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 www.dezaraybarr.weebly.com.

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White’s Residential & Family Services: Brittany Makin

By: Dezaray Barr

Brittany Makin and her husband

Brittany Makin graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) in 2015 with a double major in social work and addictions counseling. “My mom was alumni there, so IWU was on my radar. I went for a visit in 2010 and fell in love with the school,” Makin shared. “I later had more visits and checked out the Social Work program and loved it. I also took two classes my senior year of high school at IWU and loved the classroom and feel of the school.”

During her time at IWU, Makin made a lot of friends, including her closest friends to this day! She said, “I enjoyed the challenge of both of my majors and admired my professors – their hearts for Godwas so inspiring. I learned and grew so much in the understanding of the overlap of serving God through serving others.” She also enjoyed the small size of classes that IWU offered, specifically through her social work program.

Coming from a public high school, Makin said that the transition to a Christian school was difficult for her at first. “Over time though, I grew to appreciate the diversity of the students and how everyone had a way of internalizing their faith and living it out in such genuine ways,” she said. “It truly helped me to press into my own beliefs and figure out what I believed for myself, outside of my upbringing and what I was used to in my home church. I loved how our faith was woven deeply into our academic studies in a very tangible way.”

Now, Makin is working as a Case Manager at White’s Residential and Family Services in Wabash, IN. Makin grew up on the campus as a staff kid for the first 12 years of her life. After she graduated in 2015, she was led right back to White’s, and that is where she met her husband. In 2016, she attended grad school for social work, but returned to White’s in the spring of 2017 to work as a Case Manager. “I love this organization and the mission of serving God through serving our kids. It aligns very much with my training at IWU, and I absolutely love serving the teenagers we work with here. Although very challenging, it is also extremely rewarding,” Makin explained.

Some fun facts about Makin include that she’s been to India three times where she’s taught women to make jewelry as a trade. With her husband, Makin coaches a junior high and high school soccer team together. She is also the third generation from her family to work at White’s!

If Makin could give one piece of advice to IWU students, she’d encourage them to continue along the journey that they’re experiencing. She said, “I switched my major a billion times during my stay, and every time I became very discouraged… I am still finding out new things I like daily and dreaming about what I will be when I grow up. It’s a journey… not a simple checklist.”

 

 

 

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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Freelancer Peter Mercer

By: Dezaray Barr

Peter Mercer and those he graduated with from the Division of Communication & Theatre

Peter Mercer graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) in 2017 with a degree in media communication. “I visited IWU in the fall of my senior year of high school. After about an hour on campus, it began to feel like home,” Mercer said. “I liked the people, the campus was beautiful and I liked all the professors. I walked away from that weekend knowing that IWU is where I wanted to be.”

Mercer said, “My time as a student at IWU pushed me in a lot of different ways, and a lot of my classes in the Division of Communication & Theater gave me a lot of incredible experiences and really helped me decide what I wanted to do after I graduate. For example, up until I took a class called Studio Production my sophomore year, I was dead set on sports broadcasting, but I realized that I absolutely loved the whole production process and it really opened me up to the idea of heading into the film/TV side of production.”

IWU really helped Mercer make his faith his own, and his roommates always push him to seek God.

After graduation, Mercer returned home to Pittsburgh and entered the workforce as a Freelancer, which he continues to do today. “I have done a variety of different things and have traveled throughout the east coast since,” Mercer said. “I have had my hands involved in movies, TV shows, sports, music videos, competitions and a few weddings. I do something different every week, and that is one of the things I like most about freelancing.”

If Mercer could say one thing to current IWU students, he’d encourage them to get involved in their division at IWU. “I made some really close friends in the Division of Communication and Theatre and had really incredible experiences with WIWU TV51 and 94.3 The Fortress. The division is filled with amazing people and professors, you definitely do not want to miss out on getting to know any of them,” he said.

 

 

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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Kateland Vernon: Writer, Entrepreneur and Preschool Teachers

By: Dezaray Barr

Kateland and her husband, Alex

Kateland Vernon graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) in 2016 with a degree in English and Writing. Vernon was led to attend IWU because of something she received in the mail. “The mailer I received talked about ‘writing your story’ at Indiana Wesleyan, and that definitely appealed to me, as a writer,” she shared. “Of course, it wasn’t until Professor Esh gave me a copy of his beloved Huckleberry Finn during my college visit that I knew IWU was the place for me.”

