Ivy Tech Northeast student honored as a 2015 Newman Civic Fellow for community-engaged students

Boston, MA—From across the country, college and university presidents—all members of Campus Compact—have nominated promising student leaders who have demonstrated an investment in their community to be Newman Civic Fellows, including one student at Ivy Tech Community College Northeast: Satya Sunkavalli, who is studying aviation maintenance technology.



Sunkavalli, one of three winners from Ivy Tech Community College statewide, joins award winners from other colleges and universities including Yale University, Rhode Island School of Design, and Johnson & Wales University.

“She has used her influence on campus to promote community events focused on engaging local youth in science and designing STEM camp experiences for international students,” writes Chancellor Jerrilee Mosier in her recommendation letter for Sunkavalli. “Satya’s enthusiasm brings a much needed spotlight to a thriving industry helping engage those around her for a more STEM-centric campus and community.”

As these students tackle community challenges, they provide fresh energy and perspective, inspire and mobilize others, and develop their own skills and potential. This year’s record amount of Fellows will leverage an even greater capacity for engagement and change through online networking. In keeping with their generation’s emphasis on networks over hierarchies, Newman Civic Fellows will share ideas and materials to further their work through an exclusive online community especially for Fellows.

“These students represent the next generation of public problem solvers and civic leaders. They serve as national examples of the role that higher education can—and does—play in building a better world,” says Campus Compact board member Richard Guarasci, president of Wagner College (NY).

The Newman Civic Fellows Award is generously sponsored by the KPMG Foundation. Through service, research, and advocacy, these Fellows are making the most of their college experiences to better understand themselves, the root causes of social issues, and effective mechanisms for creating lasting change.

Through service-learning courses and other opportunities for community engagement, colleges are developing students’ public problem-solving skills, such as the ability to analyze community needs, the willingness to participate in public processes and debate, the commitment to raise awareness about challenges, and the ability to inspire others to become part of solutions.

“With this recognition, Campus Compact is highlighting the remarkable impact these students are having on their campuses and communities,” says Bernard J. Milano, president of the KPMG Foundation and Campus Compact board member. “We are proud to support Campus Compact in bringing attention to these extraordinary students. KPMG seeks a diverse talent pool of students who share our values, one of which involves service to the communities in which we live and work.”

Campus Compact is a national coalition of nearly 1,100 college and university presidents who are committed to fulfilling the civic purposes of higher education to improve community life and to educate students for civic and social responsibility. For more information about the organization and the award, visit Compact.org.

Ivy Tech Northeast to display edible books at Library’s 9th annual event

Community members from northeast Indiana and Ivy Tech Community College Northeast will gather from noon to 2 p.m. Monday in the Student Life Center gymnasium on North Campus (3701 Dean Drive) for the Edible Book Festival, sponsored by the College’s Library.

Participants will turn a favorite book into an edible creation, often a cake and sometimes a more savory dish. For the first hour, attendees are invited to browse the exhibited “books.” For the final hour, they are invited to taste the 38 entries from businesses including Country Kitchen SweetArt and Sweets So Geek; Ivy Tech Northeast students and programs; and local artists.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will also feature live music, art activities, book prizes, live readings, and a People’s Choice Award.

The Library’s Edible Book Festival is just one such festival taking place around April 1 internationally in countries including Australia, Brazil, China, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, and Sweden. For more information about the international event, search for “Books2Eat: International Edible Books Festival” on Facebook.

Ivy Tech Northeast’s Auto Tech program reaccredited

The Automotive Technology program at Ivy Tech Community College Northeast has once again received accreditation from the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation.

The foundation is the educational branch of the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, which provides the industry standard certification.

“The accreditation means we’re teaching industry-recognized material that meet the needs of local employers,” says Nick Goodnight, an automotive technology instructor at Ivy Tech Northeast.

Graduates from the program will have a degree that carries more weight than it would from an unaccredited institution, and employers will know the quality and rigor of the program because of the certification.

Ivy Tech Northeast automotive technology students Kyle Thomas and Tabitha McCord put a timing chain on McCord’s car. The College’s Automotive Technology program has just received reaccreditation from the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation, the educational branch of the industry’s standard accreditation group, the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence.

