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Butler University MBA students learn about whiskey business (stock image)
Experiential Learning

“From Grain to Glass to COVID-19”: MBA Class to Publish Case Study on Whiskey Business

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Nov 23 2020

During the spring 2020 semester, a class in Butler University’s Master of Business Administration (MBA) program partnered with a local distillery to learn about the downstream supply chain—the process by which a product makes its way from production to consumers. After studying for themselves how the distillery’s Indiana-sourced whiskey is typically sold through restaurants, tasting rooms, or grocery store shelves, the class would write a case study to teach what they had learned to future business students.

They had just finished the second draft when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

“Instead of teaching from a textbook about what the challenges are in distribution, I wanted students to have a grasp of what a real company actually goes through,” says Dr. Jane Siegler, Assistant Professor of Operations. “When the pandemic hit, we didn’t just ignore that and focus on what would happen in normal circumstances. No—this is a small business that is trying to find its way in the market, with all the normal challenges that a small company faces, but now there is this global pandemic. What do you do?”

Shutdowns affected restaurants and other distribution outlets across the hospitality industry, and the distillery’s on-site tasting room had to close its doors. So, while continuing to learn about the company (who asked to remain anonymous for the case study), the MBA students helped the distillery identify new opportunities for getting its products to customers.

Dr. Siegler says she often likes to partner with real companies for her classes, which not only provides an experiential learning opportunity for students, but also offers a range of fresh perspectives for the business.

“When we have all these smart minds working together in class,” she says, “chances are that we will see things that the company may have missed. We are offering high-quality consulting projects at low or no cost to the companies. It’s a way to benefit the companies, the regional economy, and the students.”

The students’ key recommendation for the distillery was to place more focus on direct-to-consumer sales. Without the need to pay distributors, these channels would be more profitable, as well as help the relatively young company continue building relationships and growing its brand. After the pandemic hit, the distillery opened a carryout bottle shop that replaced their tasting room as a way to engage directly with consumers.

The case study, which has now been accepted for publication in the International Journal of Teaching and Case Studies (IJTCS), also identified opportunities for the distillery to attract customers by highlighting stories about how its whiskey is sourced and produced entirely in Indiana (a state not known for making bourbon). The company could produce videos profiling local corn farmers, or showing the whole production process from seed, to grain, to glass, the students suggested. That all-Indiana ingredient sourcing was the main thing that caught Dr. Siegler’s attention, and chances are it would appeal to customers, too.

“The entire supply chain from the farmers all the way to packaging is made up of Indiana companies,” Dr. Siegler says. “I thought that was pretty interesting from a supply chain perspective, especially when you think about how we are a very global society. But this company points to their supply chain strategy as one of the key components to their success.”

Angie Bidlack, one of the four MBA students involved with the case study, says the onset of COVID-19 didn’t derail what they had started working on. It just added a new dimension.

“There are always unknowns in a case study,” she says, “but then we had this challenge of thinking through the immediate future during COVID, as well as the future post-COVID. We could compare how things changed before and after the pandemic.”

For example, when the class first toured the distillery at the beginning of the semester, the company had plans to take their brand national by partnering with some of the largest grocery retail outlets in the United States. The pandemic brought those plans to a crawl, but the class helped think through other ways the distillery could keep growing.

“Even with the pandemic, the company was doing great things,” Bidlack says. “They found a way to make challenges into opportunities and didn’t continue going with their normal business plan. They were very agile, and they immediately pivoted to something that allowed them to thrive. And that is something I think everybody can take and apply to their career in some way.”

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403  

Butler University MBA students learn about whiskey business (stock image)
Experiential Learning

“From Grain to Glass to COVID-19”: MBA Class to Publish Case Study on Whiskey Business

The Butler MBA class led by Dr. Jane Siegler partnered with a local distillery to help find solutions to new challenges 

Nov 23 2020 Read more

Bulldogs Adapt: COE Professor Offers Flexibility for Students

By Catalina Gallegos ’21


In a semester like no other, faculty members at Butler University have adapted to continue providing engaging academic experiences for their students. We checked in with Susan Adams, Professor of Education in the College of Education, to learn about how she has been putting students first this fall.

VIDEO PRODUCED BY: Catalina Gallegos ’21, Journalism major, Digital Media Production Minor

Butler University, Susan Adams COE class
Student-Centered

Bulldogs Adapt: COE Professor Offers Flexibility for Students

Susan Adams, Professor of Education, shares how she has met students' needs during a semester like no other

Steps to Success with Josh Turner ’15

By Grace Gordon ’23

On the evening of October 19, 2019, Josh Turner ’15 was preparing to step onto the stage of Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London to perform a tribute show to Paul Simon’s album Graceland. He, along with a six-piece band and a full South African Cultural Choir, would join the guestbook of major artists who had performed on the stage before, from Charlie Chaplin to David Bowie.

