University of Southern Indiana
Connect Class


2018 Class

Connect with Southern Indiana definitely stretched my creative thinking, and through our reflections I realized some faults within my personal leadership style. The problem spaces provided were outside my typical topics for review, and I think that helped me get outside my typical "inside the box" thinking. I felt inspired by the questions asked by Coach K and felt personal growth through the ideation process with both Coach K and Coach B. I would strongly encourage others to attend CSI. You will definitely learn something about the area and yourself!

Laura Anderson
Technical Training

I felt like this was the first time I actually fully and completely networked. The eclectic group of individuals, from different work forces of different counties in Indiana, was truly eye opening. All individuals in the group were collaborative partners and friends who got down to business tackling several daunting problems our communities face. The coaches and staff of CSI exhibited effective skill in pairing groups based on social/background profiles and then working them through a series of processes to create worthy and thought-provoking results. In addition, the traveling, beautiful scenery, and meeting spots across counties was absolutely therapeutic. Allowed for personal, reflective time and important realizations while examining and contrasting counties. The whole thing was great.

Laura O'Leary
Administrative Coordinator
Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation

2017 Class

During my time in Connect with Southern Indiana, I was able to greatly improve my analytical and leadership skills. Additionally, I was able to make a difference in my community, learn more about the region where I was attending school, and meet some great individuals like myself who are looking to engage and make a difference in their local communities.

Chaze Patrick
USI Master of Public Administration Student

2016 Class

"The lessons imparted through Connect stimulate both sides of your brain. On one end of the spectrum is the program’s holistic, immersive approach to idea generation, elements of which I have incorporated into a handful of collaborative efforts since completing the exercise. This innovative take on stimulating the creative process is nicely balanced by a rigorous focus on effective entrepreneurial and presentation strategies which can be regularly applied in many professional work environments. I highly recommend the Connect program. It was a fun, engaging experience which made me better leader and team member."

Ryan Vaal
Lead Marketing Specialist

2015 Class

"One of the things that I have to say and  admit,  this program really stretched my mind to a realm of which I did not know I could enter into. As a result of taking on the program  concepts,  I realized about 90% of what I fear does not exist I held onto those words and I apply those into every area of my life. I truly feel I know I can make an impact with in the community, state and nation. I learned to tap deeper into my purpose and asking  how do I inspire? what are my strengths? What are my passions? what are my talents? I also learned, coming to the table with a group of people that have their own gifts and talents can be  powerful. I learned to be a  better listener, to be more observant and more in tune to my environment yanking the cob webs vices off my mind. Learned to eliminate biases, preconceived judgments regarding a situation, a person, place or thing. Moving forward with the intention to create a positive life-changing experience for someone, is my ultimate desire."

Kerseclia Patterson
Southwest Indiana Area Health Education Center Academic Outreach Coordinator
USI Nursing and Health Professions

"Before Connect I was very much focused on outcomes and results and discredited the "processes" it took to achieve desired outcomes and results. Since Connect I have become more aware of how important process can be and instilled this in my working environment by suggesting short meetings in which time is taken to generate ideas quickly using stimulus such as we did during the Connect Program. I have also adopted the mindset that, "there is no such thing as failure, just the freedom to try again." Failure used to sway me from trying again, now it invigorates me to work harder and continue utilizing ideas I would not otherwise invest in because they would go again the "status quo." This new freedom of thought and awareness has also led me to investigate beginning my own business in the future despite what could be an arduous task."

Ashley Hughes
Student Outreach Coordinator
USI Dean of Students Office

"As an instructor going through the program with students whom I teach, I was initially hesitant, but the experience proved to be a good way to get to know the students in a different way that enriched my teaching. The program has a really unique approach to teaching creativity and entrepreneurial thinking. It changed the way that I approach the topic and really stimulated me to think in ways that do not come naturally to me.  Having grown up in the area, I was regularly surprised by how much I didn’t know about the towns and communities outside the area. Each week, I enjoyed the field trip component as it enabled me to know more about the larger community in which I live."

Trent Engbers

Assistant Professor
USI College of Liberal Arts

2014 Class

"Connect with Southern Indiana was a fantastic experience.  The entrepreneurial program was a refreshing way to gain new tools and resources for work -- and for critical thinking in general.  I enjoyed getting to know my classmates and learning about the many cultural treasures available in our region.  I am fortunate to have been able to participate in this great program."

Ann Tornatta
Marketing & Communications Manager
Deaconess Health System

"The CSI program was a great experience.  It gave me an opportunity to work with many talented individuals on real problems facing our communities.  I would definitely recommend this program to anyone who’s looking for the chance to think creatively about topics outside their day-to-day professional routine."

Jason Hoffman
Application Development Manager
Kimball Office

"I enjoyed meeting each and every person involved in Connect with Southern Indiana. The new relationships with this group of wonderful people are ones I hope to continue to develop. Several treasures of our region were highlighted and I learned cool new things about each county we visited. Finally, the program content provided tools to use when a new opportunity comes along."

Stephanie Hinton Kaho
Program Coordinator
Junior Achievement

"The Connect with Southern Indiana program was an invigorating experience that challenged me to think in ways outside of my comfort zone.  Each session left me feeling energized and helped me to learn about all of the great opportunities and experiences that exist right here in southwest Indiana.  The people I met and skillset I gained made the program fun and rewarding. I am very appreciative to have been a participant of CSI 2014."

Koryn Parsons
Assistant Director
USI Admissions

"The CSI experience was a turning point in my life. Coach K , Coach B and the HSI staff motivated me to think differently than I normally do. As a linear thinker it was a challenge to look at ideas and concepts in a new way.  By bringing 24 people from the different counties in our region together and encouraging us to come up with ideas that challenged the status quo, CSI taught us that we all have something of value to give. Also, taking us to places like Historic New Harmony, The Azelea Path, Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial and Historic Downtown Newburgh, reminded us of the rich history and diversity that makes our region a great place to live.

As a result of CSI, I made changes in the direction my own life was headed. I've returned to a career that is more of an avocation than a job. Life is good and CSI helped me set a new course with a new way of thinking. Thanks to all of you that made it possible!"

Ken McWilliams
F. C. Tucker Emge Realtor

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