Tag : division-of-communication

post image

Multiplying Good with Generous Coffee

By: Dezaray Barr

Maddie Short

On most Monday nights, you can walk into any girls dorm on Indiana Wesleyan University’s (IWU) campus and find a pod of young women giggling at the TV or scrolling through their phone during commercials.

What’s so special about Monday nights? The Bachelor or The Bachelorette, of course!

While IWU students may follow these Bachelor celebrities on Instagram and watch them from the cozy lobbies of their dorms, Maddie Short, an IWU alum, gets to work with these very people every day.

Short graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) in 2017 with a degree in strategic communications from the IWU Division of Communication & Theatre.

Luckily, IWU connections never fade, even after graduation.

Short said, “In January, a fellow colleague direct messaged me an Instagram post about an organization that needed a videographer to go on a trip in a couple of weeks. I was on a break at work when she sent me the post, and only had 15 minutes, so I figured, what the heck, and emailed them my website link. A couple days later I received an email telling me I had moved on in the selection process for the trip!”

Short continued, “I ended up getting the position to go on the trip to Honduras and went down a couple of weeks later to do video for both Humanity and Hope United and Generous Coffee. My experience on the trip caused me to come back with a heart to serve. I offered up my time for volunteering, and one thing led to another.”

Ben Higgins, a previous contestant on The Bachelor franchise, is the Founder and President of Generous Coffee.

He ended up offering Short a job as the first employee of Generous Coffee — which she was not expecting at all!

She said, “I quit all my other jobs to work full-time for them.”

Generous Coffee is a for-purpose business that aims to make the world better with every business decision. They do this by selling products that are designed specifically to create and multiply good in the world.

Although Generous Coffee is best known for their specialty grade coffee, they also sell shirts, bracelets and necklaces. They then invest 100% of their profits back into non-profits and other social causes.

Whether it is creating jobs for parents, feeding children or improving education, Generous Coffee wants to create a world we all want to live in, because they believe in the unique value of every human being. The Humanity and Hope United Foundation fits into this, because right now they are the main beneficiary of Generous Coffee, where all the profits go back to.

Ben Higgins and Maddie Short

Short explained that this position working with such influential people wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for her education at IWU.

“I found out later that there were over 350 people who applied to do video/photo on the trip,” Short said. “One of the reasons I was considered for the trip that led me to my current job, was because I had an actual website with actual work on it. I would not have had that website if it wasn’t for my senior communication seminar class with Dr. Mark Perry.”

There is one more thing Short would like to add, and she hopes every current and future IWU student reads this. “When I graduated, I had someone say to me, ‘How does it feel that you just completed the best four years of your life?’ And it was such a weird question to be asked. I didn’t understand why they assumed upon graduating, that everything I had experienced over the last four years at IWU wouldn’t amount to anything, or suddenly because I am not tangibly at a place, that I can no longer experience my ‘best days.’ They were wrong. I think each day from here on out is considered my best day. It is one day more that I meet new people. One day more where I learn something new. One day more that I have an opportunity to serve. One day more that I have the chance to impact and be impacted. So, to all the seniors out there – It is what you make of it. And it is up to you to find the hope in the biggest setbacks and it is up to you to find the joy in the smallest of victories.”

 

Written by Dezaray Barr, PR Specialist for the IWU Alumni Office. Dezaray is a senior Strategic Communication, Journalism and Honors Humanities triple major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College. Visit Dez’s website at www.dezaraybarr.weebly.com.

post image

Freelancer Peter Mercer

By: Dezaray Barr

Peter Mercer and those he graduated with from the Division of Communication & Theatre

Peter Mercer graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) in 2017 with a degree in media communication. “I visited IWU in the fall of my senior year of high school. After about an hour on campus, it began to feel like home,” Mercer said. “I liked the people, the campus was beautiful and I liked all the professors. I walked away from that weekend knowing that IWU is where I wanted to be.”

Mercer said, “My time as a student at IWU pushed me in a lot of different ways, and a lot of my classes in the Division of Communication & Theater gave me a lot of incredible experiences and really helped me decide what I wanted to do after I graduate. For example, up until I took a class called Studio Production my sophomore year, I was dead set on sports broadcasting, but I realized that I absolutely loved the whole production process and it really opened me up to the idea of heading into the film/TV side of production.”

IWU really helped Mercer make his faith his own, and his roommates always push him to seek God.

After graduation, Mercer returned home to Pittsburgh and entered the workforce as a Freelancer, which he continues to do today. “I have done a variety of different things and have traveled throughout the east coast since,” Mercer said. “I have had my hands involved in movies, TV shows, sports, music videos, competitions and a few weddings. I do something different every week, and that is one of the things I like most about freelancing.”

If Mercer could say one thing to current IWU students, he’d encourage them to get involved in their division at IWU. “I made some really close friends in the Division of Communication and Theatre and had really incredible experiences with WIWU TV51 and 94.3 The Fortress. The division is filled with amazing people and professors, you definitely do not want to miss out on getting to know any of them,” he said.

