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Q&A with a Butler Commuter Student

Thinking about applying to and commuting to Butler? First, make sure you’re eligible to do so.

Then, keep reading to hear from Huda Mahmood, a current junior with a double major in biology and chemistry. Since starting at Butler, she has lived with her family in Carmel, Indiana, and commuted about 25 minutes to campus each day.


What brought you to Butler?

The small class sizes. I went to a pretty big high school, but in a college setting, I like only having about 20 people per class. That gives you more time with your professors, which I cherish.

Why did you decide to commute from home?

The residence halls are beautiful, but I wanted to stay close to family. I love being able to go home and have my parents there. And since I already lived so close, I didn’t see a reason to stay on campus.

What does your day-to-day schedule look like?

I usually get to campus more than an hour before my classes start. I hate being late. If I have breaks between classes, I either go to Starbucks, sit outside, or study somewhere in Gallahue Hall. Sometimes I stay late to study or attend club meetings, so I’m usually on campus until about 6:00 PM. When I get home, I finish up any homework I didn’t get done during my time on campus.

At first, I was worried I would feel left out. But I’ve ended up spending a lot of time on campus for clubs (I’m president of the Biology Club and on the executive board for the Butler Muslim Student Association) and study sessions with friends.

What would you say to #ButlerBound students who are thinking about commuting?

It might take some time at first to feel like you’re truly a part of the campus community, but you are. And commuting isn’t as hard as it seems. I know I sometimes complain about the drive back and forth, but I always appreciate being able to come home every day.


Applying as a commuter:

If you want to apply to Butler as a commuter, first apply using the Butler application or the Common App. After receiving your admission decision, you should fill out the "Commuter Request" form in the housing application. You can also contact your admission counselor if you have more questions about applying or commuting to Butler.

Huda Mahmood

Q&A with a Butler Commuter Student

Junior Huda Mahmood commutes to stay close to family, but she's still very much part of the campus community

C. Patience Masamha
Experiential Learning

Butler Researcher Explores New Approach to Ovarian Cancer Treatment

BY Tim Brouk

PUBLISHED ON Mar 02 2020

C. Patience Masamha has dedicated her research to fighting cancer by discovering new drug deliveries at the molecular level. The Assistant Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences’ new project will tackle ovarian cancer and its tendency to return after initial, successful chemotherapy.

The project is based on preliminary ovarian cell research done by Masamha and two graduate students, Zach Todd and Bettine Gibbs ’19.

“Patients who usually respond to chemotherapy drugs will, at some point, develop resistance to those drugs,” says Masamha, who chose to study cancer after her grandfather passed away from mantle cell lymphoma. “Once the patient is diagnosed, they usually go through surgeries and aggressive chemotherapy. Patients usually respond well to treatment, but the cancer often comes back. And when it comes back, it’s resistant to the original chemotherapy.”

Todd and Masamha
Graduate student Zach Todd, right, and Professor C. Patience Masamha work in the lab.

In January, Masamha received a $10,000 New Investigator grant from the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy to fund the work. The project will explore why ovarian cancer is so drug-resistant, especially compared to other cancers. The goal is to develop a new drug that will make cancer cells more sensitive to chemotherapy, lowering the chance of relapse.

Masamha is looking at drug transporter proteins, which are the body’s natural way of removing toxins from healthy cells. But cancer hijacks this system, repurposing those toxin-removing proteins to pump chemotherapeutic drugs back out of cancerous tumor cells—reducing the treatment’s effectiveness and resulting in a drug-resistant disease. Masamha wants to know how these drug transporters are produced in order to later develop drugs that target these transporters to stop refluxing drug molecules in the cells of ovarian cancer patients.

Masamha says there is conflicting information in her field about these proteins. Some papers state the drug transporter concentrations are high in ovarian cancer patients, while other researchers say the same proteins are too low in the patients. Masamha’s research aims to provide more understanding of how these proteins behave under the influence of cancer.

Masamha’s research focuses on messenger RNA (mRNA), which reads DNA codes from the drug transporter genes to help the body create proteins. Different forms of mRNA can be made from the same DNA sequence. When cancer is present, the cells overproduce shortened mRNAs, which behave in a way that leads to the spread of cancer. Masamha is trying to figure out how short and long mRNAs can be made from the same DNA sequence, with the goal of creating a drug that would help prevent production of short mRNA.