As an introvert, Vernon remembers spending a lot of time in her room. She shared, “I didn’t hang out around campus, at least not for extended periods of time, but eventually, I found other introverted friends who would hang out in my room with me. I remember random things like stacking Oreos on a friend’s head for a scavenger hunt, the way the lawn in front of Evans smelled like pudding for three solid weeks after pudding tug-of-war, and staying up all night to write a play for the 24-hour play festival. That was actually my first official all-nighter, and it wasn’t even for homework! During my senior year, I remember my roommate and I hosting a lot of late-night writing parties in our townhouse. With all the talking and laughing, I’m surprised we ever wrote anything, but the 100 pages we each turned in for our novel class is proof we did.”

She remembers IWU as a place of discovery. “I knew I didn’t know everything about the world, and that my view my even be skewed,” Vernon said. “I talked and listened a lot in college, trying to learn as much as I could while I lived in such close proximity with friends. I miss that community now, but I’m finding it shows up in different places: at church, at work, at family gatherings.”

Vernon and her college friends are still friends today, and they see each other often.

Vernon is now a preschool teacher at Mt. Olive Preschool in Marion where she teaches four and five-year-olds. “It’s not at all what I saw myself doing,” she said, “but the Lord works in mysterious (and sometimes amusing) ways. And I have learned SO MUCH at this job already!”

In the last year, Kateland has gotten married, moved, started a new job, started a blog, started taking drum lessons and started a business with her sister, who lives in New Mexico. “I love hand-lettering, which is what I do for our business, and I’ve been steadily working on improving my skills,” she said. “I like to play board games, card games and video games, but I’ll do anything to avoid sports (except croquet, a family tradition). I plan to wear mismatched socks until I’m eighty and it’s no longer cute, just weird. I read children’s and young adult books almost exclusively, especially in the fantasy genre. Job is my favorite book of the Bible because it contains some of the most beautiful poetry; check out chapter 38 to see what I mean.”

Vernon would encourage IWU students to appreciate college life while it’s there. She said, “Spend time with friends. Talk. Listen. Grow. Use all of this information and the time you have there to figure out who your best self is. College is a great time to look inwards—take advantage of that and let God shape you. But don’t forget to get involved in growing the Kingdom, too. Use the skills you’re discovering and use them to love others, however God asks you to.”

 

 

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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Nursing & JWHC Alum: Mary-Madison Weaver

By: Dezaray Barr

Mary-Madison Weaver

Mary-Madison Weaver graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) and the John Wesley Honors College (JWHC) in 2016 with a nursing degree. She said, “My motivation for choosing IWU was a blend of things: the strong academic programs, the scholarship opportunities and the Honors College classes.”

Weaver’s time at IWU was busy, but fulfilling. “Pursuing a nursing degree coupled with the JWHC demanded the majority of my time,” she said, “but I built meaningful friendships along the way. Some of my favorite times were when conversations continued outside of class.”

While at IWU, she dove into the Marion community through college ministries at her local church, volunteering at the St. Martin Community Center, committee work with the Honors College Student Association and, of course, late-night runs to Meijer.

Through Weaver’s time with the JWHC at IWU, she experienced true spiritual growth. “Much of my spiritual growth yielded from exploring theological foundations and liturgical practices of the Christian Church in my Honors classes. The history – where we came from and why we do what we do – enlivened how I saw and continue to see the Church. Overall, IWU and the JWHC reminded me how exciting the Christian story is,” Weave explained.

Weaver is currently finishing a three-year critical care and trauma nurse internship at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, Texas. “After working in intensive care for approximately two years, I am now training to work in the emergency department,” she shared.

It wasn’t just the JWHC that prepared Weaver for her future – the nursing division at IWU had a tremendous impact on her future. She said, “My nursing education prepared me to pass my nursing boards on the first try. The Honors College faculty taught me how to think. The curriculum provided me with language that helped explain my world, who I am and how I fit into the greater Christian narrative. Brokenness is experienced daily in my profession. I hope that even amidst suffering I can offer comfort to my patients.”

Some fun facts about Weaver include that she loves plants. “I am involved in a community garden and harvested my first cucumbers this week! I have also dabbled in roller blading since moving to Texas. In my own corner of community in Dallas, I have been dubbed the event planner. I love finding events and activities, exploring the city and hosting people. Hosting people for dinner is simple, but it provides a formative means of building community,” she shared.

 

 

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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Pastor of the Week: Jorge Escalante

By: Dezaray Barr

Jorge Escalante

Jorge Escalante is the Pastor of Hispanic Ministries at Trinity Church in Indianapolis. He graduated from high school in 1996 and went to community college for one semester. Trinity Church is located on the North East side of Indianapolis, and Escalante said that they serve a diverse community; “We are working to become a multicultural, multilingual church. What makes this congregation unique is the atmosphere the multicultural movement creates; it feels a little bit (I think) like being in heaven.”

