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New Award Recognizes Outstanding Graduate Faculty


Graduate Faculty Mentor Award winner Dr. Kristin Perrone-McGovern (right) was honored with a plaque at The Graduate School’s spring award ceremony.

In the Graduate School, students are at the heart of our mission to provide an atmosphere that fosters scholarship, creativity, intellectual freedom, interdisciplinary study, student-faculty collaboration and integrity within a diverse climate of teachers and learners. The way students learn, grow and experience graduate study is largely influenced by the mentors who walk alongside them during their journey.

With this in mind, two of the Graduate School’s Graduate Recruiting Ambassadors, George Hickman and Robert Young developed the Graduate Faculty Mentor Award.

“I was approached by George first to help him with putting the award together,” Young said. “I thought it was a great idea, recognizing a graduate student mentor. In my own experience, so many professors have reached out to help me, and I know that experience has to be the same for many other departments on campus. We received many nominees for the award—more than I expected for the inaugural year. It really just shows how great Ball State’s teachers are and the important role they play in graduate students’ lives.”

The duo created the Faculty Mentor Award to honor outstanding graduate faculty mentors who are devoted and available for students and who assist their mentees in defining and achieving their own pathways to success. The winner of the award in its first year is Dr. Kristin Perrone-McGovern, a professor in the Department of Counseling Psychology and Guidance Services.

“Dr. McGovern has been essential in helping me to progress in my doctoral studies, encouraging me and supporting me in pursuit of professional activities that will further my career goals,” said Julie Matsen, who nominated McGovern for the award. “I look to her as a model of success in furthering applied neuroscience methodologies in the field of counseling psychology.”

Sharon Bowman, chair of Department of Counseling Psychology said, McGovern is, hands down, the best mentor and “encourager” among her faculty. McGovern’s former students are “shining examples” of her mentorship and instruction—as academics or clinical practitioners, their work with students and clients reflects the mentoring McGovern provided, Bowman said.

This award represents more than recognition of the guidance provided by Ball State faculty; it’s also a tribute to one of the Graduate School’s tenets to take students’ passions seriously. Students who feel supported and encouraged by dedicated faculty gives them the confidence to pursue their passions and grow, both professionally and personally.

Many strong candidates

We received so many strong nominations for the Graduate Faculty Mentor Award in its inaugural year that we’d like to recognize the following finalists:

We appreciate all graduate faculty for continuing to make connections, build relationships and challenge students in their programs.

This post was written by Ciara Johnson, a second-year graduate student at the Center for Emerging Media Design and Development and a former graduate assistant at the Graduate School.


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A Day in the Life of Preston Radtke, a graduate student in the Center for EMDD

Hello everyone! My name is Preston Radtke, and today, I will be taking you on a somewhat abridged trip into my life as a graduate student. A little about myself: I’m currently a first year graduate student in the Center for Emerging Media Design and Development. I graduated from undergrad here at Ball State last May with a double major in creative writing and public relations. I am also a Graduate School Recruiting Ambassador for Ball State.

Anyway, to the trip:

7:30 a.m.—Wake up and get ready for the day.

8:15 a.m. —Arrive at work. Work for me comes in the form of a graduate assistantship with Unified Technology Support in the Adaptive Lab. We’re in charge of all adaptive and assistive technologies and services for students and staff with disabilities here at Ball State. When I first arrive at work, I always have a brief meeting with my boss to dish out assignments for the day. Today for instance, I was sent to the Learning Center in North Quad to install a screenreader on a number of their computers.

I’m usually at the Adaptive Lab all-day if I’m not in class. At the lab we serve as a study space, a resource for assistive technology and we sometimes go on trips to speak at classes or to install software across campus. This position has been extremely rewarding for me; I’ve gotten access to activities and programs that most normal students wouldn’t have. For instance, early last semester my boss and I went to a meeting in iLearn to discuss the viability of using Canvas, which is an alternative to Blackboard.