Ivy Tech Northeast automotive technology students Kyle Thomas and Tabitha McCord put a timing chain on McCord’s car. The College’s Automotive Technology program has just received reaccreditation from the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation, the educational branch of the industry’s standard accreditation group, the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence.

Part of the foundation’s requirements for certification include meeting 12 standards, including:

  • The automotive technician training program should have clearly stated program goals, related to the needs of the students and employers served.
  • An officially sanctioned program advisory committee must be used to provide input on program goals.
  • Equipment and tools must be of the type and quality found in the repair industry and must also be the type needed to provide training to meet the program goals and performance objectives.

“By utilizing standards established by industry, NATEF examines the structure, resources and quality of training programs with the goal to improve the quality of training offered at secondary and post-secondary, public and proprietary schools,” according to the foundation’s website.

Northwest Allen superintendent Chris Himsel appointed new regional board member for Ivy Tech Northeast

Christopher Himsel, who has been the superintendent at Northwest Allen County Schools since 2010, has been appointed to Ivy Tech Community College Northeast’s regional board. He will serve a three-year term and represent education. As a member of the regional board, Himsel will support the College’s vision, mission, and goals; embrace the College’s strategic plan and values; and be instrumental in representing the College within the education community.



Himsel brings a breadth of institutional experience to the board: His previous experiences include serving as superintendent of Kokomo Center Township Consolidated School Corporation, teaching educational leadership at the University of Indianapolis, and serving as principal of two schools in Lafayette. He also has experience in educational consulting including program evaluations, training staff and administrators, and facilitating curriculum and schedule development.

Globally, Himsel has worked with various students, teachers, and principals from throughout China since 2011. He is a member of the Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce and has previous experience with groups including the Allen County Education Consortium; the National Council for Educating Black Children, Closing Achievement Gaps Kokomo Subgroup; and the Howard County All Hazards Governing Council.

“My understanding of elementary and secondary schools will be valuable in making sure Ivy Tech Northeast continues to provide relevant learning opportunities that build on each student’s prior knowledge and skills,” Himsel says. “I hope to help Ivy Tech Northeast continue its legacy of providing high quality educational opportunities to learners throughout the region.”

Himsel’s appointment was approved by the state board of trustees at this month’s meeting.

Ivy Tech classes in Huntington County address CNA need

Due to a growing need for certified nursing assistants, or CNAs, in Huntington County, Ivy Tech Community College Northeast will offer a CNA class in Huntington. It will prepare those interested in working as nursing assistants with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes essential for providing basic care in extended care facilities, assisted living facilities, hospitals, and home health agencies—all under the direction of a licensed nurse.

Those who successfully complete the course will be eligible to sit for the Indiana State Department of Health certification exam for nursing assistants.

The class will meet from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily March 16 to 20 at Horace Mann Elementary School (2480 Waterworks Road, Huntington). Clinical time will be Mondays to Fridays 6:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. March 23 to April 9 in an area nursing home. The State certification exam will be April 17.

Call the CNA office with questions at 480-2023.

Ivy Tech Northeast Special Cuisines class to host Indian dinner Feb. 19

The Special Cuisines class at Ivy Tech Community College Northeast invites the community to join its students, faculty, and staff for an Indian-themed dinner between 5 and 6:30 p.m. Feb. 19.

The dinner will feature appetizers, soup, salads, an entree, and desserts, including:

  • Masoor dal, a classic Indian lentil soup made with red lentils, tomatoes, and green chilies
  • Cachumbar, a traditional Indian salad made from tomatoes, cucumber, and onions, seasoned with fresh lime juice, chilies, and herbs
  • Shrimp masala, an entrée that features shrimp cooked in onion chaunk and served on a bed of rice. Served with sautéed okra, carrot, and hot chapati bread

To make reservations, which are required, call the Special Cuisines line at 260-480-2002. Dinners are served in the Hospitality Room on Coliseum Campus (3800 N. Anthony Blvd.) and are $20 each (now accepting credit cards in addition to cash and checks). Wine is available for an additional cost.

