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Perseverance and Patients: A 23-Year Journey to Graduation

By Rachel Stern

When Trent Tipple was at his low point, living in Indianapolis, Indiana, experiencing nose bleeds during class, suffering memory loss while trying to study for tests, juggling pre-med classes with daily dialysis treatments, little did he know this was just the first of three major low points in his life.

There was the lymphoma diagnosis. Then the kidney failure. Again. And a kidney transplant. Again.

But to hear Tipple tell it, these are all moments that have shaped an amazing life. So far. Because, let’s be honest, Tipple has defied death approximately three times. And, in his words, he feels “full of gratitude.”  

“I have learned to treasure each day and never ignore what is right in front of me,” Tipple says. “I try to remember that the relationships and memories are what actually matter and, as cliché as it is, tomorrow really isn’t guaranteed.”

But there is one thing nagging at Tipple. He hasn’t technically graduated from Butler University, where he was an undergraduate biology major. All of those dialysis appointments didn’t stop him, though, let’s make that clear.

It was that darn beeper.

Tipple, who enrolled at Butler in the fall of 1991, was on track to graduate in 1995. He was 19 credits shy and had applied to Indiana University’s School of Medicine. But, then, that beeper started going off and he had to answer it.

Because Tipple was on the kidney transplant list, he always had a beeper on in case a transplant arrived. After three years, his beeper went off. It just so happened to be during his last semester, senior year. So, technically, he never graduated.

That’s all about to change.

 

Always Interested in Medicine

Tipple grew up in Wabash County, Indiana. Farm country as he refers to it.

Long before the constant trips to the doctor, he had an interest in helping people by being a physician. Pretty ironic, he says. He was always interested in the ability to help others, and working in medicine gave him the opportunity to blend his interest in science with that desire. 

When Tipple was a sophomore in high school he stepped foot on Butler’s campus for the first time as part of a youth event. He was drawn to the campus’ small size and intimate setting.

“Everyone I came across was just nice,” Tipple says. “That first encounter made me familiar with the school and gave me a certain comfort level. I was attracted to the smaller size and the opportunity to get a well-rounded education beyond just science-based courses.”

Turns out the smaller setting would be crucial for many reasons. Tipple was diagnosed with chronic renal disease before his freshman year at Butler. He applied early to Butler, was accepted, and enrolled. With his disease came several trips to the doctor every week. Tipple knew going to Butler would enable him to continue down his desired pre-med path, while also being physically close to the downtown campus of IU Medical Center, as a kidney transplant was what he would eventually need. Tipple felt a school the size of Butler would be more willing to accommodate his specific needs.

“I knew I would be in and out of certain classes due to doctor’s appointments and, at any point, might need to miss class or assignments,” Tipple says. “At a smaller school, it is much easier to form personal relationships and communicate about my specific needs and situation. I think that would be much harder to do at a larger university.”  

 

Determined to Follow His Dreams

Trent at Butler with fraternity brothers.

Jim Shellaas remembers laying eyes on Tipple for the first time. Tipple was a freshman. Shellhaas was Tipple’s academic advisor, and, right away, something was different.

“He showed up to our first meeting with his mother,” says Shellhaas, who retired two years ago after working at Butler as a biology professor. “Now don’t get me wrong, his mother was a lovely person, but most freshmen don’t come to their appointments with their parents. She was there to explain Trent’s medical condition.”

From that first meeting, Shellhaas says, it was clear that Tipple was a determined young man. And Shellhaas’ first impression never changed over the course of four years.

“He had a dream and he was focused and no matter what, he wasn’t going to let go of it,” Shellhaas says. “It is hard enough to be on a pre-med track when a student is fully healthy. But to do that with a health condition like Trent’s, you have to be special and he is special. He had a goal in mind, plugged along, and never lost sight of it.”

Barb Howes recalls a student who was extremely responsible and always showed up to work at the Science Libraries with a work ethic that stood out. Howes has interacted with thousands of students during her time at Butler, but Tipple stands out.

“No matter what was asked of him, he did it, and he always had a wonderful attitude,” she says. “You never would have known that he was dealing with all of the dialysis, and the pain. It amazes me that he was able to remain so positive, despite having to face so much and juggle so much as a young person.”

 

Nothing Could Stop Him

After being on dialysis for two-and-a-half years, and after seven surgeries due to dialysis-related complications, Tipple’s beeper finally went off. He would later learn that a woman named Shiela, who’s family decided that she would be an organ donor, enabled him to become a kidney transplant recipient that January day in 1995. But, it wasn’t that simple.

Though he walked in his commencement ceremony, technically, Tipple did not graduate from Butler because of the timing of the transplant surgery and the recovery associated with it. He was 19 credits short.

He did, however, make the most of his time spent around the physicians he still hoped to one day be. “You meet tons of patients and they all impact you in different ways, but Trent stuck out and always will stick out,” says Sharon Moe, professor of nephrology at Indiana University School of Medicine, who first met Tipple when he was a patient at IU Medical Center. “He was just a smart, inquisitive, sharp young man.”

Moe learned that Tipple wanted to attend IU School of Medicine when he was a patient. Tipple also worked in Moe’s lab when he was a student at Butler. She decided to arrange a meeting between Tipple and the head of the Medical School’s admissions committee.

“I learned later that those conversations I had, thanks to Dr. Moe, were key for me ever getting in to med school and achieving my dream of becoming a physician,” says Tipple. “I am so thankful for people like Dr. Moe who believed in me and went out of their way to vouch for me and look out for me. They changed the course of my life.”

“Trent was networking, so to speak, or creating strong relationships, before that was even a thing,” Shellhaas says. “Instead of feeling sorry for himself when he was in the hospital, he was thinking about his next move and how he could achieve his dreams. He is an amazing person.”

He was accepted into IU’s School of Medicine in the summer of 1995, even though he didn’t have an undergraduate degree.

 

The Struggles Continue

When it was time to head to medical school, Tipple had to, well, learn how to learn again, he says. A fraternity brother from his Butler days, Doug Towriss, was already a medical student at IU. He tutored Tipple for well over a year.

“He taught me what it was to know something, versus being familiar with it,” Tipple says. “If you can’t write it down, you don’t know it. That was his big thing. A lot of time was spent at the chalk board with me writing down pathways, lists, and that type of thing from memory. He didn’t have to do that but he wanted to help me get caught back up.”

Tipple ended up graduating from medical school in 2000. He completed a general pediatrics residency in 2003 and a fellowship in neonatal-perinatal medicine in 2006 at The Ohio State University. By 2006 he was an attending neonatologist and assistant professor of pediatrics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine.

But, things weren’t all smooth sailing.

In 2008, he was in Vienna for a conference with his wife and two children. In retrospect, he had been experiencing headaches for a few months, but that is just in retrospect. They wandered through the Swarovski store looking at all the jewelry. Then, all Tipple remembers is his world went black and the loud store went silent. He was 35 and experienced his first seizure.

He was rushed to the hospital, eventually made his way back to Ohio, and on Christmas Eve 2008, he was officially diagnosed with a rare form of lymphoma. Technically speaking, he had post-transplant lymphoma. It is a kind of lymphoma only seen in transplant patients. The cruel irony? While Tipple took powerful medications to prevent his body from rejecting his kidney transplant 13 years earlier, those same medications kept his body from recognizing the cancerous cells and eliminating them. Those same cells actually allowed the tumor to form in the first place.