Waiting to hear the show was a nearly packed house and the London theatre press. The pressure was high, and in Turner’s words, “it was so scary.” Despite the nerves, Turner now identifies the show as a highlight of his career because halfway through the second set, the audience stood up and started dancing. For the rest of the night, the concert was a party.

For the Butler University graduate, that moment was the culmination of years of dedication and exciting opportunities—from performing on Good Morning America to touring with a tribute show called the Simon and Garfunkel Story. Music was always important in Turner’s life, especially on the internet. Starting in middle school, Turner had a YouTube channel dedicated to his musical journey, with a focus on singing and guitar. Since then, his channel has significantly expanded. In addition to an ongoing solo career, he is now in the musical group The Other Favorites, which may be best known for their performances on YouTube. Along with millions of video views, The Other Favorites have successfully created a virtual touring experience, which gives fans the opportunity to tune in to monthly live-streamed performances.

However, Turners’ journey to finding his way through the professional musical world was not without uncertainty. He outlines his success with three pieces of advice.

 

“Following what you are passionate about is step one to being successful.”

Like many students at Butler, Turner’s educational journey was not a straight line. Though music was always his passion—he started singing when he was 9 years old—he wasn't ready to officially pursue music as a first-year student. He worried that if he decided to study music, he might lose some of his passion for the art, so he initially chose a major in Digital Media (now called Creative Media and Entertainment). Turner also wondered if he was good enough to make a career out of music. But through taking classes outside of his major, he was always able to keep music in his life and class schedule.

Eventually, taking classes such as Music History and Aural Skills proved that Turner’s relationship to music wouldn't change just because he was graded on it.

“The more classes I took,” he says, “the more I realized that wasn't the case. Everyone is best served if I am doing something that I am really engaged in and I am motivated to work hard toward.”

With that mindset, Turner fully dove into the world of music, declaring a major in Music during his sophomore year. He graduated in 2015 to pursue a professional career in performing, writing, and producing music in nearly every genre. His music ranges from folk, to jazz, to R&B, to bluegrass-infused renditions of popular Backstreet Boys songs.

Now, living in New York, creating music every day, and performing around the world (or, during the pandemic, via livestream), Turner says he still feels the moments of self-doubt he felt in school. He still wonders if he has “made it.” But he combats these feelings by reminding himself that “comparing yourself to other people is, at the end of the day, not helpful.” He stresses how important it has been for him to learn his worth and walk the line between being confident without getting arrogant, and feeling motivated without getting down on himself.

 

Be “constantly in the process of ‘making it.’”

While enjoying every exciting opportunity, Turner says he has kept the mindset that he is “constantly in the process of making it.” He has never relied on one big break to be successful. Turner has continued to invest in himself, stay flexible in the mediums he uses to provide content to his fans, and know that he is “as prepared as he can be” for every performance. Right now, being flexible as a performer looks like providing online content through live streams.

 

“Be a good person.”

For Turner, the final step to achieving success has been to just be a good person. He says that in a competitive job market, you can really be set apart from all the other talented people by “being the person who isn't judgmental, who returns calls, and who does the little things.”

Turner has found the most satisfaction in his music by trying to create joy. He recognizes that the internet can be a platform that creates division, but he says his favorite part of his job is the feeling that he is contributing to “the part of the internet that actually brings people together.”

Turner certainly follows his words with action, and the evidence lies in the example he sets for those around him. Most recently, he demonstrated his commitment to making the world a better place by speaking at Butler’s virtual School of Music Convocation in September 2020. During the Zoom call, he talked about investing in yourself as a musician and a professional, harnessing social media to build an audience, and expanding interests outside of your major. The more time you can spend away from music, he told the students, the more you’ll love it when you come back.

 

Grace Gordon is a sophomore at Butler University, where she majors in Strategic Communication and minors in Creative Writing and Creative Media and Entertainment.

Josh Turner
Alumni Success

Steps to Success with Josh Turner ’15

The Butler graduate shares what it took for him to become a professional musician

Bulldogs Adapt: LSB Professor on Teaching During a Pandemic

By Catalina Gallegos ’21

 

In a semester like no other, faculty members at Butler University have adapted to continue providing engaging academic experiences for their students. We checked in with Stephanie Fernhaber, Professor of Entrepreneurship in the Lacy School of Business, to learn about the new approaches she’s using in the classroom this fall.

