July 2021 News

Residential and Student Affairs Welcomes New Administrative Coordinator

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Anna Sammelson joined the Indiana Academy in July of 2021 as our new Residential and Student Affairs Administrative Coordinator. Anna works behind the front desk at Wagoner Hall and is excited to be a first point of contact for students and visitors at the Academy. She wears many hats, including maintaining sign in and sign out records for students when leaving and entering the Academy, overseeing daily desk duties such as mail and space reservations, maintaining financial records related to residential and student affairs, handling student room keys, and assisting the School Nurse with medication.

Anna grew up in Minnesota and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from Gustavus Adolphus College. She moved to Muncie in 2003, following 6 years of living in Davis, California. Anna is married with 2 boys. The oldest was a 2021 graduate of Indiana Academy and is now attending Purdue and the youngest is a high school student at Burris and plays on the soccer team. Anna enjoys her 3 cats, cooking and baking, traveling and exploring new places, and getting back to Minnesota as often as possible.

Academy Welcomes Dr. Joel Olufowote as Director of Academic Affairs

Monday, July 12, 2021

Dr. Joel Olufowote is excited to join the Indiana Academy community this summer and considers it a tremendous privilege to serve as its next Director of Academic Affairs. Olufowote has spent over a decade on the college campus as a professor of political science with increasing academic and administrative responsibility over diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Prior to joining the Academy, Dr. Olufowote served as Associate Professor of Political Science and Executive Director for Inclusive Excellence at Indiana Wesleyan University, he was an Assistant Professor of Political Science and founding Faculty Director of the Center for Community Inclusion at McMurry University from 2013-2018, and a Rockefeller Postdoctoral Fellow in Public Policy and Public Affairs at SUNY-Albany before joining the McMurry faculty. From 2009-2016, Dr. Olufowote also worked as a program advisor for the Study of the United States Summer Institute for exceptional foreign students- funded by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. State Department- and is currently a diversity research consultant for senior management with the Association of Equipment Distributors.

Dr. Olufowote earned his Ph.D. in Political Science from Southern Illinois University, M.A. in Political Science from Southern Illinois University, and B.S. in Economics and Finance from the University of Indianapolis. His research and scholarly activity can be found in outlets such as USA Today, the Association of Equipment Distributors Foundation Report, Construction Equipment Guide, Equipment World, Service Truck Magazine, among others.

Beta Club National Convention Results

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

During May Term, the Indiana Academy Beta Club participated in an online National Convention. Since the convention was not held in-person until the weekend of June 26, results have not been available until now. Students were able to participate if they placed in the top three at State Convention in November.

Congratulations to:
Wendy Pan – 4th Place in Mathematics Testing
Julie Pichonnat, Kamarie Fuller-Davis, and Shivali Singireddy – 7th Place in Marketing and Communications

Beta Club co-president Andrew Pilat said, “Despite the timing of the convention, our students really showed up this year. I am proud of everyone for their efforts and excited to see the future of the club next year.”

Important Update: Return To School Plan

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

The Academy has published its Return to School Plan & Guidelines for the fall of 2021. You may read the plan here, or download a copy to print here.

May Term Art Show

Friday, May 28, 2021

For the May Term class: Exploration of Drawing and Painting, students put together an Art Show to display different works of art from this class on Friday, May 28 in Elliott/Willis Commons.

Over the previous two weeks, students explored principles of art such as: light and shading, use of color to convey emotion, perspective using the vanishing point, calligraphy, incorporating textures, as well as themes for inspiration such as gratitude, nature, friendship, family, and “what am I most looking forward to doing post-pandemic?” The artists loved to share their work and the Academy community could marvel over their creative pieces of art.

Each student chose at least five of their artworks to put into this show, and we are happy to present a slide show of some of the work.

Below is a presentation about the art show.