The shorter mRNAs in cancer cells—which would need to be destroyed to prevent chemotherapeutic drugs from being kicked out of the cell—aren’t always detected by current treatment methods. Masamha’s group is working on ways to better detect those affected molecules, and to figure out how cancer cells generate these shorter mRNAs in the first place.

“If we are able to detect those short mRNA messages, that would clear up conflicting information in the field about these proteins,” she says. “We want to develop drugs that prevent the shorter mRNA from being produced in cancer cells. This will reduce the amount of drug transporter proteins that are made by tumor cells, allowing anti-cancer drugs to work.”

Zach Todd has been working in Masamha’s lab since fall 2016. He says focusing on the mRNA activity within cancer-affected cells could lead to a new way to treat cancer—helping healthcare providers stay a step ahead of the disease.

“Sometimes cancer has the annoying habit of figuring things out faster than we can,” Todd says. “We have to work around it, and this project is very promising.”


Photos by Brent Smith


Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager

C. Patience Masamha
Experiential Learning

Butler Researcher Explores New Approach to Ovarian Cancer Treatment

The disease’s drug resistance could be explained by its effect on cell proteins, Prof. C. Patience Masamha says

Mar 02 2020 Read more

Q&A: What's it Like to Stay Close to Home for College?

Megan Strait ’23
Majors: Oboe Performance and Music Education
Hometown: Greenwood, Indiana


Thinking about sticking close to home for college, but don’t know if applying to Butler is right for you? You might be surprised to learn that many students from Central Indiana choose to attend college in or near their hometown, but they still can very much have that college experience... and not feel like they haven’t left their own backyard.

We chatted with sophomore Megan Strait, who grew up in Greenwood, Indiana, just 20 minutes away from campus. Learn more about her experience choosing a college that’s close to home.


What first attracted you to Butler?

I grew up going to see The Nutcracker at Clowes, so I already knew a lot about Butler. I’d been there many times before, and it was just a beautiful campus that I really loved. I definitely wanted to be able to spend more time there.

What were your initial thoughts about attending a college close to home?

I talked to my parents a lot about the proximity (most of the colleges I applied to were fairly close to home), so I just worked with them to set boundaries for them and for myself about the amount of time I would come home. Just because I was on a campus close to home didn’t necessarily mean that I had to go home all the time.

Did you have any concerns that it wouldn’t feel like you were going away to school?

I did have some concerns: That my parents would want me to come home all the time, and that because I’ve spent so much time in the Indianapolis area, it wouldn’t feel like I was branching out. But when I got to Butler, I started meeting people from all over the place (I’m the only one from my high school graduating class attending Butler), so it really felt like a whole new environment.

Even with your prior familiarity with Butler, did anything surprise you about your experiences?

I was surprised that I didn’t go home as often as I thought I would. But I was so busy with my classes, activities, and friends, I didn’t even notice the distance from home because I was so wrapped up in everything I was doing at school. It kind of shocked me.

You mentioned you were afraid your parents would visit too much. Did that happen?

Yes. Well... a little bit. But because of my major, the short distance has allowed my parents to come to every one of my performances on campus, and honestly, I wouldn’t trade that. My friends will come to my performances, and that’s great, but it’s not quite the same as having my mom who’s heard me since I was a sixth-grade oboist squeaking out, to now on stage.

What would be your advice to a local student who has your same concerns?

My advice is, if you feel Butler is the right school with the right professors and the right majors, then make the most of the Butler experience. Butler has so many different activities, ensembles, and majors to offer that I feel anybody could have a great time, even if they grew up 10 minutes away.

Any other benefits that you could pass along?

Being able to go home for holidays and family gatherings that aren’t during a long break. Oh, and my roommate, who is also from the area, likes to be able to go home to see her dog.

Megan Strait ’23

Q&A: What's it Like to Stay Close to Home for College?

Megan Strait ’23 chats about her experience attending Butler, just 20 minutes away from her hometown

Butler Blue IV receives ceremonial collar

Collar Handoff: Butler Blue IV Takes Next Step Toward Being Big Dog on Campus

BY Raquel Bahamonde

PUBLISHED ON Mar 01 2020

In a February 29, 2020 “changing of the collar” ceremony, Butler Blue III, also known as Trip, relinquished his collar signifying Butler Blue IV (Blue) as successor to the official live mascot of Butler University.

