Back

Latest In

Admission

Current Student Q&A | Brittany Bluthardt ’20

Brittany Bluthardt ’20
Majors: Journalism, Strategic Communication
Hometown: Antioch, Illinois
Co-curricular activities: Alpha Lambda Delta National Honor Society, Butler Honors Program, CHAARG, Greek Life, The Odyssey

Q: What’s your favorite spot on campus?
A: Holcomb Gardens, because of its beautiful scenery and proximity to the Indianapolis community. From the gardens, I can walk along nature paths, visit The Farm at Butler, travel to the Indianapolis Museum of Art, or spend time studying outside.

Q: What’s your favorite hidden-gem in Indianapolis?
A: A small marketplace called Locally Grown Gardens, which is pretty close to campus. Every time I walk through the doors, I’m excited to see what new produce they’ve received from the day before. And I get to see my little furry friend who greets every visitor with a “meow!”

Q: What’s your ideal day look like?
A: My best days are busy because I thrive under a little stress and excitement. I love starting my day with a quick blog post, going to class, fitting in a workout, and winding down by studying with my roommates. Each day is new and different, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

My Butler Story | Libbie Rammage

Libbie Rammage ‘21
College of Communication
Major: Strategic Communication, Web Design and Development
Hometown: Wataga, IL

Like any Midwestern child, Libbie Rammage grew up with the warning that it was curiosity that killed the cat. But how true that can be when curiosity is what has her well on the way to a career.

She grew up in a place called Wataga, which is in the part of Illinois more familiar with cornfields than it is with skyscrapers. With just 800 other residents in the town and only 40 other students in her graduating class, it’s no wonder she had dreams of living in a bigger city.

“That’s why Butler was a perfect choice. It was so close to downtown Indianapolis but didn’t have an overwhelming amount of students. It just felt right, even though I didn’t really know what I wanted to study yet,” she said.

Then, as is with many first-year Butler students, a key professor entered her life and pointed her to a passion she hadn’t yet discovered.

“My honors first-year seminar, Resistance and Revolution with Dr. Carter, changed the way I thought about life. I was introduced to so many new ideas and important lessons about the world we live in,” she said. “All I had known before was my small community. This class made me realize how large the world truly is, as well as how education and letting your voice be heard can make a positive impact.”

Then everything started to unfold. She switched over to the College of Communication and entrenched herself in honors courses. Learned about all the internship opportunities at non-for-profits and ad agencies all throughout Indianapolis. Joined the Public Relations Student Society of America, became a Butler Student Ambassador, and can now be found cheerleading on the sideline during home games.

It’s exactly what she could have hoped for back living in Wataga surrounded by a sea of corn. And even though she’s come so far, it still only feels like the beginning.

“I’m already getting exposure to a huge alumni network that could lead to any number of jobs. It’s exciting. Everything just keeps building on what I’ve already done,” she said. “If you want to feel like you have an active role in a community that’s also pushing you where you need to go, there’s no better place than Butler.”

What comes next, despite the uncertainty, drives Libbie forward.
 

Watch more My Butler Stories
 

Admission

My Butler Story | Libbie Rammage

Curiosity may have killed the cat, but for Libbie, curiousity set her well on the way to a career. 

My Butler Story | Kylie Mason

Kylie Mason ‘19
College of Education
Major: Elementary Education

Butler University almost didn’t work out for Kylie Mason.

On paper, it was almost too perfect: her sisters studied here, the campus was only a few hours away from home in northern Indiana, and the College of Education (COE) came highly recommended.

“My first semester was filled with thoughts of transferring. I felt homesick despite all the reasons why I shouldn’t have,” she said. “But then the right professor came along and helped me realize that I was meant to be a teacher. And that I needed to change as a person, not the place where I was.”

It was the lightbulb moment that every student seeks when stepping onto campus. Kylie has been moving forward ever since.

Every semester, COE ensures its students interact with classrooms throughout the larger Indianapolis community. This immediate, consistent exposure to the reality of education is what Kylie attributes to the high caliber of the College’s curriculum.

“At other colleges, especially larger ones, undergraduates won’t spend time in actual classrooms until their third or fourth year. That’s crazy to me,” she said. “Students at Butler still feel overwhelmed at times, for sure. But the professors here are making sure we can manage it, rather than fear and avoid it.”

