IU East’s Danielson Learning Center Celebrates 15th Anniversary: Alumni share their experiences at the Henry County campus

August 6th, 2014

Indiana University East is celebrating the 15th anniversary of the Danielson Learning Center with an open house from 4-7 p.m. on Thursday, August 7. The Danielson Center is located at 300 Trojan Lane in New Castle, Ind.

The open house will celebrate the center’s accomplishments and reaffirm IU East’s dedication to provide services and promote postsecondary education in Henry County. The mission of the Danielson Center is to help improve the county’s economic viability and quality of life by coordinating and expanding local resources.

IU East alumni Brock Davis, Trevor Jones, Kenneth A. Ritchie II and Michelle White share their stories on how the Danielson Center helped them to achieve their academic and professional goals close to home.

Brock Davis, ’14, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration
Davis, received his degree in business administration while he worked full-time at Ameriana Bank and is now the vice president of Retail Operations. He said he learned from instructors who worked in the area they were teaching, making his educational experience more like real life experience.BrockDavis

“As a working student I wanted to learn from experienced professionals and not just a textbook,” Davis said.

Trevor Jones, ’08, Bachelor of Social Work
Since high school, Jones knew he wanted to help others. At the time, he was a junior volunteering for a peer facilitating program that mentored elementary school students.TrevorJones

“That is when I discovered the calling to make a difference and impact others in a positive way,” Jones said.

The New Castle native chose to attend Indiana University East following his high school graduation. In particular, he decided to take his courses at the Danielson Learning Center because of its convenient location close to home. His mother, Sandra Jones, is also an IU East graduate and attended classes at the Danielson Center. She earned her Bachelor of Social Work degree in 2001.

Jones said that the experience he had while a student at the Danielson Center is one that made an impact.

“Every semester was a surprise. Each one brought new challenges. I got to discover how strong of a person I was,” Jones said. “I was able to grow into my own skin and learn how to see the bigger picture in everyday life situations.”

Kenneth A. Ritchie II, ’09, Bachelor of Science in Biology
Ritchie, was an undergraduate with a full-time schedule in and out of the classroom. During the day, he worked full-time at Henry County Hospital as a radiology technologist. Following his shift, he would drive three miles across New Castle to the Danielson Learning Center for evening classes in order to complete his biology degree.KenRitchie

Today, Ritchie is in his third year of the Master of Physician Assistant Studies program at Butler University. He will graduate with his master’s degree in May 2015. As a physician assistant, Ritchie will be able to provide medical services, care and treatment to patients.

“I worked as a radiology technologist specializing in CT and MRI for many different years and decided that I wanted to be more involved in the patient’s care and treatment,” Ritchie said.

Once Ritchie completes his master’s degree, he plans to work in New Castle.

Michelle White, ’06, Bachelor of Art in Fine Arts
The Danielson Learning Center made a difference in White’s life. White enrolled at the New Castle campus six years after graduating high school. She had grown up in Henry County, 15 miles from the center. As a single mother, in addition to working two jobs, the local campus was the most conducive option for her to pursue a bachelor’s degree.MichelleWhite

“The Danielson Center offers small class sizes, and a closer atmosphere than a large campus. The classes are small enough that the professors know their students by name, and easily recognize if there are areas where the student struggles.  The classes were small and engaging, and professors were able to spend more individual time with their students,” White said.

Once White graduated with her B.S. in Fine Arts and a Minor in Creative Writing, she went on to earn her M.B.A. from Indiana Wesleyan University. She taught business courses at the Danielson Center in the evenings, including a marketing class and a computer class. She worked as a treasurer for Charles A Beard Memorial School Corporation for 14 years and she was  elected to the district’s School Board of Trustees in 2012.

“All through high school, I was business oriented.  I always knew I would work in business, probably in an office somewhere.  Though I eventually went back for my M.B.A., I spent my undergrad years exploring a completely new side of myself that I didn’t even know existed,” White said. “I can’t imagine how different my life may have been had I not made that decision to go back to school at the Danielson Learning Center in New Castle.”

About the Danielson Learning Center
The Danielson Learning Center promotes post secondary education in Henry County to improve its economic viability and quality of life by coordinating and expanding local resources. The Danielson Center, located at 300 Trojan Lane in New Castle, is one of Indiana University East’s off-campus locations.

The Danielson Learning Center was founded by a group of Henry County residents who realized the need for higher education within the county. This group has since formed as the Danielson Education Council, Inc. The vision is to provide all Henry County residents access to opportunities that will enable them to reach their post secondary educational potential.

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