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Capitalizing on Collaboration: Brian Stemme '91

Monica Holb ’09

from Fall 2018

“I wanted to find opportunities to make Indiana better, and I felt like there was more we could do.”

When Brian Stemme ’91, Director of BioCrossroads, graduated with an Accounting degree from what is now the Lacy School of Business, “venture capitalist of ideas” in the life sciences industry was not a job description he imagined. He pursued public accounting with his business background and evaluated companies’ financials. From there, he learned the complexities of the pharmaceutical industry by way of Eli Lilly and Company.

And then, the Lacy family provided him a spark to venture into a new career—long before they lent their name to Stemme’s alma mater’s school of business. Stemme joined the Stanley K. Lacy Executive Leadership Series, where he met emerging leaders and engaged with the Indianapolis community.

“The program inspired me,” Stemme said. “I wanted to find opportunities to make Indiana better, and I felt like there was more we could do.”

Stemme took his first step toward “venture capitalist of ideas” as he and other leaders began exploring what would become BioCrossroads—an organization established to be a catalyst for the continued growth of the life sciences sector in Indiana. After determining that they could make a difference and that the work was important, the group set out with just two years of grant funding to start. Stemme told his Eli Lilly colleagues that he was leaving to pursue the startup nonprofit; they thought he was crazy for leaving a stable and successful company.

It is highly unlikely they still would call him crazy. His first bet was a good one.

After 14 years, Stemme has seen BioCrossroads provide seed funding for 26 companies, help increase local venture capital investment from $7 million to $111 million, create sustainable business models for organizations from IndyHub to the Indiana Health Information Exchange, and share knowledge of the life sciences in Indiana. The inspiration from the leadership program has sparked new ideas and energy for the industry.

Stemme wants Butler students to know how close they are to this exciting, growing sector—56,000 people work in the industry with an average salary of $95,000, or about twice as high as an average salary in the state, Stemme explains. Further, think tanks rank the top five states for life sciences as California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina—and Indiana.

“And unless we stand up and say that, no one will know, even though we have as much activity and scientific expertise as those states,” Stemme said.

It is no accident that Indiana earns these accolades. “Historically, we’ve been lucky to have companies such as Eli Lilly and Zimmer start here,” Stemme said. “But, even better, they have remained here and expanded as their businesses grew.”

Many life sciences companies not only perform research and development here, but also manufacture their products in Indiana. This has led to an unusually strong life sciences sector. In addition to these companies, supporters of the life sciences sector, including governments, universities, and philanthropies, are investing in the region. World-class companies and high-paying jobs help make Indiana a desirable place to live. And because it is a good place to live, more companies want to locate here, Stemme explains. BioCrossroads helps to create an environment for companies to thrive.

But a hospitable environment still isn’t much without the right seeds. Life sciences, because it relies on scientific ideas, is about people, Stemme says. “If it is all about the people, a big part of that is how they are educated.”

Butler is readying its students to succeed in the industry and is supporting talent attraction and retention activities, according to Stemme. The school is connecting interns and new graduates to life sciences companies and developing relevant post-graduate programs. Butler is also enhancing the student experience with innovative partnerships such as one with 16 Tech and providing thought leadership through initiatives like One Butler: The Brain Project and hosting BioCrossroads talks on campus.

Stemme knows collaboration is key in the industry. It is also key to continuing Butler’s success in it. He has collaborated with Butler by serving as President of the Alumni Association and on the Board of Trustees, assisting Internship and Career Services by meeting with students, and, in general, being a connector for the school and life sciences industry.

Stemme spends his days evaluating and investing in ideas that will help the life sciences industry grow in Indiana. In Butler he sees an institution that is expanding its collaboration with the industry. And that spirit of collaboration will only help in finding the next big idea.

People

Capitalizing on Collaboration: Brian Stemme '91

  

by Monica Holb ’09

from Fall 2018

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Arts & CulturePeopleCampus

Commedia Dell'Arte is Like the Pork

BY Marc Allan MFA `18

PUBLISHED ON Oct 22 2018

Italian actor, director, and theatre teacher Marco Luly is trying to explain commedia dell'arte, the art form he has worked in since 1980, and The Servant of Two Masters, the play he is directing for Butler Theatre, October 31 through November 4 at the Schrott Center for the Arts.

He says the show, which was written by Carlo Goldoni in 1745 and has been performed steadily in Italy since 1949, is a comedy with some funny and some serious parts. Some parts develop the story, some parts advance the story, and some parts play the lazzi—the jokes, the fun. There's improvisation, so the actors need to listen to each other. They need to understand how to share the space and pace. To learn action and reaction. To control their body, their body language. To establish contact with other people. To pick up the vibe of the crowd and play with the audience, rather than to the audience.  

"Everything can be used," he says. "Everything. It's like the pork, where everything gets used. We can title this interview, 'Commedia dell'arte is like the pork.'"

And so we have.

Luly, who is spending nine weeks at Butler teaching two classes and directing the show, is the 2018 Visiting International Theatre Artist (VITA). Butler Theatre established the program in 2010 to give students the opportunity to learn from a theater professional from another country. Past VITAs have come from Russia, India, England, and elsewhere.

Luly chose to have the students perform The Servant of Two Masters, a classic in commedia dell'arte, a 500-year-old comedy art form that will be instantly recognizable to today's audiences through its resemblance to Shakespeare's comedies, silent movies, sketch comedy, and TV sitcoms. Actors wear leather masks that exaggerate facial features and identify them as stock characters. There are mistaken identities, lovers' triangles, class struggles, and more.

"Commedia dell'arte is at the root of almost every form of comedy that we know today, whether it's a TV commercial or Saturday Night Live, or Seinfeld and Cheers," says Diane Timmerman, Chair of Butler Theatre. "All these shows have stock characters, situations, physical comedy that is all derived from comedia. So it's fun to go to the source and experience what the original comedy was."

Luly brought with him four masks for the student-actors to portray character types. There's Brighella, who is a high-status servant like an innkeeper; Arlecchino, a servant character looking for money, power, and position in the world; Il Dottore—the Doctor—who bluffs his way through every situation; and Pantalone, an old merchant who's often in love with young girls.

