Student Successes

Ian Ermatinger-Salas

M.A. in Philanthropic Studies

What degree are you working toward?

I am pursuing an M.A. in Philanthropic Studies at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

Why did you choose graduate school at IUPUI?

IUPUI offered the exact program that I wanted for an affordable price. The Lilly Family School of Philanthropy is the only school of philanthropy in the United States and was the first in the world. It is, by all metrics, the best program of its kind, and it is right here in Indiana. As I went to Bloomington for my undergraduate degree, staying in the state for my graduate education was an easy choice.

The professors at the School of Philanthropy are both talented lecturers and elite researchers, so I knew that I would receive a top-rate education and learn the latest theory and technique in every class I took.

What has been your favorite academic accomplishment since you’ve been here?

The great thing about a graduate program is how quickly the academic accomplishments stack up. It is hard to pinpoint just one favorite, but I would have to say the most exciting thing I have accomplished is being awarded a scholarship, provided by Leon Logothetis of the Human Interaction Project, to travel internationally and volunteer. This means I can directly apply my academic and practical training to a project of some significance. I have just been accepted into a citizen photojournalism program where I will travel to Ghana and investigate child labor through interviews and photography. And it was the culmination of over a year of intense graduate study that made it possible for me to be bestowed with this transformational opportunity.

What do you enjoy most about life in Indianapolis?

Indianapolis has virtually every amenity of the big city without all the people and traffic. I have never been a city person, but after living in Indianapolis I can see the appeal of the small city. The downtown offers a huge number of arts and culture opportunities as well as some first-rate eating and drinking. If you like sports, Indianapolis is also a great place to live, and I can travel down to B-Town whenever I want to tailgate or catch a basketball game. Combine that with the legendary Hoosier Hospitality, and you have one of the best places to live this side of the Mississippi. Although I might leave the state after graduation, there will always be a pull back to Indy now that I have experienced what it is like to live here.

Please provide some details about your work/research as a graduate student and/or any activities you are involved in.

I am a student of philanthropic studies, a multidisciplinary field where you can be a practitioner, a researcher, or a combination of the two. As I am interested in Higher Education fundraising to provide scholarships and access to underrepresented minorities, women entering STEM fields, and support for first generation students, I have accepted positions that will give me tools to understand the sector and jump right in when I graduate.

My first year, I was a graduate intern for the Study Abroad Office and worked on a project to inform students of all the costs associated with study abroad so they could more easily plan and save. For the last thirteen months, I have also applied my knowledge of grants and fellowship to serve as the Graduate Assistant for Graduate Mentoring and Grant Writing with the Graduate School. I am also serving as the Graduate Assistant to the Dean of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, a position which affords me great freedom to explore and put into practice much of the theory surrounding my degree program. Finally, I have also started consulting for various nonprofits and public charities, again putting what I learn in my graduate program into practice.