One-day course prepares students to take certification exam
KOKOMO, Ind. — Ivy Tech Community College is offering a one-day instructor-led training course to prepare students to take the ServSafe Food Manager Certification exam.
The class will be offered Wednesday, Jan 18, at Ivy Tech’s Kokomo campus at 1815 E. Morgan St.
Indiana Code 410-IAC7-22 requires mandatory certification of at least one person who oversees the food safety operation within each food establishment. The ServSafe program is developed by the National Restaurant Association with the help of foodservice industry experts. Years of experience and inside knowledge of the foodservice industry are at the core of the ServSafe courses, exams and materials that prepare students to handle food sanitation risks.
ServSafe certification is valid for five years. The course fee is $155 and includes the manual, all study materials and the certification exam. The class will start with check-in between 8 and 8:30 a.m. and will run until 3:30 p.m. The exam will start at the conclusion of the class and last about two hours.
The fee to take the exam without attending the class is $60. The book can be purchased separately for $65.
To register for the ServSafe Food Manager class and examination or for more information, please contact Bonnie Devers at email@example.com or 765-252-5497. You can register online for the class at:
Noted author, educator and speaker will keynote community, student events
KOKOMO, Ind. – Distinguished philosopher, author and social commentator Dr. Cornel West will serve as the keynote speaker for Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo’s 19th annual “Doing the Dream” programs honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. West will speak at the event’s annual community banquet set for Jan. 26 on the Ivy Tech Kokomo campus and at a free student convocation Jan. 27.
The internationally recognized speaker, known for his depth of knowledge and his passionate communication style, will share his commitment to keeping alive the legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“We are excited and honored to welcome to Kokomo such a renowned, respected and influential leader as Dr. West,” said DeAndra Beard-Ingram, who is leading the Doing the Dream 2023 committee as the new director of diversity, equity and belonging for Ivy Tech’s Kokomo Service Area.
“With a theme of ‘Empowering Our Community,’ Dr. West will honor Dr. King’s legacy of telling the truth and bearing witness to love and justice,” she said. “We look forward to words that will inspire us to action in that cause. My hope is that our action will be steeped in deep reflection leading us to answer the challenging questions ‘Who are we?’ and ‘Who can we become?’ as a community.”
“Doing the Dream 2023” will include the annual community banquet, to start at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 26, in Hingst Hall on the Ivy Tech Kokomo Campus, and a free student convocation open to high school and college students Friday, Jan. 27, that will be offered in-person and virtually.
Tickets are now on sale for the evening banquet that annually brings leaders from throughout the community together with the distinguished speaker to address issues of local, state and national importance. Individual tickets are $60 each and will be available until Jan. 20, unless sold out earlier. All proceeds support the Ivy Tech Kokomo “Doing the Dream” Diversity Scholarship. More information is available at ivytech.edu/doingthedream or by contacting Miriam Thomas, Ivy Tech Kokomo resource development director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 765-252-5500.
Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) is again serving as lead sponsor to support participation by a noted speaker for the “Doing the Dream” events. Other community sponsors include Community Howard Regional Health, Stellantis, Security Federal Savings Bank, City of Kokomo, Haynes International, and Howard County government, Solidarity Community Federal Credit Union, Community First Bank of Indiana and Silver Birch of Kokomo.
The student convocation, set for 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Jan. 27, is geared toward college students and high school juniors and seniors and is open to school groups, home schoolers and individual students. West will be speaking from the stage in Hingst Hall for those able to attend in person. The program will also be available virtually via a Zoom link, with college and school groups and classes around the state expected to join. For more information on how to participate, contact Tashona Jones, director of Student Success and Retention for Ivy Tech’s Kokomo Service Area, at email@example.com or 765-252-5463.
Beard-Ingram noted that since 2005, Ivy Tech Kokomo’s “Doing the Dream: A Cultural Celebration” has been an annual event for the community and local students designed to embrace and celebrate cultural diversity as expressed by Dr. King. “Over the last 18 years, we estimate more than 28,000 people – school children, high school and college students, teachers and faculty members, religious and civic leaders, and community members – have participated in ‘Doing the Dream’ activities,” she said.