Trent with his cousin who donated a kidney.

This type of lymphoma carries an average 2-year survival rate of less than 10 percent around the world. But, Tipple’s oncologist at OSU had developed an experimental therapy that showed promise in the six patients who used it prior to Tipple.

Three weeks after starting the therapy, the tumor that had been the size of a walnut was gone. And within six months, there was no evidence of the active disease at all. Tipple was in remission. “It was honestly a miracle,” Tipple says. “I really thought I was going to die. I thought that was it and I just could not believe I was in remission. It is impossible.”

But, Tipple’s story does not end there.

One year after his seizure in Austria, the kidney that he had received about 15 years earlier failed. Tipple was back on dialysis.

“I was feeling devastated. I was angry and frustrated. But yet again, I had the amazing support of those around me,” Tipple says. “My wife put everything in perspective when she reminded me that a year earlier we thought I was going to die and said we will do whatever it takes.”

After 15 months of daily dialysis in their home, Tipple was back in the hospital for his second kidney transplant in 2011. This time, he knew the donor. “My cousin is a police officer outside of Seattle. She called me one day and said she was coming to Columbus to finish testing because she was informed that she was a match,” Tipple says. “How do you thank someone who says that?”

She was a match and Tipple had his second transplant on Aug. 2, 2011. Since then, things have been great, he says. But then there is that elusive degree from Butler.

 

Getting that Piece of Paper

Travis Ryan met Tipple about five years ago. He didn’t know much about him, but invited him to Butler’s campus to speak to a seminar class about potential opportunities to pursue research projects. “I had no idea about his background, but I knew he had a ton of experience in the research field and thought, as a Butler graduate, he could inspire our students,” says Ryan, who is the Biological Sciences Department Chair at Butler. “When we spoke after his talk and I learned about his background, and I remember thinking we should really look into trying to get Trent his official degree. He embodies everything Butler is about.”

Tipple was extremely excited about the idea.

“It always came up in job interviews and things like that,” he says. “But more than that, I know it is just a piece of paper, but it really means something important to me. My time at Butler was extremely valuable and meant a lot to me and to know that I officially graduated would mean a lot.”

Ryan worked with many people at Butler to make it official. Many courses that Tipple completed at IU’s School of Medicine, it ended up, could be counted toward the credits he was missing at Butler.

After 23 years, Tipple will be officially graduating from Butler.

 

Full Circle

Trent with his family on a trip to Germany in 2008.

Tipple tries to get back to Indianapolis, and specifically, Butler’s campus at least once a year. He usually returns for a basketball game or two, and comes each May for the Indianapolis 500.

Unfortunately, he won’t be here for the spring commencement ceremony on May 11. It is a bit harder now. In 2014, he started working at the University of Alabama at Birmingham as an associate professor. He is Director of the Neonatal Redox Biology Program and his work has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health since 2007. Tipple also serves as the Director of Neonatology Faculty Development and Program Co-Director of Neonatal-Perinatal Fellowship Program.

“After everything, I am doing what I love. I am teaching, I have a research lab, and I also see patients. I love doing all of that and it is exactly what I always wanted to do,” he says. Tipple plans to be back in Indianapolis at the end of May for the Indianapolis 500. He will be stopping by Butler’s campus. And this time, he will be picking up a diploma.

“It feels great to just come full circle after everything,” Tipple says. “I appreciate everything Butler did for me and with all I have been through and all the people who supported me and were there for me, everyone really made this happen.”

 

Images
Feature: Trent with his wife at medical school graduation (left). Tren with his son at a Butler Basketball game (right).
Top: Trent at Butler with fraternity brothers.
Middle: Trent with his cousin who donated a kidney.
Bottom: Trent with his family on a trip to Germany in 2008.

 

Trent Tipple MD
CommencementPeopleCampus

Perseverance and Patients: A 23-Year Journey to Graduation

After two kidney transplants and a battle with cancer, Trent Tipple M.D. will finally graduate.

 

Pursuing Her Passion

By Meg Liffick

Graduating Senior Mariam Saeedi grew up in Fishers, Indiana, just up the road from Butler University. Like a lot of kids, she really loved being creative and especially loved art. In high school at Hamilton Southeastern, she took all the art classes they offered and pursued as many opportunities as she could to be creative.  

While she has a passion for artmaking and an obvious talent, when Mariam chose her major before starting her first year at Butler, Art wasn’t even on her radar. “I originally came to Butler because I wanted to be a teacher. I had heard great things about the College of Education. After my first semester, I realized that it wasn’t the right path for me. I felt like I was missing something.”

Like so many college students, Mariam switched her major her freshman year. This time, she chose Marketing.

But again, after taking a few classes, she still wasn’t confident she was on the right path. She had a nagging feeling that wouldn’t go away. One day as she was browsing through the course list for the Art+Design major in the Jordan College of the Arts things became clear. “I wanted to take all of those classes. I realized what I was missing was an opportunity to be really creative and express myself, and I found it in those classes.”

In the Art+Design program, Mariam was able to take coursework that explored different mediums of expression, and in doing, so she found her voice.

“During my time here, I’ve learned about myself. I don’t want to be somewhere where I’m creating what everyone else is doing. I want to create for myself and be an individual.” At Butler, Mariam found the courses, mentors, and opportunities to do just that. She forged strong relationships with her classmates and her instructors, and these relationships inspired her and challenged her to be her best.

“When I was younger, I knew I always liked art, but I never imagined it would turn into something I’d do all of the time. I was more interested in finding a `practical, reasonable career path.’ It all grew on me as I found myself more,” says Mariam.

After graduating this spring with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art+Design, Mariam will begin a prestigious Orr fellowship. After interviewing for months, she was selected with other top seniors from Indiana and Ohio to join the post-graduate experience dedicated to creating a foundation of career success through coursework, professional mentoring, and a full-time, salaried position. Awarded each year to an elite group of graduates, the Orr fellowship has launched the careers of some of the most accomplished young professionals in the city and beyond.

“People don’t think of the arts as a stable field, and I think they are scared to pursue creative paths.” But in finding her major, Mariam found herself. She proved that creativity and a practical career path are not mutually exclusive, and in fact, passion is critical to long term success.

“Loving what you do it the best motivation. It’s so much easier to succeed when you are really passionate about something.”

 

Mariam Saeedi
CommencementPeopleCampus

Pursuing Her Passion

When Mariam Saeedi '18 found her major, she found her voice.

Mariam Saeedi

Pursuing Her Passion

By Meg Liffick

A Snapshot of Something Bigger

By Brittany Bluthardt '20

“This story is only a snapshot of something bigger, genuine, and unique” Butler University senior, and soon to be graduate, Nikki Miceli said as she introduced her capstone project, “Up North.” The video follows with snapshots of her smiling family members, days in the water, and some traditional campfire singing. Clip after clip, Nikki captures the little moments her family celebrates every summer at their cabin in northern Wisconsin. Two years ago, Nikki didn’t know the random footage she took while on vacation would turn into a 16-minute short documentary about her family’s history and legacy. When Nikki came to Butler University, she wasn’t sure what to expect or where to go first. She just jumped in.

Nikki came to Butler because she loved the feel and energy of campus, and it was the first college campus she didn’t get lost on. Beginning as an exploratory major, she tried a little bit of everything and strayed away from everything she knew she didn’t like. Nikki was certain of one thing: she loved to make videos.

