Alumni Magazine-Winter 2020

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Alumni FALL/WINTER 2019-20

the drive to discover

Ball State researchers seek answers to expand knowledge and create a better world.

Sophomore Robin Johnson holds history in her fingertips. Ball State archaeologists unearthed this metal band from a Charleville musket in their search to better understand 1791’s pivotal battle of St. Clair’s Defeat in Ohio. See story on p. 36. Photo by Samantha Strahan

FLYING HIGH INTO NEW YEAR Women’s gymnasts are coming off a 10-win season, with three MAC victories and three athletes competing in NCAA regionals. In 2020, they take on a trio of last year’s top 10 teams (Denver, Georgia, and Michigan) and have seven MAC meets. “It’s always better to be striving and reaching for the next bar,” said coach Joanna Saleem. Their first of four home meets is January 26.

Photo by Samantha Strahan


Fiscal Year 2020 Alumni Council Executive Committee

Vice President for Business Affairs and Treasurer

Chair: Kelli Lawrence, ’01 Vice Chair: Mike Earley, ’78 Past Chair: Sam DeWeese, MS ’02 Secretary: Laura Cain, ’86 MAE ’98 EdS ’13 EdD ’15 Treasurer: Doug Cook, ’79 At-Large Representative: Larry Roan, ’77 At-Large Representative: Dwight Smith, ’87 At-Large Representative: Nick Zuniga, ’04 BSU Board of Trustees Representative: Brian Gallagher, ’81 Ball State University Board of Trustees Representative: Henry Hall, ’93 Ball State University Foundation Representative: Larry Riley, ’71 Vice President of Alumni Engagement and President of Ball State University Alumni Association: James Acton Ex-Officio: Tom Heck, MS ’83, CIO, Ball State University Foundation Ball State University Foundation Alumni Engagement Liaison: Lori Corvino

Beth Goetz



Geoffrey S. Mearns President

President’s Cabinet Sali Falling, MA ’88

Vice President and General Counsel

Alan Finn

Director of Athletics

Jake Logan

President of Ball State University Foundation and Vice President for University Advancement

Loren Malm, ’86

Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer

Sue Hodges Moore

Chief Strategy Officer

Becca Polcz Rice

Vice President for Governmental Relations

Susana Rivera-Mills

Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

Ro-Anne Royer Engle

Interim Vice President for Student Affairs

Kathy Wolf

Vice President for Marketing and Communications

Magazine Staff Elizabeth Brooks, ’95

Creative Strategist and Magazine Art Director

Jennifer Criss, ’98

Office Services Coordinator

Bobby Ellis, ’13

Multimedia Specialist

Dan Forst, ’85

Account Strategist

Tim Obermiller

Senior Content Strategist and Magazine Editor

Marc Ransford, ’83 MA ’07 Account Strategist

Kim Rendfeld

Senior Communications Strategist

Don Rogers, ’77

Alumni Chapters Chicago Area: Blair Kramer, ’05 Indianapolis Area: Scott Wenclewicz, ’06 Michiana: Samantha Adamczewski, ’10 Northeastern Indiana: Jacquie Downey, ’87

Professional Societies CAP: Gary Vance, ’77 Miller College of Business: Ed Armantrout, ’01 Journalism: Deborah Robinson Lumpkin, ’89 Natural Resources and Environmental Management: Drew Holloway, ’10 Nursing: Melissa Matthews, ’05 Teachers College: Judi Shafer, ’85 MAE ’97 EdS ’04 TCOM: Todd Merickel, ’94 Theater and Dance: Holly Stults Haas, ’89

Constituent Societies Alumni Ambassadors: Mike Vejar, ’91 Black Alumni: Teresa Jeter, MURP ’95 Football Player’s Association: Jack Haworth, ’95 Young Alumni Council (YAC): Cory Spaulding, ’06 MBA ’09

Alumni Engagement Staff James Acton Vice President of Alumni Engagement and President of Ball State University Alumni Association

Samantha Strahan, ’15

Lori Corvino

Jan Vermillion

Senior Communications Director

Nick Werner, ’03

Content Strategist and Writer

Judy Wolf

Communications Specialist

Dear Alumni and Friends: One of the five goals of our strategic plan, Destination 2040: Our Flight Path, is scholarship and societal impact. Faculty, staff, and students partner to engage in scholarship that garners national and international recognition, attracts external resources such as grants, and improves lives. At Ball State University, we have a long history of sparking intellectual curiosity. We inspire students through our commitment to academic excellence and high-impact practices, including immersive learning experiences such as providing children with the chance to experience music recording and production (see page 31) and helping people with trouble swallowing receive nourishment (page 24). Another inspiration comes from engaging our faculty with students in scholarship and research. Our students work side-by-side with teacher-scholars to expand immersive learning and research experiences. The perfect size of our University — and the dedicated commitment of our faculty — provide our undergraduate students with research opportunities that they wouldn’t normally get until graduate school. On campus, we are improving facilities where research and discovery take place. The new Health Professions Building (page 8) includes many flexible classrooms and a large number of simulation spaces. These advanced facilities will enable our faculty and clinicians to prepare students to work collaboratively as members of interprofessional teams. That’s the future of health care. Directly behind the Health Professions Building, we are constructing our new Foundational Sciences Building. When completed in Summer 2021, this building will provide modern teaching and research spaces in chemistry and biology. Then, we will be able to renovate the Cooper Science Complex. In these pages, you will find stories of research that enhance our knowledge and understanding in many professional fields and academic disciplines. For example, the Applied Anthropology Laboratories (page 36) provide a richer understanding of our past, while research and realAt a ribbon-cutting for the new Health Professions Building, President Mearns world applications of 3D printing of concrete (page 44) could explained how the facility prepares students revolutionize the future of construction. Ball State’s Indiana for advanced approaches to health care. Communities Institute, Rural Policy Research Institute Center for State Policy, and the Center for Business and Economic Research examine issues relevant to Indiana communities and rural areas throughout the U.S. (page 42). The Center for Autism Spectrum Disorder produces meaningful, sometimes transformative, answers for the autism spectrum disorder community about questions that challenge them the most (page 50). And a journalism professor conducts research about the effects of trauma for everyday newspaper journalists and TV anchors (page 48). This kind of active discovery enhances our faculty’s teaching and prepares our students to pursue fulfilling careers and to lead meaningful lives. And it enhances the economic, environmental, and social vitality of our community, our state, and our world. I hope these articles about discovery inspire you as much as they have me. These stories demonstrate that, together at Ball State, We Fly.

Jay Brill, ’74 Jeffery Dack, ’00 Adam Drummond, ’02 MA ’05 EdS ’11 EdD ’14 Scott Franko, ’92 Jeff Kingsbury, ’91 Doug Miltenberger, ’99 Pamala Morris, ’69 MAE ’71 Michele Musson, ’06 MBA ’07 Brian Parkison, ’86 Jonathan Paul Scott, ’05 Beth Snyder, ’78 Kyle Williams, ’00

Multimedia Specialist Multimedia Specialist


Senior Director of Alumni Engagement, Special Events and Stewardship

Michelle Harrell, AA ’87 Alumni Engagement Coordinator

Gerri Hildreth Alumni Engagement Coordinator

Michelle Johnson, ’01 MA ’07 Senior Director of Alumni Engagement, Homecoming, Athletics and Reunions

Carol Kosisko, ’88


Director of Alumni Engagement, Collegiate Groups EP Graphics, Berne, Indiana, prints Ball State University Alumni magazine. Paper is Chain of Custody-certified by Forest Stewardship Council. Printer uses ink with soy oil, and all wastepaper and solvents used in the printing process are recycled. Marketing and Communications, Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana 47306, 765-285-1560. Contact the magazine editor at • Alumni, please log in at to update your information. • All Ball State family and friends, please email with address updates. Ball State University practices equal opportunity in education and employment and is strongly and actively committed to diversity within its community.


Ball State University Alumni Magazine

Lexi Rodebeck, ’12 MA ’18 Alumni Engagement Coordinator

Sue Taylor, ’71 Director of Alumni Engagement, Collegiate and Affinity Groups

Kate Webber, ’98 MA ’99

Geoffrey S. Mearns President, Ball State University

Senior Director of Alumni Engagement, Alumni Communities and Volunteer Management

Brittney Williams, ’13 MA ’18 Director of Alumni Engagement, Regional Markets Photo by Don Rogers

Fall/Winter 2019–20



In Ball State’s Applied Anthropology Laboratories, graduate student Connor McCoy, ’18 and University archaeologist Christine Thompson, MA ’09, study artifacts to better understand history,

36 42 44 48

A New View


A collaboration between American Indian tribes and Ball State faculty and students brings fresh perspective to a fateful battle.

News . . . . . . . . . 7

Small Town, Big Data Researcher Emily Wornell seeks remedies for poverty in rural communities in Indiana and across the country.

Arts & Culture . . . . 30 Alumni . . . . . . . . 53

A Ball State architect challenges norms by combining human creativity with robotic fabrication.

Class Notes . . . . . 56

Only Human

When Research Becomes Service

Two faculty members studying college students with autism become their advocates at Ball State.


Empowered . . . . . 23

Concrete Example

New research could help journalists prepare for the traumatic scenes they witness on a daily basis.


Athletics . . . . . . . 17

Ball State University Alumni Magazine

Photo provided by Liz Maxwell

In Memoriam . . . .


MAKING A NEW FRIEND Ball State Magazine’s online site recently featured Liz Maxwell, ’13, a biology major who now works “hand-in-flipper” with sea lions like Neptune (shown above). Found stranded and starving on a California beach, Neptune is now happy and in a forever home, thanks to the Georgia Aquarium and marine animal trainers like Maxwell. Visit to read web exclusive profiles, “Photos the Month” features, results of social media surveys, and much more.

Fall/Winter 2019–20


Reports / Projects / Discoveries

It’s Time to Rediscover Ball State


Dear Ball State Alumni, The drive to find solutions to real-world problems through exploration, collaboration, and innovation is the focus of this issue of Ball State Alumni magazine. Discovery through research, in the lab and in the field, is how we get there, and Ball State faculty and students from all disciplines are conducting groundbreaking studies that will lead to positive outcomes and change. I’m proud to serve as the new president of the Ball State University Alumni Association during a time when the University is discovering so many ways to make the world a better place. It’s an exciting time to be a Cardinal, and if you haven’t connected with us for a while, I encourage you to Rediscover Ball State! Here are some ways to rekindle your Cardinal Pride:

Visit Ball State in Person or Virtually Come back for a campus tour, a sporting event, or a cultural experience; visit us online at to see what’s new and take a virtual tour of campus.

Join the Cardinals Connect Online Community Network with fellow alumni in your field, mentor students and alumni, and catch up with classmates through this robust portal just for Ball State alumni. Register now at

Attend an Alumni Event We host a number of signature events throughout the year. Learn about Homecoming, CharlieTown, Winter College, Proud and Loyal, reunions, and more at

Join an Alumni Chapter Near You Getting involved in a chapter is a great way to connect with fellow Cardinals, network, sharpen your leadership skills, and just have fun. Learn more in our “Get Involved” section at

Participate in Day of Beneficence Mark your calendar for Saturday, April 18, 2020, to represent Ball State in your community through this annual alumni day of service. Last year, Cardinals created 46 different projects throughout the nation. A total of 300 volunteers made the world a better place by donating 900 service hours in just one day. Visit for more information. I look forward to helping you rediscover what made Ball State “home” and creating opportunities for you to proudly make a lifelong connection to this special place. With pride, We Fly!

A Space for Calm James Acton Vice President Of Alumni Engagement and President of Ball State University Alumni Association Photo by Samantha Strahan


Ball State University Alumni Magazine

Charles W. Brown Planetarium’s state-of-the-art hybrid projector premiered Sunset Meditation in November. A campus partnership working to improve mental health and resilience created the guided meditation that offers soothing music and visuals, including a realistic simulated sky. Missed it? Look for “Sunset Meditation VR” on YouTube or check for future showings.

Fall/Winter 2019–20



NEWS engage in learning, practice, and research in an interprofessional environment. It will also provide the platform for us to collaborate with our external partners in continuing education opportunities for the health care workforce of the future.” Adjacent to the Health Professions Building, the University is constructing the Foundational Sciences Building, which is the second phase of the comprehensive plan for a new East Quad. When the Foundational Sciences Building is completed in 2021, Ball State will move forward with the final phase of the plan, renovating Cooper Science Complex. “Together, these three projects represent a $210 million investment in Ball State University. We owe a debt of gratitude to the members of the Indiana General Assembly and to Governor Holcomb, who provided us with the financial resources to make these facilities possible,” said Mearns, who also thanked the many individual donors stepping forward to support the projects. Named spaces in the new Health Professions Building and donors recognized during the ceremony were:

Designed for the


HEALTH CARE By Marc Ransford, ’83 MA ’07


o expand health education to meet expanding demands, and with a focus on collaborative student training, Ball State University formally celebrated the opening of its Health Professions Building this Fall. The $62.5 million steel, brick, limestone, and glass structure encompasses about 165,000 square feet and has classrooms, laboratories, offices, a resource hub, simulation labs/suites, and clinical spaces. The facility supports innovative learning experiences where College of Health (COH) faculty and students collaborate across academic disciplines to improve patient care. Labs have technology and equipment to assess and treat real-life situations with patients or simulation manikins. Students also work in health clinics open to both campus and the public — a reflection of Ball State’s commitment to serve its neighbors near and far. “This is a milestone moment for our University, especially for our faculty, staff, and students who are benefiting from the new classrooms, labs, and clinical spaces,” President Geoffrey S. Mearns said during a ribbon-cutting ceremony in October. The ribbon-cutting signified completion of the first phase of the University’s comprehensive plan to expand and renovate its STEM and health professions facilities. “This plan will ensure the quality of our academic programs in these fields for decades to come”. Rick Hall, chair of Ball State’s Board of Trustees, called the new building a significant reminder of the importance of health and life sciences to Indiana and to the nation — and the importance of science, technology, engineering, and math education to students and their future careers. “As Ball State enters its second century, I am optimistic that our Health Professions Building will reinforce our University’s leadership in this vital field while setting our students apart for decades to come,” Hall said. At the ceremony, COH Dean Mitchell Whaley reflected on the journey toward completion of the building, which followed the official launch of College of Health in July 2016. “It took several years of dedicated planning by many faculty and staff to create the new college,” he said. “In the same spirit, we come here today to dedicate this new building that will allow students and faculty the opportunity to


Ball State University Alumni Magazine

1 1) A view of the north side of the Health Professions Building (HPB) shows how the design incorporates glass, steel, limestone, and brick. The building will anchor a new East Quad that includes the Foundational Sciences Building, to be completed in 2021. 2) Simulation manikins await treatment from students in an HPB Building lab designed to reflect a typical hospital environment. 3) A student checks a toddler’s hearing inside the new Audiology Clinic, one of several clinics serving the community while providing learning experiences for students.



4) An aerial view shows progress made on the new East Quad.

• Children’s Playroom, honoring Mitchell, MA ’82, and Cathy Whaley, ’91 MS ’00. • College of Health Conference Room, honoring Kevin, ’82, and Jackie Rowles, ’82. He is president of Storage Solutions, and she is an anesthetist and president of Meridian Health Services. • CPSY Conference Room, honoring Kelly Hartman, ’89 MA ’91, president and chief executive officer of Insights Consulting and co-founder of Outside the Box. • Speech Language Therapy Room, honoring Patrick, ’84 MA ’01, and Carlye McLaughlin, ’86 MA ’87, and their daughter Claire McLaughlin Baker, ’18 MA ’19. Patrick is an executive with CampusWorks, and Carlye is a speech language pathologist.

