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Antiretrovirals and Intentionality

Emily Yarman ’17

“I’m too early. Typical,” I thought as I sat silently in my car, eagerly waiting for the day to begin. On the first day of my elective rotation, I arrived at the Damien Center in downtown Indianapolis fifteen minutes before the doors to the building were unlocked. I would spend the next month at Indiana’s largest AIDS service organization in their sister clinic, Damien Cares, seeing patients with HIV and AIDS. Although I love being early on my first day, this has led to a great deal of waiting in my car. As I sat there, the engine gently purring, I wondered what the month would hold. I quizzed myself on what I knew about HIV: the risk factors, the pathophysiology, the medications used to treat it and how they work. I stopped mentally drilling myself when I realized that I didn’t actually know much about the day-to-day life of a patient with HIV. I had studied the disease enough to pass the test, but I hadn’t had an opportunity to really get to know any patients with HIV.

I thought about the struggles patients with HIV in the US have had since the 1980s. I had learned about the social implications of HIV and I wondered what emotional hardships these patients had been through. I already knew that my month at the Damien Cares clinic would teach me a great deal about medical management of patients with HIV. I realized then, while sitting in my idling car, that it would also deepen my knowledge about how to care for a patient as a whole person.

My first patient was a gentleman in his early 50’s. He had been on ART (anti-retroviral therapy) for years and came to the office for a visit as an established patient. I followed my preceptor, Randall McDavid, NP, into the exam room and introduced myself. After a pretty uneventful follow-up visit, Randall and I sat down in his office. He turned to me and asked, “If you saw that man walking down the street, would you think he had HIV?” I quickly responded, “No, I wouldn’t.” This patient did not look like he was HIV-positive. Neither did my second patient. Or my third patient. As someone that recognizes the damage that stereotypes can cause, I’m always trying to purge myself of my presuppositions about people. As I saw more patients on that first day, I realized I had failed to do just that; I had unconsciously built up presuppositions about how an HIV-patient would look or act. I expected patients with HIV to appear much more sick than this gentleman had.

I was reminded on this rotation that by unconsciously pigeonholing a patient, I set myself up for failure as a provider. Even something as simple as having preconceived notions about what an HIV patient looks like can affect the way I practice medicine. There are certain risk factors that make a patient more likely to acquire the illness, but HIV still affects every sex, gender, age, race, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status. Embarking on the slippery slope of making assumptions about patients can lead to big mistakes in forming treatment and prevention plans for them. By making assumptions about patients, I also miss out on the opportunity to get to know and learn from them, which could benefit my future patients. It seems simple, but it is easy to overlook the fact that everyone suffers when providers make assumptions, especially in a patient population as diverse as the HIV community. There is no one face of HIV. This month, I have been learning to stop giving it one.


I held the diaphragm of my stethoscope over his left chest and heard the thunderous, rapid lub-dub of his heart. I finished my physical exam and told Randall that everything was within normal limits, except his heart, which was beating quickly. The patient shifted uncomfortably in his chair when we asked him questions about his sexual habits. He laughed nervously when we inquired about drug use. This was the typical behavior of a patient new to the clinic.

New patients with HIV experience a spectrum of emotions during that first visit, including fear and anxiety. Their anxieties include questions about what it means to have HIV, if they can afford the treatment, and ultimately, if it will kill them. They are nervous about if the people they meet at the clinic will judge or chide them. Their fear of being rebuked is legitimate; decades after HIV showed up in the US, it still carries a stigma and is very closeted. The medical and social concerns that a new HIV patient has culminate into a patient presentation like the one I described above: visibly restless and apprehensive about being honest with their provider.

An established patient with HIV, however, is a foil of a new patient with HIV. While new patients tend to be restless and apprehensive, many established patients are calm and relaxed. Long-time HIV-positive patients understand that if they are compliant with their medications, their life can be much like the life of a person that is HIV-negative. They are happy to see Randall and talk about their social and sexual histories with ease. The visit becomes less about HIV and more about friendly conversation and getting to know each other. During physical exam, their hearts beat at a regular rate again.

Some of this release of anxiety in patients is because of patient education about the disease and the effectiveness of HIV medications. HIV pharmacotherapy has progressed a great deal since the 1980s. Many patients with HIV take just one pill per day and have an undetectable blood viral load. Causes of death in the HIV population are increasingly due to chronic illness, like most of the US, and less due to immunological compromise because we diagnose and treat earlier. The average life expectancy of an HIV-positive patient is the same as an HIV-negative patient. When patients learn about these advances in our understanding and treatment of HIV, many of their fears are quelled. This, however, is only a part of the cause for calm in established patients.

The other, bigger, part of the relief of anxiety for established patients with HIV is the relationship that they build with their provider. The care that Randall provides his patients is non-judgmental. He talks comfortably about patient’s sexual habits and drug use without scolding them. I have watched patient’s anxiety melt away during office visits because of the relaxed demeanor. This allows the patient to be honest, which enables Randall to take better care of them. I have observed that this kind of therapeutic relationship is the key to success for patients at the clinic. The patients that are most healthy are patients that have built this kind of relationship with Randall. In the presence of empathetic medical care, the patient’s viral load and anxiety both drop. Randall always says “HIV is a relationships disease,” and he’s right. Because HIV is a physically and socially taxing disease, it is best treated with appropriate medical therapy and a caring heart.


Seeing established patients with HIV gives me so much hope during those initial patient visits at the clinic. As a future physician assistant, I have the opportunity to be part of what brings that hope to fruition. I can walk with patients on their journey to have an undetectable viral load and an unbroken spirit. This month, I have learned that even in in the face of a disease that used to be a death sentence, there is hope on the horizon through proper medical treatment and a truly therapeutic relationship. Serving patients in this way, however, is not simple. It requires a concerted effort on the part of the provider to be intentional about the medical and emotional care they offer. I have learned that part of that intentional care is to resist pigeonholing patients and to actively dismantle stereotypes that we create. I have learned that it means listening and responding in a way that creates a comfortable environment for the patient to be honest in, regardless of any social stigma involved. Truly treating a patient as a whole person requires all of these things and nothing less.