The masks, he says, "are the magic of this form of theater. The masks are important for the actors. The mask does not hide. The mask amplifies. The mask is a tool that can help me show the audience my emotions, my sentiments, my lines. And I don't need to use too many words, too many moves. I can project my emotions just by one movement of my mask."

Taylor Steigmeyer, a junior Theatre/Psychology double major from South Bend, Indiana, is playing Arlecchino, the servant of two masters—and having a great time squatting and jumping and inhabiting this sprightly, sparkly, physically demanding character.

Arlecchino, she says, is a character with two basic needs. He wants food—he's always hungry—and affection from Smeraldina, the maid.

"He's someone who doesn't care about anyone but himself, so while I have to worry about what the other characters are doing, I'm in my own little world sometimes," she says. "I wonder when I'm going to get to eat again. I wonder if Smeraldina wants to kiss me too."

Steigmeyer said working with Luly has been a great experience, one she initially was unsure she was going to be able to fit into her packed schedule. But she found time to take one of Luly's afternoon classes, and then was cast as the title character.

"I was like, this is going to be such a great experience," she says. "When and where would I get an experience like this again?"

Rehearsals for The Servant of Two Masters have been running 6:30-9:30 PM five days a week, and Luly says he's been impressed with the students' work ethic and the way they've come to understand the characters.

As a director, Luly is a taskmaster, but benevolent. During a rehearsal in early October, when an actor missed a line, he told her, "If you don't speak, she might speak, so you have to speak." When the cast is trying to grasp the rhythm of a particular scene where everyone has a couple of words, he explained, "This is a staircase – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 – with each line getting progressively louder. He'll walk over to tilt an actor's head, correct the emphasis of a particular line, and instruct one of the actors to carry a prop on a different shoulder so the audience can see his face.

"He's intense, but he's very definitive," says Isaiah Moore, a junior Theatre/Psychology double major from Fishers, Indiana, who plays Florindo Aretusi, who is in love with Beatrice Rasponi and has run away from his hometown because he killed a man in a duel and has relocated to Venice. "He knows what he wants. We have to make sure we're ready to present what he wants."

To put it another way, they have to deliver the pork.

 

MEDIA CONTACT
Marc Allan MFA '18
News Manager
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822  

Arts & CulturePeopleCampus

Commedia Dell'Arte is Like the Pork

Visiting International Theatre Artist Marco Luly directs Butler Theatre's The Servant of Two Masters.

Oct 22 2018 Read more

Creating a Bulldog Community: Marci Feneman `03

By Monica Holb ‘09

Marci Fenneman Moore can’t get enough of Butler University. After graduating in 2003, she went back to Butler for her MBA, graduating in 2010. And after moving to Evansville in 2012, she’s playing a leading role in developing the Butler University Greater Evansville Alumni Community.

The Greater Evansville Alumni Community, one of 15 different geographic or special interest communities, officially launched on June 1, 2018, but only after Fenneman Moore went on a journey from undergrad and grad student to volunteer and supporter of her beloved University.

Fenneman Moore knows how to stay connected to Butler, even at a distance. In completing her MBA, she drove from Brownsburg to Butler-Tarkington multiple evenings each week to take part in classes to advance her career and knowledge. As much as Fenneman Moore and her husband enjoyed Central Indiana, eventually the pull from their hometown of Evansville was too much to ignore. They wanted to be close to their parents as they started their own family. But Fenneman Moore wanted to keep her connection to Butler.

“I had been away for 13 years and was looking for ways to get connected in Evansville,” she said. “Surely there is a Butler alumni chapter. But I looked at the website, called the alumni office, and there was no chapter.”

Fenneman Moore aimed to change that. By working closely with the Office of Alumni Relations and Engagement, she sent postcards and emails to local alumni and friends of the University to invite them to a basketball viewing party. The viewing party led to others, and excitement for the alumni community in Evansville continued. Fenneman Moore progressed in making the casual hangouts more formal in name. After working with the Office of Alumni Relations and the Board of Trustees, Fenneman Moore and the steering committee proved their vibrancy as a community and became an official extension of the Butler University Alumni Association.

The steering committee—made up of Jeff Moehlenkamp '93, Jenn Koch '13, Kyle Faulkner '13, Amanda Burry '92, Jeff Bosse, MBA '04, Hannah Faulkner '15, Josh Koch '14, Matt Malcolm '10, Caroline Moehlenkamp '93, Chris Mohammed '94, Kara Nichols '04, and Sara Rogier '01—plans events that will engage the nearly 700 alumni and friends of the University in the greater Evansville, Indiana, region. The Evansville alumni community will participate in events that  include Bulldogs Into The Streets (BITS), a Butler Soccer tailgate event, Butler Basketball viewing parties, and a performance and reception with the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra.

Now, any Butler grad who makes the Evansville area home will be able to quickly get involved with the University and fellow Bulldogs. To learn more and get involved, visit the community’s page at butler.edu/alumni/communities/evansville.

 

Featured Image: The Greater Evansville Alumni Community steering committee leadership team helps to plan events for the community. Pictured from left to right in back: Jenn Koch '13, Kyle Faulkner '13. Pictured from left to right in front: Jeff Moehlenkamp '93, Marci Fenneman Moore '03, MBA '10. 

Story Image: The Greater Evansville Alumni Community helps celebrate the Summer Sendoff in Evansville. 

Community and Compassion: Loor Alshawa `14

By Monica Holb ‘09

Compassion may not have been a course that Loor Alshawa ’14, a two-time Top 100 student of the year, took at Butler University. But it was a lesson she learned along the way, and is now taking it with her into her medical career. Alshawa graduated from the Indiana University School of Medicine in May 2018, ready to take on a residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Kentucky.

Alshawa’s first brush with compassion at Butler may have come from her older sister, also a Butler graduate. Alshawa was on a college visit with her sister, in the midst of the Bulldogs’ 2010 Final Four run, when she spotted Gordon Hayward. Alshawa was compelled to ask for a photo as Hayward made his way to class, and her sister, embarrassed as she was, compassionately didn’t bar Alshawa from ever stepping foot on campus again.

Compassion, however, is expected of siblings; not always of professors and other students. Yet, Alshawa got the sense, right away, that Butler was a tight-knit community.

