Media Contact
Amanda J. Billings, Executive Director of Marketing and Communications

Phone: (812) 330-6222   |   Fax: (812) 330-6205

Ivy Tech Bloomington graduates to walk across the stage next Friday

May 5, 2011

Bloomington, Ind. Ivy Tech’s Bloomington campus commencement ceremony will take place at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 13 at the Indiana University Auditorium.

Nearly 100 more students will receive degrees this year from Ivy Tech’s Bloomington campus than last year. Approximately 543 students are completing their education by earning associate degrees, technical certificates, and certificates. The number of students graduating with honors is 187, with 13 students earning Summa Cum Laude honors for maintaining a perfect 4.0 grade point average.

The featured speaker is Amber Snider, Ivy Tech nursing graduate. Snider will address fellow graduates with her story of determination and dedication to her academic goals, and how Ivy Tech changed her life.

“Ivy Tech looks forward to commencement each year. It is the culminating event for students,” Chancellor John Whikehart of Ivy Tech’s Bloomington campus said. “We are proud of all of our graduates, and many have overcome great adversity to accomplish their academic goals. Now it’s time for these alumni to carry the torch forward, and I have confidence that they will represent Ivy Tech well in the next chapter of their lives.”

Some of the graduates who will be celebrated at the ceremony include, transfer students, military veterans, sisters, students seeking retraining, and those who have acquired employment because of their education and training at Ivy Tech. Ivy Tech’s Bloomington campus will confer degrees to 19 veterans and 15 graduates with TAA assistance (TAA assistance is for those who were laid off from local manufacturing facilities).

Approximately 76 Associate of Science in Nursing degrees will be awarded, and those nurses will be pinned during the ceremony.

Ivy Tech Community College is the state’s largest public postsecondary institution and the nation’s largest singly accredited statewide community college system serving nearly 200,000 students annually. 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.


All media are invited and encouraged to attend commencement and interview students. An Ivy Tech nursing graduate, Amber Snider, will give the commencement address.

Please contact Amanda Billings if you wish to speak with the commencement speaker prior to graduation, or any of the students listed below about their stories of academic accomplishment.

Graduate stories

Mike Wells
Changed his life through education at Ivy Tech, transferring to a 4-year school

Associate of Applied Science, Industrial Technology (Certificate in Heating and Air Conditioning, Technical Certificate in Industrial Tech)

Mike left high school in the 10th grade and attained his GED. He didn’t see the importance of continuing with school at the time. As a father of two, he spent many years in the construction field working on sweltering roofs in the summer and removing snow in sub-zero temperatures in the winter. He enjoyed his work outside but realized after 20 years, his body needed a rest. He wanted to attain a job in maintenance, but knew he’d need working knowledge of heating and air conditioning. After visiting the Ivy Tech Bloomington campus with a friend, he decided to enroll in a degree program.

Mike faced the difficult challenge of “relearning how to learn,” since he’d been out of school for 20 years. Mike transitioned back into the classroom, and with hard work and dedication he was awarded the Commercial Service of Bloomington Inc. Scholarship and the Monroe County Builders Endowed Scholarship. He was able to focus on school and buy the tools of his trade that were necessary to complete his degree.

He was a two time participant in Alternative Spring Break (volunteer service trip) to Calnali, Mexico in the state of Hidalgo. It was his first time on an airplane and first time out of the country. Mike is transferring to Franklin University to complete his bachelor’s degree. “College was not what I expected – it is much more. College is a dream for me,” Mike said.

tories In Student’s Own Words:

Kelly Boatman
Career Change/Retraining/Gained Employment due to training

Career Development Certificates in Quality Control and Research and Development, Biotechnology

At forty-something, I found myself thinking about a career shift involving biotechnology.  The question was how to make it happen.  Having finished a BS in Biology and an MS in Environmental Science many years ago, the thought of going back to school for another degree had little appeal.  I was in search of an educational opportunity that would enhance my marketability without having to complete a degree program.  I decided to pursue Ivy Tech’s Biotechnology Career Development Certificates as a flexible and affordable way to give me the knowledge I needed to redirect my career.  

The Ivy Tech biotechnology program has excellent laboratory facilities, small classes, and knowledgeable faculty who are well connected with biotechnology companies in the area.  The time I spent in the program refreshed my knowledge of biology, expanded my understanding of biotechnology, and provided abundant opportunities to gain hands-on laboratory experience. 

Upon completion of my certificates, I landed a job that combines my past degrees and work experience with the knowledge I gained from the biotechnology program.  At my age and career stage, it is not easy to go back to the classroom, but the Ivy Tech biotechnology program made it possible and helped me move forward with my career goals.  For that I am appreciative and hope that other non-traditional students will be inspired to take a class and consider the possibilities.

Matt Taflinger
Gained full-time employment because of Ivy Tech training and education

Associate of Applied Science, Information Technology

‘When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade’ is what I have heard over the years, and seemed to be the overall conclusion to losing my primary, full time, day shift job due to financial budget crunching; leaving me to provide for my family with the means a part-time job that I was also working (and still working) in the evenings for a mere minimum wage compensation, which I am grateful for. But, through losing my job, I was able to meet the qualification guidelines for a program through the unemployment office to continue my education.

