Indiana State University Newsroom

SUCCESSx delivers new format, ideas to students

October 24, 2014

About 200 Indiana State University students gathered recently in Tilson Auditorium to hear seven speakers deliver short messages offering different perspectives on how to conquer college.

Though the speakers' perspectives were varied, they all had one thing in common -- Indiana State.

The Student Government Association and Office of Student Success organized the SUCCESSx conference to emulate the popular TEDx talks. Instead of "ideas worth sharing", SUCCESSx promised "ideas worth learning to do well in college."

Rukiya Campbell, director of Communications 21, a marketing and public relations agency in Atlanta,, said that presenting to students at SUCCESSx was "Amazing."

From 40 prospective presenters nominated by students and the Indiana State Alumni Association, Campbell was one of seven alumni, faculty and staff members given the opportunity to relay their experiences.

"My time there felt like it went quickly," Campbell said, "but I wanted to express how important it is to get involved in everything ISU has to offer - from student organizations, Greek life, extracurricular activities. My career path has shown me how my involvement in various groups helped mold me as a person and a professional."

As for her method in delivering "Five Barrier Busters to Success in College", she said, "The TED Talk format focuses on trying to be engaging so I felt most comfortable sharing stories."

Darian Quarles, a freshman criminology and criminal justice major from Muncie, echoed approval for the TED format. She noted that traditional hour-long, single-speaker events can be tedious to sit through and lacking in variety. While teachers presented at the event, younger alumni, such as Kyle Newnum ("It's Called College"), were able to communicate the importance of completing assignments and joining clubs while connecting with millennial students.

Indiana State English instructor Jeff Carr focused on first-generation students, such as himself.

First generation students are students whose parents did not complete college, Carr said. About half of Indiana State's student population consists of first generation students. One third of students have parents who never went to college at all.

Nationally, only 25 percent of first-generation students graduate in four years, he noted.

"I should have been a statistic," Carr said. "I have friends in prison. I have friends who are dead from drugs. Now, I'm talking to you at a state university. You don't have to be one of those people."

Disadvantaged students were a big theme at the conference. Another presenter, Cory Graham ("A Future Is Not Something You Enter, It Is Something You Create") quoted John Kuebler: "Show me your friends and I will show you your future."

Valerie Hart-Craig ("There Are No Accidents Here: Embracing Your Destiny As a Scholar") said she still proudly represents those who live in Terre Haute's Lockport Road housing projects where she grew up. She addressed The One-students like her who were expected to succeed and know all the answers-who were afraid to ask for help for fear of letting their families down.

"It doesn't really matter how you got here; you're here .. We actually hired people to teach you because we don't expect you to know everything," Craig said, adding that students who "come to learn" tend to stay longer, do better, and stress less than those who just want to "get the grade."

Oter presenters included Della Thacker ("Super Successful Sycamores"), associate professor in the Bayh College of Education and Kitrina Wright ("Success Is a Choice"), a certified public accountant who formed her own corporation, Wright Accounting Group.

"It made me want to run out and do my homework," joked Quarles, who was present for both the Success Talks and a motivational speech by keynote presenter Collette Carlson called "Speak Your Truth".

A dinner in Heritage Ballroom intermitted the two sections allowing students to interact with the speakers and share ideas.

"If there is anything that I hope the students took away from the SUCCESSx experience, it's that they define what success is," said Campbell. "It is my hope that each of them uses their college experience to find their passion and define what success is for themselves."

Videos of each of the seven speakers selected by students and the Indiana State Universit Alumni Association are at

Photo: - Rukiya Campbell, an Indiana State University graduate who is director of Communications 21, a marketing and public relations agency in Atlanta, address students at a "SuccessX" conference Oct. 14, 2014. (ISU/Rachel Keyes)

Photo: - Indiana State University staff member and alumna Valerie Hart-Craig tells students they have potential to succeed regardless of their background during a "SuccessX" conference Oct. 14, 2014. (ISU/Rachel Keyes)

Photo: - Indiana State University English instructor Jeff Carr, a first-generation college graduate, addresses Indiana State students, many of whom are also first-generation, Oct. 14, 2014 during a "SuccessX" conference. (ISU/Rachel Keyes)

Contact: Josh Powers, associate vice president for student success, Indiana State University, 812-237-8378 or

Writer: Kristen Kilker, media relations assistant, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3773 or