I Define Success: Angie Bowman

angie-bowman-np.jpgAngie Bowman was determined to provide a better life for herself and her daughter. This Distinguished Alumni Award recipient had a passion for healthcare, but her previous experience with higher education left her feeling uncomfortable with college.

“When I discovered Ivy Tech’s 1-year LPN program, I knew that I could do it.”

It was through the 12-month practical nursing program that the Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo alumna would begin her educational journey in healthcare. Angie went on to receive her bachelor’s degree from Indiana Wesleyan and Masters of Science in Nursing from Ball State University. She currently serves her community as a Nurse Practitioner at Community Howard Regional Health.

“Ivy Tech gave me a great foundation and a stepping off point to get the knowledge that I needed to continue with my education and into a great career.”

During her time at Ivy Tech, Angie says she really gained the confidence to be a nurse. She describes Ivy Tech instructors as being invested in students and hopes future students know there are “a lot of knowledgeable people… that will help you.” Angie, described by her Distinguished Alumni nominator as a compassionate person who cares about her patients, also helps future nurses acting as a preceptor to students pursuing their nurse practitioner education. She has previously worked as an adjunct faculty member at Ivy Tech.

Overall, Angie feels her time at Ivy Tech was well spent. “It was exactly what I needed at the right time in my life. It was the right program for me, I came out with little debt, and it was a great place to get started.”

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Ivy Tech Community College is proud to celebrate Angie’s success and achievements with the Distinguished Alumni Award. This annual award honors alumni for their commitment to the College and to their communities. The awardees are leaders in their professions who make significant contributions benefiting their community, state, or college.

The alumni recognized with this award represent the very best of what an Ivy Tech education makes possible. Alumni, faculty, staff, and friends are all encouraged to submit nominations online.

I Define Success: Steven Schroers

Steven Schroers.jpgAs the IT manager for Lake County’s 911 Center, Steven Schroers uses his Computer Information Technology degree from Ivy Tech Community College to serve 15 communities and their public safety agencies. Steven says he chose Ivy Tech because of the excellent programs and staff, affordable tuition, transfer opportunities and up-to-date technology available for students.

“Whenever training and education come up in conversation I always point to the benefits of studying at Ivy Tech,” he said. “I was able to get a wide range of experience and education.”

Steven is a recipient of the Ivy Tech Distinguished Alumni Award and he plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Informatics at IUPUI this spring. To stay current on trends in his career field, he continues to take technology and public safety courses at Ivy Tech and uses his invaluable educational experience to assist in the development of one of the largest emergency communication centers in the Chicagoland area. A volunteer and District EMS Element Vice Chairman for the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, Steven is active in the Lake County community and loves sharing information about the new Ivy Tech center.

“Ivy Tech is a great school with great programs. You definitely save a lot on tuition, and it gives you a great feel for college,” he said. “It is a great stepping-stone to a four-year university.”

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Ivy Tech Community College is proud to celebrate Steven’s success and achievements with the Distinguished Alumni Award. This annual award honors alumni for their commitment to the College and to their communities. The awardees are leaders in their professions who make significant contributions benefiting their community, state, or college.

The alumni recognized with this award represent the very best of what an Ivy Tech education makes possible. Alumni, faculty, staff, and friends are all encouraged to submit nominations online.

I Define Success: David Wismann

Distinguished Alumnus, David Wismann graduated from Ivy Tech Community College Lawrenceburg with an associate of science in criminal justice. David worked at the Dearborn County Sheriff’s Department while pursuing his degree, he ultimately chose to attend Ivy Tech because of its flexibility and convenience but found his education provided more than he expected.

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“I was able to complete the first two years of my bachelor’s degree there,” he said. “I was already on my career path, but having a formal education opened doors and gave me the ability to teach at Ivy Tech, which was a goal of mine.”

David went on to receive his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in criminal justice. He remains connected to Ivy Tech as an adjunct criminal justice professor. He is described by fellow Ivy Tech faculty and nominator, Elaine Marshall, as a man with a “high level of integrity who is respected by his personal and professional peers.”

