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2101 E. Coliseum Blvd.
Fort Wayne, Indiana 46805
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260-481-4739

Blog

Damian Fleming

Marketing Communications

Meeting the Medievalist

The past still thrums in Associate Professor of English Damian Fleming’s office.

Styling himself as a medievalist, Fleming scrutinizes the looping serifs of Old English imprinted on yellowed parchment encased between leather-bound sleeves. Translation is a meticulous process, and every year the bygone days of ancient England slip further into the fog of antiquity.

But ancestries still echo in the brown ink, and Fleming’s pursuit is relentless.

The Cascades of Language

I am the medievalist.
— Damian Fleming

Fleming’s research primarily focuses on the literature and culture of Anglo-Saxon England, dating from approximately 700 to 1100 A.D.

Plumbing the depths of medieval manuscripts is key to Professor Fleming's research.

Plumbing the depths of medieval manuscripts is key to Professor Fleming's research.

These texts are written in either Old English, the precursor to our modern dialect, or in Latin, the official language of the Catholic Church at the time. But scholars will note that religious texts, including the Bible, were originally written in Hebrew.

That’s where Fleming’s research comes into play: he wants to better understand how medieval scholars interpreted the translations of these texts from the original Hebrew—especially in light of the fact that Anglo-Saxon England was not home to a Jewish population, and very few could actually read Hebrew.

Everything medieval religious scholars knew about Hebrew and Judaism came directly from these texts—texts that were written in a language most could not understand.

See the conundrum?

An Opportunity to Touch History

As part of his research, Fleming looks at original manuscripts from the middle ages—thousand-year-old tomes, many of which have never been fully edited or translated.

As part of his research, Professor Fleming studies ancient tomes firsthand.

As part of his research, Professor Fleming studies ancient tomes firsthand.

Fleming makes frequent trips to England to walk the stacks and trusts of its oldest libraries, including Oxford University and the British Library in London, to reach out and touch the withered pages directly.

During his visits, Fleming works to translate these ancient texts, scouring them for evidence of interactions between medieval scholars and one of the world’s oldest languages.

Finding a connection could help modern day language and religious scholars better understand the very roots of their field.

Recruiting Scholars

I call my students my junior medievalists, or my junior Anglo-Saxonists, or my junior Latinists.
— Damian Fleming

Fleming readily admits that his classes are difficult—learning to read Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales in the original Middle English or Beowulf in Old English is, of course, no simple feat.

The process is slow going and not immediately rewarding.

Professor Fleming discusses translating texts with the next generation of medievalists.

Professor Fleming discusses translating texts with the next generation of medievalists.

But the enthusiasm Fleming brings to his classroom inspires his students to work hard, do their best, and earn their mantle as fellow scholars and colleagues. His students come away from his courses with a hard-won sense of accomplishment and pride in their ability to participate in academic circles as equals.

Much like the echoes of the past still housed in the volumes beneath Oxford University, these feats of scholarly achievement make a lasting impression on Fleming’s students.


PROGRAM SNAPSHOT: DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH AND LINGUISTICS

Thoreau. Plath. Dostoevsky. You. Discover the works of literary giants, find your own voice, and research the scientific origins of language in the Department of English and Linguistics. We graduate authors, teachers, linguists, and more. Our program includes communication media, language, literature, writing, and teacher certification. Learn more. 


Punya Nachappa

Marketing Communications

Save Our Soybeans

What does agriculture look like under a microscope?

Assistant Professor of Biology Punya Nachappa is finding out. Nachappa studies interactions between insects, diseases, and plant life at the molecular level to help regional farmers protect their fields.

Combatting a New Strain

Nachappa’s research is focused on soybean aphids and soybean thrips, which are tiny bugs known to transmit diseases to crops right here in Indiana. One of the diseases Nachappa is currently studying is a brand-new strain of soybean virus—so new, in fact, that it only surfaced within the last decade.

Assistant Professor of Biology Punya Nachappa demonstrates her research to a student assistant.

Assistant Professor of Biology Punya Nachappa demonstrates her research to a student assistant.

This particular strain has been devastating soybean crops throughout the north-central Midwestern states, including in Indiana. Nachappa is at the forefront of the research needed by farmers to control and prevent its spread.

Traditionally, farmers employ pesticides to combat the spread of disease among their crops. However, insects can develop resistances to pesticides, rendering them ineffective and counterproductive. Nachappa hopes that by understanding these diseases and the insects that carry them at the molecular level, she can find new and innovative responses to them.

Ecological Consequences

Nachappa’s research also investigates how large-scale environmental conditions impact insect behavior and fecundity, along with crop production and yield.

Utilizing gene expression and transcriptomic analysis, Nachappa is able to better understand how aphids and thrips, and the pathogens they carry and transmit, are affecting farmers’ yields—and hopefully, how to prevent serious ecological and agricultural consequences.

If you didn’t have scientists working on these issues, there’s no way growers are going to know about it.
— Punya Nachappa
Professor Nachappa is studying a brand new soybean viral disease in her labs.