“I like video because it’s a more detailed photograph,” she said. “My family makes fun of me because I always have a camera out, but I tell them, ‘In 10 years, you’re going to really like this footage and see how you acted, what we looked like.’ You see so many more intricate, small, wonderful moments with video than you do with photography.”

Nikki and her freshman year roommate made lip sync covers to popular songs in their dorm room, then she would edit the footage with iMovie and upload it to their Youtube channel. At the time, Nikki didn’t think much of it until one video of her singing to “Hakuna Matata” gained over 4,000 views. With the help of her counselor who urged her to pursue video work, she eventually found a home in the college of communication.

Flash forward three years and Nikki will soon be graduating with degrees in digital media production and strategic communication. She’s completed multiple internships with companies like the Big East Digital Network and Webstream Productions, but her greatest experience was found in the heart of campus. As a video intern for Butler University’s Marketing and Communications office, Nikki connects with people and tells their story through Instagram.

“These people at Butler are so dang incredible,” Nikki said. “They are, honestly, the most passionate and caring people you’ll ever meet. I’ve seen that through this internship the most. I’ve learned about everyone’s true, genuine story and excitement about why they love Butler. I just love it.”

Although Nikki pushed herself to complete multiple internships, study abroad in Australia, complete two majors, and have room for a social life, her biggest challenge was gaining self-confidence. Her parents, one an accountant and the other a physical therapist, have supported her throughout her career but couldn’t help. Nikki’s creative side is unique, and she knew she had to work hard to be successful and find a job after college. Rather than change her major or redefine herself, Nikki took the challenge and reached her goals.

“I know what makes me happy,” she said. “Some people told me you go to school to find out who you are, and I thought, ‘No, college only solidified who I was.’ I knew who I was beforehand.”

Nikki took advantage of any opportunity presented to her. She helped create the newest Butler commercial through her internship on campus, and although it was stressful and a lot of work, she doesn’t regret taking on the challenge.

“The commercial project kick-started my confidence and made me realize I have a place here,” she said. “I think Butler and the community of care will stick with me for the rest of my life.”

She said she’ll miss Butler’s tight-knit community, the people, and her experiences, but she is ready to move on. Nikki is unsure where she’ll land after college, but knows she’ll continue making videos and telling stories.

 “I’m confident now -- watch me kill it.”

 

 

Nikki
CommencementPeopleCampus

A Snapshot of Something Bigger

Senior Nikki Miceli uses her experience on campus to tell the stories of others. 

Nikki

A Snapshot of Something Bigger

By Brittany Bluthardt '20
AcademicsPeople

Identify, Visualize, Make it Happen

BY

PUBLISHED ON May 07 2018

Associate Professor of Pharmacy Dennis Gardner either had luck on his side throughout his career or he is a purebred innovator. Both he and Associate Dean for Clinical Education and External Affiliations Julie Koehler believe it’s a mix of both.

“Dennis is a starter,” Koehler said. “He loves the opportunity to be involved in the establishment of new things.”  

Gardner elaborated and said, “I’m able to identify, visualize, and then make something happen. I like that challenge of development.”

The notion of being in the right place at the right time and starting new things is demonstrated throughout Gardner’s career. Before working at Butler he was one of the initial clinical faculty at Auburn University. In the 1970s, after leaving Auburn, Gardner joined Butler with a joint appointment with St. Vincent Hospital. During this time, he also helped establish Butler’s first experiential program in the fall of 1978 to meet the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy’s requirements.

After establishing the program, Gardner joined St. Vincent Stress Center, where he managed the computerization of the pharmacy, which was the first St. Vincent facility to get one. After St. Vincent, Gardner worked at IU Hospital Pharmacy Department at Riley Hospital for Children and in the pharmacy industry at Novartis Oncology for a few years.

Gardner explained that through all these experiences he stayed connected to Butler by providing student experiences throughout the hospital. He lost touch with students a bit while working with Novartis. Although this position was challenging, Gardner discovered his heart was truly that of a clinician and a teacher.

Koehler explains the stars must have aligned because at the same time of Gardner’s realization, Butler was in search for a pharmacy faculty position that would have a joint appointment at Butler in the classroom and at Community Health Network at as a clinician. Gardner was hired into his current role in 2004 and neither he nor Koehler have looked back.  

“Dennis has been a valuable preceptor for us for many years,” Koehler said. “He’s really looked to as a leader in the field of pharmacy practice and to that, he’s a great role model for our students, for the residents who train with him, and for the junior faculty who are just getting started in practice who don’t have as many years under their belt.”

Kacey Carroll, Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice at Butler and Ambulatory Care Pharmacist, is just one example of a student who has felt the impact Gardner has made. She worked with Gardner during her first year of residency and explained that Gardner taught her, by example, how to be a compassionate care giver, educator, and person.

“There are very few pharmacists that I have worked with that care as much as Dennis does and can handle the stressors of the job with grace and without complaint,” Carroll said. “He made coming to work an enjoyable experience and I worked harder knowing he was invested in me as a person and as a learner.”

Gardner’s work in recent years at Community Health Network has helped Community expand their pediatric practice within the pediatric and neo-natal intensive care units and form a partnership with Riley Hospital for Children.

Koehler best describes the impact Dennis has had on Butler and the local health care providers with a quote from author Nelson Henderson: “The purpose of life is plant trees under whose shade we do not expect to sit.”

“If you look at Dennis’ career, he’s done that for us, he’s planted an awful lot of trees,” Koehler said. “There will be a lot of shade from which we can benefit in future years.”

In retirement, Gardner plans to spend more time with his sons Geoffrey, John, and grandchildren, spend time with his wife, Leslie, who is also retiring, travel, and become more active in his church and choirs.

If Butler has opportunities in the future for him, Gardner said he’ll be happy to come back. So Gardner may be retiring as a professor from Butler and as a clinician, but he’s far from retiring his sense of tackling new things. You can rest assured that whatever Gardner tackles in retirement, he’ll probably be a trailblazer.

 

Media contact:
Krisy Force
kforce@butler.edu
317-940-6842

AcademicsPeople

Identify, Visualize, Make it Happen

That's the mantra of retiring COPHS faculty member Dennis Gardner.

May 07 2018 Read more

Student Choice and Student Voice: One Grad's Path to Success

By Brittany Bluthardt '20

“Did you see this?” Butler University staff members said as they celebrated one of many student success stories this spring.

Michele Eaton, a Butler alumna and Indianapolis educator, didn’t expect to become an Education Week “Leader to Learn From” after she left campus in 2008. She began her professional career prepared, but she didn’t know what her future success would entail.

Despite her current passion for the field, Eaton didn’t always want to pursue education. She originally had dreams of becoming an engineer but was discouraged by a teacher at a young age. Eaton didn’t let this affect her future. She eventually found her calling at Butler University.

“I knew the impact one person could have, positive or negative,” Eaton said. “I wanted to be the teacher that encouraged a student to follow their dreams, and I would help them to get there.”

After receiving her degree in Secondary Education, Eaton kick-started her career and taught in Indianapolis as a second-grade teacher. Ena Shelley, dean of the college of education, remembers her as academically talented, eager to learn, and a quiet leader. She was very happy to hear of Eaton’s honor, but she wasn’t surprised.

“I wish she could've heard our excitement because people were so proud of her,” Shelley said. “In a time when there are so many challenges in education, she was a message of hope and inspiration for the whole college to keep going.”

