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Members of the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI were among the faculty and students honored at the Chancellor’s Academic Honors Convocation, part of IUPUI’s annual recognition for achievements, held April 21 in the Hine Hall Auditorium. Chancellor Nasser Paydar hosts the event.

Each year those who best represent IUPUI in its core values (teaching and learning; research, scholarship and creative activity; civic engagement; and diversity, collaboration and best practices) are recognized for their efforts.

Liberal Arts honorees include:

Jennifer Guiliano (assistant professor of history) received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Multicultural Teaching.

Modupe Labode (associate professor of history and museum studies, public scholar of African American history and museums, public scholar of Africana Studies, adjunct professor of Africana Studies, director of undergraduate studies in history) received the Chancellor's Diversity Scholar Award.

Scott Pegg (professor and chair of Political Science) received the Chancellor's Faculty Award for Excellence in Civic Engagement.

Many liberal arts faculty members were recognized with Trustee Teaching Awards. These included Holly Cusack McVeigh (assistant professor of anthropology and museum studies), Elizabeth Goering (associate professor of communication studies), Karen Kovacik (professor of English), John McCormick (professor of political science), Honner Orlando (lecturer in English, EAP coordinator), Mike Polites (senior lecture in communication studies), Jennifer Thorington Springer (associate professor of English, Africana studies), Jing Wang (associate professor of Chinese language and culture), and Scott Weeden (senior lecturer in English).

Krista Hoffman-Longtin was recognized for external achievement as a 2016 member of the Indiana Business Journal’s “40 under 40” list.

Ayobami Egunyomi (Senior, French/global and international studies; minor, political science) was also named the Liberal Arts Chancellor’s Scholar.

“What an honor to be present at the Chancellor’s Academic Honors Convocation,” said Thomas J. Davis, IU School Liberal Arts dean. "To see our outstanding faculty and students honored reminded me how fortunate I am to work with such dedicated people and serve such wonderful students."

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer Kathy E. Johnson has announced the appointment of Margaret Ferguson as senior associate vice chancellor for academic affairs.

Ferguson has held the interim role in this position since January 2016 while an Indiana University systemwide search was conducted. She previously served as IU's assistant vice president for statewide academic relations. Her new appointment was effective March 1.

As senior associate vice chancellor for academic affairs, Ferguson provides leadership and vision for the direction of faculty affairs and faculty life at IUPUI. She steers the programs and events that develop faculty talent and leadership at all stages of career advancement, including promotion and tenure programs and processes, awards and funding opportunities, orientation for new faculty, and faculty mentoring. In addition, she coordinates IUPUI's online degree program development, a role that takes advantage of her expertise honed through previous work in support of IU Online.

"Dr. Ferguson is a skilled academic leader whose experiences and knowledge have served IUPUI well," Johnson said. "Her deep commitment to academic excellence and integrity has enhanced programs and initiatives aligned with faculty affairs, and this appointment makes it official that she will continue her good work."

Ferguson first joined IUPUI in 1996 as an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science within the School of Liberal Arts. She served as department chair from 2008 to 2012 and as acting associate dean for academic affairs in 2011. She was promoted to professor in 2014. Her teaching interests within the field of American politics include state and local politics as well as executive and legislative politics.

"Faculty members are key to the success of this campus as a learning and research institution," Ferguson said. "As a member of the leadership team at IUPUI, I will work to make sure IUPUI is attracting and retaining high-quality, diverse faculty and providing them the resources and support they need to succeed."

Ferguson earned her Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of Southern Mississippi and her master's and doctoral degrees in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Last semester, IUPUI senior Vannary Kong sat in the Student Technology Center computer lab at 2 a.m. applying for an internship position she never thought she would get.

A few months later, she got the call that proved her wrong.

Kong is spending her spring semester in New York at the United Nations headquarters as an intern with the Division for Public Administration and Development Management, Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

“I’m still so in shock that it actually happened,” said Kong, a political science and international studies major. “Even now that I’m sitting in this office in New York, I can’t believe it. It’s a dream come true.”

The news couldn’t have come at a better time for Kong.

Financial and personal struggles had left Kong without a roof over her head and very little money to live on. She was working three jobs to make ends meet all while going to school full time. Then Glenda Ritz, the superintendent of public instruction at the time whom Kong was interning for, lost the election -- putting Kong out of a job.

