Latest In

Experiential Learning

Music in My Head
Experiential Learning

Two Butler Students Team Up to Publish Children’s Book

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Dec 15 2020

Jen Mulzer’s son thinks in colors, songs, and stories.

When it’s time to go to bed, he can’t keep his eyes closed—he’s too excited about the adventures he might take in his dreams. And when it’s time to sit still at school, all he wants to do is dance. His body is full of motion, and his mind is full of music, but that can be frustrating when parents or teachers tell him “now is not the time.”

Jen Mulzer
Jen Mulzer

Mulzer, a student in Butler University’s MFA in Creative Writing program, wants her son and other children who experience ADHD or similar conditions to know there is nothing wrong with how they process information or move in the world. No matter how frustrating things are right now, she wants to say, just hang in there.

“I wanted to address that even though you might be in a situation where you feel frustrated, or like you’re not part of the group, or you can’t keep up, or maybe something’s not interesting to you—whatever the situation is, it’s temporary and it will pass,” Mulzer says. “And someday, you’ll have that moment when things just click, and all the things you struggled with will add up and make sense.”

That’s the key message of Music in My Head, a new children’s book written by Mulzer and illustrated by Abey Akinseye, a Butler junior majoring in Psychology and Sociology with a minor in Art. Published early last month, the book follows the story of a young boy—inspired by Mulzer’s son—whose “body dances all the time, especially when it’s time to sleep.” Alongside the text, Akinseye’s artwork vividly illustrates each of the character’s imaginary adventures, from leading a circus to flying to the moon.

After drafting the story last year, Mulzer reached out to Butler’s Department of Art to find an illustrator. She knew she wanted to work with a fellow student, so she shared a summary of the project and began accepting portfolios.

Intrigued by the story, Akinseye applied.

Abey Akinseye
Abey Akinseye

“I think what interested me the most was how much I related to the story myself,” he says. “Sometimes I have trouble sleeping because I’m always thinking of these adventures in my head, and I even stay up at night painting or drawing because these ideas are always there, and I’m afraid to lose them.”

Mulzer chose Akinseye’s portfolio as her favorite from the bunch for his ability to capture facial expressions and personality. When they met in person to go over details, she could see his passion for the story. Akinseye told her about how art served as a form of therapy for him, and how he wanted to use his art to help others (with the goal of pursuing a PhD in art therapy). When Mulzer left the meeting, she thought, “Oh my gosh, he was meant to do this.”

They have worked mostly independently for the past year, with Mulzer providing brief descriptions for the illustrations and Akinseye producing artworks that were even better than what she’d imagined.

“I wanted to challenge myself,” Akinseye says. “I didn’t want any of the images to be the same, and I wanted each page to stand out and be its own independent story.”

He is grateful for Butler Adjunct Art Instructor Jingo de la Rosa, who encouraged Akinseye to get his art out into the world.

“He also taught me to carry a small sketchbook around to just draw down ideas, which became very helpful for this project,” Akinseye says. “And he is an illustrator, so his insight was very helpful.”

On the writing side, Mulzer was grateful to have the opportunity to read her own writing out loud to other students in the MFA in Creative Writing program.

“When you need to read something out loud, all the sudden you are changing the language, or you are changing some of the structure because you are getting tripped up on things,” she explains. “That really helped me. I had already written the story for Music in My Head, but then I had to go back to it and revise. And that’s extra important for children’s books, which are meant to be read out loud.”

Music in My HeadWhen they were almost finished, Mulzer reached out to a children’s book publisher in Indianapolis to ask how she might go about getting the book onto store shelves. They directed her to Wish Publishing, an independent publisher that works mostly with new authors and artists. After providing some guidance for the process of finalizing the book, Wish published Music in My Head in November 2020.

Mulzer says the best review so far has come from her son, who is now 9.

