PNC American Sign Language Club Coffeehouse

The Purdue University North Central American Sign Language Club will host an ASL Coffeehouse on Friday, Nov. 20, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Uptown Café, 1400 E. Lincolnway, Valparaiso.

The coffeehouse is open to ASL students as well as community members and children are welcome to attend with a parent or adult. This is a pleasant, casual event for all to enjoy either through participation or as an observer.

Participants are asked to use ASL for conversation. This provides an ideal opportunity to practice ASL to better communicate with friends, co-workers or family members. Coffee, food and drink may be ordered throughout the evening.

A future coffeehouse will be on Dec. 11. Coffeehouses may feature a guest speaker who will begin at about 6 p.m. If there is not a presenter, guests may bring their own decks of cards and games to play together. Everyone is welcome to participate.

Information about other events in the community is posted at: The PNC ASL Club and Northwest Indiana Deaf Community are on Facebook.

Further information about the coffeehouses may be obtained by contacting Karen Donah, PNC continuing lecturer and Coordinator of American Sign Language, at 219-785-5432 or Persons with disabilities requiring accommodations should contact Donah.

PNC to Commemorate Veterans Day

Purdue University North Central will host its annual Veterans Day program on Nov. 11 at 11:30 a.m. in the Library-Student-Faculty Building Assembly Hall, Room 02.  The event will honor all veterans, with special attention paid to PNC students, faculty and staff. The public is invited to attend.

The event’s guest speaker will be Silouan Green, who overcame severe PTSD after a tragic jet crash while training as a US Marine. Green speaks and writes on a variety of topics all focused on using the traumas of life as fuel for living and leading, specifically regarding PTSD and trauma, overcoming adversity, leadership and intentional living. He speaks as someone who has been there, learned to heal, live with joy and purpose and now helps others do the same.

Green developed The Ladder UPP life skills program which has been used by people across the globe to rebuild their lives with a foundation of purpose. He teaches communities, groups, and organizations how to respond to those who are suffering and how to build more effective peer outreach groups. His book,” Who Am I?” is a memoir on the struggle to find an answer to life’s most important question.

This year’s program will include: the presentation of colors by the Rolling Prairie VFW; the singing of the “Star Spangled Banner” and “Amazing Grace” by student Nanda Danitschek; welcoming and closing remarks by PNC Veterans Coordinator Jason Wray, former Army Sergeant, comments by PNC Chancellor Dr. James B. Dworkin and a background slide presentation of patriotic scenes provided by Valparaiso 7th grader Hope Weber.

During the ceremony, the winners of the Veterans Organization Scholarships will have their winning essays read.  This year’s topic is “What Veteran’s Day Means to Me.”

Part of the program will include the annual reading of the names of current or deceased veterans submitted by PNC students, faculty and staff.  Names will be read by Tony Sindone, PNC continuing lecturer of Economics and former Air Force Tech Sergeant; Mark Smith, former Chair Department of Computer & Information Technology and former Army Specialist; and Jim Stemmler, La Porte Veterans Foreign War Post 1130 member and former Army Corporal.

Refreshments will be served immediately following upstairs in the Library-Student-Faculty Building, Room 144 with music provided by the PNC Music Club.

Further information about the event may be obtained by contacting Mary Spiess, administrative assistant to the Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs at 219-785-5237.  Persons with disabilities requiring accommodations should contact Spiess.

PNC 17th Odyssey Sculpture Show Debuts

Ody 17 LeadPurdue University North Central will celebrate opening of its 17th Odyssey Arts and Cultural Events Series with a public reception and opening of its multi-piece contemporary sculpture exhibit on Saturday, Nov. 7 in the Library-Student-Faculty Building Assembly Hall, Room 02.

The Odyssey 2015– 2016 exhibit includes eight new pieces bringing the total to 43 sculptures that grace the 269-acre PNC Westville campus and PNC – Porter County, 600 Vale Park Road in Valparaiso.

Guests are welcome to arrive early to take a self-guided tour of the sculptures located throughout the PNC Westville campus.

The opening will begin at 5 p.m. with refreshments. The program will begin at 5:30 with welcoming remarks from PNC Chancellor Dr. James B. Dworkin. Judy Jacobi, PNC assistant vice chancellor of Marketing and Campus Relations, will introduce the new exhibiting sculptors and artists, who will be on hand to discuss their works.

Dworkin will also be honored for his continuing support for the Odyssey series through his 15 years as PNC chancellor.

