Butler Magazine

Fall 2016

Creating a Workforce

Marc Allan

from Fall 2016

“Butler is my college,” Michael Bill is saying. “Right along with my college that I graduated from.”

That would be Syracuse University, where Bill played center on the football team—that included the legendary Jim Brown in the backfield—and received the grounding to begin a more than 50-year career in the insurance industry.

And while he’ll always love the Orange, the Chairman of the Board of Indianapolis-based MJ Insurance showed his Butler Blue streak last year when he, along with MJ Insurance, gave the University $250,000 to start a student-run insurance company beginning in May of 2017.

The Butler business, known as a “captive insurance company,” will insure certain programs at Butler, perhaps including the live mascot, Butler Blue III, or physical damage to University vehicles. The idea is to give students hands-on experience that will jumpstart their careers.

Bill learned his trade in the 1960s during a two-year training program at his first employer, Commercial Union Insurance Group. “When they trained you, they would not let you out in the field until they thought you knew everything you had to know in all areas,” he said.

Fast-forward 50 years, and colleges are expected to do the training.

That’s where his gift comes in.

Bill wants Butler students to learn insurance from the ground up, from the state of incorporation to actuarial work, claims, investments, and more—the way he did. He also wants them to zero in on the area of the business they like most so they’ll have fulfilling careers.

“We’re going to go out and create a workforce,” he said. “There’s a huge shortage of people in our industry. The average age at big insurance carriers is in their 50s. In the next five years, the students coming out of Butler University with a degree in insurance in a specific area will be highly compensated. You’re going to have a waiting list for people to get in there.”

Bill started MJ Insurance when he was 27. He’s 80 now, and said he still loves the business. He also appreciates the practical teaching approach taken in Butler’s Lacy School of Business.

“I fell in love with the business because I had great teachers,” he said. “That’s the key—great teachers and great mentors. This gift is my way of giving back to a great community and a great college. It was probably the easiest check I’ve ever written.”

Creating a Workforce

by Marc Allan

from Fall 2016

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An Engineering dual degree from Butler is propelling Alyssa Setnar ’16 to infinity and beyond.

The Columbus, Ohio native headed to Los Angeles in June to begin working for Millennium Space Systems, a satellite manufacturing company, as a spacecraft structural engineer. She interned with Millennium previously.

“I’m a part of the team that goes all the way from the napkin sketch to the proposal all the way to manufacturing,” she said. “I’m really excited to be a part of the entire process.”

That process started at Butler, when she found out she could get an Engineering degree through Butler’s dual degree program with IUPUI. Setnar is Butler’s first graduate in the program’s Motorsports Engineering concentration. In her final semester, she worked with other students on a prototype race car for the International Society of Automotive Engineering’s student design initiative.

“I got that big-school degree from Purdue at IUPUI’s campus, but I really fell in love with Butler’s small campus feel and the people that I met here,” she said. “I feel really lucky that I got both.”

Setnar got involved early on at Butler. She arrived a week before Welcome Week her first-year for the Ambassadors of Change (AOC) program.

She was so impressed with and transformed by the program that she served as an AOC team leader for the next three years. It’s that passion for helping others that sets Butler students apart, Setnar said.

“Whenever I’m out, whether I’m volunteering, or at a restaurant, or just wearing a Butler shirt out while I’m shopping, the community recognizes that the people that are coming from Butler are really genuine and smart and interested in caring,” she said.

From MBA to CEO

Evie Schultz ’16

from Fall 2016

Jane Keller ’00 fills many roles. She’s a nurse, a wife, a mom… and she’s also CEO of OrthoIndy and OrthoIndy Hospital, Indiana’s largest orthopedic provider.

It’s a position she never imagined filling until she earned an MBA from Butler.

“My classes at Butler taught me a lot about servant leadership and networking,” she said.

Keller graduated from Ball State University in 1988 with a degree in nursing. Afterwards she worked for Methodist Hospital as a nurse, patient care manager, clinical manager, and the Director of Perioperative Performance.

Keller began working at OrthoIndy as the Executive Director/Nursing Director of the surgery centers while she was earning her MBA.

She was promoted to OrthoIndy’s Chief Nursing Officer in 2005, when the hospital was built. Just one year later she became the hospital’s CEO.

“I call it my child,” Keller said. “The hospital opened in 2005, and I really was in on it from the ground floor, helping design it and hire the staff that worked in it.”

In 2013, she was named the Chief Executive Officer of OrthoIndy and OrthoIndy Hospital. She’s busier than ever, especially with three kids and a husband at home in Zionsville. But, she said the connections she forges with patients and providers are worth it.

“I spend a lot of time building relationships with our physicians, talking to them about operations and strategizing going forward,” she said. “There is a lot of emphasis on our patients and making sure they get excellent quality care, as well as making sure employees get what they need to do their jobs well.”

