Jennifer Bute has unique opportunity to help shape food allergy research

Since last August, Jennifer Bute, a health communication expert in the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, has had a seat on a new national board that was formed to help Food Allergy Research and Education prioritize its research initiatives. FARE is the leading U.S. organization dedicated to advocacy for research and education about life-threatening food allergies.

Jennifer Bute

Jennifer Bute

Bute was one of about 40 researchers, patients and caregivers selected by the organization to serve for two years on its Outcomes Research Advisory Board.

She brought her expertise as an associate professor of communication studies to the post. She also brought the concerns of a mom of a 6-year-old boy who has a life-threatening allergy to peanuts and tree nuts.

She has the opportunity to work with other members of the advisory board to inform and help develop a patient-centered research agenda related to food allergy diagnosis, management strategies, therapeutic options and disparities in care among some minority populations.

There are 15 million Americans with food allergies, including those at risk for life-threatening anaphylaxis. This potentially deadly condition affects 1 in every 13 children in the United States.

Since being appointed to the board, Bute and fellow board members have been working to prioritize what they think are some of the most pressing research needs.

For Bute, two food allergy-related concerns head the list.

“The first is the diagnosis of a food allergy, which is confusing and frustrating,” she said. “The testing that currently exists for food allergies has a 50 to 60 percent false-positive rate, which means that people are often told they have food allergies they don’t have.”

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IUPUI student joins Indiana Bicentennial Torch on inspirational odyssey

By Rich Schneider, IU Communications Specialist:

The Indiana Bicentennial Torch traveled more than 3,000 miles as it completed a five-week journey across Indiana, leaving thousands of Hoosiers inspired by one of the major commemorative events of the state’s 2016 bicentennial celebration.

And for one week, Sari Swinehart, a School of Physical Education, Tourism and Event Management student at IUPUI, got to play a unique role in that inspirational odyssey.

Swinehart was one of six tourism and event management students who assisted with Torch Relay logistics. The assignment stemmed from a discussion between the school and the state’s tourism office about partnering for the bicentennial event. Five undergraduate students each spent a week traveling with the torch, while one graduate student spent all five weeks assisting with the Torch Relay logistics.

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What attracts non-wealthy voters to Donald Trump?

By Rich Schneider, IU Communications Specialist:

Count Amanda Friesen, an assistant professor of political science in the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, among those who wondered why working-class voters of modest means support billionaire Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump.

After all, these supporters generally fared the worst in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis and the Great Recession. So what was the attraction to a man of wealth, privilege and a Wharton degree?

Friesen, in a recent interview and a blog post, turned to her research to explain why.

Her theory is: It’s not Trump’s wealth so much as the way he uses it.

Friesen and a colleague, Matthew Hibbing, recently published an article that explores the relationship between personal money attitudes and government spending.

Amanda Friesen

Amanda Friesen

“You hear all the time the idea that government should be run like a business,” she said. “If I can balance my household budget, why can’t the government? I discovered people don’t seem to connect how they think about money with their belief about how government should think about money. In other words, there are frugal liberals and frugal conservatives.”

She also looked at questions related to how people feel about material things. Participants indicated the extent to which they agreed with statements such as “Buying things gives me a lot of pleasure” and answered whether they put more emphasis on material things “than most people I know.”

“Our research found if a person looks at material items — be they cars, houses, clothes, jewelry — as central to their sense of self, they are less in favor of distributing wealth through political policies favored by liberals,” Friesen said. “That suggests their attitude is “Because things are central to who I am, I don’t want to give up any more money in taxes, because I want to buy things.”

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IUPUI, Butler University join forces for chance to win $50,000 sustainability prize

By Rich Schneider, IU Communication Specialist

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis’ sustainability director and Butler University’s sustainability coordinator will stand shoulder-to-shoulder Oct. 10 at a conference in Baltimore, where they will make a high-stakes three-minute pitch for a food-composting proposal they hope will bring the two campuses $50,000.

The proposal would create a collaborative large-scale composting collection program between the two Indianapolis universities as a means to catalyze a citywide composting program.

The IUPUI-and-Butler proposal is one of 226 that were submitted to Kimberly-Clark Professional’s “Sustainable Campus Competition LIVE” grant competition for colleges and universities. The joint proposal was selected as one of three finalists for the $50,000 grant the company will award to the winner.

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Visiting U.S. Embassy in Croatia becomes empowering experience

Guest post by Rob Schneider, School of Social Work coordinator of external affairs:

Carmen Luca Sugawara knew that she and her students would have a strong program for their stay in Zagreb, the first leg of their 18-day study-abroad course in Croatia. But what she did not know was the impact that adding the U.S. Embassy to her program would make to her students’ learning outcomes.

For the last five years, Luca Sugawara, an associate professor of social work at the Indiana University School of Social Work at IUPUI, has taken students to Croatia for her international service-learning course, Social Work Practice in Post-War Communities.

During previous learning-abroad experiences, she had hoped the students would have an opportunity to meet with the U.S. Ambassador to Croatia, but scheduling challenges had made it impossible. This year, however, the students managed to secure a visit at the embassy before traveling to Osijek, Croatia.

Luca Sugawara developed the course as a learning platform to give students a sense of what it’s like to work within a country that experienced an ethnic war and to serve a global community. While the students may never work abroad, being away from one’s cultural support, in a post-war environment, enables students to learn about themselves and the world in a way that no classroom environment can duplicate. She believed the embassy could offer an invaluable perspective to the students’ understanding of working abroad.

