Indiana Arthritis Foundation: Terri Miller

By: Dezaray Barr

Terri Miller at her graduation at IWU

Terri Miller graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and in 2015 with her MBA in accounting. Her father was a student at IWU. “His discussions of classes peaked my interest,” Miller said. “I figured that if he can attend school and manage his company, I could go back to school as well. Additionally, I was at a crossroads in my adult life as I was a recently divorced single mom that was working full-time. I wanted to go back to school to show my son that anything is possible.”

Miller’s time at IWU was exciting, she said. “I enjoyed the challenge of the classes and meeting new colleagues. My time at IWU also assisted me in managing my time as I worked full-time while a student.” Miller continued, “I also believe IWU enhanced my spirituality. I enjoyed the religious studies in my undergrad. I really liked how IWU incorporated spirituality into the studies, especially the business classes.”

Miller is now a compliance manager at OneAmerica. She has been employed with OneAmerica for over 15 years, including during her studies at IWU. “My time at IWU assisted me in my professional life in many ways,” Miller explained. “The group projects that I completed at IWU assisted me in working collaboratively with others. Additionally, by balancing full-time work and college, IWU enhanced my organizational and time management skills.”

Miller is also a member of Tri Kappa, and she is active in her community as well. She was the president of her son’s school’s PTO. She also has rheumatoid arthritis and is on the board of directors for the Indiana Arthritis Foundation. Last December she was the honoree for the Indianapolis Jingle Bell Run.

Terri Miller and her son

“Trying to complete school with a family and working full-time is challenging, but you can do it!” Miller encourages current and potential IWU students. “Keep working hard and communicate with your group members and faculty when you experience issues. They are there to help.”

The Arthritis Foundation is excited to announce that Terri Miller, OAS Compliance Manager at OneAmerica, has joined the Arthritis Foundation Leadership Board in Indiana.

“We are excited to have Terri join our board,” said Ashley Craig, Arthritis Foundation Executive Director. “She has a personal tie to arthritis. She will serve as our state advocacy chair.”

Miller has been involved with the Arthritis Foundation since 2015 and was an honoree for the Jingle Bell Run in 2017. In her new position, she will focus on advocacy efforts for Indiana. People with arthritis face unique barriers, including high costs of treatment, difficulty accessing medications and the scarcity of specialists. Miller will work with a group of more than 2,300 advocates in Indiana to share stories to legislators to make sure that those with arthritis have access to the best medicine, healthcare and research possible.

“Rheumatiod Arthritis (RA) may stink, but I am not going to let it bring me down,” Miller explained. “My hope is to turn the negativity of RA into a positive one through teaching, advocacy and philanthropy. I want to help others that have this disease and spread awareness for all arthritis conditions! We are not in this alone, and through the Arthritis Foundation, I can share my story and advocate for the arthritis community.”



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

Accounting Series: Marisa Cardona

By: Noelle Beans

Cardona and her family

Marisa Cardona graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) in 2002 with a masters degree in Science Management. She completed her undergraduate degree at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.

Prior to her time at IWU, Cardona served in the U.S. Army as a Military Police Officer, visitigv places such as Dubai and Burj Al Arab Jumeirah. Later, she started working for United Airlines in Indianapolis. She eventually wanted to develop her skills through a masters degree in Management in order to take on more of a leadership role at work. This led her to Indiana Wesleyan.

Marisa continued to work full-time for United Airlines as she pursued her masters. Being in classrooms at IWU full of individuals who were also working full-time from different fields was encouraging to her. She said, “I was able to experience different perspectives and opinions which [made] the classes more effective.” It was special to her to have this experience at Indiana Wesleyan, because God was always present in her educational growth. When it was difficult to balance work, life and study time, she was spiritually supported and driven by God, as well as her classmates.

Currently, Cardona is a Business Operations Manager for an engineering team at Cisco Systems, Inc. in San Jose, CA. She is primarily responsible for the organization’s resource and budget management, as well as managing several of their initiatives. Obtaining her masters degree from IWU gave her more credibility and confidence to apply to a variety of positions and more opportunities to move around in her company.

Through the years, Cardona has always tried to keep her relationship with God at the center. She said, “Through life’s ups and downs, no matter how things have gone, I’ve tried to keep Him center so I can navigate through difficulties and challenges – making better choices and being a better person.”

Cardona would encourage IWU students to make plans, but know they often will not go the way you planned. By letting God lead you in difficult times, the outcome will be just as rewarding and meaningful as you could have imagined… and in many cases, surprising.

Shortly after graduation, Marisa moved to California, still working for United Airlines. After a few years, she met her husband David Allen and began working at Cisco Systems, Inc. as a project manager working with partners and suppliers. Through her academic and spiritual education from IWU, she has risen to the leadership position she is in now. She and David currently reside in CA with their three-year-old son, Caden.



Written by Noelle Beans, a writer for the Alumni Center. Noelle is a freshman Nursing and Honors Humanities double major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College.

