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Experiential Learning

Sports Media Major Travels to San Antonio as Intern for NCAA Women’s Tournament

By Kamy Mitchell ’21

As men’s games for the 2021 NCAA® tournament have been underway on Butler University’s campus and throughout Indiana, one Bulldog is spending most of March helping with the other half of this month’s basketball action.

Caroline Crosby, a junior Sports Media major, is working for the NCAA® this semester as an extern in the Division I Women’s Basketball Championships and Alliances Division. Part of her role consists of traveling to San Antonio, Texas, for three weeks to help organize the NCAA® Women’s Basketball tournament.

Caroline Crosby“I’m a huge women’s basketball fan, so this is just like a dream for me,” Crosby says. “It will be so fun actually being there and being in the moment.”

As the only college student on her team, Crosby is honored and excited for the opportunity to visit San Antonio. Before heading to Texas, she started her experience by helping out remotely, working with the tournament’s host schools to organize catering for the game operations and event operations teams. Due to COVID-19 precautions, all food must be pre-packaged, so Crosby has been tasked with selecting meals to have catered in.

“It’s crazy how much goes into planning a whole tournament, especially while working a thousand miles away during a pandemic,” she says.

Crosby arrived in Texas with her team on March 14 to help get everything set up and organized. She is spending the majority of her time working at the Alamodome and Convention Center while there, assisting her team to ensure things run smoothly. One of her main roles includes escorting teams from their busses to their locker rooms or holding rooms at the Alamodome. Every movement from each team requires an escort, and at times there can be up to six teams in the building, making Crosby’s job require strategic planning. But she has loved the opportunity to interact with players and coaches. She has also been tasked with communicating with teams about practice times and COVID-19 testing times on a daily basis.

While COVID-19 has made planning difficult, Crosby has persevered. She originally interviewed for this internship in spring 2020, but a heavy semester of classes prevented her from taking it then. Crosby followed up over the summer in hopes of interning for the fall, but pandemic restrictions made the position unavailable. She was determined and reached out once more, finally landing her current internship for spring 2021. 

Originally from Davenport, Iowa, Crosby visited Butler’s campus as a junior in high school and instantly knew it was her top choice. She was drawn to the small school in a big city, filled with sports teams—not to mention the NCAA® headquarters. With a goal of joining the sports industry, she knew Indy was the place for her.

Crosby says her Sports Media and Journalism classes have prepared her well for this internship, specifically in regards to communication and writing skills, which she has applied while conversing with colleagues from the different host schools in preparation for the tournament. Communication is difficult while working remotely, miles apart, so Crosby has utilized Microsoft Teams meetings as one way to stay connected. She has also worked for Butler Athletics, doing camera work for women’s volleyball and basketball games. As a woman who has played on the club basketball team here at Butler, and who has grown up as a fan of women’s basketball, Crosby says her current internship is like a dream come true: “It’s been a great experience—a once in a lifetime thing, for sure!”

Caroline Crosby
Experiential Learning

Sports Media Major Travels to San Antonio as Intern for NCAA Women’s Tournament

For Butler student Caroline Crosby, the opportunity is a dream come true

Butler Theatre's 'Antigone,' fall 2020, photo by Zach Rosing
Experiential Learning

As COVID-19 Cancels Shows Across the Nation, Butler Theatre Stays on Stage

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Feb 18 2021

Antigone just learned her brother is dead, and the new king will prohibit the honor of a burial. A mask hides the fury on her face as she argues with her sister, shouting that they should bury their brother anyway, but Antigone’s head shakes and her fists pound the air as she paces quickly around the stage. She can’t breach the six feet of distance to confront her sister up close, but she conveys her passion by leaning forward and pointing as she speaks, taking small steps that drive her sister away.

Antigone, photo by Zach Rosing“We wore masks while performing, so we learned to take an emotion that would normally just be a frown on your face and express it with your whole body,” says senior Theatre major Sarah Ault, who played the role of Antigone in Butler University’s production last fall. “That’s a shift from how I would normally approach things, but it was useful to experience. It has been a ‘the-show-must-go-on’ situation.”

While most collegiate and professional theatre organizations have halted in-person performances during the pandemic, Butler’s program has stayed on stage. It took research, strict safety measures, and audience limits, but it was worth giving students the live learning opportunities they signed up for.

