Opening minds through art

August 31st, 2015

Opening Minds through Art (OMA) is an innovative art-based program which connects students with elders with dementia and fosters communication, self-worth and social interaction through art projects. Beginning in the Fall 2015 semester, the IU East Center for Service Learning will be partnering with Friends Fellowship Community to present this groundbreaking service engagement program to IU East students and staff for the first time.

oma logo

OMA was developed by gerontologist and artist Like Lokon, who is currently director of the Scripps Gerontology Center at Miami University (Oxford, OH). She was motivated to create the OMA program after she spent eight years with nursing home residents, paying particular attention to the abilities retained by elders with dementia. She found that, even as elders lost their ability to remember and process information, they were still capable of making remarkable creative works. OMA was developed in order to use that creative ability as a launching pad toward better communication skills and greater self confidence for those with dementia.

seniors painting

IU East has teamed up with Friends Fellowship Community in Richmond, IN to bring OMA to its residents and the campus community. Friends Fellowship and IU East are conducting the first OMA program in Indiana. Students and volunteers from IU East will be matched to a senior with dementia at Friends Fellowship. Over the course of nine weeks, senior artists will have the opportunity to create dazzling works of abstract art, with the assistance and encouragement of their IU East partners. Works will be chosen for display in a public art show at the end of each term, which will be held at Friends Fellowship. A LibGuide discussing the OMA program and providing some sample works of art can be found at

For those who are interested in participating, contact KT Lowe at or 765-973-8434. Training takes place on Friday, September 11th and Friday, September 18th, from 3:00-4:30 PM and will be conducted by Like Lokon. Once training is completed, OMA projects begin Tuesday, September 22nd and Friday, September 25th. Volunteers will be able to choose OMA sessions on Tuesdays, 1:00-2:30 PM or Fridays, 3:00-4:30 PM, and will meet with their partners weekly until Friday, November 20th. It is extremely important that volunteers make every OMA session. The connection between volunteers and OMA artists is very strong, and artists come to anticipate their OMA time.

mirror painting

The award winning program has received acclaim from a number of bodies and agencies. In August 2015, OMA was designated a Quality Improvement Program in the state of Ohio, where OMA originated. Also in August 2015, OMA earned the “Program of Distinction” award from Generations United, which is one of the highest designations a program of this type can receive in the United States. It has also received the “Best Practice” award from LeadingAge Ohio, a consortium of 400 nursing residences in the state, and featured as a model program by the National Center for Creative Aging. OMA is currently in place in 29 facilities in seven states, Canada and the Netherlands.

painting with volunteer

OMA was developed along the lines of strengths-based psychology – that is, OMA works with what elders with dementia can do, as opposed to what they cannot do. The works of art are created in sequences of no more than 11 steps (and often fewer), but offer a range of choices for artists to render their works. These failure-free abstract works instill a sense of confidence and accomplishment in elders with dementia. OMA respects the capabilities of the artists while demonstrating their abilities to others in a pronounced, beautiful way.

Ebooks on Parade

August 24th, 2015

Chances are, if you use ebooks for leisure reading, you use a device like a Kindle, Nook, or iPad. But up until recently, our academic ebooks have not been useable on devices like that – they’ve been more akin to what you would find on Project Gutenberg, GoogleBooks, or the Baen Free Library. Designed for a computer, and only usable on a device that was actively on the internet.

But times are changing. This month, EBSCO eBooks – one of our largest ebook providers – has just rolled out a new app that will let you access and use tens of thousands of volumes on iOS devices including the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch (download the app here), Android devices (download the app here), Kindle, and Nook (follow the instructions here). Now you’ll have all the ease of access that you’re used to from commercial applications, and be able to read whether you’re connected to the internet or not!



And EBSCO isn’t the only one with such a service. A year ago, eBrary, our largest ebook vendor, made their collection usable through the Bluefire app (which you might already have on your device, if you’re an avid ebook reader). Bluefire can be downloaded here for iOS devices, and here for Android.

So if you love your Kindle but find reading on your computer screen a chore, this is very good news. Read an academic ebook without the eyestrain on an E-Ink device. Make the highlights and annotations you want without fear of damaging it. Synchronize across multiple devices, if you use more than one. And, of course, the convenience. You can read them anywhere – on the bus. Under a tree. Even take them on parade!