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Outstanding Senior in Mathematics and Computer Science Award

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Robert Sammelson, Outstanding Senior in Mathematics and Computer Science, with the Math and CS faculty.
L to R: Ms. Jessica Edrington, Mr. Joshua Ruark, Ms. Kim Foltz, Robert Sammelson, Ms. Susie Cunningham, Ms. Megan Wright, Dr. Michael Niemeier

Each spring, the Math and Computer Science Division of the Indiana Academy selects a student to receive the Outstanding Senior in Mathematics and Computer Science Award. This year’s recipient was Robert Sammelson. In just four semesters at the Academy, Robby completed six college-level math classes and six college-level computer science classes. Robby also participated in the area robotics team and was the captain of the Academy’s Academic Super Bowl Math Team, which was the state champion this year. Robby was recognized at an informal reception on May 27 with the Academy’s Mathematics and Computer Science Division faculty and Academy administrators Dr. Dain Kavars and Dr. Jeff Smith. To commemorate his accomplishments, he was given a certificate and a copy of Exploring Chaos, a book to allow him to enjoy additional studies in math and computer science.

Important Graduation Information (Email)

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Hello Academy community,

There seems to be a lot of confusion surrounding this year’s graduation. I am hopeful this email helps to clear much of it up. Please read through the below for specifics around this year’s Graduation Ceremonies this Saturday, May 29th.

Graduation will begin at 11:30 am on Saturday, May 29th. Graduates from the classes of 2020 and 2021 will be recognized. Graduates, faculty, and staff are expected to be at Worthen arena on the floor near their seats by 11:15 am at the latest. Doors to Worthen open for family seating starting at 10 am.

Tickets: NO TICKETS FOR GRADUATION. As stated in a previous email, based on the number of people we are expecting to attend we will not be issuing or requiring tickets for this year’s graduation event. Seating is first-come-first-served and families are required to sit in the specially marked pods of seats per Worthen event staff. Please sit in a grouping of seats that matches your group as closely as possible – if you are a group of two, a group of 6 may need that larger grouping so please find a small pair of two open seats.

Where: all families and students should enter through Gate 1 Lower Level (unless specifically directed otherwise by me). Attached is a portion of the Ball State campus map with landmarks and arrows with directions.

Masks ARE STILL REQUIRED per Ball State regulations. Everyone entering Worthen Arena will be required to wear a mask throughout the ceremony.

If you are helping with or performing at Graduation any questions about timing or when or where to be must be directed to Mrs. Wright.

Graduation rehearsal will be Friday, May 28th starting at 12:30 pm. Teachers have been asked to excuse senior students from their morning class by 11:30 am so that seniors have time to get lunch and be at Worthen arena on time. Ushers and marshals were sent separate emails that included teachers for their specific timings. Rehearsal will last until approximately 2:30 or 3 pm, so teachers are instructed to excuse senior students from afternoon classes until we can get them back there (approximately 3:30). Rehearsal is MANDATORY if you have been attending in-person classes. If you have been virtual or are a 2020 graduate then rehearsal is not mandatory, just strongly recommended. Rehearsal is very helpful and informative but if the commute is too far or you have other commitments that is understandable. As said previously, for those online or 2020 students who will be at graduation in person but can’t make it to rehearsal a video of directions will be provided.

Any paraphernalia that you did not get with your Josten’s order (cords) will be provided at rehearsal on Friday. Note that for a graduate to participate in the ceremony the proper regalia (cap, gown, dress shoes) are required.

I am happy to answer any further questions. My office phone is 765-285-7401, my email is .

Megan Wright
On behalf of the Graduation Committee
(general director of all things student related at graduation)

Academic Super Bowl State Finals

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Academic Super Bowl State Finals

On Monday, May 10, the Indiana Academy’s science and mathematics academic teams competed in a synchronous virtual competition with schools from around the state. Both teams took first place in our class!