Ivy Tech Northeast robotics program wins statewide excellence award

The Advanced Automation and Robotics Technology program at Ivy Tech Community College Northeast has received the Indiana Career and Technical Education Program’s Award for Excellence, sponsored by the Indiana Department of Education. The program and its chair, Robert Parker, will be recognized at a public ceremony at 1 p.m. Feb. 26 at the Indiana Government Center South Auditorium (302 W. Washington St, Indianapolis).

Advanced Automation and Robotics Technology was created in 2014 to replace the College’s Advanced Manufacturing program. It is a 75-hour, six-semester associate degree (most associate degrees are four semesters). The curriculum addresses a variety of areas, including

  • Automation.
  • Programmable logic controllers, or PLCs.
  • Robotics.
  • Troubleshooting skills.


The program is designed to pair students with industry internships where they can perfect the skills they learn in the classroom and gain on-the-job experience. The program has implemented several nationally recognized certifications to close the skills gap in northeast Indiana. (Learn more about the program at IvyTech.edu/advanced-automation-robotics.)

“I really didn’t think our program was ready for winning because it’s so new, but it’s hit the ground, and it’s really taken off,” Parker says. “The students are doing well and earning a competitive wage, and the employers are appreciating the work that they’re doing and the education they’re obtaining at the same time.”

The 64-page submission packet included letters from Parker, the program’s advisory committee chair, an area employer who has hired a program completer, and a graduate.

“By going through the program at Ivy Tech, I was able to get a job in my field three weeks before I graduated,” says Louie Fuelling, who graduated from the program in May 2014, in his letter in the submission packet. “The professors I had did not just teach me the basic knowledge or information for the class. They taught me what I needed to know in the real-world working environment. Leaving Ivy Tech, I had confidence that I would be successful in my career.”

Inside Ivy Tech: Fun+Food+Fundraising

Perfect combination leads to an unforgettable evening

Dinner guests were greeted by hospitality administration students with a flute of champagne.

Dinner guests were greeted by hospitality administration students with a flute of champagne.


Coco Chanel would have felt right at home.

Had the French fashionista designed formal affairs in addition to women’s clothing and accessories, the result might have resembled A Reason to Taste: City of Lights, Ivy Tech Community College Northeast’s culinary fundraiser for student scholarships on Oct. 25—an event that grossed nearly $70,000 through ticket sales, fund-a-need donations, and silent auction items.

“It was also one of the classiest events I’ve been a part of in nearly 30 years of hosting events.” – Melissa Long, WPTA-TV 21Alive News Anchor

Chanel’s trademark style celebrates simplicity, elegance, and comfort, often in neutral colors. Using these black-and-white cues, along with slate gray linens and teal brilliance from strategically placed uplights, the College’s Student Life Center Gymnasium was transformed into a ’50s-inspired European lounge in homage to Chanel’s influence and the time period.

Not all elements of the College’s third-annual banquet were intentionally retro-chic in nature, however: Auction bidding went high-tech this year, allowing dinner guests to place and update bids through their smartphones and take advantage of charging stations, if needed, while socializing. They also had the opportunity to immortalize their playfulness in a photo booth near the fundraiser’s entrance.

Two familiar faces in Fort Wayne—WPTA-TV 21Alive news anchor Melissa Long and 21Alive sports director Tommy Schoegler—shared emcee duties.

“A Reason to Taste had delicious food and was beautifully coordinated,” Long said. “It was also one of the classiest events I’ve been a part of in nearly 30 years of hosting events. It was a fantastic evening all the way around, and I know Tommy (Schoegler) felt the same way.”

Clockwise from left: Numerous dinner guests opted to immortalize their playfulness at the fundraiser’s photo booth; this year’s silent auction featured 46 items for which 395 bids were placed. As a first for the event, dinner guests were allowed to place their bids electronically using a special smart device app; more than 240 dinner guests celebrated the evening over a six-course dinner, two wine samplings, and an open bar. 


If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then the true beneficiaries of this gesture were the 243 dinner guests in attendance at A Reason to Taste: City of Lights.

Each of the fundraiser’s five courses, including dessert, was inspired by food presentations and tastings experienced by one faculty chaperone and eight students in the Hospitality Administration program during a study-abroad trip to France last May.

