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Creating Rewards that Matter

By Dana Lee ’19

After graduating from Butler in 2015, Phil Osolinski set out to solve a problem that impacts one in six American adults: student debt. 

Not only are students graduating with debt, Osolinski noticed, but they’re also likely furnishing a new apartment, buying a work wardrobe, and purchasing other items during the transition into adulthood. 

“How can we use those transactions to also help people pay for their student loans? That was the core idea,” Osolinski says. “People are spending this money anyway. Let's try to turn that everyday spending into something a little bit more rewarding and powerful.”

In summer 2018, the former Finance and Entrepreneurship double major quit his job and worked out of his parents’ den to create Ryze Rewards, an app that enables users to earn up to 17 percent cash back on purchases and direct it toward their student loans. 

"One of our missions is to make financial responsibility and living life no longer mutually exclusive,” Osolinski says. “We want people to live the life they want, buy the things they want, and earn rewards for financial good." 

So far, the app has partnered with more than 150 merchants ranging from Patagonia to Dell, with plans to include local businesses in the near future.

ryze
Alumni Success

Creating Rewards that Matter

Phil Osolinski '15 created the Ryze Rewards app to help users pay off student debt

Butler Beyond

Butler Board Chair Makes Major Scholarship Gift in Honor of Father

BY

PUBLISHED ON May 18 2020

Chair of the Butler Board of Trustees Jatinder-Bir “Jay” Sandhu ‘87 and his wife Roop recently donated $250,000 to Butler University to establish the Chain S. Sandhu Scholarship for students studying Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the Andre B. Lacy School of Business. The endowed scholarship honors the legacy and leadership of Jay’s father Chain S. Sandhu, a successful entrepreneur and community leader who recently passed away after bravely battling cancer. Scholarships are a top funding priority of the Butler Beyond comprehensive fundraising campaign and have become even more critical due to the global COVID-19 pandemic that has impacted the financial circumstances of many current and incoming Butler students.

“Roop and I are so grateful to have the opportunity to honor my father’s legacy through a scholarship that will help deserving students to earn a Butler degree,” Sandhu says. “My father has had a profound impact on many lives as a boss, mentor, and friend, and he has always sought to open doors of opportunity for others. I can think of no better way to honor his extraordinary life than to offer the gift of a Butler education, which will surely open many doors of opportunity for future generations.”

Chain Sandhu emigrated from India in 1969 and purchased NYX, Inc., an automotive supplier in Livonia, Michigan, in 1989. Under Chain’s leadership, NYX grew from 30 employees and $2 million in sales to 4,200 employees in five countries and nearly $700 million in sales, becoming one of Michigan’s largest minority-owned companies. The Chain S. Sandhu Scholarship will be awarded to students with financial need with preference for recipients of the Dr. John Morton-Finney Leadership Award or the 21st Century Scholarship. In 2018, Jay and Roop Sandhu also donated $1 million to Butler University to support construction of the new building for the Lacy School of Business, naming the building’s stunning rooftop garden in honor of Chain.

“The Sandhu family exemplifies the highest values of Butler University. We are honored to celebrate Chain Sandhu’s legacy through the newly-established endowed scholarship, as well as the Chain S. Sandhu Rooftop Garden at Butler,” says Butler President James Danko.

Butler recently committed an additional $10 million in financial aid for incoming and current students in response to the COVID-19 crisis. One of the goals of the University’s new Butler Beyond strategic direction is to expand access to a more diverse set of learners in keeping with Butler’s founding mission. Philanthropic support of student scholarships is critical to achieving this vision for Butler’s future.

“At a time when many of our current and prospective students are facing financial challenges due to the unforeseen effects of this pandemic, providing access to education through a scholarship is an especially meaningful gift,” says Vice President for Enrollment Management Lori Greene. “Butler University is deeply grateful to the Sandhu family for their generosity to our students, and we look forward to celebrating Chain’s life and legacy every year by awarding this scholarship to a deserving student following in his footsteps.”