 

 

Written by Dezaray Barr, PR Specialist for the Alumni Office. Dezaray is a senior Strategic Communication, Journalism and Honors Humanities triple major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College. Visit Dez’s website at www.dezaraybarr.weebly.com.

post image

IWU Professor & Alum Amy Smelser

By: Dezaray Barr

Professor Smelser and her family

Professor Amy Smelser graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) with a double major in English and writing in 1997. She said, “IWU offered me the best financial package, it was close to home and I trusted the school’s biblical foundation.”

During her time as an IWU student, Smelser worked three part-time jobs. She worked the stock room in the campus bookstore, she was the editor of the campus paper and she was a respiratory therapy tech at two nursing homes. On top of these jobs, she took 16-18 credit hours every semester, participated in University Singers, was a member of the New Student Orientation planning team and wrote for College Wesleyan Church’s drama ministry (which included FNL). She also said, “I think I might have also modeled clothes for one of the first telesales… I was busy and focused on my classes, but I found other ways to be involved on campus.”

When she arrived at the university, she thought she knew everything about the Bible, but her mentors (Dr. Mary Brown, Alan Miller, Dr. Marj Elder, Melissa Schermer, Rob Thompson and Dr. Todd Voss) at IWU taught her how to apply that knowledge and live her faith. “I made mistakes, for sure,” Smelser said “but they helped me see that mistakes don’t have to define me. God can use anyone who is willing to be used by him.”

Now, Smelser is a journalism professor at IWU in the Division of Communication & Theatre. She advises IWU’s two online campus publications: The Sojourn and GrantCOnnected.net. She shared, “I try not to be jealous of the amazing newsroom The Sojourn and GrantCOnnected.net have compared to the closet newsroom we had back in my day.”

Prior to teaching at IWU, Smelser taught journalism at Taylor University for three years.

Her time at IWU and the education it provided her changed how she saw journalism. “Without the education I received, I would not enjoy writing. I would not enjoy editing. (I mean, who would?),” Smelser said. “Helping someone else find potential and watching them grow through challenges is fun. Heartbreaking at times, but truly a joy. I learned how to do that by being mentored, accepting instruction and choosing to learn. I owe much of that to my undergrad professors.”

Professor Smelser and Division Chair, Dr. Greg Fiebig, with their students on a field trip to the Indiana State House

She said with that smile that in her career she prays a lot. She explained, “My goal is to help students see that no matter their chosen career path, they are ministers of the gospel. God uses everything. Having a master’s in Christian leadership has helped me guide students to find their potential.”

Smelser now lives on a farm with her husband and five children, 28 chickens, one dog and one cat (they think – cats show up randomly). She has a master’s degree in Christian leadership and just finished a thesis to earn her master’s in journalism. Currently, she serves on the board of Kinwell Academy, a school located in Marion that serves high school students who just need someone to believe in them.

Students at IWU love Professor Smelser! Here are just a few of things her students shared about her: “I love her mentor-ship, guidance and real-world expectations.” “She’s helped make my dreams of being a true, Christian journalist come true.” “When I feel as if I can’t be a Christian and a journalist at the same time, Prof Smelser reminds me that with God, I can do just that… and I can do it well.”

 

 

Written by Dezaray Barr, PR Specialist for the Alumni Office. Dezaray is a senior Strategic Communication, Journalism and Honors Humanities triple major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College. Visit Dez’s website at www.dezaraybarr.weebly.com.

post image

World Hope International: Lindsey Smart

By: Dezaray Barr

Lindsey Smart

Lindsey Smart graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) with a bachelor’s degree in Convergent Journalism and a minor in Intercultural Studies in 2013. “I wanted a Christian campus outside of the state I went to high school in,” Smart said, “and IWU offered great scholarships. I thought the campus was pretty when I visited.”

Smart’s time at IWU was full of fun. “I met great people, and I’m still friends with them today. I liked the smallness of the campus, so aside from Mexican Food Weekends, we’d just stay on campus and watch movies or stay up late in Elder Hall. I met friends in my freshman dorm and have remained friends with them, and I got along well with my communications department peers,” Smart said. She said that during the week, chapel helped her grow spiritually during her time at IWU.

Now, Smart is the Development Coordinator at World Hope International in the Washington D.C. area. “For this job specifically, it helped to have the Wesleyan connection, as its founder is Jo Anne Lyon,” Smart shared. “If I didn’t go to IWU, I don’t believe I would have gotten this job. Furthermore, the Intercultural Studies focus at school encouraged me to go into a non-profit that works overseas.”

Some fun facts about Smart are that she was born in Brazil, she’s played with penguins and her favorite movie is Jurassic Park. She’d encourage IWU students, “Network and choose internships wisely. And enjoy the friends you make.”

 

 

Written by Dezaray Barr, PR Specialist for the Alumni Office. Dezaray is a junior Strategic Communication, Journalism and Honors Humanities triple major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College. Visit Dez’s website at www.dezaraybarr.weebly.com.