Butler Summer Institute–Celebrating 25 Years

Sharon Alseth ’91

from Spring 2017

No classes, no employment, no interruptions—only research. That’s just the way they want it, the 30 students who are chosen to immerse themselves in the Butler Summer Institute (BSI), celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

These are dedicated, self-directed Butler student researchers with a methodological background and a passion to pursue a significant question, every day for nine weeks. Students who apply need a recommendation from a faculty member, and an explanation of their project. BSI participants each get a $2,500 stipend and live and work on campus. Each student has his or her own faculty mentor and close bonds are formed, with the added support and encouragement of fellow student researchers.

“No topic is off limits,” said Dr. Dacia Charlesworth, Director of Undergraduate Research and Prestigious Scholarships at Butler. “It could be that a student found something interesting in the humanities, and they’re excited to take it to another level. One student analyzed Tweets about the violence in Ferguson, Missouri, and then the Orlando nightclub shootings happened and her project shifted focus. We had a history major who wants to be a dentist, study the effects of mercury tooth fillings. She uncovered an actual melodrama musical of mercury’s side effects.” Said Charlesworth, “These are great students who want to learn, and that makes our job easy.”

The BSI students have to show how they are advancing research in their field, and make a definite contribution to their discipline. There are “research recaps” at the end of each week, aided by presentation training so students can more confidently explain their work in basic terms to their audiences. In the end, students are required to produce work worthy of acceptance in a professional conference or publication, and they present their project at Butler’s Undergraduate Research Conference the following April. 

AcademicsStudent Life

Butler Summer Institute–Celebrating 25 Years

No classes, no employment, no interruptions—only research.

by Sharon Alseth ’91

from Spring 2017

Read more

College and Greek Life—Be Who You Are

Krisy Force

#DeltOfTheWeek postSenior Andrew Thompson ’18, who is a brother in Delta Tau Delta and the chapter’s Director of Recruitment, believes a lot of students go to college with negative perceptions of what Greek life is about.

He’s one of several people working to change that.

Social media campaigns showcasing the real side of Butler’s Greek Life have caught on over the course of the last year, tackling the negative stigmas associated with fraternity and sorority life.

“Social media is an easy medium to get a glimpse into what Greek life is all about,” Thompson said. “Our campaigns can provide a window into what the chapter looks like to those who are on the outside.”

Thompson’s campaign, #DeltOfTheWeek, showcases individuals within the chapter each week doing amazing things like studying abroad or working at an internship. Similar campaigns include Sigma Nu’s #SNUOfTheWeek, Phi Delta Theta’s #PhidayFriday, and Beta Theta Pi’s Founding Father Spotlight.

Public Relations Chair for Sigma Nu Dave Mizsak ’20 said that he took a more comedic approach to the campaign by utilizing another fraternity’s photo that included a brother of Sigma Nu in the background. It's a way to “bring a different eye to the person of the week, put fun into it, and show people the real side of Sigma Nu.”#SNUOfTheWeek post

As for the sororities, most showcase their chapter by having the sisters utilize a hashtag on their individual accounts so that it can feed into the sorority's main Instagram or Facebook account. Hashtags include: Kappa Alpha Theta’s #ThetaThursday; Kappa Kappa Gamma’s #TravelTuesday, Delta Delta Delta’s #TDTuesday; Delta Gamma’s #WhyIWentDGWednesday; and Phi Beta Phi’s #UniquelyPiPhi and #PiPhiFriday.

Laiyla Grayson ’18, Director of Formal Recruitment for Alpha Phi, took their campaign one step further by creating a “Sisterhood of the Traveling Jacket” of sorts.  An oversized jean jacket that says: Alpha Phi Doesn’t Define Me, I Define Alpha Phi, travels from sister to sister every day, and members write one word describing what Alpha Phi means to them.

“When we were looking for recruitment ideas we were trying to think about the negative stereotypes that people use to define us, but we stopped and realized we weren’t going to let other people define Alpha Phi, and we also weren’t going to let Alpha Phi define us—which really ties into the whole Butler experience,” Grayson said.

Once a sister gets the jacket and writes one word, she then posts to social media with the hashtag #AlphaPhiToMe and shares the one word. Posts on #AlphaPhiToMe have included compassionate, bold, lady bosses, and even edgy.

Butler’s Greek life social media campaigns and Alpha Phi’s jacket project are ways to show students that college and Greek life are what you make it, and each fraternity and sorority will encourage you to be exactly who you are.#AlphaPhiToMe post

“There are so many different experiences you can make your own,” Grayson said. “You can be a part of something bigger than yourself—whether that’s Greek life, Alpha Phi, or Butler—but you’re still an individual and you still fit in to this bigger experience.”

Suits or Sails?

Cindy Conover Dashnaw

from Spring 2017

Wet or dry shoes? Shorts or a sport coat? Sunshine or fluorescent lights? Mosquitos or … well, fewer mosquitos? 

You may not think of these things when considering an internship, yet they do become part of your reality. Just ask Butler interns Tyler Hudgens and Keiffer Williams. 

Tyler Hudgens ’17 

Manufacturing and Quality Science Intern, Eli Lilly and Company Tyler Hudgens

Tyler Hudgens chose dry shoes and fluorescent lights when he took an internship with Eli Lilly and Company, a global pharmaceutical company headquartered in Indianapolis. He’s happy with his decision—so happy, in fact, that when the company offered him a job upon graduation, he accepted with alacrity. 

Hudgens is in this spot because he availed himself of a Butler opportunity and attended a Woods lecture. He walked in as a pre-med student who was questioning his career choice. He walked out realizing bioengineering was what he’d been looking for. 