“I gave the finished book to him, thinking that we would sit down and I would read it,” she recalls. “But he immediately said, ‘I can read it to you.’ He started reading it, and he actually gave me edits, because he knew right away: ‘This is me, and this is my dog.’ I loved that it was his little mind all over again. He was super excited. He loved the story, but then he’s also critiquing it, and that’s totally him.”

For Akinseye, the experience helped him learn about how ADHD and similar conditions are typically portrayed. He wants to help children understand that there’s nothing wrong with being themselves.

“I hope this book shows ADHD in a different way,” he says. “A more relatable way.”


Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager

Music in My Head
Experiential Learning

Two Butler Students Team Up to Publish Children’s Book

Written by MFA student Jen Mulzer and illustrated by junior Abey Akinseye, Music in My Head celebrates children’s creativity

Dec 15 2020 Read more
Butler University physical education class, playing soccer with pool noodles
Experiential Learning

Pool Noodles Provide Social Distancing Guide for Physical Education Classes

BY Kennedy Broadwell ’21

PUBLISHED ON Dec 08 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pool Noodles Provide Social Distancing Guide for Physical Education Classes

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

Dec 08 2020 Read more
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

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
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

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
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

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
Sorell Grow ’20
Experiential Learning

Q&A with Sorell Grow ’20, Butler’s First News21 Fellow

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Aug 04 2020

Sorell Grow’s professional journalism career was off to a busy start this summer as the May 2020 graduate completed a 10-week fellowship with News21. She is the first Butler University student ever to apply for and be accepted into the prestigious investigative reporting program, which recruits fellows from across the nation to produce in-depth, multimedia stories. Content created for the project is often published in major outlets such as The Washington Post, NBC News, and USA Today.

This year, the 35-member team has studied and reported on aspects of the United States juvenile justice system. One of Grow’s stories covers the system’s disparities, and another chronicles the experience of life after incarceration for those who were imprisoned as kids. Overall, the 2020 fellows produced about 20 longform investigative pieces that will be published in mid-August.

While the pandemic meant this year’s fellows had to work remotely instead of traveling to Arizona State University, Grow still loved the opportunity to work with other top journalism students while gaining hands-on experience in investigative reporting.


Why did you pursue this program? What aspects appealed to you most?

I found out about the fellowship through Dean Brooke Barnett and one of my journalism professors, who nominated me for the program. I was most intrigued by the idea of working with fellow journalism students who are around the same age and interested in the same field that I am.

Since Butler’s journalism program is fairly small, I was eager to work with students from other universities and backgrounds. Sadly, I never got to actually meet the other fellows I worked with every day, but we’re planning to meet up once it’s safer to travel!

The topic of our reporting—the juvenile justice system—was very interesting to me, too. It seemed like an often-neglected aspect of this country’s criminal justice and law and order systems. Especially given the national conversation this summer surrounding racial equality and police brutality, this topic felt even more important to cover.

I was also excited to be under the mentorship of veteran investigative reporters and editors, some of whom have won Pulitzer Prizes and produced many of this country’s most compelling investigative pieces in recent history.


What have been the main things you've learned from this experience?

When it comes to working from home, I’ve learned how to focus and manage my time well, by creating a healthy work-life balance.

When it comes to journalism, I’ve learned that it’s always possible to dig deeper and find out something new, even if it seems like every possible question has already been asked or every resource has been used. We were tasked with completing a national investigative project—including dozens of videos, longform stories, graphics, and illustrations—while working completely virtually. While this wasn’t an ideal experience for anyone in News21, we still completed the project successfully in these difficult and unfortunate circumstances.


Do you have plans for what you'll be doing next, now that you've wrapped up the fellowship?

I’ll be working for The Christian Science Monitor this fall. I interned there two summers ago and loved the experience of working for a global news organization, so I’m looking forward to working there again.


Read more about the 2020 News21 project here, and be on the lookout for Grow’s stories that will be published in the coming weeks.

