Student Spotlight: Eresha P. Amarasekara

Eresha’s story:

My name is Eresha Amarasekara. I live in Evansville, IN, but I am originally from Sri Lanka. I lived in the United States eleven years now with seven years in California and three years in Indiana. I am married, and I have 6-year-old twin girls.

I was born in a small village in Sri Lanka. When I was young, I attended a small village school with less facilities. However, my aunt who lives in one of the major cities in Sri Lanka helped me to enroll in a ranked school in that city. Then, I moved with my aunt. My aunt and her family treated me as their family member. The first couple weeks, I felt home sick. I missed my family. I believed in myself and studied hard. I graduated high school with good grades. I could not go to the college or university because I could not afford it. I believed that I could earn a college degree in the future. That is true, because I am working on it now. I won the Green Card Lottery Visa, and I got chance to move to San Diego, California in 2009. I could not find an accounting job there, because I do not have an accounting degree. I have skills and experience, but I could not prove that. So, I started work as a sales associate at Seven Eleven Store. I cried after the first day I worked in the store because that was not the job that I was used to. Anyway, I got a promotion to Store manager after a few months of working there because the owner of the store saw my skills, and I felt little better.

I began my studies in 2012 toward my accounting degree. I had so many personal problems in my life, and I took one class at the semester. Then I found a consultative sales associates position at Sears. Also, I got pregnant with twins, so I stop my studies from 2015 to 2016 and stayed home with my kids. In 2016, we moved to Evansville, Indiana from San Diego, California and I started to continue my studies toward my accounting degree once again. Now, I am almost finished with my degree, and will graduate in May 2021. My GPA is 3.80, and I just received my Business Administration Certificate, and Accounting Certificate with Magna Cum Laude. Also, I received membership to Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, as well. After I graduate from Ivy Tech, I would like to transfer to USI to get my bachelor’s degree. I have eight years of accounting experience from my time in Sri Lanka as an accounts assistant. I would love to continue my education with accounting major because I am enjoying working with numbers. In addition, I need to re-acquaint myself with my accounting knowledge. My future plans are to finish my degree, and find a better job in an accounting field.

I am currently working at the Ivy Tech Business Office in Evansville as a work-study. As a work-study in the business office, I am responsible for all of the accounts payable invoices and some of the appropriate journal entries, and accounting projects that are assigned by the CPA in our department. In addition, I am working at Atlas World Group as an accounting intern. I know I can find a better job as soon as I finish my degree in May 2021.

I set goals and themes for my life. The theme of my life is, “be the best among the best.” I believe my theme is worthy enough, because I use this theme in work, study, and for my personal life.

Student Spotlight: Eresha P. Amarasekara

Ivy Tech’s Vice Chancellor for Student Success Receives Innovation Award from NASPA

Deb Anderson

Evansville, Ind.- The National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) has selected Deborah Anderson, vice chancellor for student success at Ivy Tech Community College Evansville, as the 2020 innovation award recipient for Technology Research, Assessment and Evaluation.

The award criteria states, “This award will recognize high quality research that has aimed to shine a light on understanding technology in higher education and student affairs, as well as painting a clearer picture for effective practices.”

The research she submitted came from her 2019 dissertation and was titled, Institutional Factors of Characteristics Leading to Successful Implementation of Analytic Technology within Higher Education. Anderson’s study presents results from a multiple-case study on factors leading to successful analytic technology implementation within higher education.

She said that in the past decade, the higher education landscape has widely shifted to welcome analytic technology as a key resource to impact student success, yet there is not much research or writings on the subject and its impact. “Analytic and predictive technologies are sought as a potential strategy to improve academic learning and student engagement,” Anderson noted in her Abstract. “Successful technology innovations impact students’ experiences in the classroom, engagement with the institution, and personal development.”

Ivy Tech’s Vice Chancellor for Student Success Receives Innovation Award from NASPA

Ivy Tech in Tell City Celebrates 40 Years

The Ivy Tech Tell City Career and Technology Center, a satellite campus in Ivy Tech’s Evansville Region celebrated its 40th year on April 2 with an all-day in-person and virtual celebration at and from the site.

