Indiana Tech Magazine – Spring 2023

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A new partnership with Huntington University and Parkview Health will create outstanding opportunities for aspiring nurses.


What is Indiana Tech all about? It’s about great programs, places and people —an optimistic future and an illustrious past working together to help our students achieve lives of significance and worth. Catch that spirit in our brand new video that you can view here:

Visit our YouTube channel (@IndianaTechFW) to see all the ways we show the world what Indiana Tech is all about.





Our recent CAE-CD designation from the U.S. National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security backs it up!



Engaged in a global competition for online students, Indiana Tech has strategies devoted to keeping its online product high in quality.

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Biology major Karlee Barnhill (left) and forensic science major Dylan Banda (right) examine aquatic life forms taken from the waterway that cuts through Warrior Park.


04 Letter from Our President

As another academic year nears its end, we look back with gratitude and pride at so many great achievements. Across the University

06 By the Numbers

The interest generated by our Oral History Project exceeded all expectations—so much so that it's the focus of this issue's By the Numbers feature.

08 Tech Happenings

The first Day of Giving raises more than $100,000, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Celebration turns 5, and more.

10 A Few Words With…

In this region, it's going to take employer and community outreach coordinator Greg Leach a while to match the level of popularity his son enjoys, but he's gaining ground one company at a time.

20 College of Arts & Sciences Roundup

After being interrupted by the pandemic for two years, Indiana Tech's speech competition made a triumphant return to campus in February.

22 College of Business Roundup

Fabian Granqvist's idea is a winner, (energy) bar none!

24 Talwar College of Engineering and Computer Sciences Roundup

Another academic year, another season of excellence from Indiana Tech's cyber defense team, the Cyber Warriors.

26 Athletics Roundup

Our women's indoor track and field team won its third straight NAIA national championship while the men's basketball team saw a historic season end with a narrow loss in the NAIA national title game.

Path of a Warrior

28 From the Desk of Kristi Jarmus

Thanks to all who participated in our first Oral History Project. Your stories are instrumental in inspiring current Indiana Tech Warriors.

30 Alumni Spotlight: Blaise Alexander

This year's commencement speaker, Blaise Alexander, used an entrepreneurial sprit and hard work to build a successful network of auto dealerships across Pennsylvania.

32 Making a Difference: Rick Walker

His support positively impacts what students are able to attempt for their senior engineering project and the quality of the result.

34 In Memoriam

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10 22 30

Letter from Our President

For all of us here at Indiana Tech, each day is filled with purpose. We work together to help students gain the knowledge, develop the skills and maximize the potential that will lead them to successful careers and lives of significance and worth.

I’m grateful that our alumni, friends and partners share this purpose. Just one example: recently, you came together to support our first Day of Giving. Thanks to your generosity, in just 24 hours, significant funds were raised to support our students in areas ranging from scholarships to facilities to athletics and so much more. Thank you! Learn more about the results of this newlylaunched special event in the Tech Happenings section on page 8.

Another special day for us each year is commencement day. Nearly 1,000 graduates earning everything from associate to doctoral degrees will be honored at this year’s ceremony on Saturday, May 13. Mr. Blaise Alexander, a nationally known businessman and philanthropist who got his start as a mechanical engineering student right here at Indiana Tech, will be our keynote speaker during this year’s commencement celebration. I hope you will join us then. More information about Mr. Alexander and commencement 2023 can be found on page 30.

A shared commitment to our purpose is also leading our students, faculty and staff to new levels of innovation and success. In the Talwar College of Engineering and Computer Sciences, we recently brought online a state-of-the-art 3D metal printer—one of only two in the state of Indiana and a handful in the nation. Along with our other innovative labs and equipment in the new Zollner Engineering Center, this piece of technology will give our students highly relevant real-world experience while enabling the university to partner with a wide range of organizations on product development, prototyping and more. Read more in our College Roundups sections, which start on page 20.

Partnerships continue to offer new ways to serve students in other areas, too. On page 12, you can learn more about our wide range of programs preparing students for careers in health-related fields. This includes our new partnership with Parkview Health, our region’s leading health care system, and Huntington University on a new accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. The new program brings together the best aspects of our three organizations to fill a critical need for skilled nurses in our community.

I’m also proud to share that Indiana Tech’s strengths in cybersecurity and computer sciences have been gaining wider recognition this year. We were recently designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense by the U.S. National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security. Learn more about this elite designation on page 16. Meanwhile our cyber competition team, the Cyber Warriors, continues to excel, winning its ninth straight Indiana state championship. More about the Cyber Warriors can be found on page 24.

Your support makes all of these things possible! Thank you for helping us fulfill our purpose,

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Volume 20, Issue 2

Karl W. Einolf, Ph.D. President

Institutional Advancement

Dan Grigg Vice President for Institutional Advancement

Dave Stevens Senior Director of Institutional Advancement

Mary Lasits Senior Director of Institutional Advancement

Jennifer Ross, B.S. ’07 Director of Advancement Services and Executive Operations

Kristi Jarmus Director of Alumni Relations

Kayla Paz Director of Advancement Services

Erin Johnson Assistant Director of Institutional Advancement and Grants Administration

Marketing and Communication

Brian Engelhart Vice President for Marketing and Communication

Matt Bair Director of Marketing and Communication

Jennifer Murphy, MBA ’22 Director of Marketing

Julie Farison Creative Director

Sarah Suraci Graphic Designer

Elle Helm Graphic Designer

Joel Kuhn, B.S. ’12 Web Developer

Randy Smith Director of Photo and Video

Amber Owens, MBA ’21 Social Media Manager

Indiana Tech online:

Please send comments, news and feature story ideas to: Indiana Tech attn: Marketing 1600 E. Washington Blvd. Fort Wayne, IN 46803 phone: 260.422.5561 or 800.937.2448, ext. 2250 email:

The editors reserve the right to edit articles for length and clarity. Articles may be reproduced with permission and proper attribution. Our Mission: Indiana Tech provides learners a professional education; prepares them for active participation, career advancement and leadership in the global 21st century society; and motivates them toward a life of significance and worth.

Indiana Tech Magazine 5
Indiana Tech forward Josh Kline goes in for a layup during NAIA opening-round tournament action at the Schaefer Center in March.


By the Numbers

Late in 2021, Indiana Tech partnered with Publishing Concepts Incorporated (PCI) for the Indiana Tech Oral History project with a goal of updating alumni records and capturing alumni memories for commemorative print and digital publications. Without question, the response to this project was an overwhelming success—so much so that we decided to share it with you in this issue’s By the Numbers feature.

The project entailed four stages:

PHASE 1 April to September, 2022: PCI conducted outreach and interviews

PHASE 2 September 2022 to February 2023: Stories were reviewed and edited

PHASE 3 — February to April 2023: Digital story vault was designed, developed and made available to purchasers

PHASE 4 Fall 2023: Due to paper supply chain issues, publication of the printed book is delayed until June 2023. When it is completed, the book will be distributed to alumni who purchased them. Copies will also be available for viewing in the McMillen Library.

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PROVIDED BY PCI AGE Percentage of Respondents 0 to 29 9.15% 30 to 39 15.64% 40 to 49 18.77% 50 to 59 15.30% 60 to 69 12.17% 70 to 79 11.94% 80+ 16.99% Unkown 0.04% CONTACT INFORMATION UPDATES NEW VERIFIED EMAILS 569 1,881 HOME ADDRESSES 367 2,178 HOME PHONE NUMBERS 1,627 486 CELL PHONE NUMBERS 1,707 83 Class Year Number of Respondents 1940s 16 1950s 232 1960s 317 1970s 123 1980s 32 1990s 143 2000s 489 2010s 1064 2020s 170 Other 3 GENDER Percentage of Respondents Male 58.94% Female 41.06%
purchase a
publication. Contact Publishing Concepts Incorporated Customer Service at 1.800.982.1590, or AS TOLD BY THE ALUMNI OF IN MY WORDS THE ORAL HISTORY PROJECT 2022 | IN MY WORDS | THE ORAL HISTORY PROJECT 2022
Although the deadline to order
printed book has passed, you
digital version


Office of Diversity and Inclusion hosts its fifth MLK celebration

On Thursday, Jan. 19, Indiana Tech’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion held its fifth annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Celebration in the Multi-Flex Theater on the Indiana Tech campus.

Keynote speaker Steve Pemberton, the chief human resources officer at Workhuman and a best-selling author, delivered a poignant and uplifting account of his life. As a child, he fell through the gaps of the foster care system and struggled to find safety, security and a sense of family. That adversity motivated him to become one of America’s most inspiring business and human resources leaders. You can learn more about his life in his memoir, “A Chance in the World,” and his most recent book, “The Lighthouse Effect: How Ordinary People Can Have an Extraordinary Impact in the World.”