“I’d volunteered in hospitals and found it wasn’t for me. I was more interested in the science behind healthcare,” Hudgens said. “So when I heard a heart tissue bioengineer speak and learned what they did, I switched.” 

His internship at Lilly has confirmed his decision.

“I’ve gained strong problem-solving and strategic-thinking skills,” Hudgens said. “I was able to incorporate engineering and scientific concepts to solve real-world issues in pharmaceuticals while I was gaining knowledge about manufacturing processes within the medical industry.” 

Keiffer Williams ’16 Keiffer Williams

(Former) Intern, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Oceans Research and Butler Summer Institute 

Applying to grad schools 

Keiffer Williams, on the other hand, opted for shorts and wet shoes. As an intern in the fish biology lab of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama and at Oceans Research in South Africa, Williams indulged his passion for ocean ecology and conservation. 

“I’ve enjoyed the ocean since an early age, especially sharks, and I nurtured that interest all through high school,” Williams said. “I was searching for ways to have a more limited experience to decide if marine science was something I wanted to do when I found Oceans Research.” 

He dove with dolphins and sharks (focusing on Great Whites) in the six-week program, coming to understand the significant effect humans can have on a species—even in the name of conservation. 

In Panama at STRI, working under the direction of visiting scientist Dr. Michele Pierotti, he explored the evolution of visual ecology among marine fish sister species native to the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The Smithsonian experience instilled in him a keen understanding of the opportunities that come with a higher-level degree. 

Williams also participated in the Butler Summer Institute on plant hormones research. Now, he’ll spend the next two years applying to graduate school. 

The former Boy Scout is also keen to be a better conservation advocate. 

“In today’s world, there’s a large disconnect between scientists in the trenches of data and the lay person. It’s essential for people to be able to understand what we’re doing and what it means to the environment,” he said. 

AcademicsStudent Life

Suits or Sails?

Wet or dry shoes? Shorts or a sport coat? Sunshine or fluorescent lights? Mosquitos or … well, fewer mosquitos? 

by Cindy Conover Dashnaw

from Spring 2017

Read more
AcademicsStudent Life

BU Well to Publish Its Third Volume


PUBLISHED ON Apr 09 2018

BU Well, Butler University’s open-access, multimedia, student-run healthcare journal, will publish its third volume on April 20. The volume will feature eight articles on a variety of health-related topics ranging from low-carbohydrate diets to electroconvulsive therapy for mental illnesses to retail therapy and its emotional impact.

BU Well uses three formats to deliver information: print, an informational YouTube video, and an infographic highlighting key aspects of an article or other health topic. The open-access journal will be available on Butler University’s Digital Commons website,

“BU Well is a unique experience that unites students from diverse backgrounds to create a journal that promotes health and wellness to an audience of all ages," said Skyler Walker, a second-year pharmacy student and Editor-in-Chief of BU Well. "Students gain valuable skills through the research, writing, infographic, and video process while learning their leadership style and how to effectively communicate interprofessionally. It's a one-of-a-kind experience that I have been privileged to be a part of these past two years, and I'm very excited to publish Volume 3."

Nearly 25 students from four of the six colleges at Butler University participated in the publication of the journal. Two Assistant Professors of Pharmacy Practice, Dr. Annette McFarland and Dr. Sheel M. Patel, serve as faculty advisors.

The fourth volume will accept submissions beginning in the fall semester. BU Well invites students, faculty, healthcare professionals and others to submit original healthcare-related articles for publishing consideration.

More information is available at BU Well’s Facebook page, and on Twitter and Instagram @BUWellJournal.



Media contact:
Marc Allan


AcademicsStudent Life

BU Well to Publish Its Third Volume

Student-Driven Multimedia Journal on Health, Wellness, and Life Sciences comes out April 20.

Apr 09 2018 Read more
kids jumping

Learning Self, Skills, and Strengths

Monica Holb ’09

from Fall 2017

“One might be surprised to learn the tennis bubble is not the only bubble on Butler University’s campus. Bubbles pop up in dorms, clubs, and classrooms. Students may have remarkable experiences, but if contained to their own bubbles, they may not recognize their learning in one area can impact others,” Caroline Huck-Watson, Director of Programs for Leadership and Service Education (PuLSE), said.

But a powerful force is bursting these bubbles by intentionally connecting students and introducing reciprocal learning: the PuLSE Office. 

The office is the campus hub for co-curricular activities, including Ambassadors of Change (AOC) and the Emerging Leaders Program. Using the term co-curricular is an indication of PuLSE’s intentionality. Students arrive on campus with a high school resume filled with extra-curricular activities, but quickly learn how that term differs from co-curricular. During Welcome Week, Huck-Watson relieves brand-new Bulldogs of the need to feel their work outside of the classroom is additive. 

“It is not extra. These service and leadership activities are woven into your overall experience,” Huck-Watson said, explaining the importance of reciprocity between co-curricular programming and academics. Huck-Watson also sees the value in Butler’s new Themed Living Communities (TLCs). “Students are living in an environment where they are exploring things in an intentional way,” she said. (See related article on page 6.)

Intention and reciprocity are top bubble-bursting strategies. Reciprocity means that students bring the ideas they are studying in the classroom and breathe life into them through co-curricular activities, and vice-versa. “It is about making meaning of one’s experiences. Students come to the University to learn and develop. That is happening in the classroom, but we certainly see it happening outside the classroom as well,” Huck-Watson said. “One might say of PuLSE programming, ‘that was fun.’ But behind that was a myriad of opportunities to learn about one’s skills, self, and strengths. That is what staff in the PuLSE Office, and all of Student Affairs, looks to do: connect ‘fun’ to opportunities for growth.” 

Indeed, learning is not confined to the classroom: service-based education allows students to engage in a service opportunity and learn about the theories behind it, such as the active citizen continuum. “Service education is the cornerstone of everything we do,” said Jen Agnew, Associate Director of PuLSE. “Students learn how they operate in their community and how they can contribute in a meaningful way.”