Those physicians can perform up to 70 surgeries a day at the hospital. At its three main and three satellite locations, physicians see up to 1,000 patients a day. Keller said her ability to organize that many people is a reflection of her time at Butler.

“Team building, development, trying to pull people together, getting people to learn to work through conflict—I learned all of those things at Butler.”

From MBA to CEO

by Evie Schultz ’16

from Fall 2016

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Butler Felt like Learning with Family

Marc Allan

from Fall 2016

JoAn Scott MBA ’05 works for the NCAA as Managing Director of Men’s Basketball Championships and, no, she can’t get you tickets.

“From airport check-in to bellmen,” she said with a smile, “it’s always about tickets.” Scott oversees the Division I, II, and III men’s basketball tournaments and post-season NIT. That means loads of logistics—arena preparations, arranging flights and hotels, overseeing the music and fan festivals, public relations and marketing, and so much more. Planning with her staff of 12 begins in June and continues in earnest into March.

In addition, she’s in the room when the selection committee creates the brackets, and she’s at as many games as possible, making sure everything goes as planned.

“I have a radio in my ear, I have a cellphone, I have instant messaging, I have email,” Scott said. “Sometimes you have friends telling you something sounds weird, sometimes you hear the radio telling you a thunderstorm is coming. I’m pretty good at handling approaches from 5–6 different directions.”

Scott grew up a sports fan and athlete in Ansley, Nebraska, population 550. She did her undergraduate work at Kearney State University (now University of Nebraska at Kearney), then moved to Colorado after graduation. After a year working for a brokerage firm, she answered a newspaper classified ad for what was then called Amateur Basketball Association of the United States of America (now USA Basketball).

She spent 10 years there, accumulating experiences that included traveling with the 1992 men’s basketball Dream Team and “seeing basketball practices behind closed doors that no one will ever see.” Then she took a job with Nike, where she spent 17 years moving among Portland, Oregon; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Denver, Colorado.

During that time, she decided to get her MBA at Butler.

“I knew a lot of the sports side and I knew personalities,” she said. “But once I got to Nike, I felt like I didn’t know the business side. I traveled a lot, but it was my one night (to devote to school) and I just absolutely loved it. I was there to learn and I soaked it in and I loved it. I’m not sure anybody could enjoy it more than I did, and I still talk to my Butler professors.”

At Butler, she learned from Executive-in-Residence Jerry Toomer about leadership styles (“You adapt to your boss; your boss doesn’t adapt to you”), and she recalled the camaraderie in Marketing/Management Professor Bob Mackoy’s classes.

“I could interact with my whole class and ask Eli Lilly folks what they thought and Guidant folks what they thought,” she said. “They were so approachable. It felt like family there. It made me want to go, it made me want to learn.”

Scott said she learned a lot, and she continues to soak up information wherever she goes. “When you deal with the best of the best, you learn how to be the best,” she said.

She’s three years into her role at the NCAA now, and she has one more goal when she’s finished there.

“I’d love to end my career on a college campus, teaching,” she said. “I love to learn, and I would love to teach my experiences and what I learned along the way.”

Bulldogish on Wall Street

Patricia Snyder Pickett ’82, APR

from Fall 2016

There are thousands of millennials working in the heart of New York City’s financial district and dozens at the J.P. Morgan Chase headquarters.

However, there are very few who’ve spent countless hours at Atherton, love a certain bulldog named “Trip,” or can burst forth with The Butler War Song. Butler graduate Michael Bennett ’09 is hopeful that changes soon.

Last year Bennett was instrumental in spearheading a program that brought eight Butler business students to his Manhattan workplace where he serves as an investment specialist at J.P. Morgan Private Bank.

“They were able to spend the whole day at J.P. Morgan Private Bank, sitting through rotating panels that focused on our four lines of business,” he described. “They networked and talked  with human resource staff, as well as spending time with other bank and hedge fund personnel. It exposed them to different elements of financial services and provided tangible take-aways that will hopefully help them choose a career.”

In Bennett’s mind, this closely follows suit with the Lacy School’s real business experience mantra. “There’s a ‘real-world’ business mentality at Butler where students are not sheltered so much in the classroom. That immediate introduction to the business community gives you a leg up. The sooner you can participate in that world, the better.”

Bennett, a native of Elmhurst, Illinois, started his academic career at Butler on the Liberal Arts path where he played football. Having enjoyed writing for his high school newspaper, he was pursuing a major in English when he found himself in business classes that were both enjoyable and fulfilling. “I really liked the professors I worked with and enjoyed the curriculum. I was fortunate that I was able to find a way to express myself creatively in a business environment,” he said.

A portfolio management class and internships in wealth management services provided a gateway to a job offer with J.P. Morgan Private Bank shortly after graduation. “Was it ever a dream to live in Manhattan and work on Wall Street? No,” he said. “I moved pretty much sight-unseen into a tiny apartment that was about six times what I was paying in Indianapolis. I feel very fortunate to be working at the company headquarters and exposed to a wide variety of work that’s at a very high level. It has been a great experience so far.”