VIDEO PRODUCED BY: Catalina Gallegos ’21, Journalism major, Digital Media Production Minor

LSB
Student-Centered

Bulldogs Adapt: LSB Professor on Teaching During a Pandemic

Stephanie Fernhaber, Professor of Entrepreneurship in the Lacy School of Business, discusses the new approaches she’s using in the classroom this fall

A Chat with Dr. Fait Muedini

By Maddy Kline ’21

The newest published work to come from Butler University Director of International Studies Fait Muedini, Idolatry of the Translated Forms, is a clear departure from Muedini’s traditional written research—the 99 poems weave together to form the first book of poetry he has ever published.

“A lot of my work is research, of course—a lot of work related to human rights, LGBTI rights, child education rights—but I've always had a passion for writing poetry, as well,” Muedini says. “I just keep writing, keep writing, putting it aside, and really not thinking much of it. And there came a point when I said, ‘well, maybe I should focus on poetry as an outlet for publishing, as well.’ I'm happy I did it. I probably should have done it earlier.”

The book is deeply rooted in Sufi poetry and ideas, most of which are encapsulated by notions of beauty and love. Like his passion for poetry, Sufism has been a theme in Muedini’s life for a number of years. His ties to the subject matter of the book make it both a personal and striking read.

“The poems clarified a lot of how I view the world,” Muedini says. “And the best way to describe it, it's really this idea of non-duality, just kind of thinking about the world as a unity of everything—this manifestation of nothing, but what is understood as beauty and love—again, a very Sufi idea. All of the poems in some way center around the idea of elevating this idea of love in everyday beauty.”

But why stop at 99 poems?

Muedini explained the significance of the number in Islamic theology. Within that faith, he says, there exist 99 names or attributes of God known to the human mind.

“My idea of the book is idolatry of the translated forms, which essentially means all our conceptions of God are lacking—we can't ever understand, with language, what the ultimate power of God is,” Muedini says. “In Islam and Sufism, there's this idea that God has a 100th name, but that it's not revealed to anybody. And so, it's essentially silent. That's exactly what I was going for.”

Apart from publishing a new book, what else has Muedini been up to lately? Below, we chat with him about favorite meals, must-read books, and go-to films—spoiler: he loves slapstick comedy.

Are there any television shows or series that you're watching and enjoying right now?
To be honest, I don't get too much into series. It's not that I don't like TV, it's that once you get into a series, you feel like you have to watch all of it. And that takes a lot of time. I'll have some soccer games on in the background when I'm doing work, things like that.

In the vein of less time commitment, then: What about films? Do you have a favorite film?
I do tend to watch more films. I like a lot of introspective foreign films, or outright slapstick comedy type films—it's really that dichotomy.

Do you have a go-to for each of those categories?
There's a film in my course that a student actually recommended called Mustang about social gender issues in Turkey. It is a story about these five sisters who have various social pressures on them to marry, and then human rights abuses against women. I also thought Roma was very powerful. Films that I think really get people to reflect on topics and themes that again, bring about the human condition, I would say, are where there's a lot of interest.

Friends who've known me forever will know that Dumb and Dumber is by far the funniest I've ever seen. I've watched it countless times and I still laugh uncontrollably at so many of the parts.

What books should everyone read in their lifetime?
I just would tell people just to keep reading. The more you read, the more ideas you're exposed to. Really, it depends on the genre of what you're looking for. So, in the spirituality genre, for example, there's a book called The Upanishads. It's an ancient Hindu text—that was really one of the most influential books in my life.

For something like financial advice, there's a book called Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki, which I think everyone should read. For something about monetary policy, there's a book I really think everyone should read called The Bitcoin Standard by Saifedean Ammous. But again, it really depends on the category of literature because there's just so much in every field.

What is your favorite meal to either cook or eat?
I don't cook. I've never even tried cooking. So, there's that. Thankfully, my wife loves to cook, and so she'll learn recipes and try a variety of dishes. I am very fortunate about that. My palate is pretty American-based—fried chicken, cheeseburgers—things like this. Although, I'm realizing as I get older, I should eat much less of it.

What three historical figures would you most want to have dinner with?
The ones that just immediately come to mind for me, I would say the Sufi poet Rumi, absolutely. Albert Camus, my favorite overall writer, would come to mind. There was a poet who died not too long ago. Her name was Mary Oliver, and she was an American poet. Those would be the three who would come to mind for me, initially, that I would have that dinner with.

What do you consider to be the most interesting thing that you've done in your lifetime?
For me, what has brought by far the most joy throughout my life—and continues to—is really to be married to the person I'm married to, whom I love very much. We have two children together. And with them, just seeing the wonder in their eyes every day, to me is interesting; seeing how they're going through life, and how they are developing their characters and personalities. So just having a family is, I think, the most interesting. I mean, I could quote where I've traveled, what I've written, but to me, it just pales in comparison to having this core nucleus of my family.