One of the flagship PuLSE programs is AOC, a pre-orientation program that focuses on service to society and leadership skills development. The program challenges students to understand themselves and see how they fit into the larger Indianapolis community—and what they can do to change it. During AOC, in the days leading up to Welcome Week, students begin understanding “their head, their heart, their hustle,” in the context of service and discover social justice issues in Indianapolis, Agnew said. 

AOC facilitates asking “why” questions and using the community voice to analyze the root causes of issues like food insecurity. Done during the first few days of the transition to college student, these exercises prime young minds to continue that line of questioning into the classroom. “Hopefully that becomes a process they carry with them in their other campus experiences, too,” Huck-Watson said.

Such holistic development gives Butler students license to understand themselves and the power to change their communities, while building a foundation for their own well-being. The 2016 Gallup-Purdue Index, a national survey of graduates, found that those with experiential learning and involvement in activities and organizations had double the odds of being engaged at work and thriving as an adult. 

Interest in this type of engagement is popular among students, but Huck-Watson urges them to be intentional, just like the programming designed by the PuLSE Office. PuLSE encourages students to invest in the programs that are of interest to them and allow time for meaningful contributions. 

“A message we emphasize is that your involvement should bring joy. There are a million and one things to do. Look at the opportunities. But at the end of the day, to grow and develop you need to be intentional,” Huck-Watson said. 

The bubbles have met their match. 

AcademicsStudent Life

David Brooks to Deliver Spring Commencement Address


PUBLISHED ON Apr 06 2018

David Brooks, an op-ed columnist for The New York Times, and a commentator on The PBS Newshour, NPR’s All Things Considered, and NBC’s Meet the Press, will deliver Butler University's 162nd Commencement address on Saturday, May 12, at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

Brooks will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters. In addition, Butler will honor the legacy of the late Julia and Andre Lacy by presenting posthumous honorary doctor of humane letters degrees in their memory. Nearly 900 students are expected to receive their diplomas. Commencement will start at 10:00 AM.

“Butler has made a concerted effort to celebrate civil discourse this year, both inside and outside the classroom,” President James Danko said. “Our campus has welcomed thought leaders who demonstrate humility and respect for diverse opinions—including Senator Richard Lugar, Congressman Lee Hamilton, Rev. Dr. Jamie Washington, historian Doris Kearns-Goodwin—and now author, columnist, and commentator David Brooks. They each bring to life the greater good that can be achieved through intellectual and civic engagement.”

Brooks has been a columnist at The New York Times since 2003, weighing in on the most pressing issues of our time. He has also written four books, the most recent of which was a New York Times bestseller.

In his most recent book, The Road to Character, Brooks writes that we live in a culture that encourages us to think about how to be wealthy and successful, but many of us are left inarticulate about how to cultivate the deepest inner life. He suggests we should confront our own weaknesses and grow in response.

Brooks earned a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Chicago and, from there, became a police reporter for the City News Bureau, a news service owned by the Chicago Tribune and Sun Times. He then worked at The Washington Times and The Wall Street Journal for nine years, serving as op-ed editor at The Journal.

Brooks has covered Russia, the Middle East, South Africa and European affairs. While at The Journal, he also served as movie critic and editor of the book review section.

Recognized as champions of business and education throughout Central Indiana, the Lacy Family offered their time, talent, and philanthropy to causes that improved communities and the well-being of others. Their most notable act of generosity came in 2016, when they made the largest gift ever given by an individual or family to Butler, $25 million, renaming the School of Business the Andre B. Lacy School of Business.

Butler's selection of commencement speakers and honorary degree recipients is a result of a nomination process, the feedback received from Butler community members, and the formal approval of the Board of Trustees.

More about Spring 2018 Commencement activities is available at


Media contact:
Rachel Stern




AcademicsStudent Life

David Brooks to Deliver Spring Commencement Address

The op-ed columnist for The New York Times will deliver Butler University's 162nd Commencement address on Saturday, May 12, at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

Apr 06 2018 Read more
past and present wall

Living Communities: Lifetime Connections

Patricia Snyder Pickett ’82 APR

from Fall 2017

While new and updated residence halls and greek housing abound on the Butler campus, life insude those buildings has evolved as well. 

While most of us headed off to college armed with a laundry basket full of good wishes, a couple of posters, and hope for the best, the Class of 2020 entered Butler University with a more solid approach to making lasting friendships and soaking in the post-secondary experience.

That solid approach—Themed Living Communities (TLC)—came as a natural extension of the University’s existing residence hall programming combined with the prospect of new residence halls (Fairview House) entering the picture. 

“We had previously used a ‘wellness model’ for residence hall programs,” said Karla Cunningham, Director of Residence Life. “We wanted to explore new and interesting concepts for Butler students.” A group representing Butler subsequently attended the Association of College and University Housing Officers–International (ACUHO-I) conference where the concept of Butler’s TLC began to gel. 

The process took about 18 months of study and development, according to Anne Flaherty, Dean of Student Life. “We made the decision to move in this direction with our new residence halls which are larger than our previous living communities. We were concerned about students really finding ‘community’ within these residence halls.”

A survey of high school junior and incoming students, Residence Assistants (RAs) and current students helped develop themes, said Flaherty, and guided them away from the “Living Learning Communities” model based on academic interests and majors. “Our students wanted a more holistic approach,” she explained, “and because of our research, the size of schools, and design of buildings,
we wanted it to be ‘all in’ and make it mandatory for all first-year students
to participate.”     