Now, in her final year, Kylie sees a College around her that is more equipped to prepare teachers for the future than ever before. This year, the College of Education moved away from its confined corner in Jordan Hall to the brand new South Campus. Formed following Butler’s purchase of 40 acres of land and buildings from the Christian Theological Seminary, COE now enjoys state-of-the-art facilities to explore new ways of delivering knowledge in the 21st-century.

“I wish we had this space all four years that I’ve been here,” she said. “I’ve always felt like the professors and students in COE were one big family, so it’s nice to finally have our own place to call home.”

Home. It’s still one of the most important things on her mind. It’s why she plans on returning to northern Indiana next year. But this time she’s moving toward her future rather than away from it. Kylie Mason is ready to teach.
 

Watch more My Butler Stories
 

Admission

My Butler Story | Kylie Mason

Butler almost didn’t work out for Kylie Mason. But then, the right professor came along.

My Butler Story | Namitha Vellian

Namitha Vellian ‘22
College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
Major: Pharmacy
Hometown: Campbell, CA

Namitha Vellian spent her Thanksgiving break back in San Jose, California, a little different than yours.

Seated opposite from five of her mother’s sisters, they took turns asking questions that Namitha expected to answer on a test once she returned to Butler’s campus after the long weekend.

She’s a junior Pharmacy major in the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. Her aunts are pretending to be patients. A role familiar to each of them because her five aunts are pharmacists in real life.

“Coming to Butler was a big leap for me even though I’ve known for a while what I wanted to be,” Namitha says. “Not only was it tough to be so far away from my family, but I also had a rocky start in my first semester because of the workload.”

But out of the 12 universities she applied to, she chose Butler because of the supportive community she felt right away as she stepped onto campus. And once she was confronted with that workload, the campus around her did not disappoint.

“Other students in my classes and in the pharmacy fraternity are always willing to help me gain new insights on what classes to take, which professors to go to first, and how to apply what I study to my life, both in the present and future,” Namitha says.

Another reason the program at Butler stood out from the others she applied to was the fierce competition that Butler’s curriculum avoided. Instead of requiring students to take a Pharmacy College Admission Test after a few years into classes like the majority of programs, Butler only has its students pass an initial interview, complete a written exercise, and maintain a certain GPA to guarantee placement.

“So I knew that they would have my back right away rather than potentially turn me away after I put in so many semesters of work,” she says. “That’s why I felt it was so supportive—not only academically, but also emotionally and mentally as well. Everyone checks in with me because they actually care.”

Being off at school is still the big leap she always knew it would be, but at Butler it’s a lot less daunting.

“I am 100 percent glad I made this choice to be what I always wanted to be at Butler,” Namitha says. “I think that’s why I’m always so excited to return.”

 

Watch more My Butler Stories
 

Admission

My Butler Story | Namitha Vellian

Namitha Vellian spent her Thanksgiving in San Jose, California, a little different than yours.  

My Butler Story | Bailee Dodson

Bailee Dodson ‘20
Jordan College of the Arts
Major: Art + Design, Psychology
Hometown: Zionsville, IN

It took a little looking back for Bailee Dodson to find her way forward.

She grew up in Zionsville, Indiana with a brother who struggled with a learning disability. The medication he was prescribed didn’t help as much as it was supposed to.

“In fact, it kind of totally changed him. He became tired all the time, even to the point that he no longer wanted to connect with anyone around him,” she said. “It was tough for all of us. But luckily, when I was a junior in high school, my teacher told me about art therapy.”

Using creative and self-expressive means to therapeutic ends sounded like the perfect career choice for Bailee. It combined her passion for the arts and helping others with her curiosity of how the mind works, but there was a catch.

Not many universities offer art therapy as an undergraduate degree. Not even Butler University, where she was set to attend in the fall of 2016. But fortunately for her, the Jordan College of the Arts encourages its Art + Design majors to earn a secondary major.

“I needed a little direction, and it only took one meeting with my director to realize I could also get a Psychology degree at the same time to make my own art therapy degree,” she said. “And other schools in the area offered courses I could enroll in on a part-time basis to prepare me for grad school. All the right opportunities just started falling into place.”