I learned about this position because in undergrad I was a lab assistant there. I had several other graduate assistantship options, but this one seemed to be the most familiar and comfortable—something that I valued as a first year grad student.

2 p.m.—Class. As an EMDD student, all of my classes and most of my class-related meetings take place on the third floor of the Arts and Journalism building. Our classes meet once a week and generally last for two hours and 40 minutes. However, sometimes we don’t meet each week; instead, we go to smaller meetings with our project teams or conduct fieldwork.

4:40 p.m.—Leave class and check-back in at the lab. I do this at the end of the day if I’m not in the lab. Usually I have a quick meeting with my boss to go over loose ends, and I instruct the night lab assistant on what needs to get done.

After this I usually go home, volunteer or attempt to go to the gym. I usually don’t get started on my classwork until after dinner at around 8 p.m. Though this is a “Day in the Life,” no day is the same. For instance, tomorrow I don’t have class at all, but I have a meeting with a prospective student in the Student Center. The day after that, my boss and I will be attending a conference on mobile screenreaders in Indianapolis. The point is, my job and my classes are both very unpredictable, and exciting.

If you have any questions about graduate school, assistantships, or Ball State on the whole, please feel free to reach out to me at Thank you for reading!

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The Graduate School takes a look back at 2016

The year 2016 was full of highs and lows not only in our state, country and around the globe, but also in our world here at the Graduate School. We mourned a great loss and celebrated accomplishments both in our office and across campus.

We were heartbroken to learn in November of the passing of our fearless leader, Dr. Robert Morris, who at the time was serving the university as its chief academic officer. Here at the Graduate School, we will cherish the advice, memories, jokes and leadership of Dr. Morris. We are grateful for the work and leadership of Dr. Carolyn Kapinus, now the Interim Associate Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School. With grace and poise, Dr. Kapinus has accepted the challenge of continuing the great work of the Graduate School on the foundation Dr. Morris created.

Throughout the year, we’ve shared stories on our blog of some of the great work being done by graduate students, faculty and staff. Below, we’ve highlighted some of our brightest stars. We hope you’ll take some time to explore the great work that we have and will continue to tackle in the coming year. If you have a story to share, we’d love to hear it.

Award winner tapped mentoring to increase opportunities for minority students

It’s apparent based on her work that Dr. Robin Phelps-Ward, who earned both her graduate and doctoral degrees from Ball State, recognizes the power of mentoring for all students, but particularly the difference it can make it the lives of underrepresented minority students.

Passion for football coaching drives grad student’s thesis work

Ball State graduate Dan Tracy knew when he came to Muncie to pursue a master’s degree in Sports Administration that he also wanted to continue pursuing his passion for coaching football.

Grad student’s creativity, passion for teaching earns him Graduate Assistant of the Year

Ball State University offers graduate assistantship positions for nearly 1,000 students on campus each year. And every year from that pool of students, one is chosen to receive the Graduate Assistant of the Year award.

Ball State grad’s final project aims to improve lives of Chinese citizens through landscape architecture

Ball State University alumnus Chenyuan Gu opted to study more than 6,000 miles from his home—a small island near Shanghai, China—but he was able to connect his final project in the Master of Landscape Architecture program back to the region where he’s from.

Admissions specialist’s work with students fulfills dream of becoming a teacher

At the Staff Recognition and Retirement Awards Program, Graduate Admissions Specialist Linda Jones began to wonder what was going on when she realized her son and many of her colleagues in the Department of Educational Psychology, including John Jacobson, dean of the Teachers College, were all in attendance.

Tireless recruiting efforts pay off for CICS director

If you meet Steve Jones, director of the Center for Information and Communication Sciences, in line at the grocery, be careful—you might be recruited to the center’s graduate program. His spirit, hard work and abilities to cultivate relationships earned him recognition from the Graduate School as the recipient of an Exemplary Recruiter Award.