The event was capped off by the announcement of the 2023 Diversity Vanguard Award winners. Originated in 2020, these awards were created to celebrate individuals, departments and external organizations advancing initiatives which support diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion at Indiana Tech.

Dr. Cortney Robbins, Indiana Tech professor of English and humanities, earned the university award, while Parkview Health was recognized as the community award winner.

Tech establishes new partnership with industry leader Do it Best

Indiana Tech and national home improvement industry leader Do it Best have entered a new academic partnership to provide workplace-based professional education options for Do it Best team members, their spouses and their dependents. The Do it Best Corporate Scholarship reduces tuition, waives fees, and provides course materials and textbooks at no additional cost. In all, nearly 60 career-focused undergraduate and graduate online degree programs and certificates are available to Do it Best associates.

Founded in Fort Wayne in 1945 as Hardware Wholesalers, Inc., Do it Best is the only United States-based, member-owned comprehensive and fully integrated hardware, lumber and building materials buying cooperative in the

home improvement industry. In addition to its corporate headquarters in Fort Wayne, Do it Best has hundreds of member retail locations, eight warehouses and four regional lumber centers across the country.

“Our university has extensive experience in helping our corporate partners upskill their workforce, which strengthens their companies and adds a great deal to individual employee satisfaction,” said Dr. Steve Herendeen, Indiana Tech’s vice president for enrollment management. “Our programs in management and leadership, business, supply chain management, analytics and computer sciences, among others, demonstrate our commitment to providing employers with educational services that will help them grow.”

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First Day of Giving raises over $110,000

Indiana Tech alumni, friends, faculty, staff, students and families joined together on Tuesday, Feb. 21, to raise $110,623 to benefit students during the university’s first Day of Giving. 455 donors contributed during the special 24-hour online fundraising event.

Donors were able to choose from a wide range of areas to support during Day of Giving, including scholarships, student organizations, academic programs, classroom and lab facilities, student support services, athletics and more. There were also several challenges set up by alumni donors who matched the funds given to specific purposes across the university during the course of the day.

Indiana Tech President Karl W. Einolf commented, “The generosity of the Indiana Tech community is what makes us the caring, vibrant and innovative university we are. I’m tremendously grateful for the support of our alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends during this year’s Day of Giving. This event is a terrific example of how our entire community comes together in so many ways to support our students in earning a quality education and pursing their dreams.”


donors $110,623 raised COUNTLESS STUDENTS HELPED

Tech designated as a Military Friendly School for 12th straight year

Indiana Tech has been designated a Military Friendly School for 2023-24 by Viqtory, a servicedisabled, veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB) that connects the military community to civilian employment, educational and entrepreneurial opportunities. Military Friendly is the standard that measures an organization’s commitment, effort and success in creating sustainable and meaningful benefit for the military community.

In addition to Military Friendly status, Indiana Tech was also recognized as a Top 10-Gold Level institution among graduate programs. According to Viqtory, a Top 10-Gold Level designation indicates Indiana Tech is a “guidon bearer to military/ veteran programs and initiatives,” and sets

standards for other institutions to follow. This is the 12th consecutive year that Indiana Tech has been recognized as a Military Friendly School.

“Receiving Gold Status and Top Ten again this year is directly related to the commitment the Military and Veteran Services team at Indiana Tech has for our students,” said Ryan Ozbun, associate vice president of Military and Veteran Services at Indiana Tech. “In the coming year, we are looking forward to bringing Indiana Tech to active duty bases, armories and reserve centers across the nation, as we continue to expand our first-class service to military and veterans looking for a great education and great educational experience.”

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Indiana Tech’s Military & Veteran Services team extends its support to current members of the military, veterans and military spouses, as well as civilian Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs employees. Learn more at DAY OF GIVING

A Few Words With...

Greg Leach

When it comes to facial recognition, it’s going to take a while for Greg Leach to match the level of popularity his son, Matt, has achieved in Indiana Tech’s home region. But as the university’s newish employer and community outreach coordinator, the elder Leach is gaining ground, one company at a time.

Matt Leach is chief meteorologist for WPTA-TV in Fort Wayne and an adjunct communications professor at Indiana Tech. His positive experience at the university influenced Greg’s decision to pursue his current role, which entails cultivating relationships with targeted employers and organizations that will result in job opportunities and internships for our students. Since starting in October 2022, Greg has met with more than 140 employers to show them the many ways Indiana Tech can strengthen their workforce now and for the future.

So, take a few minutes to learn more about Greg Leach and what he does for Indiana Tech. Perhaps he can help strengthen your business, too.

ITM: How does it feel to have a famous son?

LEACH: It’s been amazing to watch Matt go from an 8 year old, videotaping himself with made-up weather reports, to seeing him today working for 21Alive. I’m obviously proud of his achievements, but I’m most proud of how grounded and humble he stays, in spite of his recognition or successes. Matt has been able to find his passions in life—teaching and the weather—so he truly feels like he never works a day in his life. I think that passion comes through in all that he does, and that’s what sets him apart in his profession.

ITM: What about the employer and community outreach coordinator position appealed to you? What did Matt say that sold you on the idea of working at Indiana Tech?

LEACH: I spent 30 years as an account manager and regional trainer for Johnson & Johnson and other pharmaceutical companies, mostly in the Seattle area, and I retired in March 2022. Matt suggested we move to Fort Wayne because of the quality of life, and the cost of living is so much better here. The other reason is that we have a daughter in Indianapolis and one in Bentonville, Arkansas, with our eight grandkids. Now, we are closer to family. I took seven months off once we got here, but I started getting restless. I saw the opening at Tech and immediately thought it was a perfect job for me—an opportunity to help students and get to know the community.

ITM: In learning about Indiana Tech, what has impressed you most?

LEACH: I was instantly impressed with how warm and friendly everyone greeted me. Within the first couple of months of starting with Indiana Tech, I was able to sit down and introduce myself to 30 or so faculty members and came away impressed and welcomed by each one. The professors here are passionate about helping their students achieve their academic and career goals. I often ask professors to help with tours I set up with employers to show off our new addition to our engineering college, and they are more than willing to help. In fact, after a recent tour of the Zollner building, an employer mentioned how passionate our professor was and how that has to rub off on the students. I also have to mention that the students here are the best! I love sports so I’ve gone to several basketball and volleyball games, and our student-athletes display great sportsmanship and are equally great off the court.

ITM: Now that you’ve been in this role for around eight months, how do you feel about it? What do you like best about this role?


LEACH: I love my teammates in the Career Center. We have a collaborative approach in helping our students be successful in their next phase of life, their first real job. I also love the opportunity to reach out to employers in this city. It has given me an opportunity to get to know Fort Wayne from a unique vantage point. A major correlation between my past and present career is that in any sales call in the pharmaceutical world, you talk about the features and benefits your medication will offer patients. Similarly, at Indiana Tech, I have the opportunity to go out in the community and talk about the features and benefits of Indiana Tech. Honestly, it’s not a tough sell. It’s a great time to be representing Indiana Tech, with its commitment to growth and excellence in a competitive landscape.

ITM: You create possibilities for our students which has an incredible impact on their careers and their futures. That has to be very gratifying, yes?

LEACH: Yes, it’s a very gratifying job in terms of giving back. When I was in college, I wasn’t aware

of a career center or even internship possibilities. When I finally interviewed with Pfizer on campus, they said they liked me but wished I had more experience. It obviously would have been ideal to have completed one or two internships before interviewing with any employer. Instead, I spent five years after graduation in different sales positions to get myself qualified and prepared for the dream job I wanted. So, when our Career Center is able to facilitate an internship for our students, it’s a home run.

ITM: When you are not cultivating relationships for Indiana Tech, what do you like to do?

LEACH: I love to work out at the YMCA after work to keep a balance in life. I started to pick up pickleball, and I really enjoy that. It’s a little bit safer than basketball at this stage of my life. I also took up photography several years ago, mostly landscape and wildlife. Since Fort Wayne is a hub to many other great cities, I’m looking forward to visiting and taking photos of whatever grabs my attention. I’m at my happiest when I can be with my family, especially with my grandkids.

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"It’s a great time to be representing Indiana Tech, with its commitment to growth and excellence in a competitive landscape."
Greg Leach (right) and his son, Matt, on the set of WPTA-TV Fort Wayne's 21Alive news channel, where Matt works as a meterorologist.

A Collaboration that Serves the Region Well

Partnership with Huntington University and Parkview Health on new accelerated nursing program will create outstanding opportunities.

