Tag : iwu

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Two Degrees, One University: Jon-Marc Ream

By: Dezaray Barr

 

Jon-Marc Ream has obtained two bachelor’s degrees from Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) but in two different years.

Jon-Marc Ream and his twin brother, Grant

 

He received his first bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science in 2014 and his second in 2016 in Nursing.

“I first was introduced to Indiana Wesleyan by my twin brother, Grant, who also attended IWU,” Ream said. “Shortly after, I was recruited for the baseball team, but unfortunately was not able to keep playing due to injuries in high school. I stayed at IWU and still believe God brought me there.”

 

As a student, Ream loved being on campus, and he loved developing friendships with fellow Wildcats.

“I still hold many friendships to this day, and was able to meet an amazing woman whom I will share the rest of my life with,” he said.

Ream met his wife, Chloe, while attending IWU. Fun fact: Chloe is also a twin, and her twin also attended IWU!

Ream and his wife, Chloe

Before attending IWU, Ream didn’t have an intimate relationship with God.

Through friends, professors, and other relationships, he was encouraged to learn more about the Lord.

“Most importantly, I was able to see a God who was not judgmental, but loving and positive,” Ream said. “I would not be who I am without the relationships I gained at IWU. I’m very grateful.”

He is now an operating room nurse in Elkhart, Indiana.

Ream believes that IWU helped lay a foundation for him to be a light in a dark world.

“Especially in healthcare, I run into patients and families that are in a very sad place,” Ream said. “I have been given opportunities to show some goodness in the dark places.”

As  nurse, Ream is able to pray for patients when needed, share hope for families when they have none, and he ultimately can be kind to some who feel as if they have lost everything.

It’s true that Ream earned two degrees at IWU, but he left with so much more. He left with a wife, an education, and, most importantly, a newfound, intimate relationship with the creator of the universe.

 

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.

 

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An IWU Legacy: 2018 School Counselor of the Year – Lauren Alspaugh

By: Kendra Housel

Lauren Alspaugh and her husband Shawn have already begun talking with their three children, all below the age of seven, about college; specifically, they both have begun attempting to recruit the children to attend their alma mater.

For Lauren, that means talking with them about, Indiana Wesleyan University, where she earned both her bachelor’s and her master’s degrees. There are high stakes in this early recruitment operation, since Shawn attended Taylor University. Not only that, but his entire family—brother, parents, grandparents—all went to Taylor as well. Lauren likes to remind them, however, that Shawn’s other grandmother married Arthur Hodson, the namesake of IWU’s Hodson hall—so while Taylor attendance may run in the family, they also have a child whose middle name— “Hodson”—is on one of IWU’s residential halls. She’s confident that she’ll get her children to take her side—but at the very least, she hopes they choose a Christian university and is thankful for the legacy of Christian education in her family.

After completing her bachelors in three years and graduating with her degree in psychology in 2007, she continued on and got her master’s in counseling in 2009. Though she is originally from southern Indiana, she had not heard of IWU until a couple girls from her youth group, whose faith and academic merit she admired, chose to attend. After their attendance peaked an interest, Alspaugh decided to come on a campus visit for herself. She says that she now often tells young people trying to discern where they’ll go to college that “a visit makes all the difference;” she stepped on IWU’s campus and know that it was exactly where she belonged.

Her time at IWU was spent encouraging others, which she said is one of her spiritual gifts; she was the official encourager for her resident’s hall. She spent much of her time studying, since she did have a twenty-one-credit-hour semester at one point in order to finish her undergraduate degree in three years, but she found time for lots of other things as well. She loved making lasting friendships, with most peers and professors. She was also involved in the psychology honors society and worked in the student support center (which is now called the Center for Student Success). Through both the class curriculum, which allowed her to grow in her personal study of the bible, and through chapel services, she said her faith grew significantly during her time at IWU. Specifically, her prayer life changed quite a lot, because she grew to value it more and understand the importance of it. One of her years, the chapel also gave every student a one-year-bible which she still uses every couple of years to help her keep up a daily habit of being in the Word. Alspaugh says that her time at IWU was so wonderful that she has a dream of returning to work at the school someday.