History

In the 1970s Tell City was determined to be an economic opportunity area with high unemployment and decreasing job opportunities.  To address the needs for economic stimulus, the Tell City Economic Development Commission was awarded The Economic Development Administration (EDA) Economic Adjustment Assistance Grant totaling $1.4 Million Dollars in 1978.

These Economic Development Administration programs still exist in a similar format today.  They provide economically distressed communities and regions with comprehensive and flexible resources to address a wide variety of economic needs. Of the awarded funds, $700,000 of that was earmarked for use in the establishment of a vocational education center in Tell City. Up to this point vocational classes were offered at Tell City High School. 

Ivy Tech offered extension classes taught here by Ivy Tech instructors in the vocational training areas of Business, Automotive, Emergency Medical Tech, Heating and Air, Welding and varied subject matter classes as needed.  Enrollments in these courses ranged from 39- 108 students annually from 1968 to 1980.

With enrollment numbers in these extension classes on the rise in the late 70s, and the grant awarded to better the economic area, plans were made to construct a vocational training facility in Tell City. The Tell City Economic Development Commission, headed by area leaders, set out to plan the new site. The initial plan submitted for approval outlined awarding the $700,000 to the Tell City Troy Township School Corporation that would expand on their renovation taking place at the time and add a large vocational wing to the High School building. 

Early in the planning a hurdle appeared.  Dave Archer, Perry County Vocational Director at the time, met with EDA officials in Chicago who pointed out rules in the EDA award that the sub-grant funds were for post-secondary education facilities and could not be awarded to the high school.

The Tell City Economic Development Commission then opened discussions with Vincennes University and Ivy Tech to see which institution would be best suited to serve our community and after review of proposals from both colleges Ivy Tech was chosen to partner with the city.  Ivy Tech would rent the state-of-the-art vocational facility and host classes for the Tell City area. Completion of the building project and dedication of the Evansville satellite site was held April 16, 1981.

Classes were initially offered in Automotive Service, Welding and Secretarial Training and they quickly expanded to offer Accounting, Building Trades and Industrial Maintenance courses. Over the years the classes offered here have varied as the needs from the community have changed. Enrollment and offerings in college credit courses have ranged from Business, Industrial Technology, Welding, Automotive to Heating and Air, Nursing and Healthcare. 

To serve the needs of the community Ivy Tech Tell City provided a wide range of non-credit and basic adult education courses as well, covering art, babysitting, ServSafe for food service workers, Organizational Leadership, Basic Computer, Adult Education, GED preparation, Driver’s Education and even Golf classes.  At the height of enrollment our students had their own Student Government associations and created a co-ed softball team.

In 2014 the site faced possible closure due to budgetary challenges across the state for Ivy Tech.  The City of Tell City rallied and reached an agreement to lease the city owned building to Ivy Tech for just $1 per year.  That agreement, and the cooperation from the City leaders is what has us celebrating 40 years and looking forward to at least 40 more.

We serve as a community hub providing space for organizations to meet.  Our offices hold United Way and Work One connecting the most vulnerable to much needed resources and this year amidst the pandemic we hosted food box distributions for the community.

In recent years upgrades to the site were made to ensure our technology kept up with the advancements in industry.  The welding lab and equipment renovation in 2014 and the addition of an Anatomy and Health Sciences lab in 2015 allowed us to expand our course offerings to meet the need for trained workforce in Perry and surrounding counties.  Since that time a CNA Lab was added and a QMA program launched for the 1st time in Spring of 2021. 

As we mark 40 years in Tell City, Ivy Tech Tell City Career and Technology Center of today is focused on Industrial Technology, Welding, Healthcare and pre-nursing courses.  The site works closely with local high schools and industry partners in Perry and surrounding counties to build custom programs and meet educational goals in the community.  Our access to hundreds of online courses brings classrooms from all over the state to our local citizens and starting this year we will be a provider of digital instruction as well. Plans are in place to outfit some of Tell City classrooms with Learn Anywhere technology and our classes will be virtually available to all Ivy Tech students to take in person or online wherever they are.

