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Mar 3, 2021
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OnyxFest extends deadline for Black playwrights to submit scripts

Due to the overwhelming response to the WFYI documentary “OnyxFest 2020: Written in Black,” organizers of this year’s theater festival have decided to extend the deadline for Black playwrights to submit one-act scripts to midnight Sunday, March 14.

African American writers are eligible to receive a full sponsorship grant, which includes royalties, professional script-development assistance, a venue for both rehearsals and production, marketing and advertising, costuming and wardrobe, and set design and construction, as well as stipends for actors, directors, stage crew, and audio and lighting techs.

Original scripts from Indiana playwrights must be one-act productions that have never been staged. Subject matter may focus on a broad range of stories depicting Black life and culture in America. Performance time is 45 minutes to an hour. The cast may not exceed five members.

OnyxFest 2021 will be staged during the first two weekends of October, hosted by the Africana Repertory Theatre of IUPUI, or ARTI. It is the 12th year for the event, which was established by IndyFringe Indianapolis to provide more space for Black writers to tell their own stories.

Topics need not deal exclusively with social issues. In addition to drama, organizers welcome comedy, musicals, mysteries, romance, spoken word, dance-centric performances, gospel themes and satire.

Plays may be submitted through March 14 at or Call 317-274-8710 for more information. Scripts will be reviewed by a panel of theater jurors, and selections will be announced in April.

Check webinars and websites for updated COVID-19 information

Dr. Aaron Carroll had good news to share about the data on IU’s COVID-19 dashboard during the Feb. 24 “Ask Aaron” webinar.

“This may have been the best numbers we have seen since we’ve been recording numbers on campus, probably even including the fall,” said Carroll, one of the leaders of IU’s COVID-19 Medical Response Team. “Across the board, positivity rates were very, very low.”

The dashboard is updated every Wednesday with data for all IU campuses.

IU will continue with its mitigation testing to prevent a spike in positive cases, Carroll said, but “everyone is clearly doing the right things.” If the low positivity rates continue, then IU could reduce the amount of mitigation testing in two weeks, he added.

Faculty, staff and students can learn more about the virus and IU’s efforts to fight it by participating in an upcoming “Ask Aaron” webinar.

The next webinars for all campuses are March 10 and 17. Additional webinars are planned throughout the semester. Those unable to tune in live can watch the recordings at

For information about who can get the COVID-19 vaccine and when, visit IU’s COVID-19 vaccine website.

Upcoming webinar from TRIP Center

Psychology professor Peggy Stockdale is the featured speaker for this month’s Scholar of the Month Community Dialogue Speaker Series presented by the IUPUI TRIP Center. The webinar is scheduled from noon to 1 p.m. March 26.

Stockdale’s presentation is called “When ‘good people’ harass. Why they do it and why we let them.”

Registration is available online and is required for the event.

Assistant professor receives prestigious award

Qingxue Zhang, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering in the School of Engineering and Technology, has received a five-year Faculty Early Career Development Award from the National Science Foundation for his work on artificial intelligence and wearable computing for big data harnessing. The CAREER Award is the NSF’s most prestigious award in support of early-career faculty who have the potential to become leaders in research and education.

Read the full post on the School of Engineering and Technology’s blog.

March photo caption contest

black-and-white image of cheerleaders standing in unfinished windows
Submit your caption for this image. You could win a Fabulous Prize!Photo courtesy of IUPUI Special Collections and Archives

Rah, rah, go team! The March IUPUI Photo Caption Contest features a vintage image of IUPUI cheerleaders during the construction of the Technology building in 1974. Post your captions to the photo, and you could win Special Collections and Archives’ Fabulous Prize! Check out more IUPUI photos in the IUPUI Image Collection.

Three cheers and congratulations to Jim Oppold for his winning caption for February’s photo: “Whoopie cushion works every time!” He wins our Fabulous Prize!


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