While he spends long hours at the office, he does make time for some fun and games like an adult flag football league. In addition, he’s a repeat participant (and a member of the competitor board) for the Wall Street Decathalon/Wall Street’s Best Athlete competition which, since its 2009 launch has raised more than $6 million for Pediatric Oncology Experimental Therapeutics Investigator’s Consortium (POETIC).

In retrospect, what’s the advice Bennett would give to future Butler graduates? “I wish I had known more about the entirety of the financial services world and the numerous opportunities it holds. I’m an advocate for more knowledge; knowledge equals power and better decisions. It’s unfortunate if doors are shut when a student doesn’t know what is out there . . . doesn’t realize how banks work, the different elements of the financial sector; when they don’t realize the skill sets they should hone or who they should be networking with to give themselves the best chance to succeed.”

Bulldogish on Wall Street

Butler Grad Michael Bennett ’09 finds his place in Manhattan's financial district.

by Patricia Snyder Pickett ’82, APR

from Fall 2016

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Inside a 450-square-foot corner of the Lucky’s Market in Bloomington, Indiana, Lester Burris ’12 and his partners, Steve Anderson ’91 and Josh Anderson ’07, are working to turn the pharmacy business on its head.

This is Panacea Pharmacy, which offers a proactive approach to healthcare. Rather than worrying about doing a volume business, they concentrate on patient care. They check in with customers to make sure they’re taking their medicines.

And, if they’re not, the pharmacists try to find out why. If necessary, they’ll call a patient’s doctor to talk about alternative treatments, so the patient isn’t waiting months or even a year for an approved appointment.

When patients are taking medicine from multiple prescribers, Panacea tries to serve as a communication hub for the patient and the doctors, “which a lot of pharmacies either don’t have time to do or are not willing to do,” Burris said.

And although Burris is the principal pharmacist—the Andersons are busy operating four other pharmacies in Bedford, Indiana—he even makes deliveries from time to time.

“We thought this was a unique fit, being in a health food store, where we thought we could impact people who wanted to make healthy decisions,” Burris said.

So far, it’s working: The partners said they have about 500 patients—a number they’re happy with—and business has increased every month.

Starting an independent pharmacy in Indiana is relatively rare. The Indiana Pharmacists Alliance said there are 160 independents throughout the state, but only one or two new ones each year.

The opportunity for Panacea came when Lucky’s Market—which bills itself as “organic for the 99 percent”—reached out to Health Mart, a collection of independent pharmacies, about opening a pharmacy in the Bloomington store. In December 2014, that request got passed along to the Andersons.

Josh Anderson looked into the Colorado-based Lucky’s chain and found out that, in addition to being a natural organic grocery store, it also has a vitamin/supplement line called Natural Living.

“It was a dream of mine from the time I was in the Self-Care class at Butler: to mix modern medicine—traditional medicine— with more of a holistic care approach and put it all under one roof,” Josh said.

Josh approached his uncle Steve with the idea. They knew they needed another partner to run Panacea on a day-to-day basis.

They asked Burris, a running buddy of Josh’s, who had worked for CVS and Kmart. Burris jumped at the chance.

“Working for a chain can be very demanding of your time and energy,” he said. “Here, you’re your own boss. If I need help, I hire it.”

Burris went into the venture with “a little bit of business training, but nothing official.” He learned on the fly about licensing, insurance contracts, and things like how many medicines to stock. (Panacea keeps a couple hundred on hand and can get more or less anything they need in a day.)

He said the biggest challenge in their first year has been making people aware that Panacea exists. Jonathan Piland, 34, discovered Panacea by accident when he walked into the store. “Of all the pharmacies out here, it’s the best one,” he said. “Lester and the company go out of their way for you. If they don’t have something, they find it. If you need to have something made, they make it for you.”

“It was a dream of mine from the time I was in the Self-Care class at Butler: to mix modern medicine—traditional medicine—with more of a holistic care approach and put it all under one roof,” Josh said.

Panacea sits in the rear of Lucky’s, beyond the gourmet meats and cheeses and behind aisles of vitamins and nutritional supplements. A couple hundred medicines are stacked on taupe-colored shelves that span the far wall. There’s a computer, a work area, and a machine the pharmacists use to specially package medicines.

Steve Anderson said what they’ve created “has been a little bit of a learning experience for all of us,” but he thinks it’s important for the future of healthcare.

“We’re taking care of the whole patient, spending time with the patient—getting back to patient-oriented pharmacy,” he said.


Associate Professor of Marketing Deb Skinner has a motto: “I am the nurturer of the extraordinary.” For Skinner, the most important lesson she teaches is getting students to realize their own potential.

“One of the things I preach, and you can ask them—I preach a lot of things—is the importance in believing in yourself,” she said. “Because many times that is half the battle. If they believe in who they are, then they can do anything.”

