Ball State Graduate School Blog

Where will graduate school take you?

Leave a comment

Healthcare Executive Amelia Clark to Share How She Created Her Own Opportunities

You’ve heard it before, but Amelia Clark, keynote speaker for this year’s Graduate School Orientation, wants to reiterate, “The sky is the limit!” And the proof is in her personal story, which she will share as the Ball State Graduate School Fall Orientation keynote speaker.

With degrees in anthropology (BA) and philanthropic studies (MA) from Indiana University, Amelia Clark has made a career for herself as an advocate for the underserved in health care. She started her work in school-based clinics, advancing health care access in a variety of types of schools, including the only recovery high school in Indiana, Hope Academy. Eventually, Amelia transitioned into a large hospital system, from which she continued to grow school-based clinics in Central Indiana, focusing on integrated health care. After working in school clinic administration, Amelia became the first Executive Director of the Jane Pauley Community Health Center, a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) on the east side of Indianapolis.

Currently, Amelia resides with her husband and three children in Muncie, and she has the position of regional vice president for Meridian Health Services. Clearly proud to be a part of the company, Amelia explains, “Meridian Health Services has been a community mental health center for almost 40 years, serving East Central Indiana.” Five years ago, Meridian received a FQHC Look-Alike status for two of its sites, and in 2013 it received a New Access Point grant to fund the FQHC program, which aims to improve the health of vulnerable populations in underserved communities. In her role, Amelia is responsible for overseeing six integrated care sites and the management of $1.9 million in federal grants.

“If you told me when I was an undergrad anthropology student that I would one day be part of leading a large integrated health system, I would not have believed you,” Amelia says. She wants to emphasize to incoming graduate students at Ball State University that now is the time to imagine how you might use the skills you’re developing to create opportunities for yourself and in your community. She cautions, “You get what you give… If you don’t put yourself out there to learn new things and meet new people, you will miss chances to get involved.”

Some of Amelia’s other achievements include being a featured speaker at the National Council for Behavioral Health conference, a published author on social justice pioneers, and an active member of her community. She serves on the boards of several organizations, including the Indiana Primary Health Care Association, the YMCA of Delaware and Blackford Counties, Delaware County Christian Ministries, and Alumni of the Lilly School of Philanthropy and IU.

Amelia’s keynote address is sure to leave you feeling inspired. Register now for the Graduate School Orientation on Thursday, August 17.


Leave a comment

Orientation speaker aims to encourage success among incoming graduate students

Wil_Davis speaking

Pictured is Wil Davis, CEO of Noble Why and interim president Ball State Innovation Connector, during a speaking engagement.

Ball State University Graduate School’s fall orientation is all about encouraging new professional and personal relationships and creating connections among students and potential mentors. This year’s speaker embodies that mission, leaving a successful company to better help people build relationships and foster connections.

Wil Davis  president, Ball State Innovation Connector has extensive experience in corporate leadership as the cofounder of Ontario Systems, a software company specializing in healthcare and other systems management and one of Muncie’s great success stories. Last year, the company was named Indiana’s top place to work by the state Chamber of Commerce, a tribute to the culture a leader like Davis can create.

But what Davis really loves is to encourage and nurture people, facilitating the building of relationships and communities around passion and purpose.

“That’s what I feel rewarded by,” he said.

He’s able to do that as the founder and CEO of Noble Why where he serves as a business consultant to improve company cultures. He found his way to Ontario Systems and his current position after feeling disappointed and unfulfilled with the work he was doing in his first couple jobs. But, he admits that those jobs weren’t a waste of time, and he wouldn’t be where he is today without them.

He’s bringing his experiences and message as the keynote speaker for Fall Orientation 2016. He hopes to help students articulate their own “Noble Why” to help guide them in life’s decisions.  

“I hope students are challenged to think about their lives from an intentional perspective, connecting their passions and personal purpose with their vocational and avocational lives,” Davis said.  “As students begin their graduate careers, our goal is to prepare them for a life of success in things that matter!”

To learn more about Davis, his full biography is available online. He’s also the author of a book about company culture.

If you haven’t already done so, be sure to register for orientation. Wil Davis will be speaking at 1 p.m. in Pruis Hall.

Leave a comment

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. 

Leave a comment

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.  

Leave a comment

Resources for New Graduate Assistants


Photo Courtesy of Ball State University Photo Services

Congratulations on your new graduate assistantship position! We are excited to help you transition to your new role in just a few weeks when the semester begins. Before the fall semester arrives, we’d like to offer you some resources for being successful as a graduate assistant.

You can download a copy of our Tips for Being Successful as a Graduate Assistant. This will cover basic information and provide you with suggestions for making the most of your time at Ball State.

If you weren’t able to join us for the live G.A. Webinar on July 14, you can watch a recording of the event here.

You can also learn more about what it’s like to be a G.A. at Ball State by reading our Day in the Life of a GA series.

If you have any lingering questions after checking out these resources, you can always contact the Graduate School at

Don’t forget to register for on-campus orientation on Thursday, August 20 for a chance to network with other students, learn more about campus, hear from our keynote speaker, and socialize during our mixer at The Caffeinery!