“Pretty much all of the courses we served were pulled from meals we had, replicating components or dishes we saw while there,” said Chef Andrew Smith, trip chaperone and adjunct faculty member.

Highlights from the nearly one dozen cities and towns visited included a lecture on the mating rituals of mollusks during a visit to a snail farm in Cormoz and a meal and cooking demonstration by celebrated chef and restaurateur Jean-Michel Lorain at his Michelin three-star restaurant, La Côte Saint Jacques, in Joigny.

Upon their return to Fort Wayne, Smith and the eight students played active roles in planning the menu and ultimately plating the courses while classmates served the dinner guests.

The tastes and textures of the evening’s haute cuisine and wine pairings were warmly greeted by dinner guest Cheri Becker.

“Restaurateurs from around the country should come to Fort Wayne when they’re looking to hire. These students are awesome,” said Becker, vice president of leadership and community engagement for Greater Fort Wayne Inc.

Clockwise from left: It took more than 100 individuals, from hospitality administration faculty and students to College staff and planning committee members, to stage A Reason to Taste: City of Lights; WPTA–TV 21Alive news anchor Melissa Long and 21Alive sports director Tommy Schoegler shared emcee duties; dinner guest Dar Richardson samples an hors d’oeuvre served by hospitality administration major Bethany Sorich. 


Springtime in Paris is noted for its distinct charm. Songs proclaim it, movies portray it, and myths perpetuate it. And now Ivy Tech Northeast alumnus Bryce Verfaillie can verify it.

His journey to the City of Lights resulted from his 2014 winning entry in the College’s cooking-and-baking challenge each January, the Hospitality Administration European Competition. (Scroll to bottom of this story to read about this year’s winners.)

Verfaillie was selected as one of eight hospitality administration students to partake in the program’s annual two-week, study-abroad trip in May.

“If it weren’t for a job layoff, I don’t think I would have ever traveled down this road in life and attended college, so I’m thankful it happened because it’s been an incredible ride so far with plenty of road left to travel on,” Verfaillie said.

That road, as it relates to his time in France, involved bonding with classmates in a Lyon marketplace over beer, wine, and “the best lunch ever” to visiting a number of Michelin-rated restaurants.

“It feels good to know that others who don’t even know me or my story helped me earn a scholarship to achieve and learn more about a career I am passionate about,” he said. “The trip and training have helped me move up in my job as a food and beverage director and also has helped me become more knowledgeable in my career.”

Eight hospitality students win chance to study culinary arts in Europe

Ivy Tech Northeast’s Hospitality Administration European Competition winners for 2015, from left: Susan Towsley, Christopher Knowlton, April Luna, Anthony Flanagan, Teresa Gerczeg, Brian Mongiello, Madeline Jacquay, and  Jamee Thiele.

Ivy Tech Northeast’s Hospitality Administration European Competition winners for 2015, from left: Susan Towsley, Christopher Knowlton, April Luna, Anthony Flanagan, Teresa Gerczeg, Brian Mongiello, Madeline Jacquay, and Jamee Thiele.

April Luna began preparation for the 4 ½-hour competition 4 ½ months beforehand. She started writing, sampling, and editing her recipes. She used her family as guinea pigs, feeding them dinner rolls until the rolls were a favorite dinnertime staple. She still made an error—one requiring a blowtorch to fix—but in the end, she was one of eight students to win a trip to Europe.

In its 18th year, Ivy Tech Community College Northeast’s Hospitality Administration European Competition, formerly the Mystery Basket Competition, pitted 23 students against one another for a chance to travel to Spain and France to study culinary arts in May. Culinary arts students received a mystery basket of ingredients on-the-spot to turn into an appetizer, entrée, and dessert in four hours. Baking and pastry arts students, like Luna, had 4 ½ hours to fill a decorated cake order, create a fruit plate, make a chocolate dessert, and bake six dinner rolls.

Kitchen judges watched and rated students as they worked, paying attention to technique and ability. Floor judges tasted the completed meals, not knowing which student made which plate.

“What I looked for mostly is, can they break down a fish? Are their knife cuts consistent?” says Glenda Hinton, a kitchen judge for the culinary side who graduated from the hospitality administration program last year and was a winner of 2014’s competition. “I knew what to look for because I had been on the other side of it. I knew the things that I missed.”