At Butler, Alshawa learned the importance of compassion, as well as connecting with community. “It is so easy to lose sight of that, but having it ingrained in me at Butler, I hope it will stay with me in my career,” Alshawa said.

A large part of her lesson in compassion came from the myriad of volunteer opportunities Alshawa took part in as a student. For example, through the Diversity Center, she did a tour of volunteering in New Orleans. She also served as the President of the Muslim Student Association for three years. “We went out into the community to help people in need,” Alshawa said of these experiences. One of Alshawa’s favorite things about Butler is that sense of community.

“I went to Butler knowing that I wanted to go to medical school, and Butler helped me get there,” Alshawa said. “A career in medicine can be difficult, but now I am used to having a support system from the Butler community. Staying connected with Butler is my plan.”

Community and compassion mixed with high-level academics were the perfect combination at Butler for Alshawa.

“The academic rigor for medical school is just another level of difficulty,” Alshawa explained. But she was not daunted by the sheer amount of knowledge one must gain in a short amount of time. “I truly believe that Butler set me up for success; the difficulty of Butler courses gave me a leg up,” Alshawa said.

Butler’s academic rigor also put Alshawa in a position to deliver compassionate care. Alshawa had studied French since the seventh grade, but wasn’t planning on adding it to her Biology major. But she admired her French professors and felt she should pursue the language and make it as strong as possible, and decided to double major. With a summer semester in Paris and an independent study her senior year, Alshawa was fluent enough to interview French-speaking people in Indianapolis. The conversations were research about their culture, but also improved her skills. Little did she know that speaking French could help her future patients.

During Alshawa’s OB GYN rotation in medical school, her team had a patient come in by ambulance. The patient had given birth to her baby, but not the placenta, and they were still connected by umbilical cord. The woman was French-speaking only, and the emergency team was not able to even ask for her name. No one could talk to their patient.

Alshawa stepped up and shared her knowledge. “I ended up speaking to her and walking her through what was going on and what we were doing in an emergent situation,” Alshawa said.

These experiences lend Alshawa a vision of who she wants to become as a physician: someone who can interact with patients, visit after visit—without losing her compassion. Butler University’s commitment to academics, and its support of students and the community, will help her achieve just that.

Talent, Determination and a Little Bit of Comedy

By Marc Allan, MFA '18

The first day of sixth-grade basketball tryouts was the last day Bri Lilly ever played that sport.

"I tried to shoot a free throw," she recalls. "I threw it as hard as I could, it bounced off the rim and hit my nose. I went home, and that was the end of my basketball career. I thought maybe I should try something different. My dad was devastated for three months until I tried out for volleyball. Then he was fine."

Six years later, she was at the Mideast Qualifier volleyball tournament in Indianapolis, playing for suburban Chicago’s Thornton Fractional South High School. In the stands, her mother shared some jellybeans with the woman sitting next to her. That woman turned out to be Sharon Clark, Butler's longtime volleyball coach.

Clark invited Lilly for a campus visit. A week later, she was signed, earning the Dean Herbert F. Schwomeyer Scholarship, given annually to a deserving student selected by the Athletics Department, and a Lake Trust Book Fund award.

It’s worked out well on all fronts. On the volleyball court, as a junior, the 6-foot-2 Lilly was a First Team All-BIG EAST Selection and broke the Butler Volleyball record for highest attack percentage recorded in a season (.378).

She also keeps the team loose. Clark describes her as “quick-witted” and someone who “loves being center stage.”

“Bri is quite a BIG personality and a character,” the coach says. “During her first visit to Butler, we asked what major she was considering. She told us that she could be a comedian and she and her sister would do a stand-up comedy show. Too bad we don’t have a major in comedy. She would have done it!”

As a student in the College of Education, where she’s a Secondary Education major with a focus on English, she has impressed her professors with her energy and devotion to students.

Lilly brings to her role a love of literature. Her mother was a bookworm, and “it wasn't a choice for me to love books,” she said, listing A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, The Great Gatsby, Native Son, and anything by Alice Walker among her favorites. “They've guided my life.”

Education Professor Shelly Furuness, Lilly’s academic advisor and professor for several classes, said she’s certain Lilly will be a successful teacher.

“I don’t think there is a single thing she wouldn’t be successful at doing,” Furuness says. “What I see in Bri is someone who really does see every challenge as an opportunity. She is an outstanding example of our best and brightest seeing teaching as an opportunity to do good in the world, and she’s prepared to do it well.”

Lilly graduates in May, and she already has a job lined up. In summer 2018, she interned at the Success Academy, a New York-based charter school group. She spent six weeks there, working with students and getting a feel for what it would be like to teach in New York.

When she finished, they asked her to come back. She’ll teach either language arts/creative writing in the middle school or English literature and AP English in high school. She doesn't know which school she’ll be in since Success Academy has 50 schools in the city’s five boroughs, but she’s excited.

In the meantime, she’s enjoying her last year at Butler. She loves the travel with the volleyball team—she collects magnets at every stop—and enjoys that her parents, David and Denise, travel to most of her games.

Butler, Lilly said, has turned out to be a great choice.

“I’m close enough to home that my parents can see all my games, but far enough away that we have space,” she said. “Overall, Butler has provided me with a lot of friends, opportunities, and a lot of memories that I can stick with for a long time. So I’m happy I came.”

Prepared for the Long Term: Alex Anglin '10

In early June, Alex Anglin ’10—Butler University Trustee, Lacy School of Business graduate, and walk-on for the men's basketball team that went to the 2010 National Championship Game—shared the news that he's going back to school this fall for his MBA.

At Duke University.

“Don’t hold that against me,” he said with a smile.

Anglin was on the bench when Gordon Hayward's last-second shot bounced off the rim and Duke beat Butler, 61-59, in the 2010 national championship game. He remembers watching from the bench and thinking that the ball “was tracking well, so I thought it had a shot to go in. But it is what it is.”

In the years since, Anglin has spent far more time building his career than agonizing over the loss. Since graduating, he’s gone from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to Eli Lilly & Co., and now Lilly is financially sponsoring his MBA and holding a position for him after he's finished.

He remembers what Coach Brad Stevens used to tell his Butler teams: Enjoy the moment, but don't let college be the best four years of your life. Anglin already knew that going into Butler. By the time he finished, he’d done three internships, met his future wife, Lindsey (Corbitt, now a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney within the Marion County prosecutor’s office), and landed a job.

