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The Ultimate Mentor

by Marc D. Allan MFA ’18

 

 

Maybe the ultimate Scott Bridge story is how he arranged for Megan Yates '16 to finish her degree after the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation hired her full time at the beginning of her senior year.

Or perhaps the best story is the time he gave Teresa Mask '93 a copy of the book I Dream a World: Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America with this inscription: "I fully expect to see your picture and an article about you in a similar book someday."

"To say that he had that much confidence that my life was going to amount to something worthy to be read about, it was like, 'Wow,'" says Mask, who spent two decades as a newspaper reporter and editor and is now Senior Public Relations Manager for AT&T in Michigan. "That was encouragement beyond belief."

But it could be that the greatest Scott Bridge story is the one about Ari Kasle '14.

"Couldn't stand him when he was a freshman," Bridge says, "but I saw some good things when he was a sophomore and we had some talks about his big, obnoxious mouth overshadowing his creativity, intelligence, and his good heart. When I think about what Ari was like when he started at Butler versus the Ari who graduated four years later, it reminds me why I love my job. Very, very proud of him."

Kasle, now an Associate Producer at Emmis Communication in Indianapolis, says: "He's gone to bat for me so many times. I developed a reputation early on at Butler and he could have thrown me to the scrap heap if he wanted to. But he took me under his wing and he said, 'I believe in you.' I'll be forever in debt to him for that."

Bridge, who started teaching in Broadcast/Electronic Journalism at Butler in 1988, has helped send hundreds of future broadcasters, teachers, publicists—and even a couple of current members of Butler's Board of Trustees—into the world. Probably every one of them can recall some example of his kindness and his guidance.

Stephanie (Hoop) Callihan '89, now a Vice President for Entercom and mother of Butler first-year student Kate Callihan: "He was a great mentor even then to all of us. He would say, 'Here’s what you have to do to find a job,' and was very realistic about how hard it was. He really helped and mentored you about what your next, best steps were and how you needed to go about doing it."

Hayley Ross '17, now a Production Assistant on MSNBC's Deadline: White House: "He pushed me to do everything that I did, and he's 100 percent the reason that I graduated with a journalism degree. I definitely would not be where I am if he had not pushed me to be my best."

*

Bridge '82, MS '91 worked in radio and TV for six years after earning his bachelor's degree. Even then, the media was shrinking. In 1988, when the radio station he worked for cut most of its newsroom—though not his position—he started looking around.

At the time, Butler advertised a full-time staff position that entailed serving as sports and news director for WAJC-FM, the campus radio station, and teaching one class.

"It was a 10 percent pay cut," Bridge says, laughing, "and I was not their first choice."

He took the job and found his calling. "When I started teaching and working with the students, that was it," he says. "It was being able to help students and help them realize whatever their goals and dreams were. Just seeing that light bulb go on, being able to help them with their careers."

That first year in the classroom, Bridge was 27 but looked 22. He would often be mistaken for a student. He started wearing a jacket and tie to distinguish himself. But students called him Scott because "Mr. Bridge didn't feel right."

He stayed in that staff position for five years. In 1993, when Butler sold the radio station, Bridge was named sports and news director for the campus TV station. By then, he was teaching two classes.

He modeled his approach to teaching after B.J. Goodwin, one of his high school teachers in Lebanon, Indiana, who nurtured and encouraged him.

His philosophy: "Students just need somebody to affirm to them that they're doing good work. They already know when they're screwing up. Very few of them need somebody to tell them that they've screwed up. But they do need somebody to tell them, 'Yeah, you're doing something good.'"

*

Bridge's job at Butler lasted until spring 1995, and he taught one class a semester till spring 1997. Then he took time off to be Mr. Mom while his wife, Maryann, a Pathologist, worked. Still, Bridge served on the Alumni Board and kept his men's basketball tickets.

"Butler was still part of my life," he says. "But not as strong."