Eaton accomplished her goal of becoming an educator and became a second grade teacher after earning her degree at Butler. She took an online class for her master’s degree while teaching. From the completely online program, she earned a master’s degree in education with a focus in technology.

“I was so enamoured with the program and the professional connections that I was able to make without ever meeting anyone face to face,” she described. “I quickly became an advocate. Online learning was something I could get behind.”

A few years later in 2012, Eaton became the virtual education specialist for MSD Wayne Township. Shortly she was promoted to director of virtual and blended learning, a position created specifically for Eaton’s interests and skill set. Eaton helps direct the Achieve Virtual Education Academy, an online school for students to receive a high school diploma outside of the classroom. She trains teachers from across the state on blended learning, a combination of online schooling and face-to-face interaction.

Despite Eaton’s experience in education, the program had a rocky start with low engagement and interest. The teachers tried various techniques, but nothing worked. Eaton knew they needed to think about the academy from a different perspective.

“My first instinct was to throw out a ton of ideas, but this was something I’d never actually done myself in the classroom. I took a step back and said, ‘Let’s be students.’” And with that idea in mind, she began to study who they were serving.

She collected data and feedback from the teachers and redesigned their techniques to fit each individual. What they learned was that the academy students come from various backgrounds, ethnicities, and ages; over half of the students are adults. To accommodate this nontraditional student, Eaton worked with the teachers to recreate the program and revolutionize student’s thoughts of online learning.  The academy now allows students to recover lost credits, accelerate their learning, and earn an official high school degree -- not a lesser equivalent.

The proof of Eaton’s success in the numbers. Total graduating students rose from six in 2011 to 30 last year.

“There’s not a one-size fit all solution for any student or any classroom, but when you’re talking about a specialized population that you find in a virtual school, you can’t just create something and hope for the average,” Eaton said. “The more that we can personalize the experience for our students, the more success that we’re going to find.”

“Student voice and student choice” is one of Eaton’s main teaching philosophies. Although technology is inevitable for online learning, she doesn’t think of the internet as an educational barrier.

“It’s not about entertainment, it’s about doing work that I care about -- doing work that matters,” she said. “I think that if we help students find their voice, we can help students learn how to be advocates for their own learning. Technology is a catalyst for that type of work.”

Eaton’s passion for helping students flourished at Butler. College of education majors experience hours of student-teaching in classrooms across the city. Eaton said this lead to professional connections with other teachers and leaders in the field. Her advice for current and future students pursuing education is to get connected.

“It is too hard of a job to do on an island,” Eaton said. “Learn how to network. Butler makes that possible, so when you leave that is something you can continue to pursue.”

Eaton kept her strong connections. One of her mentors from Butler University is professor Arthur Hochman, who even today she still turns to for advice. Hochman knew she was impressive from the start, and he remembers her unwavering energy and focus. From a few notes he kept while Eaton was in school, he reminisces on his visit to her classroom during her first year of teaching.

“I spoke to her principal on the way into the school, who warned me that she had a really challenging group of children,” he wrote. “I came in expecting the usual first-year teacher chaos but instead I saw order and innovation. The class had a clear sense of community, and you could not have found a more joyful teacher standing in front of a group of young children. I will never forget what Michele whispered to me: ‘I must have gotten an easy class as a first year teacher, because these kids come to school every day ready to learn.’”

Hochman said this is only the beginning for Eaton. Dr. Shelley hopes she will return to Butler to speak about her success or become a mentor for future educators. A part of the COE’s vision statement is to challenge the status quo, and Eaton does just that.

“She embodies this can-do, must-do spirit of giving back and moving people forward,” Dr. Shelley said. “It’s that quiet leadership of bringing people along, not forcing them, but helping them to see how it works. That’s a gift. That’s a true leader.”

As for the future, Eaton hopes to continue improving and growing as an educator. Above all, she thanks Butler for helping her to reach this point in her career. When asked, she says doesn’t have just one favorite memory as a student -- she just remembers the people.

“Butler is all about community,” Eaton said. “I think that was one of the best things about coming here and certainly something that won’t leave me.”

PeopleCommunity

Student Choice and Student Voice: One Grad's Path to Success

Michele Eaton, a Butler alumna and Indianapolis educator, didn’t expect to become an Education Week “Leader to Learn From” after she left campus in 2008.

AcademicsPeople

He Hasn't Been Everywhere, But It's On His List

BY

PUBLISHED ON Apr 30 2018

Professor Greg Osland received his first taste of learning about cultures of the world when he completed a study abroad trip to Mexico while completing his undergraduate degree. Since then, Osland has visited 40 countries and spent at least six years of his adult life living abroad. He may be retiring from teaching full-time, but his sense of adventure and his thirst for knowledge about cultures beyond his own will still be hard at work.

“I don’t view retirement as slowing down but rather doing a different set of things,” he said.

Osland already has booked four flights for next year. These include a trip to Colorado to visit family, a family trip to New England, a flight to Atlanta to present at an academic conference, and a two-week trip to Uganda to help with a few economic development projects.

Most of his upcoming trips are for personal or pro-bono consulting travel, something Osland hasn’t typically done. The majority of his time spent abroad has been for work or research. Prior to earning his Ph.D. at Michigan State University, he spent three years in China working for a business consulting company developing and delivering Executive Education programs. This experience was part of the reason he pursued a Ph.D. in International Marketing.

Professor Dick Fetter, a friend and colleague of Osland’s for 25 years, said that when they hired Osland in 1993, international business was a relatively new concept in business schools.

“Greg has really brought a global perspective not just to the classroom, but to the campus as well,” Fetter said.

*

Although known as the "China expert” across campus, Osland has developed interests, over time, in other parts of the world, particularly Latin America. In 2007, he and a few other colleagues helped to develop a course as part of the core curriculum titled “Frontiers in Latin America.”

“I’ve enjoyed teaching that course because it integrates a number of disciplines and I’m a little more eclectic than just marketing,” Osland said. “It allows me to do some other things with other elements of learning.”

Fetter confirmed Osland’s view of himself when he recounted the time Osland came to him in early 2000s asking to take his sabbatical with his family to learn the Spanish language in Mexico.

Fetter, dean of the College of Business at the time, was a bit taken aback.

“I barely have conquered the English language,” Fetter joked. “And here Greg had conquered the country of China and the Mandarin language and now he was ready to move on to another language in a different part of the world.”

Fetter was impressed. Osland did two more sabbaticals abroad, one in Costa Rica and the other in Panama.

Osland’s newfound excitement for Latin America has been passed on to his students as well—especially one. Alicia Helfrich ’16 was one of Osland’s advisees and students, and she can vividly recount Osland’s impact on her understanding of the world, and ultimately her interest in working in Latin America.

When she was deciding between studying abroad in Spain or Chile, Osland recommended Chile because of his own experiences there.

“After some debate, I decided to take his advice and can say it was one the best decisions I have ever made,” Helfrich said. “I had a life-altering experience in Chile, gained fluency, and returned with a mission to work in the region again post-graduation.”

Now, Helfrich works for a non-profit in Guatemala City. If it wasn’t for Osland’s guidance to study abroad, she says she wouldn’t be in her current role or discovered some of her greatest passions.

*

Beyond Osland’s travels, he and his wife, Joyce, have been heavily involved with not-for-profit organizations, both locally and all over the world. Osland even started his own 501(c)(3) when he was living in Noblesville, titled Project Eden.

