Ivy Tech Student Recognized for Book Cover Design

Jonathan BarerraLittle did nine-year-old Jonathan Barrera realize when his family moved to Evansville from El Salvador, that one day he would be set to graduate from college with a degree in Graphic Design, and be recognized for his design work for a noted author.

Barrera, a visual communication major who will graduate this May, was in Joie Fuller’s Graphic Design 2 class last year when author Mike Whicker approached the class about helping him with a re-design of his most popular book, “Invitation to Valhalla,” a historical work of fiction about the daughter of Hitler’s comrade, who is the Nazi’s top spy; and an FBI agent who is sent out to investigate a garbled shortwave transmission coming from southern Indiana that is intercepted by a HAM radio operator.

My “Invitation to Valhalla” cover was 15 years old and outdated,” Whicker said. “I had done the cover myself, and it was simplistic and I knew I need a new cover. The book is the bestselling of my six books and I wanted a more professional cover.”

Barrera said he researched the book and Whicker’s previous books. “I looked at the original cover and tried to keep some of the colors and design elements,” Barrera said. “Mr. Whicker gave us a basic template of where the image and text should be.” Whicker said he encouraged the students to be creative. “I told the class the basics of what I was looking for, but encouraged the students to interpret the cover as they saw fit. About eight or nine students submitted potential covers,” Whicker said.

Fuller, a professor of graphic design at Ivy Tech, said that unique challenge that students had on this project was they were required to work with a photograph that was recently shot for this project. “The image appeared very clean, crisp and modern. But, they needed to make it feel as though it was from WWII era to fit the storyline.”

Whicker said “all of the samples were excellent. But, his (Barrera’s) designs were the most impressive. The great things I had heard about Ivy Tech’s graphic design department were confirmed.”

“Jonathan successfully used subtle Photoshop techniques to give the modern photo a vintage feel,” Fuller added. “His design integrated the required photo of the story’s spy and effectively portrayed the era and two countries involved in the storyline, while having the book title beautifully pop off the cover art.”

Fuller said that while designing a book cover is not a typical semester activity, working on a real-world project with a client is something she hopes to have at least once during Graphic Design 2 or 3 classes. “Working with a real-world client affords the student the opportunity to design for someone other than themselves or the instructor. Students can sometimes feel that it’s the instructor just being harsh or critical as we move along on a project with tight deadlines and many changes. It also opens their eyes to the world of demands and deadlines that our profession requires.”

Barrera’s design was unveiled at a private reception on March 17 and again, at a fundraiser for Germania Maennerchor the following day. He said he plans to transfer to the University of Southern Indiana this coming fall and also would like to get a job in graphic design to help pay the way. His dream is to start his own company after having worked with a design firm for a few years.

“I decided to come to Ivy Tech after I graduated from Harrison High School in 2013, because my classmates told me it was a good school and I could get my initial degree in two years,” Barrera said. “I thought I wanted to do web design, but decided later that graphic design was a better fit.

Ivy Tech Student Recognized for Book Cover Design

Heritage Hills, Southern Indiana Career and Technical Center Come out On Top in Skills Competition at Ivy Tech Community College

Four area high school students took home scholarships, tools, and trophies today following the 2nd Annual Ivy Tech Community College Automotive Skills Competition.

Winners were:

  • Gavin Fella, first place, Heritage Hills High School
  • Alex Benton, second place, Southern Indiana Career and Technical Center and Central High School
  • Ernest Volz, third place, Heritage Hills High School
  • John DeVillez, honorable mention, Heritage Hills High School

Prizes included two, $1,000 scholarships to Ivy Tech; one, $500 scholarship and tools from Snap-On, NAPA, O’Reilly’s, and Advance Auto.

The competition among selected students from area high schools with automotive programs consisted of testing through a variety of scenarios one would find in an automotive repair setting such as:  alignment issues, no start, looking up service information, confirming customer complaint and diagnostic process, investigating check engine light and live data, multi-point inspection, and a 50-question ASE style test.

Training sessions for students not participating in the skills challenge were provided by Snap-On, NAPA, and FCA Mopar Cap Fiat Chrysler Corp.


First place winner Gavin Fella (center), of Heritage Hills receives his trophy, $1,000 scholarship, and tools. Pictured L-R:  Instructor Tim Roberts; Heritage Hills Teacher Carl Hall; Student Gavin Fella; Asst. Professor and Program Chair Chris Kaufman, and Instructor Dave Wagner.