“Our priority is the educational and artistic development of our students,” says Diane Timmerman, Theatre Professor and Chair. “We’re just really excited and proud that we were able to make this happen, and that the students have grown so much as artists, even in this time.”

Butler Theatre’s fall 2020 productions included Shel Silverstein's Lafcadio at Shelton Auditorium, followed by a modern adaptation of Sophocles’ Antigone at the Schrott Center. The theatre season continues at Clowes Memorial Hall on February 26 with The Living, a play depicting the plague that hit London in the 17th century. In April, performances of Fleeting Full 2.0 by Samuel Beckett will wrap up the year.

Two key factors have allowed Butler to produce in-person shows, Timmerman says. First, they were willing to meet the high bar of safety standards needed to perform indoors, whereas some other theatres would rather wait until they can stage plays without social distancing, mask wearing, and other protocols. And because Butler’s program isn’t revenue-driven, they could afford to have a limited in-person audience alongside free livestreams—a rule that might not work for theatres where ticket sales cover production costs.

“Everyday going into rehearsal, I recognize that it is such a privilege,” says Ault, who will follow her time as Antigone with a new role in The Living. “I’m thankful for all the efforts that Butler and its Theatre program are putting in to make sure we can have the opportunity to perform. Because this is the bread and butter of our education.”

Butler Theatre's 'Lafcadio,' photo by Zach Rosing

Setting the Stage for Safety

Deborah Jo Barrett spent the summer researching.

As Production and Stage Manager for the Jordan College of the Arts, she set the rules for keeping performers safe from COVID-19. She started with guidelines from the city and state, plus the health standards in place at Butler, then added another layer of theatre-specific protocols based on recommendations and studies from production organizations across the country.

By the start of the fall semester, Barrett had compiled and shared a new pandemic handbook for the department and created a Stage Manager’s Handbook that included COVID-related guidelines. In addition to the basics we’ve all been following for nearly a year, these guidelines focused on cleaning protocols, air flow, and reduced cross contact.

During typical rehearsals and performances, several people touch the same props. Now that only one person can touch each item, directors have decreased overall prop usage. Actors also need to be in charge of their own costumes and makeup, without the assistance they’d normally have from crew members.

And with the amount of movement and vocal activity involved in theatre, the department took extra measures to maintain fresh air in rehearsal spaces. Accounting for room size, HVAC air exchange rates, and the number of people present, rehearsal groups need to take breaks or move to a different room about every 30 minutes to let spaces air out.

Surfaces are sanitized, temperatures are checked, and daily health surveys are filled out. As the virus evolves, so do the safety measures. Barrett says it’s tricky staging productions with everyone six feet apart, and they’ve needed to incorporate masks in ways that don’t distract from performances, but students have done a wonderful job sticking to the protocols.

“I think after the spring shutdown and the long summer, everyone was just so grateful to be back in-person,” Barrett says. “Everyone helped take care of everyone else. Of course, if we had to shut down again, we were ready to divert what we were working on into an online format. But because Butler is doing in-person classes, we feel it is important that as much as possible—and as safely as possible—we do live performances.”

On-The-Scene Learning

Kelly Schwantes, a senior Theatre major who served as stage manager for Lafcadio, is glad to be finishing her degree in-person.

“We are one of the only organizations in Indianapolis still producing,” Schwantes says. “And from the collegiate aspect, many universities had to do things like digital readings or radio plays. I don’t know if the magnitude of that hit every student, but it certainly hit me, and it reminded me how important it is to be grateful at a time like this that I can go to school and do what I came here to do.”

Schwantes says stage managing for the first time during a pandemic taught her that doing something new isn’t as scary as it may seem.

“In whatever role you’re in, you start small and work your way up,” she says. “I learned a lot of the skills I needed throughout my first three years at Butler. And I also work retail, so even with the added layer of COVID, I already had experience with maintaining safety standards. By the time we finished the first day of rehearsal, I knew we were going to make it through.”

While Butler Theatre’s fall productions were selected before COVID-19 hit, they still worked well with safety protocols. Antigone, for example, takes place during a plague, so masks fit the story. But for the spring semester, The Living—which is about the Great Plague of London—was chosen specifically for its current relevance.

And like the fall performances, the two this spring will be available via livestream. The program plans to continue livestreaming productions even after the pandemic to reach audiences who can’t make it to campus.

Ault’s family lives in Kansas, so she appreciates the new virtual viewing options.

