PNC Books in a Blanket – English Honor Society Gives Back

Image of Books in a Blanket

Left to right are Hayley Morris, Aaron Ratigan, Dr. Jane Rose, Chrystal Ziegler, and Karen Bjonback

Purdue University North Central student members of the Alpha Mu Pi Chapter of Sigma Tau Delta International English Honor Society recently completed their annual service project. This year they collected books and blankets for children in need and titled the project “Books in a Blanket.”

Headed by Dr. Jane Rose, chapter sponsor and PNC associate professor of English, the community service project served to encourage reading and literacy by giving books to as many children in need as possible.

With items purchased by members of Alpha Mu Pi and the chapter, the English honor society members were able to prepare book and blanket combination presents for 24 families. Each package contained two books.

Students present to aid in the creation of the gifts were project organizer and chapter president Chrystal Ziegler, chapter secretary Hayley Morris and members Karen Bjonback and Aaron Ratigan.

“I think this is a great opportunity to give back to the community,” said Ratigan. “Being able to give children an opportunity to open a book and learn is something that will warm anyone’s heart.”

The books wrapped in blankets are being donated to charities for distribution to families in the Northwest Indiana region.

Through service projects like these, PNC is able to show its support for the arts and education. Honor society members hope that children will appreciate the books and enjoy reading them as much as they enjoyed wrapping them as gifts.

PNC International Honor Society in Education Inducts Members

A group of 24 Purdue University North Central students were recently into the Alpha, Alpha Upsilon chapter of Kappa Delta Pi, the international honor society in education.

Kappa Delta Pi serves to recognize and promote excellence in education, provide a reasoned voice for significant issues and link learning communities of educators. Through its programs, services, and strategic partnerships, KDP supports the professional growth and teaching practices of educators throughout all phases and levels of their careers. The organization has more than 600 chapters and an active membership of nearly 40,000 worldwide.

The Society inducts only those individuals exhibiting the ideals of scholarship, integrity in service and commitment to excellence in teaching and its allied professions. Selection is based on high academic achievement, a commitment to education as a career and a professional attitude that assures steady growth in the profession. At PNC, members must earn a 3.0 GPA or better, have 30 credit hours of general education courses and 12 hours of education courses.

During the initiation ceremony, Debra Hollingworth Pratt, club advisor and PNC continuing lecturer of Education, welcomed the initiates and families. Dr. Rex, Morrow, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, centered his keynote speech on being sure to include all children and to encourage them to be whatever they aspire to be.

Chapter President Kristen Jones presented the candidate. Club officers helping to led the Initiation Ceremony included vice president Angela Krueger, treasurer Allison Kelly, historian Charles Halberstadt, membership chair Erin Provenzaro and foundation representative Kate Zavada.

Ty Johnson, new initiate, stated, “I am honored to be a part of this association.”

The new members are: Lindsey Applegate, Long Beach; Lanna Barker, Valparaiso; Christopher Bell, Valparaiso; Hyette Daikhi, Michigan City; Michael Diaz, Chesterton; Andriana Dimovski, Valparaiso; Holly Ellis, Valparaiso; Kayla Gephart, Valparaiso; Rebecca Hipskind, LaPorte; Ty Johnson, Valparaiso; Sara Kobitz, New Carlisle; Jessica Libey, Francesville; Madelaine Miller, Chesterton; Brittany Nevill, Valparaiso; Nichole Pater, Crown Point; Amber Robinson, Porter; Stefannie Rust, Westville; Ashley Spurr, Hebron; Lynndsey Swanson, LaPorte; Beth Szymaszek, Hebron; Sarah Wooden, LaPorte; Mark Woolum, Portage; Michelle Wyatt Beverly Shores and Abigail Vittatoe, Michigan City.

PNC Named to President’s Community Service Honor Roll

Purdue University North Central has again been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, earning placement on the Honor Roll with Distinction as well as the Education Community Service Honor Roll.

The President’s Honor Roll recognizes higher education institutions whose community service efforts achieve meaningful outcomes in their communities. This is the highest federal recognition that colleges and universities can receive for community service, service-learning, and civic engagement.

The annual Honor Roll award recognizes 766 colleges and universities, with 120 cited on the Honor Roll with Distinction. Other schools cited with Distinction include Purdue University, West Lafayette; Valparaiso University and Indiana State University.

College students make a significant contribution to their communities through volunteering and service, and according to the most recent “Volunteering and Civic Life in America report,” in 2012 – 2013, 3.1 million college students dedicated more than 118 million hours of service across the country — a contribution valued at $2.5 billion.

During the 2012-2013 academic year, for which PNC was recognized, more than 3,000 PNC students engaged in service learning or civic engagement activities, dedicating more than 32,000 hours of service throughout Northwest Indiana. Students participated in a variety of activities from those that were embedded within academic service learning courses, to on-going co-curricular community service and volunteer activities.

The Corporation for National and Community Service has administered the award since 2006 in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the American Council on Education, Campus Compact, and the Interfaith Youth Core.

