July 2021 News

Nikki Al Khatib Named Nurse Manager

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Beginning in August, Nikki Al Khatib has a new title: Nurse Manager.

Originally from England, Nikki completed her RN training at Nottingham University, UK in 1994 and emigrated to the USA in 1998. She passed her NCLEX-RN exam and became licensed to practice nursing in the State of Indiana in 1999.

Nikki previously worked at Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie as an RN in the Diabetes Care Center and the Cardiac Telemetry Unit.

Nikki joined the Indiana Academy as School Nurse in March 2017. Her daughter graduated from the Indiana Academy Class of 2020 and is now studying at IUPUI, her eldest son is attending and will graduate with the Class of 2023. Her youngest son is currently in middle school.

Nikki’s role includes coordinating and overseeing all aspects of student’s health care needs whilst they are attending the Indiana Academy, training non-licensed personnel to assist with emergent and routine care needs, providing Heath education and developing programs that promote health and well-being.

Dr. Godfrey Walwema Joins Academy as Physics Instructor

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Dr. Godfrey Walwema is thrilled to join The Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Humanities as a Physics Instructor. Godfrey has taught physics for over 15 years at the International Baccalaureate and Advanced levels as well as high school. Prior to joining Ball State University, Godfrey taught physical science to preservice teachers at the University of Wyoming. He has also taught physics in Uganda, Kenya, Eswatini, and Botswana.

Godfrey believes that students should find the learning of physics interesting and exciting because the application of physics principles is evident all around them in real-life situations. He contends that naturally, students are likely to be interested in exploring and learning about what happens around them. For instance, they would want to know how the microwave oven functions, the principle behind the GPS, the most efficient way to conserve energy, and the technology involved in computers and cellphones. To this end, Godfrey’s research interest is to investigate teaching strategies that would make the learning of physics interesting and exciting to students.

Godfrey earned a BS in physics and mathematics from Makerere University, an MS in Physics from Western Illinois University, and a PhD. in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis on Science Education from The University of Wyoming. In his spare time, he reads about the latest innovations in the field of science and technology.

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.!