Any questions? Ask us at!

Celebration of Service

August 17th, 2015

The IU East Academic Outreach Summer Tutoring Program wrapped up this past week, with thirteen IU East students tutoring a total of 38 K-12 students for 165 hours. Completing 155 sessions over the course of eleven weeks, all registrants were accommodated, even those on the waitlist. All of the parents/guardians (21) that completed evaluations agreed that the summer tutoring program helped their child. Thirteen of the 21 parents agreed that their child understood the subject(s) better than before tutoring, with seven of these parents saying they couldn’t be sure until the school year started. All of the students but one who completed evaluations (22) agreed that their tutor helped them, and 17 out of 22 said they felt like they understood their subject better than before tutoring. The 2015 Summer Tutoring program provided a way for IU East students/tutors to make a significant impact in their community.

A previous blog introduced you to a few of these dedicated service-learning students who, in addition to tutoring, engaged in more than 100 hours of summer service each week, through the IU East Center for Service-Learning. This week’s blog continues with the student introductions, their accomplishments, and their reflections on service-learning experiences.

1 Katelyn Brown

Katelyn Brown and friend at Girls Inc.

Katelyn Brown is a biochemistry major with a Spanish minor. She plans on attending Dental School and becoming a bilingual dentist. Katelyn chose the Summer Tutoring Program for her Honors Senior Thesis project, and she assisted or led in the design, implementation, and management of all aspects of this project, including tutoring. Katelyn has been involved in service-learning since her second semester at IU East, when she started a weekly Music Club at Girls Inc. Since then, she tutored EL students at five different local schools, served as an English Learning (EL) Literacy Coach at the schools, and promoted service-learning as an SI for Spanish classes at IU East. A service-learning project for her Honors Senior Thesis seemed like the perfect choice.

2 Katelyn Brown

Katelyn Brown (left) and student at IU East Center for Service-Learning

 “For me, this program was very rewarding in that it allowed me to make an impact with many different types of students in my community…The children and teens that were tutored came to a college campus once a week for this program, and the tutors provided real-life models of college students. Both of these aspects may have inspired the children/teens to at least think of college as an option as they get older…The IU East students were able to not only impart knowledge, but to form a relationship with the students from the community. This sharing of knowledge and experiences may have further encouraged the children/teens to consider a future which includes college, and it may have let them know that it’s okay to struggle with things, because their tutors shared their struggles.” – Katelyn Brown

Hannah Castor’s first experience with service-learning in a Professional Writing Skills course in Spring 2015 “significantly impacted her educational choices,” pushing her in the direction of professional and technical writing. “My perception about literacy issues in Wayne County has changed since working with K-Ready; I knew that there was a learning struggle for low-income children, but I was not aware of the large number of these kids until just recently… I sincerely hope that this grant will earn K-Ready additional funding so that more kids can be reached. .. I would definitely love to volunteer at some of their events if Bethany needs assistance.”  ( Hannah volunteered for K-Ready’s Baby Genius Summer Bash (pictured), addressing literacy and education for families with babies.

3 Hannah Castor

Hannah Castor (left), Hope Peer, and Katelyn Brown – serving at K-Ready’s Baby Genius Summer Bash 2015

Hannah’s service experiences, including Lemonade Days Training, connected her with the Center for Service-Learning and she volunteered to be a summer tutor!

“My first tutoring session was the most memorable because of his attitude toward learning. I had planned to spend the hour getting to know him and playing a few games, but he instead wanted to dive right into the learning experience. He picked out books to read, asked me to give him math problems to work on, and continually asked me what was next after completing a task. I was greatly surprised by his excitement; I had anticipated challenges in getting him to focus on tasks, but he was ready to learn. He told me math was his hardest subject but that he wanted to learn more about it in order to get better, and I could definitely learn a lot from him in this respect. The next session, his mom told me how excited he was to come back and learn more math, and I was really happy to see his positive attitude.”

Trevor Boram is a double major in biochemistry and mathematics, with plans of attending medical school. In addition to being a Summer Tutor, Trevor is also a Summer Research Scholar, working with Yu Kay Law, assistant professor of chemistry, on “The Decay of Excited State DNA: A Molecular Scale Analysis.” He continues to tutor in math and science at Richmond High School in the Fall.