Educational psychology professor leads department toward success in recruiting

It’s important for us at the Graduate School to recognize excellence, but even more important is to share knowledge and support within the university community. So each year, when we give a program director in the Graduate Enrollment Management (GEM) program the Excellence in Recruiting Award, or GEMMY Award as we call it, we also ask the winner to share insights in a training for other leaders in the GEM program.

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Meet Frank and Lauren, the owners of The Caffeinery!

Being successful in graduate school requires hard work, determination, and (in many cases) copious amounts of caffeine. Luckily for incoming Ball State graduate students, The Caffeinery is here to support your coffee-drinking habits! We’re excited to introduce you to Lauren and Frank Reber, owners of The Caffeinery, where the Graduate Student Mixer will take place during orientation on Thursday, August 20. Aside from the coffee shop, Lauren is a musician and professional photographer that specializes in wedding and lifestyle photography. Frank is a musician and recording engineer who specializes in recording music. Read on to learn more about this dynamic duo’s involvement in downtown Muncie and what to expect at the mixer. 

caffeinery 2

Photo courtesy of The Caffeinery

About their business: 

“The Caffeinery is a coffee shop and tea house that specializes in gourmet coffees, loose leaf teas, and espresso-based beverages. Whether you’re looking for a morning cup of coffee or a sun cured single origin ethiopian, you can count on our highly skilled baristas to execute your coffee needs with artistic precision. The Caffeinery is located in downtown Muncie, Indiana and is housed in northeast corner of the historic Murray building. The beautiful open-concept shop has been painstakingly designed to match the timeless visual aesthetics of the building itself.”

Photo courtesy of The Caffeinery

Photo courtesy of The Caffeinery

On how they decided to get into the coffee business: 

“We were actually at a local pub, called the Fickle Peach, when we overheard a group of people complaining that downtown Muncie lacked a proper coffee shop and how disappointing it is to live in a town where you couldn’t get a decent cup of coffee. We looked at each other and started to realize that coffee was the one thing we had always had in common between our two lines of work. She was always meeting clients at coffee shops and I was always making and serving coffee in the studio. Coffee seemed like it was something we could both do and do well.”

the caffeinery

Photo courtesy of The Caffeinery

On what new graduate students should know about downtown Muncie:

“Downtown Muncie is currently in the process of a grand transformation involving many large-scale infrastructure upgrades aimed at making the area a better place for everyone. Don’t let the construction turn you away from the many wonderful destinations that comprise the area. ”

On what students can expect at the Caffeinery mixer:
“Students can expect to enjoy a wide variety of gourmet coffee and tea selections! Our highly trained baristas will do their best to find you the perfect drink for your day!”
Photo courtesy of The Caffeinery

Photo courtesy of The Caffeinery

Thanks for sharing with us, Lauren & Frank! Keep up with The Caffeinery by checking out their website or following them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
You won’t want to miss the opportunity to socialize with new graduate students at the mixer on Thursday, August 20– register now and check out a preliminary schedule of orientation events here! You can catch a free ride on the historic MITS trolley that evening, which will run directly from campus to The Caffeinery every 30 minutes from 5-7 p.m. 

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Meet Christina, a local comic store owner and keynote speaker for orientation!

We’re excited to introduce you to Christina Blanch, who will be the keynote speaker at Graduate School Orientation on August 20! Christina is an author and educator, and her connection to Ball State University runs deep– she earned both her BS and MA in Anthropology (with a focus in Historical Archaeology) from Ball State, and she is ABD in the Educational Studies doctoral program. On top of her ties to the university, Christina is also heavily involved in the Downtown Muncie community, where she owns Aw Yeah Comics. She took some time to give us some background on her business and to share her advice for new graduate students.

