Ball State Graduate School Blog

Where will graduate school take you?


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Watch “The Healing Wall”, a Student-Produced Documentary, Online

You may remember being introduced to the work of Chris Kosinski in an earlier blog post. We are excited to provide an update about his film, The Healing Wall, which is now available to view in its entirety online. You can watch the film by visiting www.thehealingwallmovie.com.

Check out The Healing Wall trailer below, and be sure to visit Chris’s website to keep up with the exciting work he’s doing!

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Meet Clayton, a Doctoral student teaching and performing in the School of Music

Today we are thrilled to introduce you to Clayton Dunaway, who is working to complete a Doctor of Arts degree in Clarinet Performance and Music Theory. Clayton spent some time sharing with us about how his experience at Ball State University has prepared him to be an expert teacher and has given him the chance to grow as a performer. Clayton, who is originally from Joplin, Missouri, had heard about Ball State’s strong reputation from several of his mentors while working on his Masters degree.

Clayton Dunaway Graduate School

Photo credit: Ball State University Photo Services

The deal was sealed after he attended a recital at the International Clarinet Association annual convention given by Dr. Elizabeth Crawford, associate professor of clarinet at Ball State. She gave a spectacular performance of the Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco Sonata (a piece he was preparing for his Masters degree recital) and he knew that he wanted to meet her and learn from her.

On what makes Ball State a great place to earn a graduate degree:

“Ball State University is a great place to earn a graduate degree due largely to the quality of its instructional programs as well as the expertise of the faculty. The Doctor of Arts in Music allows graduate students the opportunity to develop skills in research, scholarship, and teaching through the advanced coursework and internship and externship placements. This allows students like me the ability to develop the skills, experiences, and feedback necessary (within realistic educational settings) in preparation for a future career as a music educator and professional musician. Additionally, I feel that the Doctor of Arts degree (one of only a few programs in the country to offer this) will help me to enhance my marketability and knowledge/skill set by completing both a primary and secondary area of emphasis rather than solely one. This additional component will allow me the opportunity to broaden my abilities and be capable of pursuing additional career opportunities.”

 On the benefits of his graduate assistantship: 

“I am the recipient of a full doctoral teaching assistantship where I teach applied clarinet lessons, rehearse and perform with the Ball State University Graduate Woodwind Quintet, coach chamber music ensembles, and assist Dr. Crawford with creative endeavor projects. My assistantship duties with the Graduate Woodwind Quintet have been especially important for developing my musicianship and character. The opportunity to play challenging repertory with other graduate student performance majors is a wonderful experience and is a constant challenge. We meet regularly to rehearse great literature for this performance medium and each member is invested to contribute the highest levels of musicianship.”

Clayton Dunaway Graduate School

Photo Credit: Ball State University Photo Services

On his teaching internship: 

“I am currently completing an internship experience teaching with Dr. Ann Hicks (Assistant Professor of Music Education). Dr. Hicks has given me the opportunity to help prepare and implement class lectures as well as actively participate in student assessment and curriculum decisions. She has challenged me to enhance my classroom presentation skills, leadership, as well as develop my ability to explain concepts and diagnose student performance. I feel confident in my ability to contribute positively within this class, and enjoy the ability to collaborate and work closely with a Ball State master teacher like Dr. Hicks. Through participating in this experience, I have been provided a ‘real-world’ view of teaching an academic course in higher education which will prepare me for my future career.”

On how Ball State has prepared him for a career after graduate school:

“The experiences both inside and outside the classroom are helping me to develop the necessary expertise to prepare myself for a career as a performer and educator. I am blessed with the opportunity to learn from, interact with, and perform for faculty who are leaders in their field. My instructors have offered challenging and memorable experiences that have stretched me as a student and have impacted my views and abilities in this field.”

Clayton Dunaway Graduate School

Photo Credit: Ball State University Photo Services

On how graduate study at Ball State has transformed his life: 

“Through pursuing a doctorate at Ball State, I am increasing my marketability by augmenting my skills and experiences. Additionally, I am increasing my professional network through interactions and experiences with Ball State School of Music faculty and fellow students. I have developed as an educator through my teaching responsibilities, pedagogical experiences, internship experience, as well as direct supervision by my faculty mentor. The teaching responsibilities have probably been the most impactful to me – I am developing skills in diagnosing and refining student performance and my own teaching abilities through both individual applied music lessons and group ensembles. Everyday (and every class) is a new experience and I am enjoying the opportunity to teach and learn from my students!”

Thanks so much for sharing with us, Clayton!

If you’d like to learn more about graduate programs in Ball State University’s School of Music, visit the department’s website or contact Dr. Linda Pohly, the coordinator of graduate programs in music.


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Meet Kim, a Student Affairs student taking a stand against sexual assault

Today we are pleased to introduce Kim Martin, who is working on a degree in Student Affairs Administration in Higher Education. Kim, who is originally from Myerstown, PA, knew she wanted to continue working with college students after spending two years working in the admissions office at her alma mater, Asbury University. Kim shared with us about her assistantship position in the Office of Victim Services and told us how graduate school has changed her life.

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Credit: Ball State University Photo Services

On what she does in the Office of Victim Services:

“I work as a graduate assistant in the Office of Victim Services located on the second floor of the Health Center, serving the Ball State community through educational and supportive services regarding stalking, relationship violence, and sexual assault. Though I could write a ten page paper on all I have learned, I have had a few main takeaways. I have learned that in order to truly change the culture around us, each individual has to make a choice to not rape, to be an active bystander, and to support victims by believing and listening. Though these topics can often be uncomfortable to discuss, the more we talk about them, the more confident we will be in making a difference for the world around us.”