Currently, Alspaugh works for North Putman High School in Roachdale, Indiana as the Director of Guidance. She primarily serves the 11th and 12th grade students, in academic, social, and emotional situations. Much of her job, since she works most closely with upper classmen, centers on helping students with their post-secondary plans. She came into college predeclared in her major, which she encourages her students to do as well, especially those who are unsure about what they want in the future. She was awarded the school counselor of the year award in November of 2018 which Alspaugh said was both and honor and a surprise. She loves the supportive community of peers and administrators who always encourage her to try out new solutions and programs, to meet the needs of each unique situation her students face. Alspaugh said that graduation is always an incredibly emotional and impactful time, seeing her students finally reach a goal, especially those who “fought tooth and nail to get to that day.” Though NPHS is a public school, she spends much of her time praying silently for her students, who she loves deeply. She always takes comfort in the fact that, though some days can be incredibly difficult as a counselor, that she has a Wonderful Counselor in Jesus Christ who she can run to.

Alspaugh would like to pass on these words of wisdom to current students: “For perfectionistic students, get involved and have fun because the friendships with your professors and your fellow students are something that can last so long— don’t just hide away in your rooms—get involved and put yourself out there—savor every moment—have fun with your dorm and build relationships.”

 

Written by Kendra Housel, writer for the IWU Alumni Center. Kendra is a junior English and Honors Humanities double major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College. She is also a member of the University Chorale. Kendra is passionate about serving Christ through writing, singing and caring for others.

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A Spotlight Day was all it Took: Chloe Tatom

By: Kendra Housel

Chloe Tatom

When junior nursing major Chloe Tatom began her college search, she was not looking at Indiana Wesleyan University. IWU was the school she saw simply as her father’s alma mater, where he had gotten his bachelors through the adult program some years prior.

Tatom was looking into a number of other schools when someone came to her high school and gave a short talk about the opportunities at IWU. It was then that she decided to come to the spotlight on nursing day, and that was all it took.

Tatom described the feeling of just “fitting” on the campus, that her visit solidified a confidence in her that this was the place she was supposed to be.

She enrolled in the nursing program, chose a minor in Spanish and moved onto the residential campus in the fall of 2016 to begin her time as an undergraduate student.

Tatom said that her time at the university has been wonderful and full of involvement. The first thing she mentioned appreciating about the school is how invested and caring her professors are. She has loved learning from and with them, and she expressed that the classes she has taken are invaluable in preparing her for her future.

Along with her academic pursuits, Tatom has committed much of her time here to serving the community, both on and off campus.

During her Freshman year, she got involved in the Student Government Association (SGA) and fell in love with the way the group becomes a family. Tatom found SGA to be a tangible way that she could express her love for the larger community of IWU. She had always been involved in student council during her high school years, so it was a natural next step for her in coming to college. The fact that she could participate in SGA and receive a paycheck was only a bonus for her.

The longer she has been involved the more she has truly felt that this has been where God wants her at this point in life, serving her fellow students.

Now, she is currently on the board as the SGA president. One of her biggest goals for the year is to communicate to the broader student body that SGA is there for their benefit, to help and listen to them.

Chloe Tatom and Wesley the Wildcat.

She has spearheaded this initiative by putting up a booth in the mall way on Thursdays, sending out an increased number of surveys to get everyone’s feedback on different events and ideas, and by creating question and concern papers so students can voice their unique opinions.

Along with her outreach to the students, Tatom meets frequently with the administration, including the board of trustees and the president of IWU, Dr. Wright. She serves in these situations as the voice of the student body.

Along with SGA, Tatom also serves off-campus in many avenues. She was a part of a tutoring program at Frances Slocum Elementary School, which is set up to help students whose first language is not English. She spends lots of time working on student’s literacy skills and reading to and with them. She also serves dinners on Wednesday nights at the local rescue mission.

Through the nursing program, she has been fortunate to be involved in many study groups and will get to serve alongside her church on a medical mission trip this March in Mexico.

As she has prayed and thought through possible options to pursue when she graduates, Tatom has been most drawn to pediatric nursing, since working with children is something that she is passionate about. She hopes to work out-of-state in a larger hospital to develop her skill set more intensely, ideally in a children’s hospital. She sees children’s hospitals as a preferable environment, because of the way they are especially geared towards the holistic wellbeing of the child, counting in valuable things like play, comfort, and excitement, along with medical treatment.

Later in life, Tatom hopes to pursue private practice, but not for some time. For now, she is soaking in her last year and a half at IWU, doing the best she can to serve her community, and remaining thankful for the ways God has opened doors for her to get a wonderful education in such a loving environment.

 

 

Written by Kendra Housel, writer for the IWU Alumni Center. Kendra is a junior English and Honors Humanities double major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College. She is also a member of the University Chorale. Kendra is passionate about serving Christ through writing, singing and caring for others.