“Service learning and community engagement have become a way of life at PNC,” said PNC Chancellor Dr. James B. Dworkin. “PNC students are proud to be visible community members who are volunteering and taking on volunteer projects that improve our communities. Their service benefits all members of the community and helps them gain an appreciation of giving that will promote a life-long commitment to volunteerism and community service. Being named to the Honor Roll with Distinction as well as the Education Community Service Honor Roll is a direct reflection of our dedication to servicing our local communities.”

Laura Weaver, coordinator of the PNC Center for Service Learning & Leadership added, “PNC is a leader in providing opportunities for our students to engage in academic service learning and community service through partnerships with numerous organizations throughout Northwest Indiana. These partnerships allow students to take on essential roles to address the needs of our communities while becoming civic-minded citizens.”

College of Business Offers Online Certificate Programs

The Purdue University North Central College of Business now offers two entry-level certificates that can be pursued completely online. The certificate in Organizational Leadership and the Certificate in Human Resources are ideal opportunities for individuals who would like to upgrade their leadership skills while maintaining active employment.

Courses are offered entirely online to accommodate busy lifestyles. Courses taken as part of this certificate can help to increase the personal effectiveness of students entering the workforce regardless of their chosen profession, or they can add a leadership component to an existing technical degree. The certificates provide an option for those who are redirecting their career focus.

According to “Hoosier Hot Jobs,” front line supervisors and managers in many areas are going to be in demand in Northwest Indiana. Five of the 50 hottest jobs relate to management and supervision. In addition, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics noted that demand for human resources professionals is, on average, higher than the national job growth average for all other professions.

“The certificate in leadership can be the first step in gaining the skills needed for advancement or as a complement to technical expertise in a specific area,” said Dr. Cynthia Roberts, dean of the PNC College of Business.

Prospective students may apply for admission to PNC and when accepted, may enroll for spring semester classes, which begin the week of Jan. 12.

Information on becoming a student is available at Select the “Apply for Admission” link to get started. Further information about these certificates can be obtained by visiting or by calling the Purdue North Central Office of Admissions at 219-785-5505.

PNC Lambda Pi Eta Chapter Collects Coats

Cassie Carlson

Cassie Carlson sorts through the coats donated to the PNC Lambda Pi Eta coat drive.

The Purdue University North Central student chapter of Lambda Pi Eta, the Communication Honor Society, recently hosted a one-day coat drive and gathered 60 coats, along with 15 scarves, hats and sets of mittens, to be donated to the State Street Community Church in LaPorte.

Chapter President Cassie Carlson, a Communication major from LaPorte, explained that the group wanted to take on a project to help the community. She suggested a coat drive and the group immediately agreed to get started.

Four Lambda Pi Eta members decided to devote one day to collecting coats on campus. The results thrilled and amazed the students.

“The generosity was unbelievable,” said Carlson. Students, faculty and staff brought by coats, along with some mittens, hats and scarves. “We are so happy to be able to give these coats to people who need then.” Carlson said that her family and friends donated 27 coats themselves.

Carlson noted that during the coat drive she met a student who recently had her only winter coat stolen. She quickly handed a donated coat to the student in need.

Carlson is on track to graduate in May. She has an internship with a radio station and publishes her own magazine that she distributes to anyone interested in getting it.

“I am a music connoisseur and am interested in all things music,” she said. Therefore, much of her writing centers on music and interviews with local and nationally known bands.

Being part of Lambda Pi Eta has enhanced Carlson’s collegiate experience. “School is exactly what you make of it,” she said. “The Communication Department faculty are so hands-on. They care, they follow up with students. I would not be half the person I am without them.”

“Being part of something as meaningful as this coat drive means a lot to everyone in Lambda Pi Eta,” she continued. “We are happy to give what we can to help others who need it so much.”

PNC Representative Named to ICC Advisory Council

Laura Weaver

Laura Weaver

Laura Weaver, Service Learning coordinator for Purdue University North Central, was named the Indiana Campus Compact Advisory Council Chair Elect for the 2014-2015 academic year. At the conclusion of the 2014-2015 year, Weaver will serve as the Advisory Council Chairperson for two years, at which time she will also serve on the Indiana Campus Compact Board of Directors.

The Advisory Council is an eight member board representing faculty and staff members from across Indiana and are selected based on the individual’s experience in and knowledge of the field of service and civic engagement, as well as their ability to provide leadership and skill sets to the Networking Council and the Indiana Campus Compact staff. The Advisory Council consists of one faculty member and one staff member representing large public colleges and universities, small public colleges and universities, independent colleges and universities and community colleges.

Indiana Campus Compact supports higher education’s efforts to develop students into well-informed, engaged citizens. By providing programs, services, and resources, ICC serves as a catalyst for campuses and communities to improve people’s lives through service-learning and civic engagement initiatives.

Further information about Campus Compact may be obtained by visiting

Workshop for Adobe Photoshop Intermediate Users

The Purdue University North Central Office of Graduate and Extended Learning will offer a non-credit program for people who want to learn to use Adobe Photoshop software.