4 Fall/Winter 2019–20




New Multicultural Center Will Champion Enduring Values

Photo by Bobby Ellis

By Marc Ransford, ’83 MA ’07


t Homecoming 2019, ground was broken for Ball State’s The policy took effect for the freshman class that started new Multicultural Center, east of Bracken Library. classes in Fall 2019. It is based on research that shows high The $4 million, approximately 10,500-square-foot facility school grade point averages are the strongest predictor for will open in 2020. It will contain open collaboration space student success. The policy enables Ball State to provide for student organizations and peer advocate leaders; an exceptional educational experience accessible to more a multipurpose room for meetings and presentations; first-generation and minority students. Results can be seen administrative offices; exhibition space for cultural artwork with this year’s freshman class being the most diverse in that represent the values of inclusive excellence; and a Ball State’s history. small café. The center will be adjacent to the new East Mall, which will make the campus friendlier to pedestrians and cyclists and connect them to the north end of campus and The Village. As President Geoffrey S. Mearns explained, the location was deliberately selected to be “in the center of our campus. That is the message we want to send — that diversity and inclusion must always be at the center of all that we do.” For the fourth consecutive year, the University received a Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity, the oldest and largest diversity magazine and website in higher education. About 20 percent of Ball State students are from underrepresented populations. The University continues to make enrollment of underrepresented students a priority and last year announced a new test-optional This artist’s rendering shows what the new Multicultural Center will look like when completed undergraduate admissions policy. in 2020. University leaders break ground on the center, to be built at the center of campus.

Photo by Don Rogers


Ball State University Alumni Magazine

Partnership Takes Flight The dream to transform Muncie Community Schools moves forward. By Kate H. Elliott


avid and Christina (Saylor) Smith, MA ’00, could have left. They could have taken their boys out of Muncie Community Schools (MCS) when the “distressed” district closed their neighborhood elementary school. But they didn’t, and they won’t. “This is where we live, and we’re going to give it everything we’ve got,” said David, MA ’08. “Our boys have great schools and opportunities. My hope is that our city will embrace what we have and fight together for what we can be.” Chuck Reynolds, associate superintendent of MCS, could have stayed in his job as an administrator for a nearby district. Instead, he came back to MCS, where he attended as a boy and where his two sons have been enrolled since kindergarten. Reynolds taught or served as a principal for the district for 14 years, and also led the “Spirit of South” Marching Band & Guard to statewide acclaim. “I grew up in a single-parent, blended family home, struggling to scrape by even with government assistance. But, thanks to caring MCS teachers, I knew I didn’t have to let my circumstances define my future,” said Reynolds, ’98, who later earned three post-graduate education degrees from Ball State. “Because I grew up here, I know of the district’s unparalleled academic, cocurricular, and extracurricular opportunities. I will, and we must, invest in MCS students and families to realize the full potential of tomorrow.”

Students at West View Elementary play under a parachute during the last day of the school year in 2018. With the partnership, the district has stabilized enrollment and expanded high-quality preschools.

That grit and determination has taken hold as Ball State and MCS embarked this Fall on Year Two of the nation’s first public school district–public university partnership, one that is striving to transform the district into a national model for innovative education.

Shared purpose The financially struggling district had been under state supervision for a year when the Indiana Legislature approved the partnership in May 2018. In the Summer of that year, University trustees approved a seven-member school board that Ball State appointed, and within days the board began collaborating with MCS administrators to re-imagine education for the district’s nearly 5,000 pre-K-12 students. So far, the partnership has yielded enrollment stability, millions in philanthropic investments, and the first pay raise for teachers in eight years. Other accomplishments in its first academic year included a budget surplus, about $9 million in improvements to MCS buildings, and expansion of high-quality preschools across the district.

Fall/Winter 2019–20


NEWS Support from the University started at the top, with President Geoffrey S. Mearns endowing a scholarship for MCS graduates who would become first-generation students at Ball State. He and other administrators have rolled up their sleeves alongside more than 500 Ball State employees who have volunteered nearly 2,200 hours to support MCS. The district began its second year this past Summer with new leadership: In July, Lee Ann Kwiatkowski became the district’s first director of public education and CEO. The former senior education advisor to Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb is recognized for her collaborative leadership style and urban districts’ expertise. “This is the most exciting job in the state of Indiana, if not the nation,” said Dr. Kwiatkowski, whose 35-plus years in public education began as a teacher. “The entire city is coming together to build a strong, sustainable foundation that will guide us to continue to evolve, collaborate, and adapt to meet the needs of our students and MCS families. “Our plan is not about easy answers and quick fixes,” she added. “It’ll be a document that aligns Muncie’s hopes with

Ball State President Geoffrey S. Mearns and Muncie Community Schools CEO Lee Ann Kwiatkowski greet students at North View Elementary on the first day of classes.


Ball State University Alumni Magazine

NEWS effective practices and research, while creating space for continuous improvement in the years ahead.”

Inspired to innovate At a two-day Academic Innovation Summit this Fall, about 500 teachers, administrators, community leaders, and campus partners heard from national experts and each other about effective practices. They shared experiences and filled white boards with ideas for the future of Muncie schools. According to Associate Superintendent Reynolds, educators who attended the summit felt heard, celebrated, and inspired. Afterward, a joint MCS-Ball State Academic Innovation Council of nearly 30 educational and community leaders gathered outcomes from the summit to identify themes. They aligned those outcomes with research and effective practices proposed by a national panel of experts. Council members also reviewed feedback from listening sessions with hundreds of MCS parents and students, residents, and teachers. They pored over data from an analysis of strengths, opportunities, and threats, plus a comprehensive, external audit of instruction and curriculum. Susana Rivera-Mills, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at Ball State, guides the innovation council. A first-generation college student, Dr. Rivera-Mills said she is driven to support a culturally responsive system that nurtures all students’ potential, regardless of background or circumstance. “It will take all of us to create a learning environment where our children can excel academically and in all aspects of their physical and emotional well-being,” said the former professor of linguistics, whose scholarship focuses on meaningful civic-university alliances. “There is much work to be done, but the level of engagement I have witnessed so far gives me the confidence that MCS is ready to be a model of excellence locally, regionally, and nationally.” MCS Board of Trustees President Jim Williams is among a team of innovation council members charged with reflecting feedback, needs, and effective practices into an Academic Innovation and Financial Viability Plan. MCS and Ball State will present the plan by the end of June, as specified by the Indiana State Legislature. “This is an unprecedented opportunity, and our entire city has come together to envision how to provide MCS students and families with the academic and social support they need to thrive,” said Williams. “Without question, we have created opportunities for anyone who wants to add their voice to the plan.” A citywide approach Until late Spring 2020, educators, parents, students, national experts, and district leaders will continue to perfect the plan. Emerging themes include a renewed focus on literacy and

(Clockwise from top) Teacher Sean White of Southview Elementary, Principal Chris Walker of Muncie Central High School, and teacher Erica Collins of Northside Middle School interact with students. They were among about 500 teachers, administrators, community leaders, and campus partners who brainstormed about the future of the school district at an Academic Innovation Summit this Fall.

critical thinking skills at the K-3 level, ongoing and focused professional development for teachers and principals, and significant investment in career and technical education. After the June presentation to the state legislature, MCS and Ball State will share the plan and a timeline for multistaged implementation with families, residents, and community partners. As longtime advocates for community improvement, Muncie’s nonprofits and businesses have strongly backed the partnership, with nearly $4 million in support. Jud Fisher, president and COO of Ball Brothers Foundation, was among dozens of community leaders at the Fall summit. “We have an all-hands-on-deck mentality here in Muncie right now,” said Fisher, whose foundation has long supported Muncie schools, including a $1 million grant to assist Ball State’s efforts to transform MCS. “Educational attainment is the most important aspect of leading a fulfilling and productive life, and having engaged and enlightened citizens. We need a strong and continuous effort to give students, teachers, and administrators a chance to flourish.” Among the thousands making that effort is Katie Washburn, whose two children attend West View Elementary in Muncie.

Busy working at IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital as a clinical pharmacist, she wasn’t able to attend September’s Innovation Summit — but she did gather hundreds of pieces of candy and note cards from students and parents that thanked teachers for their love and guidance. Volunteers scattered the candies and cards throughout the summit’s breakout rooms at Muncie’s Horizon Convention Center. “Sometimes it’s the little things, and it didn’t take much to ask parents to ‘treat’ their teachers to professional development, candy, and kind words. Every day, I see teachers go above and beyond — caring for students like they are their own, standing out in the rain or snow to help kids out of cars, buying coats for them, staying late to help with homework, and more,” said Washburn, a Muncie native. “Muncie is amazing, and we will show the nation what we can do.” Read the latest about the MCS–Ball State partnership at To read more about Muncie Central’s Chris Walker, ’03, visit

Fall/Winter 2019–20




Students LEED With Firstin-Midwest Achievement


Center for Civic Design Reaches Indy Neighborhoods and Beyond B

all State University’s new Center for Civic Design (CCD) helps Indianapolis neighborhoods and other communities envision possibilities. The center opened this Fall in Ball State’s new CAP: INDY location on the former Angie’s List campus along the Washington Street corridor. An outreach and engagement arm of the R. Wayne Estopinal College of Architecture and Planning (CAP), the CCD provides design, planning, and visioning support to neighborhoods, community organizations, and civic leaders in the Indianapolis area, communities throughout the state, and occasionally overseas. Many projects involve collaboration among CAP students, faculty, and local communities. Ball State President Geoffrey S. Mearns said the CCD reflects the University’s commitment to serving its neighbors, near and far. “Ball State’s Center for Civic Design mutually benefits our University and our neighbors, including the city of Indianapolis,” he said. “Our students receive an excellent education and serve their neighbors in an urban environment,” Mearns noted. “Our partners have access to the expertise and resources of one of the largest and most comprehensive environmental design colleges in the country.” The CCD is now collaborating with several Indianapolis neighborhood groups, including work with the Community Alliance of the Far Eastside to develop formal designs and


Ball State University Alumni Magazine

produce 3D renderings and animations that envision a large community space at 38th Street and Post Road. Neighborhood leaders plan to use the area for social gatherings, skills building, and outreach. Other projects underway include: • Partnering with Steadfast Indiana to provide homes for veterans in need by redeveloping an abandoned mobile home park in Indianapolis into an attractive, affordable community. • Teaching civic design to city leaders across the state through the Indiana Communities Institute’s Community Development course. • Working with the Indiana Communities Institute to host and provide civic design expertise on new Main Street programs underway in communities throughout the state. In the program, CAP students work with communities to help them envision what their “Main Street” should be. • Partnering with Schmidt Associates and the Purdue University College of Engineering on a master plan for the two-acre site of the Tumaini Innovation Center in Eldoret, Kenya, which teaches vocational skills to youth living on the streets of Kenya. CAP Dean Dave Ferguson noted the college has provided expertise of faculty and students to Indiana communities since its founding in 1965.

Photos by Don Rogers

The Center for Civic Design held an open house this Fall, inviting campus and community leaders to discuss future plans with CAP faculty and students.

“CAP has a rich history of community-based outreach activities,” he said. “Ball State’s Center for Civic Design is an expansion of CAP’s existing community engagement with the city of Indianapolis, its neighborhoods, and beyond. This innovative center fosters collaboration among academics, professional practitioners, municipal leaders, and communities.” In the future, CAP, in partnership with other Ball State colleges, may provide additional academic opportunities for students. Ball State CAP: INDY also hosts meetings and events for professional partners. Ball State CAP: INDY is the only Indianapolis-based higher education initiative focused on the comprehensive planning, design, and building of cities, towns, neighborhoods, and places, Ferguson said. “No other organization is doing this kind of work in the state’s capital.” With 5,000 square feet, the new location offers the space, technology, and configuration CAP: INDY needs for students in the master of architecture and master of urban design programs. The R. Wayne Estopinal College of Architecture and Planning supports a full range of disciplines, such as interior design, landscape architecture, historic preservation, urban design, architecture, and construction management.

his Fall, students in the R. Wayne Estopinal College of Architecture and Planning became the first collegiate team in the Midwest— and the fifth university team worldwide — to certify that an existing building meets the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The David Letterman Communication and Media Building is now certified LEED for Building Operations and Maintenance (LEED O+M). Ball State students in LEED Lab, a USGBC initiative to engage college students, examined the Letterman Building’s performance in the years since its 2007 construction, when it was certified as LEED Silver based on projections of energy efficiency, water use, and other factors. Janet Fick, associate lecturer of construction management, and James Jones, chair of the Department of Construction Management and Interior Design, mentored the team with assistance from other campus leaders. The achievement builds on a long track record of sustainability at Ball State, including installation of the largest ground source geothermal system in the country. In the future, student teams will audit other buildings on campus and verify that they meet LEED standards. The team will next seek second LEED certifications for the Jo Ann Gora Student Recreation and Wellness Center and the Marilyn K. Glick Center for Glass.

LEED®, and its related logo, is a trademark owned by the U.S. Green Building Council® and is used with permission.

Fall/Winter 2019–20


News / Events / Profiles


WOMAN OF INFLUENCE Susana Rivera-Mills, the University’s provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, has been named a 2019 Woman of Influence by the Indianapolis Business Journal. Each year, IBJ recognizes a select group of women who have demonstrated professional excellence and leadership in their careers and community service. Since her arrival at Ball State in July 2018, Dr. Rivera-Mills has been instrumental in the development of the University’s strategic plan and new budget model. In addition, she and Interim Vice President for Student Affairs Ro-Anne Royer Engle are leading efforts to improve the University’s retention rates, and she leads the Ball State and Muncie Community Schools Joint Academic Innovation Council, part of a communitywide effort to transform the local school district into a national model.

BRAIN POWER Ball State has joined

NEW LEADER Alan Finn is Ball State’s

a statewide initiative to bring collegeeducated professionals back to Indiana. Brain Gain is a collaboration of Indiana universities, civic organizations, and businesses working with the Indianapolis company TMap, which uses technology and consumer marketing to recruit professionals back to Indiana. Ball State and other universities are asking alumni who now live out of state to return home. “Indiana is a great place for people to have fulfilling careers and to lead meaningful lives,” said Ball State President Geoffrey S. Mearns. “Indiana has a lot to offer talented professionals. With a strong economy, many opportunities, and Hoosier values, our state is thriving.” Of about 40 occupations that are most in demand, the vast majority require at least a bachelor’s degree, according to data from

new vice president for business affairs and treasurer. Previously, he was vice president for business and finance and treasurer at Lewis & Clark College and has worked with state and incentive-based budget models and with legislators and board members. He said Ball State is among those higher education institutions whose strong sense of identity, priorities, and new strategic plan position it well for the future. “I am thrilled to join its leadership team.”

ATHLETICS Net Gain Senior Matt Szews, a 2019 All-Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association first team member, will help lead the team after a 15-15 season. Highly rated recruit (true freshman) Bryce Behrendt, Wisconsin’s reigning top boys player, joins the team, which opens at home Jan. 10 against Belmont Abbey of North Carolina. Coach Joel Walton, ’88, nine wins from 400 for his career, is proud that his team led all male athletic teams with the highest GPA average last year.