Following the Odyssey opening activities, from 6:30 to 7 p.m., guests are welcome to view the art on display at PNC. That includes the artwork of noted 20th century artist, George Sugarman which is located in the Library Odyssey Gallery on the second floor of the LSF Building. This collection includes sculptures, a variety of framed paintings, a tribute wall of 35 framed works, a montage of photographs depicting the artist and his biography. The library, usually closed on Saturdays, will be open from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.


Zhou Brothers

Guests may view “The Zhou Brothers Exhibit,” a collection of paintings, sculptures and terragraphs in the Library-Student-Faculty Building, Room 02. This collection was recently donated to Purdue North Central by Dr. Eugene D. and Dorothy A. Van Hove, of Carmel, Ind. It includes mixed media paintings, two sculptures and terragraphs displayed under glass.

Also open to the public is the exhibit, “An Outsider Looks In,” a collection of mixed-media paintings and sculpture by Thomas Olesker, in the Library-Student-Faulty Building student lounge, Room 062.

The exhibit “People and Places – Places and People,” featuring the work of photographer John Horwitz, is on display in the first floor north study area of the PNC Technology Building.

PNC is the permanent home of a section of a steel beam recovered from the World Trade Center in New York after its Sept. 11, 2001 collapse and is on display in the LSF Cybercafé, Room 114, off the first floor foyer.

The steel is displayed near the oil paintings of Jason Poteet, which includes a series named, “New York, New York,” created in tribute to the victims of Sept. 11, the rescue workers and the residents of New York City.

“Each year the Odyssey sculpture exhibit brings a breathtaking array of art to the campus,” said Jacobi, who has been the driving force behind the Odyssey Arts and Cultural Events Series since its inception. “I am extremely proud that the Odyssey series continues to be the largest outdoor art installation in our area and is one of the premier art installations in Indiana and lower Michigan. It has gained a tremendous reputation through the year and attracts visits from across the county. I invite the public to come to the Purdue North Central campus and spend some time with our sculptures.”

The Odyssey Cultural Series includes a number of events throughout the year, including exhibits of art, film showings and presentations.

Sculptors who will debut works as part of Odyssey 2015 – 2016 are:



Radiating by Ruth Aizuss Migdal. This sculpture measures 9 feet high by three feet wide and five feet deep. Created over a five-year period, it radiates the power of a prehistoric female goddess. It is made of bronze and gilded gold to be shiny forever to radiate the extreme power of being a woman.

Tales from the Woods by Christine Perri. This multi-piece installation is a collection of carved wood sculpture and paper objects that collectively express the origins of story-telling, fittingly positioned both inside and outside the PNC library. The outdoor sculpture installation, named Planter, is a carved wood sculpture that is six feet long. A sculpture located in the library features two carved wood sculptures, discarded library books, small painted logs and branches on a raised platform.



The Illustrated Facts of Global Warming: SUNK by Ken Thompson. This steel structure is 15.6 feet high, 9 feet wide and 9 feet deep. With polar caps melting, ocean levels rising, summers getting hotter and winters warmer, the earth is developing “super-storms.” This sculpture is presented in sympathy with the thousands of people affected by super-storm Sandy’s relentless devastation.

Thin Series: Off the Diet 3 by Ken Thompson. Thompson has a second sculpture that is made of steel, stainless steel and granite. This sculpture is 6 feet by 3 feet by 1.5 feet and concentrates on the fundamental issues of form and how negative space defines it using multiple “cut-out” pieces.

Ascension by Ray Katz. This sculpture of painted, bolted aluminum measures 13 feet high by 13 feet wide by 16.3 feet deep. Its implied energy is a metaphor for an evolutionary process associated with human experience. Through the creative process, elements become symbols of the shared transcendental experience and the experiences of life’s journey.

A trophy by Richard Kiebdaj. This high-solid polyurethane painted steel sculpture depicts frogs and other reptilian forms that have permeable skins and are susceptible to environmental changes, in this case, for the worse. The artist coveys that changes in the environment should not be ignored so that “we are not dancing ourselves into extinction.” The sculpture is 10 feet tall and sits on a 3 foot by 3 foot base.

Bird in a Tree

Bird in a Tree

Bird in a Tree (Cardinal on a Hashtag) by John Habela. This painted steel sculpture is an Indiana Bicentennial Legacy Project. It represents the journey Indiana has taken into the 20th century depicting the cardinal as Indiana’s majestic state bird, the hashtag a most recognizable icon of the current era and the tree representing the growth of Indiana for the past 200 years. The 2016 Indiana Bicentennial Commission has endorsed this sculpture as an Indiana Bicentennial Legacy Project.

