11 Jun 2019

The Eskenazi Health Initiative for Empowerment and Economic Independence (IEEI) is in its 6th year of hosting internships for college students with physical disabilities. Since its inception, IEEI has focused on providing the students real life work experience and important career-building skills.

Students sit in rows listening to Greg Fehribach and Larry Markle present on IEEI.

IEEI began in 2013 as a partnership between Ball State University and Eskenazi Health. Ball State and Eskenazi Health have grown and expanded their collaboration to welcome 42 interns from 19 colleges and universities to Eskenazi Health for an eight-week summer internship program. Students are hired by several companies, including Eskenazi Health, Eli Lilly & Company, the Lumina Foundation, Old National Bank, Health and Science Innovations, and Indiana’s Family and Social Services Administration. The program is hosting first time interns, as well as returning students who are expanding their work experience through different departments and companies.

With employment rates for college graduates with physical disabilities still unequal to that of their able-bodied peers, it is imperative for students with physical disabilities to learn networking and professional skills. This group of qualified students will have the opportunity to participate in sessions to learn about fiscal responsibility, healthy eating and cooking, and professional networking. By expanding access to these different experiences, the students become more comfortable and practiced in associating with their colleagues and peers.

As part of the partnership with Ball State, Mary Beth and I are proud to recognize Ball State University students for their hard work and commitment to community participation. Through the Disability Services Awards, we have the pleasure of elevating certain students who exceeded expectations. Recipients of the Fehribach Award have demonstrated success in the classroom, and by example or direct action have furthered the cause of access and opportunity. This year, the Fehribach Award was presented to four students.

From left: Jordan Grammas, Caleb Posey, Joel Riley, and Savannah Bassett with Greg Fehribach

Jordan Grammas is a senior Child Development major with a minor in Psychology of Human Development from Zionsville, IN. Jordan has achieved the Dean’s list every semester during her career at BSU and is also associated with several honor societies including Mortar Board and the National Honor Society for Family and Consumer Science. In addition to being a member of Phi Mu, Jordan has also been involved in multiple volunteer activities.

Caleb Posey is a sophomore Creative Writing major with a minor in Film Screenwriting from Commiskey, IN. Caleb is the secretary of ADA and is a proud Hufflepuff (from Hogwarts in the Harry Potter series). Caleb is also a member of the Kiwanis Builders Club and Key Club.

Joel Riley is a junior who is double majoring in Telecommunications and Journalism with a minor in Communication Studies. He is from Indianapolis, IN. Joel is the Vice President of Administration for Kinghorn Hall Council, the Associate Producer and Entertainment Anchor for Newslink Indiana. He has also been a Segment Producer for The Reel Deal and a member of the College Mentors for Kids.

Savannah Bassett is a junior Accounting major and Financial Planning minor from Fort Wayne, IN. Savannah is currently the Vice President and Student Government representative for the Alliance for Disability Awareness student organization. She is also a member of Excellence in Leadership (EIL) and traveled with EIL to Ireland over Spring Break. Savannah is interning through the Eskenazi Health Initiative for Empowerment and Economic Independence (IEEI) this summer.

I am excited about the expectations of quality work from these students, as well as their leadership growth and progress in academic and experiential learning. As the program grows, it is our goal to continue offering commensurate experiences to students with physical disabilities.

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