Getting our hands dirty with Matthew Greenwood

Post by Becky Hart, IU Communications specialist:

When Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis students clear off campus for spring break next week, not everyone will be headed for time in the sun, rest and relaxation. Beginning March 13, those participating in Alternative Spring Break will volunteer six hours per day on projects focused on environmentalism, animal conservation, systemic racism, rural education, HIV/AIDS, indigenous rights, mental health and interfaith social issues.

An alternative break experience can reveal unexpected lessons for many students, something first-year graduate student Matthew Greenwood found out firsthand during last October’s Fall Alternative Break.

Matthew Greenwood

Matthew Greenwood

Volunteering in Columbus, Ohio, through the program sponsored by Campus Center and Student Experiences within the Division of Student Affairs, Greenwood worked on an urban farming project. The project taught him about the value of reclaiming abandoned city lands for growing food crops. It also gave him the background to approach his nonprofit studies from a new perspective.

Greenwood is pursuing a graduate certificate in nonprofit management and plans to complete his Master of Public Affairs in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs. Hailing from Indianapolis’ west side in Speedway, he completed bachelor’s degrees in psychology and philosophy at IUPUI.

Greenwood, who plans to work in the nonprofit sector advocating for vulnerable populations, spoke with IU Communications after participating in the 2016 Fall Alternative Break program.

Q: Why did you decide to go on a Fall Alternative Break?

MG: I wanted to use the extra time that fall break afforded me to delve deeper into social issues and to volunteer that time for a good cause.

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Occupational Therapy students at IUPUI positioned to be early adopters of 3-D printing

3-D printing is a new technology that holds great promise for occupational therapists and their clients. And occupational therapy students in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis will be well-positioned to take advantage of it.

Robin Janson, a clinical assistant professor in the school’s Department of Occupational Therapy, brings her research interest in 3-D applications into the classroom and what she calls her OT Maker Lab, where students learn how to use a 3-D printer to make an assistive device.

Robin Janson with Michaela O'Shaughnessey

Robin Janson with Michaela O’Shaughnessey, a first year ​student in the MS in OT Program.

Janson says that 3-D technology will eventually give occupational therapists an incredible tool to design and manufacture adaptive equipment, assistive devices, therapeutic toys, therapeutic tools, anatomical models, orthotic components and more, from the comfort of their own offices.

She recently wrote about the potential advantages that 3-D can bring: “Consider, for example, a client with arthritis who lacks sufficient grip and pinch skills to successfully remove plastic caps from water bottles because of muscle weakness, joint instability and/or pain. A common approach to restoring independence in this activity is to recommend adaptive technology — for example, a bottle opener. When purchased from a large medical supply company, such a device can cost $13 to $40 — plus shipping and taxes — and take three to five business days to deliver. Alternatively, an assistive device called the “Plastic Cap Wrench” can be made in the clinic, using a desktop 3-D printer from a free online file, for a material cost of 25 cents in as little as 20 minutes.”

The current state of 3-D printing is challenging for occupational therapists to use in a clinic setting, Janson said: “It’s not super user-friendly yet.”

But it’s only a matter of time before the technology improves to the point where it is implemented widely, she said. When it does, Janson wants her students to be prepared to use it as occupational therapist practitioners.

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‘States of Incarceration’ explores history, future of mass imprisonment

Post by John Schwarb, IU Communications specialist:

No other country in the world has embraced incarceration as much as the United States.

That’s a blunt truth — yet perhaps not an irreversible one, as a new exhibit coming to Indianapolis this spring will explore.

“States of Incarceration,” a traveling exhibit and website created by more than 500 students and others affected by imprisonment in 20 cities across the U.S., traces the roots of mass incarceration through communities’ stories and opens dialogue on what should come next. The exhibit is organized by The New School’s Humanities Action Lab, a coalition of universities, issue organizations and public spaces that collaborate to produce community-curated public humanities projects on key social issues.

SOI_LogoIn Indianapolis, students from the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis School of Liberal Arts museum studies program — with support from the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute, the National Endowment for the Humanities, Indiana Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and several other local groups — will install the exhibit that will reside in the atrium of the Indianapolis Public Library’s Central Library downtown from April 13 to May 14.

“There’s an important story to tell in Central Indiana,” said Elizabeth Kryder-Reid, professor of anthropology and museum studies and director of the IUPUI Cultural Heritage Research Center. “The opportunity to have an exhibit like this in the atrium of the Central Library is a chance to engage people in the conversation.”