“Dave continues to give back to his community through his work with the Dearborn County Sheriff’s Department and also continues to give back to the students through his commitment and dedication to Ivy Tech as an adjunct faculty member,” Elaine explained.

The adjunct faculty member and Security Chief at Hidden Valley Lake has just a few words of advice for future students, “If you’re considering whether you should go back to school, you’re right, and Ivy Tech is a great choice.”


Ivy Tech Community College is proud to celebrate David’s success and achievements with the Distinguished Alumni Award. This annual award honors alumni for their commitment to the College and to their communities. The awardees are leaders in their professions who make significant contributions benefiting their community, state, or college.

The alumni recognized with this award represent the very best of what an Ivy Tech education makes possible. Alumni, faculty, staff, and friends are all encouraged to submit nominations online.

I Define Success: Jennifer Nolan

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Distinguished Alumna, Jennifer Patterson Nolan was the first person in her family to go to college. Jennifer received her first degree, an associate in nursing, at Ivy Tech Community College Madison. While she went on to receive her bachelor’s and master’s degree, her first steps towards higher education weren’t easy.

“I had to pay for everything on my own,” she explained. “Attending Ivy Tech gave me the ability to pay for my own tuition while I worked and raised my son.”

Jennifer had aspired to be a nurse since she was a little girl and says her time at Ivy Tech helped her to become a nurse advocate. During her experience at Ivy Tech, Jennifer felt completely supported in her goals, but still able to be a mother. She applauds her Ivy Tech instructors for encouraging students to consider careers they may not have known about previously.

“The instructors really pushed us to learn what we loved about the nursing profession while we were in school,” she said. “They helped us to think long-term about what we wanted to do after graduation.”

Currently serving as the Manager of Clinical Operations at IU Health Saxony in the emergency room, Jennifer’s passion for advocacy and care is reflected in her emergency department, ranked highest in patient satisfaction among the entire IU Health system. In addition to her professional achievements, Jennifer remains connected to the College as a member of Ivy Tech Foundation’s League of Ivy Young Professionals Council. She participates in community service and educates others about the significance of the opioid crisis.


Ivy Tech Community College is proud to celebrate Jennifer’s success and achievements with the Distinguished Alumni Award. This annual award honors alumni for their commitment to the College and to their communities. The awardees are leaders in their professions who make significant contributions benefiting their community, state, or college.

The alumni recognized with this award represent the very best of what an Ivy Tech education makes possible. Alumni, faculty, staff, and friends are all encouraged to submit nominations online.

I Define Success: Cheryl Ferwerda

cheryl ferwerdaIvy Tech Distinguished Alumna, Cheryl Ferwerda returned to college after working in the food industry for 38 years. She was without a job and living with her mother. When she began to search for jobs, she worried that her skills were lacking. After the unemployment office encouraged her to develop new skills, she knew it was time to make a change.

“I went to my local Ivy Tech campus and the Office of Student Affairs was so encouraging,” she said. “I was able to get registered for classes and completed financial aid that same day!”

Cheryl went on to complete four certificates and associate degrees in healthcare sciences and general studies. In 2017, she received her bachelor’s in Allied Health Science and Health Management from Indiana University = Kokomo. She currently works as an Adjunct Professor at Ivy Tech and a Navigator at the Madison County Community Health Center. Focused on patients and continuity of care, Cheryl helps community members find access to healthcare and resources, regardless of income. Cheryl’s time at Ivy Tech allowed her to grow personally and professionally while teaching her how to help others navigate the healthcare system.

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“Education is life changing. I would never dream that I would have the experiences that I’ve had because it opens so many doors,” she said. “I think that what Ivy Tech does is remove barriers if you believe in yourself.”


Ivy Tech Community College is proud to celebrate Cheryl’s success and achievements with the Distinguished Alumni Award. This annual award honors alumni for their commitment to the College and to their communities. The awardees are leaders in their professions who make significant contributions benefiting their community, state, or college.

