Punkin’ Chunkin’ event aims to ‘Smash Out Diabetes’


Getting ready to let a punkin’ fly at the 2013 Punkin’ Chunkin’

KOKOMO, Ind. — Halloween will soon be over and pumpkins everywhere are awaiting their fate.

For some, the end will come when Project Access hosts its 5th Annual “Punkin’ Chunkin’ to Smash Out Diabetes” fundraiser on Saturday, Nov. 15, between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. at the Kokomo Event & Conference Center on Ind. 931. This year’s Punkin’ Chunkin’ will again be held in conjunction with Ivy Tech Community College’s TechKNOWfest event.

Punkin Chunkin_project access_logoPunkin’ Chunkin’ is an event designed to raise money to support diabetic services provided through Project Access Howard County, a local not-for-profit organization, in which teams will launch pumpkins from catapult devices known as trebuchets to help “smash out” diabetes. It is estimated that nearly 10 percent of adults in Indiana have been diagnosed with diabetes. An additional 4 percent may have the disease without knowing it. This disease can be especially frightening for people who have limited resources and no insurance. Project Access Howard County disburses an average of $55,000 worth of medications each month, including insulin, oral medications and diabetic testing supplies, at no cost to its clients through pharmaceutical assistance programs.

“We’re really looking forward to this event that keeps growing and improving each and every year,” said Sherry Rahl, executive director of Project Access. “I especially want to thank J.B. and Marsha Ladd for supporting this event by supplying pumpkins for the fifth year in a row. It’s a fun day and would not be successful without the commitment from sponsors, volunteers and Ivy Tech.”

Model trebuchets are great fun at the annual Punkin' Chunkin'

Model trebuchets are great fun at the annual Punkin’ Chunkin’

One aspect of Punkin’ Chunkin’ is geared toward those who want to experience the excitement of building and firing their own trebuchet. Individual teams in this category are responsible for building and transporting their trebuchets to Ivy Tech on Nov. 15 for the Punkin’ Chunkin’ competition. People interested in forming a team in this category should go to the website at www.ivytech.edu/kokomo to fill out a form to get entered and see the rules for the event. Registration fees apply for this category. For more information, call Sherry Rahl at 765-854-0544.

The entire community is encouraged to attend all the activities on Nov. 15 at the event center and on the fields south of Ivy Tech’s main campus at 1815 E. Morgan St. Haywagon rides will be available to transport participants between the event center and the Punkin’ Chunkin’ field. More information about the events including costs to participate in the trebuchet team build can be found at www.ivytech.edu/kokomo.

Project Access Howard County is funded in part by United Way of Howard County and the Center Township Trustee. Sponsors of the 2014 Punkin’ Chunkin’ event include Ivy Tech Community College, Coca Cola, J.B. and Marsha Ladd, T & P Photography, Community Howard Regional Hospital, Hoosier AM/FM Radio, Moore’s Home Health, Community First Bank, St.Joseph Hospital, and HCC, Inc.

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Kokomo’s Community Garden celebrates 10-ton harvest

2014 harvest brings 12-year total to more than 93 tons of produce

for organizations that serve the hungry

KOKOMO, Ind. — Community Garden volunteers, donors and recipients celebrated the end of another garden season at Ivy Tech Community College recently at the garden’s annual Harvest Celebration. The garden this year produced a total of 20,722.75 pounds of fresh vegetables for 13 local organizations that serve the hungry, bringing the total yield for the garden’s 12 years of raising produce to 186,282 pounds or more than 93 tons.

The garden produced everything from acorn squash to zucchini with totals that ranged from 11 pounds of herbs and garlic to 1,373 pounds of green beans to 2,514 pounds of corn to 6,000 pounds of tomatoes.

The 2014 harvest, with the second highest yield of produce in the garden’s history, was made possible by volunteers who gave more than 1,783 hours of their time to make the Community Garden a success. Records kept since the garden’s first season in 2003 show that volunteers have donated about 16,500 hours over the 12 years, with an estimated value of nearly $340,000 in volunteer labor.

Sarah McCormack, coordinator of the 2014 garden, noted that this effort has made has made a significant contribution to the community by making a difference in the lives of countless individuals in Howard County.

“We had a wonderful season this year,” McCormack said. “Not only was it our second best harvest on record, but we had a record year in broccoli and tomato production. This year we had a special contribution from Teng Lee, a senior at Kokomo High School. He’s working to achieve his Eagle Scout status and he built three benches and a new weigh table for the garden. We are very grateful he chose the garden to give such a gift.”

She continued, “We wanted for nothing this year! Adler’s Feed Express donated all of our seeds and plants and The Andersons Inc. donated the fertilizer. When we got low on boxes for the produce, we simply made a call to Syndicate Sales and we were supplied with enough boxes to finish out the season. It is amazing how the citizens and businesses of this community provide us support to make the community garden a success consistently throughout the years. We could not produce what we do if it were not for them.”