On how Ball State has prepared her for a career in student affairs administration: 

“Ball State prepared me well for my career by giving me the opportunity for hands-on experience in addition to classroom knowledge.  Dr. Wessel, the director of the Student Affairs Administration in Higher Education program, is intentional about addressing necessary questions and topics during our monthly cohort meetings. We have had a variety of speakers come in and discuss topics such as job searching, interviewing, salaries, and professionalism. We are truly being set up for success after we graduate and enter full-time work.”

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Kim tabling the OVS booth with a peer victim advocate.

On the extent to which Ball State Graduate School has impacted her life: 

“Ball State’s Graduate School has transformed my life because of the reputation it holds, and because of the connections I have made with faculty and staff. The beauty of transformation is that it does not just last one day, but rather impacts all of your future days. The influence I have experienced and witnessed through my supervisors, professors, and other professionals has truly transformed me throughout my graduate school career.”

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Kim giving a presentation to students about consent.

Her advice for incoming students:

“Expect to be challenged in order to become the best version of yourself for the field you are studying. Some days you’ll want to run and hide for the rest of the semester, but know when you finish that paper, presentation, project, etc. and do well, you’ll remember why all of the stress and fear was worth it. Don’t sit in class for the grades or the approval from your professors; sit in class and do your best because you care about your education and respect your professors enough to do their assignments well. Every experience is what you make of it.”

Thanks for sharing, Kim! To learn more about Ball State’s Masters program in Student Affairs Administration in Higher Education, check out their website or contact them by email.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. For a list of on-campus events being hosted this month by the Office of Victim Services, visit their website. If you or someone you know is a survivor of sexual assault, relationship violence, or stalking, learn more about how to get help. You may also contact the Office of Victim Services by calling 765-285-7844, or e-mail ovs@bsu.edu for personalized options, referrals, and advocacy.


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Meet Michael, whose graduate program took him out of the classroom and into the great outdoors

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In Zurich, Switzerland to present research. Photo credit: Michael Cooper

Most of us imagine “research” as an activity that takes place when you’re hunched over a laptop or holed up in a library. For Michael Cooper, that has not been the case– as a graduate student in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management (NREM), he’s spent the past two years studying outdoors, gaining hands-on experience while learning about recreational habits and park development. Michael, who is originally from Georgetown, IN, studied business management and marketing as an undergraduate. When he decided to pursue a degree in NREM, it was a major change of course. He took some time to share his story with us.

On why he chose Ball State: 

“I had previously moved up here for my wife to attend Ball State for Architecture. I was unhappy about my current job and made a decision to change directions. Attending graduate school at Ball State was the perfect opportunity for me to help ‘reinvent’ my career. The small class sizes and personal interaction were a big part of why I came. It’s not very often that you get to speak with the chair of the department as a prospective student.”

On his current project with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources: 

“We are looking at an outdoor recreation event that the Indiana Department of Natural Resources puts on to determine its impact on the participants’ levels of outdoor recreation.The event we are studying is called the Ford Hoosier Outdoor Experience. It happens every September and last year had over 35,000 in attendance! I’ve been working on this project for over 2 years now and I have really enjoyed the process. I’ve learned a lot about academic research and how to write. This has also given me the opportunity to collaborate with different faculty members.”

Setting up to collect survey data at the Ford Hoosier Outdoor Experience. Photo credit: Michael Cooper

Setting up to collect survey data at the Ford Hoosier Outdoor Experience. Photo credit: Michael Cooper

On his internships and immersive learning experience:

“I’ve held two separate internships during graduate school. One was with AmeriCorps, where I worked as a trail crewmember in O’Bannon Woods State Park. There I performed trail maintenance, which included using UTVs, chainsaws, and skid steers to maintain the park’s network of trails.
The other internship was a position with Harrison County Parks Department. I worked directly with the Superintendent and in a variety of ways, including website design and  photography, inventory management and purchasing, interviewing, and providing management oversight.
I have also been a part of an immersive learning project where we helped design a playground area for St. Mary’s elementary school. This class helped me get some hands-on experience in presenting project proposals to an organization.”

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Photo credit: Michael Cooper

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Trail maintenance. Photo credit: Michael Cooper

On the support he’s received from Ball State graduate faculty:

“Ball State University is a great place to learn! The education has been much more beneficial for me than other sized schools. While it is a large state school, most classes are small enough so that students can receive more individualized, one-on-one instruction. This is extremely helpful when it comes to your graduate research. The faculty was always able to make time for me and they really have a team mentality. Last summer, I was accepted to present some of my research at the International Symposium on Society and Resource Management (ISSRM) in Hannover, Germany. I was blessed to have the NREM Department support me financially. Without them, the trip would not have been feasible.”

Trail in the Alps

Trail in the Zermatt, Switzerland. Photo credit: Michael Cooper

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Zermatt, Switzerland. Photo credit: Michael Cooper

On how Ball State has transformed his life:

“Graduate school has had a major impact on my life. It’s given me the opportunity to reinvent myself, and it has prepared me for a sharp change in my career path. So in one word: OPPORTUNITY.”

Thank you for sharing your story with us, Michael!

If you’d like to learn more about Ball State University’s Masters program in Natural Resources and Environmental Management, visit the department’s website or contact the graduate program director, Amy Gregg.

You can also register for an on-campus information session on Saturday, April 11 from 10 a.m. to noon (Eastern), where you’ll be able to meet with faculty and current students. Lunch will be provided and attending a session on campus gives you the opportunity to receive a 50% waiver off the graduate application fee. Register now to learn more!