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Ready for tomorrow: 2024 graduates share how they’ve prepared for what’s next

Apr 30, 2024

Kelley School of Business student Mofe Koya, pictured at the Sample Gates on the Bloomington campus, served as a leader and researcher du... Kelley School of Business student Mofe Koya, pictured at the Sample Gates on the Bloomington campus, served as a leader and researcher during her undergraduate experience. Photo by James Brosher, Indiana University

Nearly 19,000 students from nine Indiana University campuses across the state are about to graduate, 70% of whom are earning bachelor’s degrees. Many of them started during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite these challenges, almost 1,000 students are graduating with a 4.0 GPA.

Five undergrads share how their experiences have set them up for life after graduation.

Research conducted with expert faculty

IU researchers are driving discovery and innovation while training future investigators. Mofe Koya, who will graduate from the Kelley School of Business in Bloomington, conducted research for four years at the Center of Research on Race and Ethnicity in Society. She’s researched Supreme Court cases and influential figures. She recently completed a project about Brown v. Board of Education, tracking how the case has been discussed in the media over the past 70 years.

“For the first three years, I worked as a research assistant under my mentor, Clark Barwick, Ph.D.,” Koya said. “However, this year with the Brown v. Board case, I was able to design the whole project from start to finish. It was a great opportunity to use the skills and research processes I learned to explore a subject I was interested in.”

IU School of Science student Ashley Remy, pictured at University Library in Indianapolis, participated in research projects through the L... IU School of Science student Ashley Remy, pictured at University Library in Indianapolis, participated in research projects through the Life-Health Sciences Internship Program. Photo by Liz Kaye, Indiana UniversityAshley Remy, who will graduate from the School of Science at IUPUI, was excited to be on an urban campus in downtown Indianapolis surrounded by leading health care institutions. During her sophomore year, Remy participated in the Life-Health Sciences Internship Program, which connects undergrads to professional health care experiences. She matched with an obstetrics/gynecology site led by Dr. Brownsyne Tucker Edmonds.

“I worked on two research projects that centered around periviable delivery, which is when a baby is born approximately halfway through pregnancy,” Remy said. “The first project focused on who has decision-making authority; the other aimed to develop an app to inform parents about possible outcomes and expectations.

“This experience shaped my career goals by teaching me to remain open-minded about my journey. Becoming a physician does not mean that I cannot be involved in research; I can still be a scientist.”

IU School of Health and Human Sciences student Priscilla Stone, pictured at University Library in Indianapolis, presented the results of ... IU School of Health and Human Sciences student Priscilla Stone, pictured at University Library in Indianapolis, presented the results of a pain and aging study at the Annual Midwest American College of Sports Medicine conference. Photo by Liz Kaye, Indiana UniversityLike Remy, Priscilla Stone was drawn to the downtown Indianapolis campus for similar reasons. She was paired with Kelly Naugle on two pain and physical activity studies: one focused on aging and the other on fibromyalgia.

“I presented our findings for the pain and aging study at the Annual Midwest American College of Sports Medicine conference,” said Stone, who is graduating from the School of Health and Human Sciences at IUPUI. “Participating in research helped me develop important skills. I know how to read research studies and articles and how to write abstracts, which is very important in my field.

“The experience connected me to graduate students, and they were a factor in my decision to pursue a master’s degree in kinesiology at IU Indianapolis after graduation.”

Skills developed through community engagement

Stone was a competitive high school swimmer in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and an adaptive swimming instructor for children, which inspired her to pursue exercise science. As an IUPUI student, she participated in the adapted movement program, which pairs kinesiology students with people with disabilities who want to improve overall physical, cognitive and social function.

“We train participants for six weeks,” Stone said. “I worked with an individual with Down syndrome, and the experience was an absolute joy. By incorporating more strength training through the clinic and working with an adult, I broadened my skills and perspective.