Prior to the Butler, DePaul University men’s basketball game at Hinkle Fieldhouse, Trip’s handler Michael Kaltenmark and his wife Tiffany along with their two sons, Everett and Miles, watched as Butler President James M. Danko removed the collar from around Trip’s neck and placed it around the neck of Blue.

Brian Kenny representing Reis-Nichols Jewelers, creators of the custom-made mascot collar, looked on.

After donning the collar, Blue’s handler and owner Evan Krauss lifted him into the air to cheers from the crowd—before he and his wife Kennedy escorted the mascot-to-be from the floor.   

Trip and Kaltenmark accepted more cheers from the crowd before Trip did his traditional running of the bone as the team entered the court.

“This event ushers in the next chapter for the Butler mascot program,” said Krauss. “I just want to thank Michael (Kaltenmark). He has taught me so much over the past seven years I’ve worked with him.”

Trip will remain in his current role as official live mascot until the end of the 2019–2020 academic year. In the meantime, Blue IV and his handler are training side-by-side learning their new responsibilities, which recently included a graduation for Blue from the Bark Tutor School for Dogs.

When asked how the puppy is adjusting to his new role, Krauss smiled.

“Blue has been a dream dog and is taking to his training like a champ,” he said.  “But speaking for both of us, the support from the Butler Community has been overwhelming and has meant the world to us.”

“Do the job, do it well and don’t forget to have fun doing it. That would be Trip’s advice to Blue,” said Kaltenmark. “Trip loves the job—loves to work—but he never takes things too seriously.”

After eight proud years on the job, Trip has earned his retirement. Plus, his energetic heir to the throne is ready for the very physical demands of leading the Butler faithful.

An American Kennel Club-Registered English Bulldog like his predecessors (Blue I, II, and III), the equally adorable Blue IV is described by those involved in finding the new mascot as “super cool”—an important quality to have when representing the “Butler Way” to the world.

The changing of the guard (dog) means the younger Blue will soon be leader of the pack.

While welcoming the next Blue and saying goodbye to number III could be a bittersweet time, fans of the much beloved Trip can rest assured, following his farewell tour, he moves on to an even more essential role in life—providing love and affection to his fur dad Kaltenmark who underwent a kidney transplant earlier this year.

“Thanks to Evan we’ve been able to manage and keep him (Trip) working,” said Kaltenmark. “However, I will say that because of my kidney transplant, our return to action together is just going to make Trip’s last months on the job that much more poignant and special.”

With the official change in May, Kaltenmark will step aside from his live mascot handling duties but will continue as the University’s Director of External Relations and plans to stay involved in the live mascot program. Don’t be surprised if you see mascot emeritus Trip around campus from time to time.

If Trip could talk, Kaltenmark believes he would let the entire Butler family know; “You’ve made me the luckiest dog on the planet. In return, I hope I have brought you joy during my years as your mascot. It’s truly been my honor and pleasure. Thank you for making me feel loved as I wind things down this year.”


Media contact:
Raquel Bahamonde

Butler Blue IV receives ceremonial collar

Collar Handoff: Butler Blue IV Takes Next Step Toward Being Big Dog on Campus

Butler Blue III relinquished his collar signifying Butler Blue IV as successor

Mar 01 2020 Read more

Curent Student Q&A | Tim Winter ’20

Tim Winter ’20
Majors: Mechanical Engineering, Computer Science
Hometown: Decorah, Iowa
Co-curricular activities: Butler Student Ambassador, Butler Symphony Orchestra, Engineering Dual Degree Club, Student Orientation Guide

Q: What’s your story?
A: I love to learn. When I’m not doing homework, my nose is in a book about airplanes and the science behind flight. One day, I hope to design the next generation of rockets that take us deeper into space. I’m also an avid cellist. I take lessons and play in the orchestra, and set aside time to play my cello every day.

Q: Why did you choose to become a Bulldog? 
A: This is a place where I can be serious about both my cello and engineering. My cello professor, Dr. Grubb, was the first person I ever met on campus. His kindness and passion really set the tone of my Butler visit.

Q: What do you like most about your academic career here? 
A: I like that I can double major. I chose Mechanical Engineering because I grew up on a farm fixing everything in my path. I chose Computer Science because my grandfather was a pioneer in the programming world with his software company.

Q: Which faculty member has inspired you the most? 
A: My Introductory Physics Instructor, Dr. Dan Kosik. His class pushed me to my limits and helped me grow as a student. I could walk into Dr. Kosik’s office whenever I had questions—even if they didn’t pertain to what we were doing in class.

