'Summer' teaching job lasts two decades

Laura Rosillo

MICHIGAN CITY – Dr. Laura Rosillo accepted a teaching position at Ivy Tech Community College's Michigan City campus in 1996 – a one-summer stint before resuming her medical training.

Twenty-two years later and she's still here, having "chose a career in education when she discovered a passion for teaching after completing her studies in medicine," according to Dr. Sue Ellspermann, president of Ivy Tech.

That dedication to teaching, and many accomplishments over the last two decades, recently earned her a big honor.

Rosillo has been honored among a select group of faculty – for "exemplary work with students and in their communities" – with Ivy Tech's annual Presidents Award, to be present on June 21, according to Ellspermann.

The 19 winners of the highest honor given to faculty by Ivy Tech were chosen based on nominations from students, fellow faculty members, and Ivy Tech staff.

Now in its 36th year, the program recognizes one full-time faculty member at each campus for "reflecting Ivy Tech’s mission," Ellspermann said. Each winner receives an Ivy Oscar and a $1,000 professional development grant.

The awards reflect both the commitment of the college’s faculty and the unique qualities that make Ivy Tech special, she said.

“Our faculty members are intently focused on student success,” Ellspermann said. “They are pivotal to Ivy Tech’s role in preparing students for the workforce and encouraging them to give back to their communities. On behalf of everyone at Ivy Tech, we congratulate them for receiving this honor and applaud them for inspiring their colleagues across the state, our staff, and our students through their example.”

The honor makes Rosillo, an associate professor of Life Science, eligible for the Founder’s Award, presented to one outstanding faculty member throughout the state. It will also be awarded at the June event.

Rosillo came to Ivy Tech as an adjunct instructor in the summer of 1996. She was originally hired to teach math, but only for the summer, as she was preparing to resume her medical education after the conclusion of the class, according to Ivy Tech spokeswoman Aja Michael-Keller.

"She planned to teach for one semester and has just completed her 22nd year. From the first, Dr. Rosillo dove in to help where she saw the need," Michael-Keller said. "She took the lead in developing the science laboratory and teaching the very first life science classes on the campus."

For her efforts, Rosillo has been recognized as an Innovation Award recipient from the college; and an Outstanding Educator by the Northwest Indiana Coordinating Council. She was also a representative at the Academy for Instructional Excellence Master Teacher Academy In 2002.

"Wanting to have a cohesive regional science program and a medium to share best practices, Dr. Rosillo, along with her colleague, Dr. Dale Downs, formed the Regional Science Quality Committee," Michael-Keller said.

Serving as co-chair "allowed her to develop as a leader and motivate her colleagues. Among many of the accomplishments, the committee standardized class objectives, laboratory activities and final exams," she said.

Rosillo has held many positions within the college, including being a full-time faculty, Regional Department Chair of Life and Physical Science, and Science Program Chair.

The 2019 Ivy Tech Community College President’s Award honorees from area campuses:

Fort Wayne: Jennifer Knapp, Instructor in Paramedic Science. In her nomination letter, a nurse called Jennifer a mentor to “many EMS professionals throughout the state” and a “true leader.”

Lake County: Parnell Jordan, assistant professor/department chair, Welding/INDT. Parnell has been an Ivy Tech faculty member for over 25 years. His chancellor said in his nomination letter, “Our welding program is thriving in enrollment and job placement in large part because of Parnell’s reputation as an excellent, dynamic and engaged instructor.”

Michigan City: Dr. Laura Rosillo, associate professor of Life Science. Dr. Rosillo chose a career in education when she discovered a passion for teaching after completing her studies in medicine.

South Bend/Elkhart: Monika H. Champion, Math Department Chair. Upon starting her career in higher education, one of her former students said of Champion, “After meeting you and seeing the passion you have for teaching and mentoring, I have realized that passion is within me also.”

Valparaiso: Randee S. Marinaro, Dean of the School of Nursing. During her time with the program, Ivy Tech Valparaiso nursing students have achieved an NCLEX-RN pass rate of 93 percent and an NCLEX-PN pass rate of 100 percent.

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