WE FLY Building on the successful WE FLY marketing campaign launched two years ago, a crew filmed on-campus footage during some beautiful autumn days for a new TV commercial, billboards, and other marketing. Showcasing the iconic aspects of the Ball State experience, the new visuals will debut in January 2020. Photo by Samantha Strahan


Ball State University Alumni Magazine

Fall/Winter 2019–20



ATHLETICS Photo by Ian D’Andrea

Major Achievement By Dan Forst, ’85


all State baseball has a long and proud history of sending players to the major leagues. Zach Plesac, ’17, is the latest and has shown the potential to be one of the greatest. Selected by the Cleveland Indians in the 12th round of the 2016 MLB draft, Plesac spent two years in the minor leagues before bursting onto the scene in a big way with the parent club this past season. The 6-foot-3-inch, 220-pound, right-handed pitcher made his MLB debut May 29 at Fenway Park against the Boston


Ball State University Alumni Magazine

Red Sox and worked 5 1/3 innings, allowing one run and four hits. From there, Plesac went on to establish himself as a regular in the Indians’ starting pitching rotation by posting an 8-6 record with a 3.81 earned run average (ERA), 88 strikeouts, and 40 walks. A highlight of his season came September 10 when he threw a sparkling four-hit, complete game shutout in Los Angeles against the Angels. “It’s been like a dream for me,” said Plesac. “I always believed I had the potential to make the big leagues, but until

you actually get there and have some success, the overall experience is just hard to grasp. Sometimes I still have to pinch myself to understand it’s real.” The native of Crown Point, Indiana, enjoyed a standout high school career before accepting a scholarship to play at Ball State University. “I knew Ball State had just built a really nice stadium and had a great baseball tradition,” he said. “And it was close to home and seemed like a great fit for my college career.” It didn’t take him long to make an impact in Muncie. In his freshman year of 2014, Plesac posted a 12-2 record, a 2.11 ERA, and was named the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper Freshman of the Year. In 2015, Plesac recorded a 5-5 record with a 3.27 ERA in 16 starts and was off to a 3-2 start in 2016 before undergoing Tommy John surgery in the same year he would ultimately be drafted by the Indians. The surgery repairs a torn ligament on the inside of an elbow. Ball State head baseball coach Rich Maloney believes the best is yet to come for Plesac. “I’m not at all surprised at his success,” said Maloney. “He’s a freakish athlete and would excel at just about anything he chose to do. I think he’ll have a long, very solid career in the major leagues. It’s in his genes.” Genes indeed! Plesac’s uncle, Joe Plesac, was a pitcher drafted by the San Diego Padres in the second round of the 1982 MLB draft but spent his six-year professional career in the minor leagues. But another uncle who was also a pitcher, Dan Plesac, enjoyed an 18-year major league career that included stints with the Blue Jays, Brewers, Cubs, Diamondbacks, Phillies, and Pirates, earning three All-Star appearances in the process. “To say I have a lot of family support is probably an understatement,” Plesac said. “And my time at Ball State, especially the support and counsel of Coach Maloney, was fantastic.” He was drafted before he was to graduate, so Plesac finished his degree in communication studies by taking online courses and earned his degree in 2017. “Regardless of where my baseball career takes me, it was always very important for me and my family that I finish my Ball State degree,” he said. “And I’m happy I did.” Plesac’s career next takes him to the Indians’ spring training complex in Goodyear, Arizona, when pitchers and catchers report in mid-February. “I can’t wait to get to Arizona” he said. “I can’t wait to get back on the Photo provided by Ball State Athletics diamond again.”

Championship seasons are within grasp of 2020 baseball and softball teams


hile every varsity athletic team has high hopes for a stellar season, a preview of Ball State’s 2020 baseball and softball seasons shows very real promise. After finishing with a 38-19 overall record in 2019, good for second place in the MAC regular season standings and the conference tournament, head baseball coach Rich Maloney (above right) is optimistic about his 2020 team. “We absolutely believe we’ll be putting a very strong team on the field.” Seniors John Baker and Chase Stebby combine to form one of the more experienced and effective pitcher-catcher batteries in the Midwest. Stebby was named 2019 MAC Defensive Player of the Year as well as second-team All-MAC. Baker was a first-team All-MAC selection last year after going 7-2 in league play with an outstanding 2.13 ERA. He enters his final collegiate season needing 88 strikeouts to break Ball State’s career strikeout record. Ball State last made the NCAA Tournament in 2006, and Maloney is hoping for a return trip. “There’s no guarantees, but we’ve certainly got the horsepower to get it done.” Now starting her fifth season as head softball coach, Megan Ciolli Bartlett (right) says she has a group of very hungry players. “We’re going to be fun to watch.” The team finished 34-20 last year, with a 9-8 MAC record. Six starters return from that team, including its leading hitter, junior third baseman Stacy Payton, a 2019 First Team All-MAC selection. “We are planning to move Stacy to catcher this year because she’s such a versatile athlete and has such an amazing arm,” Bartlett said. The coach is also enthused about this year’s recruiting class, which includes Wisconsin native Haley Wynn, the likely replacement for Payton at third base. “I envision all of our true freshmen seeing playing time this season, and Haley has already shown us she’s ready to step in,” Bartlett said. Ball State softball last made the NCAA Tournament in 2015. A return trip is always on the minds of Bartlett and her players. “Our goals are to win the MAC and get into the tournament,” Bartlett said. “And there’s not a player or coach on this team that doesn’t believe we’re going to do just that.”

Fall/Winter 2019–20



An Uncommon Bond Drew and Marie Plitt have helped each other grow at Ball State, just like in their childhood. By Gabrielle Glass, ’19


onded by sports at a young age, Drew and Marie Plitt found their way to Ball State and continue to thrive as athletes and siblings. Marie Plitt is in her first year as a middle blocker for Ball State women’s volleyball, while redshirt junior Drew Plitt is in the middle of his third playing season with Ball State football as a quarterback. Their sibling relationship has been everything but a rivalry. Their parents, Julie and Steve Plitt, remember Drew and older brother Bryce in constant friendly competition while Marie strived to become like the two of them. The Plitts’ love and dedication to sports didn’t start with Drew and Marie. Their parents are alumni from Xavier University’s volleyball and baseball programs, respectively, and they continue their dedication by coaching those sports at the varsity level at Ohio’s Loveland High School. “Sports are just what we’re good at,” Julie said. “We loved the way it bonded us as a family. Of course, there are other things we love to do together, but going and attending sporting events together, playing sports together — it’s always been our thing.” Whether it was in the backyard, on the court, or wherever they could manage to find a ball, the Plitt siblings were there, working to get better and bonding as brothers and sister. A three-year letter winner and 2013 state champion for Loveland High, Drew joined the Cardinals in 2016. After redshirting his freshman year, he continued to move up the depth chart and took control of the starting quarterback position.


Earning the Ray Louthen Award in 2018 for the most improved player, Drew has proven himself worthy on this Cardinal roster. At the victorious 2019 season finale against Miami, Plitt threw for 317 yards and three touchdowns and is now ranked seventh on Ball State’s single-season passing chart. “Our parents were our primary coaches growing up,” Drew said. “They would take us to the gym or the field and work with us on whatever we needed. It was something we did together pretty often as a family.” But even while Drew was in Muncie and Marie was still in high school at Loveland, their bond remained strong. “Drew made it a point to drive back home to as many of her games as he could while she was still in high

school,” Julie said. “They enjoy each other’s successes, and when there are setbacks, they pick each other up.” As for Marie, competition was her first love. Whether it was learning from her older brothers or competing on the court, she has always loved the way sports challenged her. When the opportunity arose for her to play volleyball and join her brother at Ball State, it couldn’t have been a more perfect fit. “Drew being here was a big part of what piqued my interest in Ball State,” Marie said. “Then the volleyball program was interested in me. I checked out the campus, and I absolutely loved the program.” Marie committed to Ball State her junior year at Loveland, where her mom coached her. She was named team MVP her sophomore, junior and senior seasons and led the Tigers to a 22-2 record in her final year. While there was friendly competition in the household growing up, Marie said Drew played a big role in helping her grow as an athlete. “He and our older brother, Bryce, really pushed me when I was a kid,” Marie said. “We’d always play games together, and the competition was fun. Sports always helped us relate to each other.” With both football and volleyball in full swing, fall is a hectic time for Marie and Drew. Even amid their chaotic athletic schedules, the two manage to get together frequently to catch up. “We try to meet up at least once or twice a week,” Drew said. “A lot of times, we’ll get coffee to see how things are going, see how volleyball is going and all that.” The support system between the siblings is unmatched, attending as many of each other’s games as they can and making sure they are exchanging encouraging words. Because they go to the same school, it makes in-person sibling bonding time easier — and it gives their parents peace of mind knowing the two are not alone. “It eases my mind knowing that Marie has Drew there with her,” Julie said. “And of course, it’s cool when they both have Saturday games, and we’re able to watch him in the afternoon and her in the evening. It’s a lot of fun.” Editor’s Note: As we went to press, Marie Plitt and her teammates learned they’d won a berth in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. This story was adapted from the Oct. 3, 2019, edition of the Ball State Daily News. To read the original story in its entirety go to Photos by Don Rogers


Ball State University Alumni Magazine

Fall/Winter 2019–20


Profiles / Engagement / Learning


Quad Angles Senior Donnie Dulaney (left) and juniors Richard Bowman and Tony Kahl use an automatic level for a topographic survey of the Quad. Such surveys are required for architects to design a site. The construction management majors practiced working with the level and as a team, which are both common in building. Academic requirements — including calculus, law, physics, and stats — are a lot, but students get jobs before graduation and start at an average of $58,000.

Photo by Don Rogers

Fall/Winter 2019–20




When It’s Hard to Swallow W

ith kitchen utensils and sophisticated technology, Ball State students are filling a crucial need for people learning or relearning how to swallow, and they’re making discoveries in an area with scant research. In an immersive learning experience, students mix a variety of food and beverages with thickeners in precise formulas that help dysphagia patients get nourishment down the right pipe. “These students are at the forefront of making a difference,” said Mary (Circle) Ewing, ’99 MA ’01, a clinical lecturer of speech pathology and audiology in Ball State’s College of Health. Ewing, founder of the immersive course, mentors the students with Ranjith Wijesinghe, professor of physics and astronomy in the College of Sciences and Humanities. About 590 million people live with dysphagia, according to the International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative (IDDSI). This condition affects premature newborns, patients recovering from strokes, and people with traumatic brain injuries, among others. Having food and beverages with the optimal viscosity, or thickness, is crucial. If the liquid is too thin, patients risk choking and having infections from drawing fluid into the lungs. “I was very surprised to learn that this problem had not

By Kim Rendfeld

been thoroughly investigated before,” said Wijesinghe. “As far as I know, not many researchers are working on this problem.” For nine semesters, Ball State students, most of them studying speech language pathology, have mixed liquids with starch- and gum-based thickeners, aiming for the consistency of barium swallowed during evaluations of the digestive system — about the thickness of a milkshake. Students have experimented with supplemental nutritional drinks, beef and vegetable broth, juices, applesauce, infant formula, and more. Their 643 tests (including liquids without thickener) have filled nine large binders. Ewing, who was a hospital speech language pathologist specializing in dysphagia for about 14 years before coming to Ball State, was surprised at how much mixtures could vary. Tomato juice and sports drinks, for example, are vastly different. Other factors affect viscosity as well, including how the ingredients are mixed, whether the mixture is heated, and how long it sits. Getting formulas right for babies is an even greater challenge. “Many previously used thickeners are now deemed unsafe for infants,” said Maggie Henning, ’19, a speech language pathology student who worked on the study before earning


her bachelor’s in December. “And the safe thickeners, like rice cereal and oatmeal, are very inconsistent in their thicknesses.” In their busy Cooper Science Complex lab, students collaborate to solve these problems and many others. Working in teams to mix their formulas, they use a viscometer to precisely measure the thickness of their creations. Then, the students use a syringe to see where the recipe fits on a 0–7 scale that IDDSI developed. The goal: create mixtures that meet IDDSI standards and that clinicians can easily replicate. Aspiring speech language pathologists usually learn about treating dysphagia in graduate school, Ewing said. Ball State’s students, most of them undergraduates, have shared their findings with community partners. In the Fall 2019 semester, they partnered with Indianapolis-based St. Vincent Health and Meridian Pediatric Rehab in Muncie. Molly Jones, ’10 MA ’12, a pediatric speech language pathologist with St. Vincent Fishers Pediatric Rehabilitation, said she was impressed with the students’ work ethic and passion. “It is very important to know the far-reaching impact of the research being done by these students,” Jones said. “The field of speech language pathology is in desperate need of research studying thickened liquids, and our patients and families deserve to have therapists that provide them with well-informed, evidence-based care approaches.” As a therapist to many children with feeding difficulties, Jones uses knowledge gained from the students’ research to make more informed clinical decisions and to educate families about the best products and methods for thickening liquids — empowering them to make the best decisions for their children. Speech language pathology student and senior Olivia Budzinski predicts she’ll be better at her future job because of


“These students are at the forefront of making a difference.” — Mary Ewing, clinical lecturer in the College of Health and immersive learning mentor

the immersive learning experience. “This project,” said Olivia, “will help me decide whether or not to put a dysphagia patient on a thickened liquids diet, what thickener to use and how best to mix with liquids, which liquids are better to use than others, how to test thickened liquids, and struggles these patients go through as their diet changes.” Beyond increasing their ability to help dysphagia patients, students are learning how to work as a team to solve complex and potentially life-threatening problems. Maggie, who plans to attend graduate school, said the immersive learning experience will help her in her career as a speech language pathologist. “Ball State has empowered me to think outside of the box,” Maggie said. “I have now been exposed to both the clinical side of speech language pathology and the research side. It has been so rewarding to be on a campus that makes it possible to be exposed to so many opportunities.” Gabrielle Glass, ’19, contributed to this article.


1) Faculty mentor Ranjith Wijesinghe looks on as students Maggie Henning (left) and Patricia Esarey draw from their mixture to measure its viscosity. 2) Tabitha Jaggers and a classmate measure viscosity by timing a recipe’s rate of flow from a syringe.

Photos by Samantha Strahan


Ball State University Alumni Magazine

3) Students use a viscometer to measure the thickness of their recipe and record how it changes after about 20 minutes.

Fall/Winter 2019–20




Student-Founded Nonprofit Lifts Families Out of Poverty

Photos provided by Beneficence Family Scholars

By Lydia Kotowski, ’20

A team of immersive learning student scholars helped set the mission and goals of Beneficence Family Scholars in Spring 2019.

Editor’s Note: This story’s writer — Ball State senior Lydia Kotowski of Floyds Knobs, Indiana — is an Honors College student majoring in political science and health policy. Last Spring she was named a finalist for the Harry S. Truman Scholarship, the nation’s premier graduate fellowship for students pursuing careers as public service leaders. Lydia is president and founder of Beneficence Family Scholars — a new nonprofit organization in Muncie


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y passion for combining family and education to eradicate poverty became clear at Ball State. I was lucky enough to grow up in a stable, loving, and supportive family that never had to choose between paying bills or buying books, putting food on the table or helping with a science project. It wasn’t until I got to college that I truly understood not everyone has that same privilege. Through volunteer and engagement activities in the community, and

lessons learned through the humanities sequence in the Honors College during my first two years in Muncie, I saw the educational and economic challenges the community faces: the divide between campus and the city, the lack of locals in college classrooms, the significant poverty rates, and the large number of households, experiencing food insecurity. However, I also experienced Muncie’s many beautiful features: the earnestness of its people, the desire to be better, the budding small-business scene, and a genuine love for the community. These experiences prompted me to feel the need to do something more. My chance to do more came in March 2018 when I received a text from my mom. It read, “You MUST check this out.” She included a link to the website for a nonprofit in Louisville, Kentucky, called Family Scholar House (FSH). As I read about FSH’s mission to end the cycle of poverty, empower parents and their children to succeed in education, and achieve lifelong self-sufficiency, I felt inspired to dig deeper. I asked to meet Cathe Dykstra, President and Chief Possibility Officer of FSH, and through that contact obtained a summer internship there. The interactions I had with Family Scholar House families showed me that the FSH model needed to be brought to Muncie. At the conclusion of my internship, I contacted Jason Powell, an associate professor of Honors Humanities whose research includes generational poverty and social justice. Over the course a one-hour meeting, I pitched him the idea of starting a nonprofit similar to FSH here in Muncie. His immediate response: “I’m in.” A few days later, we had a formal proposal, budget, and timeline. After getting an enthusiastic green light from John Emert, dean of the Honors College, we began the unglamorous toil of crafting the countless legal documents needed to become incorporated as an Indiana nonprofit. We also decided on a name: Beneficence Family Scholars (BFS). The following spring, The Virginia B. Ball Center for Creative Inquiry supported an immersive learning course, co-led by Jason and me, dedicated to starting BFS. The Spring 2019 class enrolled 15 students who devoted the entire semester to laying a strong foundation for BFS. As Jason and I led the course, we were inspired each day by our students’ commitment. We came up with our mission and vision statements, set strategic goals, and formed a board of directors. Officially launched in April 2019, BFS is now thriving. We now have two families in our program, supported by a ninemember board of directors and a full-time executive director. At the core of BFS is an unwavering belief that, with education and encouragement, families can overcome generational poverty. We help parents pursue postsecondary education and encourage them to instill a love of learning in their kids. In a process similar to FSH’s, of which we are an affiliate, we first find prospective families, invite them to attend an

orientation, and provide them access to academic advisers, family advocates, financial literacy aids, and more in the preresidential stage. Once a family qualifies, they then move into the residential stage, which has the added features of housing and childcare. While we have not launched this stage yet, we are working towards opening our own housing facility in Muncie by 2023. As a parent nears graduation, the family enters the postresidential stage. Here, the parent gets help preparing for a career and is encouraged to take the next steps out of poverty. Through the work I’ve done at Beneficence Family Scholars, I found my voice and learned how to use that voice to help others. My goal is for every person to have the encouragement to find and pursue their dreams. It’s no coincidence that “Beneficence” is part of our organization’s name. In accordance with the values of Beneficence, education inspires us to overcome obstacles and serve others. In a community committed to making changes for the better, all of us become empowered.