By the time her first year year ended, Bailee would need no further proof that she was exactly where she needed to be.

She was awarded best in series at the Art Now showcase for the way she expressed an array of different emotions by painting with watercolors, a technique she’s found effective in helping people just like her brother.

Next semester, she plans to volunteer with kids and families at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health, before eventually earning a graduate degree in art therapy across town at the Herron School of Art and Design. As Bailee’s exciting future continues to unfold, it’s not something she takes for granted.

“My professors and classmates haven’t just helped me find my voice; they’ve helped me find its purpose. Being vulnerable isn’t easy,” she said, “but sometimes it’s the only way to heal. It's amazing how choosing our own paintbrush, canvas, or color can help us open up and find the help we need.”
 

Watch more My Butler Stories
 

Admission

My Butler Story | Bailee Dodson

It took a little looking back for Bailee Dodson to find her way forward.

My Butler Story | Colin Harts

Colin Harts ‘23
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Major: English

What would Colin Harts tell his younger self? “Don’t have any doubts in yourself. You can pursue whatever passion you want to pursue.” 

It’s that passion that ultimately brought Colin to Butler University to study English. 

“I chose English as my major because I had always had a natural inclination for it. I excelled at it in high school, so I thought ‘why not’?,” says Harts. “Before I scheduled my classes for my first semester, I found that I was really intrigued by the kind of literature that we’d be reading as well as the historical context that goes along with it.” 

It’s that variety of literature—as well as the interpretive aspects and creative expression—that Hart says have been some of his favorite parts of his major. 

“I have the freedom to explore topics,” Harts says. “I’m not just sitting in a classroom getting lectured to. I have a variety of projects that I can freely choose from. I have essays where I can delve deeper into the literature that we read.” 

And the faculty relationships in the English department are just another bonus. Harts is able to lean on his professors for guidance, whether that is help scheduling which classes to take the following semester or tips on how to improve his writing. 

That community, whether it’s with his professors, classmates, or other students living in his unit, has made a huge difference for Harts. 

“What makes Butler unique is its emphasis on building community,” he says. “I feel like I have this really strong network of people that I can rely on for friendship, laughter, and support. It’s really nice to know that I have this core group of people that I’m not only living and studying with, but also going through life with.” 

Watch more My Butler Stories
 

Admission

My Butler Story | Colin Harts

Colin found that he had the freedom to choose what he wanted to learn at Butler. Hear how.

My Butler Story | Rieser Wells

 

Rieser Wells ‘21
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Major: Biochemistry

Rieser Wells knew as soon as he discovered Butler University, it was the place for him. “I wanted a small school with a big campus feel,” he says. And being only five miles from downtown Indianapolis was also a perk. “I knew, being close to Indy, that I’d always have something to do.” 

It also helped that Butler had his major of choice: Biochemistry. Wells knew that after graduating from Butler, he was interested in attending either graduate school or dental school, and after doing some research, he found that Biochemistry most directly paralleled the information and courses that he would need for an advanced degree. 

Not only that, but as a Biochemistry major, Wells has access to a number of undergraduate research opportunities. In fact, he’s participating in two research projects concurrently—one with a Biology professor and one with a Chemistry professor. 

And it’s that personalized attention that makes all the difference. 

Although Wells knew that Butler’s class sizes were small (the student to faculty ratio is only 11:1!),  he still says that he was surprised with the close relationships that he has formed with many of his professors. 

“I learned really quickly that I’m not just a number,” he says. “I can go to them anytime. I even have a couple of their phone numbers if I’m ever in a big jam and need some help. They’re always there and I can always rely on them if I need help.” 

Not only are they there to help academically, but they’re also there to ensure that students are taken care of on a personal level. 

“My Organic Chemistry professor, Dr. Wilson, invites all of her students to come to her house for a big barbeque that she cooks herself,” says Wells. “There are forty or fifty kids who show up at her house and she feeds us all and even has to-go containers so we can take food back to our other friends. It’s really unreal that a professor would do that for her students.” 

It’s that level of personalized attention from his professors that Wells knows he just wouldn’t get anywhere else but Butler. 

Watch more My Butler Stories
 

Admission

My Butler Story | Rieser Wells

The University's close access to Indianapolis is just one the reasons Rieser choose to attend Butler.

