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'Applying Course Material in a Meaningful Way'


PUBLISHED ON Jan 24 2013

Assistant Professor of Psychology Ali O’Malley wanted her “Humans and the Natural Environment” course to have an impact on both the students and the Indianapolis community.

And it did.

Ali O'Malley

Nine students from the class helped collect data that enabled the Unitarian Universalist Church, 615 W. 43rd St., to get an Indiana Office of Energy Development grant to install solar panels that will reduce the church’s energy use by 25 to 40 percent.

Students Brianne Taylor, Brianna White, Emily Drwiega, Sara Rose Smith, Katelyn (Katie) Breden, Jahi Gains, Marina Ito, Rachel Houska, and Lindsay Meyer worked with members of the “Green Team” at the Unitarian Universalist Church to help develop a strategic plan for energy conservation.

Then they walked the Butler-Tarkington neighborhood to gather residents’ opinions about various sustainability issues, including bike lanes, public transportation issues, the state of sidewalks, and access to parks. The church also wants to create a bigger community garden, so they tried to gauge interest in that as well.

That information was used in the grant application that the church filed in conjunction with Hoosier Interfaith Power and Light, an organization that seeks to inspire and equip Hoosiers of faith to respond to climate change.

In the end, the state Office of Energy Development gave $150,000 to six congregations in Indianapolis and Bloomington.

Breden, a freshman from South Bend, Ind., said she was excited when she heard the grant was approved and happy to have taken a course that enabled her and her classmates to apply the course material in a meaningful way.

“The knowledge gained in this class is immensely useful,” she said. “I took this class because I'm passionate about the environment, and Dr. O'Malley taught me the psychology behind it. Why am I passionate? Why are others not? Why do some people simply not care? These are all important questions if I want to forge a career in advocating for a healthy earth.”

 O’Malley initiated “Humans and the Natural Environment”—which she called “conservation psychology”—in spring 2012. In fall, she taught it for the first time as part of Butler’s Indianapolis Community Requirement, in which students must take one course in any part of the University that involves active engagement with the Indianapolis community.

She said she’s proud of what her students accomplished.

"It was wonderful to watch students' uncertainty give way to commitment to our community partner's mission,” O’Malley said. “I'm so proud of their openness and their collective achievements." 


Media contact:
Marc Allan
(317) 940-9822

AcademicsStudent Life

Senior Wins Cell Biology Competition


PUBLISHED ON Jan 10 2013

Butler senior Hitesh Dube won first place in an undergraduate poster session at the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) meeting in San Francisco.

Hitesh Dube and Amy Wasilk

In besting a field of nearly 100 undergraduates, which included students from across the country and around the world, Dube won $500 and will have his picture in next month’s ASCB newsletter.

Dube, along with labmate and senior biology major Amy Wasilk, attended the meeting in December with their research advisor, Assistant Professor of Biology Jennifer Kowalski. Both students presented posters on their research during the main conference session, in addition to competing in the undergraduate poster session. 

“Both Amy and Hitesh have worked in my lab for nearly 3½ years, and I am so proud of the work that both of these students have done,” Kowalski said.

Dube’s poster showcased work he and Kowalski have been doing in collaboration with scientists from Tufts University and the University of Massachusetts. They are investigating the mechanisms by which an enzyme called the APC controls neuromuscular signaling in microscopic roundworms, known as C. elegans.

Wasilk's poster described studies she and a former labmate have done to begin characterizing the role of one potential APC target protein in neurons, a receptor called FSHR-1. As the nervous system of C. elegans is similar to that of humans, the overall goal of Kowalsk and her students' investigations is to use the worms as a model to better understand general nervous system function.

The goal of the work is to use the worms as a model to better understand general nervous system function.

Dube’s contributions to the project involved developing and performing a number of experiments with these roundworms. In many of these experiments, he compared the nervous systems of normal worms to those of genetic mutants lacking the function of the APC enzyme to determine the specific cell types (motor neurons or muscle cells) where the APC acts to affect neuromuscular signaling. 

“The depth of Hitesh’s understanding and his ability to clearly explain his own experiments and those done by his labmates and other colleagues related to this project is truly remarkable for an undergraduate,” Kowalski said. “This is a fantastic accomplish for him, and I am so pleased that both students were able to present their work in this national forum.”


Media contact:
Marc Allan
(317) 940-9822


Butler Corporate and Executive Education Offers Professional Development for Women in Leadership


PUBLISHED ON Jan 09 2013

To help women thrive in positions of authority, Butler Corporate and Executive Education will offer a workshop called Advancing Women in Leadership (AWL) one day a month from March through September.

The program will take place over six days—from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. March 14, April 18, May 16, June 13, Aug. 15 and Sept. 12 on the Butler campus.

Cost is $3,600 per participant, which includes tuition, learning materials, meals, and refreshments. Companies that wish to send more than one person receive a 10 percent tuition discount on each enrollment—up to six from a single organization.

For more information, contact Ron Thomas, executive director of Butler’s Executive Education program, at (317) 940-8651,, or visit

There are no prerequisites to enroll. The ideal candidate for this program is currently a middle level high potential manager with five to 10 years of progressive management experience who manages people, money and/or resources, desires to move up in the organization, has a strong performance record, has been identified as having high potential, and brings a rich perspective and set of diverse management experiences to draw upon and share.

“Women continue to blaze the trail to advance to the top of organizations, currently holding about half of the country's managerial and professional jobs,” said Anne Thompson, faculty program manager for AWL. “While this is a dramatic increase from 20 years ago, women are still vastly underrepresented in the senior executive ranks. Advancing Women in Leadership will help current and future female executives uncover and integrate their unique strengths and qualities that will help them thrive and succeed.”

Recognizing that no impactful learning happens in short periods or alone, the AWL program is built on the compelling learning advantages of a cohort, and requires that participants actually practice and demonstrate acquired competence – not just show up and sign-in.

Advancing Women in Leadership will be based in part on the Emotional Intelligence leadership methodology. To enhance real life learning, participants will participate in a variety of learning methodologies, including self-assessments, lecture, case study discussion, reflection, experiential and action-based role playing and peer coaching. Topics in this program include:

-Self-Awareness and Leadership: Examine the results of Emotional and Social Competence Inventory to understand your leadership strengths and opportunities for growth.

-Aligning Our Values and Behaviors: Use a values discovery process to examine priorities, current choices and behaviors and identify actions for increased alignment.

-Adapting and Thriving in New Situations:  Explore competencies of adaptability, self-control and positive outlook to effectively manage ourselves during rapid change.

-Influencing for Positive Impact: Learn the tools to understand implicit norms, relationships and apply strategies to spark interest, build consensus and align action.

-Catalysts for Change: Apply frameworks and tools to effectively manage diverse perspectives and to inspire, energize and engage others to bring about change.

-Helping Others Find Their Way to Excellence: Apply coaching, mentoring and feedback skills to help others develop to their full potential.

-Cultivating Our Personal Board of Directors: Apply a framework to identify and enroll sponsors, mentors and networks to support our leadership development process.

-Leveraging a Balanced Style of Leadership: Apply a broad range of leadership styles to motivate people and drive performance.

Faculty for Advancing Women in Leadership includes two Butler corporate & executive education faculty partners: Thompson, who specializes in leadership and team development, organizational diagnosis and analysis and executive coaching, and Sheri Fella, who has worked in organizational development, human resources and other areas for more than 15 years.


Media contact:
Marc Allan
(317) 940-9822