The Class of 2020—the largest first-year class ever to arrive at Butler at 1,255 strong—chose from 16 living communities, ranging from Faith and Spirituality to Creativity and Leadership based themes. Ideally, each theme would occupy a floor of a residence hall and activities were planned and facilitated by RAs with support of a Faculty-in-Residence (FIR), fulltime Butler faculty members who live in an apartment within the Residential College, Ross Hall, and Fairview House. Each theme was branded with its own shield, and students were encouraged to show their TLC pride around campus with stickers, t-shirts, etc.

“My overall take-away is that it was a success,” said Flaherty. “We’ve received positive feedback from both RAs and students. Not everything worked, we learned some lessons and are looking forward to next year.” Among those tweaks, the theme offerings have narrowed from 16 to the 12 most popular and the TLC must fill an entire floor. 

CJ Koch ’19 is a Chemistry and Mathematics major from Newburg, Oregon. His interest in being a RA intensified once he learned about the TLC concept. He interviewed for the New to Indy TLC and was awarded the position at the Residential College (ResCo). He arrived on campus two weeks prior to classes starting to train for his responsibilities and work on a plan of activities.

For Koch, the experience was nothing less than amazing and made him seem a bit wiser than one would associate with a 20-year old. “It gave me the opportunity to help people through issues, the logistics of  ‘where do I go’ that most of us go through when we first get to campus. Seeing them grow throughout the year has been really rewarding.”

His challenges with his New to Indy TLC had little to do with his charges and more to do with logistics of getting a group of college students around Indianapolis. He credits his Faculty-in-Residence, Erin Garriott, with getting bus passes, Blue Indy cars, etc., to move students around the Circle City from duck pin bowling in Fountain Square to team building at the Escape Room.

Colton Junod ’18 is a Pre-Med Biology major and a perfect RA for the Future Healthcare Professionals TLC. “My first-year experience was shaped by friendships and mentoring and I wanted to be able to provide that to others,” he said.
“I can empathize with them going through the Anatomy and Chemistry classes and help them if they ask.” Much of his group’s programming has focused on health, whether that be financial health, mental health, etc. 

“It’s been a unique position and increased my creativity,” said Junod. “Being able to identify what others like and work through those logistics is something I know I’ll use the rest of my life.”

Katie Keller ’20 was familiar with the Butler campus when she arrived last fall. Her grandparents had regularly brought her to attend The Nutcracker ballet during the holidays and she found the small campus close to her home in Greenfield a perfect fit. While she didn’t fully understand the concept of the TLC when she prioritized her choices, she has found it to be a positive experience. 

“I chose the Future Healthcare Professionals for my TLC because I’m a Health Sciences major,” she said. “It’s been great to have this group to work through adapting studying style from high school to college. It’s helped us get past that barrier that can be very difficult. Probably most important, it’s realizing that everyone you meet can contribute to you, and you can contribute to them.” 

After the First Year…What’s Next?

After completing their first year at Butler, students have other living options to consider, said Cunningham. “We offer special programming—Year Two at BU—that really targets their academic and post-college aspirations,” she explained. “Are they looking to study abroad? Changing majors? There’s lots of programming around those topics during the second year.”

Housing contracts are usually returned by early March. Those who will be sophomores will select or be assigned to Fairview House or select apartment options (unless they are living in their approved Greek house). Those who will be juniors, and any seniors who contract to stay on campus, will select or be assigned to apartments. Greek houses have their own contracts and assignment practices with each house handling their own contracts and assignments.

Since the early 1990s, Butler students interested in living in fraternities and sororities have participated in deferred recruitment (formerly known as rush). This process takes place the second semester of the student’s first year so that they may move into Greek housing their sophomore year. And that may be the only year they will live in the house, according to Becky Druetzler, Director of Greek Life.

“The biggest change we have seen is the increase in recruitment,” said Druetzler. “There is a substantial increase in chapter size while most of the houses have remained the same size. With the exception of those in leadership positions, the fraternity and sorority houses are mostly occupied by sophomores and some juniors.” There are currently seven sorority houses and 5 fraternity houses; around 35 percent of undergraduates participate in the Greek system.

That puts a little bit of a challenge on those trying to build bonds with their Greek brothers and sisters. “It’s a different dynamic when everyone isn’t under the same roof,” said Druetzler. “It starts with the chapter. They’re planning activities so those who aren’t in the house physically feel included. But it also calls on a lot of ‘adulting’ skills like negotiating and coordinating with a large group of people.” 

Like much of the population and a majority of their generation, Butler’s Greek population can stay in constant communication via social media. “Our students rely on social media and its ability to communicate well with everyone, regardless if members are across campus or across the world on an internship or study abroad opportunity.”

So, What's a TLC?

Butler University’s Themed Living Community (TLC) consists of students who share similar interests or hobbies. Incoming first-year students choose and rank six themes from a dozen offerings, including:

Eight Before You Graduate–Artistic and cultural opportunities while completing the Butler Cultural Requirement (BCR).

Balanced Bulldogs–Students take advantage of all that Butler and the Indianapolis community offer. 

BU Be Well–Students embrace the ability to develop and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

BU Leads–Students explore the many facets of leadership and meet movers and shakers within Butler and in the Indianapolis community. 

BU Scholars–Designed for first-year students interested in honors or those students eager to dig into their classes.

Butler Advance–Students connect with inspiring community partners in fun and serious settings on and off campus, developing a stronger sense of self and building a bridge from Butler to fulfilling careers and lives.

Creativity Reimagined–Students experience hands-on creativity by exploring local art museums and centers while learning new skills.

Exploratory Studies–Students navigate the
pathway of choosing a major with other students going through the same process.

Future Healthcare Professionals–Students discover opportunities to help them succeed at becoming a healthcare professional.

Go Global!–For students wanting to study abroad while at Butler, an opportunity to explore cultures around the world through food and arts.

New to Indy–Specifically designed for students not from Central Indiana, an opportunity to discover all Indianapolis offers through the eyes of those who live here and love it! 

The Bulldog Way–Students have the opportunity to show their school spirit by participating in Butler traditions and cultural and athletic events.