West is the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Chair at Union Theological Seminary. He teaches on the works of the noted German theologian and Nazi dissident, as well as courses in Philosophy of Religion, African American Critical Thought, and a wide range of subjects – including but by no means limited to, the classics, philosophy, politics, cultural theory, literature, and music.
He is the former Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy at Harvard University and Professor Emeritus at Princeton University. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard in three years and obtained his M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy at Princeton.
West has partnered with MasterClass.com to provide teachings on several influential courses including a class with Pharrell Williams on Empathy, MasterClass’s first-ever multi-instructor class on Black History, Black Freedom & Black Love, as well as his standalone class on Philosophy. For more information, visit his website, www.cornelwest.com/ or follow him on Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.
Tara Kaser, Dennis Brunk honored for excellence in teaching
KOKOMO, Ind. – Ivy Tech Community College has honored Tara Kaser of Swayzee and Dennis Brunk of Lafayette, both instructors for the Kokomo Service Area, as two of 37 individuals across the state recognized for excellence in teaching at the 2022 President’s Awards Ceremony.
Kaser was recognized for excellence as a full-time faculty member and Brunk was honored for his work as an adjunct faculty member at the ceremony in Carmel that, for the 42nd year, honored recipients of the highest honors for Ivy Tech faculty and adjunct faculty throughout the state.
“The impact our faculty members have on our students extends far beyond the classroom,” said Ivy Tech President Dr. Sue Ellspermann. “In addition to excellence in teaching, faculty members are often advisors, mentors, and role models for our students. Today, we are proud to recognize their excellence, passion, and dedication to Ivy Tech and the communities in which they live and serve.”
Laura Hapner, interim vice chancellor for Academic Affairs for the Ivy Tech Kokomo Service Area, said Kaser quickly distinguished herself as a leader of instruction and innovation when she joined the Ivy Tech Kokomo faculty in 2018.
“In her short tenure at Ivy Tech, Tara has had a significant influence on her students and colleagues in the Kokomo Service Area and statewide,” Hapner said. “Tara strives to prepare her students for the many challenges in K-12 education. She is a role model for her students, demonstrating what it means to be an educator who embraces diversity, technology, advocacy, lifelong learning and adaptability.”
Kaser is an assistant professor who serves as chair of the Education Department for Ivy Tech Kokomo. She began her teaching career as a swimming instructor while in elementary school and has been an educator ever since.
Hapner said Kaser has accepted numerous leadership roles with the college and is known as a valued colleague who, with positivity and enthusiasm that is contagious, is always willing to share her knowledge, experience, and advice with students and co-workers. Earlier this year, she was honored with the statewide Excellence in Online Teaching Award as one of the “best of the best” among Ivy Tech’s many online instructors.
Honored as the top adjunct faculty member from the Ivy Tech Kokomo Service Area, Brunk was recognized for his many contributions as a Life Science instructor.
“With years of experience teaching science to middle school grades as well as bachelor’s degrees from Indiana University and University of Wisconsin and a PhD in Horticulture from Purdue University, Dennis Brunk came to Ivy Tech better prepared than most to teach in the life sciences program,” Hapner said.
“According to his peers, it is difficult to determine which is the greater, Dennis’s passion for science, especially biology, or his passion for learning and education.,” she continued. “Whether he’s seen lecturing in the classroom, directing hands-on activities in the laboratory, or speaking with students in the hallway, they describe his enthusiasm as contagious.”
Brunk has been Ivy Tech Kokomo’s main Biology 101 instructor for the last 12 years and has willingly stepped up to help with other course, including Genetics and Diversity of Life. “More than just delivering the information to the students, he motivates them to do well and inspires a love of learning that he shares with them,” Hapner continued. “Students cannot help but be stirred by his excitement over science, biology, and learning in general.”