The alumni recognized with this award represent the very best of what an Ivy Tech education makes possible. Alumni, faculty, staff, and friends are all encouraged to submit nominations online.

I Define Success: Tricia Buchholz

tricia buchholzTricia Hall Buchholz’s educational journey began at West Lafayette High School.  At graduation, she was unsure of what direction she would go with her education.  Immediately after high school she took several courses at Ivy Tech and in her mid-20’s began her serious study at Ivy Tech, intent on pursuing an associate degree in criminal justice.  During an introductory criminal justice course, the professor took notice of her abilities and suggested Tricia genuinely consider law school.

“She had seen something in me at that moment that completely changed the trajectory of my future.  I thought the idea of my going to law school was ridiculous, but her believing in me stayed with me.”  After that conversation, Tricia’s plans for her future changed.

While studying at Ivy Tech Community College Lafayette, Tricia served as an intern in Tippecanoe County juvenile court, received the Dean’s Award for Criminal Justice, and represented her graduating class as student commencement speaker.  After graduating cum laude and earning her associate degree in criminal justice from Ivy Tech, Tricia received her bachelor’s degree from Indiana State University in 2008.  After a five-year career with Tippecanoe County Youth Services, Tricia returned to school and earned her Juris Doctor degree from the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law in 2016. During her time at McKinney, Tricia was named to the Moot Court Society’s Order of the Barristers, represented McKinney in two national moot court competitions, and served on the Moot Court Society Board as the Assistant Chief Justice for National Competitions.  As a result of her pro bono work throughout law school, Tricia received the Norman Lefstein Award of Excellence.

In August of 2017, Tricia began her current position at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida.  As Assistant Director in the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities, a few of her many duties include: serving as an administrator for student conduct hearings; delivering Title IX hearing officer training for students, faculty, and staff; advising hearing officers and panels during student conduct hearings; and providing supervision and support for graduate assistants and interns. In May 2018, Tricia received the Florida State University Division of Student Affairs New Employee of the Year Award.

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Tricia is described as “a champion” by Mary Mitchell, the Ivy Tech staff member that nominated her for the Distinguished Alumni Award. “Tricia stepped onto the Ivy Tech campus as a student, unaware of her exceptional intellect and drive,” Mary said. “Tricia rightfully garnered numerous awards and accolades along the way for her exceptionalism and largely credited her experiences at Ivy Tech as one reason for her personal success.” As an Ivy Tech Distinguished Alumna, she has another accolade to add to her impressive collection.

Tricia has remained connected to the Lafayette Ivy Tech criminal Justice program.  She has been able to return and speak to criminal justice students and considers it a highlight that she was able to attend the 2018 reunion of the criminal justice program. She looks forward to more opportunities to work with students and faculty.

“The impact Ivy Tech has had on my education, life, and career cannot be overstated.  The instructors in the outstanding Lafayette criminal justice program unlocked previously unrealized talent and potential in me, laying the foundation for the success I have since experienced.”


Ivy Tech Community College is proud to celebrate Tricia’s success and achievements with the Distinguished Alumni Award. This annual award honors alumni for their commitment to the College and to their communities. The awardees are leaders in their professions who make significant contributions benefiting their community, state, or College.

The alumni recognized with this award represent the very best of what an Ivy Tech education makes possible. Alumni, faculty, staff, and friends are all encouraged to submit nominations online.

I Define Success: Tony Pulley

tpulley1In 1977, Tony Pulley received an associate degree in accounting and an associate degree in business administration from Ivy Tech Community College Fort Wayne. For him, there was no need for a four-year degree because he knew that he wanted to run his own business. Tony achieved this goal, becoming the owner of a financial services business – a company he eventually sold to Crossroads Bank.

“That’s what Ivy Tech did, it gave me the tools to build a business from scratch,” he said. “It gave me the tools to build and run my own business, which ultimately the bank bought 18 years ago. I was self-employed for 18 years before that.”

Currently the President of Crossroad’s Bank Investment Center, Tony believes his level of success can be achieved by anyone that has the entrepreneurial spirit. He encourages students to have a plan, but prepare for that plan to change. “What I am doing now in financial planning is a profession that did not exist,” he said.