Butler Beyond: The Campaign for Butler University is the University’s largest-ever comprehensive fundraising campaign, with a goal of $250 million. The campaign will conclude on May 31, 2022.

 

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

Butler Beyond

Butler Board Chair Makes Major Scholarship Gift in Honor of Father

The $250,000 gift establishes the Chain S. Sandhu Scholarship for students studying Entrepreneurship and Innovation

May 18 2020 Read more
COVID-19 course
Student-Centered

Butler Offers Free Online Course About COVID-19 to Incoming Students

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON May 13 2020

INDIANAPOLIS—This summer, Butler University will offer a free online class to help incoming students learn about and reflect on the widespread impacts of the COVID-19 crisis.

Encouraging students to find learning opportunities despite the uncertainty of this situation, the one-credit-hour course will be taught by a team of 14 faculty members from across the University. It will address the impact that COVID-19 has had on how we perceive various disciplines, how students learn, how professionals teach, and how both individuals and organizations respond during challenging times.

“We want to show our incoming students how current Butler students, faculty, and staff have really rallied in this past semester to make the best of a very difficult situation,” says Anne Wilson, Professor of Chemistry and faculty lead for the online class. “We feel that this course will offer an opportunity for incoming students to learn more about the Butler community they are about to enter, explore the impacts of COVID-19 in an academic environment, and reflect on what they have learned about their own adaptability and resilience.”

Starting in late June and running through the rest of the summer, the course will cover topics such as basic facts about COVID-19, the process of developing a vaccine, the presentation of data related to the virus, and the use of technology in disaster management. Students will also reflect on what the switch to online learning has meant for education since the beginning of the pandemic—and how that might change schooling for years to come.

At the end of the term, each student will create a culminating project that shares their response to the course material and discussions.

“I am so grateful for our talented faculty who have taken the time to create this opportunity for incoming students to build a stronger connection with Butler,” says Kathryn Morris, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. “This demonstrates the wonderful initiative and innovation that is so central to our community.”

After paying the $500 enrollment deposit, incoming students can sign up for the course on their student status page. Students should enroll before June 15, 2020.

 

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

COVID-19 course
Student-Centered

Butler Offers Free Online Course About COVID-19 to Incoming Students

The class will help students connect with the Butler community while reflecting on effects of a global crisis

May 13 2020 Read more

The Power of a Story

By Katie Grieze

Norette Turimuci ’04 knows the power of a story.

In her work as Executive Director of Resonate, an organization that helps women in East Africa gain the confidence to take big steps in their careers, she sees every day how storytelling can make a difference in someone’s life. But that doesn’t always mean hearing an inspiring tale of all that another person has accomplished—within Resonate, it means learning how to tell your own story. 

“Women are very good at downplaying our achievements, or just not acknowledging them,” Turimuci says. “Storytelling helps women think not only about how much they’ve gone through, but how much they’ve achieved.” 

She knows that first-hand. 

Not long after Turimuci graduated from Butler with a degree in Finance, her mom got sick. Turimuci traveled back home to Burundi, East Africa.

“My mom was very ill for about seven months. She didn’t have access to the care she needed,” Turimuci says. “It was during that time I realized, at some point, I would want to come back to East Africa and help my community grow. My mom was calling me home, in a way.” 

But she wasn’t ready yet. Turimuci went back to the U.S. to build her career and develop her skills, working with The Cooke Financial Group, the same financial group she’d interned with during her time at Butler. That’s where she discovered a passion for helping people. 

“Even though I was in the financial sector, I really enjoyed working with clients,” she says. “I could know they felt better or more financially secure, thanks to my relationship with them.”

To focus even more on making an impact in people’s lives, Turimuci made the switch to a nonprofit role in 2010. She joined an organization in Toronto, Canada, where she worked to improve cancer care for Indigenous peoples. But seven years later, her mom’s sickness returned.

“She brought me back home again, and I decided to stay,” she says. 

Turimuci’s mom passed away in fall 2017. It had been the woman’s life mission to make sure Turimuci and her four siblings had access to a great education, and Turimuci decided it was time to bring that experience back to East Africa.

