Astronaut to keynote Opportunity Banquet

Robert “Hoot” Gibson, who was inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame in 2003, agreed to provide the keynote presentation for the 12th annual Opportunity Banquet at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne.

The event is scheduled for 4:30-9:30 p.m. March 27 at the university’s Walb Student Union International Ballroom.

It is sponsored by the IPFW chapter of the Society of Women Engineers in collaboration with the university’s college of engineering, technology and computer science. Ticket prices were set at $30 with the proceeds supporting the chapter’s operations.

The event includes a career fair and networking dinner as part of an American Society for Engineering Education Illinois–Indiana Section conference. Gibson is to speak on “Lessons of Aviation, Space, and the Cold War.”

Gibson has an aeronautical engineering degree from California Polytechnic State University and served as a test pilot after attending the Navy’s “Topgun” and test pilot schools.

His 12,000 hours of flight time in 111 types of military and civilian aircraft includes five space flights. He was mission commander on the Atlantis, Challenger, Columbia and Endeavour space shuttles. He has three space and five aviation world records.

IU online program teaches innovation, entrepreneurship

Venture capitalists from Silicon Valley will be grading some of the work of students at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business when they go through its online master’s degree in entrepreneurship and innovation program.

IU believes it is the first university in the country to offer an online master of science degree on the subject and the only one where final grades will be decided by venture capitalists or vice presidents where students work.

“There’s increasing interest in every level of entrepreneurship, and we have the largest and most respected group of entrepreneurship faculty in the world,” Idalene Kesner, dean of the Kelley School, said in a statement. “Offering the online master’s in entrepreneurship is a natural next step for us. Our faculty are leaders in entrepreneurship research, and our curriculum has an amazing breadth and depth, including corporate entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship and international entrepreneurship.”

The program will include several action-based learning experiences. West Coast firms expected to help with the learning process and take part in the grading include Guardian Equity Growth, Silicon Valley Bank, Storm Ventures, Sungevity and XSeed Capital.

Students working in a corporate setting will work to receive approval from a company senior executive for the innovation project and establish a timeline for its implementation at the company where the student is employed.

The program costs about $38,000 and students are given up to five years to complete its coursework.

Comcast scholarships go to student leaders, achievers

Fort Wayne high school students received a combined $7,000 from Comcast Corp. through its annual Leaders and Achievers Scholarship Program.

“These young adults are not only committed to their own academic success, but also to ensuring their communities prosper,” Tim Collins, senior vice president for Comcast in Indiana, said in a statement. “It’s inspiring to see the commitment and drive of these bright students who very much deserve this recognition.”

The following eight students were among 55 across Indiana to receive $1,000 scholarships for their community service and academic excellence:

• Shelbi Ankenbruck, South Side High School, University of Pennsylvania

• Jesus Diaz Jr., Wayne High School, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne

• Benjamin Dvorak, Homestead High School, Stanford University

• Karen Eckrich, Bishop Dwenger High School, Holy Cross College

• Matthew Mast, Northrop High School, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

• Jaqeila Spinks, North Side High School, IPFW

• Stephanie Wolfe, Carroll High School, Huntington University

• Corey Nack, Concordia Lutheran High School, University of Findlay.

Ivy Tech robotics program earns state excellence award

The Indiana Career and Technical Education Program presented its 2015 Award for Excellence to the Advanced Automation and Robotics Technology Program at Ivy Tech Community College Northeast.

The 75-hour, six-semester associate degree program that replaced the advanced manufacturing program offered at Ivy Tech’s Fort Wayne location is focused on programmable logic controllers and troubleshooting skills as well as automation and robotics.

It pairs students with industry internships, which provide opportunities for them to perfect the skills they are learning in the classroom by putting them to use in a work place.

It is chaired by Robert Parker, who was recognized along with the program during a February Indiana Department of Education ceremony at the Indiana Government Center in Indianapolis.

“I really didn’t think our program was ready for winning because it’s so new, but it’s hit the ground, and it’s really taken off,” Parker said in a statement. “The students are doing well and earning a competitive wage, and the employers are appreciating the work that they’re doing and the education they’re obtaining at the same time.”

The annual award honors vocational education program excellence.

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