Four Georgia by Barry Tinsley. This four-piece work is composed of steel, granite, ceramic, bronze and limestone. These pieces each represent four cities visited by Tinsley during a sculpture symposium in 1991 – Tbilisi, Kutaisi, Rustavig and Kakheti. They measure 5.5 feet by 7 feet by 7.5 feet.

The Odyssey sculpture exhibit is open to the public during university hours. Visitors are encouraged to come on Thursdays, Fridays and weekends when parking is ample.

Information on group tours is available by contacting Judy Jacobi, assistant vice chancellor of Marketing and Campus Relations at 219-785- 5593. Persons with disabilities requiring accommodations should contact Jacobi

PNC Theatre to perform “Dead Man’s Cell Phone”

Purdue University North Central and Ivy Tech-Michigan City students will perform “Dead Man’s Cell Phone” by Sarah Ruhl at the Mainstreet Theatre, 807 Franklin St., in Michigan City. The public is invited to the four performances – opening night Saturday, Nov. 7, at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, Nov. 8 at 3 p.m.; Friday, Nov. 13 at 7:30 p.m.; and Saturday, Nov. 14 at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $10 for general admission and $5 for all students presenting a valid student ID. The play contains adult language and themes. Parental discretion is advised.

“Dead Man’s Cell Phone” opens in a quiet café, with the unrelenting ringing of a stranger’s cell phone. Jean, a lonely woman with no phone of her own, makes the split-second decision to answer it, an action that takes her life in new directions that are both hilarious and profound.

The play explores two central dichotomies: a cell phone’s potential to isolate us or bring us together and a lie’s power to condemn or redeem.

The cast and crew include PNC students Angela Barreto, of New Carlisle; Javiera Cotton, of Valparaiso; Jacob Dessauer, of North Judson; Ashley Ganz, of Valparaiso; Trey Rivas, of Valparaiso; and Mandy Bell, of Hebron. The cast also includes Ivy Tech-Michigan City student Cindy Sullivan, of La Porte and Ivy Tech assistant professor Scott Bayer, of Valparaiso. The crew also includes PNC alumni Kevin Biertzer, of LaPorte, and Michelle Ruff, of Chesterton.

Dr. Bethany Lee, PNC continuing lecturer of English, of Valparaiso, will direct the play.

For further information, contact Lee at (219) 785-5229 or by email at

PNC American Sign Language Club Fun Night

Purdue University North Central American Sign Language Club will host an ASL Fun Night on Monday, Nov. 9 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the PNC Library-Student-Faculty Building Assembly Hall, Room 02. The event is free and open to the public.

Participants are welcome to bring a favorite: board game, card games or decks of playing cards, snacks and drinks. Hearing and deaf children are invited to attend with an adult.

This will be a casual, enjoyable evening with a fun atmosphere featuring ASL humor, storytelling and games for all to enjoy through participation or as an observer. Guests with all ASL abilities are welcome – whether a beginner, fluent, or simply interested in knowing more. This is an appropriate time to practice ASL, make new friends and learn some new signs to better communicate with friends, co-workers or family members.

Further information about this event may be obtained by contacting Karen Donah, PNC continuing lecturer and Coordinator of American Sign Language, at 219-785-5432 or The PNC ASL Club and the Northwest Indiana Deaf Community are on Facebook. Information about other events in the community is posted at:

Persons with disabilities requiring accommodations should contact Donah.

PNC Staff Members Earn Influential Women Honors

Susan Brychell, Purdue University North Central special events manager, has earned the 2015 Influential Women of Northwest Indiana award in the Marketing/Media category.

In addition, Marie-Claire Foster, director of Advancement, was a finalist in the area of Education – Up and Coming.

The awards are presented in 11 categories to recognize the region’s female professionals for their influence in business, industries and the communities. More than 150 women from six different Indiana counties were nominated for recognition, with the field narrowed to 79 finalists. Nomination categories are Business, Construction, Economic Development, Education, Finance, Government, Healthcare, Law, Marketing/Media, Non-Profit and Service/Tourism.

Brychell has been with PNC for 10 years, serving most of that time as director of Porter County. She became manager of Special Events in September.

Susan Brychell

“I am honored beyond words to have won this special award,” said Brychell. “There were so many impressive, intelligent women nominated who inspire every day. I give credit to Purdue North Central for allowing me to have the creativity and freedom to be so involved in the community and in my job.”

Brychell is a member of the board of directors of Valparaiso Events; Inspired Living Magazine and the

Kiwanis Foundation. She is president of the Valparaiso Noon Kiwanis Club. She is a member of Tri Kappa and the Portage Chamber Business Opportunity Night committee, is a 10-year co-chair for the Mayor’s Charity Event, and teaches etiquette to PNC students and to the business community. She was a Valparaiso YMCA Volunteer of the Year nominee and earned Kiwanis Club Volunteer of the Year Award Honorable Mention.