However, on the same day she lost her job, another door opened for her: an internship with the United Nations. On Jan. 23, she moved to New York, thanks to a sponsorship from Orchard Medical Missions, and began her new role. Most of her work revolves around the 17 Sustainable Development goals and planning for the Public Service Awards, which will take place in the Hague, the Netherlands, on June 23. The Sustainable Development Goals support advancement in areas such as education, equality, climate action and eradicating poverty, among others, in conjunction with Agenda 2030.

Kong, who is a dual citizen of the United States and Cambodia, grew up exposed to multiple cultures. Her father is French Creole and African American; her mom is Asian. She knows firsthand the importance of diversity and cultural exchange, so her experience at the United Nations is made even richer by the fact that 95 percent of the interns are from outside the U.S. In fact, she’s the only American in her department.

“I think it is really interesting working with people from around the world, and it definitely provides an exchange of culture and ideas,” she said. “I am able to use my languages of Chinese, Cambodian and Spanish at work.”

This isn’t Kong’s first introduction to politics or internationals affairs, however. She has dedicated her college career to making as much difference as she can. She has had five internships in addition to her current position with the United Nations, which have given her opportunities to teach English, American culture and citizenship classes to refugees relocating to the United States; assist with voter registration among the refugee and college student demographics; participate in policy discussions regarding social justice; facilitate international business relations; and assist with political campaigns.

In addition to her work in politics, Kong’s upbringing contributed to her interest in international affairs. Kong’s maternal family are refugees from Cambodia, and her grandfather worked for the American Embassy before the Khmer Rouge regime took over Cambodia in 1975.

“International affairs is one of the main avenues to help accomplish solving the world's main issues, because government agencies, the public and private sectors, non-governmental agencies, civil societies and volunteers all come together to collaborate in order to help those in need. I personally want to help developing nations who struggle to help their own communities.”

While she’s in New York, Kong is taking online classes, and she will complete her undergraduate degree in December. After graduating, she plans to attend grad school and continue to strive toward her goal of bettering the world through international engagement.

Kong attributes much of her success so far to her experience at IUPUI.

“IUPUI has provided me with the platform to be a student leader and to take initiatives to gain opportunities to learn and share my own story about diversity and inclusion,” Kong said. “I’m proud to be representing IUPUI in New York.”

This article, by Bailey Briscoe, first appeared in Inside IUPUI.

Five new students have been selected for the Masarachia Scholars Program in the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, bringing a wealth of experience to the program.

The Masarachia Scholars Program is named for Sam Masarachia, a World War II veteran honored with four bronze stars and an advocate for unions and senior citizens. In 1999 he endowed the Sam Masarachia Scholars Program, which provides full tuition to students with career interests in labor, senior citizen, and community advocacy.

New Masarchia Scholars are:

Patricia Alonso brings a wealth of organizing experience to the program. She is a co-founder of the Indiana Undocumented Youth Alliance and worked for two years with the Indianapolis Congregation Action Network (INDYCAN). Patricia is studying nonprofit management in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

Aniqua Chatman comes from Gary, Indiana, where she was valedictorian of her high school class. Aniqua is currently an intern with Indiana Legal Services. She is interested in education issues and immigration reform. Aniqua is also an actor. Her major is political science.

Umaymah Mohammad is a Social Justice Scholar, and she participated in the recent “Tunnel of Oppression” at IUPUI. Umaymah has been active with several campus groups, including the LGBTQSA and the Muslim Student Association, and she has encouraged these groups to recognize the complex identities of their members. Umaymah is a dual major in political science and neuroscience.

Rasul Palmer is a graduate of the Kheprw Institute, where he had the opportunity to facilitate community discussions of current events, including the Trevon Martin incident. He uses his computer and media skills to help older workers prepare for the workplace of today. He plans to major in economics and computer science.

Lo Ray is a former member of the LGBTQSA executive board and believes in the power of direct action to change society. Lo is studying social work and wants to organize marginalized communities. 

“Sam Masarachia would have been very proud of this new cohort of scholars,” said Professor Thomas Marvin, director of the Masarachia Scholars Program and associate professor of English. “Like Sam, they have the courage to stand up and fight for vulnerable members of our society. Because of Sam’s generosity they will earn college degrees and graduate with the skills they need to make a difference in the world.”

Masarachia Scholars learn about the history of people’s movements and theories of how social change happens. A central question is “what can the social-action organizations of the past and present teach us about the possibilities for progressive social change in our world today?” To answer this, students examine the social movements of the past and meet the activists working for social justice today. Students are encouraged to attend a wide range of events, and coursework utilizes reports on those events attended, papers that address social issues, and service learning projects with local organizations.

Learn more about the program.