This past January, Indiana Tech, Huntington University and Parkview Health partnered to launch an innovative new accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. Classes will be taught by Huntington nursing faculty on Indiana Tech’s main campus in Fort Wayne. Parkview Health will provide clinical placements to students during the program, job placement upon successful program completion and significant tuition support to qualifying students that will cover their cost for the program.

Indiana Tech will provide the facilities for the new program, in the form of new, state-of-the-art nursing labs and classrooms being created in the university’s Keene Building on main campus. The new space will be completed in early June. Indiana Tech is also responsible for the marketing and advertising of the new program to prospective students, and for overseeing the admissions process.

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Per the guidelines for the program established by the Indiana State Board of Nursing, the new accelerated nursing program may admit up to 25 students for the first cohort that will begin in August. The second class cohort of 25 will begin studies in January 2024, with new cohorts then starting each August and January from that point forward.

Students who have a bachelor’s degree in any field and have completed key prerequisites can enroll in the fulltime, in-person, accelerated program. In just 13 months, graduates will be able to earn their bachelor’s degree in nursing and start their nursing career immediately. Key program details include:

↘ The program will be offered full-time and in-person, spanning 13 months from start to completion. All courses are taught by Huntington University’s nursing faculty.

↘ Students who successfully complete the program can have their full tuition covered and a job waiting for them thanks to the Parkview ABSN Tuition Reimbursement program—made possible by Parkview Health, one of the largest health systems in the region.

↘ Students will earn a Huntington University Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree through the program. The Huntington nursing program has proudly maintained a 100% job placement rate among licensed graduates for more than 10 years.

↘ Clinical work during the program will take place at Parkview Health facilities throughout northeast Indiana.

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Above left: Construction of state-of-the-art nursing labs and classrooms is underway in Indiana Tech's Keene Building. Above right: Exercise science majors experiment with equipment in the exercise science lab.

Dr. Steve Herendeen, Indiana Tech Vice President for Enrollment Management, notes that “Now, more than ever, there is a critical need for skilled, dedicated nurses. This partnership brings together a high-quality degree program, excellent facilities in a convenient location and outstanding tuition support and job placement opportunities for every student. Graduates will be well-positioned to enter this compelling field immediately upon completion of the program.”

Jodi Eckert, Director of Nursing at Huntington University, agrees, saying, “This new partnership delivers a program that is the perfect choice for students looking for a career that is more than just a job. All of us at Huntington University are proud of our nursing program, our students and our graduates. Huntington also has a long legacy of helping students align their work with their commitment to service and faith. And Indiana Tech’s proven commitment to every student’s success ensures they’ll have great facilities in which to learn and the support they need, every step of the way.”

“We are incredibly excited to partner with Huntington University and Indiana Tech in creating this opportunity for the future nurses of our community,” adds Erin LaCross, senior vice president, nursing professional development, Parkview Health. “This partnership provides a solid foundation for nursing students to graduate ready for practice in today’s unique health care environment. We are confident that the immersive clinical experiences in our Parkview facilities throughout the region will prepare students for a smooth transition into an exciting and fulfilling career as Parkview nurses.”

Indiana Tech, Huntington and Parkview will host an open house in the new nursing facility on the Tech campus upon its completion in June. The first class cohort will begin classes on Aug. 28, 2023; applications for the first cohort will be accepted until Aug. 1.

To learn more about the new accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program, please visit

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“Now, more than ever, there is a critical need for skilled, dedicated nurses. This partnership brings together a high-quality degree program, excellent facilities in a convenient location and outstanding tuition support and job placement opportunities for every student.”


Beyond the new accelerated nursing degree program partnership, Indiana Tech’s longstanding strengths in science, technology, engineering and math have helped the university build a wide range of successful programs that serve the growing needs of the health care industry. Students have been turning to Tech to fulfill their goals for pursuing compelling healthrelated careers, while industry partners look to the university for help with talent development, retention and training needs. From certificate programs through our Ph.D. in Global Leadership program, health-oriented programs at Indiana Tech include:


↘ Health Science

↘ Medical Coding


↘ Global Health Leadership

↘ Health Care Administration

↘ Health Information and Cybersecurity


↘ Health Information Technology


↘ Biology

↘ Biomedical Engineering

↘ Business Administration with a specialization in Health Care Administration

↘ Exercise Science

↘ Health Information Management

↘ Health Science

↘ Psychology


↘ M.B.A. with a specialization in Global Health Leadership

↘ M.B.A. with a specialization in Health Care Management

↘ M.S. in Global Health Leadership

↘ M.S. in Psychology


↘ Ph.D. in Global Leadership with a specialization in Global Health Leadership

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Cyber Excellence is Centered Here

Indiana Tech has been designated as a national Center for Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD) by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The two organizations are co-sponsors of a program created to develop skilled cybersecurity professionals across a variety of government agencies at the federal, state and local levels.

Universities with the CAE-CD designation are thoroughly assessed by NSA and DHS to determine their capabilities and ensure that their students are receiving the rigorous education required to become leaders in a variety of cybersecurity fields. Only four other universities in the state of Indiana have earned this elite designation.

“This significant national recognition for Indiana Tech is a testament to the work that our students and our entire team have done to make our university a go-to source for outstanding cybersecurity education,” says Dr. Ying Shang, Indiana Tech’s dean of the Talwar College of Engineering and Computer Sciences. “When an organization hires an Indiana Tech cybersecurity graduate, its network and data are in the best of hands.”

The CAE-CD designation, which lasts through 2028, is a leading example of the growth, impact and success of Indiana Tech’s cybersecurity programs. Noteworthy university initiatives and accomplishments by students, faculty and staff in this area include new facilities, new partnerships, new programs centered on cybersecurity and the continued success of Indiana Tech’s cyber competition team, the Cyber Warriors.

As part of the $21.5 million expansion and renovation of the Zollner Engineering Center, Indiana Tech has created innovative new facilities to strengthen the learning experience for cybersecurity and computer science students. The new Zollner Center now includes a state-of-the-art security operations center, which allows students to monitor and learn from activity on the university’s network. Also

in place are a digital forensics lab, where simulated crime scenes can be created to give students practice with incident response and digital forensics investigation, and a new data center, where professors can customize virtual environments to test their students’ knowledge and skills.

In 2021, the outstanding reputations of Indiana Tech’s Center for Criminal Justice and its cybersecurity degree program led the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council to partner with the university for one of only 10 High Tech Crime Units in the state. Through this collaboration, students assist prosecutors and local law enforcement in analyzing and processing digital evidence, which yields faster turnaround times and more thorough investigations.

Over the past two decades, the university’s cyber competition team, the Cyber Warriors, has become a national power.

The Cyber Warriors have won Indiana’s Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition 16 of the last 18 times it has been held and finished among the nation’s top 10 teams in 2007, 2011 and 2018. What’s more, every member of the Cyber Warriors has secured a job in their career field prior to graduation for four years running. The Cyber Warriors are in the midst of another highly successful year, having recently won their ninth straight state title read more about their accomplishments on page 24.

Beyond its bachelor’s degree program, Indiana Tech offers cybersecurity certificate programs with a variety of industry specializations, and is planning the introduction of a new master’s degree in cybersecurity for the fall of 2023. Learn more at

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Adjunct professor Matt Hansen works with a student in Indiana Tech's new Cybersecurity Operations Lab. Hansen is also an Indiana Tech alum and is coach of the university's cyber defense team, known as the Cyber Warriors.


Online Learning

When it comes to offering education online, Indiana Tech is a pioneer. The university was early to dive into online learning when it delivered its first online course in 2006 to help busy, working adults pursue and achieve their academic goals. Nowadays, it’s a rarity if a school does not offer online classes—and that has the university engaged in a stiff, global competition for online students.

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ortunately, like those pioneer days of the early 2000s, Indiana Tech is a forwardthinking university and is continually developing strategies devoted to keeping its online product high in quality and relevant in the higher education landscape.

An important step was hiring Mary Beth Graham in 2019 to maximize the potential of online learning at Indiana Tech. Graham came to Indiana Tech as an experienced instructor and accomplished course creator/reviewer with certifications from Quality Matters, a leader in quality assurance for online education. Her immediate priorities were making sure our online courses provide students with engaging interactive learning experiences and mentoring online faculty to be the most effective they can be.

Since then, Graham and her Instructional Design team of Heidi Ash, Robin Bartoletti, Jessica Gagnon, Jennifer Richardson and Catherine Zoerb have designed and updated more than 220 courses in accordance with the standards of Quality Matters and best practices in online learning.

“Our online courses are being updated to provide students with rich multimedia content, opportunities for active learning and authentic and relevant assignments which mirror what students will be doing in their career field,” Graham said. “We are doing this in brand-new courses, as well as revising existing courses. In the future, we look forward to providing our online courses within the Canvas learning management system, which boasts, among other things, a great mobile app, intuitive navigation and the ability for students to record their own videos right within Canvas.”

In January 2022, Indiana Tech reinforced Graham’s faculty mentorship initiative by hiring three professors of practice—Tammy Barker, Christina Clarke and Lisa Kindred—to provide a direct layer of support that helps our online faculty deliver the best possible learning experience for our students. Combined, they

have nearly 70 years of higher-ed experience and all have earned the Quality Matters’ Teaching Online Certificate.

According to Dr. Scott Liebhauser, associate vice president for academic affairs and dean of online learning, they comprise a fast-moving team that services the university’s online learning initiative in so many ways.

“Our professors of practice mentor our online faculty on the latest engagement techniques. Traditionally, for most colleges, the relationship between an online professor and student was very transactional, meaning you send an assignment, you receive the assignment, you grade the assignment, and that’s about it,” Dr. Liebhauser said. “Now, we want to provide every opportunity for our online professors to engage with our students and help them successfully progress through their courses.”

A key way online professors are able to better engage with students is through the implementation of Tech Live sessions, which are hour-long weekly forums that give students a real-time opportunity to ask questions and receive feedback from their professor. If a student is not able to attend a session in real time, they are required to watch the video recording of the session and turn in a brief reflection about the content.

Barker, Clarke and Kindred have been instrumental in helping online professors make the most of their Tech Live sessions and their overall online teaching experience. This group is constantly absorbing cutting-edge, best-practice teaching methods through frequent professional development opportunities and relaying them to our professors. It’s making a difference.

“You see it in the Smart Evals (student course evaluations) that students recognize instructors are engaging more, and they appreciate that,” said Barker, the professor of practice for Indiana Tech’s Talwar College of Engineering and Computer Sciences.

“Morale amongst our online adjuncts is higher than I've ever seen it because we now have a support team designed to assist them with their questions, concerns and recommendations,” Dr. Liebhauser said.

When not assisting faculty, the professors of practice keep the pulse of online students and serve as an additional conduit between them and their instructors. If challenges arise, the professors of practice can jump in very early in the process to provide appropriate support or direction. Frequently, feedback from these interactions are helpful to Graham’s Instructional Design team.

“This new format is useful in helping us identify tripping hazards within courses,” Dr. Liebhauser said. “Let's say you have several students failing a certain assignment within a course. Our professors of practice can quickly come up with a better assignment for helping students learn and retain the material."

The team has also made great progress with the university’s traditional highfail courses by looking at the data, determining causation of why students are failing the courses, and then helping develop remedies to fix those issues. In fact, during Session 8 of 2022, fail rates for 10 of our 14 highest-failed classes turned the curve and are now improving—some of them significantly.

The short-term goals for this team are to improve retention, increase student engagement, handle student concerns in real time and improve success rates in classes. The longer-term goal is to grow Indiana Tech's online program to be significantly larger than it is today.

“I am absolutely pleased with the progress our professors of practice and instructional designers are making to ensure our program is in the top tier of online programs in the nation. We are making great improvements to the quality of our online offerings and providing top-level support to our adjuncts to help them to be more successful in the online classroom,” Dr. Liebhauser said. “Increasing engagement with our students and improving the quality of our courses is going to help us reduce fail rates, improve retention and guide our students to lives of significance and worth.”

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We want to provide every opportunity for our online professors to engage with our students and help them successfully progress through their courses.
Members of Indiana Tech's Online Learning Team—(clockwise from upper left) Lisa Kindred, Dr. Scott Liebhauser, Tammy Barker, MaryBeth Graham and Christina Clark—discuss online learning initiatives during one of their team's weekly meetings.

Academic Roundup


A Good Welcome Back! Speech competition enjoys a record-setting return to campus

After being canceled for two straight years because of the pandemic, Indiana Tech’s speech competition made its return to campus in late February, providing an enriching forum for a record-setting number of participants.

Dr. Alicia Wireman, assistant professor of communication and organizer of the event couldn’t be happier about the turnout.

“I had hoped for 15 students this year and we had 18 students sign up; so, it exceeded my expectations,” Dr. Wireman said. “I am very optimistic about the future of this event.”

And rightfully so. As public speaking is an important component of many professions, having the ability to communicate well in a group setting is critical, regardless of the field or industry.

“Speech competitions provide an array of opportunities for students to expand their skills in communication,” Dr. Wireman said. “Not only does it allow them to practice and get more comfortable with public speaking, but it helps with interpersonal communication as students work with others to prepare for the competition.”

There were three categories participants could enter in this year’s speech competition:

↘ Original Oratory: Students prepare and deliver a 10-minute speech on a topic of their choice.

↘ Impromptu: Students are given a topic and then have three minutes to prepare a speech of four to six minutes on that topic.

↘ Radio: Students read a script into a microphone, which is broadcast into a separate room with the audience and judges.

Students competed in these various events in three different rounds, and the total scores from each round were compiled to determine final placements. Regional professionals who work in the field of communication judged these events and provided critiques for the students. First-place finishers received a 50-inch television while second-place finishers received an Amazon Fire Tablet. The top six finishers also received a ribbon.

“Overall, it was a great event that provided an opportunity for students to learn and engage with public communication,” Dr. Wireman said. “I have received feedback from numerous students about their experiences, and all of them have said it was a positive experience.”

“Being able to speak in front of an audience with confidence, even if it's spur of the moment, is an important skill that all of us should have in our tool belt,” said electrical engineering major Catherine Stafford, winner of the Impromptu category. “It can be incredibly valuable, from presentations at work to being confident enough to stand up for someone in a crowd of people. If we don't have solid confidence in ourselves and our ability to speak, we tend to remain silent, which has rarely led to the best outcome.”

“I chose to participate in the speech competition because I felt that my voice could potentially help others and open the eyes of those in not only the black community, but all communities,” said information systems major Brennan Syas, winner of the Original Oratory category. “I enjoyed the jitters I got before presenting my speech—for the feeling reminded me of when I was preparing to play a big playoff basketball game in high school and how to execute even with the nervous feeling.”

Moving forward, Dr. Wireman hopes to generate increased interest and attract more participants for Indiana Tech’s speech competition, which may result in the addition of events in which students can compete. One event she is considering is oratorical interpretation, which would allow students to perform a piece or script that has been written by someone else.

20 Spring 2023
A record-setting number of participants welcomed Indiana Tech's speech competition back after it's two-year interruption because of the pandemic.


1ST: Brennan Syas — Information Systems

2ND: Kristen Forti — Industrial & Mechanical Engineering

3RD: Dalton Rodgers — Early Start Student


1ST: Catherine Stafford — Electrical Engineering

2ND: Dalton Rodgers — Early Start Student

3RD: Kristen Forti — Industrial & Mechanical Engineering

4TH: Brennan Syas — Information Systems

5TH: Erik Hosmer — Communication

6TH: Paige Thamer — Criminal Justice


1ST: Chase Truesdale — Early Start Student

2ND: Catherine Stafford — Electrical Engineering

3RD: Paige Thamer — Criminal Justice

4TH: Josiah Menger — Marketing

5TH: Felix Appelt — Sport Management

6TH: Erik Hosmer — Communication

Biology major Penny earns impressive internship

Biology major Nina Penny was selected to participate in Northwestern University CURE, a prestigious cancer-focused undergraduate research experience at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center in Chicago.

Penny, who was one of 12 students selected from a field of over 1,000, will spend eight weeks working alongside top cancer researchers in state-of-the-art laboratories and help advance novel research projects in cell and molecular biology, cancer immunology and other focus areas.

“I am very honored to receive this opportunity. It gives me the chance to apply the skills I have learned throughout these past three years to cancer research,” said the Chicago native, who will graduate in 2024. “My experience at Indiana Tech has greatly prepared me for this opportunity; the countless labs and phenomenal professors have trained me to not only work well in a group of researchers, but to also think independently to solve research questions.”

Indiana Tech Magazine 21

Academic Roundup


Granqvist’s idea is a winner, (energy) bar none

Indiana Tech’s Innovation Challenge competition was developed in 2021 to give all students an opportunity to showcase their innovative ideas and turn them into viable business opportunities or patents. For senior business major Fabian Granqvist, it’s doing just that.

In November 2022, Fabian won the university’s second Innovation Challenge after presenting his business plan for an energy bar he developed in 2020 as a healthy and affordable alternative to processed protein and energy bars.

Since then, it’s been a whirlwind of activity for Fabian, who is also a member of the men’s hockey team.

↘ Indiana Tech president Karl W. Einolf connected Fabian with Parkhurst Dining, the university’s culinary provider based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Fabian was able to meet Parkhurst’s director of sourcing and sustainability, which helped him improve the consistency and reliability of his GrandQuest bars. From there, Parkhurst representatives inspected where GrandQuest bars are made and approved Fabian’s baking process. Parkhurst will begin selling Fabian's bars in the near future.

↘ Fabian sold 100 bars to the men’s hockey team for use during the ACHA Division I men’s tournament, which was held March 16 through 21 in Boston.

↘ Fabian has networked with several entrepreneurs since winning the Innovation Challenge, including Giovanni Martinez of the Fortitude Fund, a Fort Wayne-based not-for-profit that supports entrepreneurship in the region. Through the relationship, he was approved to vend at the Fort Wayne Farmer’s Market for the 2023 summer season.

Fabian had been making breakfast bars for a few years, but it wasn’t until the urging of a friend over the summer of 2022 that he considered selling them. Now the Boras, Sweden, native visualizes his GrandQuest bars being “healthy, sustainable and delicious substitutes” to other bars found in grocery stores and gas stations. He is currently testing his product in the sports nutrition scene.

“I have always been very passionate about health, but never would I have imagined myself winning the Innovation Challenge with an idea so perfectly aligned with my passion,” Fabian said. “I am extremely grateful for this opportunity presented to me by Tech to realize my dream.”

Dr. Staci Lugar Brettin’s Venture Lab class was instrumental in Fabian’s Innovation Challenge victory as many collaborated with him to help him prepare for the event.

“The whole class was willing to listen to my pitch and give me constructive criticism which was incredibly helpful. Wil Campbell was extra helpful; he runs a successful business and gave me advice throughout this whole process that I applied to the marketing and branding of GrandQuest,” Fabian said.

You can learn more about Indiana Tech’s Innovation Challenge at

NUTRITIONAL VALUE 2022 PITCH DECK 6 GrandQuest Per Bar Macronutrients (~100g) 235 Kcal Protein 7 g Fat 11 g Sodium 57mg Omega 3s 1.2 g Carbohydrates 31 g Total Sugars 13 g Fiber 7 g Micronutrients 40%* Vitamin A 11%* Potassium 8%* LOWER GLYCEMIC INDEX HIGHER GLYCEMIC INDEX UNPROCESSED Chewy Granola Bars Product contains soybean oil and brown sugar, 40+ ingredients Lenny & Larry’s Highly processed, added refined sugars Clif Bar Product contains brown rice syrup GoMacro Product contains brown rice syrup, processed and high GI, and brown rice protein, high in arsenic Chewy Clif Bar GrandQuest 2022 Go Macro PITCH DECK 13 COMPETITIVE LAYOUT GrandQuest Only 8 ingredients, no refined high caloric oils Unprocessed, unrefined sugars Our product is sweetened with dates and bananas Medium to low GI and no added protein powders PROCESSED Lenny & Larry’s ABOUT US Founding Story… GrandQuest wants t o make dietary choices a no -brainer for optimal performance and recovery. We want to foster a community of passionate people to extend the how, when, and why of good nutrition to the public. 2022 PITCH DECK 2 22 Spring 2023


Catherine Stafford

The electrical engineering major who will graduate in May won second-place with her innovative BraiKey, a Braille keyboard with a refreshable Braille display for those learning to use braille in congruence with a word processor, such as Word or Google Docs.

“I was first introduced to this idea by two of my electrical engineering professors who suggested it as a potential senior project. I was originally drawn to the idea because I knew it would be a challenge for me and would allow me to not only demonstrate the skills that I have gained while at Tech, but also put me in a position to develop in areas that I was lacking in,” Catherine said.

As she dived deeper into the project, Catherine realized her product had the potential to truly help people and allow them greater access to technologies that she took for granted.

“It is easy for me to quickly type content into a document and email it to its intended receiver without batting an eye. That is not true for everyone—partly due to the technology and partly due to the education gaps related to Braille as a language,” Catherine said. “It is my hope, and intent, that BraiKey can be developed in such a way that facilitates young users to embrace Braille more fully as a tool for their success in the wide world.

“I never expected that I would be able to find a project that would inspire me to be brave enough to take it to a competition, let alone an innovation competition,” she added. “This whole experience has been outside much of my wheelhouse and it wouldn’t have been possible without help and encouragement from Dr. Zakariya Al Hamouz (associate professor of electrical engineering) and Dr. Staci Lugar Brettin (professor of marketing and management).

Above left: A pair of slides from the pitch deck Fabian Granqvist used to present his awardwinning idea to Indiana Tech Innovation Challenge judges.
Indiana Tech Magazine 23
Above right: At the award presentation for the 2022 Innovation Challenge, from left to right, Dr. Ying Shang, dean of the Talwar College of Engineering and Computer Sciences; Dr. Kathleen Hanold Watland, vice president for academic affairs; event winner, Fabian Granqvist; event runner-up, Catherine Stafford; and Dr. Karl W. Einolf, Indiana Tech president.

Academic Roundup


Cyber Warriors make strides during another excellent competition season

Indiana Tech’s cyber defense team, the Cyber Warriors, cemented itself as one of the top programs in the nation by finishing its competition season at No. 12. This comes on the heels of an 11th-place finish at the end of the 2022 academic year.

During the season, the Cyber Warriors won their ninth straight and 16th overall Indiana Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition, finished second in the Midwest Regional Cyber Defense Competition and finished third in a national wildcard round that sent the winner to the national finals.

What made this outstanding season even more special was its successful foray into another area of cyber competition—penetration testing. The squad gained valuable experience from two competitions, including January's Collegiate Penetration Testing Competition Global Finals in Rochester, New York.

“This year, the focus of the Cyber Warriors was not only to keep up with our standards of excellence in cyber defense, but to get serious about cyber offensive security," said coach Matt Hansen, an Indiana Tech alum and championship-winning Cyber Warrior during his time as a Tech student. "Now we're using both skill sets to develop the other, which will continue to further our ability to execute and compete at a national and global level."

Over the years, the Cyber Warriors developed into a powerhouse by performing well in competitions where defending a computer network from outside attacks is the objective. In penetration testing competitions, teams go on the offensive to conduct real-world penetration testing engagements to find, exploit and suggest remediations for security vulnerabilities.

Supported by their stellar showings within the state, the Cyber Warriors have earned a reputation as one of the nation’s premier cyber competition programs. In addition to winning state titles, the Cyber Warriors won regional competitions in 2007, 2011 and 2018, and finished among the nation’s top 10 teams in those years.

For four years running, every member of the Cyber Warriors has secured a job in their career field prior to graduating. Indiana Tech has also established a growing national reputation as a producer of top talent in the cybersecurity field, having recently been recognized as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.

Learn more about Indiana Tech’s cybersecurity program and the Cyber Warriors at academics.

24 Spring 2023
Members of this year’s Cyber Warriors team include, from left to right, Coach Matt Hansen, Miles Nieman, Sam Regelbruggy, John Allen Rudolph, Bryce Murphy, Jeremy MacRoberts, Nia Iott, Zak King (captain), Garrett Bates, Hunter Clements, Osman Yusof and Tim Bukowski.

Our 3D metal printer is in place and in use

Late last year, thanks to a generous alumnus donation, Indiana Tech announced it was purchasing an EOS M290 3D metal printer. In January, this state-of-the-art piece of technology landed at Indiana Tech and was installed in the Zollner Engineering Center's Thermal Sciences Lab. Indiana Tech's printer is one of just two in operation in the state.

This new acquisition features Direct Metal Laser Sintering technology and a powerful 400-watt fiber laser with exceptional high beam quality. With it, students can print in various metal materials, including aluminum, stainless steel, cobalt chrome, copper, nickel alloy and titanium, for applications related to aerospace, orthopedic medical devices, surgical and dental implants and automation.

Watch for future publications to learn about how this special piece of technology is impacting the student experience at Indiana Tech.

Students’ visit to BAE Systems proves rewarding

As Indiana Tech’s employer and community outreach coordinator, Greg Leach’s primary role is to build relationships with area companies that will lead to internships and employment for our students. After an October tour of BAE Systems in Fort Wayne, you can say mission accomplished.

Leach helped organize the tour that included 13 engineering students and led to an internship for Logan Shipley, an electrical engineering major who will graduate in 2026.

“I followed up with them (BAE Systems), and I am officially in their summer internship program,” Shipley said. “The tour was good for making connections and setting myself up for this opportunity.”