“Basketball’s not forever,” he said. “I went to school to prepare academically and professionally for the long term.”

*

Anglin came to Butler from Kokomo, Indiana, two years after his sister Kym. In high school, he‘d been active in Future Business Leaders of America, and he also played basketball.

“I think I had a natural draw to what Butler had to offer—small class sizes, a big city with access to a diverse set of organizations for internships and community involvement.” he said.

The First-year Business Experience course gave him a “dunking” into potential business disciplines, and he was hooked. Then he took the accounting and finance modules, and those also clicked. Professor Pamela Rouse, an accounting lecturer, suggested he pursue Accounting. She told him that Accounting is the language of business, a critical component of how organizations analyze their business and communicate information for decision-making purposes. Anglin didn’t know what industry he wanted to go into, but he figured he could apply Accounting to a variety of businesses, including financial services, healthcare, and manufacturing. He knew he wanted something flexible so he could eventually find the right path. He decided to major in Accounting, with a minor in Management Information Systems.

As a sophomore, he did the first of his internships, with Allison Transmission, a “great and valuable experience” that gave him his first real taste of the business world.

Also that year, he decided to try to walk on to Butler’s basketball team.

“I thought I would be OK coming to school as a ‘normal student,’” he said. “But I soon realized that I missed playing basketball in a competitive team setting which was a big part of my childhood.”

Stevens, who‘d seen Anglin play in high school, welcomed him, as did the team.

“The family culture is a big part of the Butler system,” Anglin said, “you’re expected to be fully vested in the team and contribute whether you’re a starter and leading scorer or the last man off the bench. That mindset helped me adjust and say I’m here to be the best I can be and help the team get better.”

At the same time, he knew the primary reason he was in school: “To be in the best position to be successful after graduation.”

Following his junior year, Rouse helped him land an internship with PricewaterhouseCoopers, the auditing/tax consulting firm. He did well and he liked the work enough that Aaron Schamp, a Butler Trustee and Partner/ITPA Midwest Regional Leader for PricewaterhouseCoopers, offered him a full-time position after graduation.

He accepted. But there was still a year of school to go.

*

Anglin played sparingly during his four years with the basketball team, scoring 14 points in 42 games. But being a walk-on still meant practicing at 6:00 AM, being there for every game and team meeting, and training. Balancing academics and basketball “was pretty intense,” especially around NCAA tournament time.

He credits his professor and classmates with helping him keep up with the work in one class in particular, Taxation for Partnerships and Corporations, which met for three hours on a Wednesday in the spring of his senior year. The coursework, he said, was “meaty material that you need to be in front of the professor to understand.”

He got through, and finished his Butler career with a summer internship at the Butler Business Consulting Group (BBCG), which works with businesses to solve their challenges.

“After interning with large public companies, the BBCG was a perfect segue for me to understand the small business mindset as well as to hone skills that are required to lead a finance organization,” he said. “The BBCG provided me an intimate view into the daily roles and responsibilities of a CFO, a role that I aspire to assume.”

Anglin impressed Chris Stump, Project Manage–CFO Services with the consulting group.

“Alex provided excellent contributions to a variety of client projects with the highest level of professionalism and teamwork,” he said. “His demeanor was always pleasant and borderline shy as his nature was very reserved at that time. He led more by action than words. BBCG team members and clients all enjoyed working with Alex.”

Can I Help You?: Natalie van Dongen '18

By Cindy Dashnaw

When Natalie van Dongen ’18 describes her passion for the environment, she’s not referring to climate change, clean air, or protecting forests. She’s concerned with how one’s environment can influence how other people treat them.

“Certain socioeconomic groups are treated differently based on their environment or place in the community,” she said. “For example, wealthy and white people, frankly, have access to better food systems and more organic food than lower-income and minority groups.”

Van Dongen credits her childhood for her ability to recognize these disparities. She was born in Indianapolis but grew up in the small farming town of Towanda, Illinois, with a population of just 480 at the 2010 census. Though her family never wanted for anything, it wasn’t the case for everyone in Towanda, where the median household income is under $45,000—and big stores with healthy food options are unknown.

“I was incredibly privileged growing up. I still am. And I knew if I wasn’t using that privilege to help others, I’d feel guilty,” she said. “My childhood is one that not a lot have lived. My experience is my own, and there’s a lot that can be done with it.”

But what?

In thinking about a college degree and a career, Van Dongen found herself considering the employability of her passions.

“I’m quite outspoken and really care about a lot of issues. When I was looking at what to study, I didn’t know which basket to put my eggs in,” she said. “In today’s world, you can be someone who is outspoken yet not very productive. I wanted to make sure I was putting my time and resources where my mouth is, but more than that, I wanted to do it for others.”

At first, mostly because both parents are Butler Bulldogs, she was adamantly opposed to attending Butler. But like many students, the moment she stepped on campus, she made her choice.

“There’s such a sense of community that’s unlike anything else. It’s like a neighborhood but more than that. I’ve never experienced it anywhere else. It’s a sense of solidarity and camaraderie that’s amazing.”

With the help of her professors, Van Dongen centered her academics on critical communications: The importance of messaging and rhetoric, how they can affect our understanding of the world, and how we can change the ways the world works.

Without them, Van Dongen said, she would never have been able to see a career path from combining her studies and her passions. “My professors identified strengths in me that I didn’t see in myself, and encouraged me to do academic and personal work that would help me explore them. In fact, they made me feel more comfortable in all facets of my life,” she said.

She’s now working for the City of Indianapolis, where she began as a Communications Intern. She helps callers to the Mayor’s Action Center figure out which department handles their questions and requests, giving everyone an equal voice.

Van Dongen’s Instagram profile features a quote from Paul Farmer, international health and social justice activist. “The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong with the world.”

Now that she’s a Butler graduate, Van Dongen is out to correct the imbalance.

Dedicated to Change the Art of Healthcare: Shandeep Singh ’18

By Krisy Force

Recent Butler University graduate Shandeep Singh’s ’18 Linkedin opening says a lot about who he is as a person and who he hopes to be as a medical professional. He writes, “I am a firm believer that medicine is an art that combines compassion and knowledge in order to provide effective healthcare.”