“I found my voice and learned how to use that voice to help others. My goal is for every person to have the encouragement to find and pursue their dreams.” — LYDIA KOTOWSKI

Fall/Winter 2019–20





By Tim Obermiller

With a message that many different kinds of people can succeed in science, Taylorann Smith, ’18, fulfills her dream to do research on the high seas.

Photos provided by Taylorann Smith


Ball State University Alumni Magazine

t’s a little after midnight aboard the exploration vessel Nautilus as Taylorann Smith, ’18, posts on social media: “This for sure makes the Top 10 Coolest Things I’ve seen in my lifetime.” What Smith is seeing, via a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) named Hercules, is a variety of scavenging creatures banqueting on the corpse of a baleen whale — including boneeating Zombie worms that cover the carcass in feathery scarlet plumes. “When a whale dies, its body can fall to the ocean floor, serving as a huge food source for a variety of marine animals,” Smith explained. A few days earlier, Smith witnessed a shrimp and newborn octopus in claw-to-arm combat at 10,500 feet (spoiler alert: the baby escapes). These are moments Smith dreamed of while studying biology at Ball State and couldn’t even imagine as a little girl. Growing up in Chicago’s south suburbs with her single mom and older sister, she recalls a loving home but also struggles that led to periods of poverty and homelessness. Those experiences “made me a stronger person,” she said. “It amazed me how my mother was able to raise two girls on her own working minimum wage jobs and even help send us through college and on to get master’s degrees.” She remembers her first glimpse of the ocean as a child, watching a National Geographic special on TV. It stuck with her, and she began to wonder about a career in science. But when she decided to attend Ball State on recommendation of a friend’s parent and a campus visit, she couldn’t decide if she was really cut out to realize her dream. “I was afraid that I wasn’t ‘smart’ enough to pursue a career in science, and that I should pursue my creative interests instead. I learned that science was my passion, even if I wasn’t a ‘genius,’ and that I could combine my creative interests with science.” Key to that realization was Gary Dodson, now professor emeritus of biology, and his wife, Jill. “They were there for me every step of the way. They encouraged me to continue with science and to keep pushing myself even when I didn’t believe in myself.” Learning how to do research in a sophomore environmental microbiology lab was pivotal. So was being a teaching assistant for an entry-level biology course, where she encouraged students to use their creativity to think about science. She also explored her creative side through lasting friendships made during her freshman year. Cast in one of those friend’s short film, Smith ended up winning Best Actress at the annual student Frog Baby Film Festival. She also wrote an award-winning essay her freshman year on the topic of biracial identity. “Being biracial and queer,” Smith said, “only makes my work that much more impactful.” By her words and actions, she hopes to be an example for others who may not know that many different kinds of people can succeed in science.

After college, she won a full scholarship to spend a semester at Duke University’s Marine Lab, where she conducted independent research on the effect of ocean acidification on ecological systems along the North Atlantic coast. She gave two presentations and wrote a paper on the topic. This Fall, she began graduate studies at California State University, Northridge, known for its stellar marine biology program. She took a sabbatical from her studies in October after being selected for a coveted internship aboard the Nautilus. The 64-meter (211-foot) research vessel is documenting and surveying unexplored regions of the Eastern Pacific Ocean. Among the ship’s tools are two ROVs, underwater robots that probe to 4,000 meters beneath the ocean’s surface to collect and record data. All dives are livestreamed on and saved on YouTube.

Her sister and mom pose with Smith at Ball State Commencement. “Any strong, influential women had the power to inspire me,” said Smith. “But my mother and older sister had the biggest influence on me.”

Her duties included recording scientific observations, documenting sample collections, and taking screen captures of significant sightings. “I also was responsible for processing the physical samples in the lab and summarizing the dives into reports for other scientists. “This internship has been the best experience. I’ve met so many incredible and diverse scientists and have seen parts of the ocean very few have seen!” This Fall, Smith was featured in National Geographic’s special “Women of Impact” issue that included her role model, Sylvia Earle. Smith met Earle when the renowned oceanographer visited Ball State in Spring 2018. Looking back at her recent accomplishments, Smith feels blessed by an amazing network of love and support. “I was born a dreamer, and throughout my life I’ve learned to understand just how brave dreamers are. Don’t silence your heart due to fear. Let it shout.”

Fall/Winter 2019–20



Creations / Occasions / Programs


LET THE BEAT DROP Ball State fuels young musical talent. BY MELISSA KRAMAN


all State senior Malik Brown predicts a bright musical future for two middle schoolers who participated in a new immersive learning course called The Junior Producers Club. “I expect to hear Allie rapping on the radio, and Jayden’s beats enlivening famous pop songs. They harness this natural musical talent,” said Malik, who was among nine music media production (MMP) students leading the course, designed to give Muncie kids the chance to make and produce their own music in a professional music recording studio. For the course, MMP students partnered with the Boys & Girls Club of Muncie at the Buley Community Center in the Whitely Neighborhood. Christoph Nils Thompson, assistant professor of Music Media Production & Industry, created and advised the class. “It appeared to me that there was a real need for this project in the Whitely community,” said Thompson. “There are talented kids out there who deserve opportunity, and we were in the perfect position to provide that opportunity through sharing our equipment and providing educational support.” This past summer, Thompson worked with Audio/Digital Systems Engineer Jeff Seitz, ’95 MA ’97, and two MMP students to install a recording studio and control room at Buley, complete with professional headsets, instruments, microphones, and desktop computers. Every weekday throughout the Fall semester, rotating groups of MMP students provided middle schoolers hourly, one-on-one training on song structure, building melody and harmony, and recording techniques. The children worked toward a final product that showcased all they’d learned, in whatever creative form they chose. Some of them wrote lyrics and recorded rap, while others played instruments to create innovative beats. Sixth-grader Allie came into the project with zero experience but learned quickly to

New Addition An American Indian artist — probably Cheyenne, Plains, or Sioux — crafted this chest plate using bone, rawhide, ermine, shells, and bear claws. It was among about 100 new pieces shown at David Owsley Museum of Art this Fall that included ceramics, masks, photos, prints, sculpture, and ritual objects from around the globe.


Ball State University Alumni Magazine

Photo by Don Rogers

MMP student Chase Carter mentors X’zavier as he learns recording software.

seamlessly navigate a complex recording platform, write his own lyrics, and structure a rap song that he recorded in the studio. “I could see myself going into music production as a career,” said Allie. “I want to change rap and make it better through meaningful lyrics about life and family. “I could also see myself in the future doing what these Ball State students are doing: mentoring kids who are going through a lot of stuff and showing them that they can do more in life.” Thompson, who has 20 years of music engineering experience in jazz and pop, explained the symbiotic essence of the course: Just as the middle schoolers practiced and mastered new skills, so, too, did the Ball State students as they learned how to bring the wildly creative ideas of a slightly younger generation to life. Malik Brown agreed. “Seeing the middle schoolers’ eyes light up when they learn something new or enthusiastically come to class wanting to try out something they saw in a YouTube video reminds me of where my love of music started.”

Photo by Lucinda Stipp

Fall/Winter 2019–20








s the audience crowded into Ball State’s Sursa Performance Hall on a mild October night, expectations were high. That’s no different than any other night when the University’s School of Music ensembles perform. At this concert, featuring both the Wind Ensemble and Symphony Band, listeners expected no less than the best. But tonight’s performance was even more special. Director of Bands Emeritus Joseph Scagnoli, ’67 MA ’67, would be joining as guest conductor. Something of a Ball State legend, Scagnoli returned to his alma mater in the 1980s, reorganizing the Ball State bands to include the Marching Band, Wind Ensemble, Symphony Band, Concert Band, and others. Soon, Ball State’s band program was known nationwide, including appearances by the marching band in three college bowls and six NFL games. That tradition continues, with bands performing at national sporting events and music conferences — and even featured live on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Director of Bands Thomas Caneva leads the Wind Ensemble. Caroline Hand, associate director of bands, helms the Symphony Band. With the directors’ blessings, Ball State photographer Bobby Ellis documented the process, from rehearsals to performance, for this photo essay. According to Hand, there are about 52 students in the Wind Ensemble — 30 percent of them graduate students — and 60 undergraduates in the Symphony Band. The performers represent a variety of music majors, including performance, education, music media production, and composition. The Wind Ensemble rehearses for 18 hours over four weeks to prepare for a concert; the Symphony Band rehearses 15 hours total. “For me, the best part of working with our students is to see their overall growth from when we start a new concert cycle until we perform the concert,” said Caneva. “I find the process of the rehearsals more important than the actual concert. That’s when we are teaching, and our students grow and develop as musicians.” Scagnoli rehearsed with the Symphony Band in the week leading up to the concert. “He’s an important part of the tradition and history of our band program, and it’s important that our students learn from his years of experience and expertise,” said Hand. Judging from applause ringing through Sursa at the concert’s close, that tradition continues, strong and melodic as ever.

“It was great to see the number of people involved in this concert, including graduate conductors, guest conductors, and guest composers.” —Stuart Ivey, conducting doctoral student


While dress is casual, concert rehearsals can be an intense experience for both student performers and directors. At right, 1) Caroline Hand directs the Symphony Band using hands and facial expressions to convey musical meaning. 2) Director Thomas Caneva balances the strengths of his Wind Ensemble for maximum effect. He says he appreciates rehearsals for the many teaching moments they can provide.


Ball State University Alumni Magazine

Fall/Winter 2019–20





3) Joy is evident on the face of Director of Bands Emeritus Scagnoli as he returns to the podium as a guest conductor. 4) Texas-based composer Adam Ardner, ’03, listens intently to the world premiere of his “Orange Skies,” dedicated to fellow music alumnus Arthur C. Conner, ’70 MA ’71, who died in 2019. On the Sursa stage, students in the Symphony Band (5, 6) and Wind Ensemble (7) display the cool professionalism of seasoned performers.





Ball State University Alumni Magazine

7 Fall/Winter 2019–20


Photo by Samantha Strahan

the drive to discover It’s no secret that Ball University has been the launching pad for major research initiatives. Its name appears regularly in national publications for studies that change the way our nation thinks about its greatest challenges, from health care to economics, from how we think about our past to how we prepare for our future. The following stories represent a small slice of the investigations that go on in busy classrooms and labs across the campus everyday as faculty and students combine technical skills, careful thought, rigorous study, and bold imaginations to make a lasting difference in our world.

In Ball State’s Applied Anthropology Laboratories, junior Mary Swartz of Middletown, Ohio, and graduate student Connor McCoy, ’18, of Wolcottville, Indiana, measure a musket ball discovered at the site of St. Clair’s Defeat in Fort Recovery, Ohio. A bullet’s diameter can help tell whether it was fired by U.S. forces or American Indian tribes defending their land.


Ball State University Alumni Magazine

Fall/Winter 2019–20


the drive to discover

Ball State researchers strive to reveal the past and shape the future

A collaboration between American Indian tribes and Ball State faculty and students brings fresh perspective to a fateful battle.

By Nick Werner, ’03


The hands of sophomore anthropology student Robin Johnson of Indianapolis show through a magnifying work light inside the Applied Anthropology Laboratories as she examines a fire striker gathered from the St. Clair’s Defeat battle site. Robin is among many students working with tribal historians to develop a traveling exhibit on the battle.

Photo by Samantha Strahan


Ball State University Alumni Magazine

ou have to wonder if the bodies were still warm when the scapegoating began. After a three-hour battle, more than 800 U.S. officers, soldiers, and civilians were killed, their bodies piled along the banks of the Wabash River on land that belonged to American Indians. Hundreds more were wounded. It happened on Nov. 4, 1791, at what is now Fort Recovery, Ohio, as part of the roughly 10-year Northwest Indian War. The battlefield is just an hour’s drive east of the Ball State campus. There, an intertribal alliance of approximately 1,400 warriors led by Miami chief Mihšihkinaahkwa, also called Little Turtle, and Shawnee chief Weyapiersenwah, also known as Blue Jacket, annihilated an equally numbered force led by Maj. Gen. Arthur St. Clair. Known variously as St. Clair’s Defeat or the Battle of the Wabash, it was considered a devastating loss to the Army. As the blood dried, a narrative formed to explain away the rout. One report blamed a corrupt quartermaster for providing subpar supplies. Others blamed St. Clair for incompetence. Eventually, President George Washington forced the general to resign. To better understand the battle, Christine Thompson, MA ’09, and others in Ball State’s Applied Anthropology Laboratories (AAL), conducted multiple on-site archaeological surveys and extensively reviewed contemporary journals, diaries, and maps. Though accounts of American troops’ incompetence and corruption are valid, Thompson sees a more important factor in the outcome of the battle: the strategic, methodical fighting of the American Indians, who executed a cunning plan. Nine tribes joined forces in the battle of St. Clair’s Defeat. The descendant tribes now number 39, and their headquarters are spread throughout nine Great Lakes and Great Plains states, from New York to Oklahoma. St. Clair’s Defeat should be a source of immense pride for these tribal communities, said Diane Hunter, MLS ’82, a citizen of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, which numbers about 5,500 citizens. “It shows we were a strong people,” Hunter said. “We knew how to fight. We knew how to defend our land. And it mattered to us.” Hunter, who lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana, is the tribe’s historic preservation officer. She said that most Miami citizens are probably unaware of the battle. “Teaching our history, in many ways, it fell away,” she said. “We were just trying to get by from day to day.”

