University of Southern Indiana

What does it mean to be a USI role model?

What does it mean to be a USI role model?

2/5/2018 | University Communications
News Photo

USI launched the new “Where Role Models are Shaped” campaign and premiered a new television commercial (see above) on local channels, yesterday during the Super Bowl. The commercial introduced a marketing campaign, “Where Role Models are Shaped,” focusing on the individuals who influence us to follow our passions, encourage us to push through during difficult times and shape us into role models for others.

In the early stages of campaign planning, a survey was sent to students, faculty and staff asking for examples of USI role models. The response was terrific. It should come as no surprise that President Linda L. M. Bennett’s name was listed more than any other.

“If we are observant, we see examples of amazing patience, perseverance, grace and wit around us every day,” said Bennett. “Neither position nor number of degrees are guarantors of those qualities. I learn so much from others on this campus and if there are ways I can give some of that back, then I am a happy woman.”

Another name that came up multiple times in the survey, not only from students, but also colleagues, was Dr. Stephanie Young, associate professor of communication studies.

Passages on Young noted, “She’s very engaging. She inspires us to do and be better. She’s intelligent, passionate and pushes students and colleagues to achieve. I want to love my job as much as Dr. Young enjoys teaching.”

 “A role model is someone who inspires us to be our better selves,” said Young. “I am humbled to be recognized as a role model, although I see myself as just a professor doing her job.”

Fun fact, Dr. Young enjoys teaching so much, that during the filming of the commercial, she was actually teaching the extras. “It was an opportunity to practice my lecture for my class that day and share with students some fun and interesting information about nonverbal communication,” said Young.

Dr. Paul Kuban, professor of engineering, was also a reoccurring name on the list of USI role models. Students said “Dr. Kuban is insanely intelligent and dedicated to his work. He is a great instructor and is always willing to assist a student.”

"Being a role model means that one is having a positive impact on another person's life,” said Kuban. “A role model can influence educational choices, career selection, work ethic and even someone's overall attitude and personality. It is quite an honor to be counted among the many role models here at USI."

Kuban, along with dedicated engineering students were on location bright and early at 4:30 a.m. to film the balloon launch segment. Julie D’Mellow, custodial services supervisor, and her team were on campus at 3 a.m. to turn on the lights in the buildings for this segment. Due to the diligence of all involved, this beautiful sunrise was captured adding an amazing backdrop to the scene.

All footage was shot on campus, and only three actors were hired for the commercial, the parents in the beginning and the main actress. All others are real USI students, faculty and staff. The actress embodies an actual USI student, Olivia Wilde, who is an engineering major on the Women’s Soccer team.

“Knowing the character’s experience in the commercial so closely matched my own was fascinating to me,” said Wilde. “It was very intriguing that my experience here at USI could be used to display to others what life at USI may be like.” 

Wilde makes a cameo in the commercial. “My cameo in the commercial was to slide tackle the actress while at soccer practice, and then lend a hand to help her back up,” said Wilde. “While at practice my teammates and I push each other to be the best we can be which sometimes may lead to someone getting knocked down, but we are also always there to help each other back up. I believe this scene showcases an important quality that overall USI is place where you will learn and grow, but at times you may get knocked down. Most importantly when you get knocked down the USI family will be there to help you back up.” 

Check out USI’s Facebook page to see others who’ve been named as role models at USI. Use the hashtag #USIrolemodels to tell us who your USI role model is.

View a photo slideshow of behind the scenes images from the filming.

News Photo

Photo Credit: USI Photography and Multimedia

Dr. Stephanie Young

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