Deb SkinnerSkinner, who grew up in Kent, Ohio, joined the Butler faculty 19 years ago, teaching Introductory Marketing and Senior Marketing capstone. She knew she wanted to teach at Butler because of the strong emphasis on the students’ wellbeing outside the classroom.

“Butler has a strong focus on students and helping in their transformation to being contributing members of the real world,” she said. “We get to know the students as individuals, push them beyond their comfort line, and get them to focus on life beyond just being a business person.”

Skinner has since taught a number of other courses, including an Aesthetics and Design course that she co-developed with Associate Professor of Art Gautam Rao as a way to bring marketing and art together.

But her favorite course is the Senior Capstone.

“I love the class and I love that I get to see them on their way out of the door,” she said. “We spend a significant amount of time developing their own personal marketing plan. Taking theories we have learned and applying it to themselves. I make them come up with a logo or brand.”

In addition to teaching, Skinner is an adviser for more than 30 students. She said that through this part of the job she has maintained some of her strongest and lasting relationships.

“I love to meet them when they walk in the door and get to see them grow all four years,” she said. “They have to call me Professor Skinner here, but when they walk across that stage at graduation it changes to Deb. When they visit as alumni it is a huge joy.”

Skinner said one of her greatest accomplishments in her time at Butler has been her involvement in the business curriculum change to Real Life, Real Business in 2002.

“Hanging on my door is the quote ‘Welcome to the Dark Side’ from Star Wars, because I was given that label for tending to raise concerns about change instead of maintaining the status quo,” she said. “People thought it was a negative label, but I embraced it because we need it to see what we can do to be better. I’m hopeful we can do that again.”

At the end of each year, Skinner sends out a final email to her senior class. She ends the note the same way, letting them know she will always be there for them.

She writes: “YOU ARE A BULLDOG! Always! Keep in touch. You know where I’ll be. Let me know about the great places you’re off to discover. Best wishes on a bright and wonderful future.”


Built for Bulldogs

Rachel Stotts

from Fall 2016


Serina KashimotoSenior Serina Kashimoto grew up playing boys club soccer in Hiroshima, Japan. She believes this early exposure along with the influence of her father and grandmother—her father still plays indoor soccer at a high level and her grandmother won a national championship in her 50s—gave her a solid foundation in the sport that she loves. The Butler Women’s Soccer Team’s 2015 BIG EAST Championship—the first for any Butler sport since joining the conference—is the icing on the cake for Kashimoto, who had always dreamed of playing in the United States.

Elise Edwards, Associate Professor of Anthropology at Butler, paved the way for Kashimoto to fulfill that dream. Edwards, an Assistant Coach for Butler Women’s Soccer, had done fieldwork on the culture of sport in Japan and knew Kashimoto’s high school soccer coach. Edwards asked Kashimoto about coming to the states to play. After an experience playing in the U-17 World Cup, Kashimoto knew it was time—she told Edwards she was ready. Kashimoto was used to winning before she came to the United States, having always competed on national championship teams in Japan. At Butler, it was different.

“We couldn’t win the conference until this year, so when we finally won, I was feeling great. I wished that moment could last forever.”

Kashimoto is also focused on preparing herself for life after soccer and recently completed an internship in Butler’s Sports Marketing Office. Majoring in Body, Mind, Media, and Sport, Kashimoto cites Edwards and Lisa Farley as her two favorite professors. “I’ve never gotten bored in [Farley’s] class. She is also like my American mom and always cheers me on during the games. After the games, she always gives me a hug and is making sure I don’t feel lonely since my family cannot come to my games.”

While the mid-fielder hopes to play soccer professionally when she graduates, another goal is to make the national team and play in the Tokyo Olympics. “I think that would be a great opportunity for me to pay back those who helped me to become who I am today—especially my family who made so many sacrifices for me to keep chasing my dream.”

  • 2015 First Team All-BIG EAST Selection
  • 2014 First Team All-BIG EAST Selection
  • Third Team All-Northeast Region Selection
  • 2013 Second Team All-BIG EAST Selection
  • Second Team All-Northeast Region Selection


David GoldsmithSenior David Goldsmith grew up with a dream common to English boys—to play professional soccer for his home country. When it appeared that dream might not come to fruition, he began looking at American schools where he could play soccer and complete his education. He chose Butler sight unseen. The senior forward had never even been to the United States. After talking to coaches from several Division I schools, he made his choice based on the relationship he forged with Butler Men’s Soccer Head Coach Paul Snape (also English) over the phone.

“That was kind of a scary moment—getting on the plane, not knowing where I was going and only having spoken to one person on the phone,” said Goldsmith. “But I’m so glad I picked Butler. I love everything about it and I have a really good relationship with the coaches and players.”

Tasks like getting a bank account and a social security number—things his teammates took for granted—felt overwhelming to Goldsmith. “The first couple weeks were crazy. Thankfully, Coach Snape helped me out a lot. He went through the same process 20 years earlier so he understood what I was going through and could relate to it. The team was also really supportive.”