“Working at the clinic opened my eyes to what I wanted to do. I was able to receive an internship at Down Syndrome Indiana, which was extended to a job position after graduation.”

Jacobs School of Music student Maddie Tyler, pictured at the Sample Gates, served as president of the Bloomington Ballet Ensemble. Jacobs School of Music student Maddie Tyler, pictured at the Sample Gates, served as president of the Bloomington Ballet Ensemble. Photo by James Brosher, Indiana UniversityWhile 66% of the class of 2024 is composed of Hoosiers, it also has students from all 50 states. Maddie Tyler, a New Yorker who dreams of having a positive influence on the dance world, chose to attend IU after touring the Jacobs School of Music in Bloomington. She said she was impressed by the esteemed faculty and welcoming atmosphere.

“This made me realize that the Jacobs School cultivates not only strong dancers and artists, but kind and caring people,” Tyler said.

For two years she served as president of the Bloomington Ballet Ensemble, a student organization committed to sharing ballet with Bloomington and the IU community. She served as an instructor for the Jacobs Academy Pre-College program for two years and worked as a Jacobs School of Music performance setup staff member for the past three years.

“The greatest lesson I learned while in school is to take advantage of all the opportunities that are at our fingertips,” Tyler said. “IU is thriving with possibilities and collaborative opportunities.

“I feel so fortunate to have been able to perform in an opera, travel to Bell Trace Assisted Living Center to dance for them, perform in a show for the Monroe County Community School Corporation students — the list goes on. These experiences taught me to say ‘Yes’ to opportunities offered, even if I am unsure at first. All of these spontaneous decisions have opened my eyes to new possibilities, helping me grow as an artist and a person.”

International insights gained

College of Arts and Sciences student Ryan Macharia, pictured at the Rose Well House, spent a summer at the London School of Economics thr... College of Arts and Sciences student Ryan Macharia, pictured at the Rose Well House, spent a summer at the London School of Economics through IU Education Abroad. Photo by James Brosher, Indiana UniversityThrough Education Abroad, students earn IU credits through educational opportunities around the world. Ryan Macharia, a College of Arts and Sciences graduate in Bloomington, participated in one such offering after hearing classmates talk about the IU London School of Economics program.

“It was amazing being able to explore London and the rest of the U.K. while earning credit toward my degree,” Macharia said. “The classes I took were intellectually stimulating, and I met so many interesting people that I’m still friends with to this very day.”

However, students don’t have to travel far for international insights. Attracting a culturally diverse student body fosters an environment where students of varying backgrounds grow and learn together. Ten percent of the class of 2024 is composed of international students representing 132 countries.

Envisioning the leader within

Koya and Macharia are native Hoosiers who chose IU for a world-class education close to home. The university’s supportive environment helped them see themselves as future leaders; upon acceptance, both students were admitted to Hutton Honors College.

“Hutton played a huge role in my growth and development over the past four years,” Koya said. “I came from a huge high school where I had almost no involvement due to being very introverted. I learned about Hutton Honors Council Association, an event-planning and professional-development organization, my freshman year.”

“I stepped out of my comfort zone and applied hoping to get an officer position. Instead, I was offered a co-president position in my dorm. It was the first time I felt that other people could see me as a leader, and it was really encouraging.”

Macharia also received a Hudson and Holland Scholarship, which supports high-achieving students from communities historically excluded due to race and ethnicity.

“It encouraged me to succeed when I saw other minority students with various backgrounds being supported both financially and academically,” Macharia said.

Underrepresented people of color make up approximately 20% of the class of 2024, and Indiana University is committed to fostering a supportive and welcoming environment so all students can thrive.

Koya was particularly honored when faculty members nominated her to be a member of the 102nd Board of Aeons, a 12-member student research and advisory organization that advises IU administration, offering informed student perspectives on campus issues.

“I have enjoyed the opportunity to work with other student leaders across campus, using our diverse backgrounds and experiences to accurately represent the student perspective.”

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Nikki Livingston

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