Professor Nachappa is studying a brand new soybean viral disease in her labs.

Partnerships with Industry

Nachappa’s research is partially funded through a partnership with the Indiana Soybean Alliance. As part of this program, she has opportunities to interact directly with regional soybean growers and present her research to those who need it most.

This partnership has propelled Nachappa’s research to national attention.

Having this regional support has helped me gain leverage at the national level in getting USDA grants.
— Punya Nachappa

A Full Laboratory

Nachappa makes a special effort to include students in her research. She’s quick to describe the opportunities for students to get involved and join her in her labs, noting that IPFW’s small class sizes allow students to approach her after class and ask to be part of her research.

It’s incredible, the amount of great research that’s going on here where students can get involved.
— Punya Nachappa
Professor Nachappa welcomes student research assistants to join in her work.

Professor Nachappa welcomes student research assistants to join in her work.


PROGRAM SNAPSHOT: DEPARTMENT OF Biology

What does life look like under the microscope? In the Department of Biology, you will have rich opportunities to work closely with faculty in research environments and laboratories. Study the science of life the way it should be—up close and personal. We graduate scientists, pharmacists, ecologists, and more. Our programs include biology, medical technology, ecology and evolutionary biology, pre-forestry, pre-agriculture, pre-veterinary, and pre-pharmacy. Learn more.


Audrey Ushenko

Marketing Communications

An Authentic Miracle

It’s late in the day.

The natural light that normally floods the long hallway connecting Walb Student Union to the Gates Sports Center is fading, and IPFW Professor of Drawing and Painting Audrey Ushenko is hunched close to her canvas.

With deft strokes of her brush, she fills in the details of a cheekbone, a gesture, and a thousand-yard stare.

Ushenko is trying to capture something genuine.

Ushenko works on a new mural in a public space on campus.

Ushenko works on a new mural in a public space on campus.

Virtually everybody I see, I would like to depict.
— Audrey Ushenko

Ushenko describes her work as being about the individual. She’s interested in the stories and hidden universes behind the eyes of those she passes by.

Even in murals—including those created on behalf of IPFW, featuring plenty of recognizable faces from around campus—Ushenko takes care to individualize her subjects within a crowd.

For her, the subject speaks loudest when in public.

Public Art

Many artists labor over their works in private. Not Ushenko.

She can often be found in public spaces on campus or in the community, her works-in-progress on display for everyone to see.

This public workspace affords her opportunities to be in the spaces she’s depicting on canvas, but also provides the curious passerby the chance to speak with her and ask questions about her work.

“I realized that most of the world’s great art was done in public places, not in proud isolation,” she says. “Particularly children spend an incredible amount of time watching. And so, I felt as if I was doing something useful.”

Art as Service

It’s a window into the way different mental disciplines think.
— Audrey Ushenko

Ushenko rejects the common stereotype of the artist working in “proud isolation,” locked away in a studio far from the public eye. Instead, she believes art can be—and often is—created in service of something else entirely.

“And in fact,” she says, “art is not just easel painting and sculpture. It’s not only carved stylizing, but the design of motors. Art has many manifolds and it has a million different forms according to its function.”

Ushenko flatly rejects the common idea that art is an act of self-expression.

Instead, she says, it is a search for truth—just like any other mental discipline taught in the halls and classrooms on campus—that becomes self-expression in the act of being learned.

Ushenko shares her art philosophies with a student.

Ushenko shares her art philosophies with a student.


Program Snapshot: Department of Fine Arts

What shape does your art take? The Department of Fine Arts can help you hone your craft in modern studio spaces and connect your work with major regional galleries and organizations. We graduate painters, sculptors, printmakers, and more. Our program includes ceramics, drawing, metalsmithing, painting, printmaking, and sculpture. Learn more.


John Niser

Marketing Communications

The Art (and Science) of an Industry

Any chef worth his or her salt will tell you: hospitality is more than simply entertaining—it’s all about creating an experience.

Chair of the Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management John Niser is especially dedicated to these experiences, for both his patrons and his students.

Chair of the Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management John Niser tests the aroma of a meal prepared by his student chefs.

Chair of the Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management John Niser tests the aroma of a meal prepared by his student chefs.

His comprehensive, hands-on approach to mentoring and training hospitality and culinary students provides a second-to-none learning environment for the next generation of restaurateurs, chefs, managers, and hospitality professionals.

Academic Laboratories

Among the signature features of Niser’s programs are the opportunities for students to step out of the classroom and into the trade.

The Holiday Inn at IPFW and the Coliseum and the Palm Island Resort in Florida serve as “academic laboratories” for hospitality management students—places where they can roll up their sleeves and get to work while contextualizing concepts and theories.

This spring's authentic restaurant learning environment at IPFW Holiday Inn is Polish food at Plock Tavern.

This spring's authentic restaurant learning environment at IPFW Holiday Inn is Polish food at Plock Tavern.

Much More than a Vocation

There’s a very big difference between what we’re doing and what a vocational school would be doing.
— John Niser

Niser differentiates his programs from those offered by vocational schools by stressing the importance of a practical learning environment.

