The Ivy Tech Distinguished Alumni Award is the highest honor given to recognize Ivy Tech Alumni. Selected through a highly competitive process, each recipient has made a lasting impact on their community and on Ivy Tech through outstanding professional, philanthropic, or volunteer accomplishments.
Each year, up to 18 alumni from across the state are honored with the Distinguished Alumni Award at the Distinguished Alumni Celebration.
The alumni honored at this event represent the very best of what an Ivy Tech education makes possible. Alumni, faculty, staff, and friends are all encouraged to submit nominations online. Learn about the criteria and selection process before you nominate.
2021 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients
Samuel Chance graduated from Ivy Tech in the summer of 2015. He worked as a welding engineer at Major Tool and Machine in Indianapolis, and is currently working as an engineering technician with the Vermeer Corporation in Pella, Iowa. While in Indianapolis, he served as the vice-chairman of the Indiana Section of the American Welding Society and helped to charter the Indianapolis Section of the American Society for Non-destructive Testing, both of which raise scholarships for skilled trades education. He is a Certified Welding Inspector and a Certified Welding Educator. He has a passion for helping students learn about the benefits of skilled trades programs and serves as a volunteer on several committees within the American Welding Society.
Dr. Greg May is an advocate for change in all that he does. As the administrative director of adult and family services at Centerstone, he has worked to create opportunities for people to thrive and prosper, most notably through a supported employment project and crisis diversion center. Dr. May’s favorite saying is “aspire to inspire before you expire,” a saying he credits to the folk wisdom of rural Indiana.
Matt Nicholson is the father of three daughters who are currently 19, 17, and 13. He has been happily married to his high school sweetheart since 2000. Before being elected to serve as mayor in 2019, he served on city council, owned his own business for almost two decades, and was the director of a local nonprofit agency on literacy.
DeAndre Wilson is an entrepreneur, culinary curator, small business owner, brand builder, and a doer. He strives to better the ecosystem for young and future entrepreneurs. DeAndre lives by example to be a change agent by developing more inclusive and accessible channels for entrepreneurs to get necessary resources, mentoring, and support for long-term success in his community. All of his work revolves around enhancing the quality of life for residents in his neighborhood, Tepe Park, in Evansville.
Paramvir Chandpuri has an associate’s degree in Aviation Technology. With the help of Ivy Tech, he was able to fulfill his lifelong dream of working in aviation, being around aircraft, and traveling the world. He now encourages young minds interested in aviation to join the amazing aviation field and shares the path with upcoming students on how Ivy Tech helped him become a leader in aviation and accomplish his lifelong goals.
Audrey Ballard has touched the lives of many. While inspiring people to think differently and influencing change as a dedicated member of the healthcare community, Audrey has made a global impact. She has served on various boards, mentored several individuals, and aided in the development of dynamic leaders. Post-graduation, Audrey has remained active with Ivy Tech and held various positions, including adjunct instructor, mentor for the Project Jump Start, and STEM mentoring program. Audrey currently serves on the Ivy Tech Focus Group committee and is a member of Circle of Ivy. On a personal level, and above all else, Audrey has been dedicated to guiding her three adult children and is very involved with the development of her granddaughter.
As part of her career growth path over the past 24 years, Jennifer Hindman applied her Ivy Tech degree at Community Howard Regional Health. Jennifer continued her education and obtained bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Indiana University-Kokomo and Ball State University respectively. As the current chief operating officer at Community Howard, Jennifer understands and values an exceptional education experience. She is an advocate for developing strong collaborative partnerships between employers and local colleges and universities in order to support workforce development.
As the disaster workforce engagement manager for the Indiana Region of the American Red Cross where she has worked for over 24 years, Kristina Chapman works with volunteers across the state to ensure they are trained and ready to respond to disasters locally and around the country. She uses her passions to help her community by volunteering with Ivy Tech alumni, the Clinton Prairie Elementary PTO, her church, and has in the past volunteered with her local EMS and emergency planning committee. One of her favorite accomplishments is leading the installation of over 15,000 smoke alarms in homes across west-central Indiana in three years.
Campus: Lake County (Gary, E. Chicago)
Technical Certificate, Industrial Technology/Mechanical, 2010
Associate of Applied Science, Industrial Technology, 2011
Certificate, Fluid Power, 2012
Throughout the year, Chaz Jackson goes to underserved communities to offer words of hope and academic advice, and gives away food and clothing. Chaz has personally bought several homes in his old neighborhood, fixed them up, and rented them out to low-income families, providing safe, clean, efficient homes. Chaz has guided many people to the Ivy Tech Steelworkers of the Future program. He showed them that, with hard work and perseverance, everything he has they could acquire as well. Chaz unfortunately was convicted of a crime in his early youth, served his time and upon completion of incarceration, worked two jobs while putting himself through school. His message is a message of hope and redemption. This is why Chaz is a mentor to young men in and out of his family on the importance of education and completing a trade program. Chaz has been an outstanding member of society and has really demonstrated that there is always hope and a second chance in life.
Angela “Angie” White eagerly embraces the daily opportunity to impact the lives of her patients in order to promote optimal health outcomes and a healthier, happier community. Her natural desire to serve and help others in need led her to Ivy Tech-Lawrenceburg, where she earned an associate’s degree in nursing (2010) at the age of 39. Her determination, dedication, focus and strength exemplified her journey while completing a master’s degree in nursing to become a family nurse practitioner in 2016. Her leadership and commitment, both in her professional practice and volunteer service, has been invaluable to her community. Angie’s strong passion for education has allowed her to give back to her alma maters by teaching in the classroom and taking on the role of preceptor for graduate nursing students in her clinical practice.
