Indiana State University Newsroom

ISU’s Networks Financial Institute recognized for student development program

October 28, 2010

A four-year curriculum with focused activities designed to cultivate the professional skills of Indiana State University students has been recognized as an award-winning initiative.

Networks Financial Institute, an outreach of Indiana State's Scott College of Business, garnered third place in the 2010 Innovation in Business Education Award by the Mid-Continent East Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. NFI received the award for its Networks Professional Development Program, a multi-year, coached, experiential professional development program designed for high potential undergraduate business majors at ISU.

"I initially helped create the program seven years ago," said Arthur "Art" Sherwood, associate professor of management and senior fellow for leadership development at ISU. "It's developed into a much stronger program than I ever thought it could be."

In the program, students participate in different activities that have a different developmental focus for each year: their freshmen year, events focus on the foundations for leadership and career development, sophomore year events focus on team leadership development and professional skill-building, juniors focus on advanced multi-team leadership development and professional internship preparation and seniors focus on self -leadership and preparation for entering the professional world.

"They come in as freshmen from all sorts of different backgrounds and experiences," Sherwood said, "and over the course of four years, we get to know them all and we're able to really tailor our development and coaching to each individual."

ISU senior Kelsey Throckmorton and Nancy Merritt, dean of the Scott College of Business, traveled to Chicago to pick up the award. Throckmorton, a financial services major from Veedersburg, Ind., has been in the Networks Professional Development Program since she was a freshman.

"As a freshman I was very quiet and timid lacking confidence in my abilities when I was in a room full of equally talented scholars," Throckmorton said. "Now, I have the confidence to not only assert myself among my fellow scholars but to have this same confidence in a room full of industry professionals or deans from various colleges, as happened at the NFI award presentation in Chicago."

The Networks Professional Development Program is entirely student-driven. Program participants plan a variety of events through the course of their four years. Students in the program recently planned and put on the Networks Professional Dress Fashion Show, which took place at ISU earlier this month. More than 17 scholars participated, and more than 85 people attended the event.

"Program participants loved it. They had a great time," Sherwood said. "The people in the audience also had a great time."

In her time with the program, Throckmorton has planned and organized events, including an international dining event her freshman year, along with guest speaker programs and a myriad of other functions. She believes that her most beneficial and rewarding experience has been in working as a peer coach to other students in the program.

"The bonds I have been able to build through these opportunities and the sense of accomplishment we have shared is the most rewarding," she said.

Students will continue to put on other events through the course of the year as part of the program. The award the NFI received for the program "is a confirmation that we're doing tremendous things," Sherwood said, "and that our students are awesome!"

Photo: (ISU/Kara Berchem)
ISU sophomore Dan Walters, junior Mitchell "Zack" McAdams, senior Kelsey Throckmorton, freshman Stephen Borkowski and senior Brittany Faulkner walk the stage during the Networks Professional Dress Fashion Show. More than 17 scholars participated in the event, and more than 85 people attended.

Contact: Priscilla Wolfe, director of education, Networks Financial Institute, Indiana State University, 812-237-8271 or

Writer: Austin Arceo, assistant director of media relations, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3790 or