When she met Resonate at a networking event and heard about how they empower women through story-based leadership training, she saw it as exactly the kind of thing that would have made life better for her mom. 

“My mom was a very strong and intelligent woman who could have achieved so much more if she’d had the time and space to fulfill her potential, or even believed how much she could achieve,” Turimuci says. “Through telling their stories, women discover their strength and their resilience.”

Resonate’s core program, Storytelling for Leadership, brings groups of women together over two days to learn how to tell their stories. They start with a definition of leadership that isn’t about a title or a specific position, but about staying proactive in the face of challenges.  

“It’s a way of being,” Turimuci says. “It’s seeing something that’s not working, and finding a solution.”

Then, the women identify their values—many of them for the first time—and reflect on how those values have helped them make decisions in their lives. Going forward, they can be more intentional about making choices that are rooted in what they believe.

Through helping women talk about the challenges they’ve already overcome, Resonate aims to help them understand that they have control over their lives. 

So far, most of Resonate’s work has taken place within Rwanda, but Turimuci’s mission for the next several years is to expand the organization’s work across more of East Africa. She wants to make sure that other women like her mom, herself, and now her own daughter have the confidence they need to change the world.

 

Photos courtesy of Resonate

resonate
Alumni Success

The Power of a Story

In East Africa, a Butler grad helps women celebrate their achievements and take control of their futures

resonate

The Power of a Story

By Katie Grieze
esports
Innovation

Esports Provide Connection and Competition for Students During COVID-19

BY John Dedman

PUBLISHED ON May 06 2020

Playing pick-up games at the Health and Recreation Complex (HRC). Tossing a Frisbee or football on the quad outside Jordan Hall. Donning a jersey and lining up on the intramural fields.

As the month of March arrived on the Butler University campus and students planned to return from spring break, images like these filled hopes for the second half of the semester. But then the COVID-19 pandemic adjusted daily life in almost every corner of the world, and these moments never came to be. Instead, students transitioned to virtual instruction with the closing of classrooms and campus housing facilities.

Lost amid the pandemic were not only many of those opportunities to relieve stress through competition, but also those opportunities to connect with classmates through recreation.

But one way that some members of the Butler community have been able to remain connected is through esports, a growing activity on Butler’s campus.

Junior Luke Renchik is president of Butler’s esports club, and he’s also a member of Butler’s varsity esports team, which competes against other BIG EAST universities.

“It’s been really nice to feel a part of Butler while I’m physically away from campus,” says Renchik, who returned home to Michigan during the pandemic. “It’s been a good social outlet while I’m isolated.”

When Renchik notices that one of the club’s 90 members is online, he often joins them for a game. It allows him to chat with friends even when they can’t be together in person.

Butler’s varsity team began competing against BIG EAST universities in the spring of 2018. Butler’s team helped organize similar groups on other BIG EAST campuses to launch formal championships in several titles, including League of Legends and Rocket League.

The second half of the BIG EAST League of Legends season was adjusted due to the pandemic, but it was still played, and the spring BIG EAST Rocket League season continued without a hitch.

Normally, Butler’s 12 varsity players would gather to compete in the new Esports and Gaming Center in Atherton Union. Instead, Butler’s team members each play from their respective homes, but they are still connected.

“It was definitely different,” says Renchik. “We missed the energy, not all being in the same room, but we were able to exist as a team when so many other sports and teams didn’t have an opportunity to finish their season.”

Bailey Finocchio is Butler’s Assistant Director of Recreation & Wellness, Club Sports. Many of her responsibilities revolve around providing intramural sports opportunities for Butler students. During the fall semester, nearly 600 students participated in intramural sports. With students scheduled to return from spring break, another season of competition was about to begin full-throttle.

Basketball pool play had concluded, and the tournament bracket was set. Soccer, softball, badminton, lawn games, and more were set to begin. And then… students didn’t return to campus.

Finocchio had previously discussed the implementation of esports championships into intramurals with Eric Kammeyer, Butler’s Director of Esports and Gaming Technology. With the pandemic taking away so many other opportunities, it seemed like the right time.