History erased AAL’s research shows that American Indian success at St. Clair’s Defeat stemmed in large part to the alliance’s battle formation. It aligned in a crescent surrounding the U.S. forces and ambushed at dawn. It was a method the American Indians had successfully used in smaller battles. Then, one by one, they used their muskets to pick off officers. Eliminating military leaders broke down the chain of command. Futile bayonet charges collapsed in disorder. Panic ensued. Soldiers abandoned the fight. Survivors retreated to Fort Jefferson, 30 miles south. Witnesses and news accounts failed to credit American Indian intellect, Thompson pointed out. Instead, they described the warriors as savage animals fighting like wild beasts. Dehumanizing them helped maintain the narrative that whites had the right to take the land because they were the superior race. “It’s the attitude that has pervaded all along toward native people in what is now the United States.” Hunter said. “We were not seen as the kind of people who could have strategically planned a battle with that kind of success.” Two years later, Gen. Anthony Wayne, Fort Wayne’s namesake, returned and built a fort at the site of the defeat and named it Fort Recovery. In 1794, Little Turtle attacked again, this time with an alliance of 2,000 men from 12 tribes. This time, American forces held, and the alliance retreated. Historians generally recognize the U.S. government victory at Fort Recovery and at the Battle of Fallen Timbers a month later as the end of the Northwest Indian War and the beginning of Indian removal from the Great Lakes states. Some Indian families assimilated into white culture. Some chose to move west. Others stayed until forcible removal began in 1830, which included the Potawatomi Trail of Death from northern Indiana to Kansas. The Miami were forcibly removed from Indiana in 1846. “It was a complicated process of trying to survive,” Nolan said. By the mid-1800s, the federal government had forcibly moved the Miami and most tribes involved in St. Clair’s Defeat. American Indian children were taken from their families and sent to boarding schools, where white teachers taught them history through the lens of Manifest Destiny, the idea that white Americans were divinely ordained to settle North America. Fall/Winter 2019–20


the drive to discover

Ball State researchers strive to reveal the past and shape the future

Photo provided by AAL

(Above) Lab student employees dig at a site in the St. Clair’s Defeat battlefield where their metal detector indicates something underground. (Right) Sophomore Robin Johnson holds a musket ball recovered on the site.

“The U.S. government tried to erase their culture,” said AAL director and senior archaeologist, Kevin Nolan. “It broke the chain of information that had been passed down through the generations.” A primary goal of Thompson and Nolan’s research is to help restore that chain, and they’re doing it in collaboration with the tribes themselves.

‘Why does this matter?’ Thompson, whose research interests include prehistoric archaeology as well as historic battlefields, quickly turned her focus to Fort Recovery when she joined AAL after earning her master’s in archaeology at Ball State. Curious about how landscape features and American Indian strategy affected St. Clair’s Defeat, she and her students conducted field work that included metal detector surveys and physical excavations.


Ball State University Alumni Magazine

The project was a partnership with the Fort Recovery Historical Society and the community of Fort Recovery, with National Endowment for the Humanities funding. But it has evolved into much more than discovering artifacts and fine-tuning history. AAL’s research won’t just live inside the walls of academia and on the pages of peer-reviewed journals. “The end product will be a traveling exhibit and presentations created with tribal communities for tribal communities,” Thompson said. A multidisciplinary team of Ball State students, staff, and faculty from the anthropology and architecture programs, with American Indian humanities scholars and consultants, are designing the exhibit. It will be called, “St. Clair’s Defeat Revisited: A New View of the Conflict.” By engaging communities, Thompson and Nolan are following a new model of research called community-engaged

scholarship. One definition is “applying knowledge for the direct benefit of external audiences.” The tribal and Ball State scholars hope to have the exhibit finished and on the road by later this year or 2021. It will start in Ohio and then travel to American Indian museums throughout the country, where it has the potential to reach thousands of K-12 students who are members of the 39 tribes. The very descendants of Little Turtle and Blue Jacket and the rest of the alliance will be able to learn about and be proud of this history. “It’s humbling,” Thompson said. Tribal input will make the exhibit more accurate and more relevant to the target audience. It also will provide personal context to the archaeological research. Only one-quarter of the “New View” exhibit will focus on the battle. The rest will talk about the lead-up, the aftermath, and the persistence of tribes and tribal identity. Tribal input helps answer, “Why does this matter today?” Hunter, who is a humanities scholar for the project, said she appreciates that “New View” is a chance to shine the light on native people living today, not just in the past. The Ball State team did an initial design for the exhibit and organized three meetings, in Oklahoma and Ohio, with tribal nations to exchange ideas and information to co-create the exhibit design. Sophomore Robin Johnson, an anthropology major from Indianapolis, has combed through diaries and documents to develop content for the exhibit. “It’s important to hear from everyone involved,” she said. “If we only hear from one side, your perspective is skewed. We have to hear the side of the Native Americans.” “A New View” won’t end when the traveling exhibit does. Researchers have amassed so much information that they

Laboratories embrace student focus Since it opened in 1978, Ball State’s Ball State’s Applied Anthropology Laboratories (AAL) has provided a range of cultural resource management and research services, including field surveys, excavations, analysis, and curation. Partners include consulting engineers, private developers, small towns and large cities, state and federal agencies, schools, and historical societies, as well as tribal communities. In 2009, AAL shifted how it operates to focus on studentcentered, hands-on training in archaeology and heritage management. The shift has also resulted in a significant increase in grant funding to support new student learning opportunities and paid student employment in the field. Since 2011, the lab has been awarded and successfully managed more than $2.3 million in external grant funding.

want it to continue to live on, probably reformatted for new purposes. One possibility is to work with the states of Ohio and Oklahoma to improve classroom materials and curricula. Many tribal members from Indiana ended up in Oklahoma, and their descendants still live there today. That state’s K-12 history curriculum doesn’t give much detail about how all these tribes ended up in Oklahoma or what their lives were like when they lived in Ohio and Indiana territories, according to Nolan. “There are all kinds of ideas,” Thompson said. “That’s for all of us to decide. It’s almost endless.” One thing is for sure. No matter where the content ends up, Mihšihkinaahkwa and Weyapiersenwah will be seen in a brand-new light. Fort Recovery, Ohio, is an easy day trip from Indianapolis, Muncie, and Fort Wayne. There you can visit a state museum, open seasonally, and take part in a walking tour developed in partnership with Ball State. You can also experience the tour through an interactive story map at

Fall/Winter 2019–20


the drive to discover

Ball State researchers strive to reveal the past and shape the future

Small Town Big Data

By Marc Ransford, ’83 MA ’07

Emily Wornell seeks remedies for poverty in rural communities.


mily Wornell knows about small town life. She grew up in Harrisburg, Oregon — a quaint, historic river town of some 1,500 residents. Nights were quiet. People were welcoming. There wasn’t even a stoplight. “Towns like Harrisburg are still what is America is all about,” said Wornell, a research assistant professor in the Indiana Communities Institute at Ball State’s Miller College of Business. “Rural America is an important part of not just our history but our future. It’s where the vast majority of our food is grown and where our natural resources are managed. There’s a lot of important cultural significance to rural places.” Wornell left Harrisburg but never forgot her small town roots. At Pennsylvania State University, her doctoral studies included rural sociology. With Ball State’s location in the heartland, it seemed the ideal location to continue her work, applying her research expertise to better understand the struggles of low-income rural households. In recent treks across Indiana, Wornell found that small towns may look the same as they did decades ago, but change has come. The town squares are still there, but many shops have left. People are still welcoming, but their friendly faces are often lined with worry. “We see a lot of deep and persistent poverty in rural communities,” she said. “In fact, the vast majority of rural communities has a large group of poor residents. These have existed for generations.”

With her background growing up in a one-stoplight town and her training in rural economics, Emily Wornell conducts research in Selma, Indiana, and other small communities to discover ways to make life better for struggling families.

Photo by Bobby Ellis


Ball State University Alumni Magazine

Making ends meet Wornell recently received a federal grant to lead a four-year, multiuniversity team that will study how low-income Hoosier families manage to make ends meet in several economically distressed communities — and to come up with policy recommendations to improve their lives. “We are going to look at how these families manage to subsist and eke out a living in order to know how best to assist them,” she said. “We have to factor in the community programs, such as food banks and similar organizations, which may or may not be of help. We also need to examine how family members assist each other by providing food, employment, and other types of assistance.”

For her research, she will embed herself in three small, rural communities in Indiana, writing a case study from one-on-one and group interviews. “There has been a population shift from rural areas to urban communities for over a century now,” Wornell said. “Young people are moving to cities to look for work and opportunities. “But there are good reasons why people don’t leave their hometowns. They have family and friends who assist. Many simply cannot afford to leave those networks behind.” At the same time, Wornell reports that Indiana’s rural communities have become a new immigrant destination. Populations of towns that were once overwhelmingly older and white have become increasingly diversified by younger immigrants from Central America and Asia.

Expecting a comeback “We’ve got lots of immigrant agricultural workers who work in rural areas — and who have, in fact, been staples in our agricultural and natural resource extraction industries since the beginnings of our country. Now, immigrants are settling in our smaller Indiana towns such as Albion, DeMotte, and Carthage.” Technology also has potential to transform America’s oft-forgotten rural areas. Broadband will bring health services via the Internet, she predicts. Schools will be able to share resources through technology while accessing programs from universities and colleges around the world, and office workers will increasingly telecommute — gladly surrendering the stress of big city life for the quiet of the country. Despite these changes, small town families that have endured generations of poverty will likely continue to struggle. That’s where Wornell’s research comes in: She hopes it will help guide policy changes and public investments to more effectively help those families and reduce poverty in rural America. At the same time, she’s bullish about small towns’ future and their ability to evolve. She cites her own hometown of Harrisburg, where the population has more than doubled since her childhood and whose residents now have access to the Internet, thanks to broadband. And now, there’s a stoplight.

Fall/Winter 2019–20


the drive to discover

Ball State researchers strive to reveal the past and shape the future

A Ball State architect challenges norms by combining human creativity with robotic fabrication. By Nick Werner, ’03


he mood in the Department of Architecture this past summer was a buzz of excitement floating above an undercurrent of jitters. That’s because, after months of planning and development, Design Innovation Fellow Christopher A. Battaglia had begun fabricating an experimental architecture pavilion on the grounds of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in the architectural mecca of Columbus, Indiana. Normally, a project wouldn’t generate this much anxiety. But Battaglia’s was part of a high-profile architectural exhibit in a city synonymous with modern design. He earned a spot in the juried exhibition because his submission was especially daring. Battaglia called it “DE|stress.” His plans were to put together a vaulted concrete shell from 110 unique concrete panels he’d fabricated on campus using 3D printing. The design relied on the physics of pure compression. That means the inward force from the weight of the panels is the only thing holding the structure together, like an arch. As optimistic as they were, Battaglia’s colleagues in the R. Wayne Estopinal College of Architecture and Planning didn’t know what to expect. What if a panel cracked, for example? Some joked that they were thankful the project was on church grounds, because Battaglia was going to need prayers. Still, they agreed that if anyone could pull it off, it was their 20-something colleague with visionary ideas.

Photos courtesy of Exhibit Columbus

Light shines through the experimental structure called “DE|stress” in the architectural mecca of Columbus, Indiana. Chris Battaglia built “DE|stress” using a 3D printing robot.


Ball State University Alumni Magazine

Fall/Winter 2019–20


the drive to discover

Ball State researchers strive to reveal the past and shape the future

Pushing boundaries In a white hard hat and black T-shirt, the dark-haired Battaglia sat inside the cab of a rented telehandler with big knobby wheels and a cranelike boom. Using a joystick, the architect delicately maneuvered the machine’s telescoping arm down, in and out. At the arm’s end, a concrete panel dangled from a nylon strap. Beneath all this overhead commotion, Battaglia’s structure resembled an avant-garde igloo. Perched on top, Battaglia’s building partners used their hands to guide the panel into place. This was the scene at St. Peter’s as Battaglia prepared for Exhibit Columbus’ opening weekend, August 23-24. His project pushed the boundaries of architecture and challenged the status quo. After all, that’s exactly what Ball State hired him to do. Battaglia’s research interest right now is developing and improving 3D printing techniques, also called additive manufacturing, for precast concrete. “We’ve been doing precast concrete the same way for 100 years,” he said.

Construction on “DE|stress” started in the basement of the CAP building, where Battaglia fabricated 110 panels using sand casting and a robotic arm. Battaglia transported the panels to the jobsite where he supervised the assembly process with help from students and his architecture colleagues. A wooden framework provided support until all panels were in place and the structure could support itself. “DE|stress” was part of a juried architectural showcase called Exhibit Columbus, which ran from August through December.

By exploring 3D printing, Battaglia is applying cutting-edge automation to an old-school, rather unglamorous building material. The goal is to make precast concrete more versatile, more attractive, more sophisticated, and more efficient. Traditionally, precast concrete products have come in basic, straightforward forms: wall panels, blocks, pillars, and girders, for example. Making complex forms was theoretically possible but practically and economically unfeasible — especially for oneoff pieces — due to the amount of time, labor, and skill required. On Battaglia’s project, however, each of the 110 concrete panels is unique. Adding further complexity, each piece curves in two directions. It all fits together like a giant threedimensional puzzle. “This project,” said Professor of Architecture Timothy Gray, “is an amazing use of innovative technology.”

The process Teaming up with Battaglia’s past thesis advisor, Martin Miller from Cornell University, Battaglia began the design collaboration of “DE|stress” in 2018. He and CAP undergraduate researcher Ethan Jones began fabricating the panels in May 2019. Helping in various critical stages of the project were CAP professors Janice Shimizu, Josh Coggeshall, and James Kerestes as well as several of the college’s undergraduate and graduate students. Printing concrete requires an industrial robotic arm and — in the case of “DE |stress” — big sandboxes. Battaglia programmed the robot with digital computer-aided design files of his design. First, the robot used a bit on the end of the arm to rout an impression into the sand, forming the cast. Then, Battaglia placed a hand-welded rebar frame into the impression for added strength.

Finally, he fitted the robot with a printer head, and it squeezed out layer after layer of a special mortar, almost like toothpaste from a tube. The mortar, developed by material scientists at Laticrete, filled the impression and encased the rebar until the panel was complete. As the name suggests, additive manufacturing lets the fabricator add cement only where it is necessary. This is how Battaglia’s structure allows natural light and air to move through the project. Those holes represent areas where concrete would have served little structural purpose. As a result, the panels are lighter and easier to handle, material costs are lower, and the structure has a lower carbon footprint. The holes also add ornamentation to structural form, he said. Will entire buildings be manufactured using 3D printing? Probably not, or at least not in the foreseeable future, Battaglia said. But the technology has the potential to change the way elements of buildings are fabricated. Europe has begun to embrace 3D printing in architecture, and Battaglia has presented his research in Zurich, Switzerland. The building industry in North America, on the other hand, has been slower to respond. The industry can be nervous about emerging technologies due to liability concerns, even if the old ways have obvious limitations, Gray said. Battaglia repeated the fabrication process in the basement of the CAP building until all his panels were complete. Fabricating with help from a robot saves an immense amount of time compared to completing the same design by hand. Even so, the amount of time Battaglia invested supervising the fabrication was almost mind-boggling. The architect estimated he spent about 80-100 hours a week inside the CAP building from May to August.

Once fabrication was complete, Battaglia moved panels by the truckload to Columbus for final assembly. “Every piece is numbered,” Battaglia said.

Embracing experimentation During assembly, the panels on “DE |stress” were held in place by temporary wooden scaffolding. The idea was that the wood would bear the weight of the structure until the last keystone panel could be dropped into place. Then, Battaglia would remove the scaffolding and compression would keep the structure from falling. The pieces didn’t fit together as perfectly in real life as they did in his design. On several edges, excess concrete that formed during fabrication got in the way of clean, tight joints. “Something goes from design, and it looks perfect, and then you have to deal with these improvisations,” explained architecture professor Pam Harwood, who teaches with Battaglia. “There’s always reality you have to deal with.” The architect and his jobsite crew of graduate students and colleagues used old-fashioned muscle to chisel the panels into shape. “Since the research is so new, we had to work out details we didn’t expect to find,” he said. Battaglia wrapped up the project in early October. It remained on site until December 1, when Exhibit Columbus ended. Then, Battaglia disassembled “DE|stress” and sent it to the New Haven, Connecticut, headquarters of Laticrete, a material sponsor for the project, where it is on permanent display. Battaglia’s heartfelt conviction that automation technology can breathe life into our built environment prevailed. No miracle required.