Indiana Academy science academic team
Science Academic Team (l-r): Neharika Upadhyay, Emily DeWitt, Emily Denny, Justin Xia. On laptop: Gunvanth Kandula. Not pictured: Ezekiel Ulrich

Congratulations to the science team:

  • Emily Denny
  • Emily DeWitt
  • Gunvanth Kandula
  • Ezekiel Ulrich
  • Neharika Upadhyay
  • Justin Xia (captain)
Indiana Academy mathematics academic team
Mathematics Academic Team (l-r): Justin Xia, Matthieu Deibel, Robby Sammelson (captain), Lixing Yi. Not pictured: Wendy Pan, Jarett Rusznak

Congratulations to the math team:

  • Matthieu Deibel
  • Wendy Pan
  • Jarett Rusznak
  • Robby Sammelson (captain)
  • Justin Xia
  • Lixing Yi

A special thank you to our proctors, Heather Rogers and Michael Niemeier. Thanks to technical difficulties at some sites, the math competition did not wrap up until 10 p.m.!

Class of 2020 & Class of 2021 Commencement Weekend (Email)

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Dear Parents/Students of the Class of 2020 & Class of 2021,

Friday, May 28th and Saturday, May 29th, marks the Academy’s 2020 & 2021 commencement weekend. This is an eventful weekend for Academy seniors and their families. Here you will find acomplete listing of all planned events.

The Indiana Academy commencement ceremony will be held on May 29, 2021, at 11:30 a.m., in the Worthen Arena on Ball State’s campus. The entrance doors are scheduled to open at 10:00 am. Please note: there may be some construction on campus so plan ahead and allow for an early arrival. For the Commencement Ceremony, parking is available around the Gate 1 entrance. Gate 1 entrance is located on the SW corner of Worthen Arena just off Bethel Avenue. Guests and graduates should plan to enter the doors in the lower level of Gate 1. Once you have entered Worthen Arena, the graduates will be directed to the staging area for entrance line up and all guests will go through the bag check area and then directed to the general admission seating via the steps and/or the elevator.

Since we will not be limiting the number of guests per graduate for the actual graduation ceremony on Saturday, May 29th, 2021, we ask all families to plan to sit in marked pods in numbers of 2, 4, 6 & 8 to allow for social distancing between the guests. We are, however, asking families to limit attendees to the number requested in the Graduation Attendee Survey sent out a few weeks ago. Event Staff will be present to help with seating and directing guests to the appropriate pod sections. All attendees, graduates, and staff will be required to wear masks. This will allow us to abide by the COVID-19 policies set forth by Ball State University and the CDC. Be aware: once you enter the arena, there will be no re-entry if you have to leave the building.

PLEASE NOTE: Once the commencement ceremony has ended, everyone will be required to exit the building promptly. It is suggested the attending guests, families, and graduates schedule an outdoors meeting place following the ceremony to meet up since groups are not allowed to congregate in the concourse or lobby of the building.

We ask that all graduation participants display proper decorum concerning attire and behavior. To further elaborate on the dress expectations for the graduation events so students and families can plan accordingly when moving out of the dorm rooms, please see the examples below of appropriate attire for Graduation.


Students: The recommended attire is dress, dress shirt with collar (tie optional), blouse, skirt, dress slacks, or pant suit. Dress shoes or dress sandals, but make sure they are something you can easily walk in because the incline/steps to the stage in Worthen Arena is steep. No flip-flops, shorts, t-shirts, blue jeans, gym clothes or gym shoes.

Students may decorate their mortarboards but the decorations must be flat to the surface and not dangle over the edges. No profanity, racist or vulgar language or symbols are permitted. The graduation events of the Indiana Academy are a joyous but formal celebrations. Please do not bring balloons, air horns, cowbells or other “noise” generating materials to either event. We believe the 2020 & 2021 graduation ceremony will be a memorable and joyous occasion.

Friday Night Senior Awards Program:

Friday, May 28th, starting at 7:00 pm is the Senior Recognition Night Program will be available online virtually. This program will take place similarly to last year’s program for the Class of 2020. This virtual program will recognize all seniors as to what college they plan on attending, scholarships awarded, offices held, and any extra-curricular activities they have participated in at the Academy. The web link information to this event will be published, emailed & posted online via all social media contacts at a later date closer to the actual viewing.

Friday Night Dinner & Saturday Morning Breakfast:

All students will be eating at Tally/Starbucks (with updated/modified hours) from May 9th through the remainder of the semester to include breakfast on Saturday, May 29th (Academy Graduation Day). If you have any special dietary needs during this period, please coordinate with the chef at Tally and/or the BSU nutritionist (Chef: ; Nutritionist: ). Please note that lunch and dinner will not be served on Graduation Day (May 29th).