We extend great thanks and appreciation to the leaders of the past in Tell City, Perry County, our Region and within Ivy Tech for placing this site in the middle of some corn fields 40 years ago and for the current leadership committed to keeping the doors open and quality education accessible to the citizens of our community. 

Our site may be small, but our Impacts on student lives and the community’s economic success are great. To learn more about opportunities in Tell City, go to www.ivytech.edu/tellcity.

Ivy Tech in Tell City Celebrates 40 Years

Ivy Tech’s Tell City Career & Technology Center to Celebrate 40 Years April 2

TELL CITY, IN – Ivy Tech Community College’s Tell City Career & Technology Center, is planning an open house and virtual celebration for its 40th anniversary. The event has activities occurring from 1-6 p.m. on April 2.

Events

  • 1 p.m.: Kickoff of event with Chancellor Daniela Vidal and Site Director Katie King
  • 2 p.m.: Building tours, open to the public
  • 2 p.m.: Facebook Live Dual Enrollment/Dual Credit student interviews with students at Tell City, Perry Central, Heritage Hills and Cannelton High Schools https://www.facebook.com/TCIvyTech
  • 3 p.m.: Facebook Live Spot: Pick Perry Promotion and first drawing giveaway https://www.facebook.com/TCIvyTech
  • 2-5 p.m.: (also Saturday noon-3 p.m.): Open lab for help completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) needed to be eligible to receive financial aid.
  • 3:30 p.m.: High School student tours
  • 4 p.m.: Facebook Live Spot: Check in on the FAFSA Lab and information about funding college. Drawing for second giveaway. https://www.facebook.com/TCIvyTech
  • 5 p.m.: Facebook Live Spot: Tour of the facilities and discussion of current program offerings
  • 6 p.m.: Facebook Live Spot https://www.facebook.com/TCIvyTech
  • Balloon Give Away – Sidewalk Chalk Event

The Ivy Tech Tell City Career & Technology Center was dedicated in 1981 to address the need for education and training in this rural community. The Tell City Development Commission applied for and received a $700,000 grant from the US Economic Development Administration in the late 1970s to construct the campus building and offer vocational training to local residents. Classes were initially offered in Automotive Service, Welding and Secretarial Training and they quickly expanded to offer Accounting and Industrial Maintenance courses.

Over the years classes offered at this site have varied as the needs from the community have changed.  Credit and non-credit course offerings have included areas of Business Administration, General Education Courses, Organizational Leadership, Basic Computer, Adult Education for High School Equivalency (GED) preparation, Pre-Nursing, Industrial Technology, Driver’s Education, Welding, and even Golf classes. 

In 2014 the site faced possible closure due to budgetary challenges across the state for Ivy Tech. The City of Tell City rallied and reached an agreement to lease the city owned building to Ivy Tech for just $1 per year.  Large investments to the site were made shortly after that with an upgrade to the welding lab and equipment and the addition of an Anatomy and Health Sciences lab in 2015. Since that time a Certified Nursing Assistant Lab was added and a Qualified Medication Aide program launched for the first time in Spring 2021. 

Site Director Katie King said that “Today, as we approach 40 years in Tell City, we are focused on Industrial Technology, Welding, Healthcare and Pre-Nursing courses. The site works closely with local high schools and industry partners to build custom programs to meet educational goals in the community.”

Ivy Tech is now enrolling for summer and fall classes. Apply now at www.ivytech.edu/applynow

Ivy Tech’s Tell City Career & Technology Center to Celebrate 40 Years April 2

Student Spotlight: Savannah Lynch

Savannah’s story:

I’m 23 and have worked and studied healthcare and medical field studies since I was 16! It is an understatement to call it a passion— I prefer the word lifestyle! 

Photo courtesy of Savannah Lynch

I started college (dual credit) classes through my high school in Illinois, so when I actually entered my first year of college (OCC) after high school, I was already considered a second year student. I immediately started nursing classes. After that, I attended LTC’s Pharmacy Tech program. 

Then, my life changed. I couldn’t afford school anymore. No FAFSA eligibility, so I have always been self pay. I worked hard for my college savings, and the money was used by someone I trusted. I thought my dream of saving lives was over. All I’ve ever wanted to do is make my Papa proud. 

