NWI Innovators of the Month: August 2016

By: Northwest Indiana Society of Innovators Last Updated: August 3, 2016

NWI-Innovators-of-the-Month-August-2016_01NWI Innovators of the Month highlights the upcoming TedxCountyLineRoad event for November, featuring new Co-Chairs Nichole DeMario and MacKenna Schon. Also featured is another Team Member, a new internship initiative offered through a collaboration led by Prompt Ambulance This issue is for the media serving Jasper, Lake, La Porte, Newton, Porter, Pulaski and Starke Counties. Each edition features inspiring stories of innovators who are Members of The Society of Innovators. The Society is part of Ivy Tech’s Gerald I. Lamkin Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center. For information, contact O’Merrial Butchee, Director, Lamkin I & E Center at (219) 981-4942, or John Davies, Managing Director, The Society of Innovators of NWI at (219) 981-1111, Ext. 2292.

Planning TedxCountyLineRoad “Idea” Event for November
Co-Chairs Nichole DeMario and MacKenna Schon with their planning committee are preparing for the region’s third TedxCountyLineRoad event this November. Organized by young professionals willing to invest talent and time, TedX brings together speakers and participants that are idea-focused and provoke conversations about new ideas. This year’s new leadership team involves DeMario (left), Director of Communications and Professional Development for the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors (GNIAR).

She’s been there for seven years. Co-Chair Schon is Director of Volunteer Engagement, United Way of Porter County, where she has worked for 4 ½ years. Growing up in Dyer, DeMario graduated from Columbia in broadcast journalism in 2008, and chose to take a job here. Originally from Illinois, Schon graduated from Valparaiso University in 2009 and decided to stay in the region. Both worked on last year’s TEDx event, along with other team members who were inducted into The Society in 2015. Launched by Celina Weatherwax now in an advisory role, this half-day event to be announced soon will build on the past two events. This organizing team that grew out of support for the South Shore expansion is linked to the global brand of TED. Although distinct from TED, this is one of a handful of affiliated TEDx initiatives in Indiana and was the first in our 7-county region. Look for details at tedxcountylineroad.com.

NWI-Innovators-of-the-Month-August-2016_02Aspiring Social Workers Benefit from IUN Internship
Offering aspiring NWI social workers a front-line experience riding in an ambulance and making house calls is part of a groundbreaking educational initiative led by Prompt Ambulance and its partners, said Ron Donahue, Director of Business Development for the Highland company. Annually, students from Indiana University Northwest are selected for a year-long internship, added Rondi L. Wightman (right), MSW, off-site administrator and IUN adjunct instructor; this Director of Operations for SoJourner Truth House audits the weekly progress of interns for the National Association of Social Work (NASW), Indiana Chapter. Now in its fourth year, this is believed to be the first internship with a university by an ambulance company in which students have accumulated more than 2,560 hours of continuing education.

The internship program grew out of quarterly “lunch and learn” sessions held in Lake, Porter, La Porte and Jasper Counties starting in 2012. A third leg of this partnership is an annual regional conference held every March; the recent third conference focused on trauma. In addition to Prompt, IU Northwest, and NASW, the newest partner for the educational series is the NWI Area Health Education Center (AHEC) at Purdue University Northwest. Boosting interest is that social workers need 200 hours of continuing education every other year. “Through this multi-disciplinary approach, we offer an alternative to online continuing education that is not available anywhere else,” added Jeff Zielinski, Prompt Business development coordinator.