Sorell Grow ’20
Experiential Learning

Q&A with Sorell Grow ’20, Butler’s First News21 Fellow

The recent Journalism & Spanish grad spent her summer reporting on the U.S. juvenile justice system

Aug 04 2020 Read more

Dance Group Moves Summer Festival Online with Help from Butler Student

By Mikaela Schmitt ’22

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Experiential Learning

Dance Group Moves Summer Festival Online with Help from Butler Student

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

ONB Center interns
Experiential Learning

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

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Jul 07 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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


Internships at the ONB Center

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Faculty-led consulting projects

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager

ONB Center interns
Experiential Learning

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

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

Jul 07 2020 Read more

Alum’s Internship Success Leads to Giving Back

By Kamy Mitchell ’21

“There’s just something about working with fellow Bulldogs,” says Maria Porter ’12.

As the Graphic Services Manager at Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP, a Midwest regional law firm, Porter has the opportunity to engage with students from her alma mater through the firm’s marketing internship program. The program lasts for two semesters—longer than most internships—allowing students time to work on bigger projects and enhance their overall experience. Internship responsibilities vary depending on what’s needed, and on the background of each student.

Since the program began in 2014, Taft has hired approximately two interns each year, and Porter says a good chunk of them have come from Butler. She is impressed with the work of her fellow Bulldogs, and she has seen them be very successful in the program.

“Butler interns have shown a lot of initiative,” says Porter, who serves as the interns’ direct supervisor, “which means they’ve been able to take ownership of firm-wide projects. For example, when Taft leadership decided to start adding paralegal bios to our website, we had a Butler intern write the website bios for any new paralegals who joined the firm during her internship.”

Having had valuable internship experience herself while at Butler, Porter now seeks to give others a similar opportunity to work collaboratively in a real-world environment.

Porter, who graduated with an Art + Design major and minors in Digital Media Production and Spanish, spent her time as a student gaining experience that would prepare her for a career in graphic design. Through connections she made at Butler, she had the chance to complete two internships, one with Indiana Humanities and another with Indianapolis-based fine artist Walter Knabe.

At Indiana Humanities, a non-profit organization located on the north side of Indianapolis, Porter worked alongside another Butler grad while learning many of the design techniques she still uses today.

Her second internship, which she pursued based on a suggestion from her art professor, allowed her to work with artist Walter Knabe. Knabe focuses on screen printing, a process that was unfamiliar to Porter at the time. But she loved the amount of creativity Knabe demonstrated, and she enjoyed seeing his process play out. Porter helped work on the nuts and bolts of this fine art, creating pieces that matched Knabe’s vision.

While she hasn’t used the technical skill of screen printing much since the internship, Porter learned the importance of following through on someone else’s vision to help create a masterpiece—a crucial skill in her current role as a designer who figures out how to visually communicate another person’s ideas.

Porter currently works as a graphic designer on the in-house marketing team at Taft—another position she discovered through Butler. Her supervisor, also a Butler grad, had reached out to the Lacy School of Business (LSB) in search of students who might make a good match for an open design position. While Porter wasn’t a student within LSB, the business faculty remembered the work she’d done designing logos for their entrepreneurship program, and they passed along her résumé.

Now, Porter applies many of the same skills she gained from her internship experiences, managing visual communication for the firm. She is responsible for all aspects of design, such as creating advertisements, sponsorship brochures, event invitations, and video ads. She also manages Taft’s website.

Looking back at her internship experiences, Porter says, “Butler just has so much connection to the greater Indianapolis community. I was able to have two incredibly different internships that both fed my professional career.”

Maria Porter, 2012 Butler alum at Taft Law
Experiential Learning

Alum’s Internship Success Leads to Giving Back

Through Butler connections, Maria Porter ’12 completed two internships and found a full-time design job upon graduation. Now, she has the chance to provide similar opportunities for current students.