When his children got a little older, Bridge started thinking about returning to work. At a basketball game in 2006, he ran into a Butler faculty member who asked if he'd be interested in teaching again. He was.

Bridge wondered, though, if he would be relevant. Technology had changed, and "I didn't want to seem like some old fogey." To prepare, he took a computer literacy class at Franklin College. He also took classes in Microsoft programs at Indiana Business College in Columbus, where he lives.

He served as an Adjunct Professor for a couple of years until 2010, when the department, faced with a last-minute departure, hired him full time as an Instructor of Electronic Journalism. He still holds that title, and in 2014 he added the role of Internship Director for the College of Communication, which allows him to work with students in all Communication majors.

"Scott transformed the College of Communication internship program upon becoming its director in January 2014, raising its profile and scope while tripling the number of student interns benefiting from this program every year," says former College of Communication Dean Gary Edgerton, who calls Bridge "the epitome of a student-centered faculty member."

These days, Bridge still wears a jacket and tie every day. Students called him Professor Bridge, but his approach to working with students remains the same.

"Students wonder when Scott sleeps since they receive numerous emails from him about internship opportunities in the middle of the night," says Suzanne Reading, Associate Dean of the College of Communication. "When I talk with students at new-student registration, many of them know Scott already and have been in contact with him several times prior to coming to Butler."

At the end of the inscription, Bridge wrote in the book he gave Teresa Mask said, "Good luck and know that you can count on me if you ever need a helping hand."

Mask and multiple generations of Butler students know that he means it.

FamilyPeople

The Ultimate Mentor

Scott Bridge has built a family of hundreds of Butler students he’s helped send out into the world.

The Ultimate Mentor

by Marc D. Allan MFA ’18
Donkey, Blue, Elephant
AcademicsStudent LifePeople

(Bull)Dog Days on the Campaign Trail

BY Sarah Bahr

PUBLISHED ON Oct 31 2018

What awaited Butler University sophomore Jon Gray-Smith inside the small, ramshackle house on a Saturday in Grant County in northeast Indiana this summer was less than inviting.

Maybe I should just skip this one, the Indiana Republican Party field intern mused before walking up the front porch steps.

But Gray-Smith knocked on the door, took a step back (no one wants to be accosted by a stranger, he says), and was greeted by. . .

A nearly nude older white man. Toting a shotgun. And wearing only a pair of white underpants.

While that’s his horror story, Gray-Smith says it’s not out of the ordinary for canvassers to work in less-than-ideal conditions.

Jon and Luke Messer
Jon Gray-Smith with Luke Messer

“People don’t always have a lot of clothes on when they answer the door,” he says. “And, in my experience, a ‘Beware of Dog’ sign is typically correct.”

The life of a political intern is hardly glamorous.They get chased by dogs. Confronted by half-dressed old men packing heat. Screamed at like they’re the second coming of Cruella de Vil. And most of the time, they do it for free.

But Butler students also intern with political campaigns in increasingly large numbers. At a time when the political stakes are at an all-time high, Butler students are dotting the state, serving in a variety of  roles with political parties. From answering phones, to crafting press releases, to knocking on doors, Butler students say it is not just the skills garnered in their political science classes that have helped, but also the skills from their journalism, business, and history classes, for example, that have prepared them for when they are thrown into the real-world political fire. Or even faced with a semi-clothed man at the door.

 

“A Dream Come True”

Knocking on 527 doors for 12 hours in Indiana’s blistering July heat isn’t most people’s idea of a good time.

But Gray-Smith, the Vice President of the Butler University College Republicans, says each interaction motivates him to seek out the next one.

“I’m talking to voters who sometimes have never talked to someone about an election in their whole life,” he says.

Gray-Smith says people are often surprised by his age.

“I had a lot of people tell me, ‘It’s so good to see a young person out here doing this,’” he says. ‘That keeps me going.’”

And, unlike at many political events, he enjoyed bipartisan support.