For those who can’t decide, a “No TLC Preference” is offered, though incoming students still need to rank a total of five TLCs to process their housing contract.

past and present wall
Student Life

Living Communities: Lifetime Connections

by Patricia Snyder Pickett ’82 APR

from Fall 2017

Read more
frank ross headshot

Frank E. Ross III, a national leader in student affairs with 22 years of experience and degrees from both Ball State and Indiana universities, was named Butler University’s new Vice President for Student Affairs. He began the position in June.

Ross comes to Butler from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he has served as Vice President for Student Life. Prior to that, he was Vice President for Student Affairs at Northeastern Illinois University, Associate Provost for Student Success and Dean of Students at University of North Texas at Dallas, and Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Life at IUPUI.

He earned a B.S. in Psychology and an M.A. in Adult and Community Education from Ball State, an M.A.E. in Student Affairs from Western Kentucky University, and his doctorate in Higher Education and Student Affairs from Indiana University-Bloomington.

Butler President James M. Danko praised Ross as “a national leader in the student affairs profession with involvement in NASPA, the preeminent international association dedicated to the advancement, health, and sustainability of the student affairs profession.”

Ross served as a member of the NASPA: Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education Board of Directors, was the national director of Knowledge Communities, and served as chair for the 2016 NASPA Annual Conference. He also was a member of the James E. Scott Academy Board for senior student affairs officers.

Ross has received awards and recognition from NASPA, the National Resource Center on the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition, the National Academic Advising Association, the Association of American Colleges and Universities, and the American College Personnel Association for his work and research. In addition, he received the 2016 Robert H. Shaffer Distinguished Alumni Award from Indiana University.

Ross will be joined in Indianapolis by his husband, David, and their son, Mason, both of whom share in the excitement about coming to Indianapolis and joining the Butler community.

Transformation and Transition—From Butler to China

Erin O’Neil ’17

from Fall 2017

Blog Posted: July 2017

The day I received my acceptance letter to attend Butler University was one of the best days of my life, but I didn’t realize that Butler was my dream school until the last few days of my undergraduate career. It wasn’t until then that I was able to truly see the impact this institution has had on my life. When I walked across the stage and received my diploma, I was handed so much more than a degree—I was given the skills necessary to begin a new path, the support to carry me through, and the determination to use my education to create positive change. As I sit here reflecting on how in the world I ended up halfway around the globe just a month after graduation, I know it’s because of Butler.

Transitions are never easy, but mine was particularly difficult as I took on the challenge of settling into post-grad life in Shanghai, China. I’ve returned to work as a videographer for Collective Responsibility, the company with whom I interned last summer and continued working for remotely throughout my senior year. I’ll admit in the months leading up to the move I was terrified, and I continuously doubted my ability to move this far from home for six months. And it certainly hasn’t been easy; I don’t speak Chinese, so every mundane task is that much more difficult. I’ve never rented an apartment before—let alone in a foreign country—and the 12-hour time difference has strained communications with family and friends back home. Moving to Asia alone is perhaps one of the most intimidating experiences of my life. But I can easily say, after having lived here for just two months, it will certainly be one of the most rewarding.

During one of my first meetings with the founder of the company and my direct supervisor, Rich, he explained that the only way to make the most of my time here is to always have a camera in hand. He encouraged me to be courageous and confident in capturing Shanghai culture. He made a point of noting that the thing people seem to regret most is not having taken full advantage of this incredible city by the time they leave. Yet I felt very intimidated to capture a world I don’t understand and scared in particular of doing so alone.  Rich reminded me that people would either be okay with it or wave at me to stop; both results I wouldn’t know to be reality until I first got out there and tried.  I quickly realized that this opportunity has not only allowed me to explore Asia for six months and continue practicing my art, but that it will also help me become a more dauntless storyteller.

The world will not wait for me; it will continue flying by and either I have captured it, or I haven’t. During my undergraduate studies I spent my fair share of time walking around campus interviewing students, capturing footage of the beautiful Holcomb Gardens, and sitting in Fairbanks editing the night away. But walking out into the “real world” with a camera in hand and minimal knowledge of my surroundings is a whole lot scarier than trekking the woods behind Butler’s I-lot or setting up camp in the TV studio. I don’t know these streets like the back of my hand; I don’t know the inner workings of this city as I did the “Butler bubble.” But these breaches of our comfort zones are what make us stronger individuals and more developed and talented artists.

Shanghai is an amazing city: the diverse culture, the scenery, the constant bustle, and the international community that is steadily expanding. The people I run into from all over the world continuously surprise me. The diversity and personal testaments to the question, “Why China?” is always fascinating. Shanghai is particularly appealing to entrepreneurs, researchers, and small businesses owners, which means my network is rapidly expanding and I’m learning from professional in all different industries.

Two of the projects I’m most excited for are video series called “Entrepreneurs4Good,” and “Sustainability Ambassadors.” The former is a series of interviews in which entrepreneurs from differing industries in Asia share their stories of how they create positive change and inspire others by developing socially responsible enterprises. Sitting behind the camera, I learn about what motivates people, how they find their inspiration, and how they’ve overcome personal challenges. “Sustainability Ambassadors” is a similar concept that focuses on leaders specifically working in environmental sustainability. Both video series are an opportunity to learn from professionals and young entrepreneurs alike about how they strive for and determine success. As a recent graduate, these stories encourage me and facilitate personal growth as I reflect on my own goals and achievements.

Travel has been a passion since my first trip to Chile in high school. It was on that trip that I discovered how incredible it is to be able to connect with and learn from international communities despite language and cultural differences. Since then I’ve made another visit to Chile, traveled to France, studied abroad with the GALA program in Western Europe, and trekked to China on two separate occasions. Each adventure inspires me in different ways, and I continue to learn about myself in ways I couldn’t do within my comfort zone of the United States. But this trip in particular has already expanded my global and personal perspectives far beyond previous excursions. The silence in traveling alone is where I find the moments to reflect and to learn about myself and what motivates me as a storyteller.

