

AcademicsStudent Life

Butler Summer Institute–Celebrating 25 Years

No classes, no employment, no interruptions—only research.

by Sharon Alseth ’91

from Spring 2017

Read more

No Literary Grandma Moses

Marc D. Allan MFA ’18

from Spring 2017

In May 2018, I will have completed all the requirements for an MFA in Creative Writing from Butler University and be preparing to graduate. And like so many students, I’ve been asked countless times: What are you going to do with that degree?

My usual answer is that I’m going to have an interesting last quarter of my life. I’ll be 59 by the time 2018 commencement rolls around, so I’m not looking for a career. I have no expectations of becoming a literary Grandma Moses.

I went through the MFA program (30 classroom credits, plus thesis) because I wanted—and got—a great education. I enjoy writing stories about reprobates and other morally ambiguous people—a woman who fled her marriage after 9/11; a meth addict who thinks he’s on a reality show; a recent graduate who takes a job writing scam emails. So that’s what I did.

Over two years as an MFA student, I wrote a play, a movie script, at least a half-dozen short stories (three of which have been published), and a handful of prose poems and flash fiction stories. I learned alternative forms of storytelling and how to write a non-fiction book proposal, read brilliant authors I never would have known about otherwise, and gained insights about writing and storytelling from exceptional faculty and visiting writers.

When I was a kid, I wrote a lot of fiction. Then I stopped. I don’t remember why. The MFA program motivated me to write again, and it enabled me to have my work critiqued by highly accomplished professors and classmates who make up for in talent and insight what they lack in age.

If you’ve ever thought about going back to school—whatever your age—I highly recommend the experience. And if you’re ever in a bookstore or browsing Amazon.com and see a novel about a racist obstetrician who microchips babies so he can track their movements as adults, I hope you’ll buy it.

Academics

No Literary Grandma Moses

"If you’ve ever thought about going back to school—whatever your age—I highly recommend the experience."

by Marc D. Allan MFA ’18

from Spring 2017

Read more

Suits or Sails?

Cindy Conover Dashnaw

from Spring 2017

Wet or dry shoes? Shorts or a sport coat? Sunshine or fluorescent lights? Mosquitos or … well, fewer mosquitos? 

You may not think of these things when considering an internship, yet they do become part of your reality. Just ask Butler interns Tyler Hudgens and Keiffer Williams. 

Tyler Hudgens ’17 

Manufacturing and Quality Science Intern, Eli Lilly and Company Tyler Hudgens

Tyler Hudgens chose dry shoes and fluorescent lights when he took an internship with Eli Lilly and Company, a global pharmaceutical company headquartered in Indianapolis. He’s happy with his decision—so happy, in fact, that when the company offered him a job upon graduation, he accepted with alacrity. 

Hudgens is in this spot because he availed himself of a Butler opportunity and attended a Woods lecture. He walked in as a pre-med student who was questioning his career choice. He walked out realizing bioengineering was what he’d been looking for. 

“I’d volunteered in hospitals and found it wasn’t for me. I was more interested in the science behind healthcare,” Hudgens said. “So when I heard a heart tissue bioengineer speak and learned what they did, I switched.” 

His internship at Lilly has confirmed his decision.

“I’ve gained strong problem-solving and strategic-thinking skills,” Hudgens said. “I was able to incorporate engineering and scientific concepts to solve real-world issues in pharmaceuticals while I was gaining knowledge about manufacturing processes within the medical industry.” 

Keiffer Williams ’16 Keiffer Williams

(Former) Intern, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Oceans Research and Butler Summer Institute 

Applying to grad schools 

Keiffer Williams, on the other hand, opted for shorts and wet shoes. As an intern in the fish biology lab of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama and at Oceans Research in South Africa, Williams indulged his passion for ocean ecology and conservation. 

“I’ve enjoyed the ocean since an early age, especially sharks, and I nurtured that interest all through high school,” Williams said. “I was searching for ways to have a more limited experience to decide if marine science was something I wanted to do when I found Oceans Research.” 

He dove with dolphins and sharks (focusing on Great Whites) in the six-week program, coming to understand the significant effect humans can have on a species—even in the name of conservation. 

In Panama at STRI, working under the direction of visiting scientist Dr. Michele Pierotti, he explored the evolution of visual ecology among marine fish sister species native to the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The Smithsonian experience instilled in him a keen understanding of the opportunities that come with a higher-level degree. 

Williams also participated in the Butler Summer Institute on plant hormones research. Now, he’ll spend the next two years applying to graduate school. 

The former Boy Scout is also keen to be a better conservation advocate. 

“In today’s world, there’s a large disconnect between scientists in the trenches of data and the lay person. It’s essential for people to be able to understand what we’re doing and what it means to the environment,” he said. 

AcademicsStudent Life

Suits or Sails?

Wet or dry shoes? Shorts or a sport coat? Sunshine or fluorescent lights? Mosquitos or … well, fewer mosquitos? 

by Cindy Conover Dashnaw

from Spring 2017

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One Butler: The Brain Project

Catherine Pangan MS ’99

from Spring 2017

What do you get when you combine leaders in the neuroscience field from around Indianapolis, an engaged community, and a spirit of integrated learning? You guessed it—One Butler: The Brain Project. 

One Butler: The Brain Project is a yearlong, campus-wide initiative focusing on brain health, with the goal of developing appreciation of how neuroscience is woven into the tapestry of our lives. 

The Brain Project transcends academic disciplines and is led by a dynamic steering committee that includes representatives from the community, each of Butler’s six colleges, students, trustees, the library, performing arts venues, Student Affairs, the Health and Recreation Complex, and several faculty members who are already using neuroscientific research in their curriculum. (Read more on Butler faculty neuroscience study in this issue’s faculty profile of Professor Tara Lineweaver.) 

Neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor kicked off the initiative in September 2016 to a packed house in Clowes Memorial Hall. The Brain Project includes a yearlong speaker series, integrated coursework opportunities for students, faculty art exhibits, and connections in our Themed Living Communities in the residence halls. 

A central highlight of One Butler: The Brain Project is the installation of the “Big Brains!” This exhibit of 10 enormous fiberglass brain sculptures (5’x6’), commissioned by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, depicts neuroscience themes (mental health, concussion, food, etc.) and will be displayed on campus this April. 

Efforts have been coordinated with community partners, including the Eskenazi Center for Brain Care, Community Health Network, and others. 

Some of the topics explored this year include: 

  • Mental health’s cutting-edge research in schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s 
  • Creativity: music, art, and innovation 
  • Addictions, Brain Food, and Sleep 
  • Sports Wellness: prevention of traumas and concussions 
  • How we learn: education and neuroscience with an Educational Neuroscience Conference offering April 29

The Butler Brain Project seeks to distinguish Butler as an environment where academics, student life, interpersonal relationships, and physical and mental health are informed by knowledge of the human brain and how it works. It also aims to create a model for comprehensive, collaborative, and transdisciplinary exploration of a relevant topic that can be replicated and scaled to other campus environments.

Serving as a convener for neuroscience educators and clinicians from Central Indiana, we expect 40,000–50,000 students, faculty, staff, and community members will experience the One Butler: The Brain Project. We hope you can join us for this brain-boosting experience! Please visit www.butler.edu/brainproject for the most up-to-date information. You can also find us on Facebook under One Butler: Brain Project.

AcademicsCommunity

One Butler: The Brain Project

by Catherine Pangan MS ’99

from Spring 2017

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