Dr. Cornel West, affectionately known to many as Brother West, is the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Chair at Union Theological Seminary. Dr. West teaches on the works of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, as well as courses in Philosophy of Religion, African American Critical Thought, and a wide range of subjects — including but by no means limited to, the classics, philosophy, politics, cultural theory, literature, and music. He has a passion to communicate to a vast variety of publics in order to keep alive the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. – a legacy of telling the truth and bearing witness to love and justice.
Dr. West is the former Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy at Harvard University and Professor Emeritus at Princeton University. Cornel West graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard in three years and obtained his M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy at Princeton.
Gift aims to help address behavioral health workforce shortage
KOKOMO, Ind. – 4C Health, a comprehensive non-profit behavioral health care provider that has served the communities of rural north central Indiana for more than 45 years, has established a scholarship fund to support students in the Human Services program at Ivy Tech Community College’s Kokomo Service Area.
“Many 4C Health employees, including me, got our start in human services with a community college,” said Carrie Cadwell, PsyD, 4C Health president and CEO. “The value of supporting students who are getting their educational start through a community college, like Ivy Tech, is immeasurable.
“We have a state and national behavioral health workforce shortage. In rural areas, even more so,” she continued. “Finding ways to develop students early on in their educational human services pathway is critical. Supporting local Ivy Tech human services students is an investment with the hope they stay local when their education is completed. We start this scholarship with the vision to grow it as we go forward.”
The scholarship opportunity will be available to students studying at a Kokomo Service Area campus or instructional site who reside in Cass, Fulton, Howard, Miami, Pulaski or Tipton counties. Programs covered include the Human Services technical certificate and associate degrees, along with credential in Addictive Studies and Social Work. Students must maintain a grade-point average of at least 3.0 and may use the scholarship for tuition and fees.
The 4C Health Human Services Scholarship program will provide $1,000 in funding for the school years of 2023-24 and 2024-25. Application is made through the Ivy Tech scholarship application process and preference will be given to students who complete a student experience/practicum with 4C Health.
Kelly Karickhoff, executive director of resource development for Ivy Tech Kokomo, said scholarship funding donated by Ivy Tech’s community partners provides critical support for students, noting the scholarship funding by 4C Health fits right into Ivy Tech’s commitment to prepare students to help meet the needs of our communities.
“Ivy Tech works hard to keep tuition and related costs as low as possible for our students,” Karickhoff said. “A scholarship of several hundred dollars can be all that’s needed to allow a student with family and financial challenges to achieve success.”
For more information on scholarship funding opportunities at Ivy Tech, contact Karickhoff at firstname.lastname@example.org or 765-252-5501.
Free tickets available to enjoy festive decorations from 4 to 8 p.m.
KOKOMO, Ind. – Ivy Tech Community College will be sharing holiday greetings Dec. 2 when students, faculty, and staff welcome the community to the festively decorated Seiberling Mansion. The mansion, at 1200 W. Sycamore St., will be open to the public without charge from 4 to 8 p.m., courtesy of Ivy Tech. Free tickets for the evening are available on line at howardcountymuseum.org.
With nearly two dozen areas of the Seiberling Mansion decked out for a proper Victorian holiday this year, Ivy Tech’s display in the second-floor foyer salutes the theme “Symbols of Christmas.” The area features trees filled with representations of Santa Claus – and Santa himself will be on hand to greet guests.
“Students, alumni, faculty, staff – and the whole community – are invited to join us for this holiday treat,” said Ivy Tech Chancellor Ethan Heicher. “Ivy Tech is proud to serve annually as one of the sponsors for free community nights at the museum, a great holiday tradition here in Kokomo.”
While there is no charge to visit Friday, guests should go to the HCHS website to get timed tickets for entry. For more information about the Howard County Historical Society’s “Christmas at the Seiberling,” which runs through Dec. 30, contact the society at 765-452-4314 or go to howardcountyhistory.org .
Ivy Tech associate degree served as foundation for rise in the industry
Bodie Kitchel can’t say enough about the value of his Ivy Tech Community College degree, and neither can his dad, but it wasn’t always that way.