Moving to another country certainly has its unique adversities and moments of frustration.  But so does starting a new job, taking on a challenging role at work, or even getting your first apartment. To anyone faced with the opportunity to travel the world and get paid to do what you love, the only advice I can give is to do it. Yes, it’s scary to uproot yourself from a familiar and comfortable lifestyle to start over in a very foreign place. Yes, it will force you to question yourself and adapt in a world you may not entirely understand. But if there’s anything I know for certain, it’s that it’s worth every strain and moment of adversity. It is in these moments that we become the strongest versions of ourselves and begin to recognize how our work can influence and contribute to positive change. To my fellow Bulldogs, never take your education nor your university for granted; it will help shape who you become and provide opportunities that will change your life. It sounds cheesy, but I promise, I would not be the person I am today without Butler, and I certainly wouldn’t be in China.

Follow my adventures at

Pathways for Success

Monica Holb ’09

from Spring 2018


When Courtney (Campbell) Rousseau ’03, Butler University Internship and Career Services Career Advisor, meets with students in her office she is intent on providing tools to help them travel down paths that they may never have dreamed of. 

“I have to find what they are passionate about. I know it when I see it. When their faces light up … I know we are talking about something important to them,” Rousseau said.

The next four pages share incredible stories of students with vision and passion who are fulfilling their own dreams and doing it their own way. Rousseau knows exactly what it is like to follow your dreams—hers brought her right back to Butler.

Letting Passions Pave the Way


Career Advisor Courtney Rousseau ’03 is accustomed to students who are following a formula about what they should do with their careers. But those formulas can impede their innovation and dampen their passions. She and her Internship and Career Services (ICS) colleagues provide students traditional career services and the resources necessary to search for and secure internships, but they increasingly support students wandering beyond standard plans. 

More students are venturing out by obtaining unique internships or starting their own organizations. Rousseau pointed to trends such as social media connections, the popularity of “side hustles,” and professionals changing jobs more often as reasons why students are drawn to make their own way. 

She provides support to step away from a comfortable plan and helps validate students’ choices. “Butler students are very driven, very ambitious,” Rousseau said, which means many are looking to do something bold. Rousseau references the impressive but intimidating 97 percent placement rate after graduation and acknowledges the pressure: “Who doesn’t get freaked out? They wonder, ‘What if I am the three percent?’” Courtney Rousseau ’03 with student

Rousseau strategically supports students to take risks in their career planning by ensuring a favorable environment. “When you are planting flowers, to make them grow you have to plant them in space where they work. Sometimes we create a greenhouse to trick the plants to grow,” Rousseau said. The greenhouse she builds is made of students’ own strengths—strategic thinking, relationships, planning. From there, Rousseau guides students toward the best risks for them to take. “I never see anything as impossible. I think I probably prepare them, see the competition, and know the value of making connections and experiences,” Rousseau said. 

When students take the risk and it turns into a learning experience instead of the opportunity envisioned, Rousseau is quick to tell her own story. 

From graduating from Butler with a degree in French to teaching English in France, Rousseau found herself waiting tables and returning to Butler for career advice of her own. After a graduate program and a move to Oregon for a job that turned out to be a less than a perfect fit, Rousseau came back to Butler for her current role. She recognizes the non-linear path and ultimate success of her own risk tasking, as well as how students connect to the story. 

Rousseau hopes all students find their own way with their own passions. “I want students to know we are here. I don’t want people to be perfect. I prefer you come in with questions and fears. I want to take impossible situations and make it work, and make it something beautiful.” 

Weaving Old Threads into a New Company 


While in high school at Culver Military Academy, Aaron Marshall ’18 embraced self-expression beyond his uniform. He recorded hip-hop music in his dorm room with friends and wore thrifted clothing. His love for the music scene culture influenced his vintage style and would eventually influence his career path. 

Marshall came to Butler University for Recording Industry Studies. No other college offered the opportunity to turn his dorm room hobby into a major. Yet, Marshall’s studies were not contained to a library and the classroom. His interests spilled over into his life. His friends noticed, too. They came over to record music with Marshall, but after asking “Where’d you get that?” they might leave with a borrowed, one-of-a-kind, vintage sweater straight from Marshall’s closet. Aaron Marshall ’18

As he collected unique pieces in his thrifting trips with his family, he saw the market for selling finds to others and realized that maybe thrifting, not music, would be the passion to turn into a career. His business, Naptown Thrift, was born and grew by word of mouth. Marshall started an Instagram account that drew worldwide attention. With more stock and buyers, he moved the business to a large storage unit. But “storage unit” is an inaccurate description of what is ostensibly a store—racks of clothing for customers to browse on an appointment basis. 

“It doesn’t feel like work, so it is definitely something I can see myself doing in the long run. It’s become a passion of mine I didn’t know existed before coming to Butler,” Marshall said. With his family’s support, Marshall is looking ahead to opening a brick and mortar store after graduation. 

“My professors have been extremely supportive of me taking on my own endeavors,” Marshall said. His Recording Industry Studies Advisor Cutler Armstrong encourages him, even though he knows he won’t be going into music. 

The support comes from students as well. “People have genuinely wanted to see me succeed,” Marshall said. For example, in his Audio Capstone course, the class is helping record a commercial for Naptown Thrift, recognizing how they could complete their assignment and help Marshall at the same time. 

While ICS didn’t need to help Marshall figure out what to do with his life, Career Advisor Courtney Rousseau has assisted him in finding his way through the Career Planning Strategies course. “A lot of students are looking for jobs and internships. I love what I do already. The valuable thing in that course is Courtney helping me be more goal oriented. You have to have some sort of plan of what the next steps will be.” 

As Marshall graduates, he might be more likely to apply for building permits than jobs, but following his passion will be a solid step toward reaching his goals. 