Her pageant honors include Miss Indiana Teen, Purdue Grand Prix Queen, Miss Indiana USA and Indiana Rose Queen. She worked for Donald Trump and the Miss Universe Organization and continues to help young women prepare for the pageant experience.

Marie FosterFoster is a member of Tri Kappa and Valparaiso Rotary and serves on boards for the Memorial Opera House, Lubeznik Center for the Arts and the PNC Sinai Forum Advisory Board. She previously was a member of St. Mary’s Pastoral Council.

“It was an honor to have been chosen as a finalist,.” Said Foster. “Northwest Indiana benefits from the involvement of so many influential women and I am proud to be part of this group. The character and strength of these finalists and winners show the potential we have in continuing to enhance our region.”

She earned her MBA from Purdue University and was awarded the 2015 MBA Student of the Year and served on the MBA Leadership Board. She was recently named to the “20 Under 40” list compiled by “BusINess” magazine. She has experience in business and higher education focusing on marketing, graphic design, business strategy, communication, social media, fundraising and agile project management. She has been involved in education at the secondary and college levels implementing innovative curricula involving community relationships to drive student success.

PNC Students Plan Disaster Preparedness Fair

Purdue University North Central Community Health Nursing students, in partnership with Franciscan St. Anthony Health, will present a Disaster Preparedness Fair on Tuesday Oct. 27, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Franciscan St. Anthony Health St. Francis Hall, 301 W. Homer St., Michigan City. The event is free and open to the public. No RSVP is required.

The fair is intended to generate awareness for all age groups for community preparedness in disaster situations that may occur in our area. Guests will have the opportunity to learn more about how to best prepare for disasters and what resources are available. Free disaster preparedness booklets will be available.

Participants will also have the opportunity to enjoy games, snacks, raffles and pick up free gifts.

Event sponsors include the LaPorte County Emergency Management, LaPorte County Health Department; LaPorte County Haz Mat and Purdue University North Central Department of Nursing.

Further information can be obtained by contacting Peggy Rose, PNC associate professor of Nursing, at (219)785-5706 or

PNC Colloquium Looks at the Influence of American Food Habits

Purdue University North Central will present a Social Sciences Colloquium with Dr. Hui Chu, assistant professor of Psychology, speaking on “Feel American, Watch American, Eat American?” on Oct. 21 from 10 to 11 a.m. in the Library-Student-Faculty Building Assembly Hall, Room 02. The event is free and open to the public.

Chu will explore if America influences other parts of the world and in what ways. She will discuss her current research examining the health of adolescents and their mothers in Jamaica, impacted by the increase of U.S. cable consumption and remote acculturation (i.e., adoption of another culture). Remote acculturation toward U.S. culture has been documented in Jamaica, where U.S. cable TV is pervasive and U.S.-style fast food is increasingly accessible. She will discuss how the results of her research suggest the significance and importance of preventive nutrition interventions.

PNC Alumni Association – McDonald’s Give Back Day

The Purdue University North Central Alumni Association will benefit from a Give Back Day hosted by the Westville McDonald’s, located at 800 North Flynn Road, on Nov. 4 from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. The PNC Alumni Association will receive 50 percent of the purchase price of every latte or lemonade sold. If there are more than 500 purchases, McDonald’s will donate $1,000 to the PNC Alumni Association.McDonalds Event Final

“Pounce,” the PNC Mascot, will make an appearance from 8 to 9:30 a.m. in the McDonald’s lobby.

Marie Foster, director of advancement said that “This generous partnership with McDonald’s of La Porte County not only benefits the PNC Alumni Association, it allows us to build awareness for the services we provide to our 13,000 active alumni.”

“McDonald’s of La Porte County does give back events because when people actively participate in community events they find themselves becoming a part of that community,” said Sam Lubeznik one of the McDonald’s owners. “It helps to change Westville from a dot on a map to a place that you consider home. Communities, like homes, need maintenance from time to time. As a member of the La Porte County community, some of that maintenance is my responsibility. The goal is to find ways to give so that years from now we can all look to see how the community has grown and know that all of us were a part of that.”

The PNC Alumni Association is dedicated to keeping alumni and current students of PNC involved and connected with the university. Its mission is to promote the growth of Purdue University North Central and to encourage the interest of the alumni and local citizens.

