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Two 2015 Graduates Selected to Teach Overseas


PUBLISHED ON May 05 2015

Madison Chartier ’15 and Jill Gentry ’15 are the latest in a growing number of recent Butler alumni to receive awards to teach overseas.

Chartier will be heading to France as part of the Teaching Assistant Program in France. Gentry has been selected to teach in Madrid, Spain, through the Council of International Educational Exchange.

Since 2011, 11 Butler graduates have gone on to teach in other countries after graduation.

“Students who teach overseas gain invaluable cultural sensitivity, leadership, communication, and foreign language skills that will benefit them in any future career path,” said Rusty Jones, Director of Undergraduate Research and Prestigious Scholarships. “Furthermore, there is an immeasurable impact that they will have upon a foreign community, as well as when they return home and share the values and understanding that they developed while living abroad for a year.”

Here’s more about Chartier and Gentry.

Madison Chartier

Madison ChartierAs a double major in creative writing and French, and a participant in the Honors Program, Madison Chartier ’15 never found the time to study abroad.

She’ll be making up for that in a big way starting in October: Chartier has won a TAPIF (Teaching Assistant Program in France) award. She will be teaching English to French primary-school children at l'Académie de Versailles from October through April.

Chartier, who’s had a longtime interest in French culture, said this will be “a very good way to go to the country and actually experience the culture that I’ve only been able to study in a classroom context so far.”

Each year, over 1,100 American citizens and permanent residents teach in public schools across all regions of metropolitan France and several overseas departments through TAPIF. They’re paid a monthly stipend while they hone their teaching and language skills.

The award will also give Chartier an opportunity to decide whether she’d like to teach for a career. Although she taught at Butler’s Creative Writing Camp two summers ago and spent a semester as a Teaching Fellow in the English Department, working alongside a professor in a Perspectives in the Creative Arts course, she’s only recently become interested in teaching.

Chartier grew up in LaPorte, Indiana, and came to Butler through recommendations of friends. Although she had initially been hesitant to stay in state for college, a campus visit won her over.

“I loved the atmosphere of Butler, the small class sizes, the intimate spaces, the intimate conversations and discussions to promote learning,” she said.

She started in pharmacy, switched briefly to International Studies, then found creative writing and French.

After graduation, she plans to stay in Indianapolis and take a Teaching English as a Foreign Language class to prepare her for France.

“I’m very excited,” she said. “It’s definitely a situation where I’m leaping off into the blue, so to speak, in the sense that I’ve never done anything like this before. But I guess this is the part that comes after graduation and moving on to the next step as an unsheltered individual.”

Jill Gentry

Jill GentryJill Gentry ’15 double-majored in Political Science and Spanish. After graduation, she’ll put Spanish to use first: She has been selected to teach English in Madrid, Spain, through the Council of International Educational Exchange (CIEE).

“I knew that I wanted to take what I learned at Butler abroad, and I knew I could best do that in a Spanish-speaking country,” she said. “I also wanted to be able to not only keep up with my Spanish but immerse myself in a different community. I really wanted to be able to engage with many different kinds of people and throw myself into a new experience, one that was mutually beneficial, where I could offer the great skills and qualities I acquired here at Butler. So I saw this as the perfect opportunity.”

CIEE offers paid teaching positions in nine countries for university graduates looking to teach English abroad and immerse themselves in a foreign community. The goal is to give students, teachers, and young professionals from across the world skills “that make them active and responsible global citizens.”

Gentry said her first four weeks in Spain will be spent in an immersion program where she will live with a host family while she learns her way around and finds a place to live. She will be in Spain from September through May. It will be her first time there.

Gentry grew up in Anderson, Indiana. She and her identical twin sister, Jojo, started thinking about colleges around the time the Butler men’s basketball team was in the midst of its Final Four runs. They toured the Butler campus and made up their minds immediately.

“We both could not have been more blessed to have the experience we’ve had here,” she said.

After graduation, Jojo goes off to Evansville, Indiana, to be a sports reporter for the CBS affiliate. When Jill returns from Spain, she is keeping her options open to a number of organizations, including the federal government and large law firms in Washington, D.C., where she spent the spring 2014 semester as part of the Washington Learning Program. In late March, she spent a week in D.C. interviewing for positions she’d like to have after Spain.

Eventually, she’d like to go to law school. But right now, “what I look forward to most,” she said, “is getting to know a lot of the locals, finding out what they love most about Spain, and learning about that.”


Media contact:
Marc Allan


The Winners of the Distinguished Faculty Awards Are ...


PUBLISHED ON Apr 29 2015

Professors Arthur Hochman, Harry van der Linden, and Jeanne Van Tyle are the winners of Butler University’s 2014–2015 Distinguished Faculty Awards.

Education Professor Hochman is being recognized for teaching, Philosophy Professor van der Linden for scholarship and research, and Pharmacy Professor Van Tyle for service and leadership.

“The selection committee chose three exceptional candidates to receive these awards,” Provost Kate Morris said. “Each has made a lasting impact on Butler and our students.”

