Indiana State University Newsroom

Seven State alumni among ‘12 Under 40’ honorees

November 6, 2017

Indiana State University alumni are well represented again in "12 Under 40," with Sycamores making up more than half of the 2017 class.

Presented by the Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce and Tribune-Star, "12 Under 40" recognizes young professionals who are making great contributions to the community.

Sycamores honored this year include: Rachael Brown, '07 (English); Ellie Caldwell, '01 (accounting); Danielle Isbell, '08 (physical education exercise science); Jennifer Isbell Scott, '01 (mechanical technology); Katelynn (Moats) Liebermann, '13 (elementary education), GR '15 (school administration), Ph.D. '17 (educational administration); Tradara McLaurine, '08 (accounting, political science, legal studies), GR '10 (student affairs and higher education); and Jessica Starr, '04 (management), GR '07(human resources development).

The deserving dozen will be recognized at a breakfast today (Nov. 7) in the Sycamore Banquet Center at Indiana State.

"The Alumni Association couldn't be prouder of the seven Indiana State University alumni selected to receive the ‘12 Under 40' award for their dedication and service to the Terre Haute community," said Rex Kendall, executive director of the Indiana State University Alumni Association. "Their impact in the community is reflective of our university's longstanding commitment to public service."

Brown and her husband, Nate, spent the years immediately after graduation traveling back and forth to Guatemala and working in orphanages. After taking a break from travel, Brown, then a mother of two children, started a website focusing on children's activities and traveling with youngsters.

"I would hear people complain ‘There's nothing to do in Terre Haute.' But I knew that wasn't true! There are plenty of things happening in the Wabash Valley. People were just missing them," she said.

Brown eventually decided to expand her efforts to help improve Terre Haute's reputation and connect people to the good things happening in the area with the site, They also have fostered children, and recently finalized the adoption of their daughter, making them a family of five.

"My husband and I are both proud to have graduated from ISU," Brown said. "Actually, nearly all of our immediate family members graduated from ISU. This means we have ISU to thank (in part) for that fact that our family now has a lawyer, a doctor, a pharmacist, teachers, a counselor, a corporate salesman, a pilot ... and me!"

Since graduating, Caldwell earned her CPA license and has been working in the public accounting industry, including her current employer Sackrider & Company. She has served with many community organizations, including ArtSpaces Inc., Wabash Valley Road Runners, LAUNCH Terre Haute and the Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce.

"I feel honored to receive this recognition from my community. It motivates me to continue to do all I can to better our community and world beyond," Caldwell said.

She and her husband, Jimmy, lived in Maryland for several years before returning to Terre Haute. They recently moved to a new home in the Collett Park area that they share with their sons, Hadley and Patterson, and their many pets. Caldwell is an avid runner and will finish her seventh marathon in November.

"I was very fortunate to have great teachers during my time (at Indiana State). We have also been fortunate to have interns from various areas of Indiana State at Sackrider & Company, and they have been exceptional!" Caldwell said. "Indiana State is a wonderful part of the Terre Haute community. It is great to have such a forward-thinking institution here in Terre Haute. It has been an honor to work with Dan and Cheri Bradley in bettering our community."

Before starting her current position with the United Way of the Wabash Valley in 2014, Isbell worked for six years at the Union Hospital Fitness Center. Her husband (and fellow Sycamore), Wes, welcomed twin sons Ethan and Owen in 2013.

"I am incredibly humbled and honored. This recognition reflects the hard work and change that we are trying create in the Wabash Valley through United Way," said Isbell. "We are an organization that is dedicated to leading and helping our community, and that has carried over into my personal service and dedication to my community."

Isbell says she works each day to make her alma mater proud. "The duty of an alumna is the unspoken promise that you'll be the best member of the community you possibly can: Demonstrate good character, always put others before yourself," Isbell said. "Be confident, but humble. Don't back down from any challenge, no matter how daunting. Honor your family and your faith. Respect those who came before you and appreciate the lessons they have to teach. Help the next generation. Give back to your community, and always do your very best to make the community the very best it can be."