Goldsmith is majoring in Human Movement and Health Sciences. Professor Lisa Farley helped guide him academically and remains his advisor. “She was another main reason I chose Butler,” Goldsmith said. “She answered my questions and put my parents’ minds to rest.”

The soccer star’s immediate future hinges largely on how he performs in the fall, but he has a plan no matter what the outcome. “I just love sports and no matter what, I want to work in sports. If playing professionally doesn’t work out, or after that, I will try to work for a professional soccer team or in strength and conditioning or psychology—I just like the world of sports—working together to try to win.”

  • 2015 Second Team All-BIG EAST
  • 2015 CoSIDA Academic All-District Men’s Soccer Team
  • 2014 Second Team All-BIG EAST
  • 2014 CoSIDA Academic All-District V
  • 2013-14 BIG EAST All-Academic Team
  • 2013 Second Team All-BIG EAST
  • 2013 BIG EAST Rookie of the Year
  • 2013 BIG EAST All-Rookie Team
  • 2013 BIG EAST All-Tournament
  • Butler Athletic Director’s Honor Roll

Butler Softball Team with Big East trophy


Q: How did you see this team grow and change through the season?

A: I saw growth in their focus and chemistry as a team. Teams that are not close will tend to fall apart at the end of the season because they are focused on things when softball is over. This team never lost sight of what they wanted to accomplish.

Q: What’s special about this particular group of women?

A: They found a way to win in many games and didn’t stop competing. Tough to beat a team or individual that refuses to quit!

Q: What were your feelings and observations about the team throughout the BIG EAST tournament?

A: I knew we had a shot at winning. I told the team all year long that if you get to the tournament, I would put them up against any team in the BIG EAST in a single game, winner takes all game. That is what happened. It was pure coaching joy to watch that group of young women celebrate on the field!

Q: What are you looking forward to for next season? What are your goals?

A: Goals have not changed. Do great in the classroom and compete on the field. Winning the BIG EAST title again is always what we will strive for. We return with a lot of experience and talent and what this group did this year will hopefully fuel their drive and work ethic in the off-season.

Built for Bulldogs

by Rachel Stotts

from Fall 2016

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Day in the Life: Logan Schwering

Megan Ward MS ’13

from Fall 2016

Logan walking to classTold early on in his Butler career to take advantage of all that Butler offers—connect with professors, participate in student organizations, and take on leadership opportunities—it’s clear Logan heeded these wise words. Seriously, just look at his typical day (see sidebar).

An Eagle Scout and a runner who averages 25–35 miles per week, Logan also gets a workout carrying his backpack all day. His must-haves to get through the day include the obvious—textbooks/notebooks, laptop, and pencil bag— and several extras: snacks (“and lots of them”); KGP—Knowing God Personally—booklets (“never know when there may be a friend who needs encouragement”); dry-erase marker; loose change; a spoon (for snacks); and glasses. Now we know why he never turns down Pancake Night in Atherton!

Logan typically studies in a classroom in Jordan Hall, listening to music unless he’s studying for an exam. Group studying? Only with people who he knows will keep him focused and motivated.

To stay motivated and recharge during free time and on the weekends, Logan takes advantage of good weather by running on the Canal and Monon trails, as well as exploring Broad Ripple and downtown Indy. Cheering on the Dawgs from the Dawg Pound and trying new restaurants with friends also are favorites.

Unable to pick a single favorite experience at Butler, Logan gave me seven. Yes, seven. The list included Dinner with 10 Bulldogs (thank you, alumni!), serving as a Resident Assistant, being elected Vice President of Student Initiatives for SGA, and studying abroad as part of Leadership London. While there are “lots of must-dos before [he] graduates,” he has two in particular on his mind: going to Devour Downtown in Indy and seeing the men’s basketball team win the NCAA championship. No pressure, though. He’d be okay if the latter happened after he graduates.


7:00 AM—Wake up—time for an early-morning workout before classes!

7:30-9:15 AM—Workout at the HRC or go for a run around campus/ Indy area. Love starting my day with a long run!

9:30 AM—Quick shower, get dressed, and pack backpack for class. Let the long day of class begin!

10:00 AM—First class of the day, the lecture-based GHS: Postcolonial Studies—Caribbean.

11:00 AM—Next up, is a hands-on Information Technology class.

Logan in classNOON—Lunch in Atherton with some fellow RAs, then back to room to pack my bag for afternoon classes.

1:00 PM—Off to Organizational Behavior in the basement of Irwin Library; at least we get to mix it up with lectures, presentations, and in-class activities.

2:25 PM—Time for Business Law in Holcomb Observatory… wait, why are we in the observatory, again?!

3:45 PM—Do homework at library before meetings begin. Must. Focus.

5:15 PM—Ross Hall staff meeting… hopefully it includes some good snacks!

6:00 PM—Dinner in Atherton. Fingers crossed it’s Pancake Night!