Heritage Hills, Southern Indiana Career and Technical Center Come out On Top in Skills Competition at Ivy Tech Community College

Sixth Annual Speaker Series Planned at Ivy Tech Community College

The 2017 Schools of Business and Computing and Informatics Speaker Series at Ivy Tech Community College will kick off on Wednesday, February 15, at 6 p.m.  This annual series is sponsored by Banterra Bank.

On Feb. 15, a panel discussion is planned to help students and others in the public prepare for interviews and job searches. “Assembling Your Personal Brand” will take place in Room 344 at Ivy Tech, at 6 p.m., and is free and open to the public. Banterra Bank officials Kyle Dodd, assistant senior community banker, and commercial loan officers Chad Wingert, Brian Woods, Geoff Gentil, and Kevin Canterbury will discuss resumes, cover letters, references, interviewing, career research, and social networking.

The sixth annual Schools of Business, Computing and Informatics Speaker Series will be April 19 with Bo Drake, executive director of Workforce Alignment at Ivy Tech Southwest presenting the keynote address, “Leading by Example.” It is free and open to the public and will take place in Room 344 at Ivy Tech at 6 p.m.

Drake came to Southwest Indiana in 2013 to serve as executive director of Corporate College for Ivy Tech. Charged with serving employers throughout the region, he and his team have experienced significant growth. He has helped the college secure more than $2 million in grants and donations and has begun several programs to serve the workforce development needs in the community.

Previously, Drake was employed by Nationwide Insurance in Columbus, Ohio, where he served as a consultant in Mergers and Acquisitions. At Nationwide, he was responsible for training, coaching, and consulting with agency owners and sales managers in multiple states. He consulted on projects totaling more than $50 million and performed extensive financial analysis and forecasting.  Drake also worked with the Ohio State Bar Association Insurance Agency in Columbus, Ohio, as the director of Insurance, serving the insurance needs of lawyers throughout the state.

He is a board member for the Southwest Indiana Chamber of Commerce, and serves as chair of the Education Committee. He has served as a volunteer for Junior Achievement and as a committee member for cMOE’s fundraiser, Ignite It!

Drake is an Ivy Tech alumnus with an Associate of Arts degree in business administration. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in speech communication from Northern Kentucky University and a Master’s in human services from Liberty University.

A public reception is planned prior to this presentation at 5 p.m. in the foyer of the auditorium.

Sixth Annual Speaker Series Planned at Ivy Tech Community College

Culinary Arts Students and Area Food Trucks to Provide Food As Part of Ivy Tech’s International Week Activities

On Tuesday, Feb. 14, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., the public is invited to sample international food items prepared by students in Ivy Tech Community College Southwest’s Hospitality Program, in celebration of Ivy Tech’s International Week. The event will take place in the Koch Student Commons.

The student-prepared international food will be rice cakes, cornbread and gumbo. Other International food samples will be provided by local food trucks that will be located at Ivy Tech during that time frame. Items on their menus will also be available for sale.

Other International Week activities open to the public include:

Feb. 13:

  • Explore the World – students will share research on international issues, 5:30-8 p.m., Room 344.

Feb. 15:

  • International Health Expo – students will share research on health issues impacting various countries, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Koch Student Commons

Feb. 16:

  • International Culture Expo – students and faculty will share their personal experiences living and learning in various countries, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Koch Student Commons


  • Immigration in Evansville – a presentation about immigration issues by Ivy Tech faculty member Megan Alvarez and Liliana Cuervo, Ivy Tech student, 1-2 p.m., Room 107

All week:

  • Art Collection “For the Future After Chernobyl and Fukushima,” an international effort to raise awareness of impact of nuclear disasters, 8 a.m.-9 p.m., Bower-Suhrheinrich Visual Arts Center (Room 107).
Culinary Arts Students and Area Food Trucks to Provide Food As Part of Ivy Tech’s International Week Activities

Ivy Tech Community College, University of Southern Indiana partner for reverse transfer initiative

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Ivy Tech Community College and the University of Southern Indiana (USI) have created a new statewide reverse transfer agreement for students who have transferred to USI prior to completing their associate degree at Ivy Tech.

