The STELLAR student organization was presented with the "Making a Difference Award” during the USI Student Organization Celebration on April 16, 2019. The USI Office of Student Development Programs gives awards annually to recognize campus organizations for outstanding efforts during the academic year.
The “Making A Difference Award” is presented to a student organization that demonstrates through action the importance of serving the campus, community, country, and the world. STELLAR, which stands for "STudents and ELderly Linking Around Relationships," strives to develop positive relationships among students and elders within the community. The interdisciplinary group focuses on changing negative stigmas associated with elders and students alike and replacing them with positive views of both. This group is involved in community-based activities, led by USI students, and creates intergenerational interactions among students and elders.
Photo Caption: STELLAR leaders during the 2018-19 academic year were Lauren May (Kinesiology student – Pott College), Ally Lopp (Health Services student - College of Nursing and Health Professions), Megan Thomas (Master of Social Work student – Liberal Arts), and Allysen Brown (Health Services student - College of Nursing and Health Professions).
Administrator-in-Training (AIT) Success Story
When Rebecca Lucas was growing up in Elkhart, Indiana, she and her sister would often travel to Ohio to visit their grandmother. While they were in Ohio, their grandmother would take them to the nursing home to see their great-grandmother whom the girls called, “Grammy Donna.”
“I couldn’t wait to go there,” she recalled. “I would walk the halls as if everyone was a family member, stopping in just about every room before I was ready to leave. I didn’t know it at the time, but I had already found what I wanted to be when I grew up: a nursing home administrator.”
As a student at the University of Southern Indiana, Lucas started on a path to achieving her career goals, and the university's partnership with Trilogy Health Services helped her get a head start. In 2017, the same year she was finishing up her undergraduate degree in Health Services at USI, Lucas, who was also enrolled in USI's Master of Health Administration (MHA) 4+1 program, was selected as the first recipient of the Trilogy USI Administrator-in-Training (AIT) Residency Program scholarship, becoming the first student in Indiana to begin an AIT residency as an undergraduate student. After completing her AIT at Trilogy’s RiverOaks Health Campus in Princeton, Indiana, and before earning her MHA degree in Spring 2018, Lucas passed state and national nursing home examinations, which earned her additional notoriety as the first USI student to pass both licensure exams before graduation.
Lucas has fulfilled her childhood dream: she is currently employed as executive director at The Villages at Oak Ridge in Washington, Indiana.
Dr. Katie Ehlman, associate professor of gerontology at USI, said Lucas has blazed a trail for other students interested in gerontology and long-term care. “Our collaboration with Trilogy offers the opportunity for students to complete a 1,040-hour AIT residency under the guidance of a qualified nursing home administrator to fulfill requirements set by the Indiana State Department of Health,” said Ehlman. “Embedding the Trilogy USI AIT residency program into the curriculum closes the loop for USI College of Nursing and Health Professions to be able to guarantee to the community a very high caliber of student who not only meets the knowledge required for licensure, but who also promote culture change and quality of care for residents and staff.”
Learn more about the Trilogy Scholars program at USI.