Tag : student

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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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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.