My Butler Story | David Sexton

David Sexton ‘20
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Major: Political Science, Human Communication and Organizational Leadership
Hometown: Richmond, IN

For David Sexton, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) has been a lot like a pool.

Sometimes it’s a neighborhood’s only basin of water in the heat of July, home to dynamic classroom discussions on any given subject matter. At other moments, it looks like a synchronized swimming match, with students’ nodding in agreement as a professor walks them through the intricacies of public policy.

But no matter what, David and his peers are learning what it means to always keep their heads above water. To tread together, despite personal politics, is to grow.

"I think our professors' biggest metric for success has been the honesty we put forth when writing about or discussing the issues they present to us," he said. "This has created a whole environment of discussion-based courses across the College, which is probably why we typically leave each class more encouraged than when we entered it."

Though David's passion for democracy came later in life, his love of Butler started early when his grandparents took him on walks through campus. So when his interest in politics began to rise, Butler emerged as the perfect fit.

Why? The campus is located in the capital city of a state that remains a sticking point on the national political stage. But internally, Butler makes it a priority to engage its students with their eventual field as soon as possible.

Whether it's by pursuing internships at the statehouse or at local non-profits, or by working internally on policy matters within student government, David’s experience has been as hands-on as he hoped for.

"I've always felt educated, never preached at," he said. "People always expect me to start complaining about my classes because of how intense things are nationally. But it's the opposite. Some of the strongest relationships I have made are with people I usually disagree with."

As he gears up for the final legs of his Butler education, David feels more and more prepared for the world beyond the campus than ever before.

"What separates Butler from other colleges is the cohesiveness between all the different courses and disciplines that are offered here," he said. "It's why they call it 'The Butler Way,' I guess. This place really is helping us all grow, both as individuals and as a community."

That's because Butler students don't dip their toes in the pool. They dive right in.
 

Watch more My Butler Stories
 

Admission

My Butler Story | David Sexton

For David Sexton, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) has been a lot like a pool.

My Butler Story | Colton Haymon

Colton Haymon ‘20
Lacy School of Business
Major: Marketing
Hometown: Forest Park, IL

For Colton Haymon, Butler University was never the destination. It’s his gateway to the globe.

“I want to help small businesses connect with global markets and give them the confidence to compete,” he said. “I believe there’s a lack of strong morals and ethics in the business world, which can turn people away from it. But successful opportunities are out there waiting for small businesses to take advantage of, and where I will fit in is helping them get there.”

Let’s back up.

As he grew up in Forest Park, Illinois Colton’s interest in a business career began at a young age. Once his high school advisor told him about a small school in Indiana that might be the perfect fit for him, he applied to be a Bulldog and was on campus the following fall.

“A lot of people say that Butler felt like a second home right away, but for me it was more than that,” he said. “This felt like a place where I was going to be set up for success. Professors asked me what I wanted to accomplish and the rest of the conversation was always how they could help make it happen.”

Gaining experience beyond campus was near the top of his list. Fortunately, the Lacy School of Business’ prioritization of internships fed right into that, and before long he was in the offices of Smart Moves Pediatrics, Inc.

There, he was able to spend valuable hours working directly with professionals while gaining hands-on accounting and web development experience, which shed a new light on what he was learning in class.

“What’s been great about Butler’s curriculum is that, in the classroom, you’re given the tools and knowledge you need to go out and succeed,” he said. “And once you do, you come back to class with a fresh perspective and an eagerness to apply what you’ve learned.”

That’s why Colton is ready for the global stage. He knew he had the potential to be a leader in the business world and timely encouragement from his professors was the exact push he needed.

He wants to help businesses in the same way by showing them they can accomplish whatever they want to. And, most importantly, do so without losing their essence.

“We can all make a bigger impact than we think,” he said. “I’m ready to make mine.”

Watch more My Butler Stories
 

Admission

My Butler Story | Colton Haymon

For Colton Haymon, Butler University was never the destination. It’s his gateway to the globe.

My Butler Story | Jen Barton

Jen Barton ‘21
College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
Major: Health Sciences
Hometown: Brownsburg, IN

Jen Barton comes from a long line of Bulldogs—both her parents and both her older siblings attended Butler University. 

