Spring 2009 -- Volume 1 Issue 1 [ Return to Table of Contents ]
Janice Wiggins, Director, Groups Student Support Services
Q: What has been your most rewarding experience working at IU?
A: As an administrator for over 25 years, being able to serve underrepresented students for 12 years in the Groups Program has been my most rewarding professional experience. The majority of these students are first generation and low income, and they are tremendous. It is so refreshing to see so many students who appreciate the opportunity to be in college. So many never dreamed that this would happen in their lives. It is enormously rewarding to be a part of providing this opportunity and working with a staff dedicated to helping these students succeed.
Groups director Janice Wiggins (left) greets IU President Michael McRobbie (center) and Karen Adams, McRobbie's chief of staff (photo by Chris Meyers)
- M.S. Indiana University, Bloomington. Educational Psychology. Major emphasis in Psychological Assessment and Child Development
- B.S. IU Bloomington. Major in Psychology, minor in Sociology
Wiggins's more than 30-year-long career at IU Bloomington includes serving as Senior Associate Director of the Career Development Center and Director of Career Counseling and Director of the Cooperative Education Program. In 1996, Wiggins became the fourth director of the Groups Program, which annually admits first generation, low income and physically challenged students to IU Bloomington. In the fall of 2008, Groups celebrated its 40th anniversary of helping students succeed. For more information on the Groups Program, click here, and visit our FAST FACTS page.
Selected Honors and Awards:
In 2004, Wiggins garnered the governor's highest service award, the Sagamore of the Wabash. She has been honored with numerous other awards during her distinguished career, including:
- Serving as Consultant to the Counseling and Psychological Division at Witwatersrand University, Johannesburg, South Africa
- Who's Who in the Midwest
- National Distinguish Service Registry: Counseling and Development
- Indiana Association of Women in Education (IAWE) Distinguish Service Award
- "Shoemaker Special Merit Award" from the Indiana University Division of Student Affairs
- Institutional Development and Student Service Division Outstanding Service Award
- I-MAOEPP State Association's "LaVerta Terry Outstanding Service Award"
- MLK Building Bridges Award
Thank you to Janice and all the Groups Program staff who ensure that diversity works at IU!
To nominate an IU staff or faculty member for the Diversity Spotlight, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Speaking up at the State Department
Students from the Groups Program have achieved success both after and during their time at IU. Currently, there are two interns in Washington, D.C.
Christopher (Chris) Dilworth is a graduate of Northrop High School in Fort Wayne, IN. In 2004 he became a participant of the Groups Student Support Services Program. He is a senior majoring Communications Studies on IUPUI's campus. He is currently an intern with the Department of State in the Human Relations Division and plans to attend law school after graduation.
Zahra Ayoubi is a graduate of Pike High School in Indianapolis IN. In 2005 she became a participant of the Groups Student Support Services Program. Zahra was born in Afghanistan but grew up in Pakistan from the age of six. She and her family moved to the US in 2001, and her sister was a 2001 Groups participant. Zahra is also an intern with the Department of State in the Human Relations Division and plans to attend law school after graduation.
To read the questions Chris and Zahra asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, click here.
I joined Indiana University as a Groups Program student in summer 2005. I must admit that the Groups Program opened many doors of opportunities for me. As a minority student who moved to the United States in 2001, I had many difficulties not only with the English language (writing and speaking), but also lacked some interpersonal skills. The Groups Program helped me tremendously with both my English and interpersonal skills. I learned to write professionally, and was able to interact with many people both at professional and social levels. Indiana University has taught me to be independent, and that is the reason that I feel very connected to both IU and the Bloomington community. Indiana University offers many opportunities to its students through the outstanding support of the dean of students, professors, advisors, and programs such as Groups and the Washington Leadership Program, through which I am able to intern in Washington, D.C.
I am interning at the Department of State as an Intern Activities Coordinator. My job is to plan activities for all the interns of the Department of State that would enrich their experiences while working at the Department of State.
Since I started my internship after President Obama's inauguration, it has been amazing. I was in Secretary Clinton's first Town Hall Meeting with all the other employees of the Department of State, but I actually went up to the aisle to ask her a question. I was nervous at first, but then I was okay once I started speaking.
I have had many opportunities to explore my career options in government as well as meet many important people. Washington, D.C. is a great place for people who want to be close to our government and actually participate in the changes. While working for the government, I have realized that it is very different than what we learn from the books; therefore, I encourage anyone interested in working for the government to try to intern or shadow someone working in D.C. and make connections (which is very important), before they make a decision.
I have many goals for the semester while interning at the Department of State, and one of those goals is to plan for the Secretary of State to speak to all the interns about different career options that Department of State can offer them. I am really looking forward to that day!
DIVERSITY WORKS AT IU:
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