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Emily Seibert '14 Earns Fulbright Teaching Assistantship


PUBLISHED ON Apr 02 2014

Emily Seibert ’14 received her best 22nd birthday present the day before her actual March 27 birthday: She was chosen for a prestigious Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to live and work in Athens, Greece, for 10 months.

DSC_0372She’ll leave in September and be one of a dozen Americans in the Fulbright program who will teach English and American culture to students at the elementary, middle and high school levels.

“I was very surprised and very honored,” said Seibert, the sixth Fulbright recipient from Butler in the past four years. “I didn’t fully know how to react because I never expected it to become a reality.”

Seibert, an elementary education major from Valparaiso, Indiana, said she had planned to start the job-search process in Indianapolis for a teaching position at the elementary-school level. Then she saw a notice in the Butler Connection—the daily email that goes to students, faculty, and staff—about applying for a Fulbright.

“It put together three of the passions I’ve enhanced at Butler; my love for teaching and my love for kids, my passion for serving others and my new-found love of experiencing different cultures found through my study abroad experience,” she said.

She talked to Rusty Jones, Interim Associate Director of Butler’s Center for High Achievement and Scholarly Engagement, and he helped her start the application process and edit her essays. Jones also organized a Fulbright campus committee interview and wrote her institutional endorsement.

The opportunity to participate in the program in Greece thrilled her because it has no requirement that participants speak a foreign language fluently (Seibert doesn’t) and because she’ll be there with other Fulbright recipients, working collaboratively.

Seibert said she still plans to teach—most likely in Indianapolis—when her Fulbright ends in July 2015. But for now, she’s looking forward to “experiencing education in the world, seeing all the different aspects of what education looks like across the globe. This is a great opportunity to see a different side of education and to bring what I’ve learned at Butler to another part of the world.”

Media contact:
Marc Allan


AcademicsStudent Life

Jackson Aldridge Tries to Make Fans Comfortable


PUBLISHED ON Jan 16 2014

When he’s not making a name for himself playing basketball, Butler guard Jackson Aldridge is working on his career as a businessman/entrepreneur. As part of his Real Business Experience course, the sophomore economics major from Sydney, Australia, has created Stadium Sidekick, an inflatable drink holder that doubles as a seat cushion.

The Stadium Sidekick

Stadium Sidekick, which sells for $4, is designed to be customized with school and team logos, and marketed with this slogan: “Support your team with a full beer and a comfortable rear.”

“The long term goals of my business are to establish a reliable, comfortable, and unique product to both professional and collegiate sporting venues for fans to enjoy,” Aldridge said.

Product development began in Butler’s Real Business Experience (RBE) class, where students team up and devise an idea to produce and market a product or service. Then they produce and sell the product.

Aldridge and his team in the RBE class established a connection with a supplier in China to manufacture the product, and towards the end of the semester he made bulk sales totaling 200 units in just two weeks of sales.

If the business concept is approved by an outside funding review board, students can take a second class where they actually run their business marketing their product, and the College of Business will loan the team up to $5,000 to get up and running.

Aldridge is taking the second class and will be selling the Stadium Sidekick during the spring semester. After he pays back the money, he can keep the profits.



Media contact:
Marc Allan
(317) 940-9822

Student Life

Graduate Student Kurt Carlson Earns Fulbright Award


PUBLISHED ON Mar 25 2013

Kurt Carlson, a graduate student in music history in Butler’s Jordan College of the Arts, has received a Fulbright award for 2013-2014 to conduct research in Austria, through the University of Vienna, on 18th century composer Paul Wranitzky and the First Viennese School.

Kurt Carlson

Carlson’s work will include searching for Wranitzky’s letters in the many archives in Vienna, as well as the Masonic archives at Schloss Rosenau and some of the Czech holdings in Prague. He also will attempt to produce some new critical editions of Wranitzky's symphonies, especially those that have yet to been performed.

“I hope that after this research and time spent working on the same project for a dissertation I will have enough new information to write the first definitive monograph on Paul Wranitzky,” said Carlson, who also will be teaching in a secondary school un Vienna during his year there.

Carlson said he became interested in Wranitzky when, pondering a topic for an undergraduate thesis, he decided to trace how certain composers reacted to the cultural and political climate of their given moment in history.

He settled on two scenes: a "reactionary parenthesis" regarding WWII through selections by Shostakovich and Schoenberg, and a journey into the parallel idealist and realistic tendencies of the political fallout after the French Revolution, illuminated by Beethoven's Third Symphony (1803-1804), and Paul Wranitzky's Op. 31 Grande Sinfonie Caracteristique pour la Paix avec la Republique Francoise, often referred to as La Paix.

“I chose Wranitzky because in the Viennese 1790s there existed a vacuum of politically pointed or, in the case of La Paix, sympathetic music,” Carlson said. “I found out later that this vacuum most likely exists because in 1794 a bunch of arrests and even executions were carried out against people who sympathized with the French. And yet, here is this symphony of 1796, blatantly sympathetic, written by a man who had modest fame and worked primarily as a conductor at an opera house! I was fascinated.”