Because of that, Jen grew up coming to campus frequently, both with her parents and to visit her older siblings. So, when the time came for Jen to begin her own college search, she always knew that Butler would be high on the list. 

“It had majors I was interested in, and it also had the small community feel that I was looking for,” she says. 

When applying, she declared Health Sciences as her major because she wanted a well-rounded healthcare experience, knowing her future plans will hopefully include dental school. 

“This major gives me the flexibility to take other classes and prerequisite courses that I need for applying to dental school,” she says. It’s also the perfect mixture of staying in the healthcare field—which I’m passionate about—but also giving me the flexibility to take classes outside of my major.” 

In addition to her classes, Barton says that the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (COPHS) provides ample opportunities for experiential learning with a diverse array of organizations. 

One of Barton’s particularly memorable experiences was volunteering with the Christian Healthcare Providers Organization. Through that organization, she was able to travel to the Dominican Republic over the summer with a group of other COPHS students. While there, Butler students were able to provide essential health services to those living in the local communities, giving students a first-hand opportunity to put their skills into practice. 

That combination of academic coursework with experiential learning is what makes a Butler academic experience unique, and is one of the many reasons that Butler was nationally ranked in the top 25 universities for internships, according to U.S. News and World Report’s 2020 rankings. 

Jen agrees. “One of the best decisions you’ll make is sticking to it and becoming a Bulldog,” she says. 

Watch more My Butler Stories
 

Admission

My Butler Story | Jen Barton

Jen's parents and siblings went to Butler. See why she decided to follow in their footsteps.

My Butler Story | Olivia Allen

Olivia Allen ‘21
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Major: Exploratory Studies
Hometown: Raleigh, NC

Growing up in a family on the move, Olivia Allen always had to find her own ways to call new places home. But that was never easier for her to do than at Butler University.

“One of the biggest reasons for that is my advisor, Jan Ruston. I’m seeing her almost every week now,” Allen says. “When I felt too overwhelmed, I went into her office and said: ‘You’re my mom away from home now. Help me get my life into shape.’”

Originally an Austin, Texas native, Olivia attended high school in North Carolina. An avid swimmer most of her life, she's now making a splash on Butler's swim team. 

But how can a Division-I athlete who set two school records within her first year on the team feel as if she needs help to get her life into shape?

“I have no idea what I want to do for a career,” Allen says.

And she’s okay with that for now. After turning to resources on campus for guidance, such as Internship and Career Services, or her advisor-mom hybrid Jan, she’s realized that most people around her don’t know what they want to do, either.

Even, or most especially, if they pretend to.

“What I do have now that I didn’t have a year or two ago is a much clearer sense of what I don’t want to do, and I credit the way Butler throws you into different classes for that,” Allen says. “They give you the freedom to explore interests while also introducing you with new ideas in a first-year seminar course, for example.”

So far, it’s working. Her increasing interest in the sciences has inclined her to choose the Healthcare and Business major with a Spanish minor. Between athletics and academics, each day is filled with a new set of demands and challenges.

“My family and teammates keep me grounded by reminding me it’s okay to be uncertain and to fail,” Allen says. “Test scores don’t define me as long as I don’t let everything come crashing down.”
Which means it is time for the analogy that every reader knew was coming: no matter what life throws at her, Olivia, just like Dory, keeps on swimming.

Watch more My Butler Stories
 

Admission

My Butler Story | Olivia Allen

Growing up in a family on the move, Olivia Allen always had to find her own ways to call new places home. 

Melísenda Dixon's Fight to Improve Inclusive Curriculum

By Katie Grieze

When Melísenda Dixon wants something to change, she doesn’t keep quiet. She speaks up, starts a movement, and helps give others a voice—just like her mom taught her. 

Dixon spent her early childhood in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She grew up in a neighborhood where she witnessed violence and discrimination against racial minorities on a regular basis. Her parents taught her how to live in the world as a person of color—Dixon is Black and Mexican-American. They taught her how to speak up for herself, and when to let things go. 

But she says the lesson that stood out most was the importance of her voice. 

From a young age, she saw her mom advocate for a variety of causes, from teacher pay to gun violence prevention. Dixon would go along to the rallies, watching her mother protest injustices without ever getting too distracted by anger. She decided she wanted to be like that. 