The organization’s mission is to “reconnect people with the creation, and to restore broken ecosystems,” Osland said. Ultimately the non-profit aims to reconnect people with nature through gardening, nature hikes, planting trees, and ecological restoration projects. Grace Church now carries out all Project Eden's initiatives.

In retirement Osland plans to continue volunteering with various organizations; spend time with his parents and three daughters, Katie, Beth, and Dianne; stay connected to Butler by teaching a class every now and again; doing Executive Education; or maybe even administrative work.

Plus, he loves Butler basketball, has season tickets, and loves walking to the games with his wife.

“There are a lot of opportunities to continue to engage with Butler,” he said.

Although Osland retired as a Professor of Marketing at the end of May, he has continued on as a full-time part of the faculty and staff of the LSB.  On June 1 he began a new role as the LSB Director of Assessment of Learning (AOL), while also engaging with the School as Professor Emeritus of Marketing.  He looks forward to working with the faculty and administration to help develop an AOL process that will be useful, manageable, and sustainable in enhancing student learning and improving our programs.

 

Media contact:
Krisy Force
kforce@butler.edu
317-940-6842

AcademicsPeople

He Hasn't Been Everywhere, But It's On His List

Professor Greg Osland, who has been to 40 countries, will remain on the go in retirement.

Apr 30 2018 Read more
AcademicsPeople

Study Finds Gender Gap in the Sciences Closing

BY

PUBLISHED ON Apr 26 2018

The gender gap in the sciences may be closing, at least according to a study conducted by professors from Butler University and three peer institutions.

The study, published April 26 in the online journal PLOS ONE, looked at 10 years of undergraduate research at four schools: Butler, Creighton University, John Carroll University, and the University of St. Thomas. It found that male and female chemistry and physics students are producing research at the same rate.

"As we talk about how there are issues with women in science, at least at our four undergraduate institutions, we were not seeing any gender effect when it comes to the research outputs that the students are able to produce," said Butler Chemistry Professor Anne Wilson. "That is great."

The researchers, working together as part of a National Science Foundation grant, examined what factors affect a student to produce a research paper versus a poster versus an oral presentation. They also looked at the factors affecting students' producing work that was presented at local, regional, and national conferences, and published in peer-reviewed journals.

Rasitha Jayasekare, Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Actuarial Science at Butler, provided a detailed analysis of the data using advanced statistical models.

"It was really nice to collaborate with our colleagues from other institutions and find out that a lot of us are all doing good work with undergraduates and that we value undergraduate research," Wilson said. "It's not only important to do the work but to disseminate the findings and get our students out there speaking and writing and doing all the things that liberally educated students do."

Wilson encouraged other undergraduate institutions to examination their data to see if they find a similar result. She said she had suspected that there would be no gender gap.

"It's nice to have data to back up what you think and feel in your heart," she said.

 

Media contact:
Rachel Stern
rstern@butler.edu
317-940-9257

AcademicsPeople

Study Finds Gender Gap in the Sciences Closing

Butler and three other schools see male and female students producing research at similar rates.

Apr 26 2018 Read more
AcademicsStudent LifePeople

Butler Journal of Undergraduate Research Is Ready to Be Read

BY

PUBLISHED ON Apr 25 2018

An examination of an Indianapolis food cooperative's work to stem food insecurity, measurements of job satisfaction among those employed by intercollegiate sport organizations, and the underrepresentation of women in U.S. elected political offices are some of the topics covered in the fourth annual Butler Journal of Undergraduate Research (BJUR).

A full list of topics is below.

Volume 4 of the journal contains 12 student papers, including four from Butler students. Sixteen Butler faculty members in addition to the co-editors served as reviewers in selecting the best papers from among the various submissions for this issue.

Kenneth Colburn, Butler Sociology Professor and Co-Editor of the journal, said there have been more than 13,000 downloads of BJUR articles from many different institutions around the world.

"The academic exposure for Butler is very nice," he said. "Everyone knows about our basketball team, but we think it's important that a large audience also understands that Butler is a place for student scholarship."

BJUR was created to build on the success of Butler's Undergraduate Research Conference, which just completed its 30th year, and to complete the cycle—from doing the research to presenting the findings to publishing.

"We enjoy giving students this outlet," said Psychology Professor Tara Lineweaver, a Co-Editor of BJUR. "I have mentored four students who have submitted their honors theses to the journal, and I can say that each and every time they're thrilled to have their paper published in BJUR. It's a very good resume/CV builder for them. And it feels like the project is complete when you get to the stage of seeing it in publication."

Thus far, 19 of the 42 papers published have been written by Butler students. The journal also has published 23 papers authored by students from the University of Pittsburgh, Bellarmine University, Huntington University, Wabash College, Keene State, Columbia University, Hanover College (2), Midway College, Brandeis University, IU-Bloomington, University of Warwick (England), Cal Poly Pomona, DePauw University, University of Tennessee-Martin, University of Indianapolis, and Stanford University.

These are the papers and their authors from the fourth edition of BJUR:

PDF

A Community's Collective Courage: A Local Food Cooperative's Impact on Food Insecurity, Community and Economic Development, and Local Food Systems
Tabitha C. Barbour

PDF

Allopathic Medicine’s Influence on Indigenous Peoples in the Kumaon Region of India
Eliana M. Blum

PDF

Determinants of job satisfaction and dissatisfaction among practitioners employed in intercollegiate sport organizations
Ian Cooper, Chantel Heinsen, and Michael Diacin

PDF

Individualized Music Improves Social Interaction of Women, But Not Men, With Dementia
Emily Farrer and Diana Hilycord

PDF

Inferences on Criminality Based on Appearance
Hannah Johnson, Morgan Anderson, Hayley R. Westra, and Hayden Suter

PDF

A Blend of Absurdism and Humanism: Defending Kurt Vonnegut’s Place in the Secondary Setting
Krisandra R. Johnson

PDF

Do Black and White Americans Hold Different Views on Marijuana Legalization? Analyzing the Impact of “The War on Drugs” on Racialized Perceptions of Legalizing Marijuana
Benjamin S. Kaminoff

PDF

Miguel de Unamuno: The Relationship among Women, his Life, Spanish Society and El marqués de Lumbría
Tina Maric

PDF

Using Random Forests to Describe Equity in Higher Education: A Critical Quantitative Analysis of Utah’s Postsecondary Pipelines
Tyler McDaniel

PDF

Public Financing and the Underrepresentation of Women in United States Elected Political Offices
Libby P. Moyer

PDF

Holding on to Culture: The Effects of the 1837 Smallpox Epidemic on Mandan and Hidatsa
Jayne Reinhiller

PDF

The Reification of Hegemonic Masculinity via Heteronormativity, Sexual Objectification, and Masculine Performances in Tau Kappa Epsilon Recruitment Videos
Viki Tomanov

The first three volumes of BJUR (2015-2017) were funded through a Butler Innovation grant; this year’s journal was funded by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Going forward, funding will be provided in part by the following annual sponsors who have committed financial support: English; Biological Sciences; College of Communication; College of Education; College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; Creative Media and Journalism; Critical Communication and Media Studies; Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies; History and Anthropology; International Studies; Jordan College of Arts; Neuroscience; Philosophy, Religion & Classics; Physics and Astronomy; Political Science/Peace and Conflict Studies; Psychology; Science, Technology and Environmental Sciences; Sociology and Criminology; Strategic Communication; Founding Partner-Irwin Library.