Caleb Iwen, a mechatronics and robotics engineering major from the Class of 2026, benefited from the tour, as well.

“It helped me get a better idea of what a potential career I am working toward would be like. It’s also really cool to see professional applications of some of the things we are working on now in class,” he said.

You can learn more about Greg Leach’s role as employer and community outreach coordinator on page 10.

Chartering NSBE chapter president returns for banquet

In February, Indiana Tech’s National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) chapter held its 17th annual banquet fundraiser, which supports student participation in regional and national conferences.

Gabriella Smith, a 2006 alumnae, chartering president of the university’s NSBE chapter and originator of the chapter’s Operating in Excellence Scholarship, which is awarded annually to a chapter member, returned to deliver the evening’s keynote address. Smith works at Boeing as an electrical systems manager on its 787 Dreamliner aircraft.

Indiana Tech’s NSBE chapter was founded in 2006 to provide a supportive community for Black engineering students so that they stay in school and graduate. Since then, it has become one of Indiana Tech’s most active student organizations on campus.

Indiana Tech Magazine 25



Indiana Tech's women's indoor track and field team won its third straight and fourth overall NAIA national title in March, outdistancing second-place Huntington University by 21 points.

Lisa Voyles won the 1000m for her third straight national title, and Coach Doug Edgar was named the NAIA's Coach of the Year. It was the 16th time Edgar has earned the honor since taking over the women's and men's indoor and outdoor track and field programs in 2013.

Overall, Indiana Tech's women's track and field team has earned seven national championships (indoor plus outdoor) while the entire program (men's and women's teams) has won 16 national titles since 2013.

Historic men's

hoops season ends in NAIA title game

Indiana Tech's record-breaking men's basketball season ended on March 19 with a 73-71 loss to the College of Idaho. The Warriors fought back from a 23-point deficit in the contest, but missed a last-second three-pointer that would have won the game. The Warriors rebounded from a 16-point deficit the day before in the semifinal to beat Georgetown College, 80-71.

Fifth-year coach Ted Albert was named the 2023 Don Meyer National Coach of the Year, presented annually to the top head coach in NAIA college basketball. His Warrior squad went 32-5 (.865) which amounts to the most single-season wins in program history as well as the best winning percentage. The Warriors also won their third regular-season Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference title in the last four seasons, which earned Albert his third WHAC Coach of the Year honor.

University unveils Doug Edgar Indoor Track

The new Indiana Tech indoor track and field facility at the university’s Warrior Park athletic complex opened on Jan. 20. Named in honor of Indiana Tech men’s and women’s track and field head coach Doug Edgar, the $6.5 million project was made possible in large part through a $4 million donation from an anonymous local donor.

First announced in May 2021, the Doug Edgar Indoor Track includes a six-lane competition track installed by Beynon Sports, an industry leading manufacturer of track and field/athletic surfaces. The interior of the track has a turf surface, which allows other athletic teams to utilize the space as well.

26 Spring 2023


RECORD: 12-3-7, 8-1-2 WHAC (2nd/12), won WHAC Tournament title for fourth straight year and fifth time in program history.

↘ First-year coach Paul Gilbert and assistant coach Yuriy Sadula led Tech to the NAIA Nationals Opening Round for the fourth consecutive season and sixth time in program history.

↘ Ranked in every NAIA Coaches’ Top 25 Poll this season and finished ranked 22nd.


↘ NAIA All-American Honorable Mention: Lucca Motta

↘ All-WHAC First Team: Aaron Asamoah, Felix Jung, Lucca Motta

↘ All-WHAC Second Team: Douglas Appiah, Luke Jones, Marc Junca, Jaume Salvado

↘ WHAC All-Newcomer Team: Douglas Appiah, Aaron Asamoah, Jaume Castells Mas

↘ WHAC All-Academic Team: Luke Jones, Marc Juna, Jonas Kahlman, Brendan Sidaway


RECORD: 4-10-3, 2-7-2 WHAC (9th/12)

↘ First season for new coach Andrea Gorton and assistant coach Jeff Richey.


↘ WHAC All-Newcomer Team: Rebecca Delgado

↘ WHAC All-Academic Team: Dani Blagojevic, Kayla Bunkowske, Madison Carver, Megan Clifton, Rebecca Delgado, Danielle Dunn, Courtney Hatfield, AnnaBella Kowalczyk, Jessica Labon, Sydney Lang, Avery Maslowski, Julianne Munoz, Allie Pensyl, Savannah Simmers, Kate Wallace



↘ The Warriors sent two individuals, Justin Fleming and Isaac Sytsma, to compete in the NAIA National Championships.


↘ All-WHAC First Team: Isaac Sytsma

↘ WHAC Newcomer of the Year: Isaac Sytsma

↘ WHAC All-Academic Team: Dylan De Vaney, Justin Fleming, Jake Willison




↘ Coach Alex Kluchki and assistant coach Brandon Bronzan have now led the Warriors to the NAIA National Championships in both seasons at the helm—Tech’s third appearance in the last five years and sixth time in program history.

↘ Lisa Voyles won All-American honors for the second straight year and became the first runner to repeat as an All-American in program history.

↘ Finished the season ranked 17th in the NAIA Coaches’ Top 25 Poll.


↘ NAIA All-American: Lisa Voyles

↘ All-WHAC First Team: Krista Boese, Lisa Voyles

↘ All-WHAC Second Team: Kara Kline, McKenna Palmer

↘ WHAC All-Academic Team: Whitley Blake, Krista Boese, Lily Greiwe, Korissa VanOver, Lisa Voyles


RECORD: 28-8, 14-6 WHAC (3rd/11)

↘ First-year coach Matt Fishman led Tech to the NAIA Nationals Opening Round for the first time since 2011 and fifth time in program history.


↘ NAIA All-American Honorable Mention: Noelle VanOort

↘ AVCA Mideast Region First Team: Noelle VanOort

↘ All-WHAC First Team: Noelle VanOort, Taylor Paul

↘ All-WHAC Second Team: Emma Westra

↘ All-WHAC Freshman Team: Jacqueline Allaway

↘ WHAC All-Academic Team: Jacey Blust, Havilyn Cummings, Olivia Gessner, Marley Jackson, Taylor Paul, Nyiah Penny, Kelsey Schaldenbrand, Andrea Schriver, Emma Westra

Indiana Tech Magazine 27

the desk of Kristi


Greetings, Warrior Alumni!

To those who participated in our first Oral History Project, thank you! Your participation was essential in preserving the memories and experiences of Indiana Tech alumni. As you can see from our By the Numbers feature on pages 6 and 7, we had an outstanding response to this project. The participation spanned all decades of Indiana Tech, including a few special recollections of moments with President Archie Keene from the 1950s and 1960s. As we approach our 100th anniversary, these memories are meaningful additions to our history. Regarding the highest participation by decade, bragging rights go to those who graduated between 2010 and 2020.

I hope those who purchased the digital or printed version of the project book will enjoy listening to and reading the stories as much as we have. Our staff has already spent many hours in the vault of stories; your accounts are engaging and inspiring. They provide valuable insight into the impact Indiana Tech had on the lives of our alumni. Your recollections, anecdotes and perspectives tell a story of persistence, dedication, creativity and career adventures.

In addition to adding historical perspective, alumni stories are a powerful tool for engaging and inspiring our current students. Many of you spoke of the sacrifice and efforts needed to complete your degree program and how earning your degree has impacted your life and career. Your stories are transformational and inspirational to students. They exemplify the

characteristics and efforts needed to progress from the first day of college to completing their degree program and moving forward to build a life of significance and worth.

The impact of alumni on current students goes beyond this project, occurring throughout the school year. Alumni participate in panel discussions, career fairs, presentations and in the classroom. This type of interaction is a witness that helps students envision paths forward and gives them living examples that success comes through perseverance. If you are interested in volunteering your time by engaging with students, please email I would be happy to explore opportunities with you.

If you do not see yourself connecting with students this way, we have other ways for you to support students and be active in the alumni community. Watch for emails and follow the alumni social media accounts to learn about those opportunities. Also, make sure to update your personal information as needed to receive information from our department.

As we move into summer and prepare for events around the region, Homecoming 2023 and reunion, I hope to connect with you soon.

Regards, Kristi

28 Spring 2023


Because of generous support from our friends and donors, Indiana Tech continues to be a life-changing learning environment that motivates students toward lives of significance and worth, every day.

In November 2022, Indiana Tech unveiled its Richard and Jeanne Sutton Learning Commons on the second floor of the university’s McMillen Library. The repurposed learning environment is named for Richard Sutton, who graduated from Indiana Tech in 1957 with a B.S. in mechanical engineering, and his wife, Jeanne. As life-long lovers of meaningful learning, funding this new space to help students for years to come was extremely important to them.