Chris Battaglia


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Fall/Winter 2019–20


the drive to discover

Ball State researchers strive to reveal the past and shape the future

How research could help

Survey respondents vividly described their feelings to Seely. “I’ve become a different person from what I’ve seen,” said one. “I felt like I was thrown into the deep end,” reported another. “No one ever told me I might see this stuff, and that it could be hard.” Seely resonated with these feelings, having experienced them herself as a crime reporter. She also examined the extent to which higher-education journalism programs help prepare reporters who go on to cover traumatic story assignments. She found that 53 percent of the 254 respondents from her initial research reported having no trauma- or crisis-reporting education. However, of respondents who did receive at least some education about trauma in journalism courses, nearly all reported higher levels of trauma literacy — including awareness, preparedness, and healthier coping mechanisms. “These results indicate the power of education to produce more prepared journalists,” she said. “However, very few journalism programs in the U.S. have dedicated classes or units about trauma journalism or crisis reporting, and that needs to change,” she said. “There’s interest in offering this kind of training, but there’s not a lot of knowledge on how to appropriately teach this.” Both surprised and motivated by the results of her research, Seely has implemented a weeklong trauma education unit into her journalism classes. “Trauma education needs to start early so students know how to recognize and handle their reactions when they become professionals,” she said. “I think if we could all just talk about it and make it a part of the conversation in newsrooms, that would go a long way toward humanizing the job.” She hopes her research — including an article published in Journalism & Mass Communication Educator — will inspire other journalism educators across the country to follow suit by introducing curricula that emotionally prepares future journalists. She also hopes her research motivates newsroom leaders to cultivate a more supportive environment by offering debriefing sessions, open-door policies, and preparation for new reporters. In the meantime, Seely has broadened her research to explore the psychological toll of everyday trauma reporting among television reporters and anchors. She cites her scholarship as just one among many examples of how Ball State supports research initiatives that have potential to inspire real-world change. “It’s one of many reasons I chose to join the Ball State faculty.”

journalists prepare for traumatic scenes they witness.

By Melissa Kraman

rriving at the nighttime scene of a drunk-driving wreck, the first thing she saw was a pale, lifeless body slung over a guardrail. Fresh out of college, Natalee Seely was left stupefied. It was her very first day as a newspaper crime reporter. “I felt totally unprepared for that,” she said. “I had no clue what I got myself into.” Seely, now an assistant professor of journalism, is leading research inspired by her shocking first day on the job. The former reporter’s published study reveals the psychological toll on newspaper journalists covering everything from accident scenes and natural disasters to violent crimes and tragic personal struggles. “Reporters are like first responders. But unlike firefighters, police officers, and EMTs who have required trauma training, journalists have minimal to none,” said Seely, whose doctorate is in mass communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “Journalists are resilient, but they’re not superhuman — they can’t just leave their emotions behind at the office.” Indeed, studies have associated coverage of trauma events with higher rates of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), burnout, and other symptoms among reporters.


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After surveying 254 print journalists nationwide, Seely found that PTSD-related symptoms increase with frequency and intensity of exposure to traumatic events they encounter in their jobs. Those symptoms include heightened anxiety, irritability, avoidance, detachment, hopelessness, difficulty sleeping — even guilt. Such symptoms can be worsened by lack of support within a high-stress, demanding newsroom culture that discourages open conversations about traumatic events. In her study, Seely cited Ball State Professor of Journalism Emeritus Mark Massé, whose 2011 book, Trauma Journalism: On Deadline in Harm’s Way, pioneered this area of research.

“Reporters are like first responders. But unlike firefighters, police officers, and EMTs who have required trauma training, journalists have minimal to none.”

Photo by Don Rogers

Fall/Winter 2019–20


the drive to discover

Ball State researchers strive to reveal the past and shape the future Formerly a teacher in a school for the blind, Evette Simmons-Reed is now dedicated to research improving the diversity and inclusion of students with autism in higher education settings. Below, with her service dog, Brady, she meets with graduate student Sam Johnson, whose college journey was assisted through an autism support group co-founded by Simmons-Reed and fellow professor Jennifer Cullen.

Two faculty members studying college students with autism become their advocates. By Nick Werner, ’03


ollege overwhelmed Sam Johnson, ’18, and in his sophomore year at Indiana University, he dropped out. Johnson blamed himself, wondering whether he was too lazy or maybe not smart enough. But a diagnosis that same year shined a light on why Sam struggled more than most of his peers. He has autism. “I didn’t realize the disconnect between my neurology and the way the world expected me to act,” he said. Johnson moved home to Muncie and transferred to Ball State. He hoped being closer to family would provide a support network that he didn’t have in Bloomington. But the most critical support he found was in his junior year through a pioneering research and service project created by Ball State’s Center for Autism Spectrum Disorder (CASD). Called Cultivating the Academic, Personal and Social Success of Students, or CAPS2, the project was founded in 2017 by Teachers College assistant professors Evette Simmons-Reed and Jennifer Cullen. “Without it, I would not have graduated, to put it simply,” Johnson said of his CAPS2 experience. Earning a bachelor’s degree in sociology in 2018, he is a second-year master’s student in the University’s Communication Studies program and stays involved in CAPS2 as the group’s student outreach coordinator. CAPS2 empowers students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) through individual mentoring and support groups. In addition, the project’s administrators and mentors help students with autism tap a wealth of campus resources such as academic advisers, the Learning Center, the Career Center, and more. CAPS2 also facilitates social interactions, offers leadership opportunities, and promotes wellness. The need is huge. More students with autism are attending college, thanks to federal laws passed in 1997 and 2004. Those laws required


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high schools to do a better job of helping students with autism. As those students’ success improved, more sought to continue their education in college. For the most part, higher education was caught off guard. According to Simmons-Reed, an estimated 1 to 2 percent of college students nationwide are on the autism spectrum. Unfortunately, only about 40 percent of college students with autism graduate.

Slow to adapt Colleges and universities have been slow to adapt to the needs of students with autism — in part because their needs vary so much from student to student and because those needs are often hard to detect. “Just because our barriers are less visible doesn’t mean they’re not real,” Johnson said. In 2017, Simmons-Reed and Cullen set out to answer a basic question: “What are the needs of college students with autism?” With past doctoral research in special education and applied behavior analysis, the faculty members are part of the CASD team, which seeks solutions to the biggest challenges facing the austim community. In addition to student training, CASD founded and operates a nationally renowned summer autism camp (Camp Achieve), provides web-based training to help parents support their children’s needs, and equips educators with knowledge and treatments that have been shown to work for children and students with ASD. Cullen and Simmons-Reed started with focus groups and invited four to six students with autism at a time. In some instances, only one student appeared. They realized they had scheduled groups to meet in a space that was difficult to find and didn’t provide details on how to get there. “It was the very type of thing we were trying to address,” Simmons-Reed said. “Much of what is expected of students in college is implicit. You have to figure it out.”

Photo by Don Rogers

Fall/Winter 2019–20


the drive to discover

disabilities. Just this year, College Magazine ranked the University first in the nation for its campus accessibility efforts. Cullen said she hopes CAPS2 can help the University earn a similar reputation for welcoming students with disabilities that aren’t as obvious. “I would like us to be known for meeting the needs of students with autism, students with mental health needs, students with all sorts of disabilities.”

Ball State’s Center for Autism Spectrum Disorder is nationally known for its research and outreach efforts, including Camp Achieve, a summer camp for young people with autism.

Many on the autism spectrum, however, need more guidance. The pair began scheduling focus groups throughout campus at locations convenient to students. Participation improved. The pair witnessed firsthand the need among students in their focus groups and felt compelled to intervene. “We had a long-range plan where two years down the road we would be in the service phase of our project,” Cullen said. “But we had all these students in front of us. We couldn’t just send them on their way without helping them.” So, Simmons-Reed and Cullen launched CAPS2 in Spring 2017 to give students with autism more individualized support. It’s unclear how big the autism community is at Ball State. In 2000, just one student registered as having autism with the Office of Disability Services. By 2018, that number had jumped to 62. That’s likely a very low count of the actual number, however. Only students who need classroom and academic accommodations register with Disability Services. Some on the autism spectrum do not need those accommodations. Others may need them but choose not to seek them out. “It’s not surprising that people don’t want to disclose,” Sam Johnson said. “There’s a stigma.” Furthermore, Disability Services’ mission is academicfocused, according to director Courtney Jarrett, ’04 MA ’07 EdD ’12. Groups like CAPS2, Jarrett said, helps meet students’ need for social support. “I don’t know of any other resources in the community that would provide that to them.” In the 1980s and 1990s, Ball State made a name for itself as a campus that was accessible to students with physical


Legacy / Commitment / Traditions

Ball State researchers strive to reveal the past and shape the future

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Building a national model Not all autism support programs are created equal, Johnson said. Some can be dehumanizing. CAPS2 has been successful because it “meets us where we are at.” Such support can also be expensive. Programs at other universities typically operate through a third-party service provider. In such cases, students with autism pay an additional $10,000 to $50,000 every year, a prohibitive cost for most students and their families. Cullen and Simmons-Reed hope to continue to keep CAPS2 free to students at Ball State. The two have kept expenses down by leveraging campus resources and focusing on more affordable support efforts such as group meetings and mentorships. Still, they say, the project is in need of additional funding to expand its offerings. They hope their fine-tuning of the program will lead the way for other universities and colleges to offer affordable programs for their ASD students. Indeed, gauging the project’s success is now part of Simmons-Reed’s research. She studies student outcomes, including graduation rates and CAPS2 retention. She also conducts satisfaction surveys of students and mentors. Simmons-Reed and Cullen have spoken about CAPS2 and presented their findings at various conferences. The concept is attracting attention throughout higher education. “We are trying to develop a support model that any institution can replicate,” Simmons-Reed said. Her research shows empirically what the pair have observed firsthand. Cullen said she has seen some students struggle just to introduce themselves to professors. Two semesters later, with support from CAPS2, they are scheduling their own office hour appointments and advocating for themselves. “What makes this job fulfilling is seeing those students achieve their goals,” Cullen said. For Johnson, those goals include work in a career field where he can continue to empower leadership among young people with disabilities. “He’s going to be in my seat one day,” Simmons-Reed predicted, her voice filled with pride.

For more information about volunteering and mentorship opportunities, contact or (765) 285-5260.

ALUMNI Cardinal Code Code Red Dancer India Garner, a junior from Lombard, Ill., brought Cardinal spirit to the October 2019 Homecoming Parade. Code Red Dancers later fired up the home crowd as the football team defeated the University of Toledo, 52-14.

Photo by Bobby Ellis

Fall/Winter 2019–20



Recognized With Gratitude This Fall’s annual Homecoming Alumni & Benefactors Recognition Dinner had many memorable moments, including the posthumous awarding of the University Alumni Association’s highest honor to two stellar Ball State supporters. Family of former University trustee R. Wayne Estopinal, ’79, and Edward Shipley, ’68 MA ’71, longtime leader of the Alumni Association, accepted the awards on their behalf.

Distinguished Alumni Awards The Ball State University Alumni Association’s highest honor was established in 1959 to recognize alumni for their loyalty and significant contributions to their professions, communities, and society.

Benny Awards Honoring Ball State alumni, faculty and staff, community members, and businesses that contribute outstanding service to the University. Chris Flook, ’03 MA ’07 Stan Sollars, ’78 MA ’80 Chris Taylor, ’96 MA ’98 Rhonda Wilson, ’95 MA ’97 Don Yaeger, ’84

Graduates Of The Last Decade (GOLD) Awards In Memoriam R. Wayne Estopinal, ’79

In Memoriam Edward Shipley, ’68 MA ’71

From left, President Mearns; Wayne’s daughter, Ashley Estopinal, ’08, and former spouse, Thresa Estopinal; and Debbie Linegar, ’92, of the Alumni Association.

President Mearns; Edward’s widow, Vicki Shipley, ’69 MAE ’76, and daughter Sharla Shipley Kinsey ’93; and Debbie Linegar.

Corporate Partner of the Year Award

Honorary Alumni Award

Honoring corporations that have enhanced philanthropy at Ball State University through their dedicated efforts, time, leadership, passion, and generosity.

Honoring friends of the University who have made significant and long-standing contributions to Ball State’s welfare, reputation, prestige, and pursuit of excellence.

Recognizing outstanding accomplishments of recent graduates. Andrew “Drew” Holloway, ’10 Lily Barker, ’13 Justin Friend, ’13 Terry Fields, ’09 Bryan Beerman, ’13 MA ’15

Robert E. Linson Scholarship Providing financial assistance to students who contribute their time, energy, and talents to alumni-related programs. Josie Marcum

Student Philanthropy Awards

MutualBank Dave Heeter, ’83, CEO President Mearns, Dave Heeter, Jane Botts, ’87, Donn Roberts, and Jake Logan, President of the University Foundation and VP for Advancement.

Joe Trimmer, Professor Emeritus of English Trimmer taught courses in American literature, film, and creative nonfiction for more than 40 years and worked on projects such as Emmy-winning PBS series Middletown.

Honoring students who strive to promote philanthropy education across campus and lead philanthropy initiatives that benefit the University. Cole Callahan, ’19 Rachel Edwards Trey Moses, ’19

Fall/Winter 2019–20




CLASS NOTES 1960s E. Lee Weir, MA ’63, Bedford, Iowa, is an independent marketing consultant. Before that, he was a graphics communications professor at Clemson University and University of Central Missouri. His accolades include the Accrediting Council for Collegiate Graphic Communications’ Dr. Richard F. Hannemann Service Award in 2017 for his time, energy, and expertise to advance collegiate graphic communications education. William Moser, ’67 MA ’69, Muncie, won the Top Academic category at the 2nd Annual Awards to Honor Supply Chain Professionals in Central Indiana. Moser is an assistant professor of marketing at Ball State.

1970s John R. Hall, ’72, Indianapolis, a deputy mayor under then-Mayor Stephen Goldsmith and former director of the U.S. Housing and Urban Development’s Indianapolis field office, has been inducted into Shortridge High School Alumni Association’s Hall of Fame. Cathy Moss, ’72, Louisville, Kentucky, was elected second vice president of International Chapter of the P.E.O. Sisterhood. Since 1869, the Philanthropic Educational Organization has helped more than 109,000 women pursue an education by providing almost


$345 million in awards, grants, loans, and scholarships, plus owning Cottey College. April (Thruston) Oldham, ’79, Indianapolis, and her daughter, Sarah Clayton, ’07, Indianapolis, took the field together as part of a large reunion of alumni band members, Cardettes, and color guard with the Pride of Mid-America Marching Band during Ball State’s 2019 Homecoming.

1980s Michael C. LaFerney, MA ’80, Haverhill, Massachusetts, has authored an article, “The Ecopsychological View of Seasonal Affective Disorder.” LaFerney is a psychiatric clinical nurse specialist at Arbour Senior Care. Gregory Fehribach, ’80 MA ’83, Indianapolis, began an initiative with Eskenazi Health in 2013 to match Ball State students with internships in Indianapolis’ health care system. The initiative has expanded to a program that includes other universities and mentoring. In 2019, Eskenazi renamed the program as the Gregory S. Fehribach Center at Eskenazi Health. Fehribach is a distinguished fellow in inclusive excellence at Ball State.