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Lab coats, gloves and whoops of laughter make up Golden Goggles games

Zachary Balda, Brandon Boyton, Nicholas Hubbard, Taylor Peavey and Adam Sussman.

The Dream Team captures the Golden Goggles. Team members are: Zachary Balda, Brandon Boyton, Nicholas Hubbard, Taylor Peavey and Adam Sussman.

There were the regular accessories of a scientist. White lab coat? Check. Rubber gloves? Check. And of course, goggles. Check.

Whoops of laughter? You bet!

After all, it was the School of Science at IUPUI’s Golden Goggles competition. The annual science games drew 150 students, faculty and staff Feb. 17 who engaged in physical and mental science-related challenges to win the coveted Golden Goggles.

Divided into teams that ranged from three to five players, the competitors faced a series of timed contests from scaling an obstacle course to team trivia in a tournament.

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‘A few minutes with’: Phillip Tennant furniture artisan lecturer Sarah Marriage

Post by John Schwarb, IU Communications specialist:

Sarah Marriage, a Baltimore, Maryland-based maker of fine furniture and other wooden objects, is visiting the Herron School of Art and Design on Monday, Feb. 27, as part of the Phillip Tennant Furniture Artisan Lecture Series. She’s a few weeks from opening “A Workshop of Our Own” in her hometown, a space where female furniture-makers can come together in a supportive environment. She talked with IU Communications about the new shop, baby rattles, how students can get started in the field, and today’s “disposable” furniture.

Q: What inspired you to found “A Workshop of Our Own”?

SM: When I worked in structural engineering, I was in a predominantly female firm, which was a cocoon — I didn’t realize how lucky I was. Then I went to wood school. With four women and 19 men, I didn’t feel a sense of being an “other,” but then I went out into the real world of fabricating furniture, where it’s so majority male.

Sarah Marriage

Sarah Marriage

Culturally, we have this sense that people who work with wood are the working-man type, and there’s a stereotype and romance around this masculine thing, even in shops and cities. It’s uncommon to find a shop with more than one woman, if that. For students like those at Herron, it might be more than 50 percent women in these design programs, but in the real world, going to the lumberyard and bidding on jobs, you’re in a very small minority. Even for those who want women in the field, it’s the default; they just don’t expect you to be a woodworker, and they maybe don’t think you’re as legit. I founded “A Workshop of Our Own” to increase numbers and provide a place for women in the workforce who are discouraged and consider dropping out — to have a place they can go to say “it doesn’t have to be that way” — and for women who never would have gotten into it because they’re too intimidated by the sawmill environment.

Working in an all-women and gender-nonconforming environment actually removes the stigma of gender stereotype. So from the outside, we appear focused on gender, but inside the shop, we’re just woodworkers who aren’t having to deal with constantly being confronted by any gender stereotypes.

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IUPUI class prepares next generation of civic leaders

The School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IUPUI has launched a new course that will help prepare the next generation of civic leaders in Indianapolis.

Called the Indy Community Development Network, the course is the first of its kind at IUPUI, giving students an introduction to many of the tools utilized in community development, said Marshawn Wolley, director of the school’s community engagement and strategic initiatives.

Marshawn Wolley

Marshawn Wolley

Students are learning  about:

  • “People” and “place” community-development strategies and social policy issues including socioeconomic disparities, gentrification, and the role of social justice in thinking about communities
  • How nonprofit and business leaders develop residential or commercial properties for areas of a city or neighborhood to improve affordability and make areas more attractive for further investment
  • How local social entrepreneurs are collaborating with communities to wrestle with their most pressing challenges by designing programs or community initiatives to enhance the quality of life for residents

“The course is for students interested in social justice who are trying to figure out how to make that their career,” Wolley said. The course, which meets weekly in February, is open to SPEA students who have completed at least 60 hours of coursework.

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Seven new academic programs coming to campus this fall

Post by John Schwarb and Rich Schneider, IU Communications media specialists:

If you’re on this page, you might already know that Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis offers more than 350 undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs.

Come this fall, there will be a few more.

Here’s a look at seven new academic programs from a variety of IUPUI schools:

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IUPUI researcher looks to texts to increase empathy among physicians

“Do no harm” are words often associated with the oath taken by physicians when they become practitioners. Amber Comer’s research may add another phrase: Be nice.

As an assistant professor with the Department of Health Sciences in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at IUPUI, Comer is conducting research into a new way  for increasing empathy among physicians.