The winners will be recognized at the Board of Trustees luncheon in May and will officially receive their awards at the Fall Academic Workshop in August, when the full academic division comes together to kick off the year.

More about the recipients follows.

Arthur Hochman

Arthur HochmanTeaching is Arthur Hochman’s first love.

“I was never one of those teachers who said, ‘I have a good class this semester,’” he said. “I love all students, however they come to me. Whether they’re not interested in the topic or challenged by the experience, it’s my challenge to nurture a love of learning in them, to help them find their own greatness.”

Hochman joined the Butler faculty 26 years ago after almost a decade teaching elementary school in Scotland, Boston, and New York. He would have stayed at the elementary level, except for several mentors pushing him towards higher education.

In time, he saw an ad in The Chronicle of Higher Education for an open position at Butler. He didn’t know anything about Butler or Indianapolis, but “I wanted to come to a place where teaching is honored and respected, where I could still be a teacher.” After he met Education Dean Ena Shelley, he said, “I called my wife and I said, ‘I think I could have some fun here. I met somebody who’s dynamic and creative and joyful and the kind of person I resonate with.’”

Hochman said he’s enjoyed being part of a collaborative faculty that has changed from traditional teacher education—where student-teachers didn’t get into the classroom until their senior year—to an education based around experiential learning.

As Hochman likes to say, “You can’t learn to swim via PowerPoint.” And you can’t learn to teach without being in the classroom.

His approach to teaching is to get to know the students, because “if the first order of business isn’t one another, then we’re in the wrong business.”

“For every class I teach, I always try to find some way I can have an interaction with students one-on-one, outside of class,” he said. “Take them out for coffee, have lunch with them, something. So they’re more than just a figure sitting in class. Because it changes everything when you know a person. And, when you know them, you become invested in them.”

The evidence of how Hochman is regarded can be found in his office, both in a desk drawer full of letters and on bookshelves lined with books inscribed with notes from grateful students.

He said the greatest compliment he gets from students is “seeing them succeed, to be happy, to see the great work that they do, helping them to overcome when they struggle with something.”

“I think that’s the compliment,” he said, “more than something they would say.”

Harry van der Linden

Harry van der LindenPhilosophy Professor Harry van der Linden has spent his career combining teaching, research, and political involvement—not always in that order.

“Generally speaking, Butler has been quite conducive to me being able to do my research,” he said, whether through academic grants, giving him time for research and writing, or providing a stipend for editing a journal. “We are, of course, primarily a teaching school, but nonetheless, I always have felt that Butler supported faculty doing serious research and scholarship.”

Van der Linden grew up in the Netherlands and moved to the United States to earn his doctorate at Washington University in St. Louis. He served as a visiting professor at Colgate University and the University of North Carolina before joining the Butler faculty in 1990.

Early in his career, van der Linden focused his work on social and economic justice. He wrote a book called Kantian Ethics and Socialism, which was an attempt to use the ethics of philosopher Immanuel Kant to argue for a model of economic and social democracy.

His more recent research and publications are focused on the morality of warfare, covering such topics as preventive war, asymmetric warfare, combatant’s privilege, humanitarian intervention, and the ethics of drone warfare. The Rwandan genocide motivated him to examine his own beliefs about war and start asking questions about when war can be justified and executed justly.

“In the Rwandan situation, western military forces could have intervened and saved hundreds of thousands of lives,” he said. “We didn’t do that. We got the western people out and left and let the genocide unfold.”

In receiving the Distinguished Faculty Award for scholarship and research, van der Linden is being honored for a large body of work that includes books, articles, and reviews, as well as his efforts over the last five years editing the Radical Philosophy Review, the journal of the Radical Philosophy Association. The journal publishes material of interest to those “who share the view that society should be built on cooperation rather than competition, and that social decision-making should be governed by democratic procedures.”

He also has served as president of the Indianapolis Peace and Justice Center and as chair of Butler’s Department of Philosophy and Religion from 2007 to 2013.

“I’ve invested a lot of time in scholarly activity over the last 30 years,” he said, “so it’s certainly a very nice thing if your peers recognize you for doing good work and consistent work over the last 30 years.”

Jeanne VanTyle

Jeanne VanTyleWhen it comes to serving the community—both Butler and Indianapolis—Professor of Pharmacy Practice Jeanne Van Tyle walks the walk.

Since beginning her teaching career at Butler in 1976, a short list of the many ways she’s served the University include chairing the Faculty Senate and, before that, serving 20 years on the executive committee of Faculty Assembly, the precursor to Faculty Senate; co-chair of the Gender Equity Commission; faculty adviser to Lambda Kappa Sigma, an organization of women in pharmacy that does community outreach; adviser to Butler University Equestrian Team, and adviser to the BU Community Outreach Pharmacy, a student-run free clinic on the Eastside of Indianapolis. She also served from 1996-1999 as the Director of the Learning Resource Center as it transitioned from the University College to the current LRC.

Her Indianapolis activities include 20 years as a volunteer pharmacist for the Gennesaret Free Clinics, which provides healthcare services for the homeless.