7:00 PM—Check in and study with frat brothers at Phi Delta Theta before my Student Initiatives Board meeting at 9:00 PM.

10:00 PM—Finish up homework/studying in Jordan Hall before heading back to my room to talk with residents— you never know who might stop in to chat!

MIDNIGHT—Get ready for bed. Every day is an adventure, but I’m blessed to be a Butler Bulldog!


Day in the Life: Logan Schwering

by Megan Ward MS ’13

from Fall 2016

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Day in the Life: Cristina Alma McNeiley

Megan Ward MS ’13

from Fall 2016

Cristina with students“You’re going to leave this place and go to college” are the words first-generation college student Cristina heard from her parents. She admits that, during her first semester of college, it was a struggle to find a good balance between schoolwork and having fun. Her advice? “Use your time wisely when it comes to schoolwork, and take advantage of any free time you have to do what makes you happy.”

Cristina clearly has found the sweet spot, balancing a heavy course-load, SGA leadership, and outings to downtown Indy. Speaking of sweets, they’re a favorite of Cristina’s at the dining hall. She says, “Atherton really hooks it up with the desserts”—soft cookies, a sundae bar, and vanilla cake with pink frosting—she’s “in heaven.” It sounds like Butler basketball in Hinkle isn’t the only thing that fills her heart with joy!

To avoid running back-and-forth to her room throughout the day, Cristina packs everything she needs for the day in her backpack: books, supplies, and, of course, snacks! And, if she could, every semester she would take a class with Professor Jess Butler, who “keeps sociology interesting” and “cares about how her students are doing in and out of the classroom—which says a lot.”

During her (rare) free time, Cristina enjoys going out to eat, taking advantage of SGA late-night programs, watching movies, and napping. As for the future, she’s dreaming of doing the “fountain hop” before graduating and attending law school after graduation. She hopes to practice law in Indy or Chicago and have her own law firm someday; then, she wants to own an art gallery. Ultimately, she wants to say, “I always did what I loved.”

Cristina's Typical Monday

9:30 AM—Wake up, eat breakfast, pack and prepare for my morning meeting and then class.

10:45 AM—Leave Apartment Village and walk to Atherton for my

11:00 AM meeting with Jen Agnew to talk about what I’ll cover in my Diversity and Inclusion Board meeting later today… or sometimes we just talk about how everything is going.

Cristina walking to classNOON—Statistics class. I’m not the greatest when it comes to math, but I try my hardest to pay attention and ask questions.

1:00 PM—Time for Research Methods. I try to stay focused, but sometimes it gets hard—it’s one of my longest classes.

2:15 PM—Time to grab something to eat at C-Club, say “hi” to people in the Diversity Center, or walk back to my room for a power nap.

3:50 PM—YES, last class of the day. Juvenile Justice and Delinquency is so interesting, and I have a few friends in this class.

5:05 PM—Head to Atherton for my board meeting at 6:00 PM. I’m looking forward to our great upcoming programs!

7:00 PM—Time to grab some food and go back to Apartment Village to eat, or my boyfriend will come over and we eat together.

9:15 PM—Final meeting of the day! I love being around these individuals in SGA Cabinet. We make sure that we get the important things done first, but always save time to catch up and relax. Sometimes, it’s my favorite part of any Monday.

10:40 PM—Time to get some work done at the library or the apartment.

1:00 AM—Bedtime! I try hard to get to sleep by this time—depending on my workload.

Travel Bound

Cindy Dashnaw

from Fall 2016

What is the most surprising thing a student learns from a Butler University study-abroad trip?

Current Senior Danielle Wallace’s answer speaks for everyone she knows who has ever taken this journey.

“Recognizing my own capabilities,” she said.

Student traveling abroad in AustraliaWallace’s learning curve began on her first day in Rome in a scenario Butler faculty members often repeat.

“Our professor said, ‘You’ve all got maps and each other, so see you later!’ and we had to find our own way. I started recognizing that I could figure things out and became more self-sufficient than I might have discovered I could be if I’d stayed in the United States.”

Rebecca Pokrandt ’15 said studying abroad gave her courage, too.

“I never would have had the confidence to apply for a Fulbright scholarship in Croatia if I hadn’t done GALA.”

GALA, short for Global Adventures in the Liberal Arts, is the cornerstone of Butler’s Center for Global Education in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. GALA allows students to take primarily core classes in several locations abroad during the same semester. They travel with a resident Butler faculty member who also teaches a course; other faculty members join the group for two- to three-week teaching stints.

There’s no other program like it in the country.

According to Open Doors 2015, a study of the Institute for International Education, only one in 10 undergraduate students in the United States studies abroad. Yet, an extraordinary one-third of Butler undergrads study abroad each year.

It’s a statistic that has held true for years. So what does Butler do to make study abroad so popular among its students, their parents, and its professors?


Wallace already knew she wanted to study abroad when she did her first college search.