Internship Canceled? Here’s How to Keep Growing as a Professional

By Hailey Radakovitz ’21

Hailey Radakovitz is a senior at Butler with a major in Strategic Communication and minors in Spanish and Marketing.


As COVID-19 has led to widespread job loss and forced many workplaces to go remote, some employers have needed to cancel or postpone summer internship programs. It’s difficult to replicate the hands-on learning experience that internships can provide, but if that won’t be an option for you this summer, there are still plenty of other ways to continue developing as a professional over the next few months.


1. Get an online certification

Online courses provide great learning opportunities that will also help set you apart in the job market. Sites such as Google, HubSpot, and Microsoft offer free certifications that can help you expand your skills. Focus on obtaining certifications that will be valuable in your desired career field, then add these to your résumé or LinkedIn page once completed.

2. Update Your LinkedIn

Speaking of LinkedIn, now is an ideal time to update your profile. Regardless of what career you’re pursuing, a clean and detailed LinkedIn page can set you apart from other candidates when applying for jobs. Add volunteer experiences, leadership positions you hold, and relevant skills or accomplishments to help your profile stand out.

3. Create and/or learn a new skill

Consider using your extra time to find a new hobby or create something that makes you happy. For some career paths, this could mean learning to use software such as Canva or the Adobe Creative Cloud, building useful skills that potential employers will notice on a résumé. This allows you to get creative while still gaining a transferable skill for a future internship or job.

4. Make a list of professionals to network with

You’ve probably heard it a million times—it’s not what you know, but who you know. Networking helps you make valuable connections in your desired career field while learning from professionals who are currently working in it. Sites such as LinkedIn or Wisr can be used to track down people working at your dream company or in a position you are interested in. From there, you can reach out and focus on building a professional relationship rooted in curiosity and respect. They will likely be excited to share their experiences and advice with you.

5. Meet virtually with a professor to determine next steps

If there is a professor that you’re particularly close with, now would be a great time to reach out. Professors with experience in your field of interest can help you prepare a plan for what actions will be most beneficial to take at this point in your professional journey. Many Butler professors are happy to give students advice, recommend readings or certifications, and generally guide students through challenging times.

6. Reach out to the Butler CaPS office:

Butler’s Office of Career and Professional Success (CaPS) offers its services year-round for Butler students. With its team of specialized career advisors, CaPS can help you identify ways to grow as a professional. During the summer, this office offers virtual appointments and drop-in hours to assist with application materials and conduct virtual mock interviews. The team has even shifted several career-related events to a digital format. CaPS advisors are also available to help you map out your short-term and long-term career and professional goals.

Experiential Learning Leads to Big Opportunities for Butler Grad

By Meredith Sauter ’12

As a high school student, Megan True ’19 knew she wanted to attend Butler University so she could receive a well-rounded education, both in terms of the courses she’d take and through the experiential learning opportunities she’d encounter. This interest led her to double major in Art + Design and English, with a concentration in Literary Theory, Culture, and Criticism. She also minored in French, even having the opportunity to spend a semester studying abroad in France.

Knowing she would likely be interested in pursuing a master’s degree upon graduation, True wanted to pursue research opportunities as an undergraduate student. She decided to participate in the Butler Summer Institute (BSI), where she conducted research at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art. Her research focused on the complicated dynamics between the Native American and Western American art collections, and this research ultimately resulted in presentations at the Art Educators Association Conference, the Eleventh International Conference on the Inclusive Museum in Granada, Spain, and the Undergraduate Research Conference, which Butler hosts and is one of the largest conferences of its kind. She also published an article in The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum, all as a result of her completing undergraduate research during the BSI.

Eager to have more experiential learning opportunities, True completed three internship experiences while at Butler. “I knew I wanted to get as much experience as possible before graduating,” True says. “The internships I had and the research I conducted provided me with invaluable experiences, as I was able to learn skills specific to my career that I wouldn’t necessarily have learned in the classroom.”