Bodie comes from a family big on education – more specifically Purdue University education. HisBograndfather, Bob Kitchel, and father, Jon Kitchel, both were known for their basketball skills as students there; his uncle, Kelly Kitchel, played football there and continued as a Purdue sports commentator. The black-and-gold runs deep in these Boilermakers.
But, Bodie says, “I kinda hated school” and when he graduated from Lewis Cass High School in 2009, he announced he wasn’t going to the big school in West Lafayette right away. He convinced his dad the Ivy Tech Pathway to Purdue Agriculture program would be his best option. Bodie was going to pursue a two-year degree in Agriculture at Ivy Tech with plans to transfer later to prepare to join the family’s farming operation on 1,200 acres in Cass County.
Bodie did go straight into classes at Ivy Tech Kokomo. He was taking a fulltime load of 15 credit hours a semester and working fulltime at what was then Brodbeck Seeds in Wabash. In February of 2011, just before completing that two-year degree, he married his high school sweetheart, Natalie. Fulltime classes, fulltime job, new marriage… He announced he was done with school.
His father was sure Bodie was limiting his options in life, that he’d never achieve his life’s goals. At the time, who would have predicted that in less than 10 years, his son would be the national director of agronomy for BW Fusion, the premier distributor of Biodyne biological products, and part of the cutting-edge technology team that is applying their understanding of plant physiology, soil chemistry and crop nutrition responses to help farmers across the nation set new production records.
Bodie’s experience at Ivy Tech changed his father’s mind.
“Bodie received several scholarships at Ivy Tech, making his associate degree very affordable,” Jon Kitchel said. “While at Ivy Tech, he successfully completed an internship, and, at graduation, he had several offers for employment.”
And then Bodie ran that Ivy Tech associate degree. He says the key was taking advantage of opportunities to advance his career as they came along, each stop helping him figure out his passions as he went. Through a quick succession of employers in the agricultural industry, he says, “every change I made was an advancement in my career, the next logical step, which led me to where I am today.” And every “next step” in jobs selling seeds, chemicals, and fertilizers helped him realize agronomy was where he could make his mark.
“Looking back,” his father says, “I know success is based on your passion and Agriculture and Agronomy have always been Bodie’s passion. Today Bodie is very successful and works for a company that is changing agriculture.”
As national director of agronomy for BW Fusion, Bodie is involved in research into new nutrient management products for a wide variety of crops – from corn and soybeans to peanuts and cherry trees – on farms across the United States and into Canada. He finds himself working with people in comparable roles at other companies who have master’s degrees and doctorates.
“I came out of Ivy Tech with a two-year degree and two years of fulltime working experience,” Bodie says. “People gave me a chance based on that. It’s easy to place so much emphasis on the ‘paper’ but they looked past that and gave me the opportunity.”
Bodie believes the industry is seeing a paradigm shift in what employers value in an employee.
“In the last generation, it was the degree – and where it was from a benefit,” Bodie says. “Now employers are looking for traits in people rather than a piece of paper.”
Now, Bodie says, his father is Ivy Tech greatest cheerleader.
“Bodie’s experience was my introduction to Ivy Tech and it changed my opinion about higher education, Jon says. “Due to his success, my daughter Laramie followed his path and got her Ag degree from Ivy Tech too.
“I share the value of Ivy Tech any time I get a chance,” he continued. “Annually I invite Denver Muhs, an adjunct faculty member in Ivy Tech’s Ag program, to bring his students out to our family farm and I share with those students the success they can have with an Ivy Tech degree.”
Bodie’s job takes him around the country – in person and via BW Fusion’s “Digging In” video series on YouTube, where he shares crop production insights with a broad audience. But his heart remains in Cass County – on the family farm where he can occasionally jump on a tractor and do some work and with Natalie and their three children, 5-year-old Oaklyn, 3-year-old Beckham, and 1-year-old Mila Jade.
“I’m doing what I love, walking the fields and doing agronomy,” Bodie says. His advice for students today? “Find something you’re passionate about and then don’t make the mistake of racking up thousands of dollars in debt at a four-year school. Ivy Tech offers an affordable degree that allows you to mature as an individual and figure out what you want to do and where you want to be.”