“You have to be able to change because the world is always changing. Ivy Tech helps you get there. It helps you prepare for the first job and for the next job.”

Beyond his professional achievements, Tony has served his community through roles on boards like the Wabash Advisory board, Wabash Child Abuse Prevention Council, Ivy Tech Advisory Board, United Fund, and many others. Participating in various church boards and committees, Tony has also acted as an elder, teacher and youth group leader. Ivy Tech staff member Pam Guthrie described Tony as an “outstanding person” when she nominated him for the Distinguished Alumni Award.

Tony Pulley

“[Tony] has used his education to excel in his field. He exemplifies what we hope all our graduates will become in their communities.”


Ivy Tech Community College is proud to celebrate Tony’s success and achievements with the Distinguished Alumni Award. This annual award honors alumni for their commitment to the College and to their communities. The awardees are leaders in their professions who make significant contributions benefiting their community, state, or college.

The alumni recognized with this award represent the very best of what an Ivy Tech education makes possible. Alumni, faculty, staff, and friends are all encouraged to submit nominations online.

I Define Success: Brenda Stellema

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Brenda Stellema has received multiple certificates and degrees from Ivy Tech Community College Michigan City, including associate degrees in human services and in health science. Brenda, who is an honors graduate and member of the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society, was nominated to receive the Distinguished Alumni Award by her former professor, Daniel Mallon.  “From the first week of having Ms. Stellema in one of my classes, I knew she was going to make an impact on the world,” said Mallon, “Her drive and ambition is unparalleled.”

After graduating from Ivy Tech, Brenda joined Family Advocates, an agency working with children who have been abused and neglected. During that time, she developed the Court Appointed Youth Advocate (CAYA) Program to assist youth struggling with delinquency and behaviors impacting their academic and personal progress. As a court-ordered intervention being used by the local Juvenile court, CAYA matches appointed teens with advocates, mentors and role models. Over the past five years, CAYA has helped over 90 teens; a number Brenda hopes to increase as she works towards state funding for a statewide launch. Brenda even brought the first CAYA graduate to Ivy Tech to enroll in classes.

“For me to bring her to the campus where I started my journey was surreal,” said Brenda, “That’s how much I believe in Ivy Tech. It can be a launching pad and to help you get where you want to go.”

Brenda’s time at Ivy Tech pushed her to step out of her comfort zone and become a servant leader. Her experience helped her understand the importance of helping others and in her community. Brenda continues to be grateful to the Ivy Tech faculty that “mentored, coached and guided” her toward reaching her goals.

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“The reason why I am here is because people invested in me and it gave me a reason to give back,” she said, “I came to Ivy Tech as a nontraditional student at 48 years old and I was provided with the tools and the resources to change my life and create a career that I love.”

As an alumna, Brenda has pursued her bachelor’s in social work and has remained connected to Ivy Tech as a member of the Circle of Ivy. Circle of Ivy is Ivy Tech’s women’s giving circle, which is open to all women who wish to become members of a powerful network of philanthropists who collectively give back to local Ivy Tech campuses and students.


Ivy Tech Community College is proud to celebrate Brenda’s success and achievements with the Distinguished Alumni Award. This annual award honors alumni for their commitment to the College and to their communities. The awardees are leaders in their professions who make significant contributions benefiting their community, state, or college.

The alumni recognized with this award represent the very best of what an Ivy Tech education makes possible. Alumni, faculty, staff, and friends are all encouraged to submit nominations online.

I Define Success: Frank Scott

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In celebration of his professional success, community involvement, and continued support of the College, Frank has been honored as an Ivy Tech Distinguished Alumni.

Frank Scott decided to enroll at Ivy Tech Community College Muncie after the plant where he worked closed. The company offered the option to attend Ivy Tech for free and Frank seized the opportunity to make a career change. Ready to try something different, Frank decided to study human services.

“I had been in manufacturing for 28 years and really wanted a change. I enjoyed learning about the community. It changed my life.”