Because Butler is located in Indianapolis—the 17th largest city in the U.S.—there are ample opportunities for internships, not just during the summer, but also during the academic year. This is a particular strength of the University, having been ranked in the top 25 universities nationally for internships by U.S. News and World Report (2020 rankings). 

Taking advantage of this, True completed one internship at the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites, serving as their Collections Department Intern. While there, she took inventory and photographed several of the museum’s collections. She also gained experience installing and uninstalling exhibits and learned how to prepare works of art for shipment.

In addition, True completed two internships at the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields in their Curatorial Department. During those experiences, she received training on how to properly handle art and artifacts, as well as how to operate the collections management database. She also conducted research and wrote for the museum’s website.

After graduating in 2019, True decided to apply to graduate school. She now attends The George Washington University in Washington, DC, where she’s pursuing a master’s degree in Museum Studies. Her goal is to eventually find work as a curator in an art museum, and she knows her many experiential learning opportunities at Butler will continue to pave the way for success post-graduation.

“My internship experiences played a key role in my admission to my master’s program, and also showed that I’m qualified for museum work, which has helped me secure several jobs in DC,” says True. “I had so many experiences at Butler—both big and small—that helped me get to where I am today.”

Megan True ’19 with Butler University
Experiential Learning

Experiential Learning Leads to Big Opportunities for Butler Grad

Research experiences and three internships helped Megan True ’19 keep learning outside the classroom

Why I Did an Internship During My First Semester of College

By Kennedy Broadwell

Kennedy Broadwell is a senior from Toledo, Ohio, with a major in Sports Media and a minor in Sports and Recreation.


When I first came to Butler in 2017, I was most excited for all the opportunities students have to challenge themselves, try new things, and gain first-hand career experience. My advice? Do this as soon as possible.

In my first semester on campus, I decided I wanted to hit the ground running with an internship. I knew how important connections and experience would be when it was time to start my career. So, I became IndyHumane’s Social Media Intern, which gave me a chance to learn how to collaborate with media staff to create successful multimedia campaigns.

That was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Because I chose to do this, I already had more on my résumé than most first-year college students, which has opened so many doors since.

Doing an internship early demonstrates your drive and, most importantly, improves your skill set. Since my time with IndyHumane, I have also interned with the Drew and Mike Show and Nine13sports. This summer, I am lucky enough to be interning with CCA Sports.

I want to make myself as marketable as possible. That is why all of my internships have been completely different, and I am doing as many as I can. I am now a senior Sports Media major, and my dream is to work in the sports industry. But I am not blind to the fact that this is a difficult field to break into, which is why I have made sure to gain real-world experience from a variety of companies during my time at college.

I have taken the advice from both professors and practicing professionals to not pigeonhole myself. To make sure I’m a well-rounded candidate when I start applying for full-time jobs, I’ve had to seek out internships that would help me gain career skills that apply to the sports industry but are also valuable within other fields. For example, at IndyHumane, I learned about the importance of non-profits in our community, gained writing and marketing skills, and had a whole lot of fun. My second internship with the Drew and Mike Show taught me how to edit podcasts, monitor fan interaction, and become an on-air personality. Then, I was able to land an internship with Nine13sports, another non-profit. There, I learned more about running company social media campaigns, working with kids, and blogging.

Now, I will be the Digital Marketing Intern for CCA Sports. This is possibly the most competitive internship I have landed so far. When interviewing with CCA Sports, I made sure to bring tangible examples of projects I had done with my other internships, sharing how I had helped those companies grow. It was my previous internship experiences that ultimately landed me the internship I have this summer.

So, to those of you wondering if it’s too soon to jump into an internship: It isn’t. Be confident in what you know and what you can do. Internships provide opportunities to learn and build your network. Take advantage of being in the great city of Indianapolis, and go after what you set out to do the day you decided to become a Bulldog.