Prospective students can learn about options Ivy Tech offers
KOKOMO, Ind. – Prospective students interested in a career in everything between agribusiness to food science to traditional farming can learn about the many options offered by the Agriculture program at Ivy Tech Community College during the next “Tuesday@TheTech” open house at Ivy Tech’s Kokomo Campus.
This is one of a series of monthly events aimed at sharing Ivy Tech’s high-tech facilities and broad range of programming in Kokomo with prospective students of all ages. This event is set for 6 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 29, at the campus at 1815 E. Morgan St. The program will begin in the Health Professions Center.
“This is a great opportunity to learn more about Agriculture at Ivy Tech and its two associate degree pathways – one for transferring to a four-year university and one to be workforce ready,”” said Lisa Paxton, Agriculture program chair for Ivy Tech’s Kokomo Service Area. “It’s also a chance to meet with Ivy Tech enrollment specialists who can offer one-on-one support so you can get ready to begin your college education when the next session of classes begins Jan. 17.”
The event will cover programs offered at the College’s Kokomo, Logansport and Peru sites, all part of the College’s Kokomo Service Area that includes Cass, Fulton, Howard, Miami, Pulaski and Tipton counties.
‘Confidence gained at community college helped spur achievements
KOKOMO, Ind. — Sometimes life takes a lot of turns before you finally get to that long, straight road to success. That was the case for Ivy Tech alumnus James Berry.
James is the president of Berry It and owner of BerryComm, both Kokomo-based businesses. Combined, their offices have 150 employees and a subcontractor base of another 250 or so. But it wasn’t always that way.
After graduating from Logansport High School in 1995, James took off for a year and worked different jobs. Then came a couple of years working with his dad at Jim’s Auto Sales, where his love for sales was brought to light. In time, he found himself back at square one in the game of life.
A former co-worker told James about good jobs in the “drop bury” business, burying cables and fiber optic connections underground between houses and the street. James bounced around, working for several different companies as a subcontractor. In the meantime, he and his wife, Jamie, had decided to go back to Ivy Tech Kokomo – James in Industrial Technology and Jamie in the Licensed Practical Nursing program. Both graduated in 2002.
For James, he said, the return to school came after the realization that he really needed to do something with his life.
“I’ve always used my hands a lot so the Ivy Tech tool-and-die program was fun for me,” he said. “I was very proud of my degree. I got straight As; I was in Phi Theta Kappa (the national academic honor society for community colleges).”
James decided he wanted to take his skilled trade degree to Caterpillar in Lafayette. He got hired but the week he was to start began with a big layoff and the job disappeared.
“That ended up being a good thing. I started buckling down,” he said.
“I thought – I can go out and make my own pay with what I was doing as a subcontractor. I’m a ditchdigger and what’s wrong with that? There is really good money in dirt,” he added with a laugh. “I was groomed to go to college, but I believe you need to understand there are other opportunities out there to make your own future.”
And make his own future he has. In 2004, he incorporated Berry It, a play on his last name and one that aptly describes the company’s main business. With his last name, he joked, “It was either that or make jelly,” Little by little the company grew, weathering economic slowdowns and employment decisions by big companies they worked for, and expanded into waterline installation, aerial construction, fiber splicing, engineering design, vacuum excavation, and geothermal loops. Today, there are Berry It offices in Kokomo, Lafayette, and Indianapolis and a fourth is opening soon in Fort Wayne.
At various times, his four brothers have worked with the company. Wife Jamie left nursing to raise their four children and then joined the company as well, credited with putting together the policy structure and running the Human Resources side of the business. James said the Berry It team, which now includes the executive directors, is the secret to success, “by finding the right people and putting them in the right seats and allowing them to do their jobs.” He added, “Great employees are the heartbeat of the company.”