Frank graduated with an associate degree in human services and is currently serving as the president of Whitley Community Council, a neighborhood organization that has won two national awards. Under his leadership, the neighborhood association has opened a food pantry which has served hundreds of local community members. Frank also serves as the precinct committeeman for the district. He believes his time at Ivy Tech gave him the motivation he needed.

“I saw the community and things that needed to be done, but Ivy Tech helped me see how I can contribute to making a difference in improving issues in society,” he said.

In addition to his work in the community, Frank stays connected with Ivy Tech through the Whitley Community Council, local fundraising committees, and by encouraging others in the community to enroll. Most notably, he encouraged his own son to enroll at Ivy Tech at 33 years old.


Ivy Tech Community College is proud to celebrate Frank’s success and achievements with the Distinguished Alumni Award. This annual award honors alumni for their commitment to the College and to their communities. The awardees are leaders in their professions who make significant contributions benefiting their community, state, or college.

The alumni recognized with this award represent the very best of what an Ivy Tech education makes possible. Alumni, faculty, staff, and friends are all encouraged to submit nominations online.

I Define Success: Joel Troxel

Joel Troxel

Joel Troxel accepts Distinguished Alumni Award from Dr. Sue Ellspermann, Ivy Tech president, and John M. Murphy, Ivy Tech Foundation president at the Distinguished Alumni Awards Celebration in Indianapolis, December 2018.

Joel Troxel was only 16 years old when he first enrolled at Ivy Tech Community College Valparaiso. His journey at Ivy Tech began his sophomore year of high school when he decided to pursue dual credit at Ivy Tech. Joel is now a Certified Public Accountant, runs a successful consulting business, and is an Ivy Tech Distinguished Alumni.

“I was able to complete my associate degree concurrently with my high school diploma,” he said. “Ivy Tech was convenient, affordable, and a solid stepping stone.”

During his time at Ivy Tech, Joel was Student Body President, a peer tutor and member of Phi Theta Kappa. After receiving his associate’s degree in accounting, Joel transitioned to Valparaiso University, where he continued to volunteer, was the President of the Accounting Society and served as an assistant to the Dean. Joel received his bachelor’s degree in accounting in 2006 and graduated Summa Cum Laude.

Joel founded a consulting firm, JET Consulting Services, LLC, which provides business consulting, financial services, and technology planning to clients throughout the United States. He is also active in his community where he is a member of the Indiana CPA Society Innovation Task Force, an active member of his church, Treasurer for the LaCrosse Volunteer Fire Department, and a member of the Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce. He remains connected to Ivy Tech through his assistance with fundraising for events like his local campus’ capital campaign and his continued support of the Ivy Tech Foundation.

Joel TroxelJoel says his current career is a fulfillment of the dream of serving small business owners that he had when he began at Ivy Tech. He hopes future students pursue an education at Ivy Tech and utilize it as a pathway to fulfilling and dynamic careers.

“I have advised and urged many young people that the value you receive at Ivy Tech is incredible,” he said. “Focus on developing yourself to serve in the calling you’ve been given, and opportunities will open up.”

He believes Ivy Tech was able to give him a unique education, where he was able to interact with other students of all ages. This environment allowed him to become “a more questioning and engaged learner.”

Joel credits his pathway to success to his “effective and efficient education at Ivy Tech.” Overall, Joel is deeply grateful for his time at Ivy Tech and is a fantastic example of how Ivy Tech can help students achieve their educational dreams.

“It was a valuable education and opened the door to a host of opportunities,” he said. “I was 16 when I enrolled in Ivy Tech. Two years later, I graduated with a good education, a growth perspective, and experience that has helped me reach my goals.”


Ivy Tech Community College is proud to celebrate Joel’s success and achievements with the Distinguished Alumni Award. This annual award honors alumni for their commitment to the College and to their communities. The awardees are leaders in their professions who make significant contributions benefiting their community, state, or college.

The alumni recognized with this award represent the very best of what an Ivy Tech education makes possible. Alumni, faculty, staff, and friends are all encouraged to submit nominations online.