So when Dixon was sexually assaulted during her first year of high school, she did something about it. 

Her family had moved to the small town of Pullman, Washington, the year before. There was only one public high school, which meant she couldn’t escape her two assaulters. After reporting the attack and filing a civil lawsuit, Dixon says all she got was a temporary protection order. That didn’t do much to help her feel safe.

The following year, Dixon wrote a research paper about sexual assault. Part of her paper involved a survey among classmates, which revealed that there was much more sexual misconduct at her school than she ever imagined. She asked some of the other survivors why they hadn’t reported their cases. Many said they had already seen how Dixon’s case was handled, and they didn’t have much hope of getting a different response from the school. Data in hand, Dixon went back to the school’s leaders. 

Look, she said, this isn’t just my voice that’s not being heard. It’s all of ours. You need to do something.

Nothing changed. She went to the school board next. There, she says she just got questions about what the survivors were wearing at the time of their assaults. 

So she applied to the Youth Advisory Council for College Board, which helps students from across the U.S. work toward improving education. When she got accepted, she felt like she could finally use the voice her parents had always taught her to have. 

“I’m going to try to be a voice for people if they feel like they don’t have a voice,” she says. “I had already gone through a lot of abuse in Wisconsin, so when I was assaulted in Pullman, I couldn’t let it just destroy me. I needed to get myself up and continue to push through.”

With the national organization behind her, Dixon started making progress. She helped implement new sexual misconduct prevention curriculum at her school and at more than 500 other schools across the country. She organized for speakers from Alternatives to Violence to meet with students and discuss topics of consent. She advocated for teaching every child and teen, starting in elementary school, how to stay safe and speak up. 

The main message she wants to spread?

“It’s not your fault. I feel like that’s something people think is just so easy to know. People say, ‘Obviously it’s not your fault.’ But so many people blame you. So many people ask what you were wearing.”

And being a survivor of sexual assault doesn’t need to define who you are, Dixon says. 

“Just because I’m a survivor doesn’t mean my personality is made up solely of what has happened to me,” she says. “It’s what I’ve made of my situation. I’ve done so much more than be sexually assaulted. I’ve tried to impact others’ lives, and I’ve done that in multiple different ways.”

Yes, Dixon has made her voice heard in a variety of ways, including with issues beyond sexual misconduct. For example, after classmates told her to go back to Mexico—and that Mexicans were only good for picking fields and cleaning toilets—she realized how many other people in her town were facing racism every day.

Again, she wasn’t going to let it go. Working alongside a few friends, she established a Black Student Union at her school. The members often collaborated with similar student organizations at nearby Washington State University. They organized walk outs. They held discussions and forums. But they mostly just wanted to create a safe space for students to talk. 

“One of the most rewarding things was to see that we can come together if we are organized and we are really trying,” she says. “We can come together, and we can help each other.” 

When it came time to start applying for college, Butler was the only school Dixon applied to. Her brother, Nathaniel Dixon, graduated from the University in 2017, and she had already fallen in love with the campus and its diverse student body during her visits to Indianapolis. Still, her parents told her not to make up her mind so fast. 

“So then I applied to 22 schools,” she said, laughing. “And I got into 20.”

But she knew from the start that she wanted to go to Butler. She’s excited to start this fall as a Management Information Systems major with a minor in Healthcare Management. She eventually wants to help run a children’s hospital, but in the meantime, she plans to make the most of every moment at Butler. 

“At college, I want to make an impact,” Dixon says. “I want to feel like I didn’t just do academics—that I actually made an impact on Butler’s campus and also within the Indianapolis community.”

 

Student Access and Success

At the heart of Butler Beyond is a desire to increase student access and success, putting a Butler education within reach of all who desire to pursue it. With a focus on enhancing the overall student experience that is foundational to a Butler education, gifts to this pillar will grow student scholarships, elevate student support services, expand experiential learning opportunities, and more. Learn more, make a gift, and read other stories like this one at beyond.butler.edu.

Melísenda Dixon
Admission

Melísenda Dixon's Fight to Improve Inclusive Curriculum

After surviving sexual assault and facing racism at her high school, she turned to advocating for others.

Pages