BLOOMINGTON – Ivy Tech student Rob Parab recently earned several awards from Phi Theta Kappa, an international honor society devoted to community colleges. In March 2018, Parab received The Indiana Alumni Association Leaders of Promise Scholarship, Indiana Region Distinguished Chapter Officer, the Susan L. Jackson Award, and the New Century Scholar Award.

The awards recognize academic achievement and leadership accomplishments. Parab is pursuing associate degrees in biotechnology and legal studies from Ivy Tech’s Bloomington’s campus. He currently serves as vice president for the Phi Theta Kappa honor society southern Indiana region, and president for the Bloomington chapter of Phi Theta Kappa. Parab also works as a legal assistant in Bloomington, as a tutor, library assistant, and adjunct instructor at Ivy Tech.

“It’s incredibly humbling to be selected for awards among a pool of such talented individuals from all walks of life,” said Parab. “At Ivy Tech there are so many amazing talented people. They could get into other colleges and it’s eye opening. There is a totally valid alternative pathway.”

Parab graduated from Bloomington High School South and attended Indiana Wesleyan University before finding his place at Ivy Tech Community College.

“After my dad unexpectedly passed away in 2012, I began taking better care of my own health,” said Parab. “In the fall of 2015, the Thursday before classes started, I saw an ad in the paper to become a certified personal trainer. I remembered the nurses who had tended to my father and I knew I could be doing more with my life.”

Parab enrolled at Ivy Tech and took science and healthcare classes, in addition to philosophy, ethics, and legal studies. As he progressed in his studies, Parab discovered that a career in direct patient care was not for him, and began working toward a degree in biotechnology instead.

“I want to do something cross disciplinary and integrative,” said Parab. “Biotechnology is a ‘helping’ profession, though not the same kind of helping as nursing. Biotechnology is a more natural fit for me.”

Parab also enjoyed his law classes so much that he began pursuing a degree in legal studies as well.

In the biotechnology field, Parab became particularly interested in genetically modified seeds. He is interested in keeping the cost of genetically modified seeds as low as possible for farmers through an open source platform.

“I want to go to law school to become a patent lawyer so that I can help make sure there are open-source seeds available to farmers,” said Parab. “In the interim I want to become a certified paralegal to gain experience in the field.”

Parab currently works as legal assistant at Spalding Law in Bloomington, Ind.

“It’s been so much fun and really hectic,” said Parab. “I’ve only been there for two months so I’m just starting and learning.”

In addition to his recent awards, Parab is a multiple scholarship recipient. In 2017, he earned an Ivy Tech scholarship, Bloomington Rotary Club Scholarship, the Ivy Tech Civic Engagement Awards – Jeanine C. Rae Humanitarian Award, Dr. Eugene M. Spiess Scholarship, Honors Institute Travel Scholarship, and International Honors Scholar.

Parab anticipates graduation in May 2020 with associate degrees in biotechnology and legal studies.

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.