Q&A with Elite 50 winner Rahael Mathew, MSCJPS’17

Rahael Mathew

As a child growing up in India, Rahael Mathew described herself as “a sensible young lady with a hidden interest in the criminal mind.”

Mathew has been delving deep into that interest the past two years as a student in SPEA’s Master of Criminal Justice and Public Safety program. After receiving her undergraduate degree in mass communication and psychology from Jyoti Nivas College in her hometown of Bangalore, Mathew landed in Indianapolis in January 2015 eager to tackle her graduate education.


Research on competitive giving will shed light on impact on philanthropy

Every March since 2012, Brackets For Good, an Indianapolis-based 501(c)(3) charitable organization, hosts online “competitive giving” fundraising tournaments. With March Madness as the impetus, there are now nonprofits in 10 additional cities involved, and a national competition.

Participating nonprofits organizations rally enthusiastic donors to out fundraise their opponents in order to advance into the next round of the tournament. By generating stakeholder excitement, promoting the tournament, and soliciting corporate involvement, nonprofits earn increased exposure, raise funds, gain access to free fundraising tools and are introduced to new donors.


MSCJPS grad student Katie Heinz is first to defend thesis research

Katie Heinz

Service to others has always been important to Katie Heinz.

From working as an EMT while studying sociology at Princeton University, to interning for the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office in the Special Victims and Major Felonies units during her time as a graduate student at SPEA, making a difference has been a way of life for the Bargersville, Indiana, native.

Katie HeinzFor her work with the prosecutor’s office and at the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic, where she helps people in the Indianapolis area without legal representation expunge their criminal records, Heinz was awarded the William M. Plater Civic Engagement Medallion. She was one of six SPEA students to earn the recognition this semester.

“I did a lot service work at Princeton,” Heinz said, “and coming to SPEA I knew it would be a good fit in terms of getting me set on a career path where I could focus on service and helping others.” (more…)

2017 Plater Medallion winner: Taylor Rhodes

Taylor Rhodes

MPA’17, Nonprofit Management

You won the Plater Medallion as an undergraduate in 2012. What was your reaction to being nominated and ultimately getting the news that you had won the Plater Medallion for a second time as a graduate student?
I am honored and feel extremely blessed to have been nominated. I feel that even more now that I have won.

Can you tell us a little about the work you’ve done that led to this award?
I am passionate about education and youth development. That passion led me to studying abroad, through SPEA, in 2015. I went to Uganda were I completed an 11-week internship in sustainable international development. I was placed with the NGO Step Up Primary School and facilitated projects around female student empowerment and school safety. Also, for the past three years, I have dedicated my time to local organizations such as Girls Inc., Starfish Initiative and Brooke’s Place. Currently, I am the graduate assistant for Paw’s Pantry, the IUPUI food pantry. I have been with Paw’s for two years and have done my best to advocate for those who experience food insecurity. (more…)

A rare double for Jessica Davis: IUPUI Elite 50, Plater Medallion

Jessica Marie Davis

MPA’17, Policy Analysis

When Jessica Davis takes her seat at IUPUI’s May 14 commencement ceremony in Lucas Oil Stadium, she’ll be a part of an exclusive group. Just seven members of the 2017 graduating class were honored this spring as members of the university’s Elite 50 and also awarded the William M. Plater Civic Engagement Medallion. Davis is one of them.

Davis calls the honors “uniquely special” and credits mentors Heather McAlister and Niki Messmore for supporting and championing her throughout her graduate program. Between classes, a graduate assistantship, community involvement, and a full-time job, it has been a hectic yet rewarding semester. “But at the end of the day,” she says, “I work hard as an example for my niece and nephew to open them up to a world that has so much to offer.”    (more…)