Over the years, Escalante has met and mentored many young people, and he said that it is his great job to hear about the impact his church has on them. He shared a specific story; “Not too long ago, one of my students (who is now 24 years old and married) visited us and confirmed our calling by letting us know that what we did ten years ago really impacted his life. To be honest, we didn’t really do much other than teach them by example. We wanted them to see what it looked like to live for Christ, the true catalyst here is the work of the Holy Spirit in his life.”

One of the biggest challenges that Escalante has had to face is going to church in an all-American environment. “I have always been used to going to the opposite, an all Hispanic congregation, so that was a big change for all of us. Now that I see it, I can see that it was a change we needed to make. Our children are second generation Hispanics, which means they know the culture and language but prefer to speak and learn primarily in English,” he said.

Escalante would encourage IWU students with this simple message: “Life has a funny way of sorting itself out – learn to enjoy and accept every stage of it.”

 

 

 

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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Maggie Bowman: All Thanks to a Card in the Mail

By: Dezaray Barr

Maggie Bowman and her husband, Jesse

Maggie (Moul) Bowman graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) and the John Wesley Honors College in December of 2017 with a degree in Intercultural Studies.

Bowman first heard about IWU from a card in the mail. She said, “I don’t know who designs those things, but they do a superb job. I decided to check out their website and after a visit, I was sold.”

Two words that come to Bowman’s mind when she thinks about her time at IWU are healing and challenging. “When I arrived at IWU, I was struggling with a lot of emotional trauma and often felt like a failure,” she explained. “I believe that God knew IWU was exactly the place I needed to be. Through the friends I made, classes I took and one-on-one mentoring, my life grew into something beautiful I never could have imagined for myself when I started. Nevertheless, IWU challenged me in ways I did not expect. My leadership roles on campus often lead me to see some of the ‘ugly parts’ of the world of higher education, but this only pushed me to pursue God more and to call others to do the same.”

After graduation, Bowman moved back to her hometown in Michigan, got married and spent three months as a substitute teacher. She just got hired as a Clearinghouse Coordinator for a local Christian Nonprofit, Love INC (Love In the Name of Christ). “I’m excited to start a job that actually relates to my degree and will utilize all my training,” she said.

She’d known from a young age that she wanted to do ministerial work, but Bowman always figured it would be somewhere overseas. “It wasn’t until I came to IWU and I realized how much need there was in my own community that God began to turn my heart back towards my little hometown of Hart, Michigan,” she said. “When I met my husband, who is also from Hart, he sort of sealed the deal, and back I came to begin a life of ministry in rural Michigan!”

Some fun facts about Bowman include that she is the youngest of nine children, and her family has grown to include nineteen people of six different nationalities! “We literally have every hair color imaginable in my family, and it’s not hard to see why I chose my field of study!” she said. “My hometown is the Asparagus Capital of the nation, and we are also known for our cherries and apples. It’s truly one of the gems of Michigan’s west coast – rolling farmlands, beautiful beaches and little traffic.”

 

 

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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Marla Aguilar

By: Dezaray Barr

Marla Aguilar and her family

Marla Aguilar attended Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) from 1986 to 1987 and audited classes while working at IWU in 1998 to 2001. She studied education, but did not obtain her degree, as she was offered full-time government work. She said, “I decided to attend IWU (then Marion College) after seeing my father’s enthusiasm while he was attaining his Christian Ministry degree there when I was in high school.”

While an IWU student, Aguilar was a recently divorced mom with a three-year-old daughter. She work both on-campus, off-campus in a government role and took classes. While at IWU, she said, “I received spiritual support from many other students, graduates and professors – it helped solidify my belief in God’s goodness.”

Now, Aguilar works for the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, and she’s been there for the past ten years. “I had worked in the Academic Dean’s office and The Center for Life Calling and Leadership in years past and also worked many years with the USDA Farm Service Agency,” she said. “Working with student programs and career assessments at IWU gave me better insight into the perspectives and challenges of different people planning to enter the workforce, all coming from differing experiences and life situations… In my current job, we help others who are seeking to become self-sufficient or needing to build their knowledge-base through training. I also assist employers who need to get the word out about their job openings and join in discussions on possible solutions for workforce challenges they encounter.  Concern and help for others are important aspects of my Christian life as well.  If we ask God to help show His love and caring, in word and deed, it will help lead others to the ultimate Hope.”

 

 

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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Pastor of the Week: Mike Hewitt

By: Dezaray Barr

Mike Hewitt

Michael Hewitt is the Senior and Founding Pastor of Rising Hope Church in Muncie, Indiana. He graduated from Grace College in 1996 with a degree in Music Education & Performance. He was ordained by the Wesleyan Church in 2010.