The need to do so has been identified by the IU School of Medicine and others within the health care profession.

Amber Comer

Amber Comer

“You can be extremely bright, an excellent learner and an outstanding physician but absolutely lack empathy, which has implications for patient care, Comer says: “At the end of the day, a patient doesn’t really know if you are a great doctor. They just know if you were empathetic, if you were nice to them.”

Comer is collecting data for a study that has several components, including one in which she is evaluating how empathetic neurologists are when they speak with family members of patients who have experienced a traumatic stroke.

After observing the conversation, she interviews the doctor and the family members, asking the doctor if he or she believes they were using empathetic statements and the family members if they think the physician had been empathetic.

Comer has found that sometimes physicians think they are being extremely empathetic, but family members don’t feel the same way.

“We’re collecting information on what empathy looks like from the physician’s perspective and what it looks like from the patient’s perspective,” Comer said.

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IUPUI School of Liberal Arts museum studies partnership comes to life in new exhibit

By John Schwarb, IU Communications specialist:

In the annals of Indiana crime, Nancy Clem has a singular place in history: first woman convicted of murder. She was believed to have been a loan shark and a Ponzi schemer (long before the term was invented), and her role in a double murder — and subsequent multiple trials — made her a celebrity criminal.

One hundred and fifty years later, she’s one of three inviting subjects for a museum exhibit.

“New Women of the Harrison Era,” a new exhibit running through Oct. 31 at the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site in Indianapolis, features Clem and two other women with connections to the former president. The exhibit was conceptualized by Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis students in the School of Liberal Arts museum studies program, with the collection, compiling and displaying of artifacts by Katelyn Coyne, 2016 curatorial fellow and museum studies MA candidate.

It’s the first Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site “New Century Curator” exhibit, the result of a partnership with IUPUI.

Visitors can take a selfie with Frances Benjamin Johnston in a studio resembling what hers might have looked like.

Visitors can take a selfie with Frances Benjamin Johnston in a studio resembling what hers might have looked like.

“When the Presidential Site came to us with the idea to partner, it was an easy decision to get on board,” said Elee Wood, director of museum studies at the IUPUI School of Liberal Arts. “Our objective is to help grow a new generation of museum professionals through collaborative training and hands-on experience with innovative exhibit planning, curatorial research, education and collections, so this was a great opportunity to do just that.”

In addition to Clem (whose trials were handled by Harrison’s law firm), also spotlighted are Frances Benjamin Johnston, who pioneered the role of official White House photographer beginning with Harrison’s term; and Belva Lockwood, who ran against Harrison for the presidency in 1888 and became the first woman to receive votes for the nation’s highest office.

“This timely exhibit gives an important glimpse into that era,” said Charles Hyde, president and CEO of the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site. “It defies expectations for what women were doing at that time to assert their own rights. It’s surprising to see the common thread and how each story intertwines with Harrison’s at the dawn of the modern era.”

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IUPUI professor helps PBS series ‘Mercy Street’ accurately portray Civil War hospital drama

Like millions of other viewers, English professor Jane Schultz couldn’t wait to watch the second season of “Mercy Street,” the PBS Civil War-era hospital drama, beginning Jan. 22.

Inspired by real events in Alexandria, Virginia, and based on diaries and letters of hospital staff, the series has the ring of authority. As one of four full-time advisors to “Mercy Street,” Schultz, a literary scholar and cultural historian who has spent nearly 30 years revealing the world of Civil War hospitals and medicine, contributes her extensive knowledge of that period to make it so.

“Mercy Street” is PBS’s first original drama in more than a decade. Nearly 6 million viewers watched the first season’s premiere a year ago.

The series’ producers invited Schultz to come to Richmond, Virginia, where “Mercy Street” hospital scenes are shot. She spent a week and a half last June watching scenes for the second season being filmed in an old girls school that serves as the show’s Mansion House Hospital.

She not only watched, but joined the cast as an extra for one scene.

Jane Schultz in period costume

Jane Schultz in period costume

If the scene isn’t cut, viewers will see Schultz for about 15 seconds in the background, talking to a patient in a wheelchair and then walking away from him.

While the scene is only seconds long, it took three hours for her to be dressed in a corset and hoop skirt and have her hair and makeup done.

Schultz plans to write about the insights that experience gave her into the position of women in the 19th century for the series’ blog. “It gave me a new insight by walking in their shoes, quite literally,” she said. Read more…