Super Christy

Photo Courtesy of Christina Blanch

On her business: 

Aw Yeah Comics just moved to a new location in downtown Muncie, right between Dan’s Downtown Records and Savage’s. Some of our customers now do a three part stop on Wednesdays (new comic book day) by going to Dan’s, our store, and then lunch at Savage’s–it’s awesome. We have only been there a few months but we have been downtown for two years and we love it! We like to think of ourselves as more than just a comic book shop, but a place where people can come to hang out and meet other like minded individuals. We have movie nights, game nights, lots of signings, and much more. My assistant manager Kyle and I do the bulk of the work but we have some part timers like Amber and Sy that help us out when they can.

Her favorite thing about living in Muncie: 

The people and the camaraderie. Most of the people in Muncie are awesome and will do whatever they can to help one another out. I also love all the history and how the buildings and especially the houses in the historic districts are all so beautiful and so unique.


Photo Courtesy of Christina Blanch

Her advice for new graduate students:

There is a lot to do downtown and it’s getting more and more diverse all the time. There are more than restaurants and bars. There are gaming stores, toy stores, boutiques, record stores, and of course, an awesome comic book shop.

On getting involved in the Muncie community:

Look around for something that interests you. There are many hidden gems around Muncie. It’s pretty surprising, actually.

On what new students can expect from her keynote address at orientation:

There will be a lot about what it’s like doing your graduate work at Ball State and living in Muncie. They will hear about my experiences in graduate school and how I think you can get the most out of their journey  – things they can use once they enter the real world.


Photo Courtesy of Christina Blanch

Thanks for sharing with us, Christina! 

Don’t miss more of Christina’s advice during her keynote address at Graduate School Orientation on Thursday, August 20– register now and check out a preliminary schedule of events here.  

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Meet Judy, a fashion merchandising student and world traveler

We’re happy to introduce you to Judy Qiong Zhu, who came to Ball State from China to pursue both her undergraduate and graduate degrees. While pursuing her Masters degree in Fashion Merchandising, she held a graduate assistantship in the Rinker Center for International Programs and had the opportunity to travel to multiple countries as part of an interdisciplinary team. Judy sat down with us to share more about her graduate experience and why she’s pleased with her choice to attend Ball State. 

Face photo

Photo courtesy of Judy Zhu

On what drew her to Ball State:

“I joined an Asian Cooperation program that was called Sino-American CHEPD 1+2+1  and came to Ball State when I was a junior. I was majoring in Business Administration and Human Recourse Management. I fell in love with Ball State once I arrived here because it has a very diverse community. I have met and made friends with people from all around the world.

After I earned my undergraduate degree from Ball State in May 2014, I was inspired by Angela Ahrendts, a fabulous Ball State alumnus, who graduated from the fashion merchandising program here. She had a deep influence on my decision to come back to Ball State to pursue my graduate program.”

Study Abroad trip in Machu Picchu Peru

Photo courtesy of Judy Zhu

On what she learned as a graduate assistant:

“I have been working as a graduate assistant in the Ball State Rinker Center for International Programs since August 2014. I’ve been able to assist my supervisor, the director of Ball State China Initiative, to promote Ball State University in China through the Asian Cooperation programs.  I’ve learned so many important lessons from my supervisor and my peers that have helped me succeed in the working environment. I have come to realize that being reliable, respectful and responsible would help me excel in my future career.  My colleagues are also very warm, cheerful, caring and inspiring. I am not only shown ‘what’ to do, and ‘how’ to do projects but also taught ‘why’ things are approached and processed in certain ways. My ideas and opinions are also respected.”

Ball State Chinese New Year Event 2015

Photo courtesy of Judy Zhu

On the travel opportunities she’s had at Ball State:

“I am passionate about appreciating different cultures, and as a student at Ball State, I’ve been able to achieve my dream of traveling the world. During summer of 2015, I joined the Ball State CAP Americano Study Abroad program and I was given the chance to travel to Argentina, Bolivia and Peru.

I received many unique opportunities to visit some of the top companies in these countries, including a food factory, a fashion company, a government organization, and hospital network. At each, I was able to talk to members in the senior management team.  I have received more information of the operations and built personal connections with these companies. These trips have also offered some special opportunities for me to work with the colleges students from different countries.”