Where is your favorite place to be?
It doesn't matter anymore. I think this poetry really kind of brought that out: I really have tried in the past years just to be present in any spot I'm in. Being around my family—if I take kind of a non-physical location—being around my family as much as I can, is always where I'm happiest. There's just beauty in every space, every place, if we just pay attention to it. And so, I actually don't like sometimes when people say, ‘I must go here, I must go there,’ because I think you forget the wonder of where you're at now in that present moment.

What has been your favorite part of being a professor at Butler?
That’s an easy one. Just the inquisitive minds of my students. I mean, being alert, having conversations with them, having them just ask such detailed questions—really wanting to learn about the world, wanting to learn about human rights issues, and being so committed to their education. It makes work just such a joy because students are just excellent and have been excellent since I've arrived here.

Muedini
Campus

A Chat with Dr. Fait Muedini

Butler's Director of International Studies typically works on research, but he recently explored a different passion: poetry

Muedini

A Chat with Dr. Fait Muedini

By Maddy Kline ’21

What is it Like to be an Honors Student at Butler?

By Cassandra Stec ’23

Cassandra Stec is a junior at Butler studying Computer Science and Art + Design.

When I was first applying for college, I noticed a section in the Common App that asked if I wanted to participate in the Butler University Honors Program.

Intrigued, I looked up more information and learned that the Honors Program at Butler allows you to graduate with University Honors, as well as finish college with a published thesis. In order to complete the Honors Program, you need to attend eight honors community events, complete four honors classes (including a First Year Seminar), write a thesis on a topic of your choosing, and maintain a 3.5 GPA.

After reading about the program, I immediately applied. I enjoy education, as well as being involved, so the Honors Program seemed right up my alley. A few months later, I received my Honors Program acceptance along with the news that I had been accepted to Butler.

During New Student Registration, I attended the honors luncheon, where my dad and I got to sit with current honors students and hear about classes and professors. Dr. Jason Lantzer, Assistant Director of the Honors Program, provided details about the Honors requirements, as well as the various study abroad opportunities offered through the program. Later on, right before moving into my dorm and starting my first year of college, I was also assigned an Honors mentor, whom I could go to for help or questions regarding the program, Butler, or college life in general.

Since then, I have completed almost all requirements of the Honors Program. My first year, I took an Honors First Year Seminar (FYS) called “Women Writing the World.” The class was taught by English Lecturer Dr. Natalie Carter and delved into the different experiences of women around the world through pieces of literature written by women. For me, that class instilled a sense of togetherness and community among my Honors peers. Thanks to the Honors Program, I met some of my closest friends through that class that I likely would not have met otherwise.

I also participated in a variety of Honors events, including lectures (I went to a really cool one about Abraham Lincoln.), the Nutcracker ballet, and game and pizza nights.

My second year, I took a 200-level Honors course in the fall, as well as a 300-level Honors course in the spring. The 200-level course was called “The Wonderful World of Disney,” taught by Dr. Lantzer. The course delved into who Walt Disney was, as well as the company that came from his creations. It has been one of my favorite classes so far at Butler.

The 300-level course was called “Paris: The City as Text,” taught by History Professor Dr. Paul Hanson. The course examined Paris from a variety of disciplines and approaches. As part of the course, I also did a study abroad program to Paris over spring break to see and experience what we had discussed in class. Traveling to Paris and exploring alongside my classmates really made me appreciate what I had learned in the course.

Also during my second year, I joined the Student Honors Council. This organization helps plan events (such as “We Love Honors Week”) and get-togethers for Honors students, as well as helps connect mentors and mentees for the mentorship program. I also became a mentor for several first-year Honors students, not only helping them with life at Butler and college in general, but also becoming close friends with several of them.

Now, I am beginning work on my thesis by planning the proposal and searching for a thesis advisor. While I have finished all my other Honors requirements, I plan to stay involved with the program by continuing to take more Honors courses and study abroad as my schedule allows—just because of how much I enjoy not only the content of the courses, but also the professors who teach them.

If you are a prospective student interested in the Honors Program, make sure to apply by November 1. If you are a current student, it’s not too late! You can still petition for admission to the program.

For more information about the Honors Program at Butler, visit our website.

Butler University
Admission

What is it Like to be an Honors Student at Butler?

Cassandra Stec ’23 shares her experience with the program

A Day in the Life of Blue IV

By Nicki Clark ’22

 

 

Nicki Clark is a student in Butler’s Class of 2022, majoring in Journalism and minoring in Digital Media Production.