Further information can be obtained by contacting Erika Jones, PNC alumni coordinator, at 219-785-5274 or

PNC Announces Recipients of New Scholarship Funded by Local McDonald’s Restaurant Operators

  • Scholarships awarded to students who demonstrate academic excellence, leadership ability and dedication to community service initiatives

Seventeen Purdue University North Central students have been selected as recipients of a new scholarship program funded by the Northwest Indiana McDonald’s Operators (NIMO).

Purdue University North Central students who received the scholarships funded by the Northwest Indiana McDonald’s Operators are: Back row, from left: Nolin Bruns, Jacob Moore, Aaron Ciesielski, Sam Swanson, Kurt Urbanski. Front Row, from left: Ellyn Johansen, Ashley Starcevich, Kristin Wesse, Lindsey Zajac

Purdue University North Central students who received the scholarships funded by the Northwest Indiana McDonald’s Operators are: Back row, from left: Nolin Bruns, Jacob Moore, Aaron Ciesielski, Sam Swanson, Kurt Urbanski. Front Row, from left: Ellyn Johansen, Ashley Starcevich, Kristin Wesse, Lindsey Zajac

A financial gift was made to PNC to provide scholarships to students of all levels – freshman through master’s candidates – in all fields of study. The partnership with Purdue North Central was established in 2015 as part of NIMO’s commitment to supporting education in Northwest Indiana.

“Thank you to the Northwest Indiana McDonald’s Operators for awarding these generous scholarships to deserving Purdue North Central students,” said PNC Chancellor Dr. James B. Dworkin. “College affordability is a concern for most students and these scholarships will definitely help to ease some of the financial concerns that students face as they pursue their degrees. About 85 percent of all PNC graduates continue to live and work in Northwest Indiana following their graduation and we all look forward to seeing these talented individuals become our business and community leaders in the years ahead.”

“The Northwest Indiana McDonald’s Operators believe that education is a true game-changer,” said Bob Mazzaro, president of NIMO and a McDonald’s restaurant owner/operator. “We founded this scholarship to help provide access to higher education for local students in Northwest Indiana. It is a privilege to celebrate their academic success and help support them as they continue along their educational journey.”

Scholarships were awarded in three categories:

McDonald’s Future Leaders – Ten scholarships of $1,000 each were awarded to freshman-level students pursuing a degree in any area of study.

Shy-Anne Bolde                 Jonathon Dickens
Taylor Briel                         Abigail Halaschak
Nolin Bruns                        Jacob Moore
Maria Cervantes                Jessica Wallen
Gustavo Cisneros              Madeline Wojasinski

McDonald’s Students of the Year –Seven scholarships of $1,000 each were awarded one student from each department: College of Business; College of Engineering & Technology; College of Liberal Arts; College of Science; Graduate Studies; Athletics; PNC Student Organizations.

Aaron Ciesielski – Graduate Studies
Kurt Urbanski – Student Organizations
Ellyn Johansen – College of Liberal Arts
Kristin Wesse – College of Science
Ashley Starcevich – Athletics
Lindsey Carol Zajac – College of Business
Sam Swanson – College of Engineering & Technology

McDonald’s Scholar of the Year – Aaron Ciesielski, a Student of the Year scholarship recipient, was chosen as the Scholar of the Year and awarded an additional $3,000 scholarship.

“We are passionate about initiatives that support ongoing education and community collaboration,” said Sam Lubeznik, a McDonald’s owner/operator in LaPorte County. “The 2015 NIMO Scholarship recipients are an exceptional group of students who live these core values everyday – both in the classroom and in their personal lives.”

The NIMO Scholarship was established to recognize individuals who have demonstrated a strong commitment toward achieving their academic goals while exhibiting leadership through service of others. The scholarship program is open to full-time students who are residents of Northwest Indiana, have achieved academic excellence (minimum 2.75 GPA), support their community through volunteer activities, serve in a leadership role in a campus club or organization and are currently employed while pursuing a degree.

About NIMO:
The Northwest Indiana McDonald’s Operators (NIMO) are a group of 15 individual owner/operators with more than 50 restaurants throughout Northwest Indiana, including stores as far north as Whiting, west as Munster, south as Rensselaer, and east as LaPorte. NIMO manages and facilitates all marketing, community relations, educational and philanthropic programs throughout the region, and is responsible for implementing and maintaining consistency at every McDonald’s restaurant in Northwest Indiana.

Visit NIMO’s social media outlets: Twitter – @McD_NWIndiana; Instagram – @McD_Chicago


Contacts for the media:
Nikki Lopez
(312) 552-6315

Carol Connelly
(219) 785-5267