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Five IU South Bend Alumni Named to 2021 Class of Michiana Forty Under 40

Jun 18, 2021

When the South Bend Regional Chamber of Commerce announced the 2021 Michiana Forty under 40, five IU South Bend alumni were on the list. The annual award shines a spotlight on the region’s most talented and dedicated young executives, professionals, and leaders who demonstrate career success and community engagement.

“More than 70 percent of IU South Bend graduates remain in the area after graduation,” said Chancellor Susan Elrod, “and like these five outstanding alumni, they make positive contributions in our community and the places they work.”

This year’s recipients will be honored in a Recognition Video to be produced by the Chamber premiering on June 25 on the, South Bend Regional Chamber, and YPN South Bend websites.

Congratulations to our graduates named to the Michiana 2021 Class of Forty under 40!

Natalie Bickel, BSW ’09, is the supervisor of student services at Elkhart Community Services. In her role with the district, Natalie supervises and mentors the district’s social workers, serves as a trainer and resource for social-emotional learning for all staff, and advocates for students.

When not at work, Natalie can be found volunteering as the co-chair for the Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce Leadership Academy and assisting academy participants with their personal growth as leaders. She also mentors participants as they work to complete their community service projects.

Aja Ellington, BSW ’18, is a GVI/S.A.V.E. outreach specialist at Goodwill Industries International. She has a passion to help underserved youth and families. She’s the founder and CEO of Free Your Wings Youth Mentoring, Inc., an organization that empowers youth through mentoring, education, and community engagement to lift up youth, families, and communities.

She sits on the committee of the National Youth Advisory Council, an advocacy organization for homeless youth. She and her colleagues develop policy recommendations to improve homeless youths’ access to services. She is also a contributing author to Love Letters to My Girls, a book and movement to inspire, uplift, motivate, and empower Black women and girls around the world. In addition, she is an advisory board member for Futures Without Violence, a new research initiative designed to better understand how teens experience economic abuse and its impacts on their education, employment, and finances.

Marion Mahone, MD, MPA ’14 serves as a faculty hospitalist at Beacon Health Systems and teaches in-patient medicine to resident physicians at Memorial Family Medicine Residency. She’s responsible for providing educational lectures during morning rounds and noon conferences throughout the year. In addition, she serves as faculty member of the residency Morale Committee and the residency Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

While in her residency Dr. Mahone completed her Master’s in Public Administration at IU South Bend. A graduate of Harvard University, Dr. Mahone received her medical degree from the University of Michigan and she completed her residency at the Memorial Family Medicine Residency.

Jon Michael Meier, BS 14 (Finance and Financial Management) is vice president of EHS, CI, and Transportation at Patrick Industries, Inc.

Meier also serves as a youth leader for Agape, a Catholic-based organization that reaches out to middle school children providing mentorship and enrichment.

Kevin Railing, BS ’05 (Criminal Justice) is a deputy prosecuting attorney in Elkhart County.

Railing, who earned a certificate in Paralegal Studies at IU South Bend, is also a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) of St. Joseph County, giving a voice to abused and neglected children so courts can make informed decisions. He serves on the board of Luvability Ministries, Inc., an organization that provides opportunities for people with developmental disabilities, their families, and those who care for them.

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