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Albert at the Bat

BY Brock Benefiel ’10

PUBLISHED ON Nov 14 2018

Jeff Albert didn’t want to get into his car. It was winter break 2001 and Albert was staring down an almost nine-hour road trip from his hometown in Rochester, New York, to Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana—a school he had already decided not to attend.

Weeks before, Albert had cold-called Steve Farley, then Butler’s head baseball coach, to request the visit. So he made the drive, despite blizzard-like conditions.

At that point, Albert was a junior. He’d already attended Johns Hopkins University and the Rochester Institute of Technology, enjoying academic life and playing Division III baseball. But before finishing his playing days, he wanted a crack at playing Division I while still attending a school with a great academic reputation.

Butler offered that opportunity. But, so did the University at Buffalo, which was only an hour’s drive from Albert’s home in Rochester, and was about to restart its D-1 baseball program with several of his former high school teammates and opponents. At Butler, Albert knew no one.

After meeting with players and coaches, experiencing the small campus environment he craved, and catching a basketball game at Hinkle Fieldhouse, Albert’s plan was flipped on its head. He was convinced Butler was the place to spend his remaining college years.

He enrolled the following semester without an athletic scholarship or a promise from Coach Farley that he’d ever play an inning for the Bulldogs. And because he had already transferred twice, Albert had to sit out the entire 2001 season and wait a year before he’d get his chance to take the field. The odds were against him, but he knew the campus felt right that day, so he took the chance.

“I basically walked in there and no one knew anything about me,” Albert said. “I wasn’t even the backup going into the 2002 season. I put myself in a position where I knew I was going to be behind a bit. But that was the point.”

He wasted no time making strides to improve as a player and also felt increasingly more comfortable on campus.

“If you live on campus, you really assimilate into Butler life,” Albert said. “Being away from home, that made it feel better for me socially.”

By the end of his Butler career in 2003, Albert went from a roster afterthought to an All-Horizon League infielder. During his two-year career, he batted a respectable .284, hit 10 career home runs, seized the starting third baseman role, lead the team in runs batted in one season, and helped the Bulldogs set a school-record with 34 wins in each of his two seasons. 

And this was all years before he embarked on the fast-tracked professional career that led him to being named the head hitting coach of the St. Louis Cardinals in October.

*

No one who watched Albert beat the odds at Butler is surprised that he’s continued to trek an unlikely path to success all the way to the dugouts of Major League Baseball. Paul Beck, a fellow infielder and 2003 Butler graduate, remembers Albert as a soft-spoken, hard-working teammate who immediately fit in despite being one of the few players who came from outside the Midwest.

“He was the definition of a grinder,” Beck said. “Always in the weight room. Always looking to improve himself.”

Beck also remembers Albert as an unofficial hitting coach for several players. Before he arrived at the highest levels—earning praise from future Hall-of-Famers and World Series champions—Albert was helping his college teammates and developing his own swing. He often took an approach that was unconventional for college baseball in 2002, like setting up a camcorder to film batters’ swings.

“He was very ahead of time in video analysis,” Beck said. “He always had a video camera at practice.”

Farley chuckles when he thinks back to the technology his players used in the early 2000s. Before smartphones made video recording almost ubiquitous, Albert was forced to lug around a large camcorder to document batting practice. One time, Farley said, he brought in a computer expert who had figured out how to capture slow-motion video from high-profile MLB players. Once this new tool was shared with the team, Albert spent hours breaking down the swings of major league players like Alex Rodriguez and Carlos Delgado and comparing their approaches with frame-by-frame breakdowns of the swings of his own Butler teammates.

“He was diligently recording swings and constantly analyzing them,” Beck said.

Away from the team, Albert put in even more work on himself. In the mornings before class during his first winter at Butler, he’d scrape the ice off his car windows and make the 20-minute drive north to Carmel, to his cousin’s house, where he could take extra swings in the garage to help increase his bat speed. In the weight room on campus, Albert developed the power that led to his double-digit career home run total. Farley estimates Albert put on about 15 to 20 pounds of muscle over the course of his college career to fill out what had been a scrawny, 5-foot-10 frame.

If Farley has any criticism of Albert, it’s that his former player was almost too focused on tweaking his swing, that his aim to improve often bordered on obsession. Farley said he sometimes worried Albert might fall victim to “paralysis by analysis” by picking over every minor detail of his hitting approach and overthinking the split-second decision to swing.

However serious he might have been in the batter’s box, Albert said he looks back on his Butler years as a remarkably fun time. Both on the field and off it, Farley said his former player fell in with a core group of guys in his class who worked hard in school, put together record-setting win totals on the field and, most importantly, graduated college.

Albert said his fondest memory at Butler was spending countless hours in the collection of dorm rooms on the second floor of the Residential College (ResCo) that was occupied entirely by baseball players such as Beck, and two-time MLB All-Star pitcher Pat Neshek.

“We had our share of fun,” Beck said. “And we always rolled like 30-deep everywhere.”

*

Albert’s time at Butler convinced him that he wanted a career in professional baseball. After a brief stint playing with the Washington Wild Thing of the independent Frontier League, he prepared himself to switch to coaching. He went back to school and earned his Master of Science in Kinesiology at Louisiana Tech University, doubling up his course load so he’d finish in time to be able to join an MLB organization by spring training in 2008.

He did.

The St. Louis Cardinals offered him a role as a hitting coach for their minor league affiliate, the Batavia Muckdogs. Albert moved on from the Cardinals to join the Houston Astros organization in 2012. With the Astros, as a minor league hitting coach, he helped coach another core group of talented young players—just like he did with his teammates at Butler—on their way up the minor leagues to eventually win the organization’s first World Series in 2017.

As a result of his minor league success, this past season Albert was promoted to join the major league club as the Astros’ assistant hitting coach. And when the head hitting coach role opened up this offseason with the St. Louis Cardinals, John Mozeliak, president of baseball operations, offered his former employee the job.

“No one is shocked that he’s advanced as far as he has,” Beck said. “But it’s still so cool to see him in the dugout now.”

Though the technology he uses now has dramatically advanced from his college years, Albert still looks for tools that provide an edge for his hitters. He also learned to speak Spanish so he could better communicate his instructions to even more players. Albert combines his background in kinesiology, strength training, and advanced measurement to provide a unique approach to the old art of swinging a wooden baseball bat.

When asked what makes him a “good” hitting coach, Albert said he doesn’t assess himself in those terms.

“I don’t think I’m good or bad or anything,” Albert said. “I just stay focused on making progress. If I‘m making progress myself, that gives me more tools to help the people I’m around.”

AthleticsPeople

Albert at the Bat

Albert was just called up to the majors as Head Hitting Coach for the St Louis Cardinals.

Nov 14 2018 Read more
AcademicsPeople

Grand Finales

BY Marc Allan

PUBLISHED ON Nov 14 2018

It's been more than 11 years since the landmark TV series The Sopranos cut abruptly to black, but people still talk about the final episode and its significance in television history.

Butler University Professor of Communication Gary Edgerton certainly does. In fact, he's written about that episode, "Made in America," in the new book Television Finales: From Howdy Doody to Girls. The book features more than 70 essays by television scholars and critics.

Edgerton, who wrote a 2013 book about the series called The Sopranos, says the final episode in the saga of New Jersey mobster Tony Soprano and his family was "much like the series itself: unconventional, audacious, often incisive, occasionally enigmatic."