“I came to pharmacy school thinking I wanted to help people,” she said. “So this brings me back to my base roots of service. And I come from a social justice background as well. I truly believe that to those to whom much is given, much is expected.”

Van Tyle grew up in Indianapolis and intended to go to college at Indiana University. But her presentation at a high school science fair—doing a tissue culture to measure the effects of drugs on chick embryos—earned her a half-tuition scholarship to Butler to study pharmacy.

She lived at home while at Butler (as a faculty member, she served on a a commission to look at the issues commuter students face) and finished her Bachelor of Pharmacy degree in 1974. Two years later, after earning her Doctor of Pharmacy from Mercer University in Atlanta, Georgia, Butler’s College of Pharmacy recruited her to join the faculty.

Over the next several years, she changed the Butler culture in at least two ways. When she was hired, she was in a 50-50 position—that is, half her salary was paid by Butler and half by St. Vincent Hospital. That’s common now among Pharmacy faculty, she said, but she was first.

In addition, she married another Pharmacy professor, Kent Van Tyle, in 1982. It was rare at the time for faculty members to marry and have both stay at Butler, but the dean allowed them to do so.

Van Tyle said she’s had many blessings in her life, and she’s honored by the Distinguished Faculty Award.

“It’s a nice recognition from my peers, and I recognize that it is a peer-initiated award,” she said. “So to that extent, I’m very humbled by it. But award or not, I would still be doing what I’m doing. I love working with students. I love the volunteer work with the community.”


Media contact:
Marc Allan


Butler Names New Associate Provost


PUBLISHED ON Apr 16 2015

Butler University has named Thomas Paradis, currently Professor and Chair of the Department of Geography, Planning & Recreation at Northern Arizona University, as the new Associate Provost for Assessment, Scholarship, and Professional Development Programs.

Tom ParadisParadis, who has been at Northern Arizona since 1997, will start at Butler on August 1. In his new position, he will oversee academic and administrative assessment on campus, institutional accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association (HLC-NCA), faculty and academic staff development, the Office for Institutional Research and Assessment, and the Butler Institute for Research and Scholarship.

Paradis has been Department Chair at Northern Arizona since 2012. He also has served as:

-Visiting Professor, Viterbo, Italy. University Studies Abroad Consortium (August–December 2011)

-Director, NAU Office of Academic Assessment (January 2005–July 2011)

-Professor, Department of Geography, Planning and Recreation (2009–present)

-Associate Professor, Department of Geography, Planning & Recreation (2003 – 2009)

-Assistant Professor, Geography and Public Planning (1997–2003)

Paradis said he was intrigued by how closely the job description related to his own experience with faculty development and academic assessment.

“I started looking at Butler and your reputation for undergraduate and graduate education and leadership, and what you’re doing with experiential learning is very impressive,” he said. “The core curriculum is really intriguing, and your focus on liberal arts and sciences along with professional education is important.”

Paradis grew up in the Connecticut mill town of Stafford Springs. A self-described “geography nerd,” he earned his bachelor of science in Geography from Pennsylvania State University in 1992, and both his master’s (1994) and doctorate (1997) in geography from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

His research focused on downtown redevelopment and historic preservation in smaller communities. As part of his dissertation, he wrote about redevelopment in three places, one of which was Madison, Indiana.

Paradis has written four books, including Living the Palio: A Story of Community and Public Life in Siena, Italy—he’s led Northern Arizona’s study abroad trips there since 2013—and The Illustrated Encyclopedia of American Landmarks, which features 150 of the most important historical, cultural, and architecturally significant sites in America, shown in more than 500 photographs.

When he was hired at Northern Arizona, he taught Physical Geography, Weather and Climate, Cartography as well as World, Cultural, and Urban Geography. Now, as Chair, he teaches Urban Design and the capstone class for Geography majors.

“Although I’m still involved and interested in my discipline, I’ve gotten more interested in curriculum design, teaching pedagogies, and the scholarship of teaching and learning. I have also really enjoyed my leadership roles, and I’m interested in using my leadership skills to benefit Butler in whatever ways I can.”

Aside from being excited about becoming a Butler Bulldog (also his high school mascot, coincidentally), Paradis and his wife, Linda, will be much closer to family members scattered around the Midwest and Northeast.

“Our families will be surrounding us when we move to Indianapolis, given their locations in St. Louis, Chicago, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere,” he said. “That will be a wonderful benefit for returning to the Midwest.”


Media contact:
Marc Allan


COB Students' App Makes a rippl in Competition

BY Sarvary Koller ’15

PUBLISHED ON Apr 14 2015

Matt Speer ’15 and Andres Peña ’15 have had quite the senior year.

The College of Business students released a trial version of their mobile charitable giving app, rippl, on the App store in early February.

Since then, rippl has accumulated over 200 users, raising $13,000 total for nine participating nonprofit organizations in just two months.