“The fact that Butler had such an outstanding program was definitely a draw for me,” she said. “I’d be able to take actual classes for credit and visit lots of countries instead of just one. No other university offers that.”

In GALA, students can take a full load of sophomore, core-credit classes while traveling through several countries within a region of the world. GALA trips have visited sites in Europe, East Asia, Latin America, and South Africa.Student in New Zealand

Like Wallace, Alyssa Setnar ’16 knew she wanted to study abroad. However, with the coursework of a five-year, dual-degree program ahead of her, many advised her to forego travel.

“I just didn’t take that as an answer, and Butler made it work,” Setnar said. Butler Associate Professor Ania Spyra has led two GALA trips. She is a nativeof Upper Silesia Poland and has studied in Stockholm and Quebec, lived in England and Romania, and traveled in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas.

She led her second GALA trip in spring2015 to Italy, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Ireland.

“A GALA trip is an intense experience,” said Spyra. “It’s very different from the general study-abroad programs offered elsewhere, where students go attend a university in another country. There, they become just another person in the classroom. With GALA, they have a professor with them at all times, they’re with other Butler students—they’re seeing foreign places but traveling in the ‘Butler bubble.’”

Robin Turner led a GALA trip to South Africa in spring 2016. An Associate Professor of Political Science at Butler, she also is a visiting research associate at the University of the Witswatersrand in Johannesburg.

“It’s been a privilege to watch students grow as they venture far outside the ‘Butler bubble,’” Turner said. “For me and for them, spending 13 weeks with a small group of people is an immense learning opportunity. The students did a great job of building and maintaining a cohesive group in which they cared for each other and themselves, addressing conflicts as they arose.”

The bubble—or comfort zone—may give parents a reason to relax a little, but it certainly doesn’t keep students from fully experiencing a culture and its people. Spyra told of a haunting visit to a Belfast dairy.

“We took a tour through Dublin, where our guide was a local historian telling us about revolutionary Ireland fighting to gain its independence from England. Then we drove to Derry and Belfast, and our two guides had fought in the Northern Ireland conflict: one on the Catholic side and one on the Protestant. They now give these tours and work toward reconciliation. What they shared with us had a big impact on the students.”

In South Africa, Turner said, she took students well beyond their comfort zones.

Students abroad“Some of the experiences were difficult or uncomfortable,” she said. “It’s not easy to be a hyper-visible white American in a black South African community—who lacks fluency in the dominant language—or to encounter signs of immense wealth and deep poverty in the same day.”

However unfamiliar, though, students view intimate encounters like these as invaluable.

“The adventures and life experience are very necessary in order to write as comprehensively as I’d like to,” said Wallace, a Creative Writing major. “No matter how wonderful the classes are, certain things you just can’t learn until you’re out there seeing and doing them yourself.”

Pokrandt already is applying those adventures as an elementary school teacher.

“I really try to give my class a global sense of a topic. For instance, we talked about the Syrian refugee crisis in terms of it being the world’s concern, not just an American problem.”

She recalled her own jarring perspective shift in Paris.

“I was the only American in the room when the news of the Boston Marathon bombing came on, and no one else seemed to care,” she said. “It made me realize how desensitized we can be when we see news about other countries. It was eye-opening.”


Professors who travel with students have some eye-opening experiences of their own.

“Spending lots and lots of time with students outside the classroom space has helped me to better understand their lives—their differing perspectives, backgrounds, struggles, and strengths—and I hope this will make me a better teacher,” Turner said.

Grading students at the end of the semester is the toughest thing for Spyra.

“By then, I know who they are and who is getting the kind of experience I want them to get. They have time to talk to us (professors) at any time, so we get close.”

Maddy Fry ’18 corroborated Spyra’s statement.

Student in Israel“The most surprising part of the trip for me was the relationships you build with professors. You’re with them almost all of the time, in and outside the classroom. They get to know you on an even more personal level than usual, and it remains when you get back on campus. It’s really special,” Fry said.


Study-abroad students become vocal advocates of the Butler GALA program. Many tout the ability to see more than one country on a trip they didn’t have to plan themselves or the chance to go somewhere besides Europe.

“Not too many students can say that they’ve been to Africa. It felt mysterious and exciting, so I knew I had to apply for this trip,” said Fry.

Extensive planning by the University is a plus for both students and families.

“I tell people that ‘phenomenal’ doesn’t even begin to describe how Butler planned the trip. Everything we needed was done for us: who to contact in the city, where we’d be staying, a detailed itinerary before we left—all really helpful to share with our families and friends,” she said.

Students found that earning credit abroad for the same tuition they’d pay on campus was a big selling point for parents, too.

“You have to take these classes anyway, and at what other time in your life are you going to get these experiences at this cost?” said Pokrandt.

Almost no trip goes off without a hitch, but GALA students learn to handle every new situation.

“There have been highs and lows and everything in between, but it isn’t something I would trade for anything. I have learned so much, whether it be academically or just about myself, in the short time I’ve been here–much more than I expected,” said Fry.