“One positive thing about the way we are doing shows this year is that friends and family who have never seen me perform can now livestream the shows,” she says. “That has been a blessing in disguise.”

Photos by Zach Rosing

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
Senior Content Manager
260-307-3403 (mobile)

Butler Theatre's 'Antigone,' fall 2020, photo by Zach Rosing
Experiential Learning

As COVID-19 Cancels Shows Across the Nation, Butler Theatre Stays on Stage

Strict safety measures allow students to keep rehearsing, performing, and learning together

Feb 18 2021 Read more

Q&A with Madi Dornseif, Blue IV’s Intern

When Madi Dornseif, a senior majoring in Strategic Communication, interviewed for her internship with Butler University’s Official Mascot, Butler Blue IV, it had to be rescheduled and held over Zoom. The tool was foreign to both Madi and the young mascot at the time, but not for long. She would soon learn that the dream internship she had just landed would need to adapt to the growing COVID-19 crisis.

Hear from Madi on how she was able to shift to being Blue’s intern in a new virtual and hybrid world.

Why did you apply to your internship?
I love the Butler Blue Live Mascot Program. When I was a senior in high school, I visited Butler three different times just to try to meet Trip! I always loved the fact that Butler had this program incorporated into its marketing efforts. It is actually one of the reasons I decided to go to Butler. As someone who was interested in going into marketing, I loved the uniqueness of the University’s marketing compared to other schools I had applied to.

During my junior year, when I received an email super early in the morning from College of Communication (CCOM) Internship Director Scott Bridge (just like every other CCOM student has) that listed this internship opportunity, it was a no brainer!

Describe your responsibilities as the official Live Mascot Program Intern.
In my current role, I have been able to hone my skills in generating content to gain new followers on social media platforms such as Tik Tok, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. One of my unique skills in this position is graphic design, using Adobe Creative Cloud. A main task of mine is creating graphics, GIFs, and stickers to promote Butler Blue IV on social media and throughout the University. Last semester, I had the opportunity to work on Blue’s first birthday party and run the Butler Blue sticker store. Both of these projects were a lot of work but definitely rewarding.

Madi and BlueWhat is the most rewarding aspect of your internship?
Being able to feel like an actual employee. In my past internships, I only occasionally saw my work being put to use. As the Marketing Intern with the Butler Blue Mascot Program, I thought seeing my first graphic posted on Butler’s and Butler Blue’s social media channels was unbelievable. So many of my friends came up to me and told me how proud they were to see my work.

What have been the main things you've learned from this experience?
The main thing I have learned from this experience thus far is filming and editing vlogs. I have only had a small amount of experience when it comes to videography, and that was one of the main things I really wanted to learn before I enter the professional world. I have been able to film and edit a number of vlogs in this internship and have really seen my skills benefit from this experience.

Another thing that I have learned is that running a sticker store is a lot harder than it sounds!

Favorite memory/story/project?
A funny memory I have with Blue is that he insisted on sitting on my lap during a car ride. I feel like Blue and I have bonded, and we are buds now. I love getting to go see him and play with him. Work does not feel like work when Blue is around!

My favorite project was Blue’s first birthday party on October 30, 2020. There was so much preparation that went into his party—more than any one of my own! I was nervous that only a small number of students would want to take a picture with Blue. Oh, was I wrong. There was a line in front of Atherton Union before my boss, Evan Krauss, and I even arrived. When the time came to start Blue’s party, there were easily more than a few hundred students lined up all the way to the library just to see Blue on his special day.

Your internship is partially in-person and partially remote—how have you adapted to that?
I have adapted quite well to a hybrid internship. I will never forget when I got the email from Evan telling me my internship would be virtual. It broke my heart. I thought I would never get to work with Blue.

But it actually worked out a ton better than I thought it would! I get to work with Evan and Blue in-person about once or twice a week. And I think I am getting more work done in a timely manner at home than I would in the office. I don’t know how distracted I would be with having Blue in the office—I would just want to play with him all day!

Do you have plans for what you'll be doing next?
I am actually trying to figure that out right now. I am currently applying for jobs in Indianapolis and Nashville, Tennessee. I would love to continue working with social media and graphic design. My skills have improved so much in this internship, and I would love to continue doing similar tasks in my first job. My dream job would be working in marketing with the Nashville Predators, but working in sports is difficult to get into. I recently applied for an entry-level graphic design position, so fingers crossed!

Madi and Blue
Experiential Learning

Q&A with Madi Dornseif, Blue IV’s Intern

As a marketing intern for Butler’s Live Mascot program, the Strategic Communication senior has gained experience in social media and graphic design—all while bonding with a famous bulldog

With Design Internship, Butler Student Goes Behind the Scenes of ‘Good Bones’

By Kennedy Broadwell ’21

If you’re an avid HGTV watcher, you might find yourself wondering what goes on behind the scenes to turn those fixer-uppers into beautiful homes. As the Graphic Design Intern for Two Chicks and a Hammer (the Indianapolis company behind HGTV’s Good Bones), Butler University senior Natalie Tate has had the chance to see the process up close.

When Tate found the internship while scrolling through an online job search platform, she applied immediately. Tate grew up watching HGTV and is a fan of Good Bones, so she was excited for the chance to contribute to a company so many people are familiar with.

Two Chicks & A Hammer mug with illustration by Natalie TateAt the internship, which Tate started in August 2020 and is continuing this spring, she focuses on using her artistic skills to develop new products and marketing campaigns for the company. On an average day at Tate’s virtual office, the Art + Design major attends up to three meetings with the graphic design team. She typically works on illustrations for marketing materials, such as flyers for the company’s Bates-Hendricks store, Two Chicks District Co. She has also helped design product spotlights for email campaigns, as well as created illustrations of several houses from Season 5 of Good Bones for a branded mug. Tate’s semester-long project—a set of illustrations including 12 of the company’s renovated homes—will be used for a new product launching soon.

Along with a major in Art + Design at Butler, Tate has minors in Marketing and Creative Media and Entertainment. She says her understanding of multiple disciplines helps her excel at her internship. She is able to apply what she has learned in her art courses—graphic design and illustration—as well as skills like web design and videography.

“Not only did I apply what I learned in my courses,” Tate says, “but I also applied the work ethic and positive attitude I’ve adopted through these courses. All of my art professors have encouraged me endlessly, and that made me push myself to do my best. This carried over into my internship when working with strict deadlines, creating multiple drafts of designs, and making sure my work is something I’m proud to put out into the world.”

In addition to earning meaningful experience in the field she plans to pursue after graduating, Tate has gained insight into the behind-the-scenes aspects of Good Bones.

Tate says she was surprised to find how small and personal the company is. She recalled a time when she connected with Karen Laine, one of the company’s founders and Good Bones co-star, while they hung up paintings together at the store. Tate says Karen is just as nice in real life as she is on TV.

illustration by Natalie TateBeyond illustration, Tate also helps out on photoshoots. One of her favorite memories happened during a shoot at the Indianapolis Artsgarden to promote a new line of sweatshirts.

“There were two people carrying the equipment, and the other graphic design intern and I had to carry about 20 sweatshirts between us,” she says. “We must have looked ridiculous wandering around the downtown mall with so many clothes in our arms that we could hardly see where we were going.”

For in-store shoots, Tate often helps hold products for close-up shots. If you look at the @twochicksdistrictco Instagram feed and see a hand or two, there’s a good chance it belongs to Tate!

Natalie Tate, Butler University Art + Design senior
Experiential Learning

With Design Internship, Butler Student Goes Behind the Scenes of ‘Good Bones’

Art + Design senior Natalie Tate helps develop new products and campaigns for Indy-based Two Chicks and a Hammer

Science of Food events - illustration

On a Saturday evening in July 2020, Amy E. Hyduk-Cardillo, PharmD ’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 event was the first virtual offering 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, followed by discussion and usually an experiential component (aka, a food or beverage tasting). 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 event focused on themes like the difference between grilling and smoking, whether you should use sauce or rub, and tips for achieving the best results. About 100 Butler community members from across the country attended, with the virtual setting allowing for a broader audience that extended beyond alumni and included parents, faculty, staff, and trustees. In September, Samide and Wilson also hosted 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.

Samide says the educational portion of the events is taught in layperson terms, skipping some of the scientific complexities 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.

“Events like these show that the University is really a place where we value learning and conversation,” Wilson says. “We are living the ideals of a liberal arts education—that there’s always something you can learn.”

Watch for future "Science of ..." events to be listed on

Science of Food events - illustration
Experiential Learning

Food Science: Chemistry Professors Connect with the Butler Community Through Food

Professors Mike Samide and Anne Wilson provide lifelong learning opportunities through food-based events

by Katie Grieze

from Winter 2021

Read more
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