Four new graduates are grateful for finding uncommon successes at a university that’s only a 20-minute trek from their homes in west central Ohio.
They became athletic champions and pioneers; they won awards and found careers. They are unabashed believers in IU East, its mission and its positive place in the region.
One of them, Rikki Foust of Eldorado, Ohio, already has started a full-time job at IU East as a specialist in Environmental Health and Safety/Emergency Management & Continuity after taking part in the IUPD Cadet Officer Program.
Seth Reynolds, of Eaton, became the first Red Wolves track and field athlete to earn All-American honors in two events in the 110-meter hurdles and the 400-meter hurdles in 2018.
His title aspirations this spring were dashed by a back injury, but he remains optimistic, especially about IU East’s positive impact on his life and the potential impacts of current and future students.
“I love IU East. I am so glad I went here,” Reynolds said. “It’s awesome. It’s a really great place to go. The professors know you. The tuition isn’t much, yet you get a Big Ten degree. You can’t beat that.”
Libby Springmier agrees. “A lot of Eaton grads are looking at it because they realize they can get an Indiana University degree at a fraction of the cost,” she said.
Springmier found fabulous success as a guard on an overachieving new women’s basketball team that started NAIA competition just the season before she hit campus. She started every game this past season and her highlights included hitting the winning free throws in a home victory over 14th-ranked St. Francis. She also was honored as a scholar-athlete by the NAIA and the River States Conference.
The Red Wolves quickly started having 20-win seasons, won conference titles and made it to the national tournament during Springmier’s career under Coach Tiffani Selhorst. They reached the NAIA Sweet 16 and went 29-6 in the 2016-17 season, the first when they played on Lingle Court on campus. “We made a name for ourselves,” Springmier said. “I have no regrets. It was great.”
Karrie Buehner gained nursing experiences at campus neighbor Reid Health and life-enhancing volunteering experiences through IU East’s service-learning program.
“I think IU East does present a good opportunity,” Buehner said. “Faculty members really do care about the students and help us to learn and better ourselves however they can.”
The new graduates from Ohio are not shy about expounding on the positives of IU East when they talk to prospective students — and their parents — from their hometowns.
“I definitely talk it up any chance I get,” says Reynolds, who has served as an Admissions Ambassador.
In fact, he had the chance in the last couple weeks to answer questions posed by a parent in his hometown. Reynolds believes he was successful. “He said, ‘Yeah, t
hat’s where I want my daughter to go.’”
Foust cited the opportunities that IU East offers with scholarships, the choices of majors and with athletics. She also said the majority of students in western Ohio and eastern Indiana come from smaller schools, so they can relate better to IU East than bigger universities.
“I feel a lot of those students can relate to the class sizes and having the ability to make new friends easier,” Foust said.
Following are more details about successes and dreams of the new graduates:
Karrie Buehner, Bachelor of Science in Human Life Science
Buehner recently was named Outstanding Student in Human Life Sciences for 2018-19. She considers that among her top achievements, along with making the Chancellor’s List and graduating with honors.
Buehner led a busy life as a student, a hospital employee and a volunteer, which provided her with many great experiences. Those included serving as secretary and president of the Honors Program and vice president of membership for Circle K International.
Her immediate plan is to take the Administrator in Training Program (AIT) and earn a license to become a nursing home administrator.
She said a strong influence was Ann Tobin, who is the campus/community liaison for the Center for Service-Learning.
“Ann has always been so caring and helpful and provides us with many opportunities, such as tutoring and volunteering with many programs like Amigos and Kiwanis (Circle K).”
IU East’s website notes that: “Ann creates community connections by engaging IU East students in service for course requirements, work study, career exploration, volunteerism, special projects, tutoring/mentoring, graduate school applications, and personal enrichment.”
Tobin explains: “It’s all about relationships – those with the community partners and with the IU East students.”
Buehner juggled many roles, including a job while gaining her Bachelor of Science in Human Life Science and a minor in chemistry.
“I am able to balance my time by keeping work to a minimum (24 hours a week) and scheduling around activities,” says the graduate of National Trail High School.
Rikki Foust, Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
Foust’s top experience at IU East was becoming a part of the cadet program, “which ended up as the best decision I could have made for myself.”
She finished her work in December 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and a minor in psychology. She believes those were her top achievements, along with graduating last August in the 45th class of the Indiana University Police Academy.
She plans to work toward a master’s degree and gain other graduate certificates in her field.
Foust enjoyed connecting with people on campus as a cadet officer.
“IU East has a great friendly atmosphere and that is what made it so easy to interact and connect on a working and personal friendship level,” she said. “I liked getting to know the ‘regulars’ when I would walk into a building — whether that was a student, faculty, or staff.”
She credits IUPD-East Chief Scott Dunning with motivating her to excellence. “He is my biggest influence and my biggest support system here on campus. (He) truly means it when he says ‘his department is a family,’” Foust said. “Our department is unlike anyone else’s.”
She has some words of advice about succeeding at IU East.
“Find friend/groups that enjoy doing the same things. Go to events on campus and start meeting faculty and staff,” she said. “Just don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone because you could be missing a doorway that leads you to places you never thought.”
Seth Reynolds, Bachelor of Science in Human Life Science with minors in chemistry, neuroscience and psychology
Reynolds was hoping to contend again at the national NAIA Track Championships, but sustained a recent back injury that makes it hard to jog or run. He made an attempt at clearing a hurdle at a recent practice, “but knew (quickly) I couldn’t make it.”
Last year, he became the first Red Wolves track and field athlete to earn All-American honors in two events with sixth place in the 110-meter hurdles and eighth place in the 400-meter hurdles.
Understandably, those successes are his top memories of attending IU East.
“I didn’t expect that at that time in my career,” he said.
He credits his two coaches with helping him gain confidence and speed. “They were always supportive, made things fun and helped me grow,” Reynolds said.
The graduate of Eaton High School will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Human Life Sciences and minor in chemistry, neuroscience and psychology.
Reynolds plans to earn his doctoral degree in physical therapy, but is looking first to “help around campus and save up some money” by working for a year in the IU East Office of Admissions and at the Campus Bookstore. That would allow him the possibility of competing in track next spring as a fifth-year student.
“After waiting and an interview, I was excited to start my new role in the position on April 1. I plan to further my education within the next year or two by getting my master’s (degree) and certain graduate certificates,” Reynolds said.
Libby Springmier, Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry
Springmier was recently named the Outstanding Student in Biochemistry.
Besides taking a full-time class load and playing basketball, the graduate of Eaton High School also works with fellow students in the Match and Science Center.
“Women’s basketball took the majority of my time at IU East,” she said. “I definitely like helping other students.”
She plans to apply to get a job in a lab before pursuing graduate work that could lead to a career as a veterinarian. “I am taking a little break,” she said.
Springmier feels that the basketball team took a quantum leap after getting a regular home on campus. They used to have practices and games at Richmond High School. “That was huge to get on campus,” she said.
She added the team had great success because it had great chemistry.
“We were all freshmen at the same time. We immediately bonded,” she said.
She said IU East should become even more attractive regionally as it adds sports, such as what it’s doing with soccer.
Springmier said high school coaches play a big role in guiding their top players to colleges. “Dave Honhart helped me get recruited. He helped me believe in myself.”