McCormack noted 22 people each provided more than 25 hours in volunteer service to the garden. At the top of the list, those volunteering more than 100 hours during the 2014 season, were Tom Georges (161.75 hours), Larry Bills (161.5 hours), Bob Parks (159.75 hours) and former garden coordinator Becky Swails (104.5 hours).

The Community Garden provides fresh produce for the hungry in Howard County and serves as an educational classroom for students, master gardeners and anyone interested in helping tend the garden. It is the result of a partnership between Ivy Tech Community College, the Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service of Howard County and the Howard County Master Gardener Association. It is operated entirely on donations and the work of volunteers.

The idea for the garden came from Ivy Tech Chancellor Steve Daily and Purdue University Howard County Extension Educator Rollin Machtmes. It became a reality through a donation of land made by Ivy Tech supporters Don and Louise Thomas at the corner of Touby Pike and North Street. Garden volunteers have transformed the donated grassland into two acres of rich soil that produce thousands of pounds of fresh produce each year.

Organizations that receive produce from the garden for distribution to the community’s hungry include Coordinating Assistance Ministries Inc. (CAM), Family Services Association Domestic Violence Shelter, The Gilead House, Hands of Grace, Howard Haven, Open Arms Women’s Shelter, Kokomo Rescue Mission, Salvation Army, Samaritan Love Center, Soul Food Café, St. Luke’s Food Pantry and Urban Outreach.

For additional information or an opportunity to support the Community Garden, contact Sarah McCormack at sarah.mccormack02@gmail.com .

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Lou Ann Stroup named department chair of new Ivy Tech school

School of Computing and Informatics open in new downtown Kokomo home

Lou Ann Stroup Department Chair School of Computing and Informatics

Lou Ann Stroup
Department Chair
School of Computing and Informatics

KOKOMO, Ind. — Veteran information technology manager and educator Lou Ann Stroup has been named department chair of Ivy Tech Community College’s new School of Computing and Informatics in the Kokomo Region. Stroup, who has been on the faculty since 2011, brings international training and job experience to her role as a Kokomo Region leader for the recently announced school.

“I am excited to be in on the launch of this great new educational opportunity,” Stroup said. “Where before the School of Business offered Computer Information Systems and Computer Information Technology programs, we are now a new standalone school with new equipment, new classes, new programs and even a new location.”  She noted the fourth floor of the First Farmers Bank & Trust building at 101 W. Sycamore St. on Kokomo’s courthouse square has been transformed into the home of the new school.

“These changes are designed to better serve our students …. and the needs of the IT industry,” Stroup said. “People qualified for jobs in the computer and informatics industries are in high demand. In our new programs, students will get the hands-on experience that will put you at the head of the information technology employment line.”

Stroup will be on hand to talk with potential students and interested community members during the “grand reveal” of the new program’s facilities from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Nov. 7. The open house will be part of Downtown Kokomo’s November First Friday event.

As department chair, Stroup will oversee instruction and advising of students in academic study that leads to Associate of Science and Associate of Applied Science degrees, technical certificates and short-term certificates in seven computer and informatics programs.  The programs have been developed with the guidance of a business and industry IT task force and directly link to Ivy Tech’s new academic division structure of providing focused workforce-relevant career pathways for students.

Degrees granted to Ivy Tech students through the School of Computing and Informatics will allow graduates to be prepared for careers that are in high demand. Opportunities to earn IT certifications are incorporated throughout the program curricula and pathways are available for students to transfer to a four-year university to pursue a bachelor’s degree and more.

Stroup joined Ivy Tech in 2011 as an adjunct faculty member in Computer Information Technology and quickly put her years of training and professional experience to work. In addition to serving as department chair of the School of Computing and Informatics, she also is an assistant professor and statewide lead for Ivy Tech’s computer science program.

After earning associate degrees from Ivy Tech in accounting and computer information systems, Stroup graduated magna cum laude from Indiana University with a Bachelor of Science degree in business management. In 2010, she earned a master’s degree in information and communication sciences from Ball State University where she earned a number of honors.

Stroup has years of experience in the field with Electronic Data Systems (EDS) Hewlett Packard (HP) and Delphi. She has also worked with computers in the fields of banking and not-for-profit organizations. She holds multiple certifications and awards and is a published author, researcher and presenter in the field of computing and informatics. She belongs to multiple academies, industry organizations and publications.

Among the strengths Stroup brings to the classroom is her global perspective, developed through her work with international auto supplier Delphi and her study abroad at Telecom Bretagne in Brest, France, a sister university for Ball State.