International Ambassador%27s Association in the Ball State Homecoming Parade 2014

Photo courtesy of Judy Zhu

On how Ball State is preparing her for a professional career:

“My graduate assistantship experience and the student organization leadership opportunities I had during my time at Ball State have shaped me into a better professional. I interviewed with a Fortune 500 company and they provided me an offer. Ball State has played a vital role in preparing me to be a competent candidate for this position.”

On how Ball State has transformed her life:

“This place has helped me build outstanding leadership skills and it has enabled me to confidently communicate with people from all over the world. It also helped me realize my dreams and taught me that nothing is impossible. I’ve been empowered to be very independent and strong, and I’ve been able to realize what my life goals are during my time here.”

Her advice for incoming students:

“Explore the various opportunities available through Ball State and actively involve yourself. Students should use every opportunity to enhance their skills and prepare themselves for the professional world. Keep a positive attitude towards life here and be proud to be part of Ball State. Enjoy yourself!”

Thanks for sharing with us, Judy!

If you’d like to learn more about the Fashion Merchandising program or any Masters degrees in Family and Consumer Sciences, check out their website or contact their graduate program director. To learn more about the Rinker Center for International Programs, visit their website

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Meet Greg, a Doctoral Fellow whose passion for learning was fueled in the Human Performance Lab

Today we’re excited to introduce you to Greg Grosicki, a Doctoral Fellow in the Human Performance Laboratory earning his PhD in Human Bioenergetics. Greg has had the opportunity to work on a number of exciting research projects, including a partnership with NASA to prevent muscle atrophy in astronauts. He spent some time sharing with us about how his graduate experience at Ball State ignited his passion for learning. 


Photo courtesy of Ball State Photo Services

On how he’s been transformed during graduate school:

“My experience at Ball State has fostered in me a true passion for knowledge. I have learned to think and problem-solve in innovative and creative ways and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store!”

On how he chose Ball State:

“I knew the Human Performance Lab at Ball State was where I wanted to pursue my graduate career because it would provide me with the opportunity to work in an internationally recognized facility alongside leading experts in the field. Working with the faculty and other students at Ball State I knew that I would be challenged in a way that would help me to reach my potential and set me up for success in my career.”


Photo courtesy of Ball State Photo Services

On the impact of his peers and faculty members:

“The best thing about getting a graduate degree at Ball State is the caliber of people you will meet and get to work with during your time here.  Every day I look forward to coming to school and getting to learn from and work with people who truly care about my success. These interactions create an environment where the sky is the limit.”

On the value of a graduate assistantship:

“The graduate assistantship I received in the Human Performance Lab truly is the best part of my experience here at Ball State. For as much as I learn in the classroom nothing can compare to the experience in the lab. Because of the daily interactions and constant sharing of ideas between students and faculty the lab becomes a second family. We learn together, exercise together, even eat together, it is an incredible bond and an atmosphere that challenges you to do your best.”


Photo courtesy of Ball State Photo Services

On the importance of a support network:

“I’ll never forget a poster in my 3rd grade math class that read ‘Shoot for the moon. Even if even if you miss, you will land among the stars.’ I have been fortunate throughout my educational career to receive support to keep aiming at that moon from my family, friends, teachers and academic advisors. I am so thankful for the encouragement I have received that has provided me with the strength to continue to pursue my dreams and lead me to attend graduate school at Ball State.”

On the practical application of his studies:

“The comprehensive and multi-faceted nature of my education at Ball State has prepared me to succeed regardless of my career choice after I graduate. During my time at Ball State I have overcome barriers and proved to myself there really are no limits to what I can achieve.”

Thanks for sharing with us, Greg! 

If you’d like to learn more about graduate programs in the Human Performance Laboratory, check out their website or contact the program director, Scott Trappe