When his Career Planning Strategies Professor Courtney Rousseau read that statement in fall 2017, she remembers being struck not only by its verbiage but by its simplicity.

“The typical response I get from students pursuing fields in the medical profession is that they want to help people or they like science,” Rousseau said. “But it’s the first time I’ve ever heard anyone describe the medical field as an art. Statements like that are going to help develop the empathy that is sometimes lacking in healthcare.”

So if Singh’s passion is to become a doctor, what led him to pursue an internship through Butler’s Washington, DC Learning Semester? He figured out, like most Butler students, that at Butler he was able to combine his other passion—politics—with his love for science to pursue a hands-on learning experience.

When searching for an internship in Washington, Singh made sure to choose one that covered topics in the medical field while also allowing him an inside look into the career of a politician. Singh ended up interning for Representative Jackie Walorski in the capital for four months in spring 2018.

“My internship focused on the backside of healthcare, which allowed me to learn how I can really make a change and possibly make the system more efficient,” Singh said. “This is how it all starts. You develop a medical product, you go to Congress and lobby, and you hope to get funding.”

Singh explained there are a lot of great products that could potentially save someone’s life or ease the process of getting treatment, but the general public doesn’t even know about them because the lobbying and funding process is inefficient.

As a doctor, he hopes to use what he learned in his internship to help lobby for the products and devices that could positively impact patients’ lives.

Rousseau said students like Singh illustrate that careers shouldn’t be the only thing that defines who we are.

“Singh knew he was passionate about a lot of things and he knew he could explore them without them necessarily aligning,” Rousseau said. “It’s finding the right spaces for the things you’re passionate about.”

Keeping Teachers Teaching: Amanda Huffman ’12, METL ’16

By Marc Allan, MFA '18

Amanda Huffman ’12, METL ’16 wrote her master’s thesis on how to mentor math educators to keep them in the profession. Then she put her plan into action.

Working in collaboration with several Butler University professors and in partnership with Pike High School in Indianapolis, Huffman established a mentoring program at Pike, where she has taught Math since 2012. The program helps Butler’s future teachers bridge the gap between what they theoretically know about math and teaching and the reality of classroom life.

That program has proved to be so effective that it has expanded to other subjects at Pike, a 3,500-student school on the city’s northwest side. During the 2017–2018 school year, Jenny DiVincenzo ’16 mentored eight future English teachers and Ali Ranallo ’16 supported a group of eight would-be Social Studies teachers.

During the weekly sessions, which took place after school on Wednesdays, the mentors shared career advice, classroom tips, lesson-planning ideas—anything to help make the future teachers more comfortable and prepared.

“It’s a powerful thing to sit down with somebody," Meredith Varner ’18 said. “In college, it’s really easy to think of the most beautiful picture of a classroom, where every lesson runs really smoothly and times are perfect and you integrate those strategies and its incredible execution. We were able to get into the nitty-gritty of what it looks like to apply teaching concepts to the actual content and what it looks like to bring that into the classroom.”

Varner did her student-teaching at Pike in Indianapolis from January to March. By the time she had finished, she had verbally agreed to a full-time offer from Pike to teach math there beginning in 2018–2019. Varner then went to Westlane Middle School, which feeds into Pike High School, from March to May and, when she finished there, returned to Pike and ended the year by filling in for a teacher who went on maternity leave.

She said she benefited from what she learned in Butler’s College of Education, but also from what she learned from Huffman, her mentor.

New Pike High School teachers are assigned what’s called a “cooperating teacher” to help them through early growing pains in the classroom, but those are usually highly experienced teachers. 

DiVincenzo, who in June finished her second year of teaching English at Pike, said there’s something reassuring about having a mentor who’s close to your own age sharing her experiences. That’s why she wanted to be a mentor.

“I am more of a neutral person they can go to,” she said, sitting in her classroom, one corner of which was decorated with Butler pennants and pictures. “And I’m closer in age to them, so they feel more comfortable.”

She said her mentees wanted to know about topics ranging from lesson-planning to how to navigate relationships with coworkers and maintain professionalism even if you have different philosophies. Each session would focus on something different.

DiVincenzo studied Education and English at Butler and is licensed to teach English as a New Language. She teaches three sections of that and three of regular English 10. She said her faculty coworkers at Pike have been incredibly helpful, “but I would have had less stress and less anxiety going into my first year if I’d had a mentor. It does feel nice to be supported and feel like I have a Butler community here.”

Ranallo, who finished her second year of teaching Social Studies at Pike in the spring, said she was delighted to be a mentor. “Butler was such a great part of my life, and I wanted to keep going with that and helping out as much as I can,” she said.

She spent her Wednesdays with her mentees discussing topics like: How to talk about current events and help students process the information; how to explain and use primary sources; how teachers figure out if their students learned what they were trying to teach them. Classroom management, observing state standards, and how to make sure you’re applying them—those subjects also came up frequently.

Ranallo said she advised the future teachers to keep trying new things. There are going to be lessons and strategies you’ve learned that are going to be fantastic and you’re going to want to do them again, and there are going to be some that need some major readjustments or tweaks, she said. But your students deserve new ideas, so keep trying them and don’t be afraid to go for it.

The mentoring program began to take shape in 2012, the summer after Huffman graduated, when she participated in a Pike/Butler Partnership for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math teachers. There, Butler professors Ryan Flessner (College of Education) and Mary Kron (Department of Mathematics and Actuarial Sciences) gave a presentation about combining math and new methods of teaching.

Huffman approached her advisor, Associate Professor of Education Shelly Furuness, and together they figured out how best to translate that idea into action.

“She believed us in the College of Education when we said we continue to support our students even after graduation,” said Furuness, Huffman’s thesis advisor.

Huffman, who’s now six years into her teaching career, said she’s proud to have established the mentoring program, particularly because it fits with the Butler College of Education’s mission: To make schools what they should be—not what they are.

Huffman teaches five sections of pre-calculus/trigonometry and one International Baccalaureate senior level section of calculus. One of the lessons she shared with her mentees was a classroom session where she broke up her class into groups and gave each group a calculus problem to solve at the board.

Once the group finished and had the correct answer, the members were dispersed to other groups until, finally, there was one group of 20.

