A Family Affair: The Fuelling Siblings Create Unique College Experiences

Students at IPFW have the freedom to shape their college experiences to meet their professional aspirations. And siblings Rachel (now Harman), Nicole (now Howard), and Cody Fuelling show the breadth of opportunities and pathways available to students in the College of Arts and Sciences (COAS).

In high school, the siblings were excellent students from family that understood the importance and value of education. The first in their family to attend college, the siblings each received a Chancellor’s Distinguished Scholarship (they agree that they chose IPFW partially because of the affordability, especially with their scholarships). All three thrived through the many opportunities IPFW provided.

Rachel was the first to choose IPFW. From a young age she was interested in education and the natural world, so she pursued a biology major, a chemistry minor, and teaching. As she became involved in extracurricular activities, her interests began to change. She joined the Honors Program, an “enriching experience” that helped spark an interest in research: “While in the Honors Program, I performed research with Dr. Michael Bosela [biology] on micropropigation of Sassafras albidum. I also received lab experience and gave presentations at the MidEast Honors Association Conference.”

Coursework also provided Rachel with opportunities for growth. One early classes, in fact, was quite influential: “The first class I took, Intro to Ecology, was fantastic. It was taught by Dr. Robert Gillespie [biology], who later served as my boss for my undergraduate teaching assistantship and an adviser on my graduate committee. The class was full of field trips and activities that were not performed with a microscope or cooped up in the lab. It emphasized my interest in ecology.”

Ultimately, Rachel chose to pursue a career in academia. After completing bachelor’s and master’s degrees at IPFW, she was accepted into a Ph.D. program at Louisiana State University. Fall 2016 marks her third year in the program. Next she will apply for postdoctoral programs so that: “I can finally get my dream job as a university professor, which will combine two of my greatest interests–teaching and ecology research.”

Her sister Nicole also majored in biology, but her experiences in the same department led her down a different path. Nicole attended IPFW at the same time as her sister, so they spent a lot of time together on campus. They were both held leadership and other roles in the Honors Program—Rachel was president, and Nicole was vice president of the Honors Student Group—and took many classes together.

However, Nicole had more eclectic interests. She had a passion for science, but Nicole also “decided to dabble” in courses in other sciences, humanities, and arts. She took enough of these courses to complete a second degree in general studies to complement her biology degree and associates degree in chemistry. Her diverse interests were also reflected in extracurricular activities: president of Beta Beta Beta, the National Biological Honors Society; vice president of the Honors Student Group; vice president of Circle K International; an AmbassaDon; and homecoming queen.

Initially, Nicole was a pre-med biology major, imagining that she would become a doctor. But after she graduated, she was offered a position at Easter Seals Arc working with individuals with disabilities and special needs. “I had a passion for helping others and a yearning to understand the human condition, so I accepted the position and turned my career path toward the mental health field. I worked there for several years as a quality coordinator and abuse, neglect, and exploitation investigator. I saw many tragic cases and heard numerous heart wrenching stories of difficult times, but I also experienced the power that we as human beings have in overcoming these tragedies.”

After being inspired by these individuals, Nicole decided to return to graduate school at IPFW in the mental health field. She is currently a student with IPFW’s counseling graduate program and plans to graduate in May 2017 with a master’s degree and licensure in counseling education to “further help individuals who are struggling and in need” as an elementary school counselor.

Cody, the youngest sibling, is also part of COAS, but he is forging a different career path. Unlike his sisters, Cody was drawn to the humanities, but like his sisters, his academic career is full of extracurricular activities and excellence. Cody is currently a senior studying history, political science, and secondary education at IPFW—yes, he’s a triple major—and a certificate in international studies.

Also, he is a research assistant to Assistant Professor Deborah Bauer (history), a student assistant for the IPFW Institute for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, an assistant book review editor for Enterprise and Society (a peer-reviewed business history journal), and a member of the Honors Program. Like Rachel, Cody is interested in research and presented his at the Seventh and Eighth Annual Undergraduate History Conferences on campus in 2015 and 2016.

As a senior, Cody is starting the process of applying for graduate schools. Because of his interest in research, Cody is leaning toward a career in academia as a history or political science professor, but also wants to keep his options open. His experiences at IPFW have given him the opportunity for many career paths going forward.

Paul Colton Fuelling
Paul Colton Fuelling

So three siblings, many degrees, a few certificates, handfuls of academic and social extracurricular activities, . . . and they aren’t done yet! (And, believe it or not, that doesn’t even include their other sibling, Paul Colton, who is in the College of Engineering, Technology, and Computer Sciences. He received the Chancellor’s Merit Scholarship and landed a notable internship with Schneider Electric in Huntington.) Their story reflects the story of so many students on campus – there is more to your time on campus than just classes. The Fuellings demonstrate some of the best things about being part of COAS. Students can tailor their experiences to fit their interests and career goals. As Nicole notes: “IPFW offers a matchless opportunity, in that it is big enough that you could get lost in the crowd if you wanted OR small enough to feel like you can truly stand out as an individual and leave your mark.”

Though each of the siblings started in a similar place, they were able to utilize the breadth of opportunities at IPFW and create a unique college experience, which provides all COAS students with the tools they need to pursue future careers based on their individual interests.

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