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Thanks to Fusion, He Only Filled Out One Application: Zach McConnell

By: Kendra Housel

Zach McConnell (featuring an IWU shirt)

Most seniors in high school spend months and months hunched over their computer, filling out application after application, writing essay upon essay about how something less-than-inspiring completely changed their lives, hoping to get accepted to a university.

It is an exhausting, often painstaking process filled with lots of uncertainty and often anxiety.

While this scene is very familiar to Zach McConnell, it is more reminiscent of the fact that he has applied to be on the television show Survivor for the past fifteen seasons.

No, McConnell’s college search was much simpler.

This youth pastor did something that he says that he would never advise his students to do. After a rather apathetic time of searching around for possible colleges to attend, with the encouragement of his youth pastor and a memory of an amazing time he had at Fusion (an IWU hosted high school conference), McConnell applied to just one college: Indiana Wesleyan University.

Of the decision to approach college with such confidence and optimism, McConnell said, “I was captivated and wowed by the campus and the environment. In 2007, God had called me to ministry, but I didn’t necessarily know where to go.”

“I only applied to IWU, because my youth pastor suggested I go, and I had really liked Fusion,” he explained. “But looking back, despite my apathy of searching for universities, I knew the Holy Spirit was leading the way … I don’t advise my students to just submit one application and ‘hope for the best’ just because of one youth conference. Terrible idea. But God knew what was happening.”

The time that followed this step of faith is what McConnell describes as “life-changing.”

His time at IWU was marked by a transformation of his heart, attitude and perspective. Much of that was due to the community that McConnell found one that continues to love and support him today.

“Every year continued to be a year of growth while attending IWU, ” McConnell said. “I found amazing accountability partners that I still connect with today. I have amazing ‘summit’ moments where I am reminded that I am uniquely and wonderfully made in the image of God.”

“I cannot express this any louder – I am so thankful for my time at Bowman Hall. The biggest piece of the puzzle I learned is that I am a Man of God, because He has created me in His image. I’m so thankful for the principles of Bowman and the people I was surrounded with while there,” McConnell said.

McConnell also found another relational blessing while studying at IWU.

As he pursued his degree in Youth Ministry, he also pursued his wife, Amanda. The pair graduated together in 2012 and are getting ready to welcome their first child this December.

McConnell and his wife, Amanda, at their graduation from IWU.

Currently, McConnell and his wife both serve in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, at Linwood Church, where he is the NextGen Pastor and she is the Children’s Director.

McConnell rejoices in the opportunity to serve alongside his wife and lead his students to a more fruitful and authentic relationship with Christ through celebration, service and discipline.

In reflecting on his time at IWU, McConnell feels that he learned much about ministry, while also being affirmed that it was truly what he was called to do.

He said that he truly appreciates that IWU is an academic university that makes spirituality a priority over academics.

With a great love for IWU and the Fusion conference, of which he served on the leadership team while a student, McConnell continues to bring his students to attend Fusion annually, all the way from South Dakota. This year will be his 11th Fusion.

 

Written by Kendra Housel, writer for the IWU Alumni Center. Kendra is a junior Education and Honors Humanities double major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College. She is also a member of the University Chorale. Kendra is passionate about serving Christ through writing, singing and caring for others.

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Pastor of the Week: John Bray

By: Dezaray Barr

 

john casual headshot

Rev. John Bray

Reverend John Bray (’72, Religion) is recognized as the “Pastor of the Week” this week. “Pastor of the Week” (PotW) is a renewed tradition honored by the Office of Alumni and Church Engagement which
appreciates local pastors for their service and faith.

 

Reflecting on his childhood, Bray said, “I am a lifetime Wesleyan. My dad was a pastor. I grew up in the inner city of Chicago. My dad was a trustee at the university and my brother and sister came here. There was no question that this university was in my future. There was nothing in me that said ‘I don’t want to go there.’”

 

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John preparing to receive an honorary degree with his brother, Don Bray.

Bray knew before attending college that he had a call to ministry; however, he ran from God and from the calling during his first few years at school. Being a pastor was not a job Bray envisioned himself doing and his first few years studying were not very spiritual. However, eventually Bray accepted the call and began doing well in school. He met his wife Patty Bray (’73), graduated from the college and immediately began pastoring at Heritage Wesleyan Church, which has since changed its name to Heritage Church.