“Some teachers would think that there’s nothing happening there,” she said. “It’s going to turn into chaos. I would say three-fourths of the students were still engaged in that last group, trying to figure out that last problem.”

Furuness said Huffman’s work—which earned national recognition from the federal Department of Education in 2016—demonstrates how Butler’s College of Education integrates theory and practice.

“So often, the narrative out in the world is that what you learn in teacher preparation isn’t real,” Furuness said. “We’re showing them people who are doing these things. Amanda, Jenny, and Ali help bridge that theory-to-practice gap. Our students tell us over and over again how thankful they are. They like seeing the graduates doing the work.”

Enjoying the Journey: Smita Conjeevaram '85

By Cindy Dashnaw

Smita Conjeevaram ’85 was born in Mumbai at a time when a college degree for Indian daughters was generally a means to one end: A marriage arranged by her family. But Conjeevaram, describing herself as “intense and serious” from her earliest days, had a family that helped her focus on her own goals, rather than on others’ expectations.

For instance, she joined India’s National Cadet Corps at age 18 and became South India’s first female glider pilot.

“My mother was very progressive in how she raised me and my siblings,” she said. “She wanted us to be able to rely on ourselves when we grew up.”

Conjeevaram has relied on herself all her life. As an adult, holding senior positions at prominent investment management firms for over 25 years, hundreds of other people learned to rely on her, too. Now retired, she continues to keep her finger on the pulse of business and the financial industry by serving on corporate boards, including a public financial tech company, SS&C. And a new endeavor has another audience counting on her: young artisans hoping she can revive global interest in handloom textiles.

 

A Midwestern Butler Welcome

Her father’s electronics and plastics manufacturing company inspired Conjeevaram to pursue a business career. In India, she had earned a bachelor’s degree in Economics and was working toward a master’s degree when she met her future husband. He accepted a job with Allison Gas Turbine in Indianapolis to design military aircraft engines, and Conjeevaram packed up and moved with him.

She had no intention of altering plans for her life, however.

“Ideologically, I was very much about building a career and making the most of opportunities that came my way,” she said. Conjeevaram enrolled at Butler University to pursue Accounting and Business Administration. She remembers how welcome she felt.

“Butler had a very comfortable and approachable ambience, and the professors were fantastic,” she said. “People were curious about my background … but never did I feel like I was different. Everyone had an equal interest in my success and gave a lot of care to making me feel like I belonged.”

Conjeevaram adjusted to the informality of an American campus, where it was OK to call professors by their first names and keep your seat when they entered the classroom, and she appreciated Butler’s approach to academics.

“While at Butler, I felt I was not only learning through courses directly related to business and finance, but also through a curriculum that included liberal arts classes that brought perspective and provided a well-rounded education, something I missed in India,” Conjeevaram said.

Since earning her Butler degree magna cum laude in 1985 and becoming a CPA in 1989, Conjeevaram has held senior positions in some of the most sophisticated Wall Street financial services companies: PwC, Long-Term Capital, Fortress Investment Group, and others. Among other things, she was actively involved in growing the business and designing and bringing about efficiency and controls in operational infrastructure.

 

Business of a Different Sort

Now that she’s retired, Conjeevaram has time to devote to her other passions: textiles and philanthropy. She visited every textile center in South Asia, spending three months with weavers and artisans and the nonprofit groups and governmental agencies that support them. She realized that the centuries-old craft of handloom was dying and, with it, the life and culture of the weavers. During a three-year weaving course in Florence, Italy, she also realized her textile books had little visual documentation of old weaving techniques.

She later captured her journey on film and turned the footage into a trailer, Threads of India, from which she plans to make a documentary.

Meanwhile, Conjeevaram launched online retailer Esse et Cie to create a marketplace for artisans she met and to continue visually documenting textile arts. She hopes that by educating consumers on how products are made, they will appreciate them more.

 

‘You’ll Never Regret Finance’

In addition to advising young textile artisans, Conjeevaram also has some advice for Butler students.

“Finance and Accounting are two courses which you’d never regret studying. They present career options in a wide variety of industries,” she said. “While it is great to plan out your career path and future early on, it’s important to be flexible and nimble to make the most of opportunities that arise. At most times, how you respond will dictate your career path. So go with the flow, take a few risks, and enjoy the journey.”

Always in Style: Andrew Gelwicks '15

By Marc Allan, MFA '18

Andrew Gelwicks ’15 is wearing ripped jeans, a white T-shirt, Converse sneakers, and a baseball hat, which seems antithetical to how a stylist to the up-and-coming stars ought to be dressed.

But no, he said. His personal style is to keep things simple.

“You see stylists on TV and they’re portrayed as ultra-glamourous, running around in heels and designer clothes,” he said. “While that is sometimes the case, the reality of it is that styling is more physically demanding than most people would think. You’re carrying garment bags, you’re bringing racks of clothes around to people’s hotel rooms, you’re standing on set for 12 hours. So I just dress for comfort. I love dressing my clients in very luxurious, high-end clothing, but my personal style is not that.”

He added: “At the end of the day, my objective is to make sure that as soon as my client steps in front of the cameras, they look and—more importantly—feel their best. It’s my job to take their style and bring it to the next level.”

And in just three years since graduating from Butler, he has a growing list of clients to prove his point. Celebrities such as Tommy Dorfman and Brandon Flynn (Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why), KJ Apa (Riverdale), Sistine Stallone (model, daughter of Sylvester Stallone), Serayah (Empire), Cordell Broadus (model, Snoop Dogg’s son), Larsen Thompson (dancer/model/actress), Chloe Lukasiak (Lifetime’s Dance Moms), Dascha Polanco (Orange Is the New Black), and Camren Bicondova (Gotham) are just some of who have all taken their fashion cues from him.

 

The Andrew Gelwicks Course

Gelwicks traces his desire to be part of the fashion industry to well before he arrived at Butler. Strategic Communication Professor Rose Campbell remembers looking at the website Gelwicks designed when he was in high school in Cincinnati, Ohio, and being impressed by the modeling, clothing, and design.

“It was a cool, well-done visual, and very clever,” she said. “We don’t see too many students who have that kind of interest early on.” She added: “We didn’t turn him into what he is; he came here laser-focused on what he wanted to do, and he found that our department was the way to get there.”