And on Tuesday, April 7, Speer and Peña’s app placed third out of five semi-finalists in the Recess 2015 Pitch Competition campus tour at Indiana

Recess is a touring college music and ideas festival that seeks to cultivate and inspire the next generation of young entrepreneurs. The collegiate pitch competition offers motivated students who have started a business the chance to pitch their idea in front of a panel of seasoned entrepreneurs and investors.

One team finalist is selected from each campus tour to attend the Recess Field Trip in Los Angeles on May 28, where team members will get the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet major investors and advisors to pitch their idea.

If rippl had continued on as a final contender for the Recess Field Trip, Speer said he thinks the app might have received some major financial backing from investors.

But all is well that ends well, and Speer and Peña said they left Indiana University with the feedback and motivation to continue improving and expanding their app.

“Yeah, we got third. But the experience and feedback was great,” Peña said.
Matt Speer

“Getting so close to the finals really motivates you,” Speer added. “It makes you realize how far you’ve come and how close you are to making it happen and reaping the benefits.”

The two-month app trial is almost at its close, and Speer said the duo will begin analyzing result data soon to determine the best direction for the app moving forward.

Right now, they are most interested in adopting a business model that focuses on building an audience first and monetizing the app later.

They hope to garner enough funding to develop a final version of the app that will allow nonprofit organizations to register and manage their own rippl account completely free of charge.

“No one really offers free things to nonprofits,” Peña said. “If we start offering them free mobile access to potential donors, I think it could really catch on.”
Andres Pena

Speer and Peña said they will continue to work on their app while they start their careers.

Speer will begin as an Orr Fellow with Bluebridge in Fishers, Indiana, on June 1. Peña begins a marketing position at Defender Direct in July.


COB Students' App Makes a rippl in Competition

COB students finish third with their mobile charitable giving app

Apr 14 2015 Read more

Blake Moskal '16 Wins Weidner Award for Altruism


PUBLISHED ON Apr 13 2015

Blake Moskal, a junior from Lake Zurich, Illinois, has been selected to receive the 2014-2015 John Weidner Award for Altruism.

Moskal has been involved in a wide variety of service activities for local and national organizations, including the Intercollegiate YMCA, U.S. Dream Academy, Special Olympics, Gleaners Food Bank and Second Servings, and Methodist Hospital. He has served as a mentor and tutor for Indianapolis Public School students, a volunteer coordinator for Fall Creek Gardens, and Service and Philanthropy Chairman for Sigma Nu fraternity.

Blake MoskalIn addition to his ongoing involvement in the Indianapolis community, Moskal is also active in service work at Butler, including Trip’s Move-In Crew and Bulldogs in the Streets.

In his personal statement, Moskal said that his service has helped him “discover a new outlook on life.”

“We are all connected by the human element and everyone we encounter can teach us something,” he wrote. “It is the relationships built and the way you treat others that truly speak to one’s character.”

The Weidner award is named for John Weidner, a Dutch citizen and Seventh Day Adventist who, during World War II, saved the lives of about 1,000 British and American downed airmen, Jews, Dutch, Belgians and French fleeing Nazi persecution. Weidner was honored by five governments after the war and by the Holocaust Museum at its opening in 1993. After he died in Los Angeles in 1994, his widow, Naomi, started a foundation for honoring the altruistic spirit.

Moskal is studying Science, Technology and Society with a pre-med focus. His career plan includes medical school and, after that, he hopes to complete a residency, which will allow him to specialize. His current interests include orthopedics, cardiology, and neurology.


Media contact:
Marc Allan


To Infinity and Beyond: A Graduate Thesis Composition Goes International

BY Sarvary Koller ’15

PUBLISHED ON Apr 08 2015

Luke Flynn wanted his thesis composition to be his best. The final score he would compose before receiving his Master of Music Composition in May, he hoped the piece would be a culmination of all he had learned during his time at Butler.

“Starting in late October, until I finished the piece, it was basically my entire life, every single day,” Flynn said. “If I wasn’t in class, I was at home working on it or thinking about it.”

Luke FlynnHis hard work paid off. “Rift,” his thesis composition about outer space, was selected for two international composition awards—the Ablaze Records Orchestral Masters composition contest and the Sydney Contemporary Orchestra composition contest. (Check out “Rift” and more compositions by Flynn on his website.)

He submitted his composition for the two awards just days after finishing it, and he found out it had been selected by the Sydney Contemporary Orchestra before the end of the week.

“To have instant positive feedback like that, I mean, it was incredible,” he said. “What else could I ask for?”

The Sydney Contemporary Orchestra will perform “Rift” sometime during its 2016 season at either the Sydney Opera House or another city concert venue.

As part of winning the Ablaze Records contest, the Brno Philharmonic in the Czech Republic will record “Rift,” and the piece will appear on the record label’s fourth volume of “Orchestral Masters.”

The sweetener: Flynn will be travelling to Sydney and the Czech Republic when it is performed and recorded to receive some much-deserved recognition.

But in the meantime, he’ll manage to keep himself busy.

Flynn leaves for Lexington, Kentucky, in several weeks in mid-April to teach workshops to youth orchestra members as the winner of the Lexington Philharmonic “New Music Experiment” composition contest.

