BLOOMINGTON – Women in Philanthropy, Circle of Ivy recently gifted Ivy Tech Community College Bloomington students and faculty with $6,885 in programmatic and equipment support. Funding will provide: student discount meals at The Yellowwood, a STEM to STEAM conference faculty presentation, physics lab equipment upgrades, headset microphones for live webcast classes, and video production in Copenhagen, Denmark at the Tycho Brahe Observatory.

Circle of Ivy members distributed a total of $69,000 statewide at the group’s annual meeting and luncheon in October 2016. Each of Ivy Tech Community College’s 14 regions submitted funding proposals, and members voted on projects to receive funding.

Ivy Tech Bloomington professor Kurt Messick will use his funds for travel and video production at the Tycho Brahe Observatory in Copenhagen, Denmark. “Tycho was the greatest observational astronomer to live prior to the invention of the telescope,” said Messick. “This trip will enable me to make a video to teach students in my face-to-face and online classes about observational astronomy, benefitting approximately 150 students per semester.”

In addition to filming at the Tycho Brahe Observatory, Messick will film at the underground observatory on the island of Ven, a re-creation of Tycho’s now-lost Uraniborg observatory.

“After returning with footage filmed in both spots, I will use our astronomy software, Skygazer Voyager, to combine video footage with observation exercises,” said Messick. “This will allow students to experience the history of astronomy by incorporating the personality and the actual locations of Tycho, the last great master of observation.”

In the future, Messick would also like to visit the places that Copernicus, Kepler, and Galileo worked, to create a video series on the history and development of astronomy. Professor Messick received his MS in Space Studies from American Military University and has completed graduate work in astronomy at Swinburne University in Australia.

The Circle of Ivy was established in 2015 as a statewide women’s giving circle committed to diminishing barriers to higher education. Members are Ivy Tech faculty, staff, alumni, students, and board members. In 2016, the Circle has grown to 270 members, with 25 members in Bloomington. To learn more about Circle of Ivy and its initiatives, contact Susie Graham at or (812) 330-6067.

About Ivy Tech Community College

Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana's largest public postsecondary institution and the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering associate degrees, long- and short-term certificate programs, industry certifications, and training that aligns with the needs of the community. The College provides a seamless transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a bachelor's degree.