IASMH Family Contact Information:

The Residential & Student Affairs department is requesting to obtain the following contact information for the families who will be staying in Muncie or the surrounding areas during Graduation Weekend. They would like to receive this information from each graduating senior’s family.

This information is needed if for any reason that the Indiana Academy’s staff needs to contact the graduating seniors’ parents immediately. Please complete the information below for the Graduation Weekend. If you have any further questions regarding this information, please contact Mr. Paul Douglas, Director of Residential and Student Affairs at (765) 285-8125. Thank you for your cooperation.

***NOTE*** Here is the Family Contact Information, please complete the following web link (Family Contact Information for Graduation Weekend) by Wednesday, May 26, 2021.

Disability Accommodations for Academy Graduation 2020 & 2021:

If you, another family member, relative, or guest need an accommodation related to a disability (i.e. wheelchair accessibility or sign language interpreter for deaf or hearing impaired) for the Graduation Ceremony (Saturday, May 29, 2021), please notify Mike McClure of your request via email at no later than May 21, 2021. It is important that we have this information by the date in order to allow time to arrange accommodations with personnel of Worthen Arena.

Photography, Graduation Pictures & Graduation DVDs:

Crabtree Photography will be taking photographs at this year’s Commencement ceremony. When the graduate arrives at Worthen Arena, they will have a simple photo capture to be compiled into a group image with all graduates and a poised portrait of the graduate with their diploma cover after they have crossed the stage. An order form and a sample of the photos will be available at the following website: https://crabtree-photography.hhimagehost.com/IA. Order can placed beginning May 12, 2021 through June 4, 2021. Once you enter the order website, you will first choose if you are part of the Class of 2020 or the Class of 2021. If you wish to purchase a picture package of the photos, all order instructions will be available online. Portrait orders will be mailed directly from Crabtree Photography to the home address indicated during the order process. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact Crabtree Photography at (765) 747-6971.

The Indiana Academy families will have the availability to purchase Graduation DVD of the Commencement ceremony. It is prepared and edited from approximately five different video recorder positions in Worthen Arena. Families who wish to purchase one or more may order and prepay for them at this time for delivery during the summer. The cost per DVD is $10.50 each. Please follow the current web link (https://commerce.cashnet.com/BALL_ESS010?itemcode=ESS010-S042) to place your order.


As we have given the families an enormous amount of information in this letter, please be sure to read all of the information, the attached documents, and process the appropriate needed documentation on the following web links below by Wednesday, May 26th. This would include the following:

  1. The Family Contact Information Sheet (Family Contact Information for Graduation Weekend)
  2. Crabtree Photography Order Form (https://crabtree-photography.hhimagehost.com/IA)
  3. 2020 / 2021 Graduation DVD Order (https://commerce.cashnet.com/BALL_ESS010?itemcode=ESS010-S042)

The faculty and staff commend the graduates of the Class of 2020 & Class of 2021 for their strong sense of intellectual purpose, resilience, performance, and achievement. They have developed the skills and character to succeed in whatever future endeavors they choose. We believe they will mature into the leaders our society requires for its continued success.

Thank you for your kind attention to these details and please feel free to contact Mrs. Candace Manship via phone at (765) 285-8102 or email at @bsu.edu with any questions you may have.


Dain W. Kavars, Ph. D.
Executive Director

Jeffrey L. Smith, Ph. D.
Director of Academic Affairs

James Patterson
Chairperson Graduation Committee

Dr. Dain Kavars Named Executive Director

Monday, May 10, 2021

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Dain Kavars as the Executive Director of the Indiana Academy, beginning July 1, 2021.

Dr. Kavars earned his Ph.D. in Astrophysics from the University of Minnesota in 2006. He has worked at the Academy since 2006, where he has taught Physics and other science courses, then as Associate Director of Academic Affairs in 2015. Most recently, Dr. Kavars was appointed interim Executive Director for the 2020-2021 academic year.