In June, he’ll jet to New York as one of three finalists in the Young New Yorkers’ Chorus composition competition, in which he was commissioned to compose an original work that will premiere at the chorus concert on June 6.

Through his whirlwind of success, Flynn credits his professors and peers at Butler as influential to his composition style. He singles out his mentor and professor Michael Schelle.

Flynn said “Rift” would have been a different piece without the guidance and encouragement from Schelle to step outside of his comfort zone.

Schelle said Flynn made it easy, coming into the program with the tools for success.

“He arrived to me with passion and curiosity and enthusiasm off the charts,” he said. “He was just ready to try everything, and a composition teacher can’t ask for more than that.”

As Flynn’s time at Butler comes to an end, he plans to take his accomplishments and lessons learned out west to pursue a career in film and videogame score composition in Los Angeles.

Schelle has high aspirations for the young composer, and as he often jokes with Flynn: “I hope he wins the Pulitzer Prize before I do. All I ask is that when he gives his acceptance speech, he thanks me. That’s all I ask.”


To Infinity and Beyond: A Graduate Thesis Composition Goes International

Graduate student Luke Flynn's composition has won two international competition awards.

Apr 08 2015 Read more

The Secret's Out: Josh LeBar '99 Was on 'Mad Men'


PUBLISHED ON Apr 08 2015

For a year—a year!—Joshua LeBar ’99 had to keep a huge secret: He had a small but pivotal role in the first episode of the final season of “Mad Men,” one of TV’s most acclaimed shows.

“I told my mother and my sister, and that’s about it,” he said. “And I wouldn’t let them say anything. I didn’t do any social media even up to the airing of it because I wanted to respect everybody in ‘Mad Men’ and was trying to be a professional about it. It was really hard to keep that secret all this time.”
Joshua LeBar '99 (hand on chin) had a small but pivotal role in the April 5 episode of "Mad Men."

After the episode aired on April 5, LeBar could finally talk.

In the scene, which was shot in March 2014, Joan (Christina Hendricks) and Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) come to McCann Erickson to ask Will Scully (LeBar) and two of his colleagues to help get their client’s product—pantyhose—into a department store.

Instead of helping, Scully and his colleagues deliver a series of sexually suggestive double entendres to the two women. At one point, Scully says, “Send a basket of pears to Marshall Field’s. One thing Dan likes is a nice pear.”

What was it like to play that scene?

“My friends say I’m a nice guy, but I also know how to push buttons and twist the knife, so to speak,” LeBar, who was a theatre major at Butler, said with a laugh. “I think that came across.”

He said Matthew Weiner, the show’s creator, worked with him a little. In the early takes, LeBar tried to be understated and subtle and let the words do the work. But as they went on, the director, Scott Hornbacher, asked him to be more overt.

LeBar didn’t know which take they would ultimately use. So seeing it air on Sunday night was an experience.

“I knew Christina and Elisabeth Moss were going to do great jobs because they’re both Grade A actresses, so I wanted to match that level,” he said. “That’s what I felt like when I was working with Jeremy Piven on “Entourage.” Same thing – I’m just trying to match someone who’s winning an Emmy. Working with people who are at the top of their game, it feels like being a worthy tennis player is really the objective.”

LeBar, who played agent Josh Weinstein on “Entourage” from 2004-2008, had auditioned for “Mad Men” twice before. Early on, he auditioned for a scene in which Betty (January Jones) has a fantasy about being with an air-conditioning salesman who comes to her house. A couple of years later, he was close to getting a part as one of two misogynistic guys in an elevator who are told by Don Draper (Jon Hamm) to pipe down.

LeBar, whose next role will be on the TNT cop drama “Major Crimes,” said he was thrilled to land the part. A year ago, he started his own acting studio, Joshua LeBar Studios, and continuing to act just adds to his credibility as a teacher.

And acting on “Mad Men”? Well, that’s about as good as credits get.

“I’m not only an actor but a fan of the show,” he said. “Ten years from now, ‘Mad Men’ will be one of the series that people look back and say it helped define this era of television. It’s so layered and nuanced, like nothing I’ve really experienced before. It was almost like being part of a painting.”


Media contact:
Marc Allan


Three Butler Students Earn Fulbright Teaching Awards


PUBLISHED ON Apr 07 2015

Three Butler students have won the prestigious Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship award to teach in another country during the 2015-2016 school year.

Vocal performance major Julie O’Mara ’15 will be teaching in Germany, Anthropology and Spanish double major Léa Levy ’15 will be in Colombia, and Amber Zimay ’15 will be in Mexico.

“The recent success of Butler students with international fellowships such as the Fulbright shows the global awareness and influence of our graduates,” said Rusty Jones, Director of Undergraduate Research and Prestigious Scholarships. “All of these students will be fantastic representatives of not only the Butler community, but the United States as a whole, as they spend a year abroad working in these foreign environments. I have no doubt that they will all leave an indelible impression on everyone with whom they interact.”

More about each student follows.

Julie O’Mara

Julie O'MaraVocal performance/German double major Julie O’Mara ’15 will be going home, sort of, when she leaves for her 10-month Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Germany in September.

When she was 9, O’Mara’s father was transferred to Germany, and the family spent five years there.

“I’m so excited to get to go back,” she said. “I still can’t fathom that I’m going, and since I’ve already lived in Germany, I have some sort of vision of what it’s going to be like.”

O’Mara doesn’t know where or what grade level she’ll be teaching—she’ll find out closer to her departure—but it could be doing anything from teaching immigrant students to helping assistant-teach advanced English students at a university. She’ll be in Germany through June 2016.

On the surface, the Fulbright is not at all related to her music major. But O’Mara said that in the essays she submitted with her application, she discussed her interest in musical theater and her hope to incorporate it in her teaching in Germany.

“If I could get involved or help start a school program where we could do music—that was definitely part of my application,” she said. “So maybe that’s what they were interested in as a way of teaching English.”

O’Mara came to Butler from Flemington, New Jersey. Her brother went to Knox College in Illinois, and she wanted to go to school in the Midwest as well. Butler initially wasn’t on her radar, but then she heard about the University when the men’s basketball team went to its first Final Four in 2010.

Her father looked up Butler online to check on the quality of the School of Music, and they decided to stop by between visits to schools in Wisconsin and Ohio.

“I fell in love as soon as I got here,” she said.

At Butler, O’Mara’s been able to follow her career goal of performing in music theater. She’s done local professional theater too—a production of Hair last year and, this summer, Jesus Christ Superstar.

After graduation, she plans to continue performing. In Germany, “I want to continue my German practice and continue learning the language,” she said. “I want to be fluent. That’s my goal.”

Léa Levy

Léa LevyWith a French father and an American mother, Léa Levy ’15 grew up immersed in a bilingual home with an appreciation for foreign language and culture.

Now an Anthropology and Spanish double major with a minor in German, Levy said her love for the process of learning new languages has only grown during her time at Butler—so much so that she has accepted a 10-month Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Colombia beginning in late July.

“I’ve had such good experiences learning languages, and it’s something I’m so passionate about,” she said. “I think getting to teach that to other people will be such a great opportunity.”

While Levy does not know many details about her placement yet, she does know a little about her future students. Like her, they will be university students with a shared passion for language and learning how to teach English to others.

Levy has had experience teaching English to elementary and middle school students through various school and study abroad opportunities, but this is the first time she will teach students who already have a firm grasp on the language.

She said she welcomes the new challenge of discovering how to help students with English fluency and teaching strategies. Essentially, she will be teaching students how to teach English while conducting class in Spanish, bringing her passion for learning, speaking, and teaching language full circle.

Levy also will share another passion of hers with those she encounters in Colombia—organic farming practices.

Fulbright winners are expected to act as United States ambassadors in their host country through a mutual sharing of culture and ideas. Levy hopes to accomplish this by sharing organic farming techniques she has used at home.

Whether teaching English or organic farming, Levy said it is the overall cultural exchange with Colombians that she is most excited about.

“Just getting to go to South America to discover this new place and new culture will be really great,” Levy said. “I think I’ll really be able to integrate into the culture of the community and get to know the people.”

-By Sarvary Koller '15

Amber Zimay

Amber ZimayAmber Zimay ’15 grew up in the Chicago suburbs and came to Butler knowing she wanted to study education. From Day One, she said, the College of Education—and Butler—prepared her step by step to teach.

Their efforts paid off in a big way: Zimay has won a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to work in Mexico. She starts with orientation in late August in Mexico City and then will move to an as-yet-to-be-determined location somewhere in the country, where she will teach English to high school students.

“I studied abroad in Spain and absolutely loved it,” she said. “I love traveling, so I wanted to keep doing that.”

Zimay majored in Secondary Education/Spanish and English As a New Language (ENL), and when she graduates in May she’ll be certified to teach in either subject area.

“Going to a Spanish-speaking country helps me,” she said. “I’ll obviously be speaking Spanish and improving my skills in that area, but I’ll also be teaching English to non-native speakers. So it combines three of my passions, and I really wanted to explore all of them. So this was a perfect opportunity to do so.”

While at Butler, Zimay amassed extensive teaching experience. She’s taught at Westlane Middle School, Shortridge High School, and Pike High School in Indianapolis, providing one-on-one tutoring, small class instruction, and, last fall, whole class instruction for 30 students at Pike. She’s also been active in College Mentors for Kids since freshman year, working with young students to get them interested in going to college.

This spring, she spent her semester student-teaching at Pike High School and Belzer Middle School in Indianapolis.

After finishing the Fulbright, Zimay plans to teach high school. She said she’s grateful for her Butler experience.

“The College of Ed has really become a home,” she said. “All the professors are more than just professors – they’re mentors and friends and people I go to for advice. I know even after I graduate from Butler, I’ll still be in contact with them.”