Although Luca Sugawara was excited about this new addition to the Croatia Study Abroad program, what she expected was a quick meet-and-greet and a tour of the embassy. Her hope was at best to have a chance to talk with the Chief of Mission while they were in the building.

“To my surprise, the visit was put together very thoroughly to welcome our students as well as to help us learn the type of work the U.S. Embassy does abroad, and more specifically to learn about its efforts to foster democracy in this country and the region,” Luca Sugawara said.

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Life-Health Sciences Internship Program celebrates 10 years of accomplishments

The Life-Health Sciences Internship Program at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis has much to celebrate as it marks its 10th anniversary.

Over the last decade, the program has placed more than 500 sophomores and juniors in internships focused on health and life science fields, providing them with a critical asset when they seek employment upon graduation: experience.

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Nursing alumna reflects on rededicated Ball Nurses Sunken Garden

By Rich Schneider, IU Communications Specialist:

Ruth Rodefeld turned around in her chair under the white tent on the lawn behind Ball Hall to watch students strolling through Ball Nurses Sunken Garden, just like she had done more than 50 years ago.

There were the brick walks, grassy areas and sparkling water spraying from a fountain. And there, in the middle of the fountain, was the bronze sculpture, “Eve.” On this day, Rodefeld and Eve were back in their rightful places.

Rodefeld, along with other IU School of Nursing alumni, faculty and staff as well as IU administrators including President Michael McRobbie, gathered on June 21 to rededicate Ball Nurses Sunken Garden, conceived in 1929 as a therapeutic green space with a convalescent park at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

The garden was designed by Olmsted Brothers, the firm founded by the father of American landscape architecture, Frederick Law Olmsted. It was named in recognition of a $500,000 gift from brothers George and Frank Ball of Muncie for the construction of a home for the nurses of Riley Hospital.

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Visual communication design class plays role in zero-waste initiative at IU Natatorium

By Rich Schneider, IU Communications Specialist:

The Indiana University Natatorium will make sustainability history June 18 when it begins operating as a zero-waste athletic facility for the 2016 Olympic Diving Trials.

It  will be the first athletic facility in Indiana to achieve zero-waste goals and the first host of an Olympic event to have a zero-waste designation.

Zero Waste infographicBeing a zero-waste venue means that by weight, 90 percent of all waste must be recycled or composted. Only 10 percent may be disposed of as trash. In a typical trash can , about 75 percent of what has been thrown away is recyclable, while another 20 to 25 percent is compostable.

A number of athletic facilities, particularly at the collegiate level, have tried to reach zero waste, but many have fallen short. But staff at the IU Natatorium and the Office of Sustainability at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis are confident the initiative will succeed.

That confidence springs, in part, from the work done by a Herron School of Art and Design visual communication design class.

Led by assistant professor Pamela Napier, the students were asked, among other things, to design signage that would guide athletes, fans and others to use not only trash and recycle bins, but a third kind of bin that was added for the zero-waste initiative: compost bins.

The project was a natural fit for Napier’s class, which emphasizes community-engaged service learning for students.

“I am always looking for community partners, people who have a problem they need help with, and that gives my students real-world experience,” Napier said.

The students’ efforts began with intense research, including field research in which one student team went to the Indianapolis International Airport to watch people as they used trash and recycling stations to understand their habits and behaviors, Napier said.

“One of the things we’re really trying to instill in the students in our program is using people-centered design, which focuses on the active inclusion of users and stakeholders throughout the design process,” she said. “Rather than the students making assumptions, like “we need to have all visuals on the signage,” they engaged in a lot of generative and evaluative feedback to make sure what they were creating was appropriate.”

“One of the interesting things the students found was that there is a split second to capture people’s attention when they are standing at a trash or recycle station and thinking ‘what do I do with this?'” Napier said.

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Theme of art exhibit by Herron faculty member and other artists tied to Indianapolis 500

By Rich Schneider, IU Communications Specialist:

Several artists, including Herron School of Art and Design faculty member Danielle Riede, have their work on display at an exhibit in Indianapolis that takes as its theme the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500.

The name of the show, “Asphaltum,” makes the connection between these two very different worlds: It is named for a component used both in pavement and in artists’ materials. In this case, Asphaltum is bringing together artists with work that expresses ideas related to auto racing and the Indianapolis 500.


One of the pieces you can see at the “Asphaltum” show.

The exhibit is at the Schwitzer Gallery on the second floor of the Circle City Industrial Complex, at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and 10th Street. The facility was constructed in the 1920s by Louis Schwitzer, winner of the first automobile race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the engineer behind the famous “Marmon Wasp” engine that propelled Ray Harroun to victory in the first Indy 500.

“Last year, I went to the Indy 500 for the first time and experienced the race,” said Riede, a painter/installation artist and an associate professor at Herron. “I was really blown away by the sheer speed of it, so much so that I almost felt like I was in a video game. It was just really shocking to me.”

“When I went, I really couldn’t believe it. I think maybe if you have grown up going to the race, maybe it wouldn’t feel so impactful, although I can’t presume to know how other people might feel about the race,” Riede said. “But it’s nearly impossible when you’re up so close to focus on the cars zooming by.”

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An undelivered speech for a shining moment in baseball

By Diane Brown, IU Communications Specialist

Many of Martin Luther King Jr.’s words, such as “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” “I’ve Been to the Mountain Top” and the famous “I Have a Dream,” are defining moments in American history.

But in a twist of fate, the brilliant orator never delivered one speech he wrote specifically to mark a special night in history. Read more…