Gelwicks had looked at a number of schools, but when he visited his older sister’s friend, who was a Butler student, “there was a click between me, the students, and the campus.” He came in as a Strategic Communication major, with a minor in Digital Media Production.

After Gelwicks’ first year at Butler, he wanted to do an internship in New York City. Before the end of his first semester, he had six internship offers around the country, including at Hearst Magazines and Vogue. (He went with Hearst). At the time, the department didn’t have a mechanism to allow him to get credit—something all of the companies he was considering required—so they created a new course, STR199, Field Experience in Strategic Communication.

“That,” Campbell said, “is the Andrew Gelwicks course.”

He also was interested in the design aspects of Strategic Communication, but the department only had one required design course and no photography or videography courses. Strategic Communication Instructor Armando Pellerano worked with Gelwicks, supervising multiple independent studies where he was able to expand his knowledge on photography, video, and design.

“Having an Andrew Gelwicks teaches you about the holes in your curriculum,” Campbell said.

Beyond his coursework, Gelwicks made a splash nationally with articles he wrote for Out magazine and The Huffington Post about being gay in a fraternity. (He published a dozen more pieces for the Huffington site.) And he periodically flew to New York to assist stylists on photo shoots, help out at New York Fashion Week, and to interview for a job. He was adamant about keeping one foot in the city as best he could.

“In my senior year, I did a freelance project for Self magazine, helping them with an event they were doing with Drew Barrymore,” he said. “I would sit in the basement of my senior house helping arrange the guests for this 600-person event.”

Ultimately, he said, Butler “helped me figure out myself, what my priorities are, and my personal goals. If I had gone to school in New York, it would have been very, very different. The fact that I grew up in Ohio and went to school in Indiana really helped me as I’m now in this hyper-chaotic world with extreme personalities and egos. Coming from the Midwest, I was able to be with people who are really grounded and care about their friends and families. That has been so valuable.”

 

Building His Own Brand

After studying in Berlin, Germany, his junior year, Gelwicks came back for the fall 2015 semester and graduated in December. He waited a week or two and moved to New York the first week of January.

That first week, he had 20 interviews. By Friday, he had accepted a job at GQ, working in the fashion closet. Four months in, he met the entertainment editor at Vogue, “an Editor I had been fascinated with for years. I was so curious about her and her job and what she did every day—she books all the celebrities for Vogue, and is such a big force at the magazine.”

Then, by happenstance, Gelwicks ran into her again on the street. She hired him that day and two weeks later, he was handling the celebrity bookings for Teen Vogue.

He was there almost a year—booking celebrity talent for the print magazine and digital, and getting to meet up-and-coming actors, actresses, and musicians. But he missed the fashion element of the business, so on the weekends he started doing test shoots for modeling agencies. He would find photographers and models on Instagram and they would come together to create work for all of their portfolios.

For the next six months, Gelwicks did two or three shoots a weekend to put together as much content as possible. In summer 2016, Madonna’s publicist introduced him to an agent who represents Hollywood stylists and makeup artists. He’s been working in that end of the business ever since.

Connecting with clients happens in a variety of ways. He will sometimes see someone in a new show or movie that interests him and reaches out, or the talent finds him via word of mouth or social media. His agents bring in new work as well.

Right now, his aim is to build his business as much as possible. “I’m working with a lot of great clients who I have a connection with and I feel passionate about—where they’re going, what our vision is, where we want to take their careers.” In the days after this interview, he was scheduled to do two shoots with Cosmopolitan and another with Refinery29, a digital media and entertainment company focused on women.

“I’m really enjoying myself,” he said. “This is definitely a high-stress and 24/7 job, but I can’t imagine doing anything else. And going from being an employee to now operating my own business was definitely a learning curve. I didn’t study business, so figuring out how to operate the financial end of things was incredibly overwhelming at the beginning. All of that aside, though, I’m loving every second of what I’m doing.”

 

Photo courtesy of Ben Hider

Julian Wyllie

Self-Made Man

Rachel Stern

from Fall 2018

Julian Wyllie ’16 taught himself how to be a journalist in two weeks. 

The setting was the Butler University Library and it was winter break 2015. Wyllie, a junior, had just been named The Collegian’s Editor-in-Chief. Despite being named the leader of the campus paper; Wyllie didn’t really know journalism. 

He was a business major. He had never taken a journalism course at Butler. He wondered why the paragraphs in newspapers were so “little.” He was used to writing essays. He enjoyed reading long books. He had worked at The Collegian, but was the Opinion Editor, and didn’t feel ready to oversee an entire paper. 

So, he locked himself inside Irwin Library for two weeks. A crash course, of sorts, in journalism. 

“I read everything cover-to-cover,” Wyllie says. “The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, everything I could get my hands on. For two straight weeks, I just went to the library, borrowed newspapers and magazines, and read every single word. I copied down stylistic things I noticed, reporting tricks, everything. I did not talk to anyone for two weeks.” 

It must have been a decent crash course. Wyllie, who graduated from Butler in 2016 with a degree in Economics and Entrepreneurship, has already worked at the Indianapolis Recorder, Governing magazine, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and Politico. 

But it was more than just that self-guided, bleary-eye-inducing, two-week course that set Wyllie down the journalism path. He credits Butler’s tight-knit community, which was conducive to “stumbling,” he says, upon the student paper. And more than that, it allowed people with no reporting background to get involved, very involved, in the paper. Butler’s curriculum also enabled an individual in the Business School to explore other interests, something Wyllie says he wouldn’t have been able to do at a larger institution. 

Wyllie recently accepted a full-time position as a reporter at The Chronicle of Philanthropy. This comes after completing the 2018 Politico Journalism Institute, which offered 13 university students intensive, hands-on training in government and political reporting. His goal is to continue to tell the stories that drew him to the library in the first place: individual people who are experiencing something that represents a much larger societal issue. 

“I stumbled on my life’s passion while at Butler and I am so lucky that I was able to find that, cultivate that, almost by accident, all while still pursuing a completely different major that helped me in so many ways,” he says. 

“The primary reason I am where I am, is that Butler is small enough to meet people who can change your life by accident. If you go to a massive school, you can only focus on business, or engineering, for example. At Butler, I was able to have a business major, yet also get involved in the college paper, which was something I didn’t even know I wanted to do, all because of the small community. I never would have been able to get that support at a bigger place. At Butler, I met so many people who pushed me to do what I knew I wanted to do, but didn’t have the courage to do.” 