In the hotels and kitchens he oversees, students learn first-hand the vernacular of their trade as it unfolds around them.

By building his curriculum around practical experiences and hands-on training, his students absorb both technical theory and applicable knowledge.

Learning to Lead on Their Own

I’m not easy in the classroom with these things because this is the place where it becomes real.
— John Niser
Niser carefully inspects the quality of his students' work.

Niser carefully inspects the quality of his students' work.

In addition to practical experience, Niser presses his students to understand, manage, and apply the science behind their trade right down to the molecular level—like when they’re pulverizing ingredients in the kitchen. He believes in turning his students into leaders in their own right.

In a restaurant management course, students are charged with running a real restaurant over the course of 10 weeks. During this time, they prepare meals—as many as 400 dishes on a busy night—and engineer the menu under Niser’s guidance, as if they were at the helm of their very own business.

This approach promotes leadership and confidence, and Niser’s students recognize it. He notes that his students often come to him at the end of the semester and thank him for challenging them to come up with their own ideas and put what they’ve learned into practice.

Niser's students gain hands-on experience in a fully equipped kitchen—this spring Plock Tavern.

Niser's students gain hands-on experience in a fully equipped kitchen—this spring Plock Tavern.

Booming Business

Careers in hospitality are among the fastest growing in the world. By combining excellence in scholarship with practical, hands-on learning environments, Niser is working to propel his students to new heights with their own career goals after graduation.


PROGRAM SNAPSHOT: DEPARTMENT OF HOSPITALITY AND TOURISM MANAGEMENT

Experts in hospitality are at your service. In the Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management, learn from the very best industry professionals in hotel and restaurant management, event planning, and food and nutrition sciences. We graduate restauranteurs, chefs, nutritionists, and more. Our programs include hospitality management, and food and nutrition. Learn more.


Andres Montenegro

Marketing Communications

Augmented Reality: Where Art and Technology Collide

There’s a new kind of magic happening in the Visual Communication and Design studios of the IPFW campus.

Assistant Professor of Computer Animation Andres Montenegro is using his decades of experience in modeling and animation to change the way we interact with art, technology, data, and stories. His research into augmented reality and haptic technologies has the potential to completely upend the distinction between what’s real and what’s imagined.

Augmented reality allows stories to leap up off the page and into our hands.

Augmented reality allows stories to leap up off the page and into our hands.

Your Everyday Life. Plus a Little More.

Augmented reality works by superimposing digital images or animation over a view of a physical environment—for example, showing turn-by-turn directions superimposed on the road ahead of you or the yellow line of a first down on a football field. These images augment or supplement the world we can already see, granting us greater insight or perspective than our eyes alone can see.

Augmented reality is sort of like virtual reality, except instead of simulating an environment these technologies build upon the one we already live in.

The real-world applications are almost limitless. Imagine if your surgeon could monitor your vitals without breaking eye contact with the incision; if your front windshield displayed traffic data for the journey ahead; if you could reach inside your tablet and touch the information you’re viewing.

Haptic technology responds to the human touch.

Haptic technology responds to the human touch.

Not-So-Faraway-Future.

If this sounds like a faraway future, it’s not.

The smartphone in your pocket is already capable of instantly translating signs and road markers through its camera. Gamers have reached whole new levels of immersion and interactivity through consumer products like Microsoft’s Kinect and the upcoming Oculus Rift headset. And with the release and adoption of new personal electronic devices—such as Google Glass or the Apple Watch—the ways with which we view, perceive, organize, and react to data are constantly evolving.

Industry giants like Apple, Microsoft, and Google are investing millions of dollars into R&D to find and hone new applications for augmented reality in our homes, offices, and pockets.

This is a fully immersive, but at the same time interactive, narrative.
— Andres Montenegro
Professor Montenegro demonstrates how computer modeling and animation can recreate environments.

Professor Montenegro demonstrates how computer modeling and animation can recreate environments.

Coming into Contact with our Stories.

Montenegro’s research is focused on bringing stories to life through haptic technologies—bringing the narrative up off the page and “into” the audience’s hands.

This kind of tactile storytelling has incredible implications well beyond entertainment purposes; Montenegro is particularly interested in partnering with regional and community business leaders to find creative implementations for his work.

Reducing the distance between our physical world and the worlds we create—even in an age when so much of ourselves are kept behind touchscreen glass—could profoundly reshape how we live, work, and play.

And IPFW Professor Andres Montenegro is right at the forefront of this revolution, encouraging us to reach out and touch what used to seem impossible.


PROGRAM SNAPSHOT: DEPARTMENT OF VISUAL COMMUNICATION AND DESIGN

It takes a skilled eye and a steady hand to design jaw-dropping print and digital assets. The Department of Visual Communication and Design can help you find exciting new applications for your unique sense of style. We graduate designers, artists, photographers, and more. Our programs include graphic design, imaging and photography, modeling and animation, and interior design. Learn more