Because of the tight timeframe, contestants needed to be precise in planning out their cooking or baking schedule—which is where Luna tripped up. She waited too long to flip her double chocolate fudge mini torts; they stuck to the pan, requiring a blowtorch to remove.

“It was so rough,” she says, gesturing to a campus videographer who was taking photos during the competition.“He saw me lose my mind.”

But she pulled it together to win.

“There was so much great stuff presented here today,” Luna  says. “I’m in shock that I was chosen.”

Inside Ivy Tech: A color unseen

Visual communications students partner with local special needs children for fantastical art project

Ivy Tech Northeast visual communications major Colene Smart joins Hannah Hubley, 13, and her mother, Rebekah Hubley, for a class presentation. Smart worked with the Hubleys on an art project that put Hannah, who is blind, into a fantasy setting based on Hannah’s interests. Smart’s finished piece graces the cover of this issue.

Ivy Tech Northeast visual communications major Colene Smart joins Hannah Hubley, 13, and her mother, Rebekah Hubley, for a class presentation. Smart worked with the Hubleys on an art project that put Hannah, who is blind, into a fantasy setting based on Hannah’s interests. Smart’s finished piece graces the cover of this issue.

Hannah Hubley’s favorite color is red. One wall in her bedroom is painted red. The other three are fuchsia. Her room has an overstuffed red chair and bunk beds with bright, colorful bedspreads.

“She has the most colorful room in the house,” says her mother, Rebekah Hubley, “and she can’t see any of it.”

Hannah, 13, was born blind. Her mother, an adjunct faculty member in Ivy Tech Community College Northeast’s Visual Communications program, is a photographer and artist who loves color.

“Whatever colors mean to her, I don’t know,” Hubley says of her daughter, “but she loves color theory and everything that has to do with color.”

Hannah was one of 12 children photographed by students in Kristin Mains’ Advanced Electronic Imaging class last semester as part of a class project. Mains adopted the concept from a project by Canadian photographer Shawn Van Daele, who created The Drawing Hope Project. He collaborates with sick and sometimes terminally ill children to turn their dreams into art. He photographs the children and illustrates a fantasy setting that puts them into a world of their creation—a girl who received a heart transplant at 7 months old becomes a fairy princess riding a unicorn; a boy with leukemia becomes a ship captain; a boy who suffered trauma after he was shaken by a daycare worker becomes a champion rower.

Students in Mains’ class were paired with local children who have a physical or developmental disability. The children, if able, drew a photo of themselves doing their favorite things. If they were unable to illustrate or describe their dreamlands, parents filled in the blanks. It was the students’ assignment to turn those drawings or descriptions into an electronic image.

Though Mains had had the idea for this project for years, she wanted to be sure the students in her class could handle the sensitive nature of the project. This wasn’t something for first-semester students, nor was it something she wanted to assign students she didn’t know well. For example, she knew she’d have to pair nonverbal children with students who were able to think creatively and abstractly, who could create a visual concept with minimal descriptors. Similarly, she knew she’d have to pair Hannah with a student who wasn’t afraid to think outside of the color wheel.

TOP: Kristin Mains, far right, and students from her Advanced Electronic Imaging class last fall. Back row, from left:  Shane Wilkins, Ron Gephart, Brian Whetstone, Alex Staudinger, Jeff Simon, Jennifer Smiley, and Erica Stafford. Front row, from left: Colene Smart, Crystal Monhollen, Danielle Evans, Destiny Green, and Mains; BOTTOM: Smart (left) texturized her art project so Hannah, who is blind (right), could “see” the finished product with her hands.

That student was Colene Smart. After meeting Hannah and talking about Hannah’s favorite things, Smart decided to turn Hannah into a fairy. She photographed Hannah in Ivy Tech Northeast’s Media Services studio from behind. Hannah, dressed in a chevron-striped dress, swished her wand in an arc over her head.

For the backdrop, Smart turned to a photo she took four years ago on a visit to the Great Smoky Mountains. Smart inserted Hannah in the rocky riverbed set against a lush wash of green forest. Smart used PhotoShop to create a rainbow arcing over Hannah’s head at the end of her wand. The entire photo is outlined with a poem: “I asked her one night, ‘What do you think of when you talk about colors and you think about colors?’” Rebekah says, “and in about 10 minutes, she wrote that poem, and I was blown away.”

