Tag : story

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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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Outstanding Teacher of American History: Matt Barnett

By: Mia Anderson M

The Education Division at Indiana Wesleyan University is one of the largest academic divisions on campus. To honor the students and graduates of this department, we will be telling the stories of several alumni and how they are using their God-given gifts to teach others. Special thanks goes to the alumni that participated in interviews, the faculty of the Education Division, and to the Division Chair, Dr. Jim Elsberry.

History is the grandest story of all time—telling the tale of nations, people, and events and Matt Barnett believes that, “America has a really great story to tell.” The mark of a truly great history teacher is found in the significance that this knowledge brings to each student’s life. Matt Barnett (’07, Social Studies Education) is one of those history teachers that are not easily forgotten by students.

Matt Barnett and his students gather around the hand-carved canoe he made.

Matt Barnett and his students gather around the hand-carved canoe he made.

Since graduating from IWU, Barnett has taught United States history, American government, and psychology at Lewis Cass Junior/Senior High School in Walton, Indiana. History is a true passion of his, which is shown through his hands-on approach to teaching U.S. History. Barnett enjoys teaching his students by immersing them in the time period they are studying—whether it be by building a 14-foot long dugout canoe and painting it by hand with his students, bringing in Native American replica tools for the children to see and use, dressing up in full Civil War uniform or as George Washington, or playing baseball the good ol’ way—with Civil War rules and equipment. He loves to see his students have that, as Barnett put it, “Light bulb moment,” where students open their minds up to the subject matter and how it applies to their lives.

Matt and Jaclyn Barnett with their children Lily, Caleb, and Lincoln.

Jaclyn and Matt Barnett with their children Lily, Caleb, and Lincoln.

Barnett’s teaching style has not gone unnoticed. Not only does he have the opportunity to see the impact of his teaching during parent-teacher conferences where parents are amazed that their children suddenly love U.S. history, but Barnett has just been granted a prestigious award. In the entire state of Indiana, Matt Barnett has been recognized by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) association as the “Outstanding Teacher of American History”—an award given to a teacher in each state. Barnett has the opportunity to be awarded this similar award, but on a national level. He will be recognized for his excellent teaching at the Indiana State DAR meeting in Indianapolis. This award was given to Barnett because of his patriotism and ability to make U.S. history connect with his students.

Barnett came to IWU pre-declared, unsure of what he wanted to study or where God was leading him. He began to realize he had interests in worship leading, music, and history, but he had trouble figuring out how to integrate his passions into a degree. As Barnett looks back on his time at IWU, he says, “God was prepping me the whole time. When you’re in the moment it’s hard to see what He’s doing, but then when you look back it all lined up perfectly.” He soon chose his major of Social Studies Education after having a transformational class with Dr. David Bartley and an enriching student teaching experience. Barnett recalls realizing how he wanted to teach his students by way of example of Dr. Bartley’s story-telling style, “If you can tell a story that grabs someone’s attention and someone’s heart—you have succeeded,” said Barnett.

Upon hearing about Barnett’s accomplishments, Dr. Bartley had this to say:

At Indiana Wesleyan, we hope to do more than inform our students.  We hope to share our passion for life-long learning and to see that passion carried into the next generation.  As we are faithful to that task, we can have confidence that the Lord will continue His work in the lives and careers of our graduates.  We cannot imagine where their life journeys will take them.  On these occasions, though, we get a glimpse of what can happen when our students heed God’s call on their lives.  Receiving this teaching award, Matt has reached a level of teaching excellence as recognized by an organization well known for its love of America’s history. Clearly the Lord has multiplied our investment in Matt’s life, and will now increase Matt’s investment in the lives of his students.  To that measure, we join in the celebration of Matt’s accomplishment.  On behalf of the Social Science Division, congratulations Matt!

Matt Barnett not only teaches, though—he is also a worship pastor at McGrawsville United Methodist Church in Anvoy, IN. Barnett is also the husband of Jaclyn (’07); and father of Caleb (5), Lily (3), and Lincoln (1). Matt Barnett has embraced God’s calling on his life by utilizing all of his passions and knowledge.

 

Written by Mia Anderson, Blog and Social Media Manager/Storyteller for the Alumni Office. Mia is a Senior at IWU studying Strategic Communication with her concentration in Public Relations. She is the Vice President of IWU PRSSA and hopes to work at a PR agency in Indianapolis after graduation in December 2016. Mia loves hearing others’ stories and sharing them with the world. Visit Mia’s personal website at www.MiaLAnderson.weebly.com.

 

Meet Student Worker – Kayleigh H.

The following is a story on IWU Alumni Relations student worker.
Meet Kayleigh:

I grew up knowing that I would attend a college five minutes away from my house in my comfortable town of Bourbonnais, Illinois, but God had other plans for my life.

Not long later after hearing about IWU, I was on campus for my first visit. I felt uneasy at first, not knowing a single person, but I was surprised to notice people opening the doors for me everywhere I went and people I didn’t even know approaching me and asking me if I needed help finding anything. I could truly feel God’s presence on the campus. I remember the moment that God confirmed that this was the college for me. I felt such a wave of peace wash over me and I knew this was where I was called to be. ​

My name is Kayleigh and I am involved with the John Wesley Honors College, as a double major in Honors Humanities and Exercise Science. I am also minoring in Spanish as I have a passion for reaching others through language and hope to study abroad in the future.

This is only my first year working in the Alumni/Church Relations office, but God has blessed me with being in an environment that allows me to see the impact that this university has made on those who have passed through it. Hearing stories of how alumni have changed the world inspires me and I am so thankful to be a part of a university whose focus is on changing the world by developing students in character, leadership, and scholarship.

I am involved in the John Wesley Honors College Student Association and have really enjoyed getting to build relationships with such wonderful examples of Christ. I enjoy playing intermural sports such as flag football, volleyball, and soccer. The relationships that I have developed with my teammates through team devotions are such a blessing. The intentional community that this university has is unlike any other, and I am thankful for it every day as I grow into the person that God has created me to be alongside over 3,000 others with the same purpose.