Ezell Marrs, AA ’81 BS ’87, Indianapolis, was appointed vice president of enrollment management at Martin University. He most recently was director of admissions. Marrs also serves as president of Diversity Roundtable of Central Indiana and is a board member of Indianapolis Uplift Foundation and A-Way-Out Ministries. Linda (Roberts) Pett, ’82, North Potomac, Maryland, reunited with other members of Delta Gamma sorority at the Indiana Motor Speedway. It’s been nearly 40 years since graduation, and Delta Gamma no longer has a chapter on campus, but more than 20 former members gathered to celebrate. Carolyn (Compton) Friend, ’86 MA ’88, Tipton, Indiana, has practiced speechlanguage pathology for more than 35 years and has been with Tipton Community School Corp. for 26 years. Erik Deckers, ’89 MA ’90, Orlando, Florida, released a humor novel, Mackinac Island Nation. He also has published several books about personal branding and social media marketing.

uring the tumultuous autumn of 1969, a small group of Ball State students marched in unison to protest the Vietnam War as part of the Vietnam Moratorium Committee (VMC). This October, members of the original group hosted a conference and reunion commemorating the 50th anniversary of that event, which was part of the largest protest demonstration in U.S. history and culminated with a march on Washington, D.C. “Antiwar activism at Ball State, though not as massive or militant as that at other universities, nonetheless attracted national press coverage,” said Mary (Munchel) Posner, ’71, who led Ball State’s VMC chapter in 1969 and 1970. Posner collaborated with Michael Doyle, associate professor of history emeritus, in organizing the 2019 event to rekindle interest among young people about the power of promoting peace and social justice, and also to honor veterans who died in the war. Panels included faculty as well as alumni who were involved in the original VMC group. David Harris, a well-known antiwar activist, gave the keynote address. Because of her work on the conference, Posner was invited to speak in November 2019 at the Vietnam Peace Commemoration Committee held in Washington, D.C. A clinical psychologist, Posner resides in Tell City, Indiana.

1990s Beth J. Brown, ’91, Plainfield, Indiana, reunited with Troy Crum, ’92, Plainfield, Indiana, at the Ball State-Indiana University football game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Brown befriended Crum when he was a freshman, and she was his “big sister.” Ryan C. Sheppard, ’96, Fairfield, Connecticut, was reappointed to serve on the Advisory Council of the Connecticut Society of Certified Public Accountants. Sheppard is a partner in Knight Rolleri Sheppard CPAs in Fairfield. David A. Northern Sr., ’97, Champaign, Illinois, is the CEO/executive director of the Housing Authority of Champaign County and was elected senior vice president of Public Housing Authorities Directors Association.

Ball State’s third Hurlbut Hall alumni reunion took place this Fall in Muncie. It offered Hurlbut residents from the 1970s and 1980s a chance to rekindle friendships and make new memories. Hurlbut is (so far) the only Ball State residence hall to hold an official reunion. Back in 1975 it


Ball State University Alumni Magazine

became the first University residence hall to offer coed living accommodations on alternating floors. All three reunions were organized through social media, with help from the Alumni Association. Ann (Zondor) Hentschel, ’83, was the reunion’s chief organizer.

In our previous issue, we noted the passing of Edwin Dale Shipley, ’68 MA ’71, longtime leader of the Ball State University Alumni Association, who died on May 17, 2019. The article failed to mention that among his surviving children is Staci Shipley Knigga, MAE ’11. We apologize for the omission.

Peter D. Sampson, ’99, Greenwood, Indiana, is among 25 semifinalists for the 2020 Music Educator Award out of more than 3,300 nominations. He teaches at Whiteland Community High School. Ten finalists for the award, from the Recording Academy and Grammy Museum, will be announced in December 2019. The seventh annual winner will attend the 62nd Grammys in Los Angeles, plus get a $10,000 honorarium and a matching grant for the winner’s school. Alan W. Wilson, ’99 MA ’00, Evergreen, Colorado, will oversee Avant Global’s strategy, organizational development, talent and operations, plus manage its private equity fund as the company’s new president. Avant Global is a venture capital investment, business advisory, and private equity fund management firm based in Santa Barbara, California.

2000s Kareema Boykin, ’01, Indianapolis, and Claire E. Lacy recently met while volunteering at an Indy BackPack Attack event. The group

Mary Posner (above left) and Michael Doyle stand in front of some of the thousand-plus origami cranes folded by volunteers for display at the event. At left, Posner lights a memorial flame at the start of Vietnam Moratorium day on October 19, 1969.

KEEP IN TOUCH Submit Class Notes and In Memoriam entries by filling out the online form at submitclassnote. Alumni, please visit and click “ALUMNI DIRECTORY” to update your information. All Ball State family and friends, please email with address updates.

collects supplies to help kids succeed in school. Boykin shared her experiences at Ball State with Lacy, who is a freshman. Lacy showed Boykin the chirp sign, which is fairly new, and a Ball State app that would let her reconnect with Ball State. A wonderful example of current students and alumni working together in the spirit of giving back to others.

Fall/Winter 2019–20



ALUMNI Jonathan Siedel, ’04, Mount Prospect, Illinois, published Second City Sinners: True Crime from Historic Chicago’s Deadly Streets. The book takes us back to the days when Al Capone and John Dillinger ran the streets of Chicago and how they are responsible for some of Chicago’s most notorious crimes. Seidel is a crime reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times and has been with the newspaper since 2012. Bram Barth, ’05, Denver, was tapped to manage Lose Design’s new western region office in Denver. Barth, associate vice president of landscape architecture, will oversee operations in that office and will be responsible for cultivating relationships and expanding the office. Lose is based in Nashville, Tennessee. Kevin Robertson, ’07, Valparaiso, Indiana, was the 2019 alumni speaker of the year for Ball State’s criminal justice and criminology department. Robertson is a delivery operation senior manager for Wal-Mart, responsible for home delivery to several states.


Katheryn Pourcho, ’11, Indianapolis, was named the Indiana Department of Education’s 2020 Teacher of the Year. She teaches art to K-2 students at North Elementary School in Danville. Pourcho is also a professional artist and recently completed an art residency in Switzerland. Brad Zukowski, ’12, and Alyssa Hofelt, ’14, were married in Laporte, Colorado, on June 9, 2019. Bryan Beerman, ’13 MA ’15, Greenville, South Carolina, received a Ball State Graduate of the Last Decade (G.O.L.D.) Award at the annual Alumni & Benefactors Recognition Dinner. Beerman is an architect with LS3P Associates, an eight-office firm founded in 1963 with over 560 design awards to its credit. Jenna Hague, ’15 MBA ’16, Burlington, Ontario, was promoted to director, payments strategy, at CUMIS Group Ltd. Hague will lead her team in strategically navigating digital commerce within the emerging payments landscape. Laura Sportiello, ’15, Chicago, was an ensemble member in the Porchlight Music Theatre production of Sunset Boulevard. She also was an understudy for the role of Betty Shaefer in the show, which was performed in Chicago in October. Sportiello will work on Wonder Women The Musical for the Chicago Musical Theatre Festival this February.

Lincoln Clauss, ’17, New York City, will play Peter Pan in the Laguna Playhouse production of Peter Pan and Tinker Bell: A Pirates’ Christmas. The show runs this winter in Laguna Beach, California. Lindsey A. Harrell, ’17, Midland, Michigan, accepted a position at Chippewa Nature Center in Midland as an interpretive naturalist. Harrell is certified by the National Association for Interpretation as an interpretive guide. Ashley C. Ford, ’18, Brooklyn, New York, gave her talk, What Happens to Children When Their Parents Go to Prison, as part of the Dorothy Garrett Martin Lecture in Ethics and Values at DePauw University. Ford is a Brooklyn-based writer who covers topics including race, sexuality, and body image. Currently working with her husband, Kelly Stacy, ’12, on a collection of music-focused interviews called B-Side Chats, she is also penning a memoir, Somebody’s Daughter, which Flatiron Books will publish under An Oprah Book imprint.

Photo by Michael Blase

What was one of the best things about this past summer’s annual New York Musical Festival? Critics said it was Sarah-Anne Martinez, ’19. Her performance in Leaving Eden was hailed by the New York Times: “Comic and poignant, delicate and bold, it was a terrific performance.” Martinez won the role through her March 2019 audition at the Theatre Department’s Senior Showcase.

Class of ’43 alumna celebrates milestone

Julia Ricci, ’15, Indianapolis, is a senior programmer with Heartland International Film Festival. She works with the artistic director to curate film festival lineups. She was nominated for an Emmy in the research category for the documentary short, Legacies of Perfection: Auburn, Cord, Duesenberg, released in 2013.

Henry O. Hall, ’93, was appointed by Gov. Eric Holcomb to serve on Ball State’s Board of Trustees. As a student, he earned his bachelor’s degree in finance and accounting and was the football team’s co-captain. Hall is president of Skytech Products Group, a leading manufacturer of control systems for the hearth and HVAC industries. An active alumnus, the Fort Wayne resident has also served community groups such as Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Indiana and the Fort Wayne Urban League.


Ball State University Alumni Magazine

Rachel Dobrzykowski, ’16, South Bend, Indiana, was hired by LEX 530 Metropolitan Event Center as its event director. She will run the daily operations of the facility in Elkhart, Indiana, and manage all events including weddings, receptions, corporate events, and nonprofit galas.

A 100th birthday celebration was held at the Student Center in October for Martha (Shelley) Ervin, AM ’43, who resides in Muncie. President Geoffrey S. Mearns (shown right) attended as did Martha’s Lucina Hall roommate, Olive (Fahler) King, ’43 MAE ’73. At left is Martha’s son, Mark Ervin, ’81 MA ’85, a Muncie attorney who has served on the Ball State University Foundation Board and is a trustee on the Muncie Community Schools Board.

Fall/Winter 2019–20



SECTION Judith E. (Manor) Love, ’62 MA ’92, Muncie, May 31.


Laticia M. (Stinson) Smith, ’62, Crofton, Maryland, April 20. Helen J. (Hite) Bokelman, ’63 MA ’68, Greensburg, Indiana, May 22. Patricia A. (McDermitt) Every, ’63 MA, Noblesville, Indiana, July 2. Julia G. (Addington) Havens, ’63, Carmel, Indiana, July 27.


Edna C. Roe, ’50, Indianapolis, April 26.

Rodney V. Gill, ’58, Muncie, April 11.

Rhea M. (LaMotte) Readnour, ’37 MA ’60, Covington, Kentucky, April 10.

Marilyn L. (Thornburg) Carey, ’51 MA ’60, Muncie, September 21.

Marna L. (Costello) Holston, ’58, Rosedale, Indiana, April 15.


Patricia L. (Bowman) Martin, ’51, Angola, Indiana, August 6.

Jalene A. (Joyce) Howse, ’58, Indianapolis, October 3.

Nancy A. (Taylo) Hansan, ’64 MA ’73, Muncie, October 22.

Lucy B. (Baker) Warner, ’51, Rocky River, Ohio, June 26.

Ross C. McMahan, ’58, Greenfield, Indiana, April 13.

Donald E. Waldrop Jr., ’64, St. Augustine, Florida, September 10.

Marian (Zigich) Nicholas, ’52 MA ’57, Bloomington, Indiana, August 5.

William E. Palmer, ’58 MA ’66, Muncie, September 6.

Paula J. (Oprea) Lindon, ’65, Monroe, Ohio, April 23.

Alice J. (Myers) Arthur, ’53, West Lafayette, Indiana, April 20.

Patricia A. (Flatter) Rentschler, ’58, Sun Lakes, Arizona, August 17.

Edwin L. Peter, ’65, Floyds Knobs, Indiana, March 19.

Joan L. (Klentzer) Rodgers, ’53, Columbia, Missouri, April 19.

George A. Gilchrist, ’59, New Castle, Indiana, July 25.

Georgia A. (Gall) Sobolewski, ’65 MA ’71, St. John, Indiana, May 4.

Donna M. (Camden) Stinebaugh, ’53, Indianapolis, May 1.

Terry A. Heater, ’59, Findlay, Ohio, June 9.

Maurine (Hoock) Murphy, ’40, Fort Worth, Texas, September 8. Francis L. Bushong, ’43, Decatur, Indiana, September 8. Barbara J. Fisk-Parker, ’44, Santa Barbara, California, September 9. Betty J. (Hinshaw) Hammersley, ’44, Venice, Florida, June 13. Lena E. (Ford) Platt, ’44 MA ’64, Shelbyville, Indiana, July 3. Leota M. (Adams) Waller, ’44, Keystone Heights, Florida, May 5. Carolyn (Stibbins) Donovan, ’45 MAE ’52, Kokomo, Indiana, May 21. Isletta M. (Fuller) Carwile, ’47, Arlington, Texas, July 7. Adeline L. (Corts) Coe, ’47 MA ’56, Bradenton, Florida, July 4.

Nancy L. (Clevenger) Cougill, ’54, Byron Center, Michigan, April 20. Martha L. (Pearson) Hays, ’54, St. Louis, September 4. Charline G. (Mull) Almquist, ’55, Cumming, Georgia, May 16. Betty J. (Isza) Baim, ’55, Muncie, July 9.

Raymond E. Rittman, ’47 MA ’50, Anderson, Indiana, July 13.

Sarah A. Barrett, ’55 MA ’60, Connersville, Indiana, September 2.

Elizabeth A. (Gebert) Sherry, ’47, Lake Forest, California, October 10, 2018.

Betty J. (Rich) Chance, ’55, Westfield, Indiana, June 18.

Eleanor J. (Shafer) Burt, ’48, Muncie, June 19.

Ronald S. Menges, ’55, Granger, Indiana, June 15.

James H. Mattingly, ’48 MS ’55, London, January 1. Beverly L. (Robinson) Stassen, ’48, Muncie, May 28. John S. Goff, ’49 MAE ’55, New Castle, Indiana, June 20. Garth M. Johnson, ’49 MA ’55, Tucson, Arizona, August 28. Elmer L. Larrison, ’49 MA ’55, New Castle, Indiana, May 13. Carl T. Swift, ’49 MA ’55, Auburn, Indiana, August 13.

1950s Melvin A. Baumann, ’50, Fairfield, Kentucky, August 11. Ramona J. (Bartlett) Greenlee, ’50, Adrian, Michigan, April 11. Barbara A. (Kimball) Love, ’50, Huntington, Indiana, May 29. Charlotte A. (Townsend) Puckett, ’50, Avon, Indiana, October 2.


Carol (Hammond) Rice, ’55 MA ’68, Louisville, Kentucky, July 14. Majorie (Davis) Anderson, ’56, Auburn, Indiana, June 25. Reed Cheesman, ’56, Noblesville, Indiana, August 4. Helen C. Harrell, ’56 MA, Wabash, Indiana, June 20. Ronald L. Jones, ’56, Barberton, Ohio, October 1. Sally A. (Cox) Lowe, ’56 MAE ’71, Peru, Indiana, September 11. Jerry E. Banker, ’57, Bedford, Indiana, April 19. James W. Brown, ’57, Banning, California, June 25. Robert C. Nern, ’57, Fort Wayne, Indiana, June 2. Carolyn J. (Gilbert) Saxman, ’57 MA ’62, Indianapolis, August 10. Thomas L. DeWitt, ’58 MAE ’60, Carmel, Indiana, September 27.

Ball State University Alumni Magazine

Robert E. Mitchell, ’59, Muncie, September 15. Jerry L. Moore, ’59 MAE ’62, Muncie, October 14. Norman E. Wolverton, ’59 MA ’61, Boynton Beach, Florida, August 29.

1960s Roberta L. (Burton) Cheatham, ’60, Snellville, Georgia, July 9.

Sara S. (Stewart) Lucas, ’63, Ashburn, Virgina, September 19. Mary J. (Stier) Chase, ’64, Kokomo, Indiana, September 28.

Charles D. Marr, ’64 MA, Fort Wayne, Indiana, May 25.

Terry B. Lawrence, ’65, Cedar City, Utah, January 2.

Melvyn G. Schlegel, ’65, Largo, Florida, May 28.

Kurt K. Eichorst, ’66, Niceville, Florida, June 19. Robert E. King, ’66, Georgetown, Texas, May 10. Sondra A. Moore, ’66, Liberty, Indiana, July 16. Darren M. (Weber) Paquin, ’66, Elwood, Indiana, December 12, 2018. David E. Roberts, ’66, Danville, California, March 16. Sylvia J. Bleeke, ’67, Decatur, Indiana, July 8. Margaret A. (Welliver) Purvis, ’67, Richmond, Indiana, October 12. Patricia A. (Thornburg) Styles, ’67 MA ’71, Muncie, September 17. Stephen P. Midkiff, ’68, Avon, Indiana, October 7.