“My work with the new school gives me the opportunity to bring my education and experience to offer real-life instruction to Ivy Tech students,” Stroup said. “And the subject matter is ripped right out of the news. Our students can work to address everything from the development of mobile apps to how to find and thwart hackers and cyber criminals threatening our privacy and our economic security. It’s an exciting place to be!”

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Crystal Jones named chair of Practical Nursing at Ivy Tech Wabash

 New faculty member brings experience at Kokomo, Marion hospitals

Crystal Jones Chair Practical Nursing, Wabash Campus

Crystal Jones
Practical Nursing, Wabash Campus

KOKOMO, Ind. – Crystal Jones has been named chair of the Practical Nursing program at Ivy Tech Community College’s Wabash Campus.

Jones, a native of Martinsville, Ind., now living in Marion, joined the Ivy Tech faculty this fall. She comes into education with eight years of experience as a registered nurse in Kokomo and Marion.

“I am excited to bring my educational and professional experiences to this new role,” Jones said. “My goal as the chair of the Practical Nursing program in Wabash is to help guide students on their path toward a successful nursing education and nursing career.

“The Licensed Practical Nurse is an integral part of the health care team,” she continued. “Ivy Tech’s Practical Nursing program leads to a technical certificate and can be completed in about one year. This accredited program will prepare students to care for patients in a variety of health care settings, including hospitals, convalescent center, clinics, home care and physician offices.”

Jones earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Grace College in Winona Lake and a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Indiana University Kokomo. She completed a Master of Science degree in nursing education at Indiana University Kokomo in 2013.  A dean’s list student, she was awarded membership in Alpha Chi National College Honor Society and Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society in Nursing.

She is licensed as a registered nurse in Indiana and has earned certifications from the American Academy of Pediatrics Neonatal Resuscitation Program, the American Heart Association Basic Life Support for Healthcare Providers, and the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) Intermediate Fetal Monitoring.

Her professional experience includes eight years as a registered nurse with Howard Regional Health System in Kokomo and Marion General Hospital in Marion, where she worked in labor and delivery, post-partum and newborn intensive care and as a preceptor helping student nurses bridge the gap to their careers in the hospitals.

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‘Back to College Night’ for adults set at Kokomo-Howard County Public Library

Ivy Tech representatives will share information on enrollment, financing options

KOKOMO, Ind. — Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo Region representatives will be on hand for a “Back to College Night” for adults from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 10, at the Kokomo-Howard County Public Library.

Faculty members Sarah King and Cody Mullins are serving on special assignment this year on the Ivy Tech recruiting staff. At the Nov. 10 meeting, they will bring a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm that can ease the journey back to college. They will be available with information on various degree programs and the enrollment process as well as options for financing higher education that make going to college more feasible for working adults and parents.

“According to Indiana data, we know there are a lot of working adults – an estimated 737,000 in the state – who started college and never reached their degree. And we know there are a lot of challenges for working adults, especially those with families, to find the time, money and energy to go back to school,” Mullins said. “But we also know the impact higher ed credentials can have on job satisfaction and earning power. This session is designed to share what Ivy Tech has to offer the returning adult student – everything from flexible scheduling to financial aid to personalized academic advising.”

For more information on “Back to College Night” at the Kokomo-Howard County Public Library, contact Cody Mullins at 765-459-0561, ext. 253, or cmullins21@ivytech.edu.


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16th annual TechKNOWFest set for Nov. 15 at Ivy Tech Kokomo

Free family-focused event celebrates learning with fun activities


‘Professor Steve’ entertains last year’s TechKNOWFest crowd

KOKOMO, Ind. — Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo Region will hold its 16th annual TechKNOWFest and 5th annual Punkin’ Chunkin’ from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 15. This year, for the first time, indoor activities will be offered in the Kokomo Event & Conference Center with “hayride” transportation to the outdoor activities on the south end of the main campus at 1815 E. Morgan St. TechKNOWFest is a free, family-focused event that celebrates learning with exhibits, hands-on activities and useful information for all ages and interests. Here are some of the highlights:

At the event center:

  • A fall carnival of game, craft and activity booths will be staffed by faculty and students from a number of Ivy Tech programs, as well as Kokomo’s Project Access program. Activities are aimed at youngsters from pre-kindergarten through sixth grade who will have a chance to collect TKF “money” to trade in for prizes.
  • “Professor Steve” (Steve Walden of Lebanon, Ind.) will be back with his popular and entertaining science programs. This year, he’ll be presenting “Professor Steve’s Fantastic Reactions Show,” illustrating physical and chemical reactions with everything from magic tricks to explosions, and “Professor Steve’s Crazy Kitchen Laboratory Show,” humorously teaching chemistry, air pressure, friction and electricity all with things found around the house.
  • The Empire of Chivalry and Steel will offer its recreation of the culture of the Middle Ages through the Renaissance in the event center auditorium. Members share costumes, customs and jousting skills in their educational and entertaining presentation.
  • The Science Ambassadors from Dow AgroSciences will offer interactive science activities along with information about careers in agriculture.
At last year's event, youngsters got to try on firemen's gear