Cory Stephens graduated from Ivy Tech Community College with an ASN in 2014 and worked for a few years as a registered nurse. Today, Cory is an ANCC board-certified Informatics Nurse Specialist who holds a BSN from Indiana University, an MSN in Nursing Informatics from Walden University, and the CPHIMS certification. Cory is pursuing a doctoral degree (DNP) focusing on technology and innovation leadership in health care. Employed as a Senior Nursing Informatics Consultant at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Cory develops clinical decision support (CDS) systems for research; leverages information and communication technologies (ICT) to enhance patient care and clinical workflows; closes the technology skills gap among clinicians through advocacy, research, and user-centered systems design; and mentors informatics nursing graduate students. Cory also works part-time as a tutor and academic coach for students in undergraduate and graduate courses. He co-developed the Rapid Training Optimization (RTO) model, a change management model to help organizations modernize electronic health record (EHR) training.
Cory has authored journal articles and textbook chapters and has been a speaker at national and global conferences. Notably, he was awarded the 2020 HIMSS Emerging Healthcare Leaders Service Award as well as the Best Practice and People’s Choice Awards at the Summer Institute in Nursing Informatics (SINI) 2021 for two poster presentations on virtual practicum platforms and the importance of mentorship. In his spare time, Cory served as the Domestic Co-Chair Liaison on the TIGER International Task Force for which he developed the TIGER eHealth Toolkit. Cory is a senior member of HIMSS and a member of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing. Any views expressed are his own and not those of his employers.
As a first-generation college student, Brenda began her college career while raising a young family. She earned an associate’s degree with Ivy Tech, and continued her education with Wesleyan University earning a master’s degree. Brenda has worked at Ivy Tech since she first began college as a work-study student and is now the associate director of financial aid at the Marion campus. Working at the college has given her the ability to assist other students achieve their goals. It is very satisfying to Brenda knowing that her work has brought positive change in the lives of the students who very often thought their goals were impossible to achieve.
Keith O’Neal began his higher education journey at Ivy Tech in the year 2001 at age 41. While a full-time lead pastor, he completed his education in May of 2020 with a doctorate degree from Duke Divinity School at Duke University. His business degree from Ivy Tech affirmed his entrepreneurial desires as he eventually founded Destiny Christian Center International Church, and two Destiny Christian Academy Childcare Centers. Keith has used his education and experience to serve on several community boards including the chamber of commerce, Second Harvest Food Bank, and the Muncie Community School Board where he serves as its vice president. He has given his adult life to serving his congregation and the people of the Delaware County community.
April Fehlinger has served on numerous committees and is very engaged with Ivy Tech Foundation efforts. Sharing her personal story with others, April has been a featured guest speaker at an Evansville campus trustee meeting as well as a featured alumni speaker for an Ivy Tech Foundation-Richmond event. April was the featured Chamberlain University Alumni in their October 2020 newsletter and was awarded the 2021 President’s Award for Teaching Instruction at the Evansville campus. April is a member of the Circle of Ivy at both the Richmond and Evansville campuses. She founded a nursing student group that has not only significantly impacted nursing student pass rates, but also elevated their sense of belonging. April is known to be an honest and committed faculty member who advocates for all students to be successful and reach levels in their profession they did not know was possible. April sets the expectation of what it means to be a nurse, and what it means to be an Ivy Tech graduate of nursing.
From band director to nurse to college faculty, Dr. Lacie Couzin has made a career of changes and personal challenges. When the opportunity arose to shift from teaching music to pursue another life-long interest in healthcare, she turned to Ivy Tech to help make the transition. Within a few weeks of starting nursing school, Dr. Couzin found herself right back in an educator’s role substitute teaching, tutoring, and by the end of the first semester, prepping to teach her first college course. Thirty-two years after first stepping foot in the classroom, she continues to teach, volunteer, and serve the Sellersburg Ivy Tech campus as Dean for the School of Health Sciences and the School of Public Affairs and Social Services.
Ryan Blaske has a passion for creating something beautiful, combined with naturally occurring incredible moments in our everyday lives. He has worked professionally as a full-time filmmaker in the midwest region since 2012 and specializes in documentary, music video, and commercial work. Ryan’s work has been featured in The Washington Post, Red Bull, Adobe, and CMT. In 2020, Ryan released a full-length documentary, “Big Enough, Small Enough – South Bend in Transition,” now available on Amazon Prime.
Brian exemplifies what it means to be a lifelong learner as he continuously sets new short- and long-term goals with his education and career. A graduate of the sonography program in Terre Haute, he has built on that foundation and has since earned a bachelor’s degree in education and master’s degree in health sciences, giving him the tools to be a creative and effective clinical instructor and sonographer. Brian continues to work closely with Ivy Tech as an adjunct clinical instructor and through an Ivy Tech scholarship program named in his mother’s honor that aims to support many future sonography students.
With the loving support of her husband and family, Marsha graduated from Ivy Tech Community College in 1998 with a degree in surgical technology. She worked as a surgical technologist for years mentoring other Ivy Tech students before she was offered a job as a clinical instructor at Ivy Tech. In 2009, Marsha was appointed to the position of program chair. As a student, she was inspired, supported and mentored by her own program chair, Lora Plank, and was thrilled to work with her. After 20 years at Ivy Tech Community College, Marsha still loves what she does and loves inspiring students in the same way she was inspired. Marsha is a dedicated educator and mentor for students, encouraging them to work hard to achieve their goals while leading by example. Hard work and dedication to her students is reflected in their success pass rates of the national certification exam.