Sam W. Dickson, ’60 MA ’64 EdD ’71, Muncie, May 11.

Edwin D. Shipley, ’68 MA ’71, Ciero, Indiana, May 17.

William T. Fabrycki, ’60 MA ’61, Columbus, Ohio, June 22.

Michael A. McNary, ’69, Indianapolis, April 20.

Ethel M. (Shelton) Herron, ’60, Lynn, Indiana, September 11.

Kristi L. (Clary) Walz, ’69, South Bend, Indiana, June 20.

Thomas O. Hansen, ’69, Fort Wayne, Indiana, June 13.

Joseph H. Roberts, ’69, St. Louis, August 7.

Mary L. (Duerk) Kock, ’60, Auburn, Indiana, May 20.


Louis D. Geller, ’61, Fort Wayne, Indiana, May 7.

Ruby L. (Durgan) Taylor, ’70 MAE ’72, Anderson, Indiana, August 11.

Robert M. Kearns, ’61 MA, Anderson, Indiana, May 7. Patricia A. (Long) Miller, ’61, LaOtto, Indiana, August 12. Carl J. Pletcher, ’61, Asheville, North Carolina, May 11.

Judith L. (Feigel) Dunsmore, ’70 MAE ’82, Knightstown, Indiana, April 22.

Helen V. (Voiles) Davis, ’71 MLS ’75, Muncie, July 24. Robert E. Guernsey, ’71 MAE ’75, Greenfield, Indiana, May 11. Ronald E. Hale, ’71, Sun City Center, Florida, May 14. Jane E. (Cook) Janes, ’71 MAE ’77, Anderson, Indiana, April 27. Wesley V. Bennett, ’72, Merrillville, Indiana, June 8.

Beth A. (Hauptman) Siler, ’61 MA ’67, Muncie, June 25.

Lowell E. Fisher Jr., ’72 MAE, Richmond, Indiana, May 1.

Maryann (Salopek) Smith, ’61, Portage, Indiana, July 20.

Linda K. (Hooper) Wight, ’72, Fountain Valley, California, October 3.

Cheryl J. (Melick) Phillips, ’72 MAE ’75, Hartford City, Indiana, May 20.

Carolyn S. Snider, ’61 MA ’66, Muncie, April 23.

Laverne M. Yoder, ’72, Shipshewana, Indiana, July 31, 2018.

Joe D. Thomas, ’61, Southern Pines, North Carolina, June 14.

Patrick D. Daniels, ’73, Muncie, September 11.

Norman W. Beer, ’62, Indianapolis, June 29.

Benjamin A. Luetzow, ’73 MA ’74 EdD ’77, Seattle, June 16.

Gayle (Kern) Harris, ’62 MA, Leesburg, Indiana, September 23.

Thomas G. Patterson, ’73, Sellersburg, Indiana, March 26.

Leonard E. Lind, ’73, Durham, North Carolina, April 13.

Fall/Winter 2019–20


ALUMNI Fred E. Lawrence Jr., ’74, Indianapolis, October 17.

Gail R. (Greiling) Wickersham, MAE ’76, Hoover, Alabama, May 21.

Wayne J. Marshall, ’74, Granger, Indiana, September 21.

Debra E. (George) Connett, ’77, Fort Wayne, Indiana, October 19.

William R. Roth, ’74, Star City, Indiana, June 5.

Sarah F. (Lawter) Perry, AA ’77, New Castle, Indiana, September 11.

William G. Williams, MA ’74, Anderson, Indiana, August 13.

Ernestine (Cooper) Woods, ’77 MAE ’78, Muncie, July 15.

Nelson L. Coughlan, MBA ’75, Anderson, Indiana, April 17.

Roderic B. Cranor, ’78, Fort Wayne, Indiana, April 26.

Jonathan N. Lengar, MA ’75, EdD ’78, Indianapolis, September 2.

Molly K. Moss, ’78, Muncie, July 13.

Phyllia A. Olynger, MAE ’75, Gas City, Indiana, September 9.

Pamela S. Reyburn, ’79, Fort Wayne, Indiana, February 6.

Steven A. Sheets, ’75, Muncie, June 20.

Amy L. (Christie) Shelton, MAE ’79, Anderson, Indiana, August 9.

John R. Gibbons, ’76, Parker City, Indiana, April 27.


Timothy J. Harmon, ’76, Greensburg, Indiana, April 26. Ronald J. Munson, MA ’76, Marion, Indiana, May 28. Gerald E. Olsen, ’76, Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington state, September 29. Joann M. (Lappin) Ruble, ’76, Greenfield, Indiana, September 23.

Jeffrey A. Brooks, ’80, Fowler, Indiana, September 15. James A. Covert, ’80, Loxahatchee, Florida, September 6. Robert T. Jackson, ’80, Loveland, Colorado, September 20. Michael D. Kelley, ’80 MA ’87, Muncie, July 5. Linda F. Coss, ’81, Birmingham, Michigan, March 22.

Brett A. Barbre, ’82, Seguin, Texas, July 24.

Eric L. Piazza, ’91, Angola, Indiana, June 18.

Patricia L. Gerhardt, ’82 MBA, Cicero, Indiana, May 29.

Shannon M. Wilkerson, ’91 MA ’96, Shirley, Indiana, August 28.

Shirley A. (Meyer) Montgomery, MA ’82 MAR ’08, Anderson, Indiana, May 4. Douglas A. Scott, ’82, Rochester, Indiana, September 14. Theresa P. Tsao, ’82, Alexandria, Virgina, August 10. Jeffrey P. Bernard, ’83, Lansing, Illinois, August 10.

Bruce R. Ruch, ’93, Marion, Indiana, August 17. Herbert L. Sedillo, MA ’93, Frederick, Maryland, June 24. Joey L. Holmes, ’94, Lake Mary, Florida, August 5.

Jon M. McCoy, ’95, Lexington, South Carolina, May 27.

Jane S. (Peyton) Frazier, ’84, Andover, Minnesota, July 11.

Kenneth R. Schnitz, AA ’96 BGS ’00 BS ’02, Pendleton, Indiana, August 24. Angela D. Branigan, ’98, Fort Wayne, Indiana, August 19.

Debra S. (Myers) Johnson, AS ’84, Muncie, August 17.

Lana L. Groombridge, EdD ’98, North Manchester, Indiana, September 9.

Mitchel W. McAdams, ’84, Seymour, Indiana, August 16.

Kelly C. (Wheeler) Chesebrough, ’99, Fishers, Indiana, October 9.

Victor G. Renfro, ’85 MA, Muncie, September 30.

Stephen B. Poe, AA ’99, ’01, Pendleton, Indiana, July 20.

Patrick C. Botts, ’86, Gaston, Indiana, October 12. Robert W. Collins, ’86, Yorktown, Indiana, July 9.

Christopher D. Elbert, ’87, West Lafayette, Indiana, May 2. Karen L. (Wellin) Reno, ’87, New Castle, Indiana, July 26.

Jason A. Frazier, ’99, Fishers, Indiana, June 5.

JoAnn C. (Robinson) Rhoades, ’99, Muncie, September 18.

2000s Jade M. Cook, AA ’00, Kokomo, Indiana, September 15. Michael T. Bennett, ’01, Lowell, Indiana, August 31. Craig W. Dragoo, ’01, Fishers, Indiana, July 23. Chad W. Sours, ’01, Fort Wayne, Indiana, July 27. Andrew P. Little, ’02, Greenfield, Indiana, June 16. Christy L. Neal, ’02, Muncie, July 23. Matthew T. Spoonemore, ’02, Muncie, July 9. Tysen L. Ingram, AA ’03 BGS ’05, South Bend, Indiana, August 11. Michael D. Stevenson, AA ’04, Pendleton, Indiana, September 21.

Janet M. Casey, ’88, Greenfield, Indiana, May 13.

John S. Beranek, ’05, New Palestine, Indiana, May 2.

Betty J. (Knuckles) Gregg, ’88, Bloomfield, Indiana, June 16.

Emily A. Ehmer, MA ’08, San Marcos, Texas, September 3.

Dirinda B. (Bramblett) Naylor, ’88, Indianapolis, September 10. David L. Sebolt, ’88 BAR ’88, Ann Arbor, Michigan, July 18. Patrick S. Pursley, ’89, Anderson, Indiana, May 15.

Ball State University Alumni Magazine

Christina M. (Stoner) Norman, ’93, Muncie, April 16.

Fred J. Niehaus, ’83, Huntersville, North Carolina, Febuaray 4.

Craig W. Nagel, ’86, Greenfield, Indiana, April 29.


Richard W. Behnke, ’93, Mishawaka, Indiana, May 19.

Richard W. Papp, ’94, Yucca Valley, California, April 17.

Benjamin King IV, ’86 MA, Connersville, Indiana, June 15.

This photo of Ball State’s Pride of Mid America Marching Band leading the 2019 Homecoming Parade was among images featured on Ball State Magazine’s online site as part of its new “Photos the Month” feature. Go to to enjoy photos and videos, web-exclusive profiles, and much more.

Ronald Walls, ’92, Springport, Indiana, October 2.

Mark A. Carter, ’83, Muncie, May 12.

Janine M. (Mazanek) Craig, ’86, Milwaukee, September 1.

Photo by Bobby Ellis

Clarissa T. (Martinez) Stull, ’92, Fort Wayne, Indiana, September 12.

Jilian N. McClain, ’07 MA ’10, Fishers, Indiana, September 7.

Timothy C. Ponder, AA ’09, Pendleton, Indiana, June 9.

2010s Carolyn M. (Dickmeyer) Reutter, MA ’10, Indianapolis, April 19. Howard D. Skillman, AA ’10, Ashland, Ohio, June 23. Amy E. Reichert, ’11, Maria Stein, Ohio, September 27.

Bonnie J. Stueple, ’89 EdD, Grabill, Indiana, August 12.

Mark J. Thatcher, ’11, Kokomo, Indiana, August 12.


Teri L. Watkins, ’12, Wabash, Indiana, April 25.

John M. Mallon III, ’91, Carmel, Indiana, June 1.

Jacob A. Dietz, ’14 MA ’18, Zionsville, Indiana, July 20.

Lorraine L. (Tillman) Musick, ’91, Bloomington, Illinois, May 5.

Britiney Johanson, MBA ’12, Hoschton, Georgia, May 14.

Tahaira J. Sanders, ’17, Indianapolis, August 28. Asiha L. Allen-Freeman, ’19, Indianapolis, September 7.

Spring/Summer 2019


The Joy of


After Finding His Purpose,

CORY CALVIN, ’01, Helps Others Find Theirs BY JUDY WOLF

WHAT DO YOU SAY TO LGBTQ COMMUNITY MEMBERS WHO STRUGGLE WITH THEIR IDENTITY OR BEING THEMSELVES AT WORK? When we face adversity, we are forced to problem-solve, and it makes us stronger. When I was bullied, I didn’t know what to do. Luckily, I had a family that loved me. My mom, in particular, helped me see that it’s going to be better. And with therapy and counseling, I started building the tools to deflect these negative life situations. It also helped that I joined activities such as choir, band, and theater in high school. You can try to get involved and surround yourself with positive role models and friends. If you’re in a smaller community, or if a parent is unsupportive, you can find sources of information, support, or creativity such as libraries, organizations, hotlines, and online resources. For adults, find a work environment that is safe and supportive for you to be who you are.

Bob Ross Photo provided by Bob Ross Inc.


s much as Fred Rogers or Big Bird, Bob Ross is a public television legend. What you may not know is that his show, The Joy of Painting, was filmed for 31 seasons in Muncie and at Ball State. This Fall, Minnetrista announced plans to refurbish Ross’ former studio. Assembling objects and media, the exhibit will also give visitors the chance to try their hand at painting, Bob style. While stationed in Alaska with the U.S. Air Force, Ross used daily breaks to perfect a rapid, wet-on-wet oil painting technique he later used to create more than 1,000 paintings for the shows. Ross chose Ball State-owned WIPB for taping his series, flying in from Virginia four times a year. Filming started in 1983 at the former Lucius L. Ball home on Minnetrista Boulevard and later moved to WIPB’s new on-campus studio. These photos suggest the painter made it a warm, fun experience. Ross died in 1995 but his soothing voice and empowering messages continue to attract legions of new fans via web and streaming sites. “Anything that we don’t like, we’ll turn it into a happy little tree or something,” he said, “because as you know, we don’t make mistakes — we just have happy little accidents.” — Tim Obermiller

WHAT KEPT YOU FROM COMING OUT AT BALL STATE? I didn’t know for sure then if that was who I am. Growing up Catholic and learning I may go to hell was a constant battle. And being raised in a small community and not knowing any role models, I thought that if anyone knew, my whole life would be ruined. Honestly, I was afraid. I remembered Matthew Shepard’s story. (Two men tortured and murdered Shepard, a gay University of Wyoming student, during Calvin’s sophomore year.) I felt at that time there was just no way I could come out. Photo provided by Cory Calvin

His junior year, Cory Calvin took Ball State: Homecoming king, student government president, fraternity VP, and more. The finance major went on to Wall Street, eventually becoming an international director for PepsiCo. But fear — what if someone discovered he was gay? — haunted him. He eventually came out, fully became himself, and found joy in inspiring authenticity in others. He describes his journey in I Almost Became Me: A Memoir, a recent Amazon No. 1 bestseller. YOU GIVE TALKS AT PLACES FROM LINKEDIN TO PUBLIC LIBRARIES. WHY? I believe my story can help others. We have to stand up for each other and be visible allies. But that can make people afraid of what might happen. It’s the same concept as coming out of the closet: We all have something in our lives we’re afraid to tell others for fear of what they will think, especially family and friends. It may be a relationship, an addiction, or a family issue. Yet, all people come out of some closet. We need positive role models in the community, government, and corporations. Most straight individuals have hundreds of role models around them: a coach, teacher, or parent. I didn’t know one out gay or LGBTQ role model during my formative years.


Ball State University Alumni Magazine

WHAT INFLUENCED YOUR DECISION TO LEAVE THE CORPORATE WORLD AND LAUNCH A TRAVEL COMPANY? It was liberating to admit I needed to do something different, but I was trying to make sure I had the answers to certain questions. Where will my income come from? How will I pay for my health benefits and retirement? Those questions prevent people from doing what they love or want to do. I finally realized my life was so unhappy that I didn’t care what the answers were. I would go figure that out, but my life would be so much better because I can create my own path. I’ve since traveled around the world and live a locationindependent life. I’ve realized my purpose is to inspire others to become their best selves and want to do that for 1 million people by 2029. I started my travel company to help others follow their passions.

Photo provided by Minnetrista

WHAT WOULD YOUR ADVICE BE TO SOMEONE WHOSE WORK DOESN’T MAKE THEM HAPPY? Change it now. That may take hard work, but it’s part of the journey. Prestige and success don’t mean happiness. Find ways to be happy with what you have. Live your best life as soon as possible.

Image provided by Bob Ross Inc.

Fall/Winter 2019–20


Photo provided by Minnetrista

2000 W. University Ave. Muncie, IN 47306 CHANGE SERVICE REQUESTED

AN ENDURING GIFT The entire campus, and all visitors, can now enjoy the Beneficence Mural. Members of Muncie Artists Guild created it and made their generous 9-by-6-foot donation at Ball State’s concluding Centennial celebration. The 24 beautiful panels displayed in the Art and Journalism Building, between the south entry and The Atrium food court, are splendid reminders of the enduring values that guide us.

Photo by Don Rogers