Tag : journalism

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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.

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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.

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Lauren Carpenter: HVAF of Indiana

By: Dezaray Barr

Lauren Carpenter

Lauren Carpenter graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University in 2017 with a bachelors degree in Convergent Journalism. Carpenter always wanted to attend a Christian college. Her brother, Travis, was two years older than her. “When I was a freshman in high school and he was a junior, he was looking into going to Indiana Wesleyan,” Carpenter said. “I looked on the website and loved everything I saw. The first time I stepped on campus was the end of my sophomore year of high school for a visit, and instantly I knew this was the college I was supposed to attend.”

As a journalism student in the Division of Communication & Theatre, Carpenter spent most of her time in Elder Hall. “I was super involved with The Sojourn and 94.3 The Fortress,” Carpenter shared. “I was even on-the-air my first month of college! Many hours were spent on the air, out on campus or in the community interviewing people, leading story idea meetings and writing articles.”

“Whenever I look back on my time at IWU, I always think about all of the amazing opportunities I had with the journalism department,” Carpenter said. “I feel so blessed I was able to be the Editor of The Sojourn, travel to different states with my fellow classmates to attend journalism conferences, make lasting friendships with my fellow communication majors and write some incredible stories.”

Attending IWU was the beginning of Carpenter making her faith her own. She had grown up in a Christian home, so she said this journey was easier for her. “I remember my junior year, in one of Dr. Greg Fiebig’s classes, we were talking about beliefs. I remember after hearing people speak, that the reasons I had my certain beliefs were because of what I learned growing up. I realized they weren’t my own, so I spent time figuring out what exactly I believed in. IWU definitely taught me to think more about my faith and take it seriously,” she shared.

Carpenter and her TV News class in the Division of Communication & Theatre

After graduating in April of 2017, Carpenter spent five months as a reporter for a newspaper in  Martinsville, Indiana. Last summer, she realized that she wasn’t loving what she was doing. “I started a social media page for my reporting and thought about how much I loved doing that and wished I could more. Also, I wanted to feel like I was making a difference, and I didn’t feel that way with this job. About one week later, I went to dinner with my parents’ small group and I met Brian Copes, who was in my parent’s small group. He found out more about me and asked if I was looking for a job, and proceeded to hand me his business card,” Carpenter explained.

Copes is the President and CEO of HVAF, an organization that assists homeless at-risk veterans and their families, and they were looking to hire someone who would handle their social media and PR. “I thought it sounded like the perfect job for me,” Carpenter said with enthusiasm. “The next month, I had my interview and started in October!”

As the Advancement Coordinator for HVAF, Carpenter runs all of HVAF’s social media accounts, sends out press releases, make contacts with local media, attends networking events, creates a monthly newsletter, assists with fundraising and more. She said, “I make sure people know HVAF’s story and what all we are doing to serve our veterans.”



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.