Carlson, a native of Woodstock, Ill., earned his undergraduate degree from Monmouth College. His primary advisors at Butler are Professors Sarah Eyerly and James Briscoe. He plans to enroll in a doctoral program when he returns from his year in Vienna.

"We are so proud that Kurt has received this award,” Eyerly said. “This is an honor for our department and for the University. And for Kurt, the Fulbright will likely constitute a career-changing experience. It shows the promise for Kurt to rise to the top of our profession and will enable him to demonstrate this promise in a tangible way to prospective graduate schools upon his return to the U.S."

Briscoe said Carlson “has honored Butler in many ways, both in the excellence of his music history studies but also in his counseling of undergraduates. I do not think we in music have ever sent a Master of Music student to such a major place in the constellation of student awards. There's no study prize more prestigious than a Fulbright.”

The Fulbright program, sponsored by the U.S. government, is designed to “increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.” Through the program, nearly 300,000 participants — chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential — have been given the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.


Media contact:
Marc Allan
(317) 940-9822

Student Life

A Freshman, and Also a National Champion


PUBLISHED ON Feb 22 2013

As a child, Ernie Stevens would watch figure skating on TV and skate around in his socks on the hardwood floor in his house. A decade later, the Butler University freshman is a national figure-skating champion, winning the United States National Championship on Jan. 22 in Omaha, Neb.

Ernie Stevens and Christina Zaitsev

Stevens and his skating partner Christina Zaitsev skate in the Novice Pairs division, the third highest level in figure skating below Junior and Senior levels. The pair won with a score of 124 points, a score that would have also put them in first place at the Junior level.

Stevens and Zaitsev are leading contenders for the World Championships next year. According to Stevens, Zaitsev, 13, will be too young to qualify for the Winter Olympics next year, but their hard work has set them up perfectly to compete in the Winter Olympics in 2018.

“2018 will be our year,” he said.

Stevens has been skating for 13 years. He began when he was a first grader living in Louisville, Ky. He was skating at a rink near his home when a coach asked him to try figure skating.

Stevens immediately loved skating and had been contemplating playing hockey, so his mother was thrilled when he decided to figure skate. As a child Stevens played almost every sport but always stuck with skating.

Unfortunately, during his training in Louisville, Stevens was injured and struggled with a growing pain in his knee.

“It was pretty bad. I really thought I was never going to be able to skate again,” Stevens said.

However, a coach in Indianapolis, Serguei Zaitsev, was confident that they could overcome Stevens’ knee injury with the proper hard work and training. Stevens began training in Indianapolis and became interested in pairs skating. Serguei decided to pair him with his daughter Christina.

When Stevens graduated high school he decided that he wanted to go to a college in Indianapolis so he could continue to train in skating and still get a quality education. Butler University just made sense.

“I wouldn’t trade that decision for anything in the world. It’s a great school with great people, so it worked out,” he said.

Because of the intense demands of training and being a student, “Not a lot of skaters choose to go to college,” he said. Stevens, a Strategic Communications major at Butler, finds it difficult to balance college life and training in ballet and skating Monday through Saturday, four hours per day. 

“But even though skating is so competitive and it’s a lot of pressure, school helps because it takes my mind off all of that pressure,” Stevens said.

Media contact:
Molly Kordas
(708) 691-8789


AcademicsStudent Life

Senior Wins Cell Biology Competition


PUBLISHED ON Jan 10 2013

Butler senior Hitesh Dube won first place in an undergraduate poster session at the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) meeting in San Francisco.

Hitesh Dube and Amy Wasilk

In besting a field of nearly 100 undergraduates, which included students from across the country and around the world, Dube won $500 and will have his picture in next month’s ASCB newsletter.

Dube, along with labmate and senior biology major Amy Wasilk, attended the meeting in December with their research advisor, Assistant Professor of Biology Jennifer Kowalski. Both students presented posters on their research during the main conference session, in addition to competing in the undergraduate poster session. 

“Both Amy and Hitesh have worked in my lab for nearly 3½ years, and I am so proud of the work that both of these students have done,” Kowalski said.

Dube’s poster showcased work he and Kowalski have been doing in collaboration with scientists from Tufts University and the University of Massachusetts. They are investigating the mechanisms by which an enzyme called the APC controls neuromuscular signaling in microscopic roundworms, known as C. elegans.

Wasilk's poster described studies she and a former labmate have done to begin characterizing the role of one potential APC target protein in neurons, a receptor called FSHR-1. As the nervous system of C. elegans is similar to that of humans, the overall goal of Kowalsk and her students' investigations is to use the worms as a model to better understand general nervous system function.

The goal of the work is to use the worms as a model to better understand general nervous system function.

Dube’s contributions to the project involved developing and performing a number of experiments with these roundworms. In many of these experiments, he compared the nervous systems of normal worms to those of genetic mutants lacking the function of the APC enzyme to determine the specific cell types (motor neurons or muscle cells) where the APC acts to affect neuromuscular signaling. 

“The depth of Hitesh’s understanding and his ability to clearly explain his own experiments and those done by his labmates and other colleagues related to this project is truly remarkable for an undergraduate,” Kowalski said. “This is a fantastic accomplish for him, and I am so pleased that both students were able to present their work in this national forum.”


Media contact:
Marc Allan
(317) 940-9822