By Lesley DeVoss—
MUNCIE, IN– Each year, Ivy Tech seeks out and identifies those who make a difference in their communities. For 2023, Ivy Tech focused on members of the Muncie/Henry County Alumni.
Frank Scott Sr. (2011), Rheaunna Jones (2015), Stanford Fitzpatrick (2022), Dori Taylor (2013), and Nicole Miles (2020) are all graduates of Ivy Tech Muncie/Henry County campus, using the degrees and skills they gained from their Ivy Tech graduation to enhance, support, and improve the lives of those living in their communities.
Frank Scott Sr.
Scott worked for Borg Warner in quality control for 28 ½ years. He planned on retiring from the company, however when they closed the Muncie-based plant, he had to change those plans. The company offered to pay for two years of college, and he took them up on it. He attended Ivy Tech Muncie/Henry County and graduated with an Associate of Science in Human Services in 2011.
“Going to Ivy Tech, I didn’t really have any goals. My goal was to retire. But after going through Ivy Tech and the [Human Services] program, community work kind of really sparked what could be done in the community, how could I help in the community,” Scott said.
Scott spends his retirement working full-time as a caregiver and volunteer. After attending Ivy Tech, he became President of the Whitely Neighborhood Association, and his wife suffered a stroke that required full-time care. He continues to volunteer, serving as the Associate Pastor at Renovation of Life Church where he is also finishing his year as the Chairman of the Board. Scott is also serving as the Immediate Past Chair at the Greater Muncie Chamber of Commerce, President of the Whitely Neighborhood Association, and serves on the Muncie Industrial Revolving Loan Board, Northwest Bank Regional Advisory Board, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Board, and The Whitely Institute for Teacher Preparation and Community Engagement Board. In addition to his service on these boards, he serves on the Cradle to Careers Leadership Team and volunteers at Longfellow Elementary School helping students reach a third-grade reading level as well as mentoring students in the Lion’s Den.
“You shouldn’t work to make a name for yourself. You work to make a difference. Make a difference and People will remember your name. So, I found out that the more you help people, people remember who you are, but your heart has to be helping people,” Scott said, “Don’t just go out there thinking I’m going to do something. Go out there and find people that you can connect to like the Chamber of Commerce and the Young Professionals extension of the Black Chamber of Commerce. There’s a lot of places that you can connect to and really get the support.”
Jones graduated from Ivy Tech with an Associate of Science in Early Childhood Education in 2015. She was honored as the Distinguished Alumni for the Muncie/Henry County Campus in 2023. She is currently working as a Grants Manager at the Indiana Department of Education.
A Muncie native, she graduated from Muncie Central High School and attended Taylor University for a short time after graduation until she decided to take a break and focus on her family. During this time, she became a mother and watched as her mother attended Ivy Tech, studying daycare administration.
When her child was one, Jones decided to return to school, entering the Early Childhood Education program at Ivy Tech Muncie/Henry County. Her decision to do so was inspired by her mother’s time at Ivy Tech and her volunteer hours in high school, which were focused on school aged children and childcare.
Jones has served on the Boys and Girls Club of Muncie Board for three years and during her tenure as an educator at Muncie Community Schools, was appointed to the Metropolitan Planning Commission for Muncie and Delaware County by the mayor. She had to step down from the commission when she accepted her position with the Department of Education.
Ivy Tech Muncie/Henry County provided Jones with more than an academic education. The Early Childhood Program focuses on both academics and experience beyond the classroom.
“Unlike a traditional four-year college back around the time I attended, Ivy Tech was not focused on academics solely, it was focused on putting you in the field directly, getting hands-on experience interacting with other people in the field and learning how to network, and developing those soft skills which are really important,” Jones said.
Being a Difference Maker has many meanings, but the most important one is that they make a difference in the lives of the members of the communities that they serve.
“I advocate for people and being a difference maker, for me, means that you’re advocating for everyone, not just people you know or people you like. You’re giving a voice to people who don’t have voices or seats at the table,” Jones said.
As a Muncie Community Schools educator, Jones saw Ivy Tech in the schools. The college has a strong presence in the school system from elementary level to high school level through its mentoring programs, dual credit program, and other initiatives focused on elementary through high school.
“Ivy Tech intentionally places themselves in communities where students are constantly at, in terms of school settings. They even connect with elementary school students, allowing 4thgraders to come to the campus and see Ivy Tech alum and where they’re currently at, inspiring them to see that Ivy Tech is not just a steppingstone. A lot of people have different perspectives on what community college is. A lot of people that are successful in their careers and attended community colleges first are eliminating the stigma that shouldn’t be there but comes with community colleges. They’re [Ivy Tech] getting the kids as early as elementary school and following them up through high school, making it possible for them to get an associate degree before they even go to college and it’s an awesome thing,” Jones said.
A police officer for 19 years, Fitzpatrick returned to school when Ivy Tech Muncie/Henry County started their Diagnostic Medical Sonography program in 2021. He was accepted into the limited enrollment program and graduated with an Associate of Applied Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography in 2022. He currently works as a Registered Cardiac Sonographer at IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital in the Cardiology/Neurology Department.
Fitzpatrick is a Muncie native, graduating from Muncie Southside High School. He attempted college right out of high school but decided it wasn’t the right path for him at the time. He entered law enforcement and worked in various departments and fields for 19 years. In 2021, he was working as the security supervisor at Ivy Tech Muncie/Henry County when they announced the new Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program.
“Working full-time and going to school full-time is very difficult. It put a lot of hardship on myself and my family. I didn’t see my kids as much because you know, I had to do both full-time, so it was very difficult. But to perservere, you have to push through and that’s what I did,” Fitzpatrick said.