The poem, titled “A Color Unseen,” ends in the couplet, “Even when the eyes can’t see, they can still get a deep view/of the meaning of each color from violet to blue.” (Scroll to bottom of story to read Hanna’s complete poem.)

Smart may have figured out how to incorporate the poem and Hannah’s love of color with her art piece, but she still faced an interesting problem: How would she finish an art piece for a child who can’t see? Simple: She’d texturize it.

Smart used Mod Podge, glitter, and molds to create the fairies, flowers, and leaves to finish her piece. When Hannah “saw” the image for the first time, she looked at it with her hands. Glitter gave the fairies a different texture from the other Mod Podge’d sculptures on the art piece, which Smart decided to keep clear; this makes them virtually invisible to the naked eye and doesn’t obstruct the image. And yet, it helps Hannah see.

Smart is proud of her finished product, and the process may have provided some future artistic goals.

“I learned different perspectives on how to see differently,” she says. “If you are blind, how does art affect you? I actually think this is something I’d love to do more of. In so many art galleries, you can’t touch the paintings. I want to do a show for blind people.”

Other students in Smart’s class were paired with children with a variety of special needs, including Down syndrome, bipolar disorder, and autism. In fact, Hannah participated in the project with two of her siblings: Micah, 11, who has spina bifida; and Jonas, 9, who was adopted from Haiti and has a visual impairment due to brain damage.

The success of the project means that Mains plans to continue it in future classes. Last semester, she sought out subjects through her own connections. Now, Mains has a waiting list of children to work with her students.

Despite the students’ initial worry about the project—they were afraid of disappointing their subjects and the subjects’ families—they all formed relationships with the kids and their families.

“Down to the absolute last student, they said, ‘We don’t even care what our grade is,’” Mains says. “They were more worried about their kids.”

A color unseen

By Hannah Hubley

Red is a rose, a fire, a flame,
a sunset sky, and anger and shame.
Orange is an orange, the brightest flame,
a morning sunrise, autumn leaves blowing untamed.
Yellow is the sun, a lemon, a canary.
Yellow is joy, feeling light and airy.
Green is springtime and fresh young grass,
the leaves on all the plants that you may pass.
Blue is the sky and the deep blue sea,
a feeling of sadness, bluebirds singing wild and free.
Indigo is a pair of jeans, heavy and rough,
or the sky toward night and a deep grief that feels tough.
Violet is a purple flower, a cheerful, lively shade,
which is almost more lively than any color ever made.
Even when the eyes can’t see, they can still get a deep view
of the meaning of each color from violet to blue.


Inside Ivy Tech: Cultural competence

Nursing faculty, students staff medical clinics during Dominican Republic trip

Ivy Tech Northeast nursing student Cordelia Turpchinoff applies her child development skills to entertain a young girl as she and her mother await their turn to be seen by a doctor in San Janoa de Azua.

Ivy Tech Northeast nursing student Cordelia Turpchinoff applies her child development skills to entertain a young girl as she and her mother await their turn to be seen by a doctor in San Janoa de Azua.

Two sheep wander into a medical clinic.

It’s a premise that sounds like the opening line to an improbable joke, but for two Ivy Tech Community College Northeast clinical instructors and a group of nursing students, the scenario was quite real last November.

The brief interaction between the livestock and the College representatives was one of several cultural observations made by the visitors during their one-week commitment to staff rural community health clinics in the Dominican Republic—Ivy Tech Northeast’s first initiative involving healthcare delivery on an international scale.

“One day we came back to the clinic and saw these two sheep hangin’ out,” recalls Maria Hines, assistant professor of nursing. “We were surprised by them, but they looked as though they were at home.”

Indeed, the sheep were at home, as Hines, Assistant Professor of Nursing Denise Kneubuhler, and the nursing students soon learned.

Local residents explained that the sheep, which were cared for like pets, played an important role in diagnosing ailments among the area’s human inhabitants. Bloodletting was occasionally performed on the sheep, and their blood was used as a growth medium on agar plates, essentially petri dishes, for the purpose of identifying and treating infections.