“I had so many people offer me bottles of water, Gatorade, Powerade, anything to help me stay cool,” he says. “They told me ‘Please keep doing this; there are lots of voters out there.’”

He won a $30 Visa gift card for contacting the most voters from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM — an average of 48 per hour, with an hour for lunch.

But his margin of victory?

Just 13 people.

Passion fuels political interns from both major parties, who perform thankless tasks such as calling voters, knocking on strangers’ doors, editing video, and uploading press releases to campaign websites — most of the time for free.

Gray-Smith contacted just under 7,000 voters this summer soliciting support for Republican congressional candidates such as U.S. Rep. Trey Hollingsworth, U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks, and Mike Braun. From mid-February to May during his internship with U.S. Rep. Luke Messer’s U.S. Senate campaign, he called 17,000 voters.

Cecil with Susan Brooks
James Cecil with Susan Brooks

Door-knocking and phonebanking are hardly sexy selling points for students seeking political internships, but Butler Assistant Professor of Political Science Greg Shufeldt says Butler has “countless” students volunteering and interning for campaigns and political parties this semester.

Junior Rachel Spodek has been a field intern for Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly’s re-election campaign since May.

“I’m running phone banks and trying to get as many voters registered as possible,” she says.

Senior James Cecil, who is named after President James Madison, landed a congressional internship on the Hill this summer in Washington, D.C., with Indiana congresswoman Susan Brooks.

The president of the Butler University College Republicans researched bills, attended hearings, answered phone calls, and gave tours of the U.S. Capitol building. She’d previously completed an internship with the Indiana GOP and is currently interning with the Mike Braun campaign for U.S. Senate.

“I’m a huge history buff, so being able to walk the halls of the Capitol was a dream come true,” she says.

 

Once-in-a-Lifetime Opportunities

While most of their days are spent canvassing counties and calling constituents, some interns do enjoy the occasional once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Earlier this month, Cecil snapped a photo with George W. Bush, whom she got to meet at a fundraiser for Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike Braun.

“He’s one of the funniest guys I’ve ever listened to,” she says.

Gray-Smith was left speechless after he had the chance to meet Vice President Mike Pence as part of his Indiana GOP internship last summer.

“I was able to meet the second most powerful person in America,” he says. “I could’ve never imagined that would happen when I came to Butler.”

 

A Butler Assist

A common thread runs through Cecil, Gray-Smith, and Spodek’s experiences — Butler’s Political Science department helped them land their first internship.

“I always knew I wanted to pursue politics, but I was more laid back my freshman and sophomore years,” Cecil says. “Then [Shufeldt] urged me to get involved in the Todd Young Senate campaign during the 2016 election cycle, which sparked my interest and led to my internship with the Republican Party.”

Shufeldt emphasizes campaign internships because they lead to future political internships and career opportunities.

“Interning on a campaign is a great opportunity to open professional doors,” he says. “It  is one of the most impactful ways we, as citizens, can shape the direction of our government.”

Shufeldt regularly invites Democratic and Republican Party and campaign representatives to speak to his students.

“Studying politics in a major metropolitan area and a state capital is a huge advantage for our students,” Shufeldt says. “I encourage them to take advantage of this as much as possible.”

And Gray-Smith says Butler’s Political Science students are well prepared when opportunities arise.

“The two journalism classes I took forced me to reach out to people and made me more comfortable interviewing strangers,” he says. “They really opened my eyes that I can’t turn to my friends for help every time.”

“The U.S. Politics class I took helped inform my basic knowledge of voting,” Spodek says.

Cecil says being a conservative among more liberal classmates has made her more comfortable defending her beliefs.

“I’m an outspoken conservative in a liberal environment,” she says. “But my beliefs are challenged, not changed.”

 

A Political Future

Cecil wants to pursue a career in political fundraising. Gray-Smith wants to one day run for state or national office. Spodek wants to go into public policy and is looking at law school.

They know that, whatever path they end up pursuing, their internships will have helped them get there.