To be eligible for the reverse transfer, students need to meet the following transfer policies and conditions:

  • Students will need at least 60 combined credit hours from USI and Ivy Tech
  • Students must have completed a minimum of 15 credit hours from Ivy Tech
  • Students must be a currently enrolled USI undergraduate
  • Students are not eligible for the program if they currently possess an associate degree or higher

“Offering students the ability to earn an associate degree through the reverse transfer opportunity creates a milestone on their educational journey. This credential may make them more marketable, keep motivated on their way toward a bachelor’s degree, and serve as a valuable asset should they be delayed in achieving their ultimate degree goal,” said Dr. Russ Baker, vice president of academic affairs and university transfer division, Ivy Tech Community College.

Ivy Tech Community College has partnered with other institutions to offer reverse transfer, including: Indiana State University, Purdue University, Ottawa University, University of Phoenix and Western Governors University.

“USI is excited to collaborate with Ivy Tech Community College on reverse transfer,” said Andrew Wright, vice president for enrollment management at USI. “Our goal is to make this process as simple as possible to assist former Ivy Tech students in attaining their associate degree as they work toward their bachelor’s degree here at USI.”

Under the agreement, USI will notify students who meet the minimum requirements to participate. For participating students, USI will submit all transcripts completed by eligible students to Ivy Tech for degree auditing. Ivy Tech will then report back to USI if the associate degree is conferred by sending an official, associate degree-posted transcript, and the USI degree audit will update to indicate the associate degree was earned.

About Ivy Tech Community College

 Ivy Tech Community College is the state’s largest public postsecondary institution and the nation’s largest singly accredited statewide community college system. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana. It serves as the state’s engine of workforce development, offering affordable degree programs and training that are aligned with the needs of its community along with courses and programs that transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association.

About the University of Southern Indiana

Founded in 1965, the University of Southern Indiana enrolls more than 10,500 dual credit, undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students in more than 80 majors. A public higher education institution, located on a beautiful 1,400-acre campus in Evansville, Indiana, USI offers programs through the College of Liberal Arts, Romain College of Business, College of Nursing and Health Professions and the Pott College of Science, Engineering, and Education. USI is a Carnegie Foundation Community Engaged University and offers continuing education and special programs to more than 19,000 participants annually through Outreach and Engagement. USI is online at www.usi.edu.

Ivy Tech Community College, University of Southern Indiana partner for reverse transfer initiative

Students to Get Paid to Learn; Potential for Job Offer Through New Manufacturing Program

Skill UP Indiana!, a unique manufacturing program allowing students to learn and earn, began taking applications today (Jan. 19) thanks to the collaboration of local industry, community, education, and business partners in the newly created Southwest Indiana Workforce Coalition (SWIWC). This news was announced during a news conference at the Southwest Indiana Chamber offices, by Ivy Tech Community College Southwest Chancellor Jonathan Weinzapfel. Skill UP is designed to educate and inform students, and will pay students $12.50 per hour during their entire enrollment in the 11-week program, which includes five weeks of class time (40 hours per week) as well as on-the-job learning training, and potential for direct hire with local companies.

“We are excited to spearhead this initiative that can potentially change the way employers hire in the future,” Weinzapfel said. “Giving potential employees the opportunity to learn skills and habits essential to the manufacturing workforce will hopefully have a positive hiring, retention, and advancement impact for local business and industry.” Targeted participants include high school youth, and unemployed/underemployed adult workers. An application can be found at www.ivytech.edu/skillup. Classes begin March 6, 2017.

In late 2016, Ivy Tech Southwest received a grant for the Skill UP Indiana! Program totaling $666,506 from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development to provide sector-focused training and education programs for in-demand occupations in the Southwest region. Skill UP will focus on this region’s third largest area for employment opportunities – advanced manufacturing. Manufacturing in Southwest Indiana is expected to grow by 5.8% during the next decade and the field is experiencing a gap in employment due to the aging workforce and brain drain within existing talent; a challenged work ethic of incoming generations, as well as high turnover of under-skilled, uninformed workers, and misperceptions regarding manufacturing work. Regional employers have expressed a need for programs outside of the standard post-secondary education academic model to train and retrain workers in order for their sector to maintain a competitive edge in an ever changing marketplace.

