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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: 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 ( 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 (
  3. 2020 / 2021 Graduation DVD Order (

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 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.

Academy Senior Wins Photography Competition

Friday, April 30, 2021

Magda Alvis’ first place photograph
Magda Alvis’ first place photograph

Academy senior Magda Alvis placed first in the 15-18 age group in the 2021 Kimball Electronics Gives Nature Photography Contest. She also placed second and received two honorable mentions. The winners were announced during a virtual awards ceremony on Earth Day, April 22.

The contest was open to employees of Kimball Electronics as well as the general public, and submissions were received from several states and foreign countries. Money raised by the competition is donated to various charities, including those specifically chosen by category winners. Magda’s winnings will be donated to an environmental cause in southwestern Indiana.

Honorable MentionHonorable Mention
Magda’s Honorable Mention photographs

Dr. Kallmeyer Awarded Community Foundation Grant

Friday, April 30, 2021

The Board of Directors of The Community Foundation of Muncie and Delaware County Inc., has announced that Dr. Diane Kallmeyer, Assistant Teaching Professor of Biology and Chemistry, has been awarded a Robert P. Bell Education Grant for the fourth quarter. Diane’s grant will be used to provide art supplies for her May Term class. Congratulations to Dr. Kallmeyer for this award and recognition.

Academic Super Bowl Results

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Tuesday, April 20 was the area competition for Academic Super Bowl, with the theme “The American Woman 1920-2020.”

The Indiana Academy had 22 students compete in content areas of English, Fine Arts, Social Studies, Science, Mathematics, and Interdisciplinary in this year’s virtual contest, and we are thrilled to announce that the Math team scored 1st out of the 60 schools in our class, and the Science team scored 3rd in our class. These two teams will be advancing to the state competition on May 8th. Only the top six teams in each category advance.

Special thanks go to Kim Foltz for proctoring the competition, which was a grueling four hours in length!

Indiana Academy Team Results:

  • Interdisciplinary came in 34th with a score of 13/25
  • Fine Arts came in 22nd with a score of 14/25
  • English came in 12th with a score of 21/25
  • Social Studies came in 9th with a score of 15/25
  • Science came in 3rd with a score of 22/25 (State Qualifiers!)
  • Math came in 1st with a score of 20/25 (State Qualifiers!)

More information on Academic Super Bowl and complete results.

One Academy Day Raises Over $37,000

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

On April 6, 2021, we celebrated One Academy Day as part of the larger One Ball State Day initiative. Over the course of 24 hours, the entire Academy family – students, parents, alumni, faculty, staff, and administration – shared stories, remembered our 30-year history, and made a record-breaking number of gifts to ensure a bright future.

261 donors from 34 states and the District of Columbia made 287 gifts, which – along with $3,500 in challenge awards from Ball State University – raised $37,695 for the Academy and its programs. The Academy had more donors than any other part of Teachers College, and more donors than almost every other unit at Ball State, finishing third overall.

We are exceedingly grateful to everyone who participated in One Academy Day, sharing their memories and pictures, encouraging each other to give, and for being a part of the Academy family!

Learn more about One Academy Day.

Indiana Academy Commencement Information

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Dear Indiana Academy 2020 and 2021 Graduates and Families:

We are excited to announce that we have secured a venue that will allow for an on-campus in-person commencement ceremony for the Class of 2020 and the Class of 2021. The commencement date is Saturday, May 29 @ 11:30 a.m. and will be held in Worthen Arena on Ball State University’s campus.

The Class of 2020 missed their commencement ceremony last year and this larger venue will allow for their return and adequate spacing of all students and families. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, there is an attendance limit inside the arena and we will need to ticket the event. We anticipate at least 6 tickets per graduate (and possibly more). To help us determine if more tickets are possible and assist in the distribution of tickets, we are asking all students/families to complete the following survey.

Commencement Survey

Please answer all of the questions in the survey, including the address you would like tickets sent to. Students not on campus will have tickets sent to the address provided. Students on campus will be given their tickets directly prior to the commencement ceremony.

Please complete this survey no later than Friday, April 23, 2021. Additional details on this year’s commencement will be provided in the coming weeks.

Please note that additional changes to this year’s commencement are possible due to the continually changing COVID-19 pandemic. The Indiana Academy will follow all recommendations provided by Ball State University and the Delaware County Health Department.

Dain Kavars
He/Him/His (What is This?)
Interim Executive Director
Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Humanities
Ball State University
Muncie, IN 47306