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Success Stories

A marketing brochure will only go so far in showing you how an Indiana Tech education can prepare you well for a successful career. That’s why we work hard to stay in touch with our graduates so we can develop their Success Stories. First and foremost, we are proud of our graduates and we love letting the world know about their outstanding accomplishments. Secondly, there is no one better to illustrate the impact of an Indiana Tech degree than one who has walked across our commencement stage and dived headlong into his or her career.

Dustan Herendeen

Dustan Herendeen

B.A. in Communication, 2019

Dustan currently works as a production assistant at WANE 15. He serves as the intermediary between director and broadcasting cast, providing assistance with scripts, camera equipment and broadcasting fluidity. He also works as a freelance videographer with skills in filming, post-production editing, script writing, voice-overs, music production and social media marketing.

In order to meet the Communication degree requirements, Dustan completed an internship for Century21 where he was able to learn the art of script writing for TV broadcasting. Additionally, he has worked with the Indiana Tech MBA program to develop videos for its online content.

Tywell Williams

Tywell Williams

B.A. in Communication, 2018

Tywell works as a music producer, helping clients with composing, producing, and editing music. Additionally, he works for the Renaissance YMCA with youth on music production, songwriting, recording and mixing/mastering.

“I love sharing my passion for music production with younger kids,” he said. “It gives me a sense of joy.”

Recently, Tywell worked on the “We Need More Hands” project, which featured a soundtrack for the opening of a new Rescue Mission in Fort Wayne.

“The project was for the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Rescue Mission in downtown,” he said. “It was a year-long project, and I’m happy that I was a part of it.”

Tywell said his communication classes at Indiana Tech helped him become successful in the music industry.

“I can establish and foster positive relationships with clients, manage time with musicians and artists, as well as develop my persuasive abilities that are needed for the industry,” he said.

Haley Merz

Haley Merz

B.S. in Recreation Therapy, 2019

Haley Merz combined her natural compassionate nature with a Bachelor of Science in Recreational Therapy to secure a wonderful position helping others at Pure Abilities, LLC, an Indiana-based company that provides one-on-one therapeutic services for individuals of all ages and disabilities.

While at Tech, the 2018 graduate found her way to Pure Abilities through an internship–an experience that immersed her in the values of recreational therapy and solidified her passion for engaging others in positive life-changing activities. Since being there, she has become a Certified Therapeutic Recreational Specialist (CTRS), and she works within her community to increase awareness and foster inclusion for individuals with disabilities.

During her internship at Pure Abilities, Haley created a GoFundMe page to raise money so one of her clients could accomplish his dream of skydiving. Watch here:

Autumn Stokes

B.S. in Child Development, 2019

Autumn Stokes achieved many recognitions during her time at Indiana Tech. The 2019 graduate made the dean’s list for six straight semesters, was named the university’s Outstanding Child Development graduate for 2019 and was honored as a Daktronics NAIA Scholar-Athlete for her high academic standing. She was able to achieve these honors while playing four years for the Warriors’ varsity volleyball squad—two years as its team captain.

Understandably, her biggest challenge was time management—the balancing of school, work, and playing volleyball. She credits professor of psychology, Dr. Justin Boyce, for providing positive inspiration that helped her make it through.

“He has always gone out of his way to encourage me to achieve my goals, as well as give me recognition for my hard work in my academics,” Autumn said.

Autumn intends to continue on to graduate school and become either a school psychologist or a sports psychologist.

Caleb Schannep

Caleb Schannep

B.S. in Fitness & Recreation, 2016

Long before achieving his fitness and recreation degree in 2016, Caleb applied the skills he was learning in his Indiana Tech classrooms out in the Fort Wayne community. Leading up to graduation, he was a pre-school/youth staff supervisor for Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation, a teaching assistant with Fort Wayne Community Schools and the head soccer coach for Woodlan High School for a season.

Caleb used that experience and networking to earn two full-time post-graduation positions, the most recent being as a program director for the YMCA of Greater Fort Wayne.

“Choosing to pursue a major in fitness and recreation was a perfect fit, since my passion is to work with youth, adults and sports,” Caleb said. “My internship led me to my first job out of college as the program coordinator for Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation.”

Caleb’s new role involves planning programming for the Y’s child care services.


Kelsey Bair

2020 Indiana Tech graduate

When Kelsey Bair graduated in May 2020, the Fort Wayne, Indiana, native was well equipped for the next stage of her life.

“I feel very confident taking my next step because of my education from Indiana Tech. Tech has a hands-on program and it gives you the confidence to go out and do what you have learned.” Kelsey said.

“With my education and the connections I made through internships, I was able to get into graduate school at Manchester University in the athletic training program. When I went for my interview at Manchester, I felt better prepared than other students who were there with me,” she added.

Now, Kelsey is one step closer to realizing her career goal of becoming an athletic trainer.

“I have always wanted a career where I could help people, and with my exercise science degree I can do that.”

Loni Robertson

B.S. in Psychology, 2014

Loni is a research associate at Gateway Rehabilitation Center in Pittsburgh, a position she thanks Indiana Tech for helping her achieve.

“My overall experience at Indiana Tech gave me the tools to prepare for my future. The small classes allowed me to get to know professors better and learn from their experiences as well as developing a forever support system,” she said.

One significant experience came from working with professor Dr. Justin Boyce and two other students on a research project—a project that took the group to Las Vegas to present their findings. It was there that she connected with the Gateway organization.

“My goal was to become an addictions counselor, and because of the opportunities and experiences I had at Tech, I achieved that goal. Without the education, experiences and support I received throughout my college career, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

Jennifer Pappalardo

Jennifer Hitchcock

B.S. in Pre-Law, 2015

Before establishing her own law firm in Fort Wayne, Jennifer got her start in the pre-law program at Indiana Tech. It was there that she knew she was on the right path.

“The undergrad programs at Indiana Tech are designed for student success,” Jennifer said. “The instructors and the administration are of the highest caliber, and the culture within the school is energizing and uplifting.”

While working toward her law degree, Jennifer built relationships with professors, administrators and her classmates, and credits those relationships to helping her both personally and professionally.

“My undergrad advisor and I still speak regularly, and his support and guidance have been instrumental in my success,” she said.

Jennifer is doing exactly what she hoped after graduating from Indiana Tech: representing clients who have been discriminated against or unfairly targeted because of their socioeconomic status.

Courtney Lakes

Courtney Lakes

B.A. in Communication, 2017

Courtney works with troubled youths as a mental health worker at Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch in Billings, Montana. She feels her Indiana Tech education prepared her well for the “challenging and rewarding” position.

“Everything in my degree program helped me—from the professors, to all the different courses for a communication major. It gave me the confidence and ability to work in any kind of job field,” Courtney said. “I give huge credit to my professors; they contributed to most of what I have now in my current career. They really shaped me into the kind of individual that goes after things and always strives for more. I believe Indiana Tech made me fearless and gave me huge amounts of confidence to believe that I can be who I want to be in any kind of career.”

Courtney wants to pursue a master’s in communication and become a professor. In addition, the children’s book series she created as her senior project is still a work in progress she hopes to have published one day.