Since 2015, sister company BerryComm has been in the business of providing internet services along with the fiber optic networks constructed by Berry It. BerryComm now provides fiber optic internet services to the communities of Walton, Royal Center, Lincoln and Galveston, as well as Lewis Cass Schools, and has expanded into Cicero and Howard County. The company was recently awarded a contract to build a 55-mile fiber ring around Howard County that will provide fiber optic internet to residential and business customers as well as Howard County schools.
“Rural internet service was my heart’s passion before it became the big issue it is now,” James said. “We are transforming lives one community at a time.” And that includes getting involved in local charities that have the same goal.
If it sounds like a mission, that’s because it is. “I had been trying to find that kingdom-minded purpose,” James said, describing putting his faith into action. “I have been blessed in life and I want to support anything that is good in helping people.”
He says that even though he didn’t pursue the career path promised by his Ivy Tech degree, he has continued to use the knowledge gained at the community college, whether it’s creating an Excel spreadsheet or outlining a business plan.
“My accomplishments at Ivy Tech were more a question of self-worth,” he said. “It boosted my confidence. It wasn’t the industry I ended up working in life, but it helped me learn it’s important to like what you do, and I love what I do.” And today his businesses employ a number of fellow Ivy Tech graduates.
James and Jamie’s family has grown to include Adrean, husband Cash and their 2-year-old son and new baby; 20-year-old Kyen, a student at Indiana University Kokomo; 17-year-old Koen, a senior at Northwestern High School where he plays basketball and baseball; and 15-year-old Kolten, a sophomore at Northwestern High School where he plays baseball. In his spare time, James says, he’s always ready for a round of golf.
Event offers free help for filing FAFSA for financial aid
KOKOMO, Ind. — Financial aid professionals will be volunteering at Ivy Tech Community College’s Logansport location and 38 other sites in Indiana for College Goal Sunday, an event designed to help college-bound students and their families open the door to financial aid. The event is set for 2 to 4 p.m. on Nov. 6 on the campus at 1 Ivy Tech Way in Logansport.
Interpreters will be available to provide translations for Spanish-speaking participants. Indiana University Kokomo is also serving as a College Goal Sunday site on its campus at 2300 S. Washington St. in Kokomo.
The free program assists Indiana students in filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA form is required for students to be considered for federal and state grants, scholarships and student loans at most colleges, universities and vocational/technical schools nationwide. The FAFSA must be filed by April 15 for the student to be eligible for Indiana financial aid.
“Ivy Tech’s representative for Indiana’s 21st Century Scholars program will be on hand at the Logansport site to aid students signed up for this program,” said Rachel McHenry, director of Financial Aid for Ivy Tech’s Kokomo Service Area. 21st Century Scholars are income-eligible students who sign a contract in the seventh or eighth grade to meet certain requirements, including applying for college financial aid. Those who meet all the requirements receive state funds to help cover their college tuition and fees for up to eight semesters at eligible Indiana public colleges or an equal dollar amount at eligible Indiana private colleges.
The importance of submitting the FAFSA can’t be overstated and many students and their families can benefit from attending College Goal Sunday.
“Indiana is first in the Midwest and fifth in the nation in providing need-based financial aid to Hoosier students,” Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Chris Lowry said. “But students must file the FAFSA to claim those funds, which go a long way in making the cost of college manageable for students and families.”
Students should attend College Goal Sunday with their parent(s) or guardian(s) who should bring completed 2021 IRS 1040 tax returns, W-2 Forms and other 2021 income and benefits information. Students who worked should bring their income information as well. Students 24 years of age or older may attend alone and bring their own completed 2021 IRS 1040 tax return, W-2 Form or other 2021 income and benefits information. Students and parents are encouraged to apply for their U.S. Department of Education FSA IDs at studentaid.gov before coming to the event.
Volunteers will walk through the online form line-by-line and answer families’ individual questions as needed. More information and a complete list of sites is available at CollegeGoalSunday.org.
Students may also win one of five $1,000 scholarships. Students who attend College Goal Sunday and submit a completed evaluation form will automatically be entered in a drawing for a $1,000 scholarship. The winners will be notified in the spring and scholarships will be sent directly to the higher education institution selected by the winning students.