 

Perhaps the most famous face around Butler’s campus is Blue IV. After having Trip’s collar passed down in February 2020, Blue has been hard at work to keep his predecessor’s legacy strong. Being Butler’s live mascot is a serious gig, and Blue takes his job very seriously. He spends his days interacting with students, greeting visitors, and practicing to make sure he is the best mascot he can be. His schedule varies from day to day, but I was able to spend a morning with Blue to see what it’s like to spend a day in his paws.

9:30 AM
Blue IV went to the bookstore to see students, but he also had to take care of some business. He took a photo with the winning submissions from the AT HOMEcoming Coloring Contest. He also took photos to promote a Butler graduate’s new book. He got to say hello to many students, which resulted in pets, boops on the nose, and even a few treats.

Butler Blue IV

 

10:00 AM
Blue headed over to Robertson Hall to greet prospective students who were visiting Butler for a tour. The visitors’ faces lit up at the sight of Blue trotting up to say hello. It’s hard to say no to his fist bumps and wrinkly little face!

Butler Blue IV

Butler Blue IV

 

10:30 AM
Blue put on his Butler jersey and headed to Hinkle Fieldhouse to take a picture with two students. They were even nice enough to bring Blue some treats, which he could not wait to get his paws on. Although he had to save some of the treats for later, he did get to enjoy half of a doggy cupcake on the sidewalk outside Hinkle before heading off to his next adventure of the day.

Butler Blue IV

 

11:00 AM
Blue headed inside Hinkle Fieldhouse to get some Live Mascot practice. He had to work on getting comfortable walking up the ramps and up the stairs. He worked on his entrance run for basketball games—executing it perfectly. He made sure to drink lots of water to keep hydrated during his practice. He even got to sit at the very top of Hinkle and look down at all the empty seats that will someday be filled to cheer on the Dawgs.

Butler Blue IV

Butler Blue IV

 

12:00 PM
After a successful practice, Blue wanted to film a TikTok. He started off at Hinkle Fieldhouse and ventured all around campus to showcase the beautiful fall weather. Of course, he had to stop for some pictures with students along the way, but he always loves meeting all the Butler students and fans.

Butler Blue IV

Butler Blue IV

 

1:00 PM
After a long morning of strutting around campus, Blue was ready to head home for a well-deserved nap. While he can’t wait to get back to running out of the tunnel with the basketball team, he’s very much enjoying his walks around campus and other activities until sports start back up again. To keep up with Blue IV, you can follow him on his social media accounts: InstagramTwitterTikTok, and Facebook.

Butler Blue IV

 

Butler Blue IV
Campus

A Day in the Life of Blue IV

Butler's live bulldog mascot spends his days interacting with students, greeting visitors, and practicing to make sure he is the best mascot he can be

Butler Blue IV

A Day in the Life of Blue IV

By Nicki Clark ’22

Scholarship Helps Indy Native Study Pharmacy at Butler

By Meredith Sauter

Indianapolis native Andrés Huerta remembers his first visit to Butler. It was Homecoming weekend and he was with Sam, his mentor with Starfish Initiative—a local nonprofit that works with promising students to help overcome the barriers of poverty and to understand that college is an option. He vividly remembers walking around campus and eating dinner at Atherton Union, all the while visualizing himself as a student.

“I could see myself here,” Huerta says. “I knew deep down that this was the right place for me.”

So, with the help of his high school guidance counselor, he applied to Butler. And only to Butler.

Huerta was accepted into the highly-competitive Pre-Pharmacy Program, which he knew would be a great academic fit. However, the reality of funding his education was a challenge. “Looking back, I was very ignorant of the fact that college was expensive,” Huerta says. “I just knew I wanted to go to Butler, so I applied, but I didn’t really understand how I was meant to pay for it.”

Thankfully, Huerta, a 21st Century Scholar and first-generation college student, applied for—and received—the Butler Tuition Guarantee, a full-tuition scholarship available to Marion County students who exhibit a strong academic background, but also a large financial need. Huerta admits, “If I didn’t receive this scholarship, not only would I have not gone to Butler, but I probably wouldn’t have gone to college at all.”

Starting as a first-year student in 2017, Huerta said he was very timid and kept mostly to himself. But, over time, he became more comfortable interacting with students and professors, thanks largely to his involvement with the Efroymson Diversity Center (The DC). The DC helped him find his home away from home, allowed him to become more intertwined with campus, and served as the catalyst to many leadership opportunities, including his current role as the treasurer with Latinos Unidos.

Huerta is in the midst of his first (of four) years as a professional student in the Doctor of Pharmacy Program, and is still exploring the many avenues of pharmacy. Regardless of what he chooses, though, he knows that his Butler education will help get him there.

“At Butler, I’ve found that if you put in the work, things typically work out,” Huerta says. “Butler has pushed me to grow and I’ve succeeded far beyond what I thought I was capable of.”