At last year’s event, youngsters got to try on firemen’s gear

Participants can enjoy a hayride as wagons will shuttle between the event center and the outdoor activities on the Ivy Tech Kokomo campus that include:

  • The 5th annual Punkin’ Chunkin’ event where participants can launch pumpkins from catapult devices known as trebuchets. There is no charge this year to participate.
  • A straw maze and displays of agricultural equipment.
  • A collection of emergency medical equipment vehicles – from fire truck to emergency medical helicopter – that visitors can view “up close and personal.”

For those who are interested, lunch items Harvey Hinklemeyer’s will be on sale in the event center. Kettle corn will also be available for purchase.

For more information, call Ivy Tech at 765-457-0858, ext. 100.

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Rita Jackson endows second scholarship for Ivy Tech students

Donation announced at ‘Blue Jean Ball’ fundraiser sponsored by Peru site

 In on the check presentation at Saturday night’s Blue Jean Ball were Bob Bostick, Ivy Tech student speaker; Rita Jackson; Theresa Murphy, executive director of Ivy Tech’s Peru site; Ivy Tech student Abby Ward, who also spoke about her college experience; Ivy Tech Kokomo Region Chancellor Steve Daily; and Kelly Karickhoff, executive director of Resource Development.

In on the check presentation at Saturday night’s Blue Jean Ball were Bob Bostick, Ivy Tech student speaker; Rita Jackson; Theresa Murphy, executive director of Ivy Tech’s Peru site; Ivy Tech student Abby Ward, who also spoke about her college experience; Ivy Tech Kokomo Region Chancellor Steve Daily; and Kelly Karickhoff, executive director of Resource Development.

PERU, Ind. — Retired Ivy Tech Community College administrator Rita Jackson presented a check for $10,000 to Ivy Tech Foundation Saturday night to endow a new scholarship fund for Ivy Tech nursing students. The presentation was made at the Milestone Event Center on the Grissom Joint Air Reserve Base during the “Blue Jean Ball,” the 2014 edition of the annual Fundraiser for Student Success sponsored by Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo Region’s Peru Instructional Site.

The memorial scholarship fund is dedicated to Jackson’s maternal grandparents, Grace and Oliver Brunson, who lived and worked in Peru and Miami County most of their lives. Including the endowment, more than $20,000 was raised at the “Blue Jean Ball.”

Jackson said her grandfather worked on the C&O Railroad and her grandmother was a homemaker; when Oliver retired, they bought a farm north of Peru. Together they raised seven children.

“Although they did not attend college, they knew the importance of education and how it can bring hope,” Jackson said. “My grandparents were caregivers for my mother, sister and me after my father died at the age of 28 and so I wanted the scholarship to be awarded to a nursing student.”

Applicants for the Grace and Oliver Brunson Memorial Scholarship must be pursuing a degree in nursing at an Ivy Tech Kokomo Region campus with preference given to Miami County residents. They must have a minimum 3.0 grade point average and must have earned at least 30 credit hours.

This is the second scholarship fund Jackson has endowed. She presented a check for $10,000 at the 2013 fundraiser to endow the Louise Jackson and Karen Jackson-Blue Memorial Scholarship Fund as a tribute to the memory of her mother and sister.

Before her retirement in 2006, Rita Jackson spent 10 years with Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo Region, serving as a mathematics instructor, mathematics program chair, director of general education, academic dean and executive director of technology. She remains a strong supporter of Ivy Tech, citing its affordability, convenience and scheduling flexibility, especially for working students. Ivy Tech two-year degrees can provide lifelong job skills and/or pathways to four-year colleges, she noted.

In acknowledging the significance of Jackson’s contributions to the College, Theresa Murphy, executive director of Ivy Tech’s Peru Instructional Site, said, “We are so grateful to Rita for her strong support of Ivy Tech, its mission and its students.  What a wonderful way to honor her family – by making an investment in their home community and establishing a legacy that will benefit Ivy Tech students for many years to come. “

Nearly 200 people attended the Blue Jean Ball, which included entertainment by Miami County’s own Swampwater Stompers, dinner, and an evening of competitive bidding on an array of unique items and experiences.  Proceeds from the event will support students at the Peru Instructional Site.

“Because of the continued support of the Miami County community, we are able to offer more scholarships to support Miami County students pursuing their college education at Ivy Tech Kokomo Region,” Murphy said.

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