Student Success: Hairo Ortega

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.

2019-11 Hairo Ortega_Ivy Tech and Indiana Tech_cropped

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 or 1-800-288-1766, ext. 2610.



Student Success: José Gomez Marquez

José Gomez Marquez knows a thing or two about taking risks and starting over. He made the decision of moving him and his family from the country of Peru to Miami, Florida in 2003 for better employment opportunities.

Things were better in Miami, but only slightly. Marquez wanted more opportunities to work in manufacturing and wanted to strengthen his English. He did this as he Zoom Jose Gomez Marquez Headshot.jpgresearched for smaller cities that focused on plastics manufacturing.

Marquez made another worthwhile decision to move him and his family to Fort Wayne, Indiana to work at Mullinax. He eventually left to pursue an opportunity at D&W Finepack, where he discovered Ivy Tech and Next Level Jobs.

As he wanted to advance his career at D&W Finepack, he knew he would have to continue his education. He was able to get his tuition and fees paid for while attending Ivy Tech Fort Wayne through Next Level Jobs. Marquez earned his certificate in Supply Chain Management and Logistics in fall of 2019 and is working on his associate’s degree in spring of 2020

While attending Ivy Tech Fort Wayne, Marquez has excelled. One of his biggest accomplishments was winning first place as part of a multi-college team at the Conexus Case Competition in Oct. 2019 where he problem-solved a real-life scenario faced by the Caterpillar corporation.

“The Conexus Competition was an amazing experience! Working on a real case with students from another college was challenging, but definitely enriching,” says Marquez. “The feeling of being the winning team was so exhilarating! I was very nervous because other teams seemed so well-prepared, but thanks to the good experiences that I’ve had with my Ivy Tech instructors, I was right there with them, ready to compete at a high level.”

Marquez worked hard and moved across the country and across the world to not only improve his life, but his family’s as well. He wrote a poem (which won first place in a competition for National Distance Learning Week) that reflects his emotional and educational journey from Peru to Ivy Tech Fort Wayne:

Virtual Reality Becomes Reality
by Jose Gomez Marquez

Stuck in a dead-end job
no light at the end of the tunnel
aspirations, creativity stifled
a dump truck full of ambition
poured through a small plastic funnel.
My time and my sweat daily wrung from me
hardly a moment, a drop left for my family.
Is this why I left Perú, to live in a snowy city?
Then an ad comes my way, by heavenly algorithm sent
Level up your job with Next Level
See? Your tax dollars are well spent!
I’m nervous, I’m worried
Can I handle work, school, more stress?
My kids push me towards the goal
I say “maybe,” they chorus “yes!”
Distance learning is the key, the internet is my friend
my mind catches fire, though my posture suffers
hours with a book and a laptop I spend.
The pieces fit together, good grades come my way
my confidence rises
I can finally put all my skills into play.
One more challenge arrives
the Conexus contest in logistics and supply chain
I’ll show those punks from West Lafayette
how we do things in Fort Wayne!
My team poses for the photo as we hold the big check
fifteen minutes of fame, a new job and more
courtesy of online Ivy Tech.

Student Success: Leah Curry

Leah Curry

Leah Curry had studied chemistry at the University of Evansville and industrial electronics at Ivy Tech Community College in Evansville, Indiana. She also holds a TPC Certification in industrial electronics.

Today, Curry is president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Indiana, Inc., in Princeton, Indiana (TMMI). She is responsible for all production and administrative functions at the manufacturing facility, which produces the Toyota Highlander, Highlander Hybrid, Sienna, and Sequoia.

Previously, Curry served as president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing, West Virginia, Inc. (TMMWV), in Buffalo, West Virginia. She was responsible for all manufacturing and administrative functions of the manufacturing plant. During her 22-year career with Toyota, Curry has held several other manufacturing management positions at TMMI, including general manager of assembly and management positions in body weld, stamping, maintenance, production engineering, and new model launch. She started her career as a maintenance team leader at TMMI in 1997.

Curry serves on the National Board of Directors for The Manufacturing Institute and Women in Manufacturing (WIM). She received national recognition in 2013 as a female leader in manufacturing with the Manufacturing Institute’s Step Ahead award. Curry was also named one of the Top 100 women in Automotive by Automotive News.


National Hospital Week to be held May 6-12

The American Hospital Association’s National Hospital Week will take place from Sunday, May 6 through Saturday, May 12. National Hospital Week will give Ivy Tech Community College students and graduates the chance to celebrate their success within hospitals across the state. This includes nurses, therapists, foodservice workers, administrators and more.

In nursing alone, Ivy Tech Associate of Science in Nursing graduates accounted for 64 percent of Indiana’s total 2017 National Licensure Examination testers in Registered Nursing and 73.5 percent for Practical Nursing.

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Ivy Tech Community College celebrates nurses during National Nurses Week

National Nurses Week will begin on Sunday, May 6 and run through Saturday, May 12, celebrating nurses across the nation. This will include several Ivy Tech Community College grads, students, staff and faculty.

Ivy Tech has played a critical role for individuals pursuing a career in nursing. For the 2016-2017 school year, the College had a total of 1,229 graduates in the Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) program and 355 graduates in Practical Nursing (PN) programs. Upon graduating, students are able to apply for required RN and PN National Council Licensure Examinations. In 2016, accounted for 64 percent of Indiana’s total ASN testers and 73.5 percent of PN testers. In just 4-6 months after graduation, 89 percent of Ivy Tech ASN graduates, and 77 percent of Ivy Tech PN graduates have obtained a job in the workforce.

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Women’s History Month: A Chat with President Sue Ellspermann

President-Sue-EllspermannIn honor of Women’s History Month, the Ivy Tech Social Team (IVYTS) sat down with Ivy Tech Community College President, Dr. Sue Ellspermann, to discuss what Women’s History Month means to her and how it impacts economy and future of work.

IVYTS: What women have inspired you in your career?
President Ellspermann:
Susan B. Anthony, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Mother (now Saint) Teresa of Calcutta, Sr. Kathy Huber (prioress emeritus of the Sisters of St. Benedict), Pat Koch (former matriarch of Holiday World), among others. Unfortunately, there were too few when I was young. Continue reading

“A Man’s World”

By: Amanda Chadwick

I hope to see the day when women can be considered equal to men.
The day when we can fiercely wield sharp tongues and a pen.
I want to see MY daughter carry on in MY place to Fight For what is right.
To stand firm on her principles and learn the power of her own might
A Flower cannot grow in a world clouded with blind hate.
But if we stand together as equals we can decide a different fate.

Turning Negative Nancies Into Positive Patties

By: Roberta Victery

Every person who walks this Earth has his or her own perspective. Perspective is one’s point of view. Many believe that it is not humanly possible, to alter their perspective. It is very well possible for one to alter one’s perspective. It is all in the hands of the one who would like to have a better outlook on their daily life, to make that change. Making the changes to positively alter a perspective is not easy, by any means. Change, in general, is not something that majority of us humans like to do, in the first place. Positive influence within the daily life can alter a negative perspective by having a conclusive influential surroundings, healthy lifestyles choices, and implementing actions for personal gratitude.

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