ImpactWinter/Spring 2021

Greyhounds Making a Difference

Mason Meling ’19

While the pandemic presented many challenges throughout the course of 2020, it also gave Greyhounds a chance to shine. 

The University motto “Education for Service” has perhaps never been more important than throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. For these Greyhound alumni, beginning their careers in the middle of a global pandemic made for an interesting transition—but one they were prepared to handle. 

“The nursing program was phenomenal at putting us through a rigorous curriculum,” said Emma Kohls ‘20 (nursing). “They made sure we knew how to be prepared for anything and could think on our feet. That gave us confidence and prepared us for the real world.”

As an emergency department and trauma nurse at the busiest ER in Iowa, where Kohls says “nothing is predictable and anything can happen,” she puts the skills she gained at UIndy to the test every day. Kohls’ hospital is at the center of a very vulnerable and underserved population, so even though it is early in her career, she’s keenly aware of how she can make a difference in her community. “We just try to do what we can for the population that we serve, and do our best to make sure everyone leaves our care as healthier individuals,” she said.

Assistant Professor of Nursing Sarah Holmes helped me gain confidence in my skill, and reassured me that nursing wasn’t just about the “book stuff” and that the skills mattered just as much. Knowing that I had professors rooting for me and wanting to be successful was one of the most motivating things. Having someone who has been through nursing school and their career care about you enough to keep pushing you to be the best that you can be is comforting.

Emma Kohls ’20 (nursing)

Also aiding an underserved population is Suihlei Tha ‘20 (social work), who began her career at Exodus Refugee International last summer as a case manager, with a focus on resettlement and placement. She works with refugee and immigrant clients in the 90 days following their arrival to the United States helping them with tasks like setting up social services, housing, and job placement.

Professional Edge helped me improve my resume and interview skills and get a part time job in the social work field where I learned a lot. All of my professors, the people at ProEdge, and my academic advisors were my mentors. From interacting with them I learned how to communicate with others and it boosted my confidence.

Suihlei Tha ’20 (social work)

Tha was offered a full-time position directly following her internship. “Fortunately I did not have to make major adaptations once I began as a case manager because half of my internship was conducted from home due to the pandemic,” she said. Tha also credits her two practicum courses in the social work program for preparing her for the rigors of her future career.

Mason Meling ‘19 (biology, teaching license in secondary education), a high school biology and integrated chemistry/physics teacher in Danville, Indiana, said, “The best part of my job is that I get to develop relationships with my students and help them grow into young adults by finding their path in life.” 

Pursuing my education at UIndy has given me the opportunity to meet some of my best friends, and pursue a job field that I love. The biology program in my opinion is one of the best around because the faculty will go above and beyond to ensure that you are pushing your proximal development. The program helped develop my scientific and professional knowledge into a career with the Indianapolis Zoo as a zookeeper and now as a science teacher.

Mason Meling ’19 (biology, teaching license in secondary education)

Even with all the changes in education due to the pandemic, Meling remains undeterred.  “I think transitioning to online learning was probably the biggest adaptation to get used to,” he said. “But I have found it very beneficial as it opens my options tremendously.” On a daily basis Meling says he focuses on creating lesson plans that are engaging and foster a hands-on learning experience to help his students become lifelong learners.

Libby Anderl ‘12 ‘15 (exercise science, doctor of physical therapy) is a full-time clinician specializing in brain injury and stroke rehabilitation at TIRR Memorial Hermann, an inpatient rehabilitation hospital in Houston, Texas. 

“UIndy not only taught me person-first language, but a person-first approach to care,” she said. “By making personal connections with students, and caring about students as people first, my professors modeled this and prepared me for a career in healthcare.” The pandemic has made this approach challenging, but Anderl and her colleagues have found a way to keep that person-first focus.

Dr. Stephanie Miller completely altered my course as a young professional. Dr. Miller is the reason why I ended up a Houstonian and member of the Brain Injury and Stroke Team at TIRR. While Dr. Miller was not my assigned advisor during my time as a student, I was drawn to her energy, engaging teaching style, and commitment to bettering the PT community at large.

Libby Anderl ’12 ’15 (exercise science, doctor of physical therapy)

“The involvement of family members, caregivers, and friends in rehabilitation is essential to a patient’s recovery, but we had a no-visitor policy in place,” she said. “We found creative ways to help our patients connect with their loved ones, and, sometimes, this included providing information, training, and support virtually to facilitate a patient’s successful return home or to the community.”