Media contact:
Marc Allan


Luke Gallion '16 Earns the Prestigious Goldwater Scholarship


PUBLISHED ON Apr 06 2015

Chemistry major Luke Gallion ’16 says a lot of people deserve credit for him being named a winner of a prestigious Goldwater scholarship.

“I have lots of faculty members who wrote me letters of recommendations, or reviewed my application and made suggestions, or had me in class and helped me get to where I am,” he said. “I think receiving this award is more of a reflection on the department and the university as a whole than it is a reflection solely on me.”

Luke GallionGoldwater scholarships, which provide up to $7,500 for school-related expenses, were established “to alleviate a critical current and future shortage of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians, and engineers,” according to the program’s website. “A more realistic statement of the purpose, in today's terms, is to provide a continuing source of highly qualified individuals to those fields of academic study and research.”

Gallion certainly fits that description. Since coming to Butler from Brownstown, Indiana, three years ago, he has been working with Professor Michael Samide on a project that can quickly and inexpensively detect dangerous metals in water.

This semester and into his senior year, he is working at the Indianapolis Museum of Art on a project to discover why the colors have faded on a work called “Painting a Fresco with Giotto #3” by Fernando Brizio. The piece is a white vase that Brizio stabbed with markers. The ink bled out of the markers, leaving circles of color, and the artist attached the markers to the vase.

Gallion hopes his work will lead to helping the museum either come up with a better way to display the artwork so the colors don’t fade or a recommendation for new materials the artist can use.

His resume also includes:

-Completing a National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates in summer 2014 at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, where he did 40 hours of chemistry research each week for ten weeks.

-Getting published in a peer-reviewed journal once, with another publication in progress.

-Presenting his work at two American Chemical Society (ACS) National Meeting and Exposition events. He did a poster presentation in the fall 2014 meeting in Indianapolis, and he just gave a 20-minute talk in March at the spring 2015 meeting in Denver, Colorado.

-Participating with Samide and two other students in a chemistry outreach program. They go to elementary and middle schools in Indiana to do chemistry demonstrations designed to excite kids about science and provide them with information about careers in the sciences.

-Being named a Top 10 Male Student as a sophomore.

Gallion originally intended to go to Indiana State University and study in that school’s rural health program. But after receiving a Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship—which enabled him to go to any school in Indiana all expenses paid—he began looking around.

“As soon as I walked on Butler’s campus, I got that ‘I’m at home’ type of feeling,’” he said. “I knew once I took a tour that this is where I was going to end up.”

After graduation, he plans to go on to pursue a doctorate in either analytical or inorganic chemistry and become either a college professor or work in industry.

“Butler has provided me a lot of opportunities I don’t think I would have gotten at another school – for example, doing research,” he said. “The Chemistry Department here has been incredible.”


Media contact:
Marc Allan


They Like Professor Levy's Book. They *Really* Like His Book


PUBLISHED ON Mar 30 2015

The reviews are in: Professor Andy Levy’s new book, Huck Finn's America: Mark Twain and the Era That Shaped His Masterpiece, is an enormous success.

Andrew LevyThe New York Times: "Capacious, companionable...Levy is excellent on Twain, on his drawl, his gait, his evolution on race matters...and even better on his contradictions."

USA Today: “Levy explores the soul of Mark Twain's enduring achievement with the utmost self-awareness. … An eloquent argument, wrapped up in rich biographical detail and historical fact.”

Wall Street Journal: “Lively and far-ranging.”

Boston Globe: “Levy’s subtle take on Mark Twain and his great book is a welcome addition to our understanding of both.”

Dallas Morning News: “Groundbreaking. …Levy’s arguments are detailed and intricately woven.”

NPR: “A richly researched, copiously annotated, fascinating argument."

Salon: "Provocative. . . [Levy is] an excellent, aphoristic writer."

See more here.

Levy said the attention the book has garnered has been “solidly exciting, solidly nerve-racking.”

“I’ve had books covered by national media before,” he said, referring to The First Emancipator: Slavery, Religion, and the Quiet Revolution of Robert Carter (2005), and A Brain Wider Than the Sky (2009). “But you never really know what’s going to happen. And likewise, there’s enough time between books where you think no one’s paying attention to you anymore.”

In addition to reviews in newspapers throughout the country, as well as magazines like the New Yorker and web media sites like the Daily Beast, Levy’s work has received recognition in several other ways. He has done close to twenty radio interviews, ranging from NPR affiliates nationwide to conservative talk radio to Bill Bradley’s American Stories program on Sirius/XM.

Huck Finn's AmericaHe’s been invited to do Book TV on C-SPAN in April with NPR’s book critic, Maureen Corrigan, who has a new book on The Great Gatsby. And Levy has been invited to speak at Twain’s 180th birthday celebration at the Center for Mark Twain Studies in Elmira, New York. While there, he’ll get to stay in the house where Twain wrote The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Also, Levy has been invited to write essays about Huckleberry Finn as contributor to several new volumes about Mark Twain and American literature. And he’s been told that his book, which entered its second printing in February, is already being taught in high schools.

