New Program for Future Professional Women Planned at IPFW

Some women believe that dressing for an interview or for work every day in a professional environment involves skirts and high heels but one Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne graduate student is proposing a program to help change that stigma.

Abigail Schnelker, a graduate assistant in the IPFW Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, is proposing a program that will help prepare women to present themselves in a manner consistent with a professional setting.

“TV gives a very convoluted idea of what women are expected to wear to work and how they are expected to conduct themselves. Sex sells on TV but it comes off as unprofessional in the work place,” Schnelker said.

The program would incorporate human resource professionals to help give female students an idea of how to dress in the business world after obtaining their degree from IPFW.

Schnelker said she also plans to reach out to local hairdressers and cosmetics experts to attend the event. These representatives would then have a chance to give attendees tips and pointers on how to do their makeup and hair in a professional manner.

Chelsea Beyers, an IPFW graduate, is a human resource specialist and said she thinks this type of program is a great idea for women looking to work in a business-type environment.

“Appearance can make or break an interview for someone, knowing what to do and what not to do is very important and this type workshop could help do that for these women,” Beyers said.

Beyers also said she agreed that stereotypes set forth in the media can come off as unprofessional.

“High heels are not needed in an interview when dress pants along with a nice blouse or blazer will do the job,” she said.

Sloane Odle is a senior at IPFW and says this type of program would be something that could potentially be very helpful.

“I have never really had a true interview in a business-like environment so I am really not sure what interviewing or working in a business environment every day is like,” Odle said.

On top of how to appear professional, Schnelker said she also plans to reach out to local businesses that sell second hand professional clothing.

“Most college students do not have very deep pockets, if the university could work with some of these businesses to get discounted rates for students it could be a big help for a lot of women,” Schnelker said.

The program proposal will be submitted to Ken Christmon, the associate vice chancellor of diversity and multicultural affairs, by the end of the current semester. If the program is approved Schnelker said she plans to hold the event in March in conjunction with Women’s History Month before seniors graduate in May.

IPFW Hosts 2015 Diversity Showcase

Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne hosted its annual Diversity Showcase on Wednesday Nov. 4 in the universities’ Walb Union International Ballroom.

The event, which has been hosted by the university for over a decade, is meant to showcase the unique cultures and identities that can be found on the Fort Wayne campus.

“A lot of people think they know what diversity is, but this type of event gives a chance for students and the community to come out and see what this university really has to offer, there is something for everyone,” said the Kenneth Christmon, who is the associate vice chancellor for diversity and multicultural affairs at IPFW.

Christmon said that this year’s event was the largest of its kind with over 50 vendors that included departments from within the university as well as various student organizations.

Some of the vendors from the university included departments such as the College of Health and Human Services, the IPFW athletic department and the Office of Military Student Services.

Some of the student organizations involved with the event included the Black Collegian Caucus and Hispanos Unidos.

Gladys Calderon, a student at IPFW and a member of Hispanos Unidos, said the Diversity Showcase and other similar events do a great job to raise awareness for not only the organization she is involved with, but all of the other campus organizations as well.

“We do a lot on campus and even more within the community and just getting the word out really helps us out” said Calderon. Calderon said that on top of taking trips to Spanish speaking countries such as Peru, the group also volunteers within the local community.

One of the volunteer services Hispanos Unidos provides is interpreting for non-English speakers at local health clinics. Calderon says members of the group also help interpret during parent-teacher conferences for Fort Wayne Community Schools each year.

“It may not always seem like much but for a lot of families, it is,” said Calderon. “We are glad we can make an impact and this event helps make it possible to make more of an impact.”

Free food was also made available to students and community members that took part in the event. Visitors used a form that required them to visit multiple stations before they could take advantage of the food court. Food was catered by Los Portales, Panda Express, Zianos and Fort Wayne Coney Island.

Este Stoffel, a senior on the IPFW volleyball team, volunteered to serve food for the event. “I think the event is working the way it is supposed to,” said Stoffel. “I have seen a lot of new faces coming through the line and that’s what this event is meant to do, raise awareness.”

School officials said they plan to continue the event for many years to come.