A year later, a blessing I could have never imagined would happen to someone like me, well… happened!!! Next Level has put me back on the track where I really want/need to be and with the grant, I’m able to focus on my Phlebotomist certification. I want to be a doctor of diagnostics or an ER surgeon— but these credits are ONLY helping and these classes are ONLY teaching me more for the future I had lost hope. But then I found Ivy Tech. Follow your dreams!

Student Spotlight: Savannah Lynch

International Women’s Day: Pass the Torch for Women

International Women’s Day is all about empowering and supporting women from all over the world. Join us on March 8th at 11 a.m. CST for what will be a global demonstration of inspiring stories to highlight the incredible women who have overcome challenges and are paving the way for future generations. *Free tickets for any student interested in attending the Pass the Torch Conference! Follow the link to register https://link.ivytech.edu/IWDIvyTech

We have so many wonderful guests lined up in our program, with special stories from across the globe to share how we can come together to empower our community. The inspiring program is sure to ignite meaningful conversations to spark change to light the path for others. 

SpecialGuest Appearances From:

  • Gabby Douglas, Olympic Gymnast
  • Brandi Chastain, Two-Time FIFA Women’s World Cup Champion & Gold-Medalist
  • Wanyá Morris, Member of Boys II Men
  • Bethany Hamilton, Professional Surfer and 2013 Shark Attack Survivor
  • Jackie Joyner-Kersie, All-Time Greatest Track & Field Athlete
  • Alexandra Breckenridge, Actress 
  • Noelle Lambert, Paralympic Track and Field
  • …And other community leaders!

At Pass the Torch for Women Foundation, we believe that every woman should have the platform to use her voice and what better day to celebrate the theme of #ChoosetoChallenge than International Women’s Day! 

Grab your mentors and peers and register today for this annual event so you can continue the conversation on how we can empower women! To learn more about how you can be a corporate partner, please visit our website!

AGENDA

11:00am | Welcome + Overview

11:10am | Pass the Torch Impact Stories

11:20am | Keynote Speaker: Sola Adelowo 

11:40am | Q&A with Keynote Speaker

11:55am | Thank You, Ivy Tech Community College 

ABOUTTHE KEYNOTE

Sola Adelowo is an American inspirational leader, executive coach, and proven mentor who enjoys helping people reveal their truest self in the midst of professional and personal expectations. Her unique life experiences are what led her to launch Image Cube in Indiana to help clients master and amplify their executive presence. Sola’s Nigerian ancestry inspired her path into entrepreneurship while overcoming personal challenges allowed her to transform grief into success. Along the way, clients became friends because of the authentic and sincere connection fostered with each person. These friendships opened the door for Sola to embark on a global adventure of great risk, grounded in optimism. When faced with opportunities to challenge the status quo, Sola did so with intentionality, humility and resilience. 

Throughout her journey Sola has always sought to gain perspective to shape and sharpen her understanding of the world and those with whom she engages every day. By reaching far beyond her comfort zone, Sola is able to help others do the same, and in turn equip people to discover their own new and more enriched perspective.

With a BA in Sociology from Wellesley College, MA in Critical Urbanisms from University of Basel in Switzerland, research studies on workplace relationships from University of Cape Town in South Africa, travels to over 20 countries, Sola brings a ton of perspective to her work. With more than a decade in the corporate world in Boston, Chicago, Indianapolis, and Basel, Sola gained intuitive knowledge she translates to practical awareness of organizational culture. Her passion for research, combined with deep knowledge of organizational theory helps her connect strongly with any audience.  

JOIN THE VIRTUAL PLEDGE CHALLENGE!

We are challenging YOU to be join the International Women’s Day narrative! Participate in our Pass the Torch #ChoosetoChallenge virtual pledge challenge! Click here to learn more

International Women’s Day: Pass the Torch for Women

Financial Aid Available for New CDL+ Program at Ivy Tech Evansville

Ivy Tech Community College Evansville Campus, along with DriveCO CDL Learning Center, is launching a commercial truck-driver training program which is eligible for federal financial aid. CDL+, a one-semester program, includes both on-the-road driver training and academic instruction.

http://www.IvyTech.edu/applynow

Classes begin Monday, March 22. CDL+ will be offered in Evansville, Ferdinand, and Tell City.  