The program will meet Tuesdays from Jan. 13 through Feb. 17 from 5 to 7 p.m. Registration is $159 and includes all materials. Special rates are available for PNC students, alumni and employees. The registration deadline is Jan. 6 at 4 p.m.

This class will include a review of basic Photoshop features and a series of exercises involving more advanced tools and techniques. There are no prerequisites for participating in this program.

Participants will focus on non-destructive editing techniques such as layer masks and smart objects, toning images, creating panoramas, working with raw files and how and why to change color spaces. These skills may be used for a variety of purposes, including making scrapbook pages and web pages, editing images for use with social media, retouching photos or creating original artwork with composite images and more.

To register or obtain further information about this program, visit or contact Cassandra Boehlke, coordinator of Graduate and Extended Learning, at (219) 785-5748, or Persons with disabilities requiring accommodations should contact Boehlke.

PNC Students Collect Donations for Thanksgiving Meals

Elly Johansen and Paige Mellen

PNC Students Elly Johansen and Paige Mellen

Purdue University North Central students continued the long-standing campus tradition of collecting donations to provide food for Thanksgiving meals for 30 deserving PNC students and their families.

Students in the Dean’s Leadership Group, along with the Accounting Club and MBA Leadership Council spent the month of November gathering donations of non-perishable food along with monetary donations that was used to purchase frozen turkeys, along with dinner rolls and other necessary items.

Elly Johansen, the Dean’s Leadership Group treasurer, volunteered to lead the food drive. “I believe everyone should have a nice meal on Thanksgiving,” said Johansen, who is a Social Work major.

The families received a turkey and traditional side dishes, along with additional food staples such as spaghetti, rice, noodles, soup and similar non-perishable items. Ideally, enough food was provided for the students to be able to prepare a meal for a family of five at home.

Monetary donations were gathered through the on-campus sale of paper turkey cut outs for $1. The outpouring of support thrilled Johansen as many students, faculty and staff gave more than the minimum donation.

“One student and her mother immediately donated $100,” she related. “When I put out a collection box at PNC – Porter County, a staff member handed me $50. The Chancellor has supported us; our Veterans have been very generous. People wanted to donate.”

The primary objective of the Dean’s Leadership Group (DLG) is to help its members develop their leadership skills through various campus and community projects. The 25 DLG members are asked to volunteer 50 hours of community service time a year. The students are involved with a number of activities each year and support on another in their efforts.

DLG President Paige Mellen, of Michigan City and a Business major with a concentration in Management, noted that leading a project can seem like a daunting task at times, but working through it and seeing your success is “empowering.”

“It’s a great feeling when you can see that your hard work has paid off,” she explained. “It seems like everyone pulls together and works for a good cause.”

A graduate of Morgan Township High School, Johansen said that she volunteered with a number of projects, but this is the first that she’s led, “It’s a lot of work, but there’s also a sense of achievement too. It is satisfying to know that we’re helping other students.”

While the students will never know the names of the recipients and their families who received the food baskets, that’s fine with Johansen and Mellen.

“I am satisfied just knowing that we are helping out and paying it forward,” said Johansen. “I am happy to be in a position to help.”



PNC Early Childhood Education Program Earns Grant

University North Central (PNC) Center for Early Learning   recently received a $1,000 GreenWorks! Grant from the Project Learning Tree® (PLT), the environmental education program of the American Forest Foundation (AFF), for students in the PNC Early Childhood Education program to work with Westville Little School in Westville, to create a garden as a learning experience.

The PNC Early Childhood Education teachers candidates will use the grant to work with preschoolers to plan, create, and implement the garden on the school grounds. The garden will include plants with interesting textures, scents, colors, and names to stimulate the children’s development.

The Westville Little School is a collaboration between the Westville-New Durham School Corporation, Dunebrook, and PNC. The goal is to prepare young children and their families for a seamless transition to kindergarten.

“For the young learners, the Children’s Garden will become a source of civic pride and an appropriate play space. The college learners will exercise leadership skills,” said Mary Jane Eisenhauer, PNC associate professor of Early Childhood Education.

This grant was one of 63 awarded to schools and youth organizations in 33 states and the District of Columbia. For a list of all projects receiving grants, go to

GreenWorks! is the service-learning component of Project Learning Tree that engages educators, students, and their communities in “learning-by-doing” local environmental stewardship projects. Since 1992, AFF has distributed more than $1 million to fund more than 1,000 PLT GreenWorks! action projects in communities across the country. The USDA Forest Service funded all GreenWorks! grants this year, up to $2,000 each.

American Sign Language Club Coffeehouse is Dec. 12

The Purdue University North Central American Sign Language Club will host an ASL Coffeehouse on Friday, Dec. 12, from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at the Uptown Café, 1400 E. Lincolnway, Valparaiso. The event will feature a fun, interactive activity.

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 providing 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.

Information about the Purdue North Central ASL Club may be found at Information about other events in the community is posted at:

Further information about the coffeehouse may be obtained by contacting Joanna Witulski, limited term lecturer in American Sign Language, at