Andrés Huerta
Student-Centered

Scholarship Helps Indy Native Study Pharmacy at Butler

Thanks to the Butler Tuition Guarantee, a full-tuition scholarship available to Marion County students, Andrés Huerta is a Bulldog

Butler Tuition Guarantee Scholarship Turns Dreams into Reality

By Meredith Sauter

Music Education student Nicole Whitman knew exactly what she was looking for in a university during her college search. “I wanted empathy,” she says. “I wanted someone to know and care about my feelings as a student. I didn’t want to be another number. I like that close connection with professors.”

That desire for empathy and connection was what initially interested her and ultimately brought her to Butler. That, and her high school choir director encouraged her to apply, thinking it would also be a great fit.

After visiting campus and taking a lesson with Jordan College of the Arts faculty member Dr. Gail Lewis, Whitman made the connections she desired, and knew that Butler was the place for her. But, as a first-generation college student and 21st Century Scholar, she knew that it would be financially difficult to make attending Butler a reality.  

Enter Butler Blue Scholars’ Day and the Butler Tuition Guarantee. Each year, the University invites hundreds of prospective, admitted students to interview for a variety of scholarships during a one-day event known as Blue Scholars’ Day.

Whitman was one of those invited to interview for one of the 10 available Butler Tuition Guarantee scholarships, which provides a student full tuition each academic year when combined with all federal, state, and University scholarships and grants. To be eligible, students must attend a Marion County high school, have a solid academic record, participate in extracurricular activities and community service projects, and have a great financial need.

Happily, Whitman received the award and could make her dream of attending Butler a reality.

Whitman’s days now involve classes in Music Education, playing the mellophone, practicing for basketball band, and living in Residential College. She’s excited to eventually complete her student teaching, and thinks she may add a Spanish minor sometime in the future. When asked what she thinks she wants to do once she graduates, though, there’s no hesitation.

“I want to be a high school band director for a huge marching band. I want to have a successful program that builds up the kids as both musicians and as people. And I know, without a doubt, Butler will get me there,” she says. “I will be a force.”

Nicole Whitman
Student-Centered

Butler Tuition Guarantee Scholarship Turns Dreams into Reality

Receiving the award allowed Music Education student Nicole Whitman to work toward her goal of becoming a band director

Butler University
Campus

Butler University Launches a Hub for Black Affairs and Community Engagement

BY

PUBLISHED ON Oct 15 2020

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (October 15, 2020)—In keeping with its founding values and ongoing efforts to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), Butler University is establishing a Hub for Black Affairs and Community Engagement in partnership with Professor of Political Science Dr. Terri Jett as Faculty Director.

This is one of many DEI initiatives, and one in which the University is allocating notable financial resources, that are being implemented as part of Butler's broader commitment to create an intentionally diverse, equitable, and inclusive learning and working environment. Such actions, which include commencing the search to add two positions in the Efroymson Diversity Center and establishing a DEI Innovation Fund, will provide additional meaningful resources to our campus community.

Consisting of the components outlined below, the Hub will serve as an institutional command center to address systemic racism and Black oppression, with its work beginning this academic year.

  • An Advisory Group will be established, consisting of faculty members, staff, students, and representatives of the Black Alumni Association and local community to help determine the priorities of the Hub and be responsive to the administration in efforts to address the experiences of Black Butler faculty, staff, and students. This group will also establish ongoing communication and collaboration with, advocacy for, and institutional support of our Black Student Union and other Black students who are not a part of this student organization.
  • Black Faculty and Staff Affinity groups will be established to support Black faculty and staff to increase retention and professional development of Black faculty and staff. This includes mentorship across ranks and disciplines, resources to support professional development, and wellness support.
  • Black Student Support -  Ongoing communication and advocacy for support of the Black Student Union and other Black students who are not directly associated with the BSU will be provided. This will be coordinated through both the Black Faculty and Staff Affinity groups, as well as the Black Alumni Association.
  • Visiting Black Intellectuals will be invited to be in-residence to conduct workshops, trainings, and seminars. This will present a significant opportunity for Black students, and others, to learn from and interact with important role models.
  • Faculty Collaborative Fellows will be experts in the fields of diversity, social justice, and institutional racism. Collaborative Fellows will conduct presentations of their research in relation to social justice and diversity, as well as be available to connect with and mentor students.
  • As a longer-term goal, a Hub Location will be identified on campus as a designated space for ongoing activities such as workshops, discussions with Visiting Black Intellectuals, trainings, and wellness activities.

As Faculty Director, Dr. Jett will be focusing on the lives and experiences of the Black community at Butler and creating opportunities for engagement with the greater Black Indianapolis community. She will also serve as Senior Advisor to the President in this capacity.