There are so many ways you can support students at Indiana Tech. Contact Vice President for Institutional Advancement Dan Grigg today to learn how.

260.422.5561, ext. 2440


Do you have an update you’d like to share with our Warrior Nation? Perhaps you have a new position or earned a promotion. Maybe you tied the knot or your family is growing. Maybe you’ve built something that has changed the world in some small (or not-so-small) way. We’d like to hear about it. Send your stories or questions to Kristi Jarmus at We love to brag about our alumni!


Justin was promoted to the Major Accident Response & Reconstruction Unit for the King County Sheriff’s Office, located in Seattle, Washington.


Karen was elected as Chair of the Board of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis in November.


A mental health and suicide prevention advocate, Timothy, along with his wife, Sue, published “The Penn State Walk-On: Overcoming the Pain and Legacy of Suicide Through Football, Faith, and Family” in February 2020.


Kimberly was named director of the doctoral program in global leadership at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College in February.



Regina earned an Ed.D in Ethical Leadership from Olivet Nazarene University in August 2022.


Jason was named vice president of marketing for Beacon Credit Union of Wabash, Indiana, in February.

Keep us connected!

Your stories are what make Indiana Tech proud—and we want to hear from you! Share your successes, update your information, learn about the Alumni Association and find ways to connect with your peers, friends and faculty members on our website at You can also email your updates to

Indiana Tech Alumni Group @IndianaTechAlum Indiana Institute of Technology

Indiana Tech Magazine 29


A Drive to Succeed

“I grew up in a family of 10 children in a three-bedroom farmhouse with six girls in one room, four boys in another,” said Blaise. “I don’t know how you describe poor. But once I saw how other people lived, I think maybe we were poor. That’s the only conclusion I can draw. But we always ate good. And we always had clothes on our backs.”

Blaise’s father owned a used car dealership—just a small lot with about 20 vehicles that he would buy, fix up and resell. Blaise picked up the trade and worked his way through college with grease on his hands and cars in his blood.

At Indiana Tech, he learned discipline and made friends for life in the Theta Xi fraternity. Though he studied mechanical engineering, he didn’t go to Tech to become an engineer. He went for the math background because he already had a different plan—one that came from watching the owner of a new car dealership in his hometown.

“I saw a difference in the lifestyle and the cars they drove. His sons were always driving brand-new red, shiny convertibles. And I was always driving old used cars that I fixed up,” said Blaise. “So, I just made up my mind and said, ‘If you’re going to be in the car business (which I truly loved), go for the top. Go for the crème de la crème —the Chevy dealer with the Corvettes and Camaros.’”

30 Spring 2023
Alumni Spotlight
Blaise Alexander is one of those unique individuals who seemed to know early on what he was destined to do. His story is one of motivation and momentum. And he’ll share pieces of it at Indiana Tech’s commencement ceremony in May. Here is a brief glimpse into his successful life.
Top: Blaise Alexander will be the keynote speaker at Indiana Tech's 2023 Commencement Ceremony. Bottom: Blaise takes a break with Indiana Tech President Karl W. Einolf during a recent round of golf.

And that’s exactly what he did. At 22 years old, Blaise became a used car manager for Stocker Chevrolet. When the owner asked about his goals, Blaise said he wanted to own a dealership, to which his boss replied, “You give me 10 good years, and I’ll help you become a Chevrolet dealer.” That was an excellent motivator for Blaise. He learned the ins and outs of the business. And a decade later, when he walked into his mentor’s office and announced he was ready to purchase his own dealership, Blaise got a surprise. And it might not be the surprise you’re expecting. At commencement, you’ll hear the rest of the story and learn how he managed to buy his first dealership in 1980.

Blaise didn’t stop when he reached that first goal. Instead, his plan gained momentum. Now he owns more than 20 dealerships across Pennsylvania and is proud to provide quality employment for more than 1,200 people. He is also the founder of Auto Trakk, an auto finance company that gives

people a chance to rebuild their credit. Even in his 70s, Blaise is still highly involved in the organizations he built.

“It’s a fascinating business,” said Blaise. “It’s really not about cars; it’s about people and relationships. And I thoroughly enjoy it. It’s constantly changing. Every day is a new experience.”

Blaise’s entrepreneurial spirit is only matched by his desire to help others. He is especially passionate about supporting children, community health and education. Every year, he co-hosts Raise the Region, a 30-hour annual online event that raises funds for hundreds of Pennsylvaniabased nonprofit organizations. In addition to supporting youth sports programs and helping to build and renovate medical facilities, Blaise also contributes to multiple schools and colleges, including Indiana Tech. He considers himself blessed to be able to help others who may be having a difficult time or who need someone to come alongside them.

In his commencement speech, Blaise will share stories from his journey and some wisdom that helped him succeed in business and life.

“There are some things I’ve learned over the years that impacted me,” said Blaise. “They aren’t big things, but they seemed to make a lot of sense.”

Before he was a business leader and philanthropist, Blaise was a kid who bought cars and fixed them up, a kid who found his focus early and made intentional decisions toward tangible goals. Today, he helicopters between his car dealerships and helps raise millions of dollars for charities. He believes there’s no limit to what someone can achieve. And he has spent his life proving it. You can learn a lot from a man like that.

Indiana Tech Magazine 31
“It’s really not about cars; it’s about people and relationships. And I thoroughly enjoy it... Every day is a new experience."
Blaise Alexander used an entrepreneurial spirit and hard work to build a successful network of auto dealerships across Pennsylvania.

Making a Difference

Senior Project Comes Full Circle

Senior Project Comes Full Circle

When Rick Walker was in his 20s and working for Indiana Michigan Power (I&M), they used difficult methods to take samples when testing how much moisture was in insulating oil that is used in transformers. That was a problem—dangerous, in fact.

So, he and a classmate decided to tackle this issue as their senior electrical engineering project at Indiana Tech. They created a device to test the oil and measure the moisture levels while the oil was continuously being processed. It was a tool that I&M immediately began using and a senior project that would come full circle decades later as inspiration for giving back.

Rick, who was born, raised and educated in Indiana, remembers that Uncle Sam was hot on his tail in 1965 as the U.S. entered the Vietnam War. In September of that year, he enlisted in the Air Force and received his draft notice a month later. He spent four years in the military where he showed an aptitude for engineering.

“When you went into the Air Force, they tested you to decide where to put you,” said Rick. “I ended up in missile electronics. That's what really got me started in engineering.”

When he was discharged in 1969, he took a job as an engineering tech at I&M in Marion, Indiana—intending to only work there for a few months until his wedding. In December, he married Elaine, his sweetheart. She had gotten a job at Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne, and Rick planned to use the GI Bill to attend Indiana Tech. He had made a good impression at I&M, so they asked him to transfer to the Fort Wayne plant and work part-time through school.

“In 1973 when I graduated, I didn’t even change desks,” said Rick. “I just changed jobs, title and money. I was offered a position as an engineer in the same department with the same boss. They wanted me, so I stayed right there.”

Over the years, Rick got to work in various areas of the organization, even spending four years as a safety manager inspecting power plants, tugboats and river barges. In 2007, after seven promotions, Rick retired from the same company that had funded and benefited from his senior project.

So, when he was approached by Indiana Tech to help support students, he thought about his own experience and how he could make the biggest impact.

“When I was going through school, I chose to do a senior project that would be something the company I worked for could use,” said Rick. “I talked to my boss, and he said he would help me pay for it. Whatever I needed. And I thought how nice it was that he did that. It just wouldn't have been possible for me to pay for it.”

Rick knew firsthand that a lack of funds could affect what students decided to tackle and the quality of the result. And more than three decades working as an engineer and manager taught Rick there’s a difference between engineering on paper and engineering in the field.

His first job at I&M was to implement projects that engineers in an office had designed. Inevitably, some pieces were not appropriately engineered. It was his job to fix them in the field. That’s the ability he wants to see in future engineers and why he decided to help fund senior electrical engineering capstone projects. According to Rick, engineering teaches you how to think, but the senior project goes one step further.

“When you do a senior project, you don’t just come up with an idea and hand it to someone else. It really tests your ability to figure out the bugs and engineer your idea through to make it work,” said Rick. “That’s where you get the grade—when it functions as you designed. And if you prove that in your senior project, you should do well out in the field. Then you can help people and be a real benefit.”

Now in retirement, he and his wife spend summers in Indiana near their daughter’s family and winters in Texas near their son. And when spring comes around, Rick goes back to Tech to sit in on the senior presentations. He enjoys seeing what the students come up with—from an electronic dog door to a mechanical, prosthetic hand.

