Each year, Ivy Tech seeks out and identifies those who make a difference in their communities. For 2023, Ivy Tech focused on 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 the Ivy Tech Muncie/Henry County campus, using the degrees and skills they gained from Ivy Tech to enhance, support and improve the lives of those living in their communities.
Frank Scott Sr.
Scott worked for BorgWarner in quality control for 28.5 years. He planned on retiring from the company, but 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 degree in 2011.
“Going to Ivy Tech, I didn’t really have any goals,” he says. “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, and how could I help in the community.”
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 Life Church, where he is also finishing his year as the chairman of the board. Scott is also serving as the immediate pastor at the Chamber of Commerce, president of the Whitely Neighborhood Association, as well as member of the Muncie Industrial Revolving Loan Fund board, Northwest Bank regional advisory board, National Alliance on Mental Illness 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,” he says. “You work to make a difference. Make a difference and people will remember your name. I found out that the more you help people, people remember who you are, but your heart has to be helping people. 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 degree in 2015. She was honored as 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. She 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 day care administration.
When her child was 1, 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 child care.
Jones has served on the Boys & Girls Club of Muncie board for three years, and during her tenure as an educator at Muncie Community Schools, she was appointed to the Metropolitan Plan 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,” she says. “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.”
Being a difference maker has many meanings, but the most important 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,” Jones says. “You’re giving a voice to people who don’t have voices or seats at the table.”
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 to high school 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,” Jones says. “They even connect with elementary school students, allowing fourth-graders 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. [Ivy Tech is] 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.”
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 degree 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, and graduated 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,” he says. “It put a lot of hardship on myself and my family. I didn’t see my kids as much because I had to do both full time, so it was very difficult. But to persevere, you have to push through and that’s what I did.”
Currently Fitzpatrick is not on any boards, but 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 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,” he says. “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 knows it can be daunting as an adult returning to school. Working a full-time job, taking care of family and going to school full time can seem like an impossible task. He offers advice to those making this difficult journey.
“Don’t give up,” he says. “Keep doing everything you’re doing. Don’t let the setbacks frustrate you. Get help – everybody’s here to help. 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 brings difference-making 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, makes it worth it,” he says. “Helping one person, making a difference in their life, is what is important.”
In 2010 Taylor was released from prison and researched human services programs in 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 degree.
“I came out of prison in 2010,” she says. “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 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 in order 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, and creates a community around them. The Lighthouse is an Urban Light Community Development Program.
“Community is like an extended family,” she says. “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.”
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,” she says. “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.”
Miles graduated in 2020 with an Associate of Science in Nursing degree. She currently works as a pediatric nurse navigator with St. 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, the 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. She chose Ivy Tech for her nursing education because it was a highly rated program across Indiana, and for 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,” she says. “It is known across the state.”
During her time as a student at Ivy Tech, Miles’ family experienced some financial hardships that could have forced her to stop attending classes and re-enter 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,” she says. “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.”
Graduating with her Associate of Science in Nursing degree allowed Miles to enter the workforce after graduation. She is also attending Western Governors University for her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, in support of St. 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,” she says. “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 they’ll help you find your way of fulfilling your purpose.”
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,” she says. “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.”
View the 2023 Difference Makers video at youtu.be/c4Xifg-JG3g.
To learn more about Ivy Tech Muncie/Henry County, visit online at ivytech.edu/muncie.