Statement from Butler President James M. Danko
“Our renewed commitment to our founder's mission has taken on an even greater sense of urgency this year to ensure all students, faculty, and staff are welcome, respected, and flourishing. Butler University has a moral and historic imperative to be a leader in addressing issues of racism and social injustices in higher education.

“I am extremely pleased that Dr. Terri Jett agreed to lead our Hub for Black Affairs and Community Engagement, which is an important step in our endeavors. Terri’s passion for Butler and wealth of experience involving diversity, equity, and inclusivity will serve as a great benefit to our institution. I look forward to her continued leadership and contributions as our University embarks on a momentous time in our history.”

Statement from Dr. Terri Jett
“In my new role as Faculty Director of the Butler University Hub for Black Affairs and Community Engagement and Senior Advisor to the President, I will coordinate and address the belonging and connection of our Black faculty, staff, students, and alumni in a manner that moves us to bring Ovid Butler’s prophetic vision into present day. The Hub is anchored in the abolitionist roots of Butler University and will elevate and center the disparate Black intellectual voice and experience that has often been marginalized and yet is critical for the institution to be at the forefront of our heightened awareness and shifting responsibilities considering what we are experiencing and witnessing.”

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

Butler University
Campus

Butler University Launches a Hub for Black Affairs and Community Engagement

With leadership from Dr. Terri Jett as Faculty Director, the Hub will serve as an institutional command center to address systemic racism and Black oppression

Oct 15 2020 Read more
istock
Experiential Learning

The Future of Drug Discovery: Pharmacy Students Learn to Code

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Oct 14 2020

The discovery and development of new drugs is usually a long, expensive process, but recent advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence are starting to change that. By partnering with the Accelerating Therapeutics for Opportunities in Medicine (ATOM) consortium to create a new training experience, Butler University is preparing Pharmacy students for the future of drug discovery.

This past summer, five students in Butler’s Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program participated in remote internships with ATOM—a global consortium with the goal of blending healthcare and computer science to create a faster drug discovery process. Starting with a coding boot camp led by Butler Assistant Professor Caleb Class, then working on individual research projects alongside ATOM mentors, students learned to integrate data science with their existing pharmacy expertise.

The interns worked to analyze, build, and curate data sets that can be used to advance ATOM’s open-source drug discovery platform. While most of them had little experience with machine learning prior to the program, they are excited to apply what they’ve learned to their pharmacy careers.

 

Paige Cowden (P2)
Project: “Data Curation for a Mitochondrial Membrane Potential Model”

Why did you pursue pharmacy?
I wanted to work in a hospital, but I didn’t want to be a doctor or a nurse, so I thought pharmacy might be cool. Also, addiction to prescription medications has affected people close to me, so I wanted to learn about drugs and be able to counsel people properly to prevent this from affecting others

What fascinates you most about the relationship between pharmacy and data science?
While learning to code was pretty difficult and frustrating at times, my knowledge of biology and science made it easier to compare the data I was working with. I could see how valuable my prior knowledge was to understanding the data, even though I was brand new to coding. It made me excited because I could see how machine learning could be used in my future career.

What have you learned from this internship opportunity?
Even if you’re bad at something, do it anyway. I wouldn’t say I became the most proficient at coding and analyzing data, but I definitely improved a lot. I think it’s frustrating trying something new for the first time, but keeping an open mind and not being so hard on yourself when you fail is key to becoming successful at something.

 

Chris Zeheralis (P3)
Project: “Open Cancer and Infectious Disease Datasets”

Why did you pursue pharmacy?
Pharmacy never really came across my radar until late in high school. I became a huge chemistry lover and enjoyed the idea of applying chemical concepts in a usable, practical setting, and in a way that could have a direct impact on people's lives. I've always aimed to use my passions and skills to improve the world around me, and pharmacy just seemed like it could give me the platform to bring the change I've always desired.  

What appealed to you about the ATOM internship?
I have always been fascinated with the power of computing, and I understand the inevitability of skills like programming and machine learning being incorporated into the healthcare field. I had attempted to teach myself how to code to no real avail. The ATOM internship allowed me the opportunity to learn coding in a more structured manner, connecting me with experts and professionals in multiple fields. I could also immediately apply what I was learning to something that had the potential to carry real weight outside of mere practice.

What did you learn from this experience?
Machine learning truly is the future of drug discovery. The sheer speed of methods like the ATOM Modeling PipeLine (AMPL) in discovering potential leads for molecule design, compared to the traditional methods, is astounding. This whole experience made me wish I had learned programming and coding at an earlier age.