“It’s really rewarding to see and think, ‘Hey, I’m contributing to that,’” said Rick. “To me it’s important to give back because of what Tech did for me. I had a wonderful time and a tremendous career.”

32 Spring 2023
"To me it’s important to give back because of what Tech did for me. I had a wonderful time and a tremendous career."
Rick Walker, a 1973 Indiana Tech graduate, gives back to the university by supporting senior projects within the university's Talwar College of Engineering and Computer Sciences.
Give to Indiana Tech You can make a difference! Cut along the dotted line, complete this form and mail your contribution to Indiana Tech using the envelope found inside this magazine. Indiana Tech thanks you for your generosity. PLEASE DESIGNATE MY GIFT FOR $ Indiana Tech Annual fund $ Student Emergency Fund $ Other MY GIFT check all that apply My check or money order is enclosed (made payable to “Indiana Tech”) I have enclosed my employer’s matching gift form I have named Indiana Tech in my will I would like more information about planned giving to Indiana Tech I want to make a difference! CONTACT INFORMATION First Name Last Name City State Zip Code Phone Mobile Phone Email Indiana Tech 1600 E Washington Blvd Fort Wayne, IN 46835 260.399.2831 Indiana Tech does not sell or share donor information with other organizations. Your gift is tax deductible as provided by law. FOLD HERE AND PLACE IN A STANDARD ENVELOPE You can donate safely online. Scan the code below or visit


We have learned of the deaths of the following alumni and friends. If you would like to send a memorial gift to honor someone, please contact Dan Grigg at 800.937.2448, ext. 2440.


David H. Moehring

Salem, Oregon

1949 Civil Engineering

Robert J. Murray

Burlington, Vermont

1949 Civil Engineering

John F. Nickey

Grand Haven, Michigan

1948 Radio Engineering

Bernard L. Pegg

Mira Loma, California

1949 Radio Engineering

Paul F. Sturm

Waterford Township, Michigan

1941 Mechanical Engineering


Spencer Allen

Winter Springs, Florida

1957 Electronic Engineering

Gerald E. Blackwell

Summerville, South Carolina

1957 Electrical Engineering

George K. Blue

Sacramento, California

1956 Mechanical Engineering

Norman P. Copp

Littleton, Colorado

1958 Electrical Engineering

Kenneth W. Covey

Midlothian, Texas

1958 Civil Engineering

Samuel W. Craig Tecumseh, Michigan

1950 Electrical Engineering


Uniontown, Ohio

1956 Chemical Engineering

Ritsuo Tamura

Mountain View, California

1955 Mechanical Engineering

Louis C. Tomaine

Pleasant Valley, New York

1955 Mechanical Engineering

John W. Weimer

Huntsville, Alabama

1952 Electrical Engineering

Wilbur A. Wilkinson

Renton, Washington

1959 Electrical Engineering

Roger E. Williams

Southern Pines, North Carolina

1950 Mechanical Engineering

Glen L. Wittenmyer

Creston, Ohio

1959 Mechanical Engineering

James S. Yamada

Honolulu, Hawaii

1950 Civil Engineering

Stanley Zelanko

Galway, New York

1956 Mechanical Engineering


Mirza D. Ahmed

Laguna Beach, California

1966 Chemical Engineering

34 Spring 2023
1956 Mechanical
1958 Electrical
1958 Mechanical
1959 Electrical
1952 Civil
1958 Electronic
1952 Electrical
1953 Mechanical Engineering Eddy
Mountain View, California 1955 Aeronautical Engineering
1951 Mechanical Engineering Charles
1953 Aerospace Engineering
Lodi, Wisconsin 1953 Chemical Engineering
1957 Electrical
1950 Civil
Jorge Davin
Joy, Pennsylvania
Engineering Gus Dervenis
Engineering Henrik F. Eskesen
Engineering Donald H. Freeman
Plains, New Jersey
Engineering Ronald M. Germann
Engineering Larry M. Goodman
Engineering Samuel Y. Goto
P. Hattaway
Creek, California
G. Johnson
Edward J. Kaleta
Tonawanda, New York
A. Kay
Max Kniess
Ardell B. Kyler Johnstown, Pennsylvania
Engineering Charles J. Madero
1950 Mechanical
1950 Mechanical
Joseph C. Magdich Oregon, Ohio
Engineering August E. “Gus” Maier
1959 Electrical Engineering
1952 Electrical Engineering
1959 Electronic Engineering
1957 Mechanical
1951 Civil Engineering
Palm Desert,
1954 Radio Engineering
San Diego,
1957 Electrical Engineering
1959 Electrical Engineering
Herbert K. Mertel
Jolla, California
Robert E. Nelson
Robert R. Payne
Thomas H. Payne
Engineering Raymond J. Powers
Jack D. Shields
Robert G. Sims
Gurdev Singh
Robert D. Snyder Cary, North Carolina 1955
Engineering Vernon E. Sorensen Dewey, Arizona
Civil Engineering James D.


Sandra K. Koenemann Monroeville, Indiana

John S. Mullins Elkhart, Indiana


Daniel E. Sult Huntington, Indiana

Indiana Tech Magazine 35 Roy Haugen South Portland, Maine 1962 Mathematics Ronald L. Hoffman Sparta, Tennessee 1965 Chemical Engineering Everett L. Hutsell Farmington Hills, Michigan 1962 Aeronautical Engineering A. R. Koetzle Rochester New York 1966 Chemical Engineering Ronald L. Lancaster Huntsville, Alabama 1960 Aeronautical Engineering James K. Moore Richmond, Kentucky 1963 Electrical Engineering Larry T. Oglesby Henderson, Nevada 1962 Aeronautical Engineering John F. Orlandi Seminole, Florida 1961 Mechanical Engineering Thomas Paragian Easton, Pennsylvania 1961 Aerospace Engineering Robert F. Peckham Temperance, Michigan 1960 Civil Engineering Roy T. Perkins Palm Beach, Florida 1966 Civil Engineering Ronald L. Ramsey Knoxville, Tennessee 1967 Mechanical Engineering Leon J. Recker Celestine, Indiana 1960 Electronic Engineering Frank J. Rockas Fort Myers, Florida 1962 Electronic Engineering Cornelius P. Schachte United, Pennsylvania 1965 Mechanical Engineering Pravin Shah San Jose, California 1965 Chemical Engineering Robert M. Silvis Hunker. Pennsylvania 1962 Electronic Engineering James T. Tracy Spartanburg, South Carolina 1960 Electronic Engineering Billy J. Vance Tucson, Arizona 1960 Electronic Engineering Donald S. Willis Ormond Beach, Florida 1963 Mechanical Engineering Sammy T. Zaan Laguna Woods, California 1960 Mechanical Engineering 1970s Calvin C. Carnahan Howe, Indiana 1975 Electrical Engineering Michael R. Lessard Bartlesville, Oklahoma 1973 Mechanical Engineering Michael K. McKee Anderson, Indiana 1974 Chemistry Walter W. Wolos West Palm Beach, Florida 1974 Civil Engineering 1980s Scott E. Morlock Pittsboro, Indiana 1988 Civil Engineering 1990s
Lionel K. Brubaker Uniondale, Indiana 1997 Business Administration
2000s Barbara A. Buell Fort Wayne, Indiana 2002 Business Administration
Linda D. Kirkwood Greenfield, Indiana 2002 Business Administration
Business Administration
L. Skiles Goose Creek, South Carolina 2001 Business Administration
1961 Electrical
General Studies Jack J. Armstrong
Electronic Engineering John J. Barney
Electronic Engineering Robert W. Bausback
Mechanical Engineering William J. Buyers
Mechanical Engineering Raymond G. Castle
Mechanical Engineering Fred Davis
Engineering Jerry E. Drall
Electrical Engineering Robert C. Elander
Katrine, New York
Electronic Engineering James L. Emery
Mechanical Engineering John B. Galletly
Hill, Florida
Electrical Engineering
W. Graeff
Mechanical Engineering Marlin J. Hall
River, Ohio

Remember This?

Dorm rooms at Indiana Tech have come a long way since the time this photo was taken. Where did you stay back when you were on campus? What was it like? Are there things you enjoyed about living there?

If you have any memories about living in the dorms at Indiana Tech, we'd love to hear them. In fact, they might appear in an upcoming issue of Indiana Tech Magazine. If you'd like to share, please email your story to Kristi Jarmus at

2023 Commencement Saturday, May 13; 12:30 p.m. Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, Fort Wayne

Homecoming 2023 Oct. 6–8 Main campus, Fort Wayne


Sunday, Sept. 17

Chestnut Hills Golf Course, Fort Wayne

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