Master’s Degree in Management: George Middleton

By: Kendra Housel

George Middleton, photo obtained from Facebook

George Middleton is a 1987 graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University’s masters program, where he earned his M.S. in management. He had been working for American Electric Power in Fort Wayne, Indiana as a Human Resource professional, when he heard about their education assistance program. Through that, Middleton decided to pursue his graduate work at IWU. Through this adult learning program, he got to pursue higher education in an experience that Middleton said “put together like-minded and motivated people of exceptional talent and drive.”

Middleton felt that IWU was the perfect fit for him in pursuing his education, not only for the convenience, but because there was a priority in emphasizing spiritual growth, along with academic growth. As a Music Minister, he appreciated the way education was paired with a spirit of love, compassion and teamwork. Middleton currently works in the mental health field, dividing his time between his roles as an author, therapist and mentor.  He consistently fuses together his passions for music and psychology to create innovative therapy programs. His time at IWU, he feels, “set the tone for not being afraid to think above the ‘status quo,’ to be more focused more on [relevance] and effectiveness, and less on traditional ways for the sake of tradition only.” Also important to him is the way IWU prepared him to carry on a lifestyle of learning; a flexible mind is one of the most valuable things he developed during his graduate work.

His spiritual life is a large part of his career in the attitude he approaches everything with. He maintains an attitude of humility and empathy as he engages with his clients. Through the techniques he uses, Middleton directs the clients towards an ability to make their own effective and healthy life choices, which is the goal of therapy in and of itself. Middleton must put himself aside, and think always of the good of the client, which is a direct result of his spiritual walk. The most spiritually engaging portion of his work is the time he spends in racial healing. He presents many workshops which address racial beliefs from the lens of mental health. Through these talks, he raises awareness about the harmful behaviors and consequences one may inflict upon themselves and their community based upon their underlying belief systems about race.

Before pursuing his graduate work, Middleton spent lots of time in some very unique professions, including time as an over-the-road truck driver, a high-line transmission tower mechanic and a professional firefighter. His career as a firefighter ended when he was seriously injured, which actually resulted in him and his brother being featured in an issue of Life Magazine. He is also a skilled and versatile musician. Middleton has produced three jazz music projects, in smooth jazz, gospel jazz and holiday jazz. You can view his music at Finally, Middleton’s advice to current IWU students is this: “Do what you love so that you will love what you do.”



Written by Kendra Housel, writer for the Alumni Center. Kendra is a sophomore 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. She is passionate about serving Christ through writing, singing and caring for others.

James LaFlamme: Biopharma Global

By: Dezaray Barr

James LaFlamme

James LaFlamme graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University in 1988 with a Masters in Management.

While a student at IWU, LaFlamme also held a full-time job as an executive. “I would describe this period of time as intense,” LaFlamme said, “but I met a lot of great people and the learning environment at IWU was outstanding.”

Despite this being only the third year of the new adult program at IWU at the time of his graduation, LaFlamme came to IWU because of the program. “I was attracted to IWU because of the accelerated program for Graduate degrees: The LEAP Program,” he said. “It allowed me to work full time and complete a Masters degree in a reasonable period of time. In addition, the process was easy, the books were delivered, everything was pre-packaged… it made the entire process efficient.”

Although LaFlamme’s education matured at IWU, others aspects of his life did too. “My faith and spirituality grew and flourished during my time at IWU. I knew because of my faith and time at IWU that in the future I wanted to be able to give back in some way,” LaFlamme said. “Although the method was not clear for how I would achieve this, I knew that when the time was right an opportunity would present itself. God has a plan for all of us, it is not always clear what the plan may be, but strong faith usually drives you in the right direction.”

Currently, LaFlamme is the CEO of Biopharma Global, which is a US based nonprofit corporation that focuses on Orphan Drug Development on a global basis.

James LaFlamme and his wife, Carol
James LaFlamme and his wife, Carol

It is because of his time as a graduate student at IWU that LaFlamme created his career. “My management skills derived from the education I received at IWU. This allowed me to reach career heights I never imagined,” he explained. “I am convinced that my career would not have been possible had I not attended IWU and received the additional education and skills necessary to be successful. My faith was strong when I started at IWU, but I would say it became enhanced through interactions with my fellow students and instructors.

Biopharma Global is focused on helping individuals who have rare diseases. “It’s all about working with others to help get cures to the market place in an accelerated fashion,” LaFlamme said. “Our work is mission driven, which derived from my strong faith and belief that part of being is helping your fellow mankind in some form or fashion.”

Rick Carder, Director of Alumni & Church Engagement at IWU, said, “James is a remarkable individual. He combines his talents and his IWU education to make a significant difference in the world. He is indeed a world changer. The early days of our adult program were remarkable and the university drew together the incredible talents of people like James. They were not only shaped by our programs, but they helped develop what is today one of the most recognized education programs in the nation.”



Written by Dezaray Barr, PR Specialist for the Alumni Office. Dezaray is a junior Strategic Communication and Honors Humanities double major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College. At IWU, Dezaray runs both the JWHC Blog and her own blog. Visit Dez’s website at