 

John’s first few years as a pastor were not easy, “For the first seven years it was just slow going. I begged God to let me do something besides being a pastor.” Bray realized that although he had a nonconformist personality, he was pastoring Heritage Church within the limits of the congregation’s expectation. He took a step back, reevaluated and began pastoring in his own nonconformist, outgoing and funny leadership style he had longed for. Bray’s change altered his life and the life of the church. He began to develop a new passion for Heritage and for his congregation, which is something he had not experienced up to this time. The church grew from about 200 members when Bray began, to over 3,000 members when he left.

 

Bray left Heritage church in 2014, after spending 41 years pastoring the church; however, he continues to work closely with the church still today. It was not easy for Bray or his wife to leave the church they had spent so much of their lives at, but Bray knew it was time to let someone else take over.

 

Bray spent last year as the interim pastor at First Wesleyan Church of Battle Creek Michigan. Shortly after, Bray was asked to be the interim Dean of the Chapel at Indiana Wesleyan University. On March 1, Bray become the Dean of the Chapel, dropping the interim title and accepting the responsibility to stay on campus permanently and pastor to the students living on campus at Indiana Wesleyan University.

 

John preaching during chapel at IWU

John preaching during chapel at IWU

Bray is enjoying his new position and has great plans for the future, “Indiana Wesleyan is a great place with great students. It’s ironic that I’m dean of the chapel because I had trouble going to chapel. I realize that anything you do three days a week, no matter how well executed, can get a little boring. Some chapels will always be better than others, but I want to bring a new spirit of freshness and creativity to chapel. You can’t do it every chapel, but I would love to see one chapel a week surprise people with its creativity.”

 

When Bray was a student he never enjoyed chapel, and he believes that the goal of his job is to draw students’ attention, allowing them to have a better experience than he did. Bray has been in the seats that the students currently sit in. He knows how they feel, “It’s real easy for students to come in and sit down and open a book. I believe that it’s my job to get them to close the book. When I speak I’d love to do something in the first few minutes to have them want to pay attention. If it’s boring, I don’t care how sound the theology is, people quit paying attention. I want to be creative, practical and make it applicable for life.”

 

In 2007 Bray earned his Master’s degree in Leadership at Indiana Wesleyan University and last year received an honorary doctorate degree from the university. Revs. John and Patty Bray have two adult daughters: Heather Bray and Kari Jackson. They also have three beautiful grandchildren: Stella Jackson (7), Leo Jackson (3½) and Vivian Jackson (1).

 

Written by Dezaray Barr, Writer for the Alumni Office. Dezaray is a Freshman Strategic Communication and Honors Humanities double major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College. At IWU Dezaray is involved in PRSSA leadership and runs both the JWHC Blog and her own blog. Visit Dez’s blog and portfolio at www.dezaraybarr.weebly.com.

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Indiana Wesleyan Chorale to Tour Florida

Humblehoney

 

By: Katherine Arch

This Spring Break the Indiana Wesleyan University Chorale is excited to travel to Florida for their bi-annual tour. Led by Dr. Todd Guy, director of Indiana Wesleyan’s elite vocal performance group and supervising faculty for this trip, students will travel across Florida with the mission of spreading God’s love and sharing their musical talents. Leaving on March 5th, students will leave early from Marion, Indiana and later that day they will arrive in Brooksville, Florida for their first concert. During the nine-day trip, students will give concerts in seven locations, across the state. Students will sing at schools and in churches, ministering to people through song and also providing increased visibility for the music department.

Students will be making their first stop at Brooksville Wesleyan Church in Brooksville, Florida, a community that is home to many Wesleyan Pastors and Indiana Wesleyan Alumni. Members of this church will serve as host families for students as they travel. Faculty and students hope to see this as a community-building experience between churches and members of the chorale.

“Obviously the group’s primary goal is to glorify God through these performances,” stated Krista Brown, Coordinator of Alumni and Church Relations. “Additionally, students will bond with each other and members of the church community.” Brown mentioned that for many of the students, this is the highlight of their year in Chorale. Students and faculty work towards this tour all year, it is a time for student to anticipate and enjoy. In preparation for this trip, students practice extensively and work at fundraising to help cover the costs.

Looking forward to the trip, Brown shares the sentiment of many that this will be a special time.

“It’s amazing to see how students grow through this time,” mentioned Brown, “The group that comes back is often changed; they draw closer and learn from each other and from this experience. I am so excited for this group and the experience they will have.”

For complete tour schedule – Click Here.