“I think this type of clinical exposure is really good for students, especially nursing students, because it helps them see their place in the world,” Hines says. “Healthcare isn’t the same in every country.”

Inspiration for the direct-care trip came from Kneubuhler, who served as a medical missionary for seven years in Kenya and wanted to establish a cross-cultural learning objective for the College’s nursing students.

“Going to Africa was cost-prohibitive, and you’d need at least two weeks,” Kneubuhler says. “That would not work with the curriculum.”

As a compromise, Kneubuhler visited a lead in the Dominican Republic as early as 2012, but the potential host lacked sufficient resources. The following year, she began communicating with Solid Rock International, a faith-based missionary headquartered in Indianapolis. Solid Rock works with American colleges and universities and coordinates meals, lodging, and transportation for volunteers.

Kneubuhler and Hines began fielding student interest in the trip last March and launched informational and orientation sessions soon afterward. Participation required self-financing, a minimum GPA, an application, a cultural essay, and fall semester enrollment in either of the Nursing program’s medical–surgical or pediatrics–obstetrics courses, which were taught by Hines and Kneubuhler, respectively. In return, each nursing student would earn 36 clinical hours of the 192 required for either course.

Nursing student Elizabeth Castillo knew exactly what the opportunity would entail given her numerous visits to similarly impoverished Guatemala, where she has visited her mother’s family since childhood.

“I went into nursing knowing exactly what I wanted to do,” Castillo says. “I want to be able to provide care and serve people worldwide, especially in places that are the most in need.”

Clockwise from top left: Nursing student Elizabeth Castillo takes a Dominican woman’s blood pressure at the triage station in a medical clinic; A rooftop view from San Juan Bautista Cathedral in San Juan de la Maguana. The cathedral is an eclectic blend of Arabic, Baroque, Gothic, and Roman architectural stylings, and it borders a plaza that honors Francisco del Rosario Sanchez, a politician and founding father of the Dominican Republic; Assistant Professor of Nursing Maria Hines speaks with school girls outside of their school, the Christian Center for Educational Development in San Juan; Nursing student Jaime Vinson receives a hug from a Dominican woman outside of a community center where a medical clinic was established for the day;Ivy Tech Northeast Assistant Professor of Nursing Denise Kneubuhler cradles a toddler during her staffing responsibilities in a makeshift medical clinic.

Altogether, 19 nursing students—17 females and two males—and the two clinical instructors flew to Santo Domingo, where they piled onto a bus that hauled their mobile clinic’s supplies in a trailer.

Solid Rock arranged for the Ivy Tech Northeast delegation to divide its time among four temporary clinics in three towns. The ministry also provided translators and three Dominican general practitioners to help engage the patients more effectively.

At each makeshift site, from a community center to school classrooms, the nursing students were supervised as they coordinated triage, maintained crowd control, assisted the doctors, and packaged all medications. Hines estimates that about 200 Dominicans were medically evaluated each day.

As the patients awaited consultation, the nursing students led a series of nine public health education sessions, from parasite control and diets for diabetics to self-breast exams and prostate health. Solid Rock selected the topics based on the greatest informational needs. Educational materials for the sessions were translated into Spanish by Ivy Tech Northeast Spanish 101 and 102 students prior to the trip.

Nursing student Jaime Vinson says she values the lessons she expected to learn and those that surprised her.

“I expected to take away a better understanding of the medical field in less fortunate countries, but what I didn’t expect to gain was a closeness to my peers and a sense of teamwork,” Vinson says. “And the smiles of Dominican people are so very pure. They know a joy we will never know.”

Kneubuhler says the Dominicans were appreciative of the medical care they received.

“They came up and gave us hugs and kisses, saying ‘Gracias, gracias.’” Kneubuhler says. “And they honored us by making food from their limited supplies.”

Solid Rock officials have already asked Hines and Kneubuhler for a repeat visit this year, telling Kneubuhler the ministry has never seen such a cohesive group that worked so well together.

“Several of the students commented that this experience helped them put more pieces of the puzzle together in terms of what to assess with a patient and how to respond,” Kneubuhler says. “I think they felt more like nurses than just students.”