“We knew that traditional programming wasn’t going to work, so we turned to esports,” said Finocchio. “We were already looking at options for esports to be included in intramurals, maybe a tournament over a weekend. But the pandemic allowed us to launch something more.”

Thirty-two participants signed up to play in three separate leagues: Rocket League, FIFA 20, and NBA2K 20. Three-week leagues were run simultaneously, with top performers feeding into playoffs.

“Most of the participants had previously participated in our traditional programming,” said Finocchio. “We were able to provide them with an outlet to still compete and interact with their classmates. It is something that we will look to continue as part of our intramural offerings.”

Senior Zach Sterrett was one of the students who made the transition from the traditional field to the e-field. Sterrett is a member of Butler’s club soccer team, which plays against club teams from other universities. While their season predominantly takes place in the fall, the portion of the calendar after spring break is normally filled with weekly practices and several matches against regional opponents. When his season was unexpectedly canceled, Sterrett took advantage of the opportunity provided by intramural esports.

“The intramural esports league gave me a chance to stay in touch with soccer and a way to show my competitive spirit,” says Sterrett. “When our games and practices were taken away, this was still a way to play soccer. It was a different outlet, and a lot of fun.”

esports
Innovation

Esports Provide Connection and Competition for Students During COVID-19

While spring intramural sports and other on-campus activities disappeared, some Bulldogs turned to online gaming

May 06 2020 Read more

Meet the Voice Behind Butler’s New Commercial

By Katie Grieze

When Chinyelu Mwaafrika heard that a team at Butler University was looking for a student to be the voice of its newest television and radio advertisements, the first-year Theatre major jumped at the opportunity.

From his home in Indianapolis, he used his cell phone to record an audition for the voiceover: “As Bulldogs, we believe in the Butler Way. In doing more than our best, in putting team above self, and in unleashing our strengths for the greater good...”

The next day, he got the part.

“I’m always interested in trying new things, and I’ve never done anything like this before,” Mwaafrika says. “I also wanted to be helpful. Plus, I like Butler a lot, and I wanted to contribute in any way I could.”

For much of his childhood, Mwaafrika had planned to pursue engineering. But the desire to perform was always there, so he joined the Asante Children’s Theatre at 13 and continued to participate in plays throughout high school. Eventually, he realized theatre was what he needed to be doing full-time.

“I’m really into the potential for theatre to bring about change,” he says. “It encourages people to think and ask questions. It’s a good tool for bringing people together and exploring issues that people don’t always want to talk about.”

When Mwaafrika started looking for universities in his home state of Indiana, Butler seemed like the obvious choice.

“Butler was the only place I auditioned that I felt would be able to really push me and help me grow as an artist and as a person,” he says.

And so far, his college experience has been fantastic. He says the switch to online learning this semester hasn’t been ideal, but he appreciates the faculty who have found ways to adapt and make sure that students still get the best possible education.

“I cannot put into words how much I miss the people and the campus,” he says. “I love Butler so much.”

chinyelu
Student-Centered

Meet the Voice Behind Butler’s New Commercial

First-year theatre student Chinyelu Mwaafrika wants to help bring people together

istock
Student-Centered

Q&A: How Can You Find a Job During a Pandemic?

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON May 05 2020

Since mid-March, more than 30 million people across the United States have lost their jobs. As the COVID-19 pandemic takes its toll on the economy, many organizations are also eliminating vacant positions and placing a freeze on new hires.

That can be scary for students in the Class of 2020, who are graduating into a job market with the highest unemployment rate since the Great Depression. But according to Sierra Mathews, a Career Advisor in Butler University’s Office of Career and Professional Success (CaPS), there are a few ways job seekers can take more control of their careers.

 

How should students approach the job search during this time?

First, have compassion for yourself. Whatever you’re feeling, whether it be anger, fear, anxiety, sadness, or panic, allow yourself to feel those emotions fully. Don’t feel like you have to put on a face of “I’ve got this all together,” because nobody does right now.