“The connections I’ve made will propel me to the career I want,” Cecil says. “I definitely look forward to getting up in the morning and doing something I’m really passionate about.”

But, in the meantime, all three stress that one vote can turn the tide.

“This election is going to be really tight, not just for Donnelly, but for a lot of candidates,” Spodek says. “I know every bit of effort I put in will make a difference.”

Donkey, Blue, Elephant
AcademicsStudent LifePeople

(Bull)Dog Days on the Campaign Trail

Butler students also intern with political campaigns in increasingly large numbers.

Oct 31 2018 Read more

Room to Explore: Amy Wierenga '01

Cindy Conover Dashnaw

from Fall 2018

Exploring potential colleges, Amy Wierenga ’01 discovered she had too many interests for most.

The Grand Rapids, Michigan, native didn’t know what she wanted to do with her life, and she balked at the idea of having to discard some of her passions so soon. A dedicated oboe player and a great student, she wanted to pursue two degrees, in music and pre-law, and a number of other interests.

“A lot of colleges said there was no way I could do all that. I definitely couldn’t double major and study abroad and do music, and that was the end of the conversation,” she said. “But Butler University’s reaction was, ‘We’re going to do the best we can to help you pursue all these potential paths.’”

And they did. Thanks largely to the opportunities offered at Butler, Wierenga went from career uncertainty to overseeing $20 billion in investments at BlueMountain Capital Management in New York.

Exploring A Multitude of Interests

 Butler gave Wierenga the chance to do it all: Double major, run track, play her instrument, study abroad (Buenos Aires, Argentina), be active in student organizations, work as a Resident Assistant (RA), hold a job off campus, and have “two amazing internships that helped me learn I shouldn’t go into law.”

“Butler let me explore all my interests and figure out what I wanted to do,” she said.

Wierenga graduated Cum Laude in 2001 and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics with a second major in Music and a Spanish minor. Deciding music could always be part of her life, she forged ahead toward a career in finance. She got her first job at a small IT consulting company in Chicago.

“The business was entrepreneurial, which was great, but I was in a sales role, talking to people who didn’t want to talk to me. Being conflict-averse, it was probably the worst job I could’ve chosen.”

A tip from a former Butler professor led to an illuminating job at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

“At the Fed is where I really fell in love with what I do,” she said. “As a bank examiner, I was exposed to quantitative modeling of market and liquidity risks, and I was very drawn to it.”

She earned an MBA from the University of Chicago and met her (now) husband there. They moved to New York and she got a job with Merrill Lynch, soon learning big banks weren’t for her. A call from BlueMountain changed her career into what it is today.

Giving Back Through Experiential Opportunities

BlueMountain is a $20 billion alternative asset manager for pension funds, insurance companies, and other institutional investors. Hired in 2008 to be responsible for market and liquidity risk, Wierenga became Chief Risk Officer in 2016, running the company’s Risk and Portfolio Construction team.

She’s also a host on Butler’s Lacy School of Business annual Wall Street Trek, designed to make students aware of the many professional roles in finance.

“Until working at an investment management firm, I didn’t have as rich an understanding of the many types of roles there are for people with different interests in finance,” Wierenga said. “I feel really lucky that I stumbled into work I find intellectually challenging and fulfilling. So, to give Butler students that same opportunity is something I really want to do.”

As with the Wall Street Trek, she believes the best Butler has to offer isn’t necessarily inside the classroom.

“Butler’s academics are solid, and I had memorable classroom experiences. What I really appreciated was the opportunity to find and define the worldviews that were made possible through the University,” she said. “Growing up in the Midwest, I didn’t see that the world doesn’t always operate in the same way. The servant leadership philosophy is so embedded at Butler.”

 

Photo courtesy of Ben Hider

People

Room to Explore: Amy Wierenga '01

  

by Cindy Conover Dashnaw

from Fall 2018

Read more

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

Read more
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.”

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