Curent Student Q&A | McKenzie Greene ’22

McKenzie Greene ’22
Major: Biochemistry 
Minor: Psychology and Spanish
Hometown: Strongsville, Ohio
Co-curricular activities: Butler Student Ambassador, Multicultural Mentor, Morton-Finney Scholar, Track & Field Athlete

Q: What’s your favorite spot on campus? 
A: When the weather is nice, I love to sit in my hammock on the Butler Mall. I can catch up with friends as they’re walking to class, join a game of Spikeball, or just relax and reflect on the day.

Q: What do you want to be when you grow up?
A: I definitely want to work in the healthcare field, specifically with children. I’m still deciding if this means I want to be a doctor, or something else. The great thing about Butler is that it provides so many resources—shadowing, career fairs, pre-health advisors, and more—to help you figure out what career might be the best fit.

Q: What’s your favorite activity at Butler? 
A: There are so many activities available on campus for students that it’s hard to pick a favorite. There is never a dull moment and all the activities pull in a wide range of people from all different walks of life. Some of my favorites though have been watching movies on the lawn, line dancing at the Reilly Room, Bingo Night, and of course, basketball games at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

Q: What’s the social event of the year?
A: Homecoming is the place to be every year, no question! There is so much school spirit and unique things to do, like the Bulldog Beauty Contest. I look forward to it every year.

Meet Current Student Marcos Navarro Garcia ’23

Marcos Navarro Garcia ’23
Major: Critical Communication and Media Studies
Minors: Creative Media and Entertainment, Spanish
Hometown: Lafayette, Indiana
Co-curricular activities: Student Government Association, Latinos Unidos, Multicultural Student Mentor, Efroymson Diversity Center


At Butler, we have access to an incredible network of students and faculty, as well as endless opportunities to get involved both on campus and in the Indianapolis community. My time at Butler began at Dawg Days, a Pre-Welcome-Week orientation program led by the Efroymson Diversity Center. I met some of my closest friends in that program and we’ve had each other’s backs since day one. This year, I was able to serve as a mentor for the very same program, which was incredibly rewarding as I was able to welcome a new group of first-year students.

My involvement isn’t limited just to on-campus activities either. Butler really encourages its students to get out in the community, and I’ve definitely taken advantage of that. Over the last year, I’ve had the opportunity to speak to other Latinx students at a few local high schools and elementary schools about my own personal experiences, including my time at college. Every single time, I walk out with my cup filled, knowing that the kids that I speak with can now see that successful people do look like them and come from a similar background.

When I graduate, I would love to take the skills I’ve learned as a student in the College of Communication and become a motivational speaker. I want to speak about the importance of self-love, passion, heart, and grit, and help empower future generations to fight for their dreams and what they believe in.

Curent Student Q&A | Maddy Jensen ’22

Maddy Jensen ’22
Majors: Sociology and Psychology
Minor: Youth and Community Development
Hometown: Indianapolis, Indiana
Co-curricular activities: Butler Student Ambassador, Butler University Student Foundation, CRU, Radiate Bible Study Leader

Q: What’s your favorite thing about being a Bulldog? 
A: The community and passion that you find on this campus is really second to none. When you come here, you enter a unique family that would be hard to find elsewhere. At Butler, I feel seen, loved, known, and cared for.

Q: How do you get involved on campus? 
A: Definitely attend Block Party during Welcome Week! There are more than 130 student organizations and Block Party brings them all together during the first week of the fall semester. No matter where your interest or passion lies, there is a place for you to find your niche and your family at Butler.

Q: Which service-related activity have you found most satisfying?
A: Bulldogs Into The Streets is one activity that I make sure to attend every year. Students, faculty, community members, and families join together on a Saturday to complete service activities in Indianapolis. It’s a really special (and large!) event that embodies the service-oriented attitude you find at Butler.

Meet Current Student Karlye Sopczak ’22

Karlye Sopczak ’22
Major: Political Science and History
Hometown: Crown Point, Indiana
Co-curricular activities: Butler Student Ambassador, Butler University Dance Marathon, Greek Life, Pre-Law Society


The best thing about being a Butler Bulldog is being part of a community that truly cares about you, your success, and your happiness. Your professors are always willing to help talk through postgraduate plans every step along the way. I’m a Pre-Law student, and my faculty advisor has been an invaluable resource to me, helping me with everything from advising which classes to take to discussing various law school options. The guidance you receive and the independence you will gain at Butler is priceless.