Weinzapfel said that the Indiana Chamber’s most recent annual employer workforce survey noted that 45% of jobs remain unfilled due to a lack of qualified applicants.

“The SWIWC is committed to educating and preparing this region’s middle to high school youth and adult workers through educational and experiential training; as well as development and personal empowerment to generate a thriving employee in the advanced manufacturing industry,” said Bo Drake, executive director of workforce development.

SWIWC partners include:  ORG CHEM Group, BWX Technologies, Inc., FLANDERS, Junior Achievement of Southwestern Indiana, Koch Enterprises, Inc., Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana, Toyota Boshoku Indiana, LLC., Wabash Plastics, Berry Plastics, Mead Johnson Nutrition, WorkOne Southwest, and Ivy Tech Community College Southwest. Additional opportunities for other business and industry involvement is available.

Junior Achievement of Southwest Indiana is creating an Advanced Manufacturing curriculum to be delivered in area schools to help create awareness in the types of jobs and careers in the field, Drake said.

“The Southwest Indiana Workforce Coalition has developed an expansive plan for Southwest Indiana to not only educate students in manufacturing, preparing them for good paying jobs available in industry in our communities – but also to compensate them during these class times, so that they can continue to meet their personal and family needs,” Weinzapfel said.

“We know that an obstacle to receiving more education for a better paying job, is that folks must keep working the jobs that they have, in order to meet their basic needs. This plan will allow them to begin their classes at Ivy Tech, and also have the guarantee of being able to meet with local employers; job shadow with these employers, and have a potential career path laid out for them.”

Through the New Hoosier Apprenticeship Model, a combination of training, education, career counseling, group activities, and on-the-job learning, will take place with the goal of improving employee retention and reduce turnover from the misaligned and temporary workforces.

Training will include:

  • Fundamental workforce skills – also referred to as soft skills
  • OSHA 10-hour general industry certification – teaching safety awareness and reducing jobsite hazards
  • Southwest Indiana Manufacturing Training, also referred to as Manufacturing Skills Standards Certification (MSSC) – this is a nationally recognized certification, which can be used toward 6 credit hours of a college Advanced Manufacturing Certificate at Ivy Tech
  • On-the-job work – the participant will work for 6 weeks, 40 hours per week, at a manufacturer.

“The program also has a goal of addressing some negative perceptions of manufacturing, as well as attracting qualified applicants who may already be in careers that are not a good fit. An informational campaign is planned to help distribute facts about manufacturing, rather than continue conjecture,” Drake said. “This will culminate with a recruitment event conducted by the Southwest Indiana Workforce Coalition companies and Ivy Tech.”

This project is one of 12 from across the state that was selected by the Indiana Department for Workforce Development who provided a total of $7.7 million in funding.

Students to Get Paid to Learn; Potential for Job Offer Through New Manufacturing Program

Ivy Tech Community College invited to TechHire event at the White House

INDIANAPOLIS – Matthew Etchison, vice president of information technology for Ivy Tech Community College, will participate in today’s Summit at the White House to celebrate TechHire, a campaign by President Obama to expand local tech sectors by building tech talent pipelines in communities across the country.

The White House will bring together more than 100 talented technologists, innovators and community leaders to celebrate the success of TechHire to date, share best practices from some of the TechHire cities, and discuss the industry Tech Inclusion Pledge and recently published grid of best practices to achieve results. The group will also plan for the future of TechHire including the 2017 TechHire + TechUp roadshow.

Ivy Tech was awarded a $2.6 million grant for its Ivy Tech Hires program, which will give training and internships to 330 disadvantaged youth and young adults in order to introduce them to the IT and advanced manufacturing sectors. The 16-week Ivy Tech Hires program includes soft skills job readiness boot campus and accelerated training, which can lead participants to employment or advancement in IT or advanced manufacturing jobs.

Indianapolis will begin its first program, Comptia A+, in February 2017 with 16 students, with Valparaiso, South Bend, Evansville and Fort Wayne starting cohorts running throughout the first half of the year. Four regions will host NIMS Industrial Technology Maintenance programs in fall 2017.

For updates on the TechHire event, participate in the hashtag #TechHire, and follow Twitter handles @WhiteHouse, @WhiteHouseOSTP, @TechHire, and @IvyTechCC.

Ivy Tech Community College invited to TechHire event at the White House