 

Media contact:
Marc Allan MFA '18
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

 

AcademicsStudent LifePeople

Butler Journal of Undergraduate Research Is Ready to Be Read

The fourth volume of the increasingly popular annual publication is now online.

Apr 25 2018 Read more
AcademicsStudent LifePeople

Butler Honors Top 100 Students

BY

PUBLISHED ON Apr 23 2018

The Alumni Association has announced Butler University's Top 100 Outstanding Students, honoring the top juniors and seniors for the 2017–2018 academic year.

The list is below. Top 15 students have an asterisk next to their name.

The students honored each year continue the tradition of dedication and service to Butler. They reflect outstanding character, scholarship, engaged citizenship, leadership, and commitment to fostering diversity.To be considered a Top 100 student at Butler University, students must have a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher and may not be on conduct probation during the application process or the announcement for Top 100 and Top 15.

The Top 100 students are determined by the Top 100 Selection Committee composed of representatives of each of the six colleges, student affairs, academic affairs, and alumni. Each candidate is judged against the core values of the program on a numeric scale. At the end of the judging period, all scores are tabulated, and the Top 100 students are selected.

Visit the Top 100 website to view guidelines for the program. 

The Alumni Association in conjunction with the Office of Student Affairs conducts the Outstanding Student Recognition program. The program is in its 57th year.

The full list of honorees, majors, and hometowns:

Lynn Alsatie, International Studies and French, Carmel, Indiana

Siena Amodeo, International Business and Marketing, Powell, Ohio

Deborah Arehart, Middle/Secondary Education and French, Dayton, Ohio

Thomas Baldwin, Biochemistry, Carmel, Indiana

*Adam Bantz, Strategic Communication, Marketing, Muncie, Indiana

Alex Bartlow, Accounting and Spanish, Bloomfield, Indiana

Leah Basford, International Business, Chinese minor, Centerville, Indiana

Brianna Borri, Psychology, Ada, Michigan

Lauren Briskey, Actuarial Science, Statistics, Avon, Indiana

Amy Brown, Accounting, Saint Charles, Missouri

Rachel Burke, Mathematics, Software Engineering, Mount Vernon, Indiana

Jeremy Caylor, Biology, Chemistry, Tipton, Indiana

*Parker Chalmers, Finance/Risk Management & Insurance, Wyoming, Ohio

Lauren Ciulla, Biology, Carmel, Indiana

Brooklyn Cohen, Elementary Education, Glenview, Illinois

Hannah Coleman, Pharmacy, Danville, Indiana

Dana Connor, Communication Sciences and Disorders, Tallahassee, Florida

Vickie Cook, Chemistry, Woodburn, Indiana

Meredith Coughlin, Human Communication and Organizational Leadership, Tipp City, Ohio

*Ryan Cultice, Accounting and Finance, Warsaw, Indiana

Ashley Dale, Physics, Electrical Engineering, New Palestine, Indiana

Erin Dark, Pharmacy, West Lafayette, Indiana

Darby DeFord, Biology and Chemistry, Spencer, Indiana

Matt Del Busto, English creative writing and Spanish, Carmel, Indiana

David Dunham, Human Movement and Health Sciences Education, Zionsville, Indiana

Suzanne Dwyer, Pharmacy, Tinley Park, Illinois

Shelby Jo Eaton, Psychology and Sociology, Indianapolis

Ashlyn Edwards, Philosophy, Critical Communication, and French, New Albany, Indiana

*Katie Edwards, Marketing and Finance, Libertyville, Illinois

Sarah Elam, International Studies and Spanish, Indianapolis

John Evans, Accounting and Finance, Indianapolis

Hannah Faccio, Psychology, Belmont, Michigan

Megan Farny, Pre-PA, Evansville, Indiana

Megan Fitzgerald, Elementary Education and Religion, Dublin, Ohio

Annie Foster, Spanish and Chemistry minor, Westfield, Indiana

Jacklyn Gries, Pharmacy, Evansville, Indiana

Hannah Hartzell, Strategic Communication and Spanish, Powell, Ohio

Patrick Holden, PharmD/MBA, Brownsburg, Indiana

Jonny Hollar, Finance and Marketing, Warsaw, Indiana

Kate Holtz, Risk Management and Insurance, Finance, Godfrey, Illinois

*Nick Huang, Finance and Marketing, Geneva, Illinois

Karla Jeggle, Actuarial Science, Upper Arlington, Ohio

Nathan Jent, Health Sciences/Pre-PA, Crawfordsville, Indiana

Drew Johnson, Pharmacy, Noblesville, Indiana

Jakob Jozwiakowski, Chemistry, Boston, Massachusetts

Colton Junod, Biology and Biochemistry, Vincennes, Indiana

Libby Kaufman, Elementary Education, Chanhassen, Minnesota

*Nida Khan, Pharmacy/Pre-Med, Noblesville, Indiana

Rachel Koehler, International Studies and French, Franklin, Tennessee

*Caroline Kuremsky, Elementary Education with a Mild Intervention Minor, Cincinnati, Ohio

Carly Large, Accounting, Bloomington, Illinois

*Emily Lawson, Chemistry and Mathematics (Pre-Med), Fort Wayne, Indiana

Becca Lewis, Biology and Chemistry, Danville, Illinois

Rachael Lewis, Marketing, Spanish, and International Business, Danville, Illinois

Kayla Long, Critical Communications and Media Studies, Digital Media Production, Spanish, Evanston, Illinois

Kelsey McDougall, Biology, Canton, Michigan

Kirsten McGrew, Pharmacy, Louisville, Kentucky

Kasey Meeks, Health Sciences and Chemistry, Robinson, Illinois

Rachel Metz, Health Science, Ferdinand, Indiana

Joshua Murdock, Pharmacy, Grand Junction, Colorado

*Kelly Murphy, Human Communication and Organizational Leadership, Dublin, Ohio

Emily Nettesheim, Health Sciences and Spanish, Lafayette, Indiana

Alexis Neyman, Biochemistry, Fort Wayne, Indiana

Olivia Nilsen, Communication of Sciences and Disorders, Neuroscience minor, Ballwin, Missouri

Gehrig Parker, Sports Media, Park Ridge, Illinois

Justin Poythress, Accounting and Finance, Geneva, Illinois

*Tori Puhl, Actuarial Science, Mequon, Wisconsin

*Salman Qureshi, Biology, Fishers, Indiana

*Courtney Raab, Health Sciences, Highland, Indiana

Jordan Rauh, Pharmacy, Wabash, Indiana

Allison Reitz, Communication Sciences and Disorders, Newburgh, Indiana

Kate Richards, Communication Sciences and Disorders, Effingham, Illinois

Sophie Robertson, Dance Arts Administration and Journalism, Gig Harbor, Washington

*Abdul Saltagi, Biology, Fishers, Indiana

Kaitlyn Sawin, Marketing, Appleton, Wisconsin

Olivia Schwan, Marketing and Spanish, Kalamazoo, Michigan

*Abby Sikorcin, Health Sciences, Lisle, Illinois

Sundeep Singh, Biology and Political Science, Fishers, Indiana

Maree Smith, Spanish and Marketing, Monticello, Minnesota

Lilli Southern, Communication Sciences and Disorders, Solsberry, Indiana

Madison Stefanski, Elementary Education and seeking licensure in Special Education with minors in Reading, Frankfort, Michigan

Isaiah Strong, Strategic Communication/Recording Industry Studies, Brooklyn Park, Minnesota

Natalie Van Ochten, Biology and Biochemistry, Shorewood, Minnesota

Alexander Waddell, Accounting, Greenwood, Indiana

Skyler Walker, Pharmacy, Racine, Wisconsin

Kathryn Warma, Science, Technology, and Sociology, Carlinville, Illinois

Riley Wildemann, Pharmacy, Plainfield, Indiana

Alexander Wright, Chemistry, Fishers, Indiana

Heather Wright, Music, Greentown, Indiana

Jill Yager, Biology, Rushville, Indiana

Due to a tie in scoring, more than 100 students are being honored for the 2017–2018 academic year. All honorees were recognized at the Outstanding Student Banquet on April 13, where the Top 15 Most Outstanding Students were announced.