Outside of academics, there is so much to do on campus. Butler does a great job of planning on-campus programming, providing a variety of lectures, shows, and performances that are free or very affordable. One of my favorite traditions is attending Butler Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker every year.

I’ve also become really involved with the Butler University Dance Marathon (BUDM), which is an organization that raises money for Riley Children’s Hospital. It has been the most rewarding experience to be part of a service organization that donates all of its proceeds to children’s health and pediatric research. It’s just a bonus that I’ve been able to meet so many other passionate, dedicated, and inspirational individuals through BUDM.

Meet Current Student Josiah Lax ’22

Josiah Lax ’22
Major: Dance Pedagogy
Hometown: Santa Monica, California
Co-Curricular Activities: Butler Ballet, Sigma Rho Delta Dance Fraternity, Movement Exchange


There are so many opportunities at Butler because of the community. Everyone is so welcoming and kind, and you’re able to make friends with so many people—those who share your passions as well as people who will teach you new things.

There are also no shortage of activities to keep you busy. As a Dance major, I have a really full schedule, just with my classes alone. A typical day starts with my academic courses in the morning and then my first dance class, which is either modern or jazz. Later, we have a group ballet class, then men’s allegro or pointe class, and then finally rehearsals for whatever show we’re currently working on.

I love every minute of dancing in the Lilly Hall studios and exercising in the Butler Ballet conditioning room. We even have access to our own physical therapists. Life as a dancer can be hard on the body, so it’s really amazing that Butler provides all of these resources for us.

Outside of dance, being a student at Butler provides so many unique experiences. Last year, I received a Fulbright Award and was able to study arts, activism, and social justice in Bristol, United Kingdom. I would never have known about this opportunity if not for the help of Dr. Dacia Charlesworth, Butler’s Director of Undergraduate Research and Prestigious Scholarships.

I never expected to have the breadth of experiences that I’ve had as a Butler student. This community, and the opportunities you have as a result, are truly unique.

Curent Student Q&A | Jack Dicen ’23

Current Student Q & A with Jack Dicen ’23
Major: Exploratory Business
Hometown: Birmingham, Alabama
Co-curricular activities: Asian and Pacific Islander Alliance, Dawg Pound, The Diversity Center, Men’s Club Basketball

Q: What’s your ideal Butler day look like? 
A: I usually wake up and do a little bit of homework or studying before my 10:00 AM class. I’ll always make time to grab lunch with my friends in between classes and catch up on everyone’s day. I’ll usually spend part of the afternoon in the Diversity Center and then end the day working out or playing basketball at the Health and Recreation Complex (HRC) on campus.

Q: What’s your favorite spot to work out on campus?
A: Definitely the HRC. It has a ton of options, so I never get bored. There’s a large variety of cardio equipment and weight machines, plus a swimming pool. And, my favorite part: basketball courts that are almost always available for a pick-up game.

Q: What’s your favorite spot on campus? 
A: My favorite spot is the Diversity Center. Everyone there is so welcoming and kind and accepts you for who you are with no judgment. A close second would be cheering on the Dawgs at Hinkle Fieldhouse. There’s just nothing that compares to watching a game in such a historic place.

Current Student Q&A | Brittany Bluthardt ’20

Brittany Bluthardt ’20
Majors: Journalism, Strategic Communication
Hometown: Antioch, Illinois
Co-curricular activities: Alpha Lambda Delta National Honor Society, Butler Honors Program, CHAARG, Greek Life, The Odyssey

Q: What’s your favorite spot on campus?
A: Holcomb Gardens, because of its beautiful scenery and proximity to the Indianapolis community. From the gardens, I can walk along nature paths, visit The Farm at Butler, travel to the Indianapolis Museum of Art, or spend time studying outside.

Q: What’s your favorite hidden-gem in Indianapolis?
A: A small marketplace called Locally Grown Gardens, which is pretty close to campus. Every time I walk through the doors, I’m excited to see what new produce they’ve received from the day before. And I get to see my little furry friend who greets every visitor with a “meow!”

Q: What’s your ideal day look like?
A: My best days are busy because I thrive under a little stress and excitement. I love starting my day with a quick blog post, going to class, fitting in a workout, and winding down by studying with my roommates. Each day is new and different, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!