4 Trevor Boram Trevor Boram and student at Summer Tutoring program at IU East

“My background as a guitar teacher, math and science tutor, and son of a teacher helped me understand what is achievable by students. Students will put more effort into something when they start to notice observable improvement. That is the point where a student is more committed to their own success after enjoying a feeling of success after a struggle with a hard topic, like playing an instrument or solving a math problem… My most memorable experience as a tutor was probably the first time [a student] told me that because of the different methods I used to explain a difficult topic (long division of polynomials), he was able to understand pre-calculus better than he did after taking it a year ago.” – Trevor Boram

Kristina Kier, an education student, served last year at Vaile Elementary, helping in classrooms and after school. “Kristina helped with being a continuing presence in the lives of the children at Vaile in the kindergarten and third grade classrooms. She also continued to help with tutoring at the after school program, Kristina’s continued service to our school all year gave the students a chance to get count on an adult for support in bettering their life. A lot of the students at Vaile do not have a stable influence in their life so it makes a difference for them to have the same person to help them and celebrate their achievements throughout the year… Kristina did a wonderful job with our students. She made several connections with students that made a world of difference to how the student made it through the school year.” – Tammy Newton, CIS Coordinator at Vaile Elementary

5 Kristina Kier

Kristina Kier (left) with student and parent, Summer 2015

This summer, Kristina helped with the Richmond YMCA’s summer Y-Care program, in addition to her academic outreach through the IU East Summer tutoring program.

Helping tutor this summer has been a great experience. I have been able to connect with the children and help them to connect with their subjects, keeping their minds tuned so that they will be better prepared when they enter school this fall. It was exciting when I was struggling to find a way to help and I found that ‘just right book’ and we were able to practice phonics together with enthusiasm.” – Kristina Kier

Coty Barrett is an English major with a minor in Spanish and Philosophy. During the school year, Coty utilized his Spanish language skills to help adult English Learners at Richmond Adult Education. At the beginning of the summer, Coty said,“I am exploring the possibility of becoming a teacher after college. Hopefully tutoring will give me some insight into this career.

6 corey barrett

Coty Barrett (front left) with family, including two tutoring students

“I am considering working on becoming a teacher after I graduate, and so I seek opportunities to give myself a taste of what real teaching experiences are like. I always appreciate a chance to challenge myself and learn about the difficulties and joys of teaching. That was what initially pushed me to begin tutoring children and adults. I wanted to try teaching a wide variety of people on a wide variety of subjects to see what would click for me. I feel like I have learned just as much as the people I have taught during these experiences, and I continue to seek new, equally enlightening opportunities. All of my tutoring experiences have been within the service-learning program of IU East… All of my experiences within service-learning have provided me with the skills, knowledge, and desire to keep making a meaningful contribution.” – Coty Barrett

Building from ideas and research

August 10th, 2015

Construction is in the air at IU East! The new Student Events and Activities Center is taking shape! New buildings are always a welcome barometer of progress. IU East has grown from just Whitewater, to include Hayes, Middlefork (later renamed Tom Raper), and Springwood Halls. It is worth noting that all of those things were built from pieces. Some of the pieces were physical – lumber, pipes, wiring, drywall. Others were conceptual – ideas, plans, vision.


Research is like that, too. First you have an idea – a topic you’re interested in, or a question you have. And you think about it, refining it and making choices about what would make a good paper, project, or experiment. Then, when it comes time to research, you use more concrete tools. Books, journal articles, reviews, videos. The building blocks of good, grounded arguments. And as you write and rewrite, you get closer and closer to the final, finished product. The search itself is made of pieces, too. What words you use or exclude. Whether you’ll limit by date. Thinking about those pieces, like an architect thinking about construction materials, can help your final ‘structure’ be something magnificent.

So, for example, I might be interested in the development of the game chess – my vision. Thinking further, and reading about it, I might conclude that the precursor games that chess evolved from, like Chaturanga in India and Shatranj from Persia, are too dissimilar to modern chess to interest me. I might conclude that I want to focus on chess development in medieval Europe – a time when pieces like the queen and rules like castling were introduced, and the game began to take on a more recognizable form. That’s like my blueprint.