My second piece of advice is to explore. Think about where your skill set might be valuable outside the career you’ve been planning for. For instance, our arts majors have learned so much when it comes to creativity, adaptability, and collaboration. Those skills are so useful, even outside the arts realm. The same goes for our liberal arts and sciences students. There are so many applications for those critical thinking and writing skills, even if the jobs you want aren’t hiring right this second.

To determine which companies are still hiring, and therefore provide clearer resources for students, CaPS has been working closely with our network of employers. This has helped us steer job seekers more toward industries such as healthcare, pharmacy, business analytics, software development, nonprofit work, and others that have been least affected by the pandemic. 

Students can also consider options they might have never thought of before. For some, that means pursuing fields outside their majors. For others, it might mean taking a gap year to do something like the AmeriCorps VISTA program, or accepting a paid internship instead of a full-time job.

Finally, I talk to students about exploring their networks. Who do you know, and who do they know? Use tools like LinkedIn and Bulldogs Connect to find people who work in the fields you’re interested in. Ask them about how they got to where they are, or what they love about that industry. Right now, everyone is craving human interaction. Reaching out and building those relationships will pay off later. Once applications open back up, they’ll know who you are.

 

When it comes to the actual application, how can students stand out?

Networking is the most important thing you can do to stand out, but there are a few other ways to make yourself a more appealing candidate. Most of us know we’re supposed to tailor cover letters for each job, but you should really be doing the same with your résumé—especially now. Look closely at job descriptions, and pay attention to how companies describe themselves. What keywords do they use? Implement those into both your résumé and cover letter. For applicants in creative fields like marketing, communications, arts, and so on, you might even think about incorporating some of the company’s fonts and colors.

 

How can the CaPS Office help?

If you are still figuring out what you want to do, we can help with discovering careers that best match your interests and skills. During the application process, we can assist with building stronger résumés, cover letters, and LinkedIn pages. We also provide interview training.

But our office does more than just individual coaching: We also host workshops and fairs designed to help all students and alumni advance in their careers. While these events are currently held virtually, they provide great opportunities to engage directly with employers who want to work with Butler students and alumni. To view upcoming events and available jobs, check out our online portal through Handshake.

All of our services are free for Bulldogs for life. If you’re a current student who doesn’t have a résumé, we’re here for you. If you’re an alumnus who has lost your job or been furloughed, we’re here for you, too. Our office is here to help, wherever you are, every step of the way.

 

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

istock
Student-Centered

Q&A: How Can You Find a Job During a Pandemic?

Butler career advisor Sierra Mathews offers tips for approaching the job search in the midst of economic crisis

May 05 2020 Read more
istock
Experiential Learning

Pharmacy Students to Fill Indy’s Prescription for Hand Sanitizer

BY Tim Brouk

PUBLISHED ON Apr 30 2020

A small group of Pharmacy graduate students will briefly step away from their long-term research projects to help fill a need for the Indianapolis community.

Utilizing their lab skills, Victor Anguiano, Mohammed Ramadan, and Zach Todd are mixing up gallons of hand sanitizer to donate to Circle City hospitals, as well as homeless shelters, nursing homes, and domestic abuse treatment centers. Funding for the project came from the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (COPHS). Pharmacy faculty members Sudip and Nandita Das are supervising the project, which will distribute the sanitizer in 200-milliliter bottles.

The recipe contains 75 percent alcohol, making it more effective than some products once found on store shelves.

“We’re working from specifications set up by the World Health Organization, and we’re meeting their standards to make it efficient,” says Anguiano, who also works in research and development in the pharmaceutical industry. “Everything’s been verified.”

Anguiano says the entire process should take two days: Day one will consist of mixing the sanitizer and leaving it to settle overnight. Day two will be for bottling and distribution.

The process of making hand sanitizer is easy, especially for Pharmacy researchers. Combining the alcohol with glycerol only takes 10 minutes in lab mixers. The glycerol gives the sanitizer a gel-like consistency and a hydrating element. The students kept the recipe simple, excluding scents or other frills that would slow down the process.

“Being pharmacy students, this is one of the main ways we are able to contribute,” Anguiano says. ”We have a responsibility to make an impact in this fight.”

Professor of Pharmaceutics Sudip Das says many Butler students, staff, and faculty members are helping the community—and beyond—during the COVID-19 pandemic. He is proud of the students who are taking time out of their research to lend a hand.

“The No. 1 thing is that you do whatever you can during this humanitarian crisis,” Das says. “We are trying to make sure people know that COPHS is in the fight against this pandemic, and we want everyone to be safe and healthy.”

 

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

istock
Experiential Learning

Pharmacy Students to Fill Indy’s Prescription for Hand Sanitizer

A trio of graduate students will make 50 liters of sanitizer for donation to community programs and facilities

Apr 30 2020 Read more
ethics series
Campus

Lacy School of Business Launches New Podcast as Part of Ethics Series

BY

PUBLISHED ON Apr 28 2020

INDIANAPOLIS—The Lacy School of Business Ethics Series, presented by Old National Bank, is launching a new three-part podcast series featuring conversations with top business leaders as they explore how COVID-19 is affecting the way they work and the communities they serve.

The series kicks off with Old National Bank Chairman and CEO Jim Ryan in a conversation with Hilary Buttrick, an Associate Dean in the Lacy School of Business.

“When we launched this ethics series in February with whistleblower Tyler Schultz, we weren’t planning on the leap to podcasting” Buttrick says. “With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we felt like more than ever, the question is, ‘How do we lead ethically in times of crisis?’ With access to three companies in our backyard that are listed among Ethisphere’s World’s Most Ethical Companies, being able to share their insights and conversation over a broad, accessible platform seemed to be the best way to continue our series.”

The other two conversations will be with Andrew Penca, Executive Director of Supply Chain, Engine Business at Cummins, and Melissa Stapleton Barnes, Senior Vice President, Enterprise Risk Management and Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer at Eli Lilly and Company.

“It’s also times like these when creativity and partnerships take hold,” Buttrick says. “When we had the idea to record a podcast, the Butler Arts & Events Center team was available to help us record and produce the final products. It’s exciting to be part of a campus community that can pivot quickly to deliver timely content.”

This series is the first for the new Lacy School of Business Ethics Series Podcast. Episodes can be found on Spotify and BuzzSprout. The first episode, a conversation with Old National Bank Chairman and CEO Jim Ryan, is available now. More information about the series can be found at Lacy Business Ethics Series Podcast.

 

About Lacy School of Business Ethics Series, presented by Old National Bank: 
The series is part of our journey to become the Midwest's leader in Business Ethics Education and Ethical Leadership. Our goal is to continue to exemplify ethical practice and leadership development for our students, future leaders, and the community as a whole through a series of events and podcasts.

 

About Butler Arts & Events Center: 
The Butler Arts & Events Center (BAEC) is Central Indiana’s premiere home for diverse performing arts programming and education on the beautiful campus of Butler University. Its venues welcome more than 200,000 visitors annually, with 30,000 from the student matinee series.  The BAEC is comprised of five venues, including its flagship 2100-seat Clowes Memorial Hall; the Schrott Center for the Arts with 475 seats; Shelton Auditorium with nearly 400 seats; Eidson-Duckwall Recital Hall with 135 seats, and Lilly Hall Studio Theatre. Programming includes the Butler Arts Presents series, BAEC’s Education Matinee Series, Jordan College of the Arts performances, Broadway In Indianapolis shows, various Butler lecture series, performances from local performing arts organizations, and a variety of national touring shows.

 

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

ethics series
Campus

Lacy School of Business Launches New Podcast as Part of Ethics Series

The three-part podcast series features business leaders discussing effects of COVID-19 pandemic

Apr 28 2020 Read more
istock
Student-Centered

What Does an Online Music Class Look Like?

BY Brian Weidner

PUBLISHED ON Apr 27 2020

Over the last two months, the coronavirus pandemic has forced universities around the world to shut down campuses and rethink how classes are held. As an Assistant Professor of Music Education here at Butler University, I and my fellow faculty have faced unique challenges in moving typically hands-on experiences to an online setting, but we are making the best of this and learning to adjust.

For instance, several of our courses involve a practicum component with local K-12 schools that have also switched to distance learning. But that doesn’t mean we are eliminating this important experience for our students. Instead, we have found other ways to engage with these schools, in some cases providing even richer opportunities. Our students have been teaching small-group lessons via Zoom, helping K-12 teachers design online modules, providing feedback on submitted videos, and recording instrument demonstrations.

My Brass Techniques course also posed a challenge. Back on campus, this group met in-person at 8:00 AM. But about half my students now live in other time zones. If we held the class synchronously over Zoom, they would have to be up and playing brass instruments before their families are even awake.

So, we adapted. I’m using many of the same tools our partner K-12 teachers have been using to provide flexibility for students. We’ve experimented with Flipgrid, Acapella, and various social media platforms, reflecting on how these tools enhance Butler students’ own learning as well as how they might use these resources for their own teaching in the future.

Perhaps the biggest challenge has been recognizing that music courses are simultaneously academic and social. Many of our students are hurting from the social disconnect of this experience, and the music education faculty—along with our student National Association for Music Education (NAfME) chapter—have been working to bridge that gap.

Every day, we now have an open Zoom call at lunch time. At least one faculty member is there to chat with any students who want to join. On Fridays, our NAfME chapter hosts activity lunches. These have included cooking classes led by my children, yoga with one of our flute professors, and trivia. We have also stayed connected through social media and started biweekly “living room concerts” where anyone can share a performance or listen to others perform.

No online platform can replace being in the classroom with one another, or the opportunity for spontaneous chats in the hallway. Still, we are doing all we can to maintain the experience of being a Butler music student—even while miles from campus.

 

To stay connected during the switch to online learning, music students from Butler University's Jordan College of the Arts have been holding biweekly “living room concerts” through Zoom—providing a chance for anyone to share a performance or listen to others perform. Here's a look back at some moments from their concert on April 9, 2020.

 

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

istock
Student-Centered

What Does an Online Music Class Look Like?

JCA’s Brian Weidner explains how he’s meeting the challenge of holding remote music education courses

Apr 27 2020 Read more
istock
Experiential Learning

In Switch to eLearning, Butler Student-Teacher Finds What Matters Most

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Apr 24 2020

Patrick Conway, a senior Secondary Education major at Butler University, spent three days student-teaching in a seventh-grade classroom before the COVID-19 pandemic forced schools across the nation to move online.

Now, as he continues his own Butler coursework remotely, he’s back home in Naperville, Illinois. But that isn’t stopping him from staying connected with his students at Zionsville West Middle School.

“The College of Education really emphasizes that you need to be flexible as a teacher,” Conway says. “Not every day is going to look the same. Not every lesson is going to look the same. That’s helped me adjust now. I am going with the flow and doing my best to help these students learn.”

For Conway, that has meant experimenting with new technologies and redesigning class content to fit the online space. Group work becomes individual projects. Interactive simulations become research papers. But Conway says the transition has given him a chance to focus on the most important parts of the curriculum, narrowing down ideas to spend more time on key points.

“Obviously, I would still prefer to be in the classroom,” he says. “But this situation has made all teachers reflect more on what we’re teaching. In the long-term, I think it might make classes and learning better.”

Conway says being physically separated from students has given him more appreciation for time spent in the classroom, and it reminds teachers how important it is to build relationships and provide support.

“For some of these students who maybe don’t have access to food at home, or whose parents are struggling with the effects of the pandemic, school might not be the most important thing right now,” Conway says. “So you still have to be there for them any way you can.”

Free online tools like FlipGrid, which Conway uses to create and share daily videos, have been key for staying connected with students and providing engaging lessons. Conway is using this time to explore new technologies, planning for how he might keep using them even after class is back in the classroom.

“You can be told over and over to always be ready for the unexpected,” he says, “but once you actually experience it, you are so much more prepared moving forward. We’re just all staying flexible and learning new things together. Teachers are a resilient group of people, and we are working hard to make this the best possible experience for our students.”

 

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

 

istock
Experiential Learning

In Switch to eLearning, Butler Student-Teacher Finds What Matters Most

Adapting to a pandemic, Patrick Conway develops new online content for seventh-graders at Zionsville West Middle School

Apr 24 2020 Read more
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Alumni Success

Butler Grad Helps Americans See Coronavirus Up Close

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Apr 22 2020

You’ve probably seen the images flooding the news of floating spheres covered in spikes—an up-close view of the microscopic 2019-nCoV particles that cause COVID-19 and have changed our lives in so many ways over the past two months. The depictions provide a concrete visual for something otherwise so abstract to most people. There are many things we still don’t know about the novel coronavirus, but at least we know roughly what it looks like.

That’s all thanks to a team of artists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)—part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)—where Austin Athman ’09 works as a Visual Information Specialist.

At Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton, Montana, science and art collide. After high-power microscopes capture black-and-white images of disease samples, Athman and his colleagues in the Visual and Medical Arts Unit use digital tools to add colors and details that bring the photos to life.

The end result is a colorized image that helps scientists better understand the virus particles—which are about 10,000 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair—as well as put a face to a top enemy for the general public.

When COVID-19 arrived in the United States, Athman’s lab received a sample of the coronavirus from one of the first patients.

“As soon as we had the sample,” Athman says, “we started taking pictures, colorizing them in Photoshop, and putting them on the NIAID Flickr website. The next day, we already saw the images being used by major news outlets across the country.”

Now, Athman has completed more than 15 different colorizations of COVID-19 images, along with a 3D model that can be printed and studied. Beyond providing compelling visuals for news stories, adding color helps scientists communicate their research.

Athman starts by sitting down with scientists and microscopists to learn more about what he’s looking at in the black-and-white photo. His colorized images are usually meant to accompany research publications, highlighting the features scientists are referring to in the text.

“If I can get a scientist to sit down and explain what something looks like in common language,” Athman says, “it helps people outside the lab understand something about science in a way words can’t always do.”

Athman wants viewers to look at the most important part of the image, and that’s where art comes in. Using photo editing software, he starts by adding highlights and shadows that bring depth to the otherwise flat-looking photos. He also rotates and crops the images in a way that guides the eye to desired focal points.

Then comes the color. The scientists and artists don’t know what the particles’ true colors are, or if the diseases even have color. But they choose palettes that make the photos more engaging and understandable while still appearing realistic.

 

 

While Athman has always enjoyed science, he says he doesn’t actually have much formal experience in the field. At Butler University, his degrees were in Music and Multimedia Studies. But he grew up near his current lab and first got involved with the NIAID when, back in high school, he applied for an internship that would let him explore his interest in graphic design. He started the internship as a high school junior, then returned each summer to work full time. When he graduated from Butler in 2009, he accepted a permanent position and has been at the lab ever since.

“Recently, I’ve been focusing on the COVID-19 images,” he says about his day-to-day work. “But when we aren’t in pandemic mode, I do all kinds of visual things. I draw illustrations, design graphs, edit videos, and create scientific animations.”

With the COVID-19 colorizations, Athman says it has felt strange to see his work all over the news so suddenly. But it’s not the first time his art has been on a national stage. Until now, a colorization of HIV particles was his most popular image, appearing for years on almost any article related to HIV. Several of his colorizations are also featured in a Smithsonian exhibit called Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World, currently open at the National Museum of Natural History and available digitally here. One of his Bubonic Plague colorizations was published in a 2013 issue of National Geographic—fulfilling one of Athman’s childhood dreams.

“It’s a new thing almost every day,” he says. “You never get bored. And this merge of art and science—I think a lot of people aren’t really aware this kind of field exists.”

 

Photos courtesy of the NIAID

 

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

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Alumni Success

Butler Grad Helps Americans See Coronavirus Up Close

At the NIH, Austin Athman ’09 is part of a team that captures images of microscopic diseases

Apr 22 2020 Read more

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