"In the final analysis," he writes, "(series creator) David Chase refused to let either Tony Soprano or the audience off the hook. He defied generic convention by delivering an open-ended conclusion that closed with a whimper not a bang, dooming Tony to nervously live out whatever time he has left looking over his shoulder for either the FBI (which is closing in on him fast) or one of the many underworld enemies he has made over the years. Right up to the last shot, Chase preserved the rigorous fidelity of the fictional world he had created."

In an interview, Edgerton talked about The Sopranos and its memorable conclusion.

Q: The final episode of The Sopranos is probably the most controversial of all finales because of its lack of closure. What do you think?

A: If you take the series as a whole, there's actually lots of closure. It's just that the closure people are conditioned for—what happens to the gangster going out in a blaze of glory—was upended. David Chase was very influenced by European films, art films from the '60s and into the '70s, and it was a very Truffaut kind of move at the end.

There were all kinds of trigger shots in that last scene, like something was going to happen. The 180-degree rule, where you have continuity editing, you don't break that. You keep the audience comfortable. And he jumped the line multiple times.

If you remember Meadow trying to parallel park in that final scene, it just builds tension. And if you know the guy in the Members Only jacket is like Michael Corleone going to the bathroom (to get a gun in The Godfather), there's lots of triggers. Then all of a sudden, it's smash cut to black—like something Fellini would do or some of Chase's favorite inspirations.

Q: I assume that to write this essay, you watched the finale of The Sopranos again. Did it stand up?

A: I think the whole series still stands up. In my class Television Authorship: The Showrunner I showed it to the students. I showed them four episodes of The Sopranos to show them how television has changed since then. Students this age really don't know The Sopranos.

Q: When you watched the finale for the first time and the screen went black, what was your reaction?

A: As the episode unfolded, I thought—and this was in the recesses of my mind—God, I hope he doesn't get killed. There was nothing redeeming about Tony in the second half of the last season, but I thought about how invested we become in this narrative and in these characters. And when it did end, I had a sense of relief. I'm much more invested in character than I am in plot. The fact that it ended the way it did, I wasn't disappointed. I wasn't looking for a Sonny Corleone ending where he would get machine-gunned down.

Q: What is it about characters like Tony Soprano that fascinate us?

A: It's the gangster narrative. But it's not that it's Italians—or Irish or Jewish or African-Americans or Chinese. It's that it's outside the WASP establishment. For some of those cohorts, the American dream was just as compelling, but their only path to realizing the American Dream was outside the law.

Q: Where does The Sopranos rank among the best shows of all time?

A: There's so much good television. I would say the Mount Rushmore of television is The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, The Wire, and Mad Men. Those shows set a template that freed up television in a way that had never been done before.

AcademicsPeople

Grand Finales

Edgerton talks The Sopranos in the new book Television Finales: From Howdy Doody to Girls.

Nov 14 2018 Read more
Arts & Culture

Butler Theatre Presents The Wolves

BY Marc Allan

PUBLISHED ON Nov 14 2018

Butler Theatre will present the Indianapolis premiere of Sarah DeLappe’s The Wolves, a comic drama that follows the hilarity and heartbreak of a high school women’s soccer team, November 28 through December 2 in the Lilly Hall Studio Theatre.

Show times are:
November 28, 29, and 30 at 7:00 PM
December 1 at 1:00 PM and 7:00 PM
December 2 at 3:00 PM

Tickets are $5-$15. They are available at ButlerArtsCenter.org.

The Wolves, a Pulitzer Prize finalist that's set on an indoor soccer field during a team’s weekly warmup drills, marks the Butler Theatre directorial debut of Assistant Professor of Theatre Courtney Elkin Mohler. She joined the Department of Theatre faculty in fall 2017.

Mohler said she chose the play, which is the fifth-most-produced play in the country during the 2018-2019 season, in large part because she wanted the student-actors to have an opportunity to portray characters who are similar to themselves.

"It’s not all that often that you get to see girls—not young women, but girls—represented in drama that aren’t in relationship to a male character," she said. "They’re not serving as a prize to be won or a distraction or the moral, emotional core of the play. It’s these women who are coming into their own. They’re athletes and they’re serious about their sport and they’re interested in getting recruited by scouts and they have all the crass and funny and inappropriate dialogue that young women, unobserved by their parents or coaches, would."

Mohler said audiences will experience being a fly on the wall of this team as it goes through its practices. The floor of the Lilly Hall Studio Theatre will be covered in Astroturf and the girls will be kicking around soccer balls as they talk.

She said that while the play is about soccer, friendship, and teamwork, it's much deeper than that.

"It's also about fighting hard for what you want, even when you're not given the same resources as—in this case—boys' teams are, or the same type of attention by scouts," she said. "I think it's kind of a metaphor for the women's fight in general in this moment."

The Wolves is the kind of play Mohler has worked on and championed since she was an undergraduate at UCLA. As a junior there, she was "bitten by the academic-theatre bug" and knew she wanted "the captive audience of a classroom."

At 21, she went directly into the doctoral program at UCLA. Her first tenure-track job was at Santa Clara University, a private school in Silicon Valley that’s just a little bigger than Butler.

Three years ago, when her husband, George, a data scientist and Indianapolis native, got hired at IUPUI, the Mohlers relocated to Indianapolis with their children. Courtney spent a year at IUPUI in a position that included teaching American Studies and serving as Director of the Intercultural Literacy, Capacity, and Engagement Department. (Her lineage is Santa Barbara Chumash—Native American people who historically inhabited the central and southern coastal regions of California—and her teaching specialties are in the areas of Critical Race Theory, Native American Studies, and Theatre History.)

Now, in her second year at Butler, she looks forward to presenting The Wolves and other contemporary plays.

"New plays, contemporary plays, ensemble shows are sort of my thing," she said. "So it’s fun to get to do that with these students."

Arts & Culture

Butler Theatre Presents The Wolves

Butler Theatre will present the Indianapolis premiere of Sarah DeLappe’s The Wolves.

Nov 14 2018 Read more
Arts & Culture

Announcing Spring 2019 Visiting Writers Series

BY Marc Allan

PUBLISHED ON Nov 14 2018

Call Me By Your Name author André Aciman, doctor/poet/professor C. Dale Young, and bestselling novelist Lauren Groff are among the headliners for Butler University's spring 2019 Vivian S. Delbrook Visiting Writers Series.

The spring series begins January 22 with poet Gregory Orr. He will be followed by Groff (January 31), poet and playwright Claudia Rankine (February 19), Young (March 20), essayist Eula Biss (April 4), and Aciman (April 16).

All events are free and open to the public without tickets. For more information, visit  https://www.butler.edu/vws.

More about each author follows.

 

Gregory Orr
American Academy of Arts & Letters Award in Literature Winner/Los Angeles Times Poetry Prize Finalist
Tuesday, January 22, 7:30 PM
Schrott Center for the Arts

Considered by many to be a master of short, lyric free verse, Gregory Orr is the author of eleven collections of poetry. His most recent volumes include The River Inside the River (2013), How Beautiful The Beloved (2009), and Concerning the Book That Is the Body of the Beloved (2005).

Much of Orr’s early work is concerned with seminal events from his childhood, including a hunting accident when he was 12 in which he accidentally shot and killed his younger brother, followed shortly by his mother’s unexpected death, and his father’s later addiction to amphetamines. In the opening of his essay “The Making of Poems,” broadcast on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, Orr said, “I believe in poetry as a way of surviving the emotional chaos, spiritual confusions, and traumatic events that come with being alive.”

