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IU East students celebrate support at Spirit of Philanthropy

Sept. 28, 2016

IU East students welcomed community supporters to campus in appreciation of their contributions toward internships, leadership experiences and community service opportunities. Guests were invited to the Spirit of Philanthropy Luncheon held Sept. 16 at the Student Events and Activities Center on campus.

Umer Kahn

Umer Khan shared his story during the Spirit of Philanthropy on Sept. 16. | PHOTO BY GREG PYLE, IU EAST

The student-led event raises funds for scholarships and other community involvement activities that provide important experiential learning opportunities for students.

Chancellor Kathryn Cruz-Uribe welcomed guests to the luncheon and introduced the featured speakers for the Showcase of Student Success, where students share their experiences and accomplishments during the luncheon. This year’s student speakers included:

Jacoby Claypool, of Fort Wayne, Ind., is a junior majoring in informatics and business administration, with a concentration in marketing. Claypool is a member of the men’s basketball team and explained the challenges in balancing a rigorous practice schedule with the academic calendar. He shared that he is a first-generation college student, who was unsure if college was a possibility for him due to finances. Claypool was a founding member of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee and a member of the Enactus Team, a community of student, academic and business leaders committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to transform lives and shape a better, more sustainable world.

Elizabeth Miller, of New Madison, Ohio, is a senior biochemistry major. This year she is the president of the Student Government Association. Miller shared that while her parents encouraged her to make a decision about college outside of family finances, she took that aspect into great consideration. She had been accepted to four different universities but chose IU East because she received scholarships to cover nearly all of her tuition costs. In addition to her coursework, Miller is in the Honors Program and she has traveled to Belize, attended the Shakespeare Festival in Ontario, and completed an internship and research project as a Summer Research Scholar because of the generosity of donors. Miller also represented the student body as student speaker during the Student Events and Activities Center dedication.

Umer Khan, of Richmond, Ind., is a junior biochemistry major with minors in biology, chemistry, mathematics and Spanish. Khan, also a first-generation college student, plans to go to medical school and to be a neurologist. Khan transferred to IU East after his family experienced financial difficulties. He is part of the Pre-Professionals, Environmental and Circle K clubs; he is in the Honors Program; and is a member of the Student Government Association.

Olivia Robinson, of Hagerstown, Ind., is a senior education major and she is minoring in mathematics. Robinson discussed the experience she has gained from her field placements through the School of Education and about the work she has done to complete her senior thesis. Previously, she established a math-tutoring program at Northeastern Elementary School, an opportunity for her to explore independently developing a program, seeing what worked and didn’t and gaining invaluable experience. She is a member of the Honors Program, a Lingle Scholar, an Admissions Ambassador and a Peer Mentor.

Jorge Perez-Orduno, of Richmond, Ind., is a senior business administration major with a minor in marketing. He too is a first-generation college student. He is a member of the Honors Program, the Honors and Psychology clubs, and the Student Government Association and he volunteers with the Center for Service-Learning to work with children through the English as a Second Language program. He also works at Brewfus, the IU East coffee shop. Perez-Orduno shared how he advocated for Latino students seeking funding for a college education under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. He thanked donors for their contributions, because as a Deferred Action student, he cannot receive federal or state financial aid.

Whitney Reeves, of Richmond, Ind., is a senior English major with a minor in fine arts. She is the editor for Tributaries, the annual student creative arts journal, and president of Sigma Tau Delta, the English honors society, and is helping with the Empty Bowls event, a program to address child hunger in the community. She is a new mother who has overcome personal obstacles and achieved academic success.

Kaylee Cox, of Richmond, Ind., is a junior biology major with a minor in chemistry. Cox completed an internship this summer at Cameron Park Zoo in Waco, Texas. During her experience, Cox had an opportunity to work with exotic animals such as elephants, tigers and monkeys. She plans to attend veterinary school in the future. She is a member of the Honors Program, the Student Government Association and the Student Activities Advisory Team.

Joy Ballinger, of Richmond, Ind., is a junior humanities major with a concentration in music. She gave a solo performance of "Worth It" by Francesca Battistelli.

IU East's Spirit of Philanthropy event aligns with several priorities in the university's Bicentennial Strategic Plan, including a commitment to student success.

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