BLOOMINGTON – While Ivy Tech Community College’s Bloomington campus has canceled its annual O’Bannon Day of Service event on Friday, April 24 due to COVID-19-related closures, the campus is still recognizing its award winners for excellence in volunteerism.

“During this time of uncertainty, I wanted to be sure that our award winners still received recognition for their volunteer contributions,” said Chancellor Jennie Vaughan. “If anything is certain, it is that we have the very best community of volunteers and partners, all working together for the benefit of others. Let’s celebrate them.”

Civic Engagement Awards

Excellence in Service Learning: April Bledsoe, Program Chair, Design Technology

Bledsoe was nominated by one of her students as “an amazing woman in STEM who dedicates her efforts, energy, and time to sharing the power of design and technology with her community.” Most recently, Bledsoe has volunteered her time to address the shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for healthcare professionals on the front lines of COVID-19, by creating face shields with Ivy Tech’s 3D printing technology. She is a member of the Society of Women Engineers, where she mentors youth of all ages.

Student Excellence in Volunteerism: Tammy Wright, EMT

Wright is a volunteer firefighter and emergency medical technician (EMT). Wright completed her tuition-free EMT training at Ivy Tech in Bedford through Next Level Jobs Indiana’s workforce ready grant program. She volunteers as a firefighter and EMT at the Shawswick Township Volunteer Fire Department in Lawrence County. She also serves as treasurer for the Indiana Volunteer Firefighter Association District 17B and as treasurer for Lawrence County search and rescue.

Excellence in Volunteerism: Lucas Hatcher, Coordinator of Marketing & Communications

Hatcher dedicated his time to the Bloomington Community Orchard as their go-to volunteer designer, creating posters and T-shirts, among other items. Hatcher also served twice per week at Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard stocking shelves and cleaning, and once per week at Monroe County Public Library working as a VITAL (Volunteers in Teaching Adult Learners) program volunteer.

Jeanine C. Rae Humanitarian Award: Amy Tomey, Business Administration student

Tomey was nominated for this award because she “has a true servant’s heart.” She has served as president of Ivy Tech Bloomington’s Phi Theta Kappa honor society since fall 2019 and was an active member since fall 2018. As part of PTK, Tomey assisted with planning an event for more than 100 of her peers who all wrote letters for Operation Gratitude, which were then sent to military veterans, deployed troops, and emergency responders. She also organized a food drive for the Community Kitchen Backpack Buddies program. Tomey volunteers for Night to Shine through the Tim Tebow Foundation as well as the Cocoa Culture Fashion Show to benefit the Down Syndrome Family Connection.

This award was established to recognize a student whose attitude and way of life demonstrate concern for the well-being of others. Rae was an instructor at Ivy Tech, chaplain, counselor, and women’s right advocate.

Community Partner Award: Bedford North Lawrence Scholarship Foundation

The Bedford North Lawrence Scholarship Foundation is a not-for-profit (501c3), tax exempt, charitable foundation which generates scholarships and supports educational activities. They are being recognized for their partnership with Ivy Tech and involvement in the community. The BNL Scholarship Foundation has consistently been one of Ivy Tech’s largest scholarship providers for students.

Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center Community Partner Award: Bloomington Parks & Recreation Kid City

Bloomington Parks & Recreation Kid City has worked with Ivy Tech youth summer camps for nine years, assisting in providing daylong programming split between educational and physical activities for children in the summer. Kid City is accredited by the American Camp Association, which focuses on program quality and health and safety.

John R. Whikehart Award: Sarah Cote, Program Chair and Professor, Biology

Cote has provided an engaging classroom and developed robust relationships with community partners over the years. Chancellor Jennie Vaughan says that Cote’s commitment to student learning, job placement, serving community, and bringing resources to campus for life sciences initiatives truly represents the mission of the college. Cote has hosted Super Science Saturday events, bringing in hundreds of participants to Ivy Tech’s Indiana Center for the Life Sciences. More than 80% of her Associate of Applied Science in Biotechnology graduates are working in their field or have decided to continue higher education in biosciences. Cote’s interns and graduates are employed at Cook Pharmica, BioConvergence, Baxter, Bradford Soap Works, AB Biotechnologies, and Upland Brewery, as well as Eli Lilly and Dow Agrosciences. Cote has recently been awarded a grant from Ivy Tech’s Circle of Ivy to develop an outdoor learning lab for students, in which Cote will work with community partners such as Master Gardeners, Hoosier Hills Career Center, Boy Scouts, and the Bee Town Beekeeping Club to develop a plan for creating and sustaining the outdoor lab.

The John R. Whikehart Civic Engagement Award traditionally celebrates a person with a longstanding commitment to service to both the College and community; someone who feels called to serve Ivy Tech Bloomington and their local community in many capacities, using every talent they have available to them.

“Our campus had planned for this year’s 17th Annual O’Bannon Day of Service to be the final event for Ivy Tech Bloomington, so unfortunately we won’t be back with it in 2021,” said Chancellor Vaughan. “I would be remiss if I didn’t thank our many community partners and sponsors over the years, so thank you! Without the support of our O’Bannon event sponsors and partners, we could not have donated the countless hours of service to non-profits in our communities. And of course, a warm appreciation for Judy O’Bannon, who always supported the volunteer efforts of Ivy Tech Bloomington.”

What would have been reported at the kick-off event on the morning of Friday, April 24, is that Ivy Tech Bloomington was slated to serve more than 24 organizations with more than 450 community volunteers signed up to contribute at least 1,000 hours of service in one day.

Event sponsors included Cook Group, Duke Energy, French Lick Resort, Old National Bank, Smithville, James McLay, Sterling Real Estate, Triple RRR Marketing, IU Credit Union, P.A. Mack & the late Joan Olcott, and United Way of Monroe County.

While Ivy Tech facilities remain closed, students can still continue their plans for job training and earning transfer credits. Ivy Tech accepts free applications year-round and online classes start June 8. For more information and to apply, visit

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.