Meet Successful ISU Students

Mark Broeker is from Rockport, IN, majoring in Political Science with a minor in Public Administration. He came to ISU with the intent of becoming a shop teacher. Yet, he always had an interest in politics. In second grade he could recite the names of all U.S. Presidents forwards and backwards and grew up watching CNN. A class on the rise of China got him interested in participating in a three week trip to China during summer 2012 led by three professors, Michael Chambers, John Conant, and Steve Aldrich. The trip included touring the Three Gorges Region, climbing the Great Wall in two different locations, and visiting one of China’s largest ship building yards in the port city of Dalian (among other things). “It was culture shock for me and an incredible experience,” he said.

In September, he attended the Democratic National Convention as part of the ISU delegation of student interns there (story: http://www.indstate.edu/news/news.php?newsid=3282). “We got to watch the speakers practice backstage and I was 150 feet from where President Obama gave his acceptance speech.” Mark also applied for an Indiana State House Internship position for this spring and although he did not get it, he is excited for his future and the possibility of continued engagement with issues of politics and government.


Adam Gaunt an MIS major, knows something about life turnaround. While incarcerated for five years, education through ISU’s prison program made the difference and inspired him to pursue a bachelor’s degree upon release. When he first came to ISU, he applied for 19 jobs, told each time “he was under qualified and they found someone more suitable for the position.” Finally, an ISU office took a chance and Adam has become an integral part of the success of the office ever since. His dream job? “A job” he says. $7,200 in scholarships received this year towards his studies and a 3.74 GPA at ISU suggests that this young man will find the success he seeks.


Desiree Huebner is a nursing major with a minor in community health education who will graduate in 2013. She has been an RA for 3 years, a LEAP program counselor for 2 years, and an AOP mentor. She also works at Terre Haute Regional Hospital as a Patient Care Tech. Desi says,

ISU has assisted me in the process of obtaining my goals in many ways. From my first day living in the residence hall to my graduation in May 2013, there has always been someone on campus to help me along my college journey. There was never a time where I felt like I was a burden to someone or felt stupid that I was asking so many questions. The professors in my college are challenging, but are there every step of the way to talk to and are there for guidance, if needed. ISU also prepares its students to be well-rounded individuals for the real world by exposing them to diversity and having them enroll in non-major courses. ISU has helped me succeed by giving me scholarships based on student involvement and academics. ISU gives students free access to personal tutors, writing centers, math tutors and other free resources on campus that also aid in student success.

Anthony Nicoson began his career at ISU in the summer of 2011 in the LEAP program. One of the most important things he learned was time management. “Having 6 papers due in 3 weeks,” he says, helped him learn this skill, and he was prepared for the writing pace of his fall English research class. Another thing he learned was that “attendance is really important,” and a student should “try not to miss any classes.” Anthony plans to major in English and become a teacher.

Advice he would give incoming students who might tend to stay in their room is to be sociable. Anthony mostly stayed in his room after classes until the last night of LEAP. The counselors and students went to the library and played games and ate popcorn, and he joined them. He says it was a lot of fun and wished he’d been more sociable earlier.


Zach Perdieu anticipates graduating in May 2014 and aspires to be a college professor and write novels, inspired by an English professor his freshmen year who wrote at the top of one of his quizzes, “Aren’t you an English major? Where’s the passion?” He still has that quiz on his bulletin board for inspiration. His path, however, began with a struggle for focus and a dismissal from ISU, followed by a slow start at Ivy Tech and dropping some classes. However, he found that if he asked for help, good things can happen, including a turnaround at Ivy Tech, readmission to ISU, readmittance into the Honors Program, and Dean’s list at the end of Fall 2012. An excerpt from an essay he wrote in an English class called, Rags to Riches, sums up his experience this way: “I became an educational vagabond… occasionally wandering into class, most often not. I fell behind and dug a hole… blamed everyone but myself… One day the thought crossed my mind that I might be out of options soon… I found that people truly wanted to help me… and rediscovered my dream to be a writer and a professor of literature.”


Katherine “Rochelle” Skaggs was born with some physical challenges which have resulted in 13 corrective surgeries. She missed a whole semester as a high school sophomore. She attended Ivy Tech Community College after high school, studying radiology and then sonography. She was denied official entry into both programs because school officials did not believe she could meet the physical challenges of either job. She persisted though, and decided to study Construction Management at Indiana State University. “As a child, I always preferred to play with legos and Lincoln logs instead of Barbie’s, unless it was to tie my sister’s Barbie to the ceiling fan to watch her spin.” Rochelle is scheduled to graduate in December of 2013.

While at ISU, Rochelle has participated in the Association of Schools of Construction annual competition via the College of Technology’s Construction Club. The competitions, held annually in Chicago, allow construction technology students to compete in real world construction challenges. Rochelle and her five senior teammates came in third place (story: http://www.indstate.edu/news/news.php?newsid=2968). “I’ve always been shy and reserved when put in challenging circumstances or with people I don’t know well. ISU has provided me opportunities to grow beyond my limitations, both physical and personally. I enjoy the real college experience ISU provides. This university has given me a platform to reach my full potential.” In reflecting on the challenges that she has overcome and the success she currently experiences, Rochelle advised, “Sometimes you just have to prove people wrong.”


Aliyah Washington was part of the inaugural class of LEAP in 2011. She says that it motivated her to change her habits. Without LEAP, she would have started at ISU doing the same things she did in high school. “In high school, I didn’t go to class.” Having to go to every class during LEAP enabled her to practice successful college behavior. Time management was another area in which LEAP helped Aliyah. In high school, she often felt overwhelmed, but class sessions on time management in her University 101 course showed her how to plan daily activities so everything got done.

Aliyah earned a 3.03 GPA her first semester and a 3.30 her second semester. She has declared her major in Physical Education Major and is now an Academic Opportunity Program Mentor. LEAP taught her about time management and class attendance, but her mentor in the fall was an advocate who discussed issues with her and helped her to locate resources. She now gives back to this year’s Academic Opportunity Program students by providing guidance and support in navigating the college landscape.