 

Lauren Groff
New York Times Best-Selling Author
Thursday, January 31, 7:30 PM
Schrott Center for the Arts

Lauren Groff is a New York Times bestselling author of three novels: The Monsters of Templeton (2008), Arcadia (2011), and Fates and Furies (2015), which was a finalist for the National Book Award, Amazon’s No. 1 Best Book of the Year, and President Obama’s choice as his favorite book of 2015.

Groff also wrote the celebrated short-story collection Delicate Edible Birds (2009), and her latest book, Florida (2018), is a collection of interwoven short stories centered on her adopted home state. Groff’s work has appeared in a number of magazines, including The New Yorker, Harper’s, and The Atlantic, and in several of the annual The Best American Short Stories anthologies.

 

Claudia Rankine
National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry/Los Angeles Times Book Award for Poetry
Tuesday, February 19, 7:30 PM
Schrott Center for the Arts

Recipient of a 2016 MacArthur Fellowship, Claudia Rankine is the author of five collections of poetry, including Citizen: An American Lyric (2014) and Don’t Let Me Be Lonely (2004), and several plays, including her first published one, The White Card, forthcoming from Graywolf Press in 2019. 

She is the editor of several anthologies, including The Racial Imaginary: Writers on Race in the Life of the Mind (2015). She also co-produces a video series, The Situation, alongside John Lucas, and is the founder of the Open Letter Project: Race and the Creative Imagination.

Rankine’s bestselling book Citizen: An American Lyric uses poetry, essay, cultural criticism, and visual images to explore what it means to be an American citizen in an ostensibly “post-racial” society. A defining text for our time, Citizen was the winner of the 2015 Forward Prize for Best Collection, the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry (it was also a finalist in the criticism category, making it the first book in the award’s history to be a double nominee), the NAACP Image Award, the PEN Open Book Award, and the Los Angeles Times Book Award for poetry.

 

C. Dale Young
Award-winning Poet and Writer
Wednesday, March 20, 7:30 PM
Atherton Union, Reilly Room

C. Dale Young is an award-winning poet and writer who practices medicine full-time and teaches in the Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers. He is the author of four poetry collections, including, most recently, Torn (2011) and The Halo (2016), and a novel in stories, The Affliction (2018).

He is a recipient of fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the National Endowment for the Arts, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation. Young is the 2017 recipient of the Hanes Award, given by the Fellowship of Southern Writers to recognize a distinguished body of work by a poet in midcareer.

 

Eula Biss
National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction Finalist/National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism Winner
Thursday, April 4, 7:30 PM
Atherton Union, Reilly Room

Eula Biss is the author of three books: On Immunity: An Inoculation (2014), named a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for nonfiction and chosen by Mark Zuckerberg for Facebook’s Year of Books; Notes from No Man’s Land: American Essays (2009), winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism; and a collection of poetry, The Balloonists (2002).

A frank and fascinating exploration of race and racial identity, Notes from No Man’s Land was described by Salon as “the most accomplished book of essays anyone has written or published so far in the 21st century. It provokes, troubles, charms, challenges, and occasionally hectors the reader, and it raises more questions than it answers. It is strident and brave in its unwillingness to offer comfort, and, unlike all but a handful of the best books I have ever read, it is unimpeachably great.”

 

André Aciman
Lambda Literary Award Winner for “Call Me by Your Name”/Whiting Award Winner
Tuesday, April 16, 7:30 PM
Atherton Union, Reilly Room

André Aciman is the author of the novels Harvard Square (2013), Eight White Nights (2010), and Call Me by Your Name (2007), the memoir Out of Egypt (1994), and the essay collections Alibis: Essays on Elsewhere (2011) and False Papers: Essays on Exile and Memory (2000). He also coauthored and edited Letters of Transit (1999) and The Proust Project (2004).

His work has appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker, the New York Review of Books, the New Republic, Granta Magazine, and the Paris Review, as well as in several volumes of The Best American Essays. He has won a Whiting Writers’ Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a fellowship from the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers.

Arts & Culture

Announcing Spring 2019 Visiting Writers Series

Author André Aciman and bestselling novelist Lauren Groff are among the headliners for the Visiting Writers Series.

Nov 14 2018 Read more
Arts & Culture

Butler Ballet presents Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker

BY Marc Allan

PUBLISHED ON Nov 14 2018

Butler Ballet and the Butler Ballet Orchestra bring The Nutcracker to the Clowes Memorial Hall stage November 29 through December 2 for six performances of Central Indiana's only fully staged production of Tchaikovsky's holiday favorite.

Show times are:
Thursday, November 29, at 7:30 PM
Friday, November 30, at 8:00 PM
Saturday, December 1, at 2:00 PM and 8:00 PM
Sunday, December 2, at noon and 5:00 PM

Tickets are $28-$58. They are available at the Clowes Hall box office or through ButlerArtsCenter.org.

For the first time in several years, a Butler student—20-year-old Amber Wickey, a junior from Tenafly, New Jersey—will dance the role of Clara, the girl at the center of the story. Typically, a young dancer from the Indianapolis community plays the role. But Dance Department Chair Larry Attaway said that in this year's auditions, Wickey stood out.

"It's really a difficult dancing role, and you need to have that wonderful childlike quality and all of your technique chops to handle it," he said.

Wickey, who is 5 feet tall and therefore able to pass for someone Clara's age, said she was ecstatic to get the opportunity. Wickey performed in her first Nutcracker when she was in fourth grade and, as a sophomore in high school, danced as Clara in a production at the Nunnbetter Dance Theatre in Bergenfield, New Jersey.

Wickey said other dancers have more technically advanced parts, but Clara is an extremely demanding role, as she has to dance in the Party Scene, the Battle Scene, and the beginning of the Snow Scene, and she has to be onstage for much of the second act.

"The most difficult part is maintaining a character for the duration of the entire show," Wickey said. "You have to act—probably more than any of the other people in the production. And then you have all that dancing in the first act, and then you have to act throughout the second act. So, in terms of stamina, it's really challenging."

Also challenging, she said, is maintaining the mindset and innocence of a 12-year-old.

"She's the one who gets the nutcracker as a gift, she's the one who Drosselmeyer adores, she follows all the rules, everybody loves her. So, to be that innocent child is a hard part of the role," she said.

This year's Nutcracker will include 38 young dancers from the community. In addition, there will be new choreography from Professors Derek Reid, Cynthia Pratt, Michelle Jarvis, Marek Cholewa, Rosanna Ruffo, and Ramón Flowers. Reid is choreographing the Party Scene and the Battle Scene.

"As many times as we've done The Nutcracker, it still continues to change," he said. "That's a good thing, I think. Every time we change something, the magic comes back. I think it's going to be a really exciting Nutcracker once again. I hope everyone comes to take a look."

Arts & Culture

Butler Ballet presents Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker

Butler Ballet and the Butler Ballet Orchestra bring The Nutcracker to the Clowes Memorial Hall stage.

Nov 14 2018 Read more
CommencementCampus

Martha Hoover, Patachou founder and owner, to Deliver Winter Commencement Address

BY Rachel Stern

PUBLISHED ON Nov 12 2018

INDIANAPOLIS—Martha Hoover, founder and owner of Patachou Inc., a James Beard Award semifinalist (three times), and one of the 20 Most Innovative Women in Food and Drink (according to Food & Wine), will be the recipient of an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters and will serve as the keynote speaker at Butler University’s Winter Commencement.

Winter Commencement will take place on Saturday, December 15, 2018 at 10:00 AM in Clowes Memorial Hall. About 135 students are expected to receive their diplomas.