“In 1991, I enrolled at Grace College in Winona Lake, Indiana,” he said. “Starting out, I was a double major in Music Education and Pre-Med. This double major only lasted for two years, as my passion for seeing others come to Christ grew into my calling for ministry. During this time, I discovered that the ultimate purpose of my undergrad experience was NOT education. My first purpose was to discover my gifts and learn how I could best use them in life and in ministry. Second to this, was my education. God used my love for music to help teach worship. He used my passion for medicine and rehabilitation for a calling in ministry to rescue people eternally (Luke 19:10).”

Hewitt shared, “God has affirmed my calling in ministry literally every day for 22 years in full-time ministry. However, we all know God can be full of surprises. One thing I never planned on was planting two churches with plans to plant again in five years. In addition, perhaps my greatest joy has been watching students in my ministry receive a call to ministry and serving in their local church.”

Rising Hope Church is Muncie’s newest church. They are currently meeting once a week as a Launch Team, where they plan, pray and prepare to launch their first public service that week after Labor Day,on September 9, 2018. Hewitt said, “Through the summer we have some exciting outreaches being planned. Being a church planter is an amazing blessing while at the same time a huge challenge. Every day literally brings unique and exciting blessings. I can honestly say that over my 22 years of full time ministry I have never seen God work like he does within the context of a brand new church plant!”

Some challenges for Hewitt and his launch team include: 110,000 people live in Delaware County and 83,000 of people are unclaimed. “This means that 76% of people in our county will be eternally separated from God if they are not reached,” Hewitt explained. “30.7% of people in Muncie are in poverty. 58% of children going into Kindergarten are not ready. Over half of the babies born in Ball Memorial Hospital are born with an addiction. While many of these statistics drive people away, it has drawn our family to Muncie and our Launch Team to Rising Hope. For Rising Hope Church, we don’t see these as insurmountable problems, but more as opportunities for people to see God work.”

Some fun facts about Hewitt include that he’s very good at playing pool, and you can find him at a pool tournament, reaching people for Christ while shooting pool. “I also tour with Gospel Trick Shots performing trick shots and sharing the gospel from the pool table,” he said. If you’re interested, go to www.gospeltrickshot.org to learn more or book a show.

Hewitt and his wife, Kim, have been married for 22 years. Kim has been working as a worship leader since age 14, and she currently serves as the Worship and Administration pastor at Rising Hope. They have six children. Brianne, their oldest, just completed her freshmen year at IWU in the John Wesley Honors College, majoring in Music Education.

Hewitt added, “This summer, as we prepare to launch Muncie’s newest church in September, we realize that we need help. As a result, we are in search of churches that would be interested in going on a missions trip to Muncie and partnering with us.” To contact Hewitt, contact him here.

 

 

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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White’s Residential & Family Services: Dawn Hobson

By: Dezaray Barr

Dawn Hobson on her graduation day

Dawn Hobson graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) in 1987 with a degree in social work. She was drawn to IWU, because her sister attended the school (then Marion College). Hobson would visit on siblings weekends, and she liked the college. “I loved college!” she said. “I had great friends, and we did a lot of activities. We shared a dorm and then a house our senior year. There are six of us girlfriends who continue to do things together. We have gone to Florida, Cancun and other short weekend trips. We did a camping trip with all of our kids and spouses too.”

Hobson’s daughter graduated from IWU two years ago.

During her time at IWU, Hobson’s life changed dramatically, especially spiritually. “I grew a lot spiritually during a crucial time in my life that I was struggling with an eating disorder,” she shared. “I enjoyed most of the chapels and loved the churches I attended there while a student. My favorite professor was Wilbur Williams (as many say), especially when he came into class dressed up as Moses.  I enjoyed my New Testament class with Bud Bence as well.”

Dawn Hobson and her family

Since she graduated from IWU, Hobson has worked at Whites Residential and Family Services. She worked on the residential side for 13.5 years and then at the high school. Now she works as a social worker for the foster care program, and she’s been in this role for ten years now. For the first 18 years she was at White’s, Hobson lived on campus and raised her children on the campus. She even met her husband there, because he grew up on the campus as a staff kid.

Hobson explained, “IWU gave me a foundation for what I do. It has been so long since I had these classes, but I took classes such as Child Development that I am using now in my work with foster children. I would say that the program was in its initial stages when I went, but it gave me a cultural perspective that took me out of my comfort zone when we made trips to Chicago. That was the part that I remember the most is the hands-on experience I had. I had the different internships like working at a drug rehab that exposed me to issues that I had never dealt with.”

A fun fact about Hobson is that she was the first female on the men’s IWU tennis team, because they didn’t have a girls team yet. “I played in high school and wanted to play in college, so I begged Coach Porter to let me play. I still am in contact with Coach Porter and Eddy Shigley and Jay Smithly,” she said.

 

 

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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