A Runway from the Midwest to High Fashion 


Growing up in Tipp City, Ohio, the closest Meredith Coughlin ’18 got to the fashion world was glossy magazines. Reading the periodicals helped her learn about fashion, the editors, and what it would take to make it in the industry. 

Meredith Coughlin ’18But while Coughlin didn’t end up in fashion school, the Butler Human Communication and Organizational Leadership major used Internship and Career Services (ICS) to go after exactly what she wanted: A career in fashion. 

After a summer spent managing a boutique in Northern Michigan, Coughlin had experience with creating visual displays, directing photo shoots, executing a fashion show, buying products, and running social media. When she returned to campus in the fall, she was determined to reach her goal of working in fashion in New York City. 

She worked with ICS to improve her cover letter, but Career Advisor Courtney Rousseau, and Internship Advisor Scott Bridge, both knew Coughlin was venturing into uncharted territory for most Butler students. Coughlin was set on finding her internship on her own. “I knew what I desired was different,” she said. And sure enough, Coughlin, with ICS’s support and a great cover letter, earned an internship with Oprah Magazine in New York City. 

After that experience, Coughlin doubled down. In the fall semester of her junior year, she spent time studying fashion merchandising at The Westminster School of Fashion in London, a prestigious fashion program, through the Institute for Study Abroad-Butler. Then she completed another fashion internship on the East Coast with Vineyard Vines the next summer, all before her senior year. 

“I’ve always wanted real-life experiences,” Coughlin said. “Whenever I’m interning, I feel like I can see this is helping the store, this is helping the magazine, this is helping the company. I love to see the end result and accomplish my goals.” Coughlin’s story shows students they don’t have to wait until senior year to have hands-on learning experiences. 

The risks she took—moving to a place where she knew no one, building a career without a network in a new city—were tempered by the passion for the work. “I don’t follow the path. I seek out what I know I am passionate about. You don’t want to invest your time into something you aren’t passionate about,” Coughlin said. As she looks forward to graduation, Coughlin will certainly be able to design her own career to fit her passions. 

Making His Own Way


If you saw a resume for Anthony Murdock II ’17, it would show evidence of how he met with Career Advisor Courtney Rousseau at ICS about opportunities before he was even enrolled in classes. It would list internships with the Sagamore Institute and the City of Indianapolis. After graduation, the Political Science and Religion major is looking ahead to law school. A very traditional career path. 

And yet, Murdock is using creativity and innovation to create movements that didn’t exist before he stepped foot on campus, which has changed the way he sees his future. 

Anthony Murdock II ’17As an African American man and as a commuter, Murdock sometimes found himself in uncomfortable, outsider situations. He credits the challenge with giving him the opportunity to help advocate for other students. Butler ended up to be the perfect place for him to hone his leadership skills. 

“It put me in a place to say, ‘Are you going to let people you don’t know define who you are by the color of your skin and where you come from, or are you going to use this platform and opportunity of being marginalized to help yourself help other people?’ And that is what I decided I was going to do,” Murdock said. 

Murdock took that experience to heart and made a power move. With his fraternity brothers from Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., they developed a new brand on campus. #PowerMovesOnly is a wave, a movement, and a shift in culture. The brand, fueled by hashtags and positive interactions with others, promotes success-oriented lifestyles and actions. “We were men who understood that it is one thing to do something for a moment and it is another to create sustainable change,” Murdock said of the beginning of the brand. “It was purely something we loved to do—see people benefit with great social meaning,” Murdock said. 

Murdock also founded Bust The B.U.B.B.L.E., a student movement that promotes the perspectives of students of color at predominantly white institutions through diversity education, cultural awareness, and action-oriented activism. 

Before his experience at Butler, Murdock thought he would take the traditional path: Practice law, run for office, become a political analyst. Yet his untraditional experience on campus, and skills in starting brands and organizations creating change, has brought him to another path. It still includes law school, but will veer in a different direction: Murdock will pursue sustainable social justice change in Indianapolis. 

His empowering messages and actions toward change isn’t only shaping students’ experiences at Butler, but allowing Murdock to define his own career path as well. 

AcademicsStudent Life

Pathways for Success

Stories of the way less traveled

by Monica Holb ’09

from Spring 2018

Read more
madison sauerteig

A Bulldog with a Soft Heart

Patricia Pickett ’82 APR

from Fall 2017

Children who are dealing with serious illnesses can experience a range of emotions, from scared to bored…Scared by unfamiliar surroundings and symptoms, bored by hours that drag by without their normal routine.

So, imagine how awesome it would be to have a smiling face peek into your room with the offer to play a game, create an art project, or just hang out and chat.

Meet Madison Sauerteig. The senior Psychology major from Cicero, Indiana, spends a dozen or so hours a month doing just that with patients at Riley Hospital for Children, ranging in age from infant to 18 years old. Her love of kids and thoughts of being a child life specialist prompted her to volunteer. While her career goals have shifted a bit—maybe the title “guidance counselor” is in her future—she has put in more than 150 hours to date.

The experience, which began as a volunteer opportunity that would translate well on her resume, blossomed into a passion that has spawned some valuable lessons, said Sauerteig.

“At first, I was a little scared to go into a patient’s room, but I’ve learned that it’s good to be that smiling face,” she said. “And I’ve also learned that not all kids have their parents—they have work, other children…things that take them away from Riley. Which makes what volunteers do even more important.”

Madison is a second-generation Bulldog, with parents Jeff ’87 and Wendy (Pfanstiel) ’89, also graduating from Butler University. The family attended numerous basketball games at Hinkle and other campus events when she was growing up. Madison says that familiarity—as well as its proximity to home and family—were major factors in her decision to attend. 

madison sauerteig
Student Life

A Bulldog with a Soft Heart

by Patricia Pickett ’82 APR

from Fall 2017

Read more