The Center for Global Education offers 110 study-abroad programs in more than 70 countries. Find a current list of approved programs and Study Abroad FAQs at

Travel Bound

Butler’s study-abroad program truly is one of a kind.

by Cindy Dashnaw

from Fall 2016

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Diverse Paths Lead to Common Bonds

Monica Holb ’09

from Fall 2016

The services and programs Butler offers create rich and varied student experiences, and all foster meaningful relationships that lead to student success.

Students in class with professorNo two Butler University students experience the University or its programs the same way. Yet time and again, students achieve similarly exceptional outcomes—high four-year graduation rates and post-graduation placement rates. How do so many different academic and co-curricular experiences produce students who achieve comparable success as alumni?

According to Provost Kathryn Morris, it’s the people with whom students engage that change them from wide-eyed, first-year students to happy and successful graduates.

“The key to transformation is relationships,” Morris said. “At Butler, students have the opportunity to work closely with faculty and staff who are truly dedicated to their development and well-being.” The most recent Gallup-Purdue Index examined college experiences that were associated with the greatest likelihood of alumni thriving in well-being and workplace engagement, and its findings reflect Morris’ sentiment. (For more Gallup results, visit Data illustrate that having faculty support was strongly associated with how graduates fare later in life, and Butler outperformed the national index, including graduate comparison groups from Indiana universities, the BIG EAST, and peer and aspirant schools.

Butler provides students myriad ways to create those meaningful relationships, from academic programs and spiritual discovery to service learning and residential life.

From the beginning of their collegiate careers, students connect with academic advisors in their majors to determine future ambitions.

“Advising is made up of a series of personal conversations between students and their faculty advisors to discern where students might best devote their energy,” Morris said. Students who have not chosen a major enter the Exploratory Studies program. Their advisors are housed in the Learning Resource Center and are trained to help with evaluating potential academic pursuits.

For Butler student Katelyn Sussli ’16, that meant her advisor worked to understand her passions. “She got to know me at my core,” Sussli said.

An advisor may guide job-focused students to an internship through the Internship and Career Services Center, where career counseling experts can open doors to relationships in the working world. Students pursuing graduate school can conduct research alongside their professors and present at national conferences and at the Undergraduate Research Conference, hosted by Butler and open to students across the Midwest and beyond. Morris compared student-faculty collaborative research as being akin to an internship for a student looking for a career in academia instead of industry.

“The key to transformation is relationships.”

Concurrently, the Center for Faith and Vocation helps students discern their own vocation or passion. “That sense of vocation can often be tied up with one’s spiritual life,” Morris said. Sussli described the Center as not just a religious place, but a spot to come together as students with diverse faiths or no faith to develop spiritually. “The Center is creating a space where we can share our beliefs and our values,” she said.

With an eye toward their futures, students also embrace the present and explore a Core Curriculum that allows them to connect deeply with professors, fellow students, and the Butler community

One important component of the University’s Core Curriculum is service learning. Within the Indianapolis Community Requirement, students learn in class with a cohort and then serve outside the academic buildings, establishing profound bonds on and off campus and reinforcing lessons learned in the classroom.

For her service learning experience, Sussli combined her political science interests with a course on Modern and Political Thought and an opportunity to teach English to a woman from Nepal.

“It was one of my most humbling experiences,” Sussli said of the blended coursework and community engagement. It allowed her to get outside the “Butler bubble,” break down a stigma, and build an impactful relationship—and then reflect on it with her professor and classmates.

“The learning is reciprocal,” Morris said. Students give of their time, but the people to whom they provide service teach the students as well. Other service learning experiences and reflections on those experiences are supported by the Center for Citizenship and Community and the student-run Volunteer Center. They provide students weekly opportunities to serve and create influential relationships.

Butler student does service project with childrenBeneficial connections are built in the classroom, in the community, and within the walls that students call home while living at Butler. “Our faculty-in-residence program is steadfast at Butler and is special for a small school. It is very high touch and allows students and faculty to interact in unique ways in their living environment,” Interim Vice President for Student Affairs Anne Flaherty said.

Building on this dynamic, Butler is transitioning to themed living communities for all first-year students. The new Fairview House—with its 16 themed living communities encompassing areas such as wellness and creativity—makes it even easier for students to build impactful relationships and a community around shared interests and ideals.

“Our vocation,” Morris explained, “is to support young people as they grow and develop personally and academically. All of these services are ways to create connections to facilitate that growth.”

From discerning academic pursuits to exploring spiritual vocations, Butler students’ diverse experiences and the relationships they cultivate make extraordinary success a common outcome.

“What separates Butler is the amount of passion and care that our faculty and our staff have,” Sussli said. “They go above and beyond to build relationships. They are truly committed to the success of the students.”

Diverse Paths Lead to Common Bonds

by Monica Holb ’09

from Fall 2016

Read more