 

Off to Indiana

Wyllie grew up in Brooklyn. The son of immigrants. Most of his family is from the island of Saint Vincent in the Caribbean. 

Wyllie’s mother moved to Canada in the 1980s to attend graduate school, and eventually moved to New York where Julian was born in 1994. His parents broke up in the late 1990s, and after his mother remarried someone from Indiana, they moved to Indianapolis when Wyllie was 13. 

When it was time for Wyllie to start thinking about colleges, Butler was very much on his mind. In fact, it was on the minds of most people in Indiana, he says. It was 2011 and Butler was fresh off an NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship appearance. 

Wyllie knew he wanted to stay in Indiana for college and narrowed his list to Indiana University, University of Indianapolis, and Hanover. Butler, he says, was his top choice, but he didn’t think he had a chance of getting in. 

Enter Jamie Martindale. 

Martindale was Wyllie’s government teacher at Pike High School. And Martindale didn’t want to hear Wyllie say he couldn’t get into Butler. He pushed Wyllie to “just give it a shot.” Wyllie took Martindale’s advice and was thrilled when he was accepted early. 

“Butler seemed like the type of place where people would ask you how you are,” Wyllie says. “I remember visiting campus and just being completely sold on it right after my visit. I loved the size, the feel, and the people. Random people were just so friendly.” 

Fear of rejection wasn’t Wyllie’s only hesitation in applying to Butler. Even if he did get in, he figured he wouldn’t be able to afford it. 

But, much to his surprise, Butler ended up being more affordable than any of the other Indiana schools he got into. Wyllie received the Morton-Finney Leadership Award and the Heritage Award. 

The Morton-Finney Leadership Award is given to students who have taken a leadership role promoting diversity and inclusion in their schools or communities. The Heritage Award, Wyllie says, was because he was a first-generation college student. 

 

A New Passion Emerges

Hilary Buttrick knows she is not supposed to have favorite students, but when it comes to Wyllie, she can’t really help it. 

“He is one of those students who really sticks out in my mind,” says Buttrick, Associate Professor of Business Law. “He is a great kid, who is really creative, and has a natural curiosity. He just has an interest and desire to go way beyond what the assignment requires.” 

Wyllie first met Buttrick in her Business Ethics course when he was a sophomore. That’s where, he says, he really learned to write, and also realized how much he loved it. 

Buttrick’s class tackled Karl Marx, criticisms of a capitalist society, classical philosophy, and more. Wyllie, she says, had a gift for close reading and writing. If the whole journalism thing doesn’t pan out, he would make a great lawyer, she says. 

“He was always such a good contributor to our class discussions,” Buttrick says. “He raised the bar in class. Our entire class benefitted because Julian would raise his hand and say something truly insightful. He is the kid that every professor wants to have in their class.” 

As he was taking Buttrick’s class, he just happened to be approached by a Collegian reporter for a story she was writing and asked to do an interview. He agreed and, because of that interview, learned more about what The Collegian was. 

He connected with the Opinion Editor at the time and she looked at his essays. 

“I remember she said to me, ‘If we could teach you to write for a newspaper, would you be interested?’” Wyllie says. “I figured why not? Initially, I thought it would be fun to show my friends that I could just write my opinions. That’s what I thought journalism was. Boy was I wrong.” 

 

A Long Way from the Library Crash Course

Wyllie remembers his first column with a bit of disgust. “It wasn’t very good at all,” he says. He waxed poetic about why it was perfectly OK to be an independent student at Butler, but still have friends who were part of the Greek system. “It was very basic,” he says. “I was still learning how to write, let’s put it that way.” 

Eventually, he became the Opinion Editor and put his business background to good use, shaping the section through a new lens. 

“I wanted to have different types of writers for the opinion section. A business-focused person, a culture-focused person. I wanted an opinion writer for everybody,” he says. “I wanted to build the section so that if someone tuned in for one specific thing, they would be able to find it. I approached it from the perspective of, we need to get readers. I would never take back my business background. Without it, I would never have had that mindset.” 

After serving as Opinion Editor, Wyllie became Editor-in-Chief. 

“Julian is the only non-media major to ever hold the Editor-in-Chief position that I know of,” says Nancy Whitmore, who has been a Journalism Professor at Butler for 18 years. “He was very unusual and unique in terms of the history of the paper and we not only enjoyed that, but greatly benefitted from his new perspective.” 

Wyllie used his business background to tackle stories that others at the paper shied away from, Whitmore says. He wrote about student debt and tuition increases, the endowment, and budget-centered stories. 

“He had an outstanding ability to take complex things and make them understandable to the reader,” Whitmore says. “Journalism students, typically, hide from number stories because they aren’t drawn to math. But Julian took on those big issue stories and was able to succinctly translate that information into something that students could relate to and that was compelling.” 

Then, she says, he started to embrace the narrative style, as well. 

As Wyllie became more experienced, he started to dabble in human interest stories. Whitmore recalled a story he wrote about two students who nearly died in auto accidents. With time, Whitmore not only saw Wyllie’s writing style expand, but she also saw his understanding of journalism grow. 

“It was special having him around because we really got to see, right in front of us, his love for journalism, and what it could do, come alive,” she says. “His passion came from this sense of community service and how journalism could result in positive change for the greater public.” 

When all was said and done, Wyllie took one journalism course at Butler. But, he clarifies, it wasn’t a writing course. It was a journalism readership course. 

But between The Collegian, his business courses, and the people he met, the blended skills he acquired have helped him land gigs at places he never would have dreamed of, such as The Chronicle of Higher Education and Politico, he says. 

“The primary reason I am where I am and have been able to do what I love so far is because Butler was a small enough campus to allow me to meet people who would change my life quickly,” he says. “I had people telling me to do as many things as possible—not just focus on one thing—and I will forever be thankful for that. That led to me learning way more than just my major.” 

And let’s not forget about his two-week crash course, too.

 

Photo courtesy of Gary Cameron

Julian Wyllie
People

Self-Made Man

Julian Wyllie ’16 taught himself how to be a journalist in two weeks.   

by Rachel Stern

from Fall 2018

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