Vic Chamness, executive director of Ivy Tech’s Career Coaching and Employer Connections (CCEC) said truck driving is in high demand in this area. “According to the 4th Quarter 2020 Economic Growth report for our Indiana region, job ads for truck drivers is at the top and more than double the next high-demand job of nursing. Our new CCEC division and the School of Business, Logistics and Supply Chain, worked collaboratively to create this program to meet this high-demand job need for our region.”

The American Trucking Association projects freight volumes to grow 36% over the next decade. Over that same period, the trucking industry will need to hire roughly 1.1 million new drivers to keep up with demand. Additionally, freight movement is a critical component of national supply chains with over 70% of the $650 billion in goods that move through Indiana every day being done so on the state’s highways.

The CDL+ Program differs from existing driver-training programs in several significant ways. Students will exit the program with not only their commercial driver’s license but also additional driver training and 17 hours of academic credit. “The fact that the program is also eligible for federal financial aid, is unusual as it is not the case for programs at commercial driving schools,” said Kyla Dowell, lead employer consultant for Evansville’s CCEC. 

Ann Mills, program chair of Supply Chain Management, indicated another advantage is graduates can also move right into an associate degree pathway at Ivy Tech – enhancing their career options, if desired.  “The credits earned in the CDL+ program will transfer into an associate degree in Supply Chain Management, providing an avenue for further education as well as future career development and advancement in the supply chain/logistics industry.”

Chris Canada, program manager, said the first two steps to qualify for the program include filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at www.fafsa.gov; and applying to be a student at Ivy Tech at www.ivytech.edu/applynow. More information is available by talking with faculty advisor Ann Mills at 812-429-1451 or email amills57@ivytech.edu

Financial Aid Available for New CDL+ Program at Ivy Tech Evansville

AmeriQual, Ivy Tech Partnership to Provide Employment and Advancement Opportunities

Ivy Tech Community College Evansville and AmeriQual have partnered to provide AmeriQual Groups’ current and future team members a greater opportunity to advance and increase their income.

Ivy Tech Community College and AmeriQual have offered the opportunity for team members to obtain a college education through Achieve Your Degree for several years. By making use of tuition reimbursement dollars and deferred payment until semester completion, team members have benefited and earned degrees and credentials.

Now, AmeriQual’s current and future team members who have not completed their high school diploma will have the opportunity to earn their High School Equivalency Diploma through Ivy Tech. 

The program, which is individually-based and can be completed in as little as eight weeks, will hold free classes on-site at the Evansville north-side manufacturer.  Upon successful completion, participants will receive a $500 bonus and advancement opportunities.

“AmeriQual and Ivy Tech are excited about this expanded partnership to skill-up the Southwestern Indiana Workforce,” according to Kyla Dowell, Lead Employer Consultant.  “This is an innovative approach to workforce development.”

AmeriQual will offer the Ivy Tech High School Equivalency classes on-site and pay employees their regular rate, even while taking the classes. The program will be taught by an Ivy Tech instructor, free of charge to students through an Indiana Department of Workforce Development grant received by Ivy Tech Evansville. 

According to Mirsada Salihovic, AmeriQual’s Vice President of Human Resources, “Investing in personal and professional development of our workforce is a critical component of AmeriQual’s long-term strategy that will allow the organization to continue to create skilled jobs in a highly competitive job market. 

“Ivy Tech is a great partner and we are excited to bring another innovative recruitment and talent development program to our organization,” Salihovic said. 

Daniela Vidal, chancellor of Ivy Tech Evansville said, that the college is pleased to be able to offer both the High School Equivalency program, as well as Achieve Your Degree opportunities for AmeriQual’s team members. “Education is a valuable commodity, and will enhance the company, its team members, and also our communities.” 

Ivy Tech offers Adult Basic Education and High School Equivalency test preparation, both available to companies, and at Ivy Tech to the public. To learn more call Nick Gathercole, program manager, at 812-492-0163 or go to www.ivytech.edu/evansville/abe

AmeriQual, Ivy Tech Partnership to Provide Employment and Advancement Opportunities