This list includes all students who opted to post their names.

 

In the photo:

Front row: Emily Lawson, Nida Khan, Nicholas Huang, Caitlyn Foye, Katie Edwards, Adam Bantz, Kelly Murphy

Back row: Abby Sikocin, Abdul Saltagi, Courtney Raab, President Danko, Salman Qureshi, Tori Puhl, Ryan Cultice

 

Media contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

 

 

AcademicsStudent LifePeople

Butler Honors Top 100 Students

This is the 57th year to recognize the Top 100 students' dedication and service to Butler.

Apr 23 2018 Read more
AcademicsPeople

Retailing's Loss Was Biology's Gain

BY

PUBLISHED ON Apr 23 2018

After he graduated from University of the South with an undergraduate degree in biology, Tom Dolan was unsure what to do next. His roommate's father helped him get a job at Davison's, an Atlanta department store owned by Macy's, and from 1973 to 1977 he moved up the ranks in management.

The money was good, but the hours were brutal. From mid-October to Christmas, Thanksgiving was his only day off, and 16-hour days were common.

Dolan's father used to tell him that you can either do something you like or make a lot of money. Or, if you're lucky, you can make a lot of money and do something you like.

"I was making a lot of money, but it was a killer job," Dolan said. So he chose the other option: "I'm going to do something I like."

He chose to go back to school at the University of Georgia and study botany. And now, four decades after making that decision and 33 years after he joined the Butler Biology faculty, he is retiring.

*

The decision to go back to school was easy. Getting accepted to graduate school was a different matter. Dolan, who grew up outside Chicago in Geneva, Illinois, had been out of college for six years when he applied to Georgia. The pharmacy school told him no. Botany, which was an up-and-coming program, invited him for an interview.

He remembers the head of the committee asking, "So what makes you think you can handle graduate school based on what you've been doing for the last six years?" Dolan responded, "I just walked away from managing a store that did $15 million a year in sales and had 100 people working for me. I know how to do things. I know how to get things done. I was a biology major. I would really like to do botany. I think I'll be fine."

Two weeks later, he received a letter saying he would not be admitted regular status, but if he wanted to take classes as a non-classified post-graduate, he could do that. Essentially, they wanted proof that he could succeed—and they wanted him to spend his own money to prove it.

Challenge accepted. The first quarter, he did well in all three classes. His Cell Biology professor—who was the department chair—offered him "regular status" admission and a teaching assistantship.

"It turned out that I liked teaching," Dolan said, "and it turned out that I was pretty good at it, based on the response that I got from people who were in the class and the people who were supervising the teaching assistants."

He finished his doctorate at Georgia (where he met his wife, Becky, who also earned her doctorate from the University of Georgia) and went on to a post-doctoral fellowship in plant pathology at the University of California, Riverside.

When the time came to find a full-time job, Dolan answered an ad for a Visiting Assistant Professor at Butler. He took the one-year assignment and then won the full-time, tenure-track position after that.

At the same time, Becky was hired at the Holcomb Research Institute (HRI) and Friesner Herbarium. When HRI folded, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean Paul Yu transferred her staff position to the Department of Biological Sciences. For more than 30 years, she has been Director of the Friesner Herbarium, a systematic collection of over 100,000 dried, pressed and preserved plant specimens. 

"Becky was able to carve out a niche and has turned out to be very successful—as an academic, more successful than me," Dolan said. "She's had a much bigger imprint on the institution than I'll ever have."

*

In the 1990s, Dolan served as Chair of the Biological Sciences Department. Stuart Glennan, Associate Dean in the College of Arts and Sciences, said Dolan's appointment came "at a very crucial time for the department. Probably most importantly, he oversaw the hiring and mentoring of the current generation of leadership in the department, and managed it during a time in which its student population expanded considerably."

Dolan said that during his 33 years at Butler, he saw the University grow in stature and size. The constant, he said, has been the quality of the students.

"We always had good students," he said. "Now we have more of them. Some of the students I've had contact with would bowl you over. That's always been the case. Virtually every semester, every class has two, three, four, five students who just knock your socks off."

Michael Hole was one of those.

"Professor Dolan was the first person I met at Butler," Hole said via email from Texas, where he is now a pediatrician and social entrepreneur at the University of Texas at Austin's Dell Medical School. "From that moment, he used his brilliant mind, big heart, and humor to make learning fun and meaningful. A treasured mentor and friend, he oozed the Butler Way. There’s no doubt his legacy lives on in countless Bulldogs.

*

In retirement, he and Becky plan to spend most of the year living in a house they built on St. George Island, a pristine and quiet locale in the Florida panhandle. The Apalachicola Natural Forest is across the way, and for 30 miles west, 45 miles east, and 60 miles deep, there's nothing but state and national forest. Some, he said, consider it the No. 1 biological hotspot in North America.

Across the bridge from their island is the new Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve, so they'll be a short drive from scientific research, natural resource management, and environmental education. The Dolans also are thinking about ways to enhance science programming at the local high school, and Tom said Becky may well do some science writing.

"The punch line is that I really don't know," he said. "The other side of that is, I'm really not worried about it. But I'm definitely not going to just put my feet up, read, fish, and run kayaks—although that's a temptation."

 

Media contact:
Marc Allan MFA '18
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

 

 

 

AcademicsPeople

Retailing's Loss Was Biology's Gain

Professor Tom Dolan, who worked for Macy's for several years out of college, found his passion in botany. Now, after 33 years at Butler, he has retired.

Apr 23 2018 Read more
Life Lessons

Life Lessons Found in Philanthropy

Patricia Pickett ’82 APR

from Spring 2018

With less than a decade of professional work experience under his belt, Matt Lally ’10 has ventured into territory many might postpone until closer to retirement. He’s the Founder of a nonprofit dedicated to bettering educational outcomes for at-risk youngsters; in addition, he’s funded a global effort to create a sustainable food source. Yet it’s clear his youthful enthusiasm is paying off for those individuals and communities in the crosshairs of his altruistic dreams.Matt Lally ’10

While he is optimistic about his efforts, he is also in touch with the realities of running a not-for-profit and a start-up business.

As Nielsen’s Associate Director of Growth and Strategy, Lally refers to himself as a market research consultant by day and nonprofit volunteer evenings and weekends. “Philanthropic work has always been important—it’s a value instilled from an early age,” he said. “My father ran his own charity for a decade (saving outcast dormitory furniture from landfills and delivering to Appalachia, the Caribbean, and Central America). I’ve always had exposure and interest in philanthropic activities.”