“I wasn’t college bound”, is what I was told by my guidance counselor in high school since I only managed to achieve a saddened 1.7 GPA, so I began the blue collar labor force, working in factories – which essentially got me into college – digging ditches with an underground telephone contractor, and technical work with a local cable company. But, as many of us do, I felt like I could and should do more, and I wanted to do something with a future in it. College was simply a dream in the clouds for me, but persistence, intuition, and timing put me where I needed to be to learn the basic skill sets that I am continuing to learn to this day allowing me to prove the doubters wrong and also prove to myself that college was for me and I can live that dream!

Nearly 2 years later, I have gained the knowledge needed to succeed in the field of Information Technology-Microsoft Networking through Ivy Tech Community College and my internship position, and have been hired by an IT company even before my graduation date has arrived. I will be finishing my final two courses for summer semester online as I begin my 40+ hour work week on Monday, April 25, 2011 as an IT professional (with the degree just over the horizon).

Dreams can come true if we stay focused and push toward the goal for the prize.

Jennifer Steele and Andrea Sinn

Associate of Science, Nursing

Twenty seven years ago, fresh out of high school, I entered the nursing program at Ivy Tech.  At that time, Ivy Tech Bloomington was a very small community college.  Instead of finishing my degree, I got married and moved to North Carolina where I began a new life as a wife and mother.  My love for the medical field never left me.  It was important to me to be home and available to my kids as my mother always was for me.  I scoured a thick book of career opportunities from the library of things I could do from home.  Medical transcription was the answer.  I entered a 10-week program and began working immediately.  After 12 years in this profession, I became tired of losing my dictators to different systems where transcriptionists were becoming obsolete.

We moved back to Bloomington and with our kids almost grown, a conversation with a friend made me think about going back to school.  Could I do this?  Could this 43-year-old get back into academia?  Not being one to enjoy doing much alone, I had to ask the one person who is most like me, has had a love for the medical field and was once in nursing school without finishing as well.  I had to ask my very best friend, my sister Andrea, to do this with me.  

Ironically, she also had chosen the same path of nursing when she graduated high school and had also planned on attending Ivy Tech for nursing. However, marriage and the pregnancy of her first child put her dream of being a nurse on hold while she raised her 4 children. The love of medicine also sent her on the path of medical transcription for 8 years and, 27 years later, I called to talk over the idea of going back to school. Would she agree? Could we go back after so many years?  After much thought and consideration, she said yes.

It didn’t cross our minds to go anywhere else but Ivy Tech.  Not only was it familiar, but accessible, and affordable.  We would not feel out of place at our ages in the hallways.  We could truly be a part of this student body of all ages and all walks of life.  The nursing program was well known to be an outstanding program which only accepted high academic achievers.  Was it possible for us to get back into the habits of studying again, learning again?  Could we actually get all As and make it into the program? 
We worked hard on the prerequisite courses for nursing.  When it came time for letters to be sent to the students selected, Vicky Lewis knew I was on vacation.  She personally called and was gracious enough to allow me to be the one to tell Andrea that we had both been accepted to the RN program at Ivy Tech!

We can’t wait to wear a badge with RN beside our names.  Andrea and I are confident that with our intensive training we will pass our boards and be ready for our new careers.  We are proud to call ourselves graduates of Ivy Tech Community College Bloomington.

Noel Niehaus

Associate of Applied Science, Business Administration

A graduate poem

I started as a baby, and grew into a boy
Seeing many cities, I’ve seen sadness, I’ve seen joy

When I turned eighteen, I never looked back
The university was calling, but discipline I lacked

My twenties were rough, mistakes made many times
Failing through college, my future had died

I saw hospital beds, vertical bars
Possessions were taken, eating with change from jars

I thought life was over, giving up on myself
There was nothing to gain, there was nothing to dwell

My early thirties I almost died, I remember laying in the hospital bed
Thinking this is better than where I was, and where I was about to head

I will never forget that moment, where the light shined on me
And there I saw a path forward, a blessing I now see

I didn’t see an angel, it didn’t happen in a dream
It came from desperation, I had to survive as it seems

Starting to make better decisions, friends were thrown off from the past
It was time to start all over, time to make the future last

I enrolled back in school, got a new job to survive
My path was moving forward, It was time for a better life

Today I stand here a graduate, a full-time job beneath my feet
But I’ll never forget the adventures, and the life that I have seen

I’ve been to Hollywood and Las Vegas, A rockstar for a few
Danced to Phish along the east coast, Lake Tahoe is truly blue

What I’m trying to say is that I don’t regret, any decisions that I have made
They make me who I am, whom I have portrayed

So I urge you now with freedom, go experience your dream
You create your path forward, live your life who you want to be

I’m very blessed to be standing here, surrounded all by thee
I get to teach others, what life used to be

I thank my education, I thank my family for supporting me
I thank Ivy Tech for my future, I thank God for giving me dreams

So I will leave you now, with life’s little lesson
Give kindness to others, and leave lasting impressions

Kill the ego at your heart, and use your mind to fill the sky
And always leave without a sound, as to never say, goodbye