“In choosing honorary degree recipients and speakers, Butler selects individuals whose lives reflect our University’s core values and whose message can positively impact our students,” President James Danko said. “Martha Hoover embodies not only the entrepreneurial spirit we encourage in our students, but the responsible leadership and civic engagement that makes a meaningful difference in our world.”

Hoover has worked to build restaurants that double as vehicles for social change. She has established financial literacy courses for her employees, as well as the Patachou Emergency Relief Fund. In 2012, she established The Patachou Foundation, which has served more than 100,000 healthy meals to at-risk and food-insecure children in the Indianapolis community to date.

Hoover founded Patachou Inc. in 1989 and opened her first restaurant, Café Patachou, in March 1989. Today, the company has six restaurant brands in 14 locations across Indianapolis.

Hoover was a founding board member of Impact 100 of Greater Indianapolis and has served on the boards of the Indiana AIDS Network, Dance Kaleidoscope, and Women’s Fund of Central Indiana.

Before becoming an entrepreneur, Hoover was an attorney in the Marion County Prosecutor’s sex crimes division. She is a graduate of both IU Bloomington and the IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law at IUPUI.

Butler’s selection of commencement speakers and honorary degree recipients is a result of a nomination process, and subsequent committee review and vetting process.

 

Media contact:
Rachel Stern
Director of Strategic Communications
rstern@butler.edu
914-815-5656

CommencementCampus

Martha Hoover, Patachou founder and owner, to Deliver Winter Commencement Address

Indianapolis entrepreneur to receive Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.

Nov 12 2018 Read more
PeopleCommunity

As Female Veteran Population Grows, So Do Their Healthcare Needs

BY Rachel Stern

PUBLISHED ON Nov 12 2018

 

 

INDIANAPOLIS—Veronica Vernon has, essentially, two jobs.

The Butler University Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice spends about half her time teaching student pharmacists and student physician assistants in the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and the rest of her time is spent at the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis. At the VA, where she has worked since 2011, she sees Iraq veterans, Afghanistan veterans, male veterans, and transgender veterans. But there was one segment of the population she noticed she was seeing more and more of: female veterans.

The total veteran population is projected to decline from 20.0 million in 2015 to 11.9 million in 2045, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. And male veterans are expected to diminish by nearly half over that same time period. But despite all of this, the number of female veterans has been on the rise, and is projected to continue going in that direction.

However, Vernon says, services have not necessarily matched that trend.

“For the foreseeable future, there will be more and more female veterans coming through the VA and we need to adapt and learn how to provide the best possible care for them, just as we have done for men,” Vernon says. “A team-based approach to care of female veterans is required. The VA desires to be a leader in women’s healthcare.”

So Vernon, who specializes in women’s health, took matters into her own hands. She, along with Butler graduates Maggie Meuleman and Christina White, and Butler undergraduate Sarah Lenahan, assessed menopausal symptom management by a clinical pharmacist at the Indianapolis VA.

Their research, which they just presented at the annual North American Menopause Society Conference, showed that female veterans who received care for menopausal symptoms by a clinical pharmacist specializing in women’s health, saw a significant decrease in symptoms.

“We saw major resolution for these patients at the end of this specialized care,” Vernon says. “That highlights two important things. One, pharmacists bring a real value to the healthcare team when it comes to managing disease states. And two, which is probably even more important, is that most VA’s don’t have a pharmacist who focuses on women’s health issues. Women’s healthcare is a rapidly growing area in the vet population and the more we focus on it, evidently, the better off patients will be. This population deserves the best possible care and we need to start giving that.”

From August 2013 to August 2017, Vernon and her team tracked a total of 121 patients at the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis. The average age of the female veteran patients was 52.

When Vernon and her team started seeing patients, the average number of hot flashes or night sweats reported was 11.9 per day. After a year of being treated by the team of pharmacists dedicated to women’s health, the average number of hot flashes or night sweats reported was 1.4.

The percentage of patients reporting vaginal dryness, irritation, and pain during intercourse prior to pharmacist management was 57 percent. After a year of pharmacist management, the average was 6.6 percent.

In all, 88.4 percent of patients who had vaginal dryness, irritation, and pain during intercourse, saw resolution, Vernon says. The team followed up with patients, on average, every three weeks, and used different therapies depending on the situation. Some therapies were hormonal agents, non-pharmacological, Gabapentin, and Clonidine.

“Physicians have limited time to fully dive into the different obstacles patients are facing and then counsel the patient all the time. We believe this research shows the power of having a pharmacist as part of the care team,” Lenahan says. “After the initial diagnosis is made by the primary care physician, the pharmacist can enter the picture and manage the disease state from there in a much more specialized, specific way.”

And nowhere is the power of this continuity of care clearer that at the VA, Vernon says, where female veterans are on the rise, yet there is a real gap when it comes to adequate services. Many providers at the VA have never had a female patient so there is a discomfort and lack of knowledge when it comes to treating things, such as menopausal symptoms, she says.

But as this segment continues to grow, the reality is that providers at the VA will have to treat a female veteran. Having a system in place that utilizes the pharmacist fully, Vernon says, clearly produces results that will benefit patients.

“Our research shows the power of the right care,” she says. “Most VA’s don’t have a pharmacist that focuses on women’s health but the hope is that this data shows how impactful it is, and as this population grows, awareness too grows, in hopes our female veterans get the best possible care. This is about improving access for female vets.”

Media contact:
Rachel Stern
Director of Strategic Communications
rstern@butler.edu
914-815-5656

PeopleCommunity

As Female Veteran Population Grows, So Do Their Healthcare Needs

The number of female veterans has been on the rise, and is projected to continue going in that direction.

Nov 12 2018 Read more

Lee-gacy

by Sarah Bahr

“I’m already late for work, Dana!”

“It’ll take like five seconds, I promise!”

Butler University Collegian reporter Dana Lee pauses from reading her column-in-progress over the phone to her mother — a palliative care nurse in a northern suburb of Chicago who is, indeed, late for work.

Yes, the Collegian’s now-editor-in-chief and former ESPN and Indianapolis Star intern really does read (almost) every story she writes to her mom — who’s often cooking dinner in her kitchen 200 miles away.

Talking through her ideas helps her conquer writer’s block, Lee says.

The 21-year-old senior journalism major calls her parents at least once a week — but usually many times more. She called her dad before the first interview she did for the Indianapolis Star. During her freshman year when she was overwhelmed by Carmel, IN’s roundabouts. After she asked a security guard at Madison Square Garden to film her while covering the 2018 Big East Men’s Basketball Tournament in New York City for the Collegian. Her dad’s reaction? “I can’t believe you did that!”

Lee has written for ESPN, hobnobbed with celebrities (Bill Nye!), and embedded herself in former Butler basketball player Kelan Martin’s kitchen, but just try and tell her story without bringing up her parents (“They’ve read every story I’ve ever written”) and her two younger siblings, Jessica and Michael, who also attend Butler.

You can’t.

A Butler Family Lee-gacy

When Jessica Lee was weighing the pros and cons of attending Butler, her sister, Dana, landed squarely on the cons side.

“Which I didn’t know until halfway through my freshman year,” says Dana.

But Jessica, a junior Political Science and Strategic Communication double major, says that, without Dana, Butler likely wouldn’t have been on her radar. And, in the end, Butler’s internship opportunities, proximity to a big city, and beautiful campus proved too difficult to ignore.

Despite her older sister’s presence.

“I certainly had reservations about attending the same school as Dana,” Jessica, who’s a year younger than Dana, says. “Not because we aren’t close, but because I wanted my college experience to be my own.”

But Jessica says attending the same school as her siblings does come with perks; namely, Butler-themed inside jokes.

“It’s like speaking our own language. Like, ‘Have you seen Holcomb Gardens yet?’” Jessica says. “‘The leaves are turning and it looks BU-tiful.’”

While the siblings aren’t roommates, they live close enough together to walk to one another’s residences. Jessica and Dana lived in the same residence hall Jessica’s freshman year.

“It was nice having her closet nearby!” says Jessica.

Dana says she, Jessica, and Michael have always gotten along because they “didn’t have any other option.”

“Growing up, my parents would sit us on the staircase until someone gave someone else a hug,” Dana says. “We genuinely enjoy each other’s company.”

Michael, a freshman Digital Media Production major, says the siblings haven’t yet been on campus during the same semester.

Jessica is the culprit. She’s interning with the Democratic National Committee in Washington D.C. this semester, completed an internship with the European Union in Belgium last summer, and studied abroad in Germany last spring.

But even nearly 600 miles apart, the Lees are on the same wavelength.

Now the trio write for the Butler Collegian, Butler’s student newspaper. Dana is the editor-in-chief, Jessica is a co-news editor, and Michael is on the multimedia team. While Jessica says there’s no sibling rivalry, in the same breath, she contradicts herself.

“When Dana was the sports editor and I was the co-news editor, we would compete to see which section got the most clicks online,” Jessica says. “I most definitely won.”

But the siblings don’t share everything. When Michael committed to Butler last December, Dana and Jessica found out when he posted his decision on Instagram.

“So basically almost 500 people knew before I did,” Dana says. “Classic.”

A Sports Journalist in the Making

Though all the Lees played sports, it was Dana who was the family fanatic.

Mike Lee was a high school varsity baseball coach, so his daughter rode alongside him as he dragged baseball fields on a tractor, and wore his team’s uniform in the dugout during games.

Dana’s thirst for all things news — not just sports — was insatiable. In eighth grade, she wrote a persuasive essay petitioning her parents for an iPhone so she could read the The New York Times online before school (spoiler alert: she got it).

“My parents thought I was crazy,” she says, but it was this fanaticism that has made Dana successful as a student and a budding journalist

It’s a love she’s carried with her to college. Case in point: if inflating 500 basketballs in four hours would get her to ESPN, Dana Lee was going to do it.

Her first internship with the WNBA’s Chicago Sky the summer before her sophomore year was decidedly non-glamorous: As an unpaid community relations intern, she did the grunt work for the franchise. Including inflating all those basketballs.

“That was the lowest point of my internship,” she says.

Of the nearly 20 internships she applied for, Lee says the Sky position was the best offer she got.

Fast forward a year, and Lee had the opposite problem: too many opportunities.

Her offers: an Indianapolis Colts Media Operations internship, an Indianapolis Star reporting fellowship, a promotion to Butler Collegian sports editor . . .

So which one did she pick?

All of them.

Oh, and she also took 20 credit hours of classes that fall.

“Junior year was a nightmare,” Lee says. “I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.”

She put in 16 hours per week at The Star as an “Our Children” fellow, examining opioid addiction and spotlighting nonprofit success stories in her quest to find and tell the overlooked stories of Indianapolis kids. She spent Sundays at Lucas Oil Stadium, helping set up the press box before Colts home games and transcribing coach and player interviews. She coordinated the Collegian’s sports coverage whenever she had a free moment. She slept very little.

“It was a terrible idea to intern two different places,” Lee says. “I’d never, ever do it again, but it was a great time.”

Don’t Look Over Her Shoulder in Class

You may be wondering, at this point, about Dana’s social life.

Two of her friends, Butler Collegian Digital Managing Editor Zach Horrall and Managing Editor Marisa Miller, both seniors, shed some light.

The last time they hung out?

Last Saturday night, when the evening’s agenda included Lee creating a class schedule for next semester.

“When we hang out, it’s basically low-key work,” says Horrall.

Lee’s been involved with the Collegian every semester, first as a sports reporter her freshman and sophomore years, then as a sports editor last year, and now as editor-in-chief, which means she’s grown to love staying up until 2:00 AM  on weeknights before tests. Not because she’s cramming — because she’s designing and editing stories at the Collegian office.

The print edition of the weekly Collegian publishes on Wednesdays, and Lee must read every story that ends up in print and online before the page designers can go to work.

And, of course, reporters being reporters, much of the copy comes in just before the deadline.

“I try to start reading between classes on Tuesday,” Lee says. “I probably read more stories in class than I’d like to admit. I try to have all the stories read by 10:30 PM, but if I finish by 9:30 PM, we’re in really good shape.”

After arriving at the office around 7:00 PM, the rest of her night is spent helping the designers and dealing with any snafus. Typically around 2:00 AM — but sometimes as late (or early?) as 5:00 AM — she’ll head home to catch a few hours of sleep before her Wednesday morning classes.

“My dad asks me all the time ‘Why are you doing this?’” Lee says. “I went from thinking my sister was crazy when she’d stay late working on our high school paper to being that person.”

But she says editing the Collegian doesn’t feel like work.

“It’s so nice to be immersed in something I want to do after graduation,” she says.

A “Hail Mary” Internship

You’d never know it if you came across Lee in the newsroom, but she’s an introvert. Her parents are still in disbelief that she wants to talk to people for a living, she says.

But she says her Collegian experiences have forced her out of her shell, from interviewing Butler men’s basketball’s second all-time leading scorer, Kelan Martin, as he fried up a dozen slices of turkey bacon in his kitchen, to enlisting a Madison Square Garden security guard as her cameraman during the 2018 Big East tournament in New York City.

“Freshman me never would’ve done that; not in a million years,” she says.

At the end of her junior year, she decided it was time for a hail mary — and applied for a summer internship at ESPN.

She got it.

She and 50 other interns spent 10 weeks in Bristol, Connecticut (where ESPN is headquartered), New York City, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. this summer with the country’s foremost sports network.

She filmed Bill Nye demonstrating the physics behind a line drive. She covered the 2018 MLB All-Star Game in Washington, D.C. She shadowed SportsCenter newscasters Keith Olbermann and Chris Berman. She got a shout-out from ESPN sportswriter Seth Wickersham on Twitter.

But, true to form, Miller says the newly minted Collegian editor-in-chief still worked on the paper from Bristol.

“Even during her 40 hour-a-week internship, she was still updating our spreadsheets and planning guest speakers for the semester,” says Miller.

“She’s Very Talented, But She Doesn’t Always See It”

Every one of her friends, editors, and professors will tell you: Detail is to Lee what a lightsaber is to a Jedi.

She has a spreadsheet to keep track of every Chicago restaurant she’s eaten at, and those she wants to visit, with detailed notes about each, says Horrall. She interviewed Indianapolis Indians President and 1954 Butler graduate Max Schumacher for four hours just because she was curious. She filmed a standup shot at Hinkle Fieldhouse after the first Butler basketball game she covered 16 times to get it exactly right (Miller stood there until 11:00 PM holding the camera).

“I wish I had even 10 percent of her attention to detail,” Horrall says. “She homes in on things I’d never notice.”

She’ll Google restaurant names in Collegian stories to make sure ‘Bazbeaux’ doesn’t have an ‘s’ on the end of it, Horrall says, or check to make sure a movie theater really is in Carmel and not Indianapolis.

Nancy Whitmore, who’s taught journalism at Butler for 18 years, says Lee’s observational skills often surpass those of professional journalists.

“The insight and interpretation she brings to her reporting far exceeds her age,” says Whitmore.

Jessica Lee says her sister’s articles are an extension of her personality.

“Dana’s able to write these stories because she sits down with her yellow legal pad and blue pen and computer and she steps into [her interviewee’s] shoes,” she says.

Yet Lee doesn’t realize what she does is in any way out of the ordinary, says Horrall.

“She is very talented, but she doesn’t always see it,” he says. “Sometimes she thinks she’s gotten lucky, but she’s just really good at what she does.”

Her Parents Might Want to Look Into a Long-Distance Phone Plan

Her sister’s been to Belgium; her brother Cambodia. But outside of a two-week trip to Spain in high school, Dana Lee hasn’t left the country.

She wanted to spend a semester abroad last year, but as the Collegian’s sports editor, she couldn’t afford to leave Butler in the middle of basketball season.

But after graduation, she says, all bets are off.

“I’m looking at journalism fellowships abroad, particularly South Africa,” she says. “It’d be really interesting to look at the country post-apartheid.”

But one thing won’t change anytime soon.

“Jessica and Michael will always be my best friends,” she says.

FamilyStudent LifePeople

Lee-gacy

  When Jessica was weighing the pros and cons of attending Butler, her sister landed on the cons side.

Lee-gacy

by Sarah Bahr

Families in Residence

For most of us, the idea of raising a family in a residence hall on a college campus sounds, to put it mildly, challenging. But for many of Butler’s Faculty In Residence (known as FIRs), this challenge is well worth it. Celebrating nearly three decades, the FIR program places faculty members in residence halls with “learning communities” of approximately 80-120 students. Officially, FIRs host a minimum of two activities a month for their learning communities, to introduce students to campus and the city of Indianapolis. Activities might be shared meals, game nights, volunteer work, or attending lectures or sports events with students.

Unofficially and by choice, FIRs do much more. They lead lots of informal conversations in their living quarters, ranging from politics and entertainment to picking careers and Final Four teams. FIRs dispense cookies and encouragement to students cramming for exams, model the fun and challenge of family life, and offer a concerned adult ear to the homesick, the lovelorn, the questioning—even to parents emotionally overwhelmed at leaving their child on campus.

While not all FIRs have children in residence, many do. Sharing a family home with approximately 100 undergrads under your roof may seem daunting, but these communities become extensions of the FIR’s family. The unique living quarters provide extraordinarily unique opportunities for children of FIRs to see college life up close and for college students to see family life.

We asked Four Faculty in Residence to speak about what it’s like to raise children in this unique arrangement.

 


Meet the Families in Residence

Name: Catherine Pangan
Position at University: Associate Professor, College of Education
Names of Family members who live in residence: Roland, Hudson (13), Violet (7)
Residence Hall (current and past): Fairview, Resco, Schwitzer

What are the benefits of raising a family in this unique environment?
They are so fortunate to be around an enormous amount of role models doing extraordinary things every day. On a daily basis, they see students studying, working, enjoying friendships, struggling and succeeding.  They get to see what it is like for college students to grow, as they grow themselves! We also feel like we are in a mini-neighborhood within Butler. Ms. Janine Frainier and the bookstore staff, BUPD, and of course, Miss Denise, and the Starbucks staff have been extraordinarily supportive and kind throughout the entire experience. They feel like family as well.

What's it like to live in a neighborhood of only college-age students?
You age, but your neighbors don't. It is kind of like the fountain of youth!

As your children grow and become adults, what do you hope they will take from this experience?
I hope they feel connected to a community the same way they feel living at Butler.

Is there a story that you think exemplifies your family in residence experience?
I've told this story so many times, but when Hudson was four years old and learning to ride his bike, he was trying to make it down the whole length of Hampton. As he rode, he had students shouting "Go Hudson!" from sorority and fraternity windows - students were clapping for him on the street as he rode by, and then they let out a huge cheer for him when he made it to the end. I will never forget his smile when he made it, or the Butler students that helped him get to the end! If that doesn't exemplify the Butler Way, I'm not sure what does!

What's your commute like in the morning?
Short!

***

Name: John Esteb
Position at University: Chemistry Professor
Names of Family members who live in residence: 4 total (including me)
Residence Hall: Resco C-Wing

What are the benefits of raising a family in this unique environment?
The kids learn how to interact with adults and also are exposed to so many wonderful cultural events, speakers, shows, etc. that almost no other kid gets to experience on a regular basis

What's it like to live in a neighborhood of only college-age students?
There is constantly a lot of energy around and there is ALWAYS something going on!  It is a unique experience that we get to interact with them both inside and outside the classroom and help not only with their academic development but get to know them as the fun and talented people they are in their day to day life as well.

As your children grow and become adults, what do you hope they will take from this experience?
I hope that they see the value of the college experience (with everything that it entails) and also learn that everyone has strengths that they can showcase in their own unique ways when put into an environment that provides the right opportunities and fosters the development of skills and talents.

Is there a story that you think exemplifies your family in residence experience?
We have had many! Ranging from my son jumping around and singing along with students at a Butlerpalooza concert, to cheering on the Colts and my kids going crazy in the stands at the game with students that were die-hard Colts fans, to the kids competing with the students to see who would be willing to eat the wildest sushi order, to just hanging out with the students over cheesecake, bbq, cookies, donuts, etc. at the apartment!

What's your commute like in the morning?
Normally great (since I just walk in)! Haha!

***

Name: Ryan Flessner
Position at University: Associate Professor of Teacher Education (COE)
Names of Family members who live in residence: Courtney (wife), Abel (11), Adelyn (10)
Residence Hall (current and past): Fairview House (2016-present), Ross Hall (2013-2016)

What are the benefits of raising a family in this unique environment?
Our kids are surrounded by young adults who are working toward their goals on a daily basis while also enjoying each other's company and the beautiful campus on which we live. The kids have the opportunity to see college students find their way, develop friendships, and contribute to our community. Abel and Adelyn learned to ride their bikes on the mall, and they can always find a pick-up game of kickball with ever-ready college students. Who wouldn't want to grow up on this campus?!

What's it like to live in a neighborhood of only college-age students?
It's inspiring to see students finding their way in the world, discovering their passions, and contributing to the community. I'm a better professor because I see more than just the academic side of college life. In addition to their commitments to their studies, I see the students' commitments to campus and community organizations, their commitments to their network of friends and mentors, and their commitments to their future careers.

As your children grow and become adults, what do you hope they will take from this experience?
I hope my kids understand the privileges they have in life and the ways in which their experiences are shaping their futures. I hope they use their privilege to benefit others as they make their way in the world.

Is there a story that you think exemplifies your family in residence experience?
There are too many magical moments to count. We've been to the wedding of one of our RAs, we've been references for residents as they seek employment, and we've even helped a student learn to wrap holiday gifts! My favorite memory, however, is probably from a faculty dinner we hosted on our patio last fall. After the event with her professors that evening, one of our residents said, "This is why I came to Butler - so I could interact with the faculty and we could get to know each other as people." Making that moment possible for her was incredibly rewarding, and her gratitude was worth all of the effort we put into this role.

What's your commute like in the morning?
I love the fact that I can walk my kids to the bus and then walk across campus to my office. That 15-minute stroll is a great way to organize my thoughts as I transition into my teaching or my research.

***

Name: Erin Garriott
Position at University: Instructor in Special Education, College of Education
Names of Family members who live in residence: Scott Garriott (husband), Ella (15), Mae (9) and Weston (5)
Residence Hall (current and past): ResCo B-wing currently, Schweitzer for 2 years

What are the benefits of raising a family in this unique environment?
To have my kids surrounded by goal-centered, focused, kind, thoughtful BU students is priceless. We also think the access to sports, the arts, campus projects, and events are real benefits.

What's it like to live in a neighborhood of only college-age students?
It’s so much fun! There’s always something going on or conversations to join in on. We’ve been so lucky to live by wonderfully caring and kind students. We realize how much we rely on their energy to get through our days. When students aren’t here, we totally miss them!

As your children grow and become adults, what do you hope they will take from this experience?
I hope they will remember the time we got to spend together in our cozy living space. I hope they take with them the importance of working hard to reach a goal. We hardly ever go by a study lounge where there isn’t at least one student in there studying. Mostly, I really hope they take the amazing feeling of being part of something bigger than themselves. Butler is a really special place to be. I know my kids “know” that because of the conversations we’ve had about the people here and the experiences we’ve gotten to have with our residents.

Is there a story that you think exemplifies your family in residence experience?
There are sooooo many, from Ms. Denise getting Scott and I an anniversary cake to students leaving encouraging notes to our kids outside our door. The one that always sticks out though came from my husband Scott. As long as I’ve known him, I’ve always been an educator. He had often made comments about how I always had my students on my mind and he didn’t seem to understand how that happened. Fast forward 15 years...our first year as a FIR family was coming to an end. I mentioned one evening during dinner that classes were finishing up and students would be moving out soon. Scott said in a panic, “Do you think we’ll ever see Emma again?” And all evening, he would randomly ask things like, “I wonder if Allison got her summer job?” and “Do you think Helen will stop by to say good-bye?” My favorite one was, “I hope Rex (Hailey’s dad) knows he can stop by and see us anytime.” After just one year, he had experienced the relationships you build with young people and how it changes your life. He has a better sense of what it means to care deeply about a group of students; it was a lesson I could never teach but am so glad I got to see click.

What's your commute like in the morning?
Surprisingly, I drive to my office. I take my kids to their bus stop at 46th and Cornelius and then hustle to South Campus for class.

FamilyPeopleCommunity

Families in Residence

Sharing a family home with 100 undergrads under your roof may seem daunting, but they become family.

Academics

Lacy School of Business Named Outstanding On-Campus MBA Program by Princeton Review

BY Marc Allan

PUBLISHED ON Nov 07 2018

Butler University's Lacy School of Business has been named one of the 252 outstanding on-campus MBA programs in the Princeton Review's “Best Business Schools for 2019.” The school profiles and rankings can be found at https://www.princetonreview.com/best-business-schools.

The best on-campus MBA list is based on a combination of institutional and student survey data, including career outcomes, admissions selectivity, and academic rigor, among others. The on-campus MBA programs are listed 1 to 252, rather than ranked hierarchically.

“We’re honored to be recognized, and we are incredibly proud of the graduates who come out of our program to make an immediate impact in their organizations and community,” said Lacy School of Business Dean Steve Standifird.

The Butler entry in the Princeton Review says that the MBA program's focus on applying real world experiences to the classroom "provides an MBA experience that makes it very popular for residents of the region." Flexibility was noted, with one student saying, “If you want a concentration that is not offered, professors will work with you to tailor your education needs/wishes.”

The program also was praised for having a “good balance of difficult and moderately easy classes” and a helpful, responsive administration that works with students on every aspect of their education. The school's leadership “is very willing to make integrating the learning experience with busy careers and family lives” a priority, and it shows in the number of students who juggle active careers and busy class schedules.

The Princeton Review writes that "students who want to be surrounded by those with real life experience will find Butler to be a welcoming environment." It noted that "a consistent trait is that students here are 'committed, smart and friendly,' and described students as "more supportive than competitive; people are down to earth and have a good sense of humor.”

"For students in the Midwest in particular, Butler provides good inroads to a career," the Review says, adding that when Forbes recently ranked the 200 largest metropolitan areas in the United States to determine which were the best places for business and careers, Indianapolis ranked in the top ten.

"All those traits—the real-world focus, flexibility, support, and work-life balance—are what we strive to deliver, along with the experiences and credentials that lead to long-term career progression and success," Standifird said. "We believe in the power of hands-on, student-focused, experiential learning, and saturate our program with opportunities to apply classroom concepts to real-world situations."

Butler's MBA program offers concentrations in finance, international business, leadership, entrepreneurship and innovation, and marketing. Graduates have gone on to work for companies such as Eli Lilly and Company, Roche, M&I Bank, Regions Bank, Firestone, and the NCAA.

 

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

Academics

Lacy School of Business Named Outstanding On-Campus MBA Program by Princeton Review

The Lacy School of Business has been named an outstanding on-campus MBA program by the Princeton Review.

Nov 07 2018 Read more

The Ultimate Mentor

by Marc D. Allan MFA ’18

Maybe the ultimate Scott Bridge story is how he arranged for Megan Yates '16 to finish her degree after the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation hired her full time at the beginning of her senior year.

Or perhaps the best story is the time he gave Teresa Mask '93 a copy of the book I Dream a World: Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America with this inscription: "I fully expect to see your picture and an article about you in a similar book someday."

"To say that he had that much confidence that my life was going to amount to something worthy to be read about, it was like, 'Wow,'" says Mask, who spent two decades as a newspaper reporter and editor and is now Senior Public Relations Manager for AT&T in Michigan. "That was encouragement beyond belief."

But it could be that the greatest Scott Bridge story is the one about Ari Kasle '14.

"Couldn't stand him when he was a freshman," Bridge says, "but I saw some good things when he was a sophomore and we had some talks about his big, obnoxious mouth overshadowing his creativity, intelligence, and his good heart. When I think about what Ari was like when he started at Butler versus the Ari who graduated four years later, it reminds me why I love my job. Very, very proud of him."

Kasle, now an Associate Producer at Emmis Communication in Indianapolis, says: "He's gone to bat for me so many times. I developed a reputation early on at Butler and he could have thrown me to the scrap heap if he wanted to. But he took me under his wing and he said, 'I believe in you.' I'll be forever in debt to him for that."

Bridge, who started teaching in Broadcast/Electronic Journalism at Butler in 1988, has helped send hundreds of future broadcasters, teachers, publicists—and even a couple of current members of Butler's Board of Trustees—into the world. Probably every one of them can recall some example of his kindness and his guidance.

Stephanie (Hoop) Callihan '89, now a Vice President for Entercom and mother of Butler first-year student Kate Callihan: "He was a great mentor even then to all of us. He would say, 'Here’s what you have to do to find a job,' and was very realistic about how hard it was. He really helped and mentored you about what your next, best steps were and how you needed to go about doing it."

Hayley Ross '17, now a Production Assistant on MSNBC's Deadline: White House: "He pushed me to do everything that I did, and he's 100 percent the reason that I graduated with a journalism degree. I definitely would not be where I am if he had not pushed me to be my best."

*

Bridge '82, MS '91 worked in radio and TV for six years after earning his bachelor's degree. Even then, the media was shrinking. In 1988, when the radio station he worked for cut most of its newsroom—though not his position—he started looking around.

At the time, Butler advertised a full-time staff position that entailed serving as sports and news director for WAJC-FM, the campus radio station, and teaching one class.

"It was a 10 percent pay cut," Bridge says, laughing, "and I was not their first choice."

He took the job and found his calling. "When I started teaching and working with the students, that was it," he says. "It was being able to help students and help them realize whatever their goals and dreams were. Just seeing that light bulb go on, being able to help them with their careers."

That first year in the classroom, Bridge was 27 but looked 22. He would often be mistaken for a student. He started wearing a jacket and tie to distinguish himself. But students called him Scott because "Mr. Bridge didn't feel right."

He stayed in that staff position for five years. In 1993, when Butler sold the radio station, Bridge was named sports and news director for the campus TV station. By then, he was teaching two classes.

He modeled his approach to teaching after B.J. Goodwin, one of his high school teachers in Lebanon, Indiana, who nurtured and encouraged him.

His philosophy: "Students just need somebody to affirm to them that they're doing good work. They already know when they're screwing up. Very few of them need somebody to tell them that they've screwed up. But they do need somebody to tell them, 'Yeah, you're doing something good.'"

*

Bridge's job at Butler lasted until spring 1995, and he taught one class a semester till spring 1997. Then he took time off to be Mr. Mom while his wife, Maryann, a Pathologist, worked. Still, Bridge served on the Alumni Board and kept his men's basketball tickets.

"Butler was still part of my life," he says. "But not as strong."

When his children got a little older, Bridge started thinking about returning to work. At a basketball game in 2006, he ran into a Butler faculty member who asked if he'd be interested in teaching again. He was.

Bridge wondered, though, if he would be relevant. Technology had changed, and "I didn't want to seem like some old fogey." To prepare, he took a computer literacy class at Franklin College. He also took classes in Microsoft programs at Indiana Business College in Columbus, where he lives.

He served as an Adjunct Professor for a couple of years until 2010, when the department, faced with a last-minute departure, hired him full time as an Instructor of Electronic Journalism. He still holds that title, and in 2014 he added the role of Internship Director for the College of Communication, which allows him to work with students in all Communication majors.

"Scott transformed the College of Communication internship program upon becoming its director in January 2014, raising its profile and scope while tripling the number of student interns benefiting from this program every year," says former College of Communication Dean Gary Edgerton, who calls Bridge "the epitome of a student-centered faculty member."

These days, Bridge still wears a jacket and tie every day. Students called him Professor Bridge, but his approach to working with students remains the same.

"Students wonder when Scott sleeps since they receive numerous emails from him about internship opportunities in the middle of the night," says Suzanne Reading, Associate Dean of the College of Communication. "When I talk with students at new-student registration, many of them know Scott already and have been in contact with him several times prior to coming to Butler."

At the end of the inscription, Bridge wrote in the book he gave Teresa Mask said, "Good luck and know that you can count on me if you ever need a helping hand."

Mask and multiple generations of Butler students know that he means it.

FamilyPeople

The Ultimate Mentor

Scott Bridge has built a family of hundreds of Butler students he’s helped send out into the world.

The Ultimate Mentor

by Marc D. Allan MFA ’18

Family Away From Home

By Brittany Bluthardt ’20

First-year student Alyssa Johnson wasn’t sure what to expect when she moved into Irvington House a few months ago. She was one of few students on campus as part of the Ambassadors of Change Pre-Welcome Week program. From one home to another, Alyssa was overwhelmed and nervous to begin her new journey at Butler University. She felt instantly more comfortable after she met her resident assistant, Murjanatu Mutuwa, for the first time.

“She was extremely energetic and helpful,” Alyssa says. “Now, she’s someone I can go to at any time for support.”

Resident assistants, RAs for short, are mentors for new students on Butler’s campus. RAs are fellow Butler students who help first and second year students while they are living in a residence hall. Murjanatu and other RAs plan programs and activities for their residents throughout the year. They also help to develop a respectful community while serving as a resource for students. RAs maintain an environment within residence halls for students to grow academically and socially while pursuing their first few years as a Bulldog.

Murjanatu knew she wanted to take on this role after her own experience as a resident in Schwitzer Hall. As a first-year student, Murjanatu quickly began helping others, from planning events to becoming the residence hall president. As she worked side by side with her own RA, she quickly determined she had the desire and the drive to be one too.

Three years later, Murjanatu is now a senior with a job lined up after graduation and many other responsibilities on her plate. Her biggest responsibility, perhaps, is caring for a group of fellow students as their RA.

She and her residents live in a small section of Irvington House, a place they proudly call “The Island.” The group is always together, whether they’re sitting in the hallway, chatting and doing homework together on school nights, or eating a family-style dinner at Atherton Union.

Murjanatu has created more than a community in her unit. She’s created a family.

*

Growing up in Cedar Lake, Indiana, Murjanatu was used to living with many people. When she was a teenager, her family adopted a little sister. Her parents also fostered many children in their home, some of them were even Murjanatu’s classmates at school. In her mind, everyone just became a new brother or sister.

“I’ve learned how to accept people who are very different from myself,” she says. “At the end of the day, a family is who you come home to - it’s where you feel yourself.”

With this early foundation of acceptance and caring, Murjantatu learned how to love people, even when it’s challenging. Because she’s just a few years older than her residents some things can be a bit difficult, but she’s learned how to support them and be an authority figure at the same time. Her residents reciprocate the same compassion. When Murjanatu had to go home after a sudden loss of a friend, her residents surprised her with a signed card and candy when she came back.

“When I go through things, people here are always there for me,” Murjanatu says. “People at Butler walk through challenging seasons with you.”

Although Murjanatu is in a new residence hall with new students, she doesn’t forget the friends she made in years past. She occasionally meets with her past residents to talk about their lives, grab a coffee, or unwind with a slumber party. Sophomore Julia Junker had Murjanatu as a resident assistant last year in Resco, and she remembers the support Murjanatu always gave her when she needed it the most.

“I don’t see her as often anymore, but when I do, she’s always excited to see me, and we’ll have long conversations together to catch up,” Julia says.

Another resident, Kennedy Broadwell, had Murjanatu as an RA last year in Resco. Kennedy said their hallway of residents took a while to get close with each other, but Murjanatu made sure to plan plenty of bonding events. If anything, their hall bonded over their love for Murjanatu and her funny personality.

“Murjana as an RA was a literal ray of sunshine walking down the hall,” Kennedy says. “She is probably one of the busiest people on campus, but she always made time to talk to her residents when we needed her.”

Now, Kennedy is a sophomore pursuing a major in sports media. Although she does not see Murjanatu as often as she wishes, when they do see each other, it is as if nothing has changed.

“Murj’ is just someone I know will always care about my well-being and will always be there to listen, whether she's my RA or not,” she says. “Now, somehow, we manage to pass each other every couple of days, and we always get so excited to see each other.”

*

On a late Sunday afternoon, Murjanatu opens boxes of pizza, sends a final reminder message to her friends, and anxiously waits for approximately 30 Butler University students to arrive at the Community Room in Fairview House. At this “family dinner,” as Murjanatu calls it, her Butler family, past and present, will get to meet each other.

Julia and Kennedy reunite with Murjanatu and meet Murjanatu’s new students from “The Island.” Other past residents FaceTime from off campus just to say “hi.”

“It was so fun to meet them and kind of compare stories from our first semester last year to their semester now,” Kennedy explains. “I could tell how much they already love Murjana and I wasn't surprised in the slightest. They are the luckiest kids on campus!”

With a semester and a half separating Murjanatu from graduation, she grows sadder when she thinks of leaving her residents. For four years she has worked to create a family at Butler. She has cared for students who in turn, have cared for her. While she’ll officially no longer be their RA come graduation, just like with a real family, the bonds will remain.

Cambria Khayat, a current resident of Murjanatu, aspires to be like her when she’s older.

“I look up to her so much,” Cambria says. “She’s where I want to be my senior year. I feel so blessed to have her as a friend and my RA.”

FamilyStudent Life

Family Away From Home

A resident assistant fosters community and creates a family for students on campus.

Family Away From Home

By Brittany Bluthardt ’20

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