Indiana State University Newsroom

Students studying abroad included in development session

October 24, 2007

Getting 30 or so Indiana State University students together at the same time may not seem like much of a challenge, especially when you offer them snacks and soft drinks. But when one-third of those students are studying abroad, and are scattered across five countries in four time zones, things can get complicated.

It was all part of the plan, though, for a recent professional development workshop for freshmen and sophomore Networks, President’s And Gongaware Scholars in the ISU College of Business.

Sophomore Networks Scholar Kristin Elston of Paris, Ill. had the task of setting the whole thing up, bringing all the students together via the Internet and ensuring fellow sophomores overseas knew just when and how to log in.

“I contacted all of the students abroad and coordinated when they should be there to go online. If they didn’t have a Web cam, I sent one over to them,” Elston said. She also met in advance with a representative of the university’s Office of Information Technology for a couple of trial runs of Web conferencing software.

The late-afternoon - Terre Haute time - session meant a late night for Mike Peterlich of Charleston, Ill., who was in Ireland at the time; Eric Gettelfinger of Depauw and Nathan Lloyd of Plymouth, both studying in the Czech Republic; Emily Stites of Huntington (Greece); and Traci Rosenbalm of Danville, Ind. and Jeremy Thompson of Martinsville, Ill. (Finland).

But it meant an early wake-up call for Stephanie Balbach of Evansville, Curt Bromm of St. Anthony, and Mark Elliott and Paige Williams of Terre Haute, all of whom are studying in Australia and had to be up and ready to face their fellow students - and professors - at 6:30 a.m.

“Instead of delaying the leadership training and the planning and development training that we do as part of the Networks Professional Development Program, we decided we would have them work internationally and give them a taste of what it’s like to work in a global economy,” said Art Sherwood, associate professor of management.

The students split into three groups to discuss different aspects of professional development: service learning, team building and inviting professional speakers to campus.

For Elston, the greatest challenge - other than making sure those in Australia got up in time - was in motivating those students who are still early in their study abroad experiences to return to Indiana for a few minutes, even if only via cyberspace.

“They’re kind of leaving their international experience behind a little bit, but I got them excited about coming back and helping their team out,” she said.

All of the Scholars are studying in the College of Business; the Scholar development program overall is made possible by Networks Financial Institute and a grant from Lilly Endowment Inc.

Virtual meeting Whitney O'Brien of Terre Haute leads a team meeting during a professional development workshop for Indiana State University Networks, President's and Gongaware Scholars. Participating via the Internet are Paige Williams of Terre Haute (left), who is studying in Australia, and Traci Rosenbalm of Danville, Ind., who is studying in Finland. (Tony Campbell/ISU)

Students meet via Web conference Indiana State University students who are Networks, Presidents and Gongaware Scholars participate in a professional development workshop in the ISU College of Business. Ten scholars who are studying abroad took part via the Internet. (Tony Campbell/ISU)

Contact: Arthur Sherwood, associate professor of management, College of Business, Indiana State University, (812) 237-2094 or

Writer: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Indiana State University, (812) 237-3743 or

Story Highlights

Indiana State University College of Business students who are Networks, President's and Gongaware Scholars didn't let distance stand in the way of a recent professional development meeting. They connected via Web conferencing with other ISU students studying abroad.

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