Networking led to meeting other young professionals with similar aspirations. One such acquaintance was exploring how he could have an impact on educational systems. The two were shocked at the statistic that one out of every eight students misses a month of school per school year. In 2012, when Chicago was the focus of national attention with high school graduation rates hovering around 50 percent, the duo began researching the issue—speaking with educators, administrators, and those with experience with existing programs and their shortcomings. “I believe education is the foundation and background for a successful life,” he said. “It was an area in which I wanted influence.”

Ugandan ParticipantsThrough research, they narrowed their focus to an approach that had little or no attention: A partnership geared toward elementary school parents that they named, “Goods for Grades.” In 2014, they attained their 501c3 and launched the inaugural program in 2015 with one school on Chicago’s southside. There, regular attendance (and later they added good behavior) results in rewards to the parents of actual goods or open-ended opportunities like a gift card to a restaurant or for purchasing clothes.

As happens through altruistic efforts, he’s learned more than he’s given over the course of three years. What he found was that the lackluster attendance of children was not because it was inconvenient to get them to school or that parents didn’t believe school was important.

“For some of them, it’s a matter of ‘I have to be at work at 6:00 a.m., so I rely on an older child to get them to school.’ We have to take into account all the different circumstances and then what would it take to place importance on overcoming that barrier,” he said. “We have learned a lot—most importantly, understanding the problem from their perspective. No one wants someone from the outside telling them how to raise their kids.”

As if one such effort wasn’t enough, Lally more recently became an investor in a sustainable chicken farm in Uganda. The relationship formed as he sat on the Chicago board of Accumen, “a global community dedicated to changing the way the world tackles poverty” by employing business practice and models and changing the traditional charity approach to something more sustainable. A business plan, cost analysis, and proforma led to Lally providing them with capital. 

Chicken Coup“The chicken farm is a supply/demand opportunity for eggs. At the beginning of 2015, five families were selected to participate to be the caregivers and owners of the project,” he said. “It’s been a tremendous success. They’ve followed their revenue forecast and already payed back the loan. Structuring it as a loan—versus a charitable donation—brings a greater sense of responsibility.”

These sorts of bold endeavors take a little chutzpah, and Lally credits his days at Butler with building that trait. “Something that has always stuck with me that I learned at Butler: It never hurts to ask. That can play out in a lot of different ways, but it’s a mentality. If there’s something that you want, the worst that can happen is you get a ‘no.’ Being vocal about what you want is going to have a positive impact. Also, if you have a real passion, you need to share that with as many people as you can.” 

 

To learn more about these respective projects and how to support them, visit GoodsForGrades.org or gofundme.com/emmy039s-empathy.

Life Lessons
ThanksPeopleCampus

Life Lessons Found in Philanthropy

Market research consultant by day—nonprofit volunteer by night. 

by Patricia Pickett ’82 APR

from Spring 2018

Read more
Grand Adventure

A Grand Adventure

Camryn Walton ’14

from Spring 2018

It Happened in a Weekend

Over the course of 48 hours, we decided to quit our jobs, leave Indianapolis, road trip across the United States, and buy a one-way ticket to India. 

Why? We felt that restless feeling to be somewhat careless and do something crazy. We wanted to experience newness. To break out of our routine. We had a desire to change our surroundings and rid ourselves of the strains of everyday life. 

And so we went. In fall 2016, we spent two months camping and hiking the western United States, two months navigating the chaos of India, and three months exploring Southeast Asia. It’s hard for me to put into words how grateful I feel for being able to go on this grand adventure. 

In reality, long-term travel is overwhelming and exhausting. You are constantly pushed outside of your comfort zone. Your relationship with yourself and your partner is challenged daily. Here are just a couple of excerpts from my blog sharing our unique and transformational travel experiences: 

Grand Tetons, Wyoming 

Camryn Walton ’14 and husband at the Grand Tetons“What’s been your favorite place so far?” We get asked this question quite a bit on the road, and so far we have the same answer: The Grand Tetons. While leaving beautiful Oregon was bittersweet, we were eager to get to Jackson, Wyoming. We bypassed our planned one-night stay in Boise (We’ll be back for you Idaho!) and drove the 12+ hours from Portland, Oregon, to Jackson, Wyoming, in one day. We made it in one piece and found a free campsite as the sun was setting just outside of the Tetons. 

The next morning, we arrived at the Grand Tetons Visitor Center an hour before it opened to get a backcountry permit. Needless to say, John (JJ) was excited to be the first one in line. Before getting our permit, we had to watch a short video about backcountry camping safety… and this is where my irrational fear of bears began. By the end of the video, I was convinced we were going to be stalked and killed by a bear. Wyoming isn’t too bad of a place to die, right? 

Bear spray in hand, we set off on a 22-mile loop hike up Paintbrush Canyon and down Cascade Canyon. The first day consisted of 7.5 miles and 3,500 feet up. It was tough hiking, but the blossoming colors of fall made us forget about the level of difficulty. There are two weeks out of the year when leaves are at their brightest in the Tetons, and we had unknowingly chosen one of these sacred weeks. The Aspens were changing to a shade of yellow I’ve never seen before—hard to describe, and even harder to photograph. 

We were up early the next morning to tackle our one mile, 1,500-foot ascent of Paintbrush Divide to the Saddle Between Two Peaks. JJ kept me going by reminding me that, “every step you take is the highest elevation you’ve ever been.” At 10,700 ft., the 360-degree views were breathtaking. The pass opened up a new world of mountain ranges, peaks, and canyons; it is safe to say that I’m addicted. Addicted to the feeling of wanting to see what’s over the next pass, to the exhilaration of the wind blowing in your face, to feeling entirely humbled, small, and insignificant compared to the mountains that surround you. 

India 

On December 17, 2016—my 25th birthday—we arrived in Rishikesh, India. Nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas on the banks of the Ganges River, Rishikesh is a charming town that attracts yogis and adventurers from around the world. It is free of meat, dairy, and alcohol—making it the ideal location for people to focus on their spiritual and physical wellness. 

Camryn Walton ’14 and husband in IndiaHowever, two days into our blissful retreat, JJ and I were taking turns emptying our stomachs over a dirty toilet in a freezing cold yurt. The physical pain was compounded by the homesickness I felt being away from my loved ones so close to the holidays. I was tired of being cold and dirty and living out of a backpack. I couldn’t help but think of all of the places I’d rather be. 

Slowly, we started to regain physical strength and with it came mental clarity. We spent the next two weeks practicing yoga, getting lost in the foothills, reading by the river, and expanding our minds with new forms of spiritual guidance. And then I’m crying at the airport because I’m not ready to leave this powerful place that had become “home.” 

Despite the immense discomfort, we quickly discovered the real reason why we travel: It reminds us to be present, to be kind, to practice empathy—and to never take ourselves too seriously. Most importantly, it’s a reminder to be grateful for exactly where you are and who you are with in life. 

 

Camryn Walton '14 (Strategic Communication) and John Joseph '11 (International Studies and Marketing) moved to Denver in July 2017. They spend their time exploring the mountains, chasing music festivals, and working at a small marketing agency and large software company respectively. To read more on their grand adventure, check out flossinginthesunshine.com or follow them on Instagram @camryn_walton and @plaidjj1.

Grand Adventure
Arts & CulturePeople

A Grand Adventure

Over the course of 48 hours, we decided to quit our jobs, leave Indianapolis, road trip across the United States, and buy a one-way ticket to India. 

by Camryn Walton ’14

from Spring 2018

Read more

Pages