He attributes the success, at least in part, to the painstaking research he did, which took over twenty years and resulted in more than 120 pages of endnotes in the book that document his findings.

“If you do your work, people pay attention,” Levy said. “They send you kind emails and they try to get you involved in their worlds, and that makes the work that much more worthwhile..”

But among the most gratifying results is the number of people who have recognized the student-centered component to his work. Butler students helped him research Twain and Huck Finn, and their participation has been noted in some emails Levy has received, as well as some reviews and social media postings.

“I’m really proud of that, and I felt like that emerged from a real positive about Butler,” he said. “My ability to trust my students and their ability to trust me made a difference. I want to keep doing that somehow. The idea of working with students in the future on projects that become books on which they get both the experience and the credit that they deserve really strikes me as an appealing way forward.”


Media contact:
Marc Allan


A Study Break “Today,” a Free Florida Vacation This Summer

BY Sarvary Koller ’15

PUBLISHED ON Mar 27 2015

Colton Junod ’18 spends his break from class every weekday at 10 a.m. tuning in to his favorite television program for pop culture—the “Today” show with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb.

Colton Junod on the "Today" showBut on Monday, March 23, when he flipped on his dorm room television at the start of the program, he kept the volume off.

That’s because he wasn’t just watching Gifford and Kotb—he was waiting for the producer to count him down for his live Skype appearance on the show as the “Fan of the Week.” (Watch Junod on “Today” here.)

Being “Fan of the Week,” he knew, would require him to answer a trivia question about the show.

“I didn’t tell too many people before, because I was afraid a whole bunch of people would watch and I would get the question wrong,” he said.

To get on the show, Junod, a Biology major, had submitted an application to “Today” with his story and photos of him watching the show.

Two weeks ago, he learned he would appear on the show over Skype to answer a trivia question. The prize for answering the question correctly: an all-expense paid trip to Miami Beach, Florida, for two.

Answer the question incorrectly, and, as Junod said, “it would have been so embarrassing to get it wrong on live TV.” Plus, he could kiss the free vacation goodbye.

But Junod’s consistent viewership paid off, and he correctly identified “Webtastic” as the “Today” segment where Gifford and Kotb share a viral video.

He plans to take his free Florida vacation this summer with either his mom or younger sister.

The trip includes airfare, a three-night and four-day stay at Thompson Miami Beach, dinner for two at Seagrape, and two tickets to the Pérez Art Museum Miami.

Thinking back to the moments before his 15 Skype seconds of fame, Junod laughed as he remembered his last-ditch effort to show off his Bulldog pride on national television.

“I strategically placed a Butler flag on the wall of my room to give us a little press,” Junod said. “Put Butler in the public eye a little more.”


A Study Break “Today,” a Free Florida Vacation This Summer

Butler freshman gets 15 seconds of fame with Kathie Lee and Hoda

Mar 27 2015 Read more

Fifteen Kids, Three Languages, One Computer

BY Sarvary Koller ’15

PUBLISHED ON Mar 26 2015

Deep in Kalchini, India, where cars are sparse and morning traffic consists of livestock, dogs, and locals on bikes, Ankur Gupta would make a weekly trip to an Internet café that had the only connection to the worldwide web in a three-hour-plus radius.

Ankur GuptaUpon arriving, he sat down on a bench and opened up his laptop computer. Some local children began to trickle over, crowding behind him to get a clear view of the screen.

Although on sabbatical for the semester, Gupta, Associate Professor of Computer Science and Software Engineering, couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share some computer programming knowledge with the curious, wide-eyed children.

“There were 12 to 15 kids looking over my shoulder, just trying to figure out what the heck I was doing,” he said.

Through what he called plain coincidence, Gupta—who had gone to India to see his family—ended up spending an afternoon each week of his almost two-month visit teaching computer programming to local children.

Gupta spoke in Hindi, the children primarily spoke in Bengali, and all computer language was in English.

The triple language barrier was tough, but not impossible.

Hindi is an ancient language, and computer terminology doesn’t always translate, but Gupta found ways to explain the concepts so the children could understand.

“You just kind of wing it,” he said. “We were speaking to each other in languages that we didn’t understand, but when you are trying to learn something, you make it work.”

As the children memorized his computer code and latched onto the logic behind programming, Gupta said he noticed a shared revelation among his students—the world is boundless and up for grabs.

Before that, they were confined to a small town in West Bengal that Gupta described as a short, one-lane road lined with shops crammed in rows. Now, children who spend their days working on farms or shops connected to the area’s booming tea industry saw opportunities in fields they didn’t know even existed.

It was this that Gupta called his greatest contribution to the children of Kalchini. A teacher through and through, he said he prized the opportunity to open and inspire young minds.

“I just did this because I thought it was a chance to share things that I thought were cool about life with people who hadn’t seen them before,” Gupta said. “Ultimately, that’s the motivation for every teacher on campus.”


Fifteen Kids, Three Languages, One Computer

Computer Science Professor Ankur Gupta found himself teaching computer coding to young Indian children.

Mar 26 2015 Read more