Currently, Fitzpatrick is not on any boards however he is looking into a couple that interest him. He is continuing to support law enforcement by being a reserve officer and helping to train new police officers.
Through his education at Ivy Tech, Fitzpatrick became able to communicate clearly with his patients as well as discuss his education at Ivy Tech with individuals completing job shadowing, explaining the program and the process to them. Developing these relationships and supporting Ivy Tech is part of his view on community.
“Community means family to me. Everybody together, everybody helping. When you have a place where everybody works well together, you know it’s a community, whether it’s a small or big one, and that’s just like a big family,” Fitzpatrick said.
As an adult returning to school, Fitzpatrick knows it can be daunting. Working a full-time job, taking care of family, and going to school full-time can seem to be an impossible task. He offers advice to those making this difficult journey:
“Don’t give up. Keep doing everything you’re doing. Don’t let the setbacks frustrate you. Get help, everybody’s here to help. Talk to people, talk to people in the field, come talk to me even. There’s always somebody there that’s going to be able to help you and push you forward because you just put one foot in front of the other and keep going. We all stumble, but we have to get up and keep going,” Fitzpatrick said.
Fitzpatrick brings making a difference down to a personal level. Helping individuals in the community makes a difference across the community.
“Being able to make a difference in other people’s lives, whether it’s been in my law enforcement career or now, it makes it worth it. Helping one person, making a difference in their life, is what is important,” Fitzpatrick said.
In 2010, Taylor was released from prison and researched human services programs at colleges. She developed and opened the Lighthouse Recovery Home in 2013 and continues to serve as the Director today. Taylor also has a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Oakland City University, a certificate in drug and alcohol counseling from Ivy Tech, and is currently working on her Associate of Science in Accounting.
“I came out of prison in 2010, I have an extensive rap sheet from my own addiction, and I was searching for Human Services. I was informed that Ivy Tech had a great human services program that would lead me into Ball State. I felt intimidated by Ball State and Ivy Tech made me feel comfortable,” Taylor said.
Taylor has fought through her own addiction and has used that experience to fuel her dedication to creating a safe environment for women with substance abuse issues to get the help they need. The Lighthouse Recovery Home provides women with a safe place to live while they go through the three-phase program as well as creating a community around them. The Lighthouse is an Urban Light Community Development Program.
“Community is like an extended family. It is the people that I interact with daily and they’re always there when you’re down and when you’re up. They provide support through it all,” Taylor said.
Through her work with the Lighthouse Recovery Home, Taylor is making a difference in the lives of the women of the community, six women at a time. Her dedication and devotion to helping women suffering from substance abuse makes her a difference maker.
“I believe making a difference starts with ourselves and I believe it expands out to others. In my Christian faith, it’s called discipleship. But for me, being a difference maker means I’m changing the world through the Lighthouse, for six women at a time,” Taylor said.
Miles graduated in 2020 with an Associate of Science in Nursing. She currently works as a Pediatric Nurse Navigator with Saint Vincent in Indianapolis. She was born in Indianapolis, moved to California in middle school, and returned to Indiana three months before she graduated from high school. She became enamored with Muncie when she attended Ball State for her first bachelor’s degree.
Miles is a member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Alumni Chapter for Anderson and Muncie and she volunteers with Feed My Sheep of Muncie. She was on the board for Feed My Sheep prior to this year.
The nursing program at Ivy Tech is a limited enrollment program. Miles’ goal to become a nurse saw her choosing Ivy Tech for her education because it was a highly rated program across the State of Indiana and due to financial reasons.
“My goal was to become a nurse and when I received the call letting me know that I was accepted into the program, my heart dropped to the bottom of my feet because it is a very competitive program. It is known across the state,” Miles said.
During her time as a student at Ivy Tech, Miles’ family experienced some financial hardships that could have caused her to have to stop attending classes and reenter the workforce. Ivy Tech’s IvyCares team ensured that did not happen. Through the Student Emergency Aid Fund, Ivy Tech was able to assist Miles with her personal bills to ensure her continued success in the nursing program.
“Ivy Tech provided assistance and they helped me with private bills that needed to be paid while I was a student here. That’s not something that’s common going to a university. It was something that helped me reach my goals, I didn’t have to leave school to go back to work and be able to afford bills on top of helping with tuition and things like that,” Miles said.
Graduating with her Associate of Science in Nursing allowed Miles to enter the workforce after graduation. She is also attending Western Governor’s University for her Bachelor of Science in Nursing in support of Saint Vincent Indianapolis’s Magnet status.
Miles recommends Ivy Tech to anyone looking to enter college.
“Use Ivy Tech as the catalyst to really catapult you into the things that you desire to do in your life and the things you look forward to doing in your life. There’s something in this world for us to do and if you don’t feel like you have fulfilled your purpose, come to Ivy Tech and theyl’ll help you find your way of fulfilling your purpose,” Miles said.
Being a difference maker in the community is something Miles has worked hard to be.
“Some of the positions I’ve had have been in areas where I’m working with those that are in need and those that may not have the education and the understanding to advocate for themselves and I’m able to take what I’ve learned and apply it to my community in a way of advocacy and also in the way of helping and just being a viable community member that gives back to the community and supports it, stepping in where you know things are needed,” Miles said.
View the 2023 Difference Makers video below.
To learn more about Ivy Tech Muncie/Henry County, visit online at ivytech.edu/muncie.
About Ivy Tech Community College
Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana’s largest public postsecondary institution and the nation’s largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state’s engine of workforce development, offering associate degrees, short-term certificate programs, industry certifications, and training that aligns to the needs of the community. The College provides seamless transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a bachelor’s degree. Follow Ivy Tech on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn for the most up-to-date information.