 

Laura Fischer (P2)
Project: “Open Data and Model Fitting with AMPL”

What appealed to you about the ATOM internship?
I applied to the ATOM internship because I wanted to gain a better understanding of machine learning and how it can be used to impact healthcare. I had learned a little bit about it in my Biotechnology class, but I thought the hands-on approach would help me get a deeper understanding. I thought this would be a cool way to improve my computer skills while experiencing a research-based, nontraditional career path for pharmacists. I also was interested in ATOM's goal of speeding up the timeline of drug development, and I wanted to see how they used Machine Learning technology to work toward that goal.

Tell us about the experience.
My internship primarily consisted of writing and modifying Python code to work with public datasets and build machine learning models through the ATOM Modeling PipeLine (AMPL). I was working with four gene targets, training models to predict PIC50 values for them. The most accurate models can now be used to predict activities of new, unresearched compounds.

What fascinates you most about the relationship between pharmacy and machine learning?
I was really fascinated to see the actual impact that machine learning can have on pharmacy, and healthcare in general. I never thought I'd have a hands-on experience working directly with data science, so it was really cool to see how this makes an impact on the drug development process.

 

Logan Van Ravenswaay (P2)
Project: “Visualize Data: A Python Function to Generate Interactive Plots and Accelerate Exploratory Data Analysis”

Why did you choose to pursue pharmacy?
I always knew I wanted to pursue a career in healthcare, but I struggled with choosing a path. I loved my chemistry and biology courses in high school, so I thought pharmacy would be the perfect blend of the two.

Why did you decide to apply for the ATOM internship?
I applied for the ATOM internship because it would involve blending a computer science-based approach with drug discovery. I wanted to learn more about the drug discovery process and how we can improve it. However, both subjects were very much outside of my wheelhouse. I was excited by the challenge, as well as how I would be able to take what I learned with ATOM and use it to launch a potential career in drug discovery.

What fascinates you most about the relationship between pharmacy and data science?
I came into this internship with very little knowledge on computer science and how it might impact the future of drug discovery. However, I cannot be more excited about this relationship between machine learning and pharmacy. My time with ATOM has shown that data science is an integral piece of drug discovery. The sheer amount of potential therapeutic compounds far exceeds our ability to select drug candidates by hand. ATOM's modeling tool and others like it can accelerate this discovery process, as well as be adapted to choose the best drug for a particular patient.

 

Connor Miller (P3)
Project: “Working with Open Data Sources: PK-DB, Lombardo Dataset, and AstraZeneca”

Why did you pursue pharmacy?
I enjoy the blending of math and science that can be found in pharmacy. Pharmacy also offers an opportunity to provide health services and benefit patients without being as “hands-on” as other providers, such as physicians or physician assistants. I find it amazing that drugs are just these small molecules that can have substantial and even life-saving effects on the body and its chemistry.

Tell us about your experience with the ATOM internship.
The overarching goal for my project was to help advance ATOM’s work with open source data, which can be more widely shared with the public compared to proprietary datasets. Typically, a larger dataset will result in machine learning models with better accuracy or more predictive power, so finding open source datasets is important in the effort to build these models.

What fascinates you most about the relationship between pharmacy and data science?
I think the relationship between pharmacy and data science will become increasingly important in the future, particularly in the area of drug development. Through machine learning models, companies in the pharmaceutical industry will be able to much more quickly identify compounds that may be effective at a certain target, or screen out compounds that are likely to have toxic effects. What excites me the most about this is that new treatments may be found and developed at a faster rate, thanks to these advances in data science and machine learning.

What have you learned from this experience?
Starting from knowing very little about coding or research, I have been able to learn a lot through this experience in terms of technical skills. I was also able to gain experience working with a virtual team. Despite the fact that we were all working from home, we were able to still have good communication. I am so glad that I was able to take part in this opportunity, and I found it to be an incredibly enriching experience in my pharmacy education.

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

istock
Experiential Learning

The Future of Drug Discovery: Pharmacy Students Learn to Code

Over the summer, five Butler PharmD students completed remote, data-focused internships with the ATOM consortium

Oct 14 2020 Read more

Bulldogs Adapt: How CCOM Faculty are Supporting Students this Fall

By Catalina Gallegos ’21

  

 

In a semester like no other, faculty members at Butler University have adapted to continue providing engaging academic experiences for their students. We checked in with Lecturer Scott Bridge and Assistant Professor Lindsay Ems from the College of Communication (CCOM) to see how their teaching has shifted this year.

VIDEO PRODUCED BY: Catalina Gallegos ’21, Journalism major, Digital Media Production Minor

CCOM faculty adapt
Student-Centered

Bulldogs Adapt: How CCOM Faculty are Supporting Students this Fall

In a semester like no other, faculty members at Butler have continued providing engaging academic experiences

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