ISU Networks Scholars have new opportunities through professional development, scholarship program

November 24, 2010

When Kelsey Throckmorton was a sophomore at Indiana State University, she remembered learning about a European trip offered by the Networks Professional Development Program in the summer of 2008. But when she and several other students asked about a similar offering for 2009, they learned that one wasn't being coordinated that particular year.

So they did it themselves.

Throckmorton, now a senior, was among the group of 18 students who planned the 2009 trip to New York City and Europe. Trips such as these provide opportunities for Networks Scholars to experience different cultures and international financial services industries, as well as explore professional opportunities.

"The 2009 trip to New York City, Germany and Switzerland developed because the students were interested in a trip, and since one hadn't been planned for us, we just planned what we most wanted to do, built a reasonable budget and submitted it for approval," Throckmorton recalled.

The Networks Scholars Program in the Scott College of Business includes a four-year, full-tuition scholarship to ISU, a professional development account worth $3,000 a laptop computer and a four-year professional development curriculum designed to cultivate important leadership, managerial, teamwork and career skills.

December 1 is the deadline for prospective students to apply for the Networks Scholarship and other top scholarships at Indiana State in order to receive full consideration. Other top awards at ISU for incoming freshmen include the President's Scholarship, worth $16,000 per year; the $5,000-per-year University Honors Scholarship; and the $6,500-per-year Gongaware Scholarship for students majoring in financial services or insurance and risk management.

More information about scholarships at Indiana State is available at http://www.indstate.edu/scholarships/.

Students have a variety of opportunities available in the scholarship programs. Networks Scholars on the 2009 student-organized trip visited the New York Stock Exchange and Morgan Stanley in New York City and other financial institutions in Europe.

Networks Scholars lead a variety of events and participate in increasingly challenging group projects. Senior Andrew Schroeder also participated in the European trip, in addition to a trip to China where he and two other Scholars represented the program as part of a delegation of Indiana government officials and business professionals. Schroeder, an accounting major from Fort Wayne, Ind., was serving a summer internship when he received the invitation to join the delegation and travel to China.

He remembered that, when he called his parents to tell them the news, his mother nearly dropped the phone. But after they discussed the logistics and resolved some concerns, Schroeder was on a plane traveling halfway around the world.

"Hopefully, parents are supportive and understand that the Scholars professional staff and faculty members take great care to help ensure students' safety while at the same time, pushing them out of their comfort zone. Their student may to be asked to do things that they hadn't ever considered doing," Schroeder said. "At the same time the education team is telling the students, ‘you're going to work hard' and if you're not prepared to do that, then this may not be the kind of program that you want to find yourself immersed in two years down the road."

In addition to travel opportunities, Networks Scholars are involved in planning and attending other projects and events. When Schroeder was a freshman, he was required to attend a career fair on campus. He inquired with several companies about internships, although they didn't express much interest in hiring a student so young. But he was spotted by a representative from Cedar Point, based in Sandusky, Ohio, and that contact led to Schroeder being among several ISU students living in Sandusky and working at the roller coaster-crazed theme park that summer.

"When I look back on it, I think ‘oh my gosh, we were so young,'" Schroeder said.

He admits that, while he thought being 19 years old might be a bit young to live several hours away from anyone he knew, "it worked out," he said, "and that experience is one I share a lot."

Schroeder did accounting work for the theme park, which gave him experience for the internships he served during the next two summers for an accounting firm in Fort Wayne. His work experience has been very beneficial; Schroeder graduates in December, and has accepted a job at the firm where he was an intern.

The Networks program recruits students who excel in high school, Schroeder said. These recruits are told that "we're going to surround you with people just like yourself, so now you will have to work twice as hard as you ever have to stand out as a leader amongst leaders."

In the program, students participate in a variety of activities with a different developmental focus for each year: their freshmen year, events focus on the foundations for leadership and career development; sophomore year activities focus on team leadership development and professional skill-building; juniors focus on building advanced multi-team leadership experience and professional internship preparation; and seniors focus on self-leadership and preparation for entering the professional world.

"I initially helped create the program seven years ago," said Arthur "Art" Sherwood, associate professor of management and senior fellow for leadership development at ISU. "It's developed into a much stronger program than I ever thought it could be."

Other organizations have taken notice. Networks Financial Institute, the institution within ISU's Scott College of Business that created the program, won third place in October in the 2010 Innovation in Business Education Award by the Mid-Continent East Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. As if reiterating students' hands-on involvement in the program, Throckmorton attended an event in Chicago to give a presentation about the program and receive the award.

The Chicago trip helped Throckmorton in other ways. Her networking with others at the event has provided her with several job leads and interviews.

She stresses that prospective students should take advantage of the development opportunities the program provides, whether through conferences, seminars or other events that students create, plan and execute.

Throckmorton also said that the program leaders believe in her abilities, and constantly challenge her with activities that push her out of her comfort zone "time and time again."

"These experiences have developed my professional skills beyond what they would have been without the additional personal attention and coaching support," she said. "I have received this valuable experience and have developed long-lasting friendships throughout the program."

Photo: http://isuphoto.smugmug.com/photos/1095906172_N2QDP-L.jpg (Courtesy Photo)

Seniors Abigail Carver, Katie Wheeler, Kelsey Throckmorton and Kali Diethrich, students at Indiana State University and members of the Networks Professional Development Program, pose for a photo in Times Square during a trip a group of Networks Scholars made to New York City and Europe. Several Scholars helped plan the trip, which included stops at financial institutions in the New York City and Europe.

Photo: http://isuphoto.smugmug.com/photos/1095906184_TtCm5-L.jpg (Courtesy Photo)

Networks Professional Development Program participants juniors Zack McAdams and Matt Illingworth pose for a photo in front of Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany. A group of ISU students in the Networks Scholars program attended the trip to New York City and Europe, which included visits to several financial institutions including the New York Stock Exchange.

Photo: http://isuphoto.smugmug.com/photos/380660421_3tYtE-L.jpg (ISU/Tony Campbell)

Networks Professional Development Program members seniors Kelsey Powell, from Effingham, Ill.; Andrew Schroeder, accounting major from Fort Wayne and Allison Myers, from Kokomo, Ind., try on Chinese outfits for photos during a 2008 trip to China.

Contact: Elaine McVay, marketing and communications manager, Networks Financial Institute, Indiana State University, 812-237-4178 or elaine.mcvay@indstate.edu.

Writer: Austin Arceo, assistant director of media relations, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3790 or austin.arceo-negrich@indstate.edu.