A marketing brochure will only go so far in showing you how an Indiana Tech education can prepare you well for a successful career. That’s why we work hard to stay in touch with our graduates so we can develop their Success Stories. First and foremost, we are proud of our graduates and we love letting the world know about their outstanding accomplishments. Secondly, there is no one better to illustrate the impact of an Indiana Tech degree than one who has walked across our commencement stage and dived headlong into his or her career.
Haley Merz2019 Indiana Tech graduate
Haley Merz combined her natural compassionate nature with a Bachelor of Science in Recreational Therapy to secure a wonderful position helping others at Pure Abilities, LLC, an Indiana-based company that provides one-on-one therapeutic services for individuals of all ages and disabilities.
While at Tech, the 2018 graduate found her way to Pure Abilities through an internship–an experience that immersed her in the values of recreational therapy and solidified her passion for engaging others in positive life-changing activities. Since being there, she has become a Certified Therapeutic Recreational Specialist (CTRS), and she works within her community to increase awareness and foster inclusion for individuals with disabilities.
During her internship at Pure Abilities, Haley created a GoFundMe page to raise money so one of her clients could accomplish his dream of skydiving. Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LteBBQuHQo8.
Autumn Stokes2019 Indiana Tech graduate
Autumn Stokes achieved many recognitions during her time at Indiana Tech. The 2019 graduate made the dean’s list for six straight semesters, was named the university’s Outstanding Child Development graduate for 2019 and was honored as a Daktronics NAIA Scholar-Athlete for her high academic standing. She was able to achieve these honors while playing four years for the Warriors’ varsity volleyball squad—two years as its team captain.
Understandably, her biggest challenge was time management—the balancing of school, work, and playing volleyball. She credits professor of psychology, Dr. Justin Boyce, for providing positive inspiration that helped her make it through.
“He has always gone out of his way to encourage me to achieve my goals, as well as give me recognition for my hard work in my academics,” Autumn said.
Autumn intends to continue on to graduate school and become either a school psychologist or a sports psychologist.
Caleb Schannep2016 Indiana Tech graduate
Long before achieving his fitness and recreation degree in 2016, Caleb applied the skills he was learning in his Indiana Tech classrooms out in the Fort Wayne community. Leading up to graduation, he was a pre-school/youth staff supervisor for Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation, a teaching assistant with Fort Wayne Community Schools and the head soccer coach for Woodlan High School for a season.
Caleb used that experience and networking to earn two full-time post-graduation positions, the most recent being as a program director for the YMCA of Greater Fort Wayne.
“Choosing to pursue a major in fitness and recreation was a perfect fit, since my passion is to work with youth, adults and sports,” Caleb said. “My internship led me to my first job out of college as the program coordinator for Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation.”
Caleb’s new role involves planning programming for the Y’s child care services.
Jonathan Shrout2017 Indiana Tech Graduate
Johnathan is an allocation analyst with Burlington at its corporate headquarters in Burlington, New Jersey. He makes sure the right products are getting to the right stores at the right time to meet consumer expectations.
“I love my job and the career path that has been laid out before me at Burlington,” Johnathan said. “There are so many opportunities for advancement, which is great because I’ll never feel stuck or that I’ve reached a career plateau.”
Fort Wayne is never going to be confused as the Midwest’s focal point for fashion, but at Indiana Tech, professor Kayla Crecelius is working to create a progressive learning environment and launching pad for fashion professionals of all types.
“My education at Indiana Tech, under the direction of Kayla, helped me gain real industry knowledge from someone who has experienced it first-hand,” Johnathan said. “I learned so many things from Kayla that I really felt prepared, not only for this role, but any role that would have come my way.”
Shakirah Kellam2020 Indiana Tech Graduate
Summer internship landed Kellam in the lap of luxury For 40 days over the summer, junior fashion marketing and management major Shakirah Kellam earned a chance-of-a-lifetime internship with Louis Vuitton Seattle Nordstrom in downtown Seattle. Louis Vuitton is one of the world’s most well-known and valuable luxury brands and it didn’t take long for Shakirah to immerse herself in this environment.
“I learned so much about luxury retail and how different luxury retail stores are from regular retail stores,” Shakirah said.“I learned to speak, behave, and dress impeccably. I was expected to handle celebrity and international clients appropriately. I had to learn all the products and their pros and cons to ensure clients got exactly what they wanted and left the store satisfied.”
Shakirah indicated her experience at Indiana Tech prepared her for the high expectations of working at Louis Vuitton. “If it wasn’t for my fashion marketing and management courses and my awesome advisor Kayla Crecelius, I don’t know if I would have landed an internship with this amazing luxury brand,” she said. “Interning with them was a wonderful experience. I’ve gained so much brand knowledge and met so many amazing people.”
Kelsey Bair2020 Indiana Tech graduate
Once Kelsey completes her undergraduate degree, she has aspirations of continuing on to earn a doctorate and become a physical therapist. She feels confident her Indiana Tech education is setting her up to achieve her goals.
“My Indiana Tech education has helped me succeed in my job and my internship because of the anatomy courses and fitness prescription course I took. I know what the therapists (I work with) are talking about and I know what questions to ask them to expand my knowledge,” she said.
Kelsey feels her experience at Tech will put her a step ahead of other students going to graduate school or into the work field because, “Tech has a hands-on program and it gives you the confidence to go out and do what you have learned.”
Kelsey interned at Indiana Physical Therapy during her sophomore year and currently works there as a clinic assistant.
Loni Robertson2014 Indiana Tech graduate
Loni is a research associate at Gateway Rehabilitation Center in Pittsburgh, a position she thanks Indiana Tech for helping her achieve.
“My overall experience at Indiana Tech gave me the tools to prepare for my future. The small classes allowed me to get to know professors better and learn from their experiences as well as developing a forever support system,” she said.
One significant experience came from working with professor Dr. Justin Boyce and two other students on a research project—a project that took the group to Las Vegas to present their findings. It was there that she connected with the Gateway organization.
“My goal was to become an addictions counselor, and because of the opportunities and experiences I had at Tech, I achieved that goal. Without the education, experiences and support I received throughout my college career, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
Jennifer Pappalardo2015 Indiana Tech graduate
Before establishing her own law firm in Fort Wayne, Jennifer got her start in the pre-law program at Indiana Tech. It was there that she knew she was on the right path.
“The undergrad programs at Indiana Tech are designed for student success,” Jennifer said. “The instructors and the administration are of the highest caliber, and the culture within the school is energizing and uplifting.”
While working toward her law degree, Jennifer built relationships with professors, administrators and her classmates, and credits those relationships to helping her both personally and professionally.
“My undergrad advisor and I still speak regularly, and his support and guidance have been instrumental in my success,” she said.
Jennifer is doing exactly what she hoped after graduating from Indiana Tech: representing clients who have been discriminated against or unfairly targeted because of their socioeconomic status.
Courtney Lakes2017 Indiana Tech graduate
Courtney works with troubled youths as a mental health worker at Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch in Billings, Montana. She feels her Indiana Tech education prepared her well for the “challenging and rewarding” position.
“Everything in my degree program helped me—from the professors, to all the different courses for a communication major. It gave me the confidence and ability to work in any kind of job field,” Courtney said. “I give huge credit to my professors; they contributed to most of what I have now in my current career. They really shaped me into the kind of individual that goes after things and always strives for more. I believe Indiana Tech made me fearless and gave me huge amounts of confidence to believe that I can be who I want to be in any kind of career.”
Courtney wants to pursue a master’s in communication and become a professor. In addition, the children’s book series she created as her senior project is still a work in progress she hopes to have published one day.