Hairo Ortega, a 2018 graduate of Ivy Tech Community College, is back at the Logansport campus in a very new role. Now the first Logansport admissions representative for Indiana Tech, Ortega is recruiting his fellow Ivy Tech grads – and other community members – to pursue four-year bachelor’s degrees through Indiana Tech right here at Ivy Tech’s state-of-the-art Logansport instructional site.
In this role, Ortega is busy learning about Kokomo and Peru, as well as learning much more about his hometown of Logansport. Along with meeting one-on-one with applicants to get them through the admissions process, he also serves as Indiana Tech’s representative in the three communities to meet people and talk about the many opportunities available to “develop human capital.”
“Depending on where you are in life, the Ivy Tech/Indiana Tech partnership can help you move up in your career,” Ortega said. “Whether you’re graduating from Ivy Tech ready to transfer to a four-year school or are a mid-career adult who wants to upskill for a better job, Indiana Tech offers the opportunity to pursue bachelor’s and master’s degrees and even a Ph.D.”
Ivy Tech and Fort Wayne-based Indiana Tech announced a new transfer partnership last summer that enables students to complete a four-year Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration as part of Ivy Tech Logansport’s new “University Center.” Jeri Burkhart, director of admissions for Indiana Tech’s College of Professional Studies, said the addition of Ortega to the staff is a boost toward engaging enough students to support coursework at the Logansport site.
“We are so excited to have Hairo as part of our team,” Burkhart said. “With his background growing up in Logansport and his journey to graduation at Ivy Tech, he can relate to potential students with encouragement and enthusiasm.”
Ortega’s strong academic career at Ivy Tech was important, Burkhart says, but it’s his work ethic, energy level, and communications skills that made him a natural for the admissions representative job. Being fluent in both English and Spanish allows him to work with a broad range of potential students.
Ortega says the new job is definitely challenging, offering unique experiences with a variety of people. But most important, he says, is the chance “to create new opportunities for those who may be lost.” He loves being able to share parts of his story to encourage others.
College wasn’t really on his radar until his junior year at Logansport High School when Ortega says, he suddenly realized how important further education would be. With a new determination to earn a diploma with academic and technical honors, he retook high school classes to improve grades so he could graduate in 2017 with both. Ivy Tech was his next stop, connecting with the College’s accelerated associate degree program (ASAP) when it came to Logansport and graduating cum laude with an associate degree in General Studies in December 2018. Earning Dean’s List recognition, he was a member of Phi Theta Kappa academic honor society and the National Society of Leadership and Success. All this, he notes, while working as a customer service associate in The Home Depot’s paint department.
He credits the support he received from Ivy Tech staff members Beth Chaney, the ASAP coordinator, and Jovita Flores, an assistant admissions director. He also understands the importance of being able to go to school near home, a deciding factor for people with transportation issues and employment and family obligations. Those are all factors that make the opportunity to get an Indiana Tech bachelor’s degree without leaving the community so attractive.
Under the transfer agreement, Ivy Tech students will be able to complete associate degrees on the Logansport campus that are designed to meet first- and second-year requirements at Indiana Tech. Indiana Tech is co-locating on Ivy Tech’s Logansport campus to offer the third- and fourth-year courses needed to complete bachelor’s degrees in Business Administration in seven areas of concentration – Business Communication, Entrepreneurial Studies, Health Care Administration, Human Resources, Management, Marketing, and Sports Management. Additional programs may be added in the future.
Burkhart said Indiana Tech is forming classes now at the Logansport center based on shared interests or goals, with many different start times. The programs, a combination of face-to-face and online courses, are set up to accommodate working adults with class sessions that begin throughout the year. And, in just a few months, one of the new students seeking bachelor’s degrees will be Hairo Ortega himself.
“So many people can relate to aspects of Hairo’s story,” Burkhart said. “It’s a story of choosing to invest in yourself. You know what you’re worth. If the choice is buying a new car or going to school, invest in you. That new car, so pretty and shiny now, won’t be so pretty and shiny in two years.”
For more information on the Ivy Tech-Indiana Tech partnership and how to enroll, contact Ortega at HDOrtega@IndianaTech.edu or 1-800-288-1766, ext. 2610.