Isbell Scott has worked for Vectren Energy for the past 12 years as a distribution engineer and most recently an industrial sales account manager. She earned a master's degree in leadership development from Saint Mary of the Woods College. "This is an incredible honor and extremely humbling at the same time. I had just recently been recognized as the Terre Haute Young Leader of the Year and now ‘12 Under 40' - both of these honors have me feeling proud to be recognized by my community. I'm mostly proud that I get to share this honor with my family and son, who support me and my hectic schedule," Isbell Scott said.

"I have had the opportunity to work alongside almost all of the recipients of this year's ‘12 Under 40' for numerous community projects over the years, and each one of them inspire me. I feel privileged to be honored alongside them. This community has so many great leaders that they inspire and motivate me to follow in their footsteps and invest back in my community," Isbell Scott added.

Isbell Scott serves on the boards of the following organizations: Terre Haute Children's Museum, United Way of the Wabash Valley, Terre Haute Young Leaders Advisory Board, Workforce Development Board, Terre Haute Economic Development, Accelerate West Central Indiana Economic Development, Morgan County Economic Development Executive Committee and the Martinsville Chamber Workforce & Education.

"I feel very fortunate to work for an organization that community involvement is rooted in the corporate culture," Isbell Scott said. "Because of this, I have had the opportunity to interact with many of the terrific nonprofit organizations in our community and observe the impact each one makes. I really have the perfect job, best of both worlds, working in a field that I love shared with my passion for philanthropy."

Out of college, Liebermann worked a second and third grade teacher for the Vigo County School Corporation. When she enrolled in graduate school at State, Liebermann worked as the district enrichment specialist and member of the curriculum team for the corporation. After finishing her doctorate, she became an assistant curriculum coordinator and grant and enrichment specialist for VCSC.

"I am a proud graduate of the Vigo County School Corporation and Indiana State University, as well as a lifelong resident of Terre Haute, so it is truly a privilege to serve students within our community," Liebermann said. "I am thankful for the opportunities I have had to maintain an active role in philanthropic and service-focused organizations, both on campus and within the community."

Liebermann said she values the opportunity to serve her community through her career, as well as committing time to work for additional community organizations that promote progress and positive change within the community. She considers it a privilege to serve in a variety of membership and leadership capacities.

"Indiana State University has provided opportunities and experiences that have supported my personal and professional development. I am truly thankful for the support, guidance and encouragement that I have received from individuals representative of various departments on campus, as well as professors who have served as coaches and mentors to undergraduate peers and graduate colleagues," Liebermann said. "Indiana State University provided the platform to develop lifelong friendships, as well as instilled the values and traditions that are continued and maintained today as an alumna of my alma mater."

Since graduating from Indiana State, McLaurine has worked at Ivy Tech Community College in the Wabash Valley and her alma mater's Career Center, where she currently serves as the student employment and internships director. She manages the university's internship scholarship programs and student employment programs including State Works, federal work study and on-campus employment.

"I am humbled, thankful and blessed - this recognition came to me as a surprise. It feels great to be honored by your community for just being you," McLaurine said. "Indiana State University is home. I am where I am today due to the many opportunities Indiana State University affords to all of its students. I fell in love more with Indiana State when I became a staff member. I see how many people on this campus truly love our students and want to create the best experience for them."

Last year, McLaurine and her husband opened Wing Stop in Terre Haute to bring more jobs to the community. She also recently published two children's books, "Why Daddy Works" and "Why Mommy Works" to help working parents explain their jobs to children. "I hope to use the book for fundraisers for local daycares and elementary schools in the future," she said.

-30-Photos: -- Rachael Brown, '07 (English) and family -- Ellie Caldwell, '01 (accounting) -- Danielle Isbell, '08 (physical education exercise science) -- Jennifer Isbell Scott, '01 (mechanical technology) -- Katelynn (Moats) Liebermann, '13 (elementary education), GR '15 (school administration), Ph.D. '17 (educational administration) -- Tradara McLaurine, '08 (accounting, political science, legal studies), GR '10 (student affairs and higher education) -- Jessica Starr, '04 (management), GR '07(human resources development).

Writer: Libby Roerig, director of communications and media relations, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3790 or