Then, I search. I pick a database like ProQuest and run a search like chess AND (medieval OR “middle ages”) AND (develop* OR evolution). This is my foundation, and what the rest of my work will be based on. Some of the stuff I find include books like Chess in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Age: A Fundamental Thought Paradigm of the Premodern World and articles or dissertations like Gender, Play, and Power: The Literary Uses and Cultural Meanings of Medieval Chess in Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries. These are my frame and walls. My raw materials.

And finally, as I write my paper – synthesize this research – it’s like creating a new building. Some essays are easy – a two page position paper might be like constructing a treehouse, while a thesis feels more like building a skyscraper – but you’re building something all the same. But for this type of construction work, you don’t need a hard hat!

Any questions on your research? Ask us at!

1474 caxton chess woodcut

Latino Americans: 500 Years of History hosted by IU East

August 3rd, 2015


Latino Americans: 500 Years of History is a public programming initiative produced by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the American Library Association (ALA), and is part of an NEH initiative, The Common Good: The Humanities in the Public Square. Indiana University East is the proud recipient of a $10,000 ALA/NEH which will enable us to host a variety of programs throughout the 2015-16 school year.

We kick off our theme year on September 8th with the first of six episodes of the critically acclaimed PBS series Latino Americans. Films will be shown alternately at the Morrison Reeves Library and at IU East. Film discussions will be led by Dr. Christine Nemcik, who serves as the program scholar and is Assistant Professor of History and of World Languages and Cultures at IU East. A summary of each episode is available here: and the series is also viewable online

To learn more about members of the Latino community in the Wayne County area, there will be an oral history project, “Cultural Connections.” Immediately following each film and other programs, Latino participants will have an opportunity to pair with an IU East student and tell their stories, to be compiled into a larger oral history project detailing the Latino history of the local area. In addition, IU East will launch Los lobos rojos escriben, a writing program that connects IU East students with local youth and other members of the community to share stories through writing.

For those interested in writing and activism, there will be a presentation by Dr. Marjorie Agosin on Oct. 12. Author of I Lived on Butterfly Hill and winner of the Neustadt International Prize for Literature, Agosin be on campus to speak about human rights and the memorialization of tragic events. A Chilean native who earned her Ph.D at Indiana University, Agosin’s family fled Chile in the wake of Pinochet’s administration. She has written extensively on the brutalities of the Pinochet regime and continues to advocate for women’s rights in her native country. In addition to her talk, Agosin will conduct a workshop on making arpilleras, which are tapestries intended as a form of protest. More information here:

A variety of special programs will be part of the Latino Americans theme year. At Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) on October 24th at Morrisson Reeves Library from 2-3:30 participants will be able to build their own ofrendas (memorial altars) to the memory of their loved ones. There will be a chocolate tasting on January 16th at Morrisson Reeves Library and a seminar on Latinos and the local police on March 23rd, 2016. In May, Dia del Nino (Day of the Child) will be held at the Boys and Girls Club, with activities for children and their families. Starting in September 2015, you can tune in Thursdays at 9 pm to WCTV to see Vida! our community television series on Latino culture. Vida! features episodes on food, culture, history, and more.

From February 26th to March 25th, 2016 the Richmond Art Museum will host “Art is… Latin America”, an interactive cultural exploration program will focus on the art of several Latin American nations.  Children will engage in hands-on activities in small groups, recreating arts and crafts traditional or representational to the countries being studied. Teachers and homeschoolers may schedule field trips through RAM Education Director Lance Crow,

In addition to events, we have resources in the Campus Library to assist with research about Latinos. Latin American Women Writers contains 103,624 pages of prose, poetry and drama, all searchable and some including images of the original printed text. Its companion database, Latino Literature, comprises a similar amount of material. Both databases include works in Spanish, Portuguese and a limited number of English works. Sabin Americana includes a wealth of primary source documents in their original language that trace the history of the Americas. Feminism in Cuba includes documents covering the history of Cuban feminism from 1898 to 1958, a crucial period between the Spanish-American war and Castro’s revolution